Guest Post: Car Shopping the Chaffee Way

Guest post by Courtney Chaffee and part of an ongoing series, "True Life: I married Scott Chaffee" While I am happy that Paolo and Amanda could share this car-buying phase of life with Scott and me, I am a little jealous how it all played out. Not because they got the Jeep Compass and I didn’t, and not because they got a new car before me. But because they got to do it together. Let me share the “Chaffee” way of car shopping...

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far, away (near Browns Point) lived a completely car-crazed man named Scott and his unbelievably patient wife, Courtney. Scott was famous for not being able to hold onto a car for more than three years. In his first 10 years of driving, he had bought and sold seven cars. Scott was something of an idiot savant when it came to cars. He could recall mpg, horsepower and changes of body styles without hesitating, but if you ask him to recall special dates (birthdays, anniversaries), names of people he met 20 seconds ago, or any one of the Ten Commandments (note his 12 years of Catholic school), he would be lost.

We were creeping up on four years of owning two Xterras (his and hers, naturally), and I knew my good luck streak could not go on forever.

We both knew that selling his car was not an option. Just a year ago we had to put a couple grand into his Xterra for something I still cannot pronounce the name of. If I had to guess, I think it was something about the “framulator.” When Scott told me what he had spent, I informed him that he just bought himself a coffin and if he ever tried to sell it, I could guarantee he would need it. So, my car had a bulls-eye on its back windshield.

On the rainy day that Paolo wrote of, I remember the three of them going out to look at the Compass. Paolo is right, when Scott loves a car, he will make sure someone buys it. Of course, when the Three Musketeers left to test drive the Jeep, it was Scott that I was expecting to buy it. Paolo was just doing what Paolo does best: amusing Scott. If I remember correctly, Paolo said, “We will be back soon, Scott just won’t shut up about the car so I have to go look at it to get him off my back.” This is a little game we all play with Scott. Of course, Amanda was the one that suffered that day.

What a curve ball life threw at me when Scott not only came home without purchasing the car, but Paolo was the one that had to have it. Paolo is right about many things. It is an awesome car. It looks great, drives great and there was no way I was going to drive the same car as him. With Paolo buying “the best Jeep Compass in the country,” one of Scott’s itches had been scratched. Fortunately for the Mottolas, their car-shopping journey had come to an end. Unfortunately, mine was just beginning.

One day while leaving for work Scott, we shared a cryptic conversation:

Me: “Bye buddy, I’m leaving for my three-day work trip.” Scott: “Oh! I need you to drive my car to work.” Me: “Why would I need to drive your car?” Scott: “Ummm... ummmm... I think you’re really pretty. Bye!”

If any of you have ever planned for a disaster, this is the first sign -- an unsolicited compliment. I knew Scott had big plans to sell my car when I was on a layover.

Scott’s plan came to fruition in short time: He sold my car for more than twice the trade in value, Paolo was driving around a “sick” new car, and I had received a bonus at work. The end was near.

We came home from skiing one Sunday afternoon and Scott entertained me by talking about how AMAZING the new Subaru Imprezas are. I told him, “Fine, I will go down and just look at it, so I know which car you are talking about.” (This was my attempt at amusing Scott.)

Well, looking led to test driving, test driving led to inventory research, and the lack of inventory led to ordering a brand new car online. The whole event was a blur of questions, ignored feedback and decisions. I just sat there and tried to stay calm through it all.

As we were looking at options he asked, “Do you like the navigation and remote rear view mirror, or do you like the fog lights?”

I gave him the same look that he gets when he wants to have deep conversation about if Fast 5 was better than the original The Fast and the Furious -- half annoyed, half confused.

This is Scott when he started looking at brochures and couldn’t stop smiling.

This is Scott after he ordered the WRX wing to be put on the back.

I wish Scott displayed the same excited, blissful look on his face during car shopping on our wedding day, but I cannot compete with heated seats, AWD and 35 mpg. All I got was a gaunt look of terror for that hour at the alter.

This may surprise some of you, but Scott and I never “officially” graduated from premarital counseling class. On the final day, our certificate was “misplaced” and unable to be found. I don’t want to blame Scott, but he didn’t help.

I remember the counselor asked me, “How would you feel if Scott did not include you in a very important decision like purchasing a car?“ I replied, “Oh, you mean again? Because he has done that three times already.”

I wonder what he would think about Scott selling my car when I was out of the state before excluding me from purchasing a new one?

We are still waiting for that certificate of premarital counseling completion. I’m sure we’ll get the new Impreza in the mail first.