"Rhonda," as we affectionately call her, came into our lives about a year and a half ago. In December of 2007, my very first car, "Fatboy," my very bestest car friend, finally had his unceremonious and final demise. He'd been with me through high school, college, and a wreck that nearly parted us. We'd replaced part after part, and this time, it was the transmission, and as he was an old Hyundai (everyone I met was amazed that he was still running at all), it wasn't worth the cost to have a new (or used) transmission put in. In February, we donated him to the Kidney Foundation. The default deduction that you're given when you donate is $500. We later found out that he brought only $225 at auction. That actually hurt, to be honest.
We were doing okay with one car in early 08; Joey and I were carpooling to work, and when we needed two vehicles, his parents didn't mind rearranging things and helping us out. We knew, however, that we were going to have to find another car before Joey started his schoolwork at Wake Forest; he'd be making multiple three-hour drives, and I would need to be able to get back and forth to work every day. We prayed about it, and waited.
Rhonda belonged to our friend Wayne, who worked at our church; he'd gotten her in Rhode Island some years back while working there. He bought her for five hundred dollars, and she saw him through the rough weather of Rhode Island, through his move down here to NC, and had driven faithfully for the (almost) four years that he lived here. Shortly after he got married, he and Erin, his wife, felt called to the northeast and were going to be moving to NY. And there, our lives with Rhonda intersected.
They knew they'd only need one car, and felt led to give Rhonda to us....well, to "sell" her to us for $1 for the title's sake. We were speechless. It was a whirlwind, really...they offered, we accepted, they came over and signed the car over, and then, they were gone. However, they did let us know that Rhonda had some...."quirks." Among them were: a hole in the exhaust, a sagging front bumper, power doors that no longer worked, power seatbelts that no longer worked and were fixed in the "locked" position (you have to crawl under them to get in), a driver's side front window that won't roll down, broken AC, TONS of dents and rust damage. I don't really remember what else. But she RAN! and well!! And we were grateful, no matter what.
We had some work done right when we got her, and she's been fine until recently; we had to have a new clutch put in, to the tune of $900. Still, she's cost us less than our new car has in payments and insurance, and her taxes are low and the inspection cost is low. But she wasn't pretty.
To protect the identity of the "culprit," let's just say that someone blessed us more than we could have imagined with an Extreme Makeover for Rhonda. And here she is:
Her dents have been fixed, the rust was fixed (as much as possible). The whole car was painted. There's a new door (with a window that rolls both up AND down), and there's a working AC. The power locks work now, and the knobs on the dash were replaced so we no longer have to use pliers to change the air temperature. I don't even know what else was done.