my current obsession: the prius

I’ve noticed that I become obsessed with things. Almost as if I need to obsess over something. It used to be music and songs. Then it became bands. Then there was a gap during med school because I was too busy studying. Then it was engagement rings when I knew marriage was on the horizon. Then it was wedding planning. Then it was the crazy in-laws and how to get rid of them. And most recently: tennis racquets. When I couldn’t really obsess over tennis racquets because of my sprained ankle, my obsession became the Nintendo DS Lite. Now that I’ve bought the DS Lite (and my tennis racquet!), I’ve moved onto a newer, most expensive to date obsession: the Toyota Prius. I’m scared to see what’s next after the Prius. A new house? I suppose it’s a good thing I won’t be able to afford one after the Prius.

I spent the entire day today at lab reading about the Prius and debating over whether we can afford it and whether we should hunt down a 2006 model or wait for the new 2007s. Funny, my whole obsession started because of my post about the flaming red Hummer parking in front of my house. After writing the line about the Prius, I got to thinking to myself, “Why not get one?” The idea simmered in the back of my mind until this last weekend when we parked next to a Prius at the grocery store. I told my husband I wanted one. And he said okay, citing the October 1st ending of the full IRS tax credit as being a good incentive. He probably didn’t think I was serious when he gave his approval (which doesn’t really matter because I call the shots here :P). But what was a passing interest has turned into a full-fledged obsession.

We even test drove one yesterday. I can’t really tell if I love a car when I test drive it, so it wasn’t really helpful except that it alerted me of some things that might be issues: I can’t see the front of my hood with this car (how will I parallel park?!), the rear window is hard to see out of (especially if the back passenger seat headrests are raised), no seat position memory (okay, what do I expect—a luxury car?), and it feels like a boat (well, duh, since my current car is a sports car). These are all minor issues that I can get used to. But even so, I still find myself asking if I’m ready to give up driving my cooler sports car for a geeky practical environmentally friendly car. I thought I was, but the difference was quite noticeable when I test drove the Prius. Can I really give up my coolness—the fact that I can pass for a college kid? If it were any other sedan, I wouldn’t even think twice—the answer would be a resounding no. But the Prius…it’s so tempting because I think it’s cool, just not in the same way that I think of my current car. And I really want to do my part, even if it’s not really benefiting me in terms of saving gas money. I guess it’ll be okay because I’ll still be able to drive my current car when I want a break from being geeky cool.

But then there’s the issue of actually getting one. The tax break on the Prius is set to be reduced by 50% starting October 1st. That means I have to have the car in my possession by September 30th to qualify. And this tax break is by no means a small sum of money. So we’re trying to hunt down an 06 with the package that we want and we actually found two in acceptable colors today in our area. But we don’t want to pay full MSRP, which is what they want. Even more bothersome is the fact that the 2007 model is coming out soon (but not in time to meet the tax break deadline). It’s not much different from the 2006 model and I wouldn’t care except for the fact that they’re offering a Touring edition, which is supposed to be sportier, which is awfully tempting. It just might give me what I need to not feel like I switched over to driving a granny car. So the ultimate question is: get a 2006 Prius and the big tax break or wait for the 2007 Touring edition and get half the tax break? Gah. I can’t decide.

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  1. there’s a 2007 prius touring edition sleeping soundly in our garage tonight!That's right! Three weeks and one day from when we placed our order for our Prius and we already have it! And exactly what we wanted too! Such luck! It definitely wasn't an easy task and I felt like just giving up so many times during the wait, but I'm glad we perservered and got lucky. We weren't scheduled to receive our Prius for another eight weeks, or so we were told when we called the dealer on Tuesday. And all of a sudden, this weekend, we started questioning our choice to go with a 2007 model instead of a 2006 because we would be losing half of the tax credit. We had been counting on going with a lower package to recoup the difference, but found out earlier this week that the lower package wasn't available for our region, which made the 2007 and 2006 models the same price except for the loss of half of the tax credit. We knew that our dealership had a 2006 model available and decided to grab that one before the 9/30 deadline. When we called them to tell them so, they told us that a 2007 silver touring edition had just arrived that very morning and we could have it if the person who was currently test driving it didn't want it. WTF!!! You told us that we wouldn't be seeing any 2007s for another eight weeks and then you turn around and get one the very weekend that we called?! And...
  2. prius power!I love my Prius.  In fact, I want two.  So, how great is it that PG & E has come up with a way for it to supply your house with electricity?  Too cool, I say.  It's called Vehicle-to-Grid technology and allows you to charge your car's battery when it needs charging or allows the car's battery to power lights and other things in your home during peak hours (think hot summer months) when the battery is full.  Time to start saving for that second Prius!...
  3. an open letter to the latest idiot who scraped my prius bumperDear Mr./Ms. Idiot, Who exactly taught you how to drive? Oh, that's right. Probably no one. Because that's the only explanation for why you backed your vehicle into my innocent little Prius, not only leaving your nasty beige paint on my car but also taking a little souvenir paint chip with you. More importantly, were you raised by wolves? Because what decent human being damages another human's property and then runs away without admitting the wrong that they've done? Do you feel good about what you did? Ha! I hit your car and I got away with it! I'm so proud. Is this what you teach your kids too? Maybe that's why this nation is going down the drain. People like you who think you are above everyone else. People like you who expect to be treated like kings, but refuse to treat other people with common decency. Well, just you wait until someone treats you the way you deserve to be treated. It's not so fun, is it? Signed, Angry Prius owner...

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