Living Room on Wheels

I bought my dogs a car on Monday.

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It’s fancy. At least fancy for me. I’ve never owned a vehicle that told me what was playing on the radio or that had so many controls that I need to figure out. It’s like a freakin’ spaceship. Or a jetliner. Or something.

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It took about 10 minutes to figure it out, but I love the seat warming feature. Especially important when sitting on leather when it’s cold outside. The seats are more comfortable than my couch. I see long road trips ahead in our future.

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So spacious. This will be good in case my new pet sitting business tanks and I become homeless. Plenty of room for me and the dogs and a hot plate. I’ll just convert the ginormous middle console feature to a ‘fridge.

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The third row seats come out entirely, and they will after tomorrow, probably to never be seen again. The second row folds down completely.

So, while the dogs now think it’s a playground and they can ride without touching one another after years of so much touching, I have a surprise in store for them.

Crates.

No more stressful sights of school buses, tractor trailers and white panel vans for Brady. No more yips from Camm about how someone is on her tail and she needs all of the space. No more pained looks from Youke that Camm insists a dog as small as she is should take up so much room. No more aggrieved pleadings from Jasmine as to why can’t everyone just get along. Now everyone will get their own room.

Surprisingly, they do get along very well, despite having been cramped up in a small space in the back of the Jeep. It’s always been especially sweet on long road trips or when coming back from hours in the woods that they all just curl up against each other and ride it out in the back without a peep.

But that’s a lot to expect of four medium to larger sized dogs with outsized personalities and I feel I’ve pushed it.

The plan for a Living Room on Wheels has been in effect for a number of years; even before I got Camm, although I became more serious about it when she arrived. Now, with the recent launch of my business and a specific plan to expand the offerings, I decided it was time to invest in a larger vehicle, both for the business and for personal use.

I’d had my eye on a couple of options, but was most concerned about the simple fact that I needed larger. I’d long coveted the rides of friends in the agility community, but also long ago decided a minivan was not my thing. While I like how many of the crossovers drive and handle, I dislike the slope shape of most of them and didn’t see that they’d really offer the additional room I was looking for. Now, you can laugh as the Jeep is fairly tiny and almost anything would provide more room, but I like the idea of camping out in my vehicle should an opportunity arise. I also like the idea of perhaps someday being able to tow something. That’s not in the immediate future any time soon, but I like to keep options open. Mostly, I wanted room for the dogs, dog crates and the paraphernalia that comes with attending agility trials.

I also wanted something high that I could see out of easily, that had good visibility all the way around, was comfortable for road trips, but easy to drive around everyday in and in which I felt safe.

For me, the choice became simple – an SUV. Eventually it came down to Chevy versus Ford and how big I was gonna go.

I was bored late last week and just randomly started searching for Tahoes. Surprisingly, I found several that fit my general criteria in terms of how much I wanted to spend and mileage. I made calls on two. One of them though I almost immediately dismissed after I made the call as although it had incredibly low mileage, I still thought the asking price was too high.

Obviously I know I can negotiate that, but I hate car shopping and the day spent at the dealer when I bought my Jeep several years ago only furthered my disgust. In the end, I had my sights set on the one I ended up buying.

However, I had stuff going on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and couldn’t go see it. In much the same way I handle so many other things in life, I simply decided that if it was meant to be, the vehicle would be there still when I went to see it – despite the  sales guy telling me that a vehicle like that would go fast.

Yeah right, buddy.

Sure enough, it was there when I arrived Monday afternoon. I got to do a nice long test drive, unaccompanied by a dealer representative and started to fall in love a little.

At 4:30 pm, I walked back into the showroom after my test drive and told the guy I was interested. Of course, then the fun and games began.

Except they didn’t ‘cuz homey don’t play that.

They guy told me he’d worked down the numbers and showed me his new offering price. Only I couldn’t see it because I’d left my reading glasses in my Jeep. I told him I’d be back.

I returned, saw the price and told him no. He then countered. I saw where this was going and told him I wanted it for my price and that I wasn’t going to budge because “although I liked it, I don’t like it that much.”

Clearly he thought it was game on. Except I then stood up, told him I was going to use the bathroom and that he could think about it while I was gone.

I think that maybe he was a little stunned.

I had a little chuckle in the bathroom, but also vowed not to compromise. My price was fair and I knew he’d still make something off it. In fact, I’d decided on the price when I looked at the vehicle on the dealer’s web site days earlier. And I wasn’t moving.

I came back out, walked over to the sales guy, silently communicating I was not going to play games, and he stood up, shook my hand and said we had a deal.

Of course, now I wished I’d been more of a hard ass and gone lower.

Whatever. I’m now the proud owner of a 10-year-old Chevy Tahoe with less miles on it than my 2009 Jeep.

It was dark by the time I got home Tuesday after running errands, thus I have no video of the dogs seeing their Christmas/Birthday/Best Dogs Ever present. Really, it should’ve been on video, because it was FREAKIN’ HILARIOUS. So much jumping up and down. So many smiles and doggie laughter. So much checking out of the spacious roominess. So much jockeying for the best spots. Jasmine was so excited she jumped in and out three times, despite it being parked on the steep incline of my driveway.

And they haven’t even gone for a ride yet.

Over the next week or so I’ll remove the seats, play some Tetris with crate spacing and sizes and get a barrier so Youke will not feel compelled to utilize the heated leather seat on the passenger side. I know that dog, and he will totally think that’s a special feature just for him.

I’ll also be spending the next week trying to figure out all the bells and whistles and poring over the owner’s manual. This thing is tricked out. Fittingly, the manual is about the thickness of a dictionary.

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