Lessons Learned

by john on October 18, 2003


We bought a new vehicle yesterday, a Honda Odyssey like the one you see here. The color is sage pearl which isn’t really quite as green as it shows here. Having had light color cars of late it makes a nice change. It’s also the first vehicle in the last dozen years or so that I have purchased rather than leased. When we lived down in Rochester leasing worked pretty well but now that we are back up in the big city we are putting significantly more miles on both our vehicles and leasing has become a problem.

Did I say “both” vehicles? I should have said “all” our vehicles. Because right now we have three. Why? Well therein lies the lessons learned.

A couple of months ago I told Amy that the 3 year lease on the Navigator was coming to an end in November. I really like the big SUVs (I know, I know) but Amy has a friend who has an Odyssey and she really liked the idea of getting one instead of an SUV. Ugh, a minivan. Well, ok, after I looked around a little bit I started buying into the idea too. I really liked the Toyota Sienna but the waiting lists were too long for us to be able to get on in the November timeframe.

So yesterday we learned our new minivan had arrived at the dealership, a little earlier than planned, and I had a few calls to make to get things straightened out. The first call I made was to the leasing company on the Navigator because I wanted to know if this month’s payment was the last one or if I had one more. Sure I could have dug through my papers to figure it out from the contract but I was being lazy.

After going through phone menu hell I arrived at someone who could help. “Hello Derrick, this is John. My lease is expiring next month and I need to understand when my final payment is.”

“Well, that’s not quite correct sir. Your lease expires on November 24th, 2004. It is a four year lease.”


That’s too bad, I thought, but no damage done. We would get our $500 deposit back without a problem and we would just wait another year to go the minivan route. Perhaps by then we could get on the Sienna list earlier, who knows.

Unfortunately that logic didn’t fly with Amy. She had her heart set on the Odyssey. Now.


I had been planning on turning my car in when it was due next June (trust me I checked that contract and it was a three year lease) but now I’m looking at doing an early termination on it and driving the Navigator until next November when I can buy another car.

I’m burned out on leases for now, we’ll see how ownership works out.

Lessons to remember – check the contract, check it twice. Damn well do it before the wife gets to thinking about that new car.

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