Banks County Opinions...

AUGUST 13, 2003


Column

By: Angela Gary
The Banks County News
August 13, 2003

Phone conversations with Jake
I answer the phone and hear a little voice yell, HELLO, followed by lots of giggles. In the next few minutes, I hear about 10 more HELLOs, followed by lots of giggles.
Jake has learned a new word and he has called Aunt Angie, which comes out as Gee Gee when he says it, to share it with her. He used to open our phone conversations with a slow, drawn out, “Heeeeey.” Now, it seems he has learned hello.
My phone conversations with Jake are brief and usually contain the same few words or phrases, but they always brighten my day. What could be better than 10 hellos and lots of giggles? I can’t think of anything.
Jake is 20-months-old now and it is certainly an entertaining age as he expands his vocabulary and exhausts us all with his energy and enthusiasm. He loves to go for a ride in the field near our home and yells, “Bouden, bouden,” as soon as he sees me. I think I used this phrase once to describe the sound a car makes and it stuck with him.
We have to go “bouden, bouden” every time I see him. He also yells, “KEY, KEY, KEY,” and heads to the drawer in the kitchen to get my car key as soon as he arrives at our house. Before I know it, we are headed through the woods along the red dirt road.
Sometimes, Jake sits in my lap and takes the steering wheel. He will push my hands away because he wants to drive. We barely move along but he doesn’t seem to notice as he turns the steering wheel quickly from side to side. After these outings, he runs in to tell the family, “I drove, I drove, I drove.”
Other times, he gets in the front passenger seat and doesn’t stop saying “seat belt” until I have him buckled in. Then, he starts saying it again until I get buckled in. The only problem is that as soon as we are bucked in, he says “off” meaning he wants the seat belt off of both of us.
Jake also enjoys sticking his head out of the driver’s side seat, with me firmly holding on to him, and calling the shop cats as we slowly drive along. “Kitty, kitty, kitty, Socks, Seven...,” he will yell. I’ll tell him to let the kitties know that we have cat food and he immediately starts yelling, “cat food, cat food, cat food.”
A child is truly a blessing from above and I treasure all of my time with Jake. He brightens my day and makes me smile. From “hello” to “bouden bouden” to “cat food,” it’s all good.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.

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Column

By: Rochelle Beckstein
The Banks County News
August 13, 2003

Car buying is easier thanks to world wide web
Being an educated car buyer is 100 times easier thanks to the world wide web. It wasn’t very many years ago when car buying decisions relied on heresay from family and neighbors. You had to be a master detective and an excellant note taker to pick through all the bits and pieces and find the car that most suits you. Or you just looked at the oldest cars on the road and figured that would be the best thing to buy since they were rusted and beaten on the outside and still passing you on the inside lane of the interstate.
But now it’s much easier. Education has become easier thanks to the innovation of the internet. The car buying experience doesn’t have to be a hassle. Spend an hour online and you’ll know what manufacturer and model number are right for you and how much that car will cost you a month.
If you’re going to buy a new car, first visit www.jdpower.com. After entering the consumer section of the automotive industry, allow the site to help you choose the car that is right for you. You simply enter what style vehicle you want from five types of cars, two types of trucks or vans and four types of SUVs. Enter a price range and a list of vehicles will appear on the right side of the screen with a panel of features on the left, including, mechanical quality, performance, style, safety, fuel economy and long term dependability. How important you rank each feature will determine the order of the vehicles in your specified price range and style. For instance, the Hyundai Sonota appears first in mechanical quality for midsize cars under $15,000 while the Oldsmobile Silhouette ranks first for compact vans. The drawback to this site is that it does not give any information on the vehicles other than J.D. Power & Associates ratings. So the next site you should visit is www.edmunds.com. Input in the first five or 10 cars you like and ask Edmund’s to compare them in terms of price and features of each vehicle. Edmund’s will give you J.D. Power & Associates ratings for each vehicle but it won’t let you search within those ratings so you do have to visit J.D. Power first. Edmund’s also evaluates each vehicle and sums it up in a few choice words under the pros and cons for each make which is very helpful.
Putting new cars aside, Edmund’s is an even bigger help for used cars. You can search by type and price or make and model or you can browse by type, make or market segment. You will then get a list of cars that match your criteria with the true market value and a consumer rating as well as J.D. Power and Associates mechanical quality rating and information on the safety of the vehicle. This is nice because I haven’t quite figured out how to search www.jdpower.com for used car ratings, but Edmund’s has all of that information in black and white in a very convenient list format. By clicking a particular car, you will get very detailed information on the standard features of the vehicle like gas mileage and available colors, be able to ask for a vehicle history report on a specific car or determine the “true cost to own” per mile which is figured based on depreciation, financing, car insurance, taxes and fees, fuel economy, maintenance and repairs. I was surprised to learn that my Jeep Cherokee costs 31 cents per mile. Quite expensive since I always have to run back to the store for something I forgot. From their site you can also read consumer reports on the vehicle and learn how the car performed on road tests and whether it received any awards.
Once you’ve decided which vehicle you really want, Edmunds will help you figure out which credit tier you fall into and give you a table of loan interest rates for your market. You can search dealerships and private party sales in your area or take the car’s true market value so you have a base idea how much your car will cost you. Then Edmund’s will tell you if you can afford your car. Input the purchase price, subtract your down payment and compute your loan rate and Edmund’s will tell you your monthly payment. Happy shopping and good luck. Just don’t forget that when buying a used vehicle, get it inspected by a qualified technician, even cars from dealerships can be lemons.
Rochelle Beckstine is a columnist for MainStreet Newspapers.


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