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The Real Meaning of “Getting Mugged”

The first thing I can hear as I awake from a drowsy state is the steam spiraling out from the top of the machine. Oh, and my toddler screaming for me over the crackling of the baby monitor, of course. The water seeps through the grinds and I can hear the sweet sizzle of my first cup slowly dripping into the pot. The thick aroma of the caffeine spreads throughout the house as my husband and I begin our morning routine of madness.

Amidst packing lunches, popping Eggo’s, and picking outfits, we sneak a quick moment to take a sip from our favorite mugs. Coffee – every exhausted parent’s small savior.

I carefully prepare our travel mugs, filling each with the perfect proportion of cream and sugar, so that my husband and I can enjoy a second dose of the delightful drug during our separate commutes to work.

I make sure to pour my husband’s cup a little higher; a thank you gift for driving the toddler to daycare every morning. With that, our day begins.

I climb into my car and take a deep breath, enjoying the peacefulness of solitude. I turn on my iPod and revel in the fact that I can listen to something other than “The Wheels on the Bus” on repeat. I slowly pull out of the driveway, mentally checking off a list, ensuring that I’ve locked up, fed the dog, set the alarm, and so on. I am waiting at the end of my street for the traffic to clear when a shiny, metallic object on the side of the road catches my attention.

I recognize it in an instant. The silver of the mug. The St. John Fisher College logo. It’s my husband’s travel mug, laying right there in the gutter, pouring his precious caffeine into the street.


Here’s how it happened:

While attempting to strap the toddler into the twisted belts of the car seat, he carelessly set his coffee mug on the bumper of his truck to free up a second hand. Having successfully prevailed in the car seat-buckle-battle, he swiftly (and proudly) jumped into the driver’s seat, trying to make up for lost time.

As he pulled onto the highway, he reached for his mug, looking for a sip of that strong serum that was sure to soothe him after a fast-paced start to the day. It is at this very moment that he realized his error. It’s a devastating blow to any overtired parent. A coffee mug casualty, right there in the road.

It’s certainly a depressing way to kick off your commute. Maybe you’ve even witnessed a similar tragic event: A mother’s travel mug flies off the rooftop of a minivan packed full of kids on the way to school. A cup of Starbucks sits sadly on the bumper of a sedan (with three cars seats lined up side-by-side in the back) before slowly sliding to the pavement as the father in the driver’s seat steps on the gas. Here’s my advice: Don’t let it happen to you. Find a cozy cup holder for your coffee and avoid the dreadful consequences of getting “mugged.”


Deal Making Mommy

DON'T WORRY. I didn't get a minivan (yet).

DON’T WORRY. I didn’t get a minivan (yet).

Last week, I got a phone call from my car dealership that I was eligible for a lease pull ahead in which I could turn my car in five months early for a newer, nicer version and still maintain a similar payment. While I was completely and utterly doubtful that this was possible, I decided to entertain this guy by setting up a meeting.

Because we didn’t have a sitter set up, we had two options. Either my husband was going to come with me and we were going to attempt to car shop with a toddler in tow (which sounds like hell for both me and the dealership) or I was going to do this alone. I know that car shopping can be challenging and that you need to have some serious negotiating skills in order to get a good deal. Really though, I spend twelve hours a day negotiating with children. Trying to make a deal with a car salesman can’t be THAT much harder. If I can convince a toddler to eat his veggies, I can definitely convince this douche bag that I deserve the lowest payment possible. Not to mention, I watch a lot of Million Dollar Listing on Bravo TV, which has really improved my negotiation skills. I think I could give Josh Altman a serious run for his money.

I spent the remainder of the week doing some intense research. I talked to tons of dealerships about comparable cars and leasing options. I read articles about what questions that need to be asked, like the total purchase price of the car, the residual value, and the interest rate. I learned about acquisition fees and studied terms like capitalized cost reduction. I picked out the model I wanted, the packages I wanted to add, and the interior and exterior colors I liked. Most importantly, I talked with my dad several times because, you know, this is the kind of things that dads live for – car shopping, examining mortgage rates, opening IRA’s and 529 plans, political discussions, etc. My dad even offered to drive in from out of town to join me, but I told him it wasn’t necessary. I was ready.

I pulled into the dealership, dressed to the nines and feeling confident. One of two things was about to happen. Either all of the sales guys were going to ignore me because clearly a young, clueless woman who was car shopping without her husband wasn’t going to have the balls or the permission to pull the trigger. OR – I was going to be mobbed because these guys figured I had no idea what I was doing. They were going to fight over the chance to screw me by confusing me with car salesmen jargon and hidden fees, then sell me an overpriced vehicle that they swore was “discounted” as much as possible.

Four men (actually, more like four 30 year old guys who looked like total tools) surrounded me as I entered the building. I felt like I was willingly walking into a tank full of hungry sharks just itching for the chance to destroy me. Brian, the guy who I had set an appointment with, waded through the crowd of men and greeted me. He looked around. I knew he was looking for my husband. Or my father. Or my sugar daddy. Because clearly, women aren’t capable of car shopping independently.

“Are you shopping…. alone?” he asked.

I laughed and explained that indeed, I would be shopping alone. I told him I was so graciously sparing him from having to try to sell me a car while I chased my toddler around the dealership.

Brian began our conversation by throwing around some ridiculous terms and definitions. I politely let him know that I knew what he was talking about. I pulled out my notes and I quickly silenced my phone so that he wouldn’t hear the texts and calls I had coming in from my concerned crew (aka, my husband and my dad).

I spent almost 3.5 hours at the dealership. I negotiated all morning and finally got the car I wanted for the price I wanted and no one else’s name was needed to co-sign for the loan. I have to say, I was pretty impressed with myself.

Brian walked me to my old car and helped me pack up my things (12 embarrassing girly CDs, a teddy bear, a few random toys, and a shit ton of change). He commented that my car looked like it was in good shape. Not too much wear and tear and pretty clean, too. That was, until I lifted out the car seat to reveal about 38 crushed up goldfish crackers and an entire carton worth of milk stains…. Yikes. Have fun with that, Brian.

I climbed into my new 2014 Titanium Silver Kia Sorento, also known as, my mommy mobile. Granted, I didn’t go as far as getting a car pool approved, kid-ready minivan.  But, you never know. Maybe someday this car will be sporting two car seats and we’ll be happy we opted for that hide-away third row seating. Either way, I’d say it was a successful day for this deal making mommy.

My Mom Ride. OOOH. I know you are jealous.

My Mom Ride. OOOH. I know you are jealous.