Marital disagreement: to build a Lotus or remodel the kitchen?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1999

Dear Tom and Ray:

My husband, Tom, and I need some marriage counseling. We have been married for
31 years and have weathered a variety of car disagreements, but the current one
is the most difficult. Tom, who is in midlife, wants to buy a car "kit" and
build a Lotus or something along those lines. The total cost of the kit is more
than $26,000, and this seems very extravagant to me. I, on the other hand, think
this money should be spent on getting the yard into shape (so we can both enjoy
it) or remodeling the kitchen, which he agrees has to be done. He says the car
will be worth much more than $26,000 when he's done, but I'm wondering who would
pay more than $26,000 for a car put together by a guy with questionable
mechanical skills? Today I suggested that we have the "car guys" mediate our
disagreement over this purchase.

His immediate response was "No!" which tells me he knows his idea is lacking
merit. I think he should have the opportunity to make his case, too, but I would
appreciate your initial thoughts on this matter. Thanks. -- Jane

P.S. -- I make dynamite chocolate chip cookies, and they ship nicely!

TOM: Oh, man. I hate to give up chocolate chip cookies, but I think you have to
let him do it, Jane.

RAY: Me, too. Of course it's a dumb idea. It has no real-world merit whatsoever,
as you've so astutely pointed out. But it will serve one very important purpose.
It will keep him out of trouble. And I don't think I need to elaborate on what
kinds of trouble men facing midlife can get into.

TOM: If you let him do this, he will spend many happy hours in the garage and
will love you that much more for indulging his stupid, adolescent desires. (In
his heart, he knows this is a dumb idea, too.)

RAY: Unfortunately, $26,000 for this kit is just the beginning. That doesn't
count the thousands of dollars worth of tools and garage equipment he's going to
have to buy. He probably hasn't mentioned that yet, has he?

TOM: But here's the good news. At some point during this project, he'll
inevitably burn the house down with his oxyacetylene torch. Then you can use the
insurance money to get your new kitchen! Good luck, Jane.


Thinking of buying a "pre-owned" car? Don't get taken for a ride! Be sure to
read Tom and Ray's best-selling pamphlet, "How to Buy a Great Used Car: Things
Detroit and Tokyo Don't Want You to Know." Send $3 and a stamped (55 cents),
self-addressed, No. 10 envelope to Used Car, PO Box 6420, Riverton, NJ 08077-

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