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Andrea's column: My new ride

Last week, my husband and I celebrated 23 years of marriage. We bought a car, too. Sad to say, the anniversary paled in comparison to the new auto.

We have been on the retail end of the automobile business for a combined 74 years. For almost all of those years, we have driven company cars called demonstrators. The free car was the reason I applied for the job in the first place.

Now, I'm retired and don't even drive anymore. Because it is hard for me to get in and out of cars, my husband, who still works for Chevrolet, tries to get a small sport utility vehicle as a demo. That way, I just turn in the seat and my feet are almost on the ground.

That type of transportation is not always available, though, which is what prompted us to buy our own wheels.

Well, that and the GM Credit Card company. The glossy flier they sent recently contained an offer to add substantial money to our earnings if we took delivery of a new car or truck this month.

Thanks to the Internet, I was able to peruse the inventory of every Chevrolet dealer within hundreds of miles to see which one had the SUV I wanted.

More important than the options was the color. White with a tan interior. My husband said tan seats are no longer available, so after some pouting, I settled for dark brown. A few minutes later, I found it.

"But you have to pay extra for that special paint," my husband said. "It's the white you see on a Cadillac."

I swiveled my chair around and with a curse word, reminded him our neighbor, my good friend, has a whole Cadillac in her garage. Couldn't I just have a Cadillac color? He mumbled something that included the S-word. Spoiled.

You might think so, too, but let me explain: For the better part of 30 years, I helped customers get everything they wanted, or didn't want, on the cars and trucks I sold to them.

You want a sunroof? I know a place that can add one. Your heart is set on a shiny new topper for that pickup truck? I can get that for you.

Early in my career, some people had no need for an AM radio. It was removed. A plastic piece was put over the hole left in the dash and the customer received a whopping 25 dollar credit.

When a first-time buyer insisted the Camaro of her dreams was blue, had no radio, no cloth seats, and no air conditioning, I found one in the southwestern corner of the state. I drove it back to Bloomington in complete silence on a steamy, sticky, summer afternoon.

Our new vehicle is in the garage now. My husband goes on and on about the color. Repeating the compliments from his co-workers after it arrived on the lot from the other dealership.

"It was the right thing to do," he says. I know he means paying extra for the paint. But the way he says it, it's like it was his idea and he's trying to convince me.

"Cadillac white," I want to mumble. "You are so spoiled."