I just found out that the one feature I was waiting for in an '09 version of the Escape Hybrid is available for the '08 version as a dealer installed add-on... HD Radio. This changes everything. I already have a few thousand in equity on what I have, and the only significant credit card balance that I pay interest on will be gone by 2008. I'll still owe on the new TV, but no interest is due on that until 2010, so I can afford to stall paying it off for a few months.
Now, I have the option of getting an '08 sooner or an '09 later, and not forgo what I'm after either way. I need to talk to a dealer soon to see what the ETA would be if I ordered an '08 model around New Year's, to see how much I could build up for the purchase using what I'm currently putting into the card balance, either in trade-in value or cash for the down payment. I also need to find out which of those would be the better one to build up for the deal.
My credit is still stellar, probably moreso than when I bought what I have, so I don't have to worry about that...
It's nice that the weather is finally reflecting the season. Last night was the first night this fall using the furnace, so pretty soon the power and gas bills will be doing the whole criss-cross thing. It also means that it's nearly time to get the fireplace ready once again... I don't use it that much, but I do use it some.