Whoever said that money can't buy happiness obviously has never laid awake at night worrying about how to keep the heat on when it's 13 degrees outside. I know it wouldn't make me spiritually happy, but not having to worry about money would definitely cut down on the stress level.
To say I am struggling financially would be putting it mildly. I'm not talking unsecured debt, I don't own a credit card. I'm talking basic living expenses.
I knew I really, really needed new tires before winter hit, but every week I'm already robbing Peter to pay Paul, juggling shut off notices and trying not to be late on the rent. I also needed a tune-up on the car, but have been putting everything off until the last possible moment. That moment arrived at about 11:30am on Tuesday.
I was backing out of my parking spot at work, put the car into drive and heard:
or something very similar to that. I turned the radio down, threw her in park and sat there for a minute. Certainly I didn't hear that correctly, must have been something on the radio. I tried again, but didn't even get past reverse before the horrible noise started again. This time, when I put her back in park she was still rolling. Not a good sign. I turned the car off, put on the emergency brake and found a big strong man to push the car back into the parking spot.
I called my mechanic, whom I totally trust. He coincidentally went to work at the little business I bought the car from who financed me. I just finished paying the car off the month before I had to start making payments on my son's tuition. My mechanic told me to have the car towed and he'd take a look at it. I don't have AAA, but my sister does and she let me borrow her member number. The tow was free as it was under 5 miles.
I got the news this afternoon. It was not the transmission as I had feared, but both front drive axles were shot, and the car could no longer be driven on those tires. When he told me the price, I couldn't breathe for a minute, like someone had kicked me in the solar plexus. When the lungs started functioning again I said, "let me call you back". I grabbed a cigarette and my ball-sac, and headed out back into the shop where I could smoke and talk in relative privacy.
I called back and asked for the finance guy. I explained the situation and asked if there was any way they would finance the repairs, offering my title as collateral. He agreed, as long as I brought a down payment to them on payday. He went as low as he could on the weekly terms, but I still have no idea how I'm going to do it. I'll figure it out as I go along, I guess. I told him while they were at it, throw in a tune-up. What the hell, it's only money, right?
Here is where I'm going to stop whining and realize how lucky I am. I am lucky that I was in my parking lot at work when my car broke down, and not doing 65mph on the highway, stuck in the middle of moving traffic, stranded without a cell phone. I am lucky that my sister has AAA and was willing to let me use it. I am lucky that I work less than 5 miles from my mechanic and didn't have to pay for the tow. I am lucky that my company not only had an extra vehicle handy, but were willing to let me borrow it indefinitely. I am lucky that the shop guy was thoughtful enough to go out and fill the vehicle with gas on a company card. I am lucky that the auto place was willing to finance a repair charge that would have been impossible for me to come up with all at once.
I know we're all struggling in one way or another. May your struggles today be made a little less hard by the people around you. I know I'm being corny, so I'm going to take it a step further with an old nursery rhyme that just popped into my head:
"Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat. Please put a penny in the old man's hat. If you haven't a penny, a ha'penny will do. If you haven't a ha'penny, then God Bless YOU."
22 hours ago