Wednesday, November 19, 2008

General whining, way too much personal information, and stuff

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:

CRUNCHCRACKLECLATTERCRUNCHGRIND


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 comments:

Dr Zibbs said...

Oh dear. As I always say, mae a list. But you seem like someone that does this anyway.

LYDIA said...

Things will all work out, somehow. You are lucky to have such amazing people around you to help you out.

Memarie Lane said...

I know where you're coming from, we lived in that very state for the past three years or so. When Brad had two jobs at the same time for that six week period, we were suddenly able to catch up on everything. Got the car fixed (same issues as you oddly enough), bought wood for the winter, winter clothes for the kids, business clothes for Brad, paid bills. Nothing fun at all. Now he's back down to one job so it's time to struggle again, but I'm so glad we had those six weeks of "extra money" to catch up.

LegalMist said...

This economy is hitting all of us hard. Hang in there.

kate said...

Wow. I am so sorry. It's been one thing after another around here, too. You're not alone. It's going to be a hand-made Christmas in our house.

MelO said...

You are soooo not alone. Ugh. I'm about to post about MORE car troubles...

I'm sorry, hon. We'll get throught this, tho. It will all work out somehow. Just keep your faith.

xoxo

Henry Lafonta said...

yucky car stuff

Henry Lafonta said...

My friend in America, Astrosmashley has to get two tires and an inspection before Wednesday for some event he calls T-Day. Probably some WWII thing or another. Oh and the drinking thing. When I say watered down I mean you have a better chance of catching a buzz off an O'Douls. Paul on the other hand had this cryptic Ajerbaijani lager called KrnK!He's "paying" for it as we speak.

BeckEye said...

That sucks. Sorry to hear you're having trouble. I definitely know what it's like to always be broke.

I miss having a car so much but then I think about how much time, money, and aggravation they can cost and don't feel so bad about my subway hell.

JoJo said...

I'm soooooo sorry about your car and money woes. But good for you for seeing the bright side; that's clearly the Deadhead in you. :)

I hope things start looking up for you SOON!!!!!

Talullah said...

I SOOO agree with you about the money buying happiness. It would make me happy to know that I will be able to get Christmas gifts for my kids AND pay the electric bill. Hang in there sister. My kid has wrecked her car twice in the last 2 months and it has cost us more to fix it than the car cost in the first place. And you are lucky about the AAA...I paid $35 to have a guy pull my stupid ex-husband's car out of the ditch in front of my Mom's house. He didn't even tow it anywhere.

chaos37 said...

oh hon I'm so worried that you worry all night about heat, etc. I really understand- as you know having been there- and then lost my house, too. I'm proud of you for counting your blessings. We have a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving and many other days as well.

Mary Alice said...

Oh darlin' many of us either are, or have been, in a similar situation at one time or other. My sister just found out yesterday that she has to get a root canal done and some other dental work....oh and her portion would be $1900. She was wondering how the heck she was going to swing that. Later when she got her mail yesterday, there was a tax refund from 2001 that apparently the state forgot to pay her...the check was for $1700. Sometimes the universe provides exactly what you need. Keep the faith.

Jannie said...

Financial stuff sucks but yes, it will work out.

We have to watch every penny here too.

Thank God ga$ is down.

God bless you gentlemen
God bless you
if you haven't got a half a pence
then God bless you.

Aunt Becky said...

Aw, dude, I'm sorry that times are so hard right now. I've been there before and I'm sure I'll be there again.

Hang in there.

Tova Darling said...

Oh my gosh! I am so sorry! How awful! I'm praying for you.

Imez said...

You know, your positive attitude makes it way harder for me to wallow in self pity comfortably.

You're very selfish, that way.

Poobomber said...

I like your perspective on shitty things. Meh, mettle-testing is all that life is about.

Poobomber said...

Oh look, I can comment now!! Woohoo! Thanks, Fancypants!

Greta said...

At first when I read your blog post, I thought I must've blacked out...probably from all the ambien...and started a new blog. How do you write my life so well?

Fancy Schmancy said...

All of your comments have brought a tear to my eye. Thanks for taking time out of your busy life to just let me know I am not alone. I cannot tell you how warm and fuzzy that makes me feel.

Whiskeymarie said...

Oh hon, we were there for years, and now that we've gotten ahead my Mr. was just told that layoffs are coming at his job. We think he'll be safe, but it's happened before and it just about put us into a cardboard box under a freeway overpass.
Now I'm freaking out about money and planning for the worst.

If I win the lottery this weekend I'll buy you a car. Promise.
;)