|It was just a matter of time.|
Image by digitalart
Sorry about my recent silence. Beginning last weekend, things kind of went into free fall around here. It started last Sunday, as I was on my way to the Y to get in a workout. As I got off the freeway, I noticed white steam/smoke (I had no idea in that moment) pouring out from under the hood of my car. I pulled over as quickly as I could.
After getting the hood up, I discovered that my cooling system had completely blown its load all over the inside of the engine. Unfortunately, I’m no car genius, so I had no idea what to do. I posted an urgent message on Facebook for someone who knew anything about cars to contact me ASAP. The phone started ringing almost immediately. A huge thank you to Aaron, who was the first to get through, and the others whose calls I missed while I was on the phone with Aaron.
My primary question was can the car be driven home, or would I be calling AAA for a tow. (Get AAA. Seriously.) Verdict? That car wasn’t going anywhere. Great. Another call out soon had my friends Kelli and Kris en route to help me get the kids home. They showed at the same time as AAA, and we all got home safe.
To help distract me, Kelli and Kris helped me clean the place (bless their souls). I was trying very hard not to think about the money situation. I was hoping it was something small and maybe I could get away with a $200 repair bill. At least the house wasn’t chaotic.
The next day, we started making phone calls. We arranged to have the car towed down to the Firestone. Bam. $75. We waited and waited, and finally they called back with the estimate. The initial estimate was over $1000. Gavin and I immediately began stressing out. We were already late paying rent. We had money in the account, but that was because we were holding it until Gavin’s next paycheck. The apartment complex doesn’t let us make partial payments, which often presents a problem.
At any rate, we had to have the car. While the car was in the shop, we had a situation in which I had to go pick Elias up from school. My friend Danielle came to give me a ride, but it really highlighted the fact that we needed the car fixed ASAP. We were able to negotiate a bit and got the bill down to about $900, but this was still an ugly situation.
A temporary fix is in place to stop the bleeding. I’m not happy about it, although I’m grateful for the help. But it really emphasized the problem that we always seem to find ourselves in every time we try to save money and get things in order.
Namely, SHIT GOES WRONG. Call it whatever you want – emergency fund, freedom account, whatever. I often feel like there’s this assumption that shit will stop going wrong while you try to build up the plan. I can’t put the world on hold for the year it’s going to take me to build up this account. We’ve saved about $100 toward the emergency fund and immediately get slapped with a $900 bill. How is this going to be possible? Now I need to pay back a ton of money, while still attempting to save for the future? Do you see the problem here?
And everything starts falling to pieces. I ask Gavin about the transfer for this week. It didn’t happen because we were trying to figure out the rent/car situation. THIS IS WHAT ALWAYS HAPPENS. It feels like there’s a hand on my head, pushing me back down, telling me to stop trying. Why bother? Things will always be shitty. Shit will always happen. I don’t know how to make it stop.
So I’ve been in money meltdown this week. Who the hell am I to try to help anyone else? I can’t even help myself. The more I try, the worse it seems to get. We can’t continue this way, but no other alternative seems to present itself. I can’t go to work full time because of the situation with Elias (which got considerably worse this week and, once again, emphasized that point). I can’t change Gavin or make him do things he clearly doesn’t want to do. I can only change my part of the equation. I’m trying. But I’m tired of failing every time I try.