Thursday, September 24, 2009

A One Car Family

As if living without a dryer wasn't enough, God decided to seal the deal...

It was a late night for my husband, and I usually try to wait up for him on those increasingly more often occasions, so I was sitting in the kitchen consuming the worst possible beverage I could at 9:00 at night--coffee.  I was exhausted, but would feel so wrong if my hard working man were to come home from a long day of work to his wife all curled up in the cozy bed sleeping.  It's the least I could do to support him.  Little did I know, that drinking coffee at 9pm was not the only thing I was going to be doing to support my husband.  This Suburban Princess was about to get a serious wake up call that wasn't caffeine induced.

I could hear the rumbling of a diesel engine coming around the husband and his giant gas guzzler were home.  From the kitchen window, I can see the driveway, but I was having a hard time time seeing the truck through what looked like a cloud that decided to make landfall in my driveway.  There was smoke everywhere.  As I raced outside to see what was going on, I could barely see the silhouette of my now taking on the role of mechanic husband.  He had already gotten the hood open and was checking out the damage.  Apparently, the smoke was coming from the truck!!!

The next morning, we called a tow truck to come lug our smoking hunk of metal to the local Ford dealership.  The diagnosis...a big fat bill!!   After some searching around, we found a shop that specialized in problematic F350's...apparently this was an epidemic.  He could do the repairs for quite a bit less...woohoo!!!  So we thought....     

Here I was, a mother of three with one in Kindergarten (with no bus) and one in preschool two days a week, with what I thought was a life shattering dilemma.  We had already gone a few weeks trying to coordinate the never-ending drop offs and pick ups to school and the gazillion activities the kids were involved in, not to mention carpooling commitments and household errands all with one car.  I forgot to mention that my husband is a General Contractor....his office is his truck, so there was no dropping him off and picking him up from work, so during the day I was a REAL stay-at-home Mom (that was the "supporting" I was talking about).  Then, the big bomb dropped!

Apparently, we had some horrible timing, or there was a  F350 Destruction Fairy on the loose .  The mechanic working on our truck was seriously backed up and almost a month later had just gotten around to starting on our Mr. Smoky.  One unsuspecting afternoon, we got the call..."Just opened up your's blown."  It was official.  We had a truck with 6,000 miles over the warranty (God has a sense of humor) and a BLOWN engine!!!  From the looks of the estimate for repair, the engine was apparently the main value of the truck.  Unless that destruction fairy was kin to the tooth fairy and left behind a serious wad of $$ for her damages, there was no way we were going to be able to fix this disaster!!

After some serious soul searching, we decided that my husband was just going to have to set aside his need want for a gigantic, new ride and settle for what we could actually afford (a new concept).  There was no way we were going to be able to pay Mr. Smoky's monthly payment and finance another truck.  He was just going to have to use the money we were planning on using for the repairs to buy a beater.  A beater...could he we handle this?  What were people going to think?

The kicker...we had already given the mechanic half our life savings to do the original repairs, and he had used that to buy the parts needed to do those repairs before he opened up the engine and found out we had a whole different beast to slay.  So, we had to wait until he figured out how he was getting our money back...the money that we planned on using to buy another ride for the hubbie.  We had already made it a few weeks, what was another week or so?

Did I say weeks?  

Try months...this was what I would call a deliverance.  November 2008 we had had the truck towed to Ford.  March 2009 we finally got a second vehicle.  Those four months felt like an eternity!!!  There were days that I was fine...being stuck at home was almost a relief.  THEN, there were days.  At the beginning, it was almost EVERYday.  I was on Emotionica...the roller coaster from hell!!   It went like this...some days, the line to get on the coaster was long.  I could feel the anxiety building up.  You know the feeling you get when you stand there watching the coaster creep up the ramp, slowly, slowly, and then race into a blast of ups and downs and upside-downs while thinking "Do I really want to do this to myself?".  I could see it coming from a mile away, but I couldn't help getting into the cart and strapping in.  I was like a ticking time bomb.

Sometimes, I would get stuck at the top of a ramp and the coaster would malfunction.  I spent hours kicking and screaming for someone to let me down.  Usually it was my husband getting the brunt of the kicks.  Then, sometimes, I would remember there was only one person that could get me down and it wasn't my husband.  Why had I not thought of it earlier!?!?!  Why was it not the first thing I did every day!?!?!  PRAY!!!  I needed to PRAY!!!     

The more I prayed, the easier it got.  My roller coaster junkie days were getting fewer and farther apart.  It was like this weight was lifting off my shoulders and my eyes were opening to the advantages of simplifying.   I starting thinking about all the gas we were saving (so much better for the environment) , and the extra time at home wasn't such a bad thing either.   I was cooking more and wasting less $$ on frivolous things like Starbucks and fast food.  No more 10 trips to the grocery store a week...I was actually getting organized!!!  I found myself cutting out unnecessary activities for the whole family.   Here's an awesome one, and I'll have to post about this later, I couldn't get out to Christmas shop.  With my new organizational and couponing skills that I picked up in all my spare time, I managed to spend only $47 on Christmas for our kids!!!  I seriously could go on and on with all the positive changes.  The best part...99% of the changes stuck, and the "beater" only uses half the gas as Mr.Smoky.  If I had it to do all over again, I'd say BRING IT ON!!

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