I’m giving fair warning here that this is a very whiny post. So pass it right by if you don’t want to deal with it. I need to vent and this is my blog so I can write what I want.
It seems like I’ve been having a string of bad luck for months now and it’s very annoying. I’ve had good things happen, too, like having a very relaxing vacation at Esalen and getting an actual raise this year when many folks have had to do without any salary at all. But it’s true that many bad things have happened.
In May, the washing machine died. Yes, it was 18 years old and had been doing odd things for many months, but dying just before the major expense of a kitchen remodel started was rather hard to swallow.
In July, the 4-year old vacuum cleaner went kaput. I had to buy a new one right away since I was nearing the end of the kitchen remodel and there was dust everywhere.
Last week, I came home to find a $100 red light ticket in the mail. As much as I would like to fight it and prove that the city is wrong, I’ve viewed the video online and I’m clearly driving through the intersection as the light turns red. I must have been driving in my sleep in the middle of a Sunday afternoon, but clearly I ran the light so I must pay up.
Tonight, my 7-year old car died. I’m sure it can be fixed, and luckily it did not strand me by the side of the road in some awful neighborhood. It was sitting in the garage and when I got in it to drive to my friend Betsy’s place for dinner it just wouldn’t start. All the dashboard lights came on and stayed on, but the car wouldn’t turn over. It didn’t even try to turn over.
When the car wouldn’t start, I called Betsy to alert her that I’d be delayed and then took the CTA to her house. My CTA karma was quite good tonight since the bus pulled up within a minute of me getting to the stop and the el arrived right after I made it to the platform. At least something was working well for me today.
Overall, though, it seems like I’m just having the shittiest luck these days. I know there are plenty of people out there in worse situations than me. I’m glad I actually have the resources to fix the car, although it may mean pulling money from one of my savings accounts (do I dip into the emergency fund for this or do I dip into the vacation fund I just started to save for a trip to Europe next year? Hmmm…).
I think what really hurts me about this situation is when I talk to friends about it and they scoff at my protestation about how much this is going to cost me or my comments that I need to tighten my belt a bit more. Why must I be near destitution to get some compassion? Isn’t it obvious that I have been struggling to adjust to a single-income lifestyle for the past few months? I really don’t want to sell my house because I’ve put so much into it, but I also don’t want to be living paycheck to paycheck or with no luxuries at all.
I try to be frugal in many ways, but hear scoffing from some of my friends about my measures. Yes, I know I’m not poor and that there are folks worse off than me, but I’m really trying to make a major lifestyle change here. Please be supportive of me when I say I’d rather make something to bring on a visit to your house than buy a bottle of wine. Please don’t scoff at me when I say that I can’t go out to dinner or meet for a drink or that it hurts my financial plans to spend money on fixing the car.
I guess since I have a good job and a good income I’m not worth any sympathy. But after several years where it seemed the joint (married) bank account just kept growing and growing and growing on it’s own, I find it quite a change to try to figure out where I should make lifestyle changes so I can save money for vacation or afford to buy some new clothes for work or tailor some old suits to wear at the office.
My goals are to be able to pay my bills, save at a steady pace for major expenses like a big vacation, and have a regular splurge once a month on something like a fancy dinner out, a yarn crawl, a wardrobe adjustment, or a cheap weekend trip. All without going into debt.
Tomorrow I have to walk to the mechanic at the corner and find out if they can help me get my car out of garage and fix it. I’ve used this mechanic for an oil change once before, but other than that I don’t know much about them. So I hope they are honest and know what they’re doing. I guess I’ll find out.
Sometimes it’s just scary being on your own with no back up. I guess that’s what upsets me most of all. I just keep riding the waves and telling myself it will get better soon.