Wednesday, August 17, 2011

And now we are broke

Over the Fourth of July weekend, the speedometer on my car quit working. Just... quit. I went to lunch, it was fine. I started the car to go home, and it said the car wasn't moving. Which, you know, wouldn't have been that big a deal, except the Check Engine light came on during the drive home. So I got up early the next morning and drove the thing down to the dealership. They looked the car over, and produced a list of things that rather desperately needed to be done. There was the speedometer, of course. And the timing belt should have been changed about 30,000 miles ago. (It's a "no tolerance" engine, so if the timing belt goes, my engine magically converts itself to a large and expensive brick - sort of like Cinderella in reverse.) And of the two fans that keep the engine cool (in our 100+ degree summer), one wasn't working at all and the other was making funny noises.

Fortunately - very fortunately - we have resources. My parents were one of those resources: we borrowed about half the cost from them. We could have covered it ourselves, barely, but the effect on our cash flow would have been catastrophic instead of just difficult. So, instead, I've been paying it back in increments since then.

Then, yesterday, my beautiful wife's car quit working. Upon inspecting it, the technician determined that the problem was the keyless entry system. Apparently keyless entry has its own little computer, which is piggy-backed onto the main electrical system - and the computer had melted.

I hate living in Texas.

Repairing - well, replacing - the cursed thing would cost as much as all three of the repairs on my car cost together. Fortunately - if that's the word - there's a second option. The keyless entry system can simply be removed, leaving the car with a standard set of electric locks. This will only cost... excuse me, let me try that again. This will "only" cost eight hundred and sixty-five dollars or so.

And, of course, this comes right at the end of the summer, when (owing to the Beautiful Wife's teaching schedule) we aren't exactly swimming in extra cash.

We're lucky. We can do this. We can do this without having to choose between paying bills and buying food. We can do this without having to omit Christmas present for the boys (most of which are, happily, already purchased). We don't even have to give up one of the cars.

But one or two more big events like this, and we could be in real financial trouble - despite the fact that we're both employed, and that I have a stable, well-paying, middle class job.


  1. Firstworld problems suck. Thankfully, today I rejoined the ranks of the employed. I was starting to get pretty worried about my finances after a month and a half of not earning an income.

  2. Sorry about the car issues.

    Also sorry to get off subject here, but I was going through my twitter feed, when I ran across and article of an arrest. I thought I recognized the name and sure enough I think this is the dude who "visits" your blog sometimes and leaves such nice comments.

    Though you might like to know.

  3. Oh, yes - I did hear about that. And I'm really glad the police are finally taking notice, and I really hope he gets the help he clearly needs. I'd be lying if I didn't admit to a certain sadistic pleasure in hearing about it, though.

    If you're interested in a very in-depth look at how all this (finally) came about, Tim Farley has a fascinating review.

  4. Funny you should bring that up TAW. I was just reading about the case here:

    Personally I don't know the name and don't think I've seen any of his posts or tweets.

  5. @ limey - I dealt with him for a while. I think he followed me over here from other sites, and I'm one of the people who contact the SPVM about him (back when they weren't, y'know, doing anything about it). You can see me trying to figure out what's going on with him here, if you're curious:

    When he moved (most of) his activities to Twitter, I essentially lost sight of him. (Interestingly, that seems to coincide with Google finally getting an effective SPAM filter set up for Blogger - I'm betting he lost access to a lot of the sites he used to leave his long, rambling messages on.)

  6. Also, yay for D'Ma being employed again!

  7. Melting electronics isn't limited to Texas. I haven't had internet at home since the day before yesterday, and it's been very unreliable since the heatwave (over 105F every day for 10 days. What's up, PA, I didn't miss Texas.) Turns out, some of the components of the box melted during the heatwave. I had the air on the entire time.

    Fortunately, they replaced it for free, or I'd be screwed.

  8. Glad you got that replaced - life without Internet is positively uncivilized!

  9. Remember the other day when I mentioned on my blog that I was in a terrible mood.

    That was partly because the heat melted the computer component that controls the air conditioning system in my car, which caused the air conditioning to randomly run in my car when the car was parked and the key was not even in the ignition, which of course also killed my battery.

  10. Yeah, that sounds about right. Sheesh.

  11. Ack!

    Umm, if the alternative was 800 dollars, how much was the actual fix!!?

  12. Two thousand and someodd. (Yes, really.)


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