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.