drive my car

February 23, 2011|Posted in: frugal, My World and Welcome to It

well, fer Pete’s sake….our other car died yesterday. We’ve been a one-car family since Dec. 30, but this is ridiculous. I was running errands but pooped out early and was heading home. I had dropped off Mr Husband at the airport at 5 am for a business trip and was just falling asleep on my feet by noon. I just couldn’t deal with my grocery shopping because it takes brain power to shop wisely and I wasn’t in the mood. I needed a nap.

So. Driving home and almost there (a scant 8 blocks) when the Check Engine light comes on — never a good sign. This is followed quickly by billows of black smoke, so I pulled over and stopped the car. The smoke stopped, so it wasn’t a fire. I will totally admit that I was scared to look under the hood, and I don’t know what’s under there anyway. I took all my stuff with me and walked home. My cell phone was dying and I didn’t have any phone numbers handy. Made it home (see, I got my exercise in!) and called the garage (shop locally!) and they wanted to send a tow truck — for $50+. I called my insurance company instead and they sent a tow truck that was covered by roadside assistance (no out of pocket there). Car gets towed, I have to walk back to my car again and then home again, and then pass out for Julia’s Naptime, waiting for the call from the mechanic. Cha-ching! $500 for a cracked radiator. I mean, to fix the cracked radiator. No, I did not ask if they had a used one. I had a used one and it was no good. I wanted a new one.

The silver lining here — there is one, really — is that, thanks to financial tips garnered here, there and abroad, I have a bit of savings squirrelled away and this will not go on a credit card, but come out of the emergency fund. I also was glad not to have gone grocery shopping and had to schlep all my groceries home in more than one trip. I might have been very grumpy if that had happened. I also got a jury summons yesterday. And The Boy’s xBox 350 (or whatever it is) died a sudden death. So the Park-Traceys went to bed early. Because today is another day, with a brand-new radiator.

As for me, I’m glad to be able to write a check for this, and grateful that I can take the bus across town to pick up the car this morning (since I’m doing this single-handedly) and am also again glad I didn’t go shopping. Because now that I have spent all our money on the car, I really truly can’t go grocery shopping for the rest of the month (I was on the verge of busting the February no-grocery-shopping Challenge). So there’s your frugal goodness for the day.

Also, I found a penny. See? That’s good luck.

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Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of "Veronika Layne Gets the Scoop" and "Veronika Layne Has a Nose for News" (rep'd by Booktrope). She is the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. Her articles have appeared in Thrillist, Quill, Paste, San Francisco Chronicle, and in many magazines; her latest poetry appears in The East Bay Literary review.

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