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 six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.

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