Monday, August 06, 2012

My Husband and I Had Very Different Weeks

Many moons ago, a lovely friend of mine invited us to the beach for a week.  She and her husband have a place nestled within the sands of Delaware, and she practically lives there during the summer.  My husband and I love going to the shore, as do our children, so accepting was kind of a no-brainer.  Honestly, this invitation was a godsend because otherwise, we wouldn't have been able to get to the beach for more than a day trip this year (I know, I know, First World problems).

The truth is, money is thin on the ground for us.  Not in a destitution kind of way, but in a we-are-trying-to-live-within-our-means kind of way.  In a we-are-socking-away-as-much-as-we-can-for-retirement way.  In a Jesus-Christ-organic-milk-is-expensive way.  In an oh-God-at-this-rate-the-kids-will-be-able-to-afford-college-textbooks-but-not-tuition way.  I could go on, but what it comes down to is that we've got a decent-sized mortgage, two car payments, and three children, two of whom are in full-time daycare.  Our liquid savings is kind of a trickle.

All this means that a rent-free beach trip is hard to pass up.  My husband, however, did not have much vacation leave banked, so we decided that we would all go to the shore, he'd leave Sunday night to be at home for the work week, and then he'd come back for the second weekend.

The Friday we were to leave, he called me to say that we'd be taking my car because his check engine light came on.  Herm.  He hates my car.  He loves his car.  It must be serious, I thought, if he is proclaiming that we take the Mazda 5 over the Freestyle and all of its luscious elbow room.

We got home, packed up my car, and zipped over to Bethany Beach.  Yay for the beach!  Boo for the cloud of car trouble.  The plan was that he would return on Monday, drop the car at the closest Ford dealer's service shop, then get a ride back to my house to take my car to work.  Easy-peasy.  But then the dealer called.

And started using unfortunate words.

Words like:
  • Transmission;
  • Not in production anymore;
  • New parts only;
  • Six thousand dollars.
Gulp.  Urp.

We can barely afford a six hundred dollar repair, much less a six thousand dollar one.  That's more than we owe on the car.  Not by much, but still.  So, my husband drove home, finagled a ride from my friend, then slowly drove the won't-go-more-than-50-mph beloved auto to another dealer for a second opinion.  The second opinion matched the first one.

More gulping and urping.

Now, the plan is to get the car to my brother, who is a mechanic, to see if he might be able to scoop up parts from the junkyard and possibly rebuild the transmission.  That would likely be a bunch cheaper because a brand new transmission is pricey.  My father has loaned us his spare car in the mean time, allowing us to both get to work.  Our choices right now are:

(1) have the dealer replace the transmission (and continue the next 11 car payments);
(2) see if my brother's shop can rebuild the transmission, and hope it's cheaper  (plus the remaining  car payments);
(3) trade in the car, get very little in the way of trade-in value, roll over what we currently owe to a new car payment, but buy a lesser car so that our monthly payment doesn't exceed what it does now.

The problem with the repairs is that there isn't a guarantee that we won't go through this again.  The problem with rolling the payment into a new car is that we were SO CLOSE to being done with car payments on this vehicle.  Seriously, we have less than a year to go.  I hate the idea of extending that another four or five years.  Also, did I mention how much my husband loves his car?  And that they don't make Ford Freestyles (or Taurus X, as they were briefly rechristened) anymore?

I hate problems that don't have a good solution.  Gar.

So, while he was dealing with all of that, I was mostly making sure that my toddler didn't gt swept out to sea, as he has fallen in love with the ocean.  I had the better week, to be sure.

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