When You Can't Get Ahead


Last week was not my favorite.

Let me just take you through a summarized timeline of events that occurred in the 24 hours of Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tuesday started great because I was going to see a show with two friends. However, as I got home to change clothes and then hit the road to Nashville, I found my 15 year old family cat, dead.

Not such a fun thing to see when you’re currently pumped about life. So that was scarring to say the least.. I said my goodbyes, showered off the tears and took comfort in the fact that she lived a great life and was no longer in pain from whatever illness she had been dealing with.

When I finally arrived in Nashville, I realized my car was visibly smoking and smelled…..crispy.
But I needed to Uber to the show anyway so I refilled my coolant reservoir and hoped that it just needed a rest.

After the show I decided to take the trip to Kentucky super slow. I’m talking 55 in a 70 zone. It was already midnight by the time I was leaving and the trip seemed eternal. I actually ended up stopping a rest area to power nap once I found myself falling asleep at the wheel. Eventually I made it back to “almost” home before I could see the car was majorly smoking again.

I pulled off at a creepy gas station ten minutes from my house and weighed my options. 1) deal with a tow truck and logistics at 2am  when I can’t even think straight, 2) have my parents rescue me………at this ungodly hour, or 3) ignore everything and hope I don’t blow up on the way home.

I chose number three. Probably NOT the smartest decision but I was partially brain dead and the thought of my bed kind of pushed me towards that choice. Anyway, I did make it home in one piece and fell into bed for the lovely three hours of sleep I’d get before going to work at 7am.

Dad helped me look things over in the morning and we discovered a massive oil leak. An oil leak where I would lose an entire quart within an hour and oil was visibly dripping rapidly from underneath the car. Yippee.

I was clearly not going to work today. Instead I made a call to a trusted mechanic and started driving it slowly to the garage. My mom followed behind me and we made a pit stop at a gas station to grab another quart of oil  before we dropped it off. When I opened the hood, there was an eruption of fluorescent green goo on everything. Something had exploded coolant all over the engine bay. Tow truck time.

Ah. This is probably healthy

Ah. This is probably healthy

Triple A loaded Boone onto the truck and took him to the doctor. After the garage had time to look at the car, they let me know the damage. I needed new cam seals, a new radiator, and a new timing belt. And that’s all stuff they would need to put in before they could tell if my head gaskets were trashed. Grand total: $1100 (and more if the head gaskets are doomed). Time to cry a little more.

24 hours of emotional mess. Dead cat - Sad. Amazing show with friends - Joy. Car issues at 2am - Fear, impending doom of new credit card debt. Frustration, anxiety, and hopelessness.

I can’t even tell you the amount of money I have poured into this car. This car that I wanted so desperately that I searched for three years before pulling the trigger on it. This vehicle that I dreamed would be my constant companion, home on the road, and possibly my ticket to living in a new state…...and it has been nothing but maintenance. I know that is the story for an abundance of car owners, but it just seems like it happens to me a lot more than the average Jane. Every time I start to get a handle on my existing debt, loans, car payment, and savings, Boone decides to suck every penny out of me. Why you gotta be like that, dude?



But here’s the thing. It doesn't matter. When you keep feeling like you take one step forward and two steps back, you’re going to make it. If you look hard enough you can find good in even the most frustrating circumstances. That’s not easy, I know. And anyone who knows me in real life knows that I’m not very good at doing that.

Let’s take a look at the previous 24 hours and see the other side of the coin. My cat was a wonderful friend and she is no longer in pain in this world. My car didn’t break down on the side of the road, nor did it blow up causing me injury. My boss was completely understanding of my situation and there were no consequences for me calling out of work. My mom bought me a consolation iced coffee and I got to spend quality time with her.  Both of my parents were willing and able to help me get my car to the mechanic and also to ferry me to and from work when I needed it. So even though I won’t have a penny to my name for who knows how long, I still have a place to live, food to eat, a job to go to that will allow me to pay for these repairs, and a smartphone that works.

That’s a whole lot more than many could say.

When junk happens all at once (and really frequently) I’m not saying you can’t get frustrated. Believe me, I get extremely frustrated, anxious, and angry when these things happen. But maybe take a step back from the situation and re-calibrate. Weigh the good with the bad. Find a little peace, and then take action to do what you can to fix the situation. This year I’ve really been trying to live by a paraphrased version of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17. Even if you aren’t religious, I think it’s encouraging.

“Choose Joy. Pray always.”

Post Script:
Sunday evening I noticed my car acting sluggish. Then the engine started dying every time I came to a complete stop or put in reverse. Probably about to shell out another $1000! Pray for me y'all.