***This post contains curse words and foul language. If you are offended by that kind of thing you can either click away (I understand) or chose to not read those words. I will understand either way.***
So this blog is about my life along with the things that I make and do. I feel like I need to share this. Maybe writing about it will help me process it. Perhaps you will be able to relate to it in someway and then we won’t feel so alone.
We spent a week in Kentucky with Matt’s family for Christmas. I love Matt’s family. Most of them, especially my husband’s immediate family, have made me feel very welcomed and loved over the last 8 years. Only one snag. There is one family member that hates me. She hates me because Matt and I eloped. She hates me because we live in Pennsylvania. She hates me, I think, because she thinks that I keep Matt from them (I don’t). I think she hates me just because. Anyways while we were in Kentucky she made it very apparent to me (and others) her feelings about me. Matt doesn’t see it, which makes it hard for me to deal with it.
Before we started the drive home we decided to stop at the Fayettevill mall and spend some of our Christmas money. We had to finish shopping for my family and each other. While we were in Dick’s Sporting Goods (looking for new kicks for Matt), I got a phone call. The number registered as Fredrick, MD. I have a friend who lives around that area and I thought perhaps she was calling to see how Christmas was going (Hi Sarah, we need to catch up soon. Hugs!) so I answered it. The man introduced himself (I don’t remember his name at his point) and said that he was call from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. He asked several questions about me and Matt to confirm my identity. Finally I told him that I didn’t want to add another phone number to the account or Matt’s email I just wanted to know what the purpose of the phone call was. “Well ma’am, your account is past due. Would you like to make a payment now?” I was FLOORED! I personally set up an automatic transfer bi-weekly shortly after we closed on the house! How was this possible?! Round about conversation, being placed on hold for 5 minutes, being hung up on with no return call, calling the number back, not being able to reach the person I was talking with, calling the national number, going through security measures again, I was finally able to reach someone who explained that the half payment that I made at the end of November (which I intended to be applied towards Decembers mortgage) was applied to the principal instead. WTF?! Round robin again and I end being told that I have to set up the automatic deductions threw Wells Fargo to avoid this happening again. But I can’t do that until the account isn’t in the rears (which it wasn’t !!!) to make any updates to the account.
“You have to understand that I am 10+ hours away from any of my banking or mortgage information. I will be calling on Saturday when we get home and setting that up right away.” I scream in to the phone,
“Ma’am if you wait until January you won’t be able to complete the process because your account will not be current.”
“Saturday is still part of December as far as I am concerned so I don’t understand why I can’t call if this is all supposed to be taken care of?!”
“Oh, I forgot that Saturday was still part of this month. But the work ticket may not have gone through by then…”
“THEN I WILL CALL ON MONDAY AND DEAL WITH THIS!!! I am VERY dissatisfied with my service over this matter so far I will have you know!”
“Well Ma’am we empower our customers by having them take a survey to discuss their impressions of our services. Would you like to take the survey now?”
“NO I DON’T WANT TO TAKE YOUR FUCKING SURVEY!!!”
The phone call ended shortly there after. I know I was being a crazy person, but they were talking about my HOME! My DREAM home, that we just bought, were we are going to grow old! All I could think was “they are going to take our home from us!” Matt was a saint! He just walked away and let me lose my shit in the middle of the mall. I saw mothers moving their children away from me. I saw the disapproving looks as I dropped a series of F-Bombs and other choice words. I was red-faced, stomping, and screaming. I had one hand in the air while I was talking with my hand. I was “hand knifing” and pointing fingers all over the place! I felt like I was defending our HOME! I was not going to let these people take OUR home away from us because of their mistake!
Once all that drama was over we quickly left the mall and started to make our way to Gassway, WV, which is about half way and where we were stopping for the night. We got stuck in “post-Christmas return” mall traffic but were able to finally get on I-64 and get out-of-town.
We had been on the road for about two and a half hours when we were driving through a construction zone. Matt hit a pot hole that pulled us off the road. He was able to get the front two tires back on to the road and then the back tire blew. We went careening all over the interstate. Thank God there were no cars in the other lane. Thank God there were no big rigs in the other lane! We came INCHES from hitting the jersey wall. As soon as we stopped screeching from the backseat I hear “I’m OK.” My precious daughter. This could have ended HORRIBLY. Matt was able to get us safely pulled over on the shoulder. I could tell he was feeling guilty. He jumped out of the car and started talking about changing the tire. I told him that we pay for AAA every year and by-golly we were going to use it. I was terrified that Matt was gonna get hit my a stray car or big rig and that would be the end of our “wonderful” Christmas vacation. AAA tells me that it will be about 30-40 minutes till they can get there but they are on their way.
I smell poop. J is in the process of potty training and the vacation has wrecked havoc on her. I think we literally scared the shit out of her. J had pooped. And a lot of it. Like one of those from the back of her neck down to her ankles poops. Any parents out there know what I am talking about. Those poops that come at the most inopportune times. Generally when you don’t have a change of clothes, are out some place fancy, or are running short on time. You know? She needed a bath and clean clothes and a new car seat. We were two miles from the next exit. The guys from AAA and DOT told us that there was a Super Walmart at the next exit and they had a tire place. So a plan was hatched. We would take the exit. Get J cleaned up. Find Walmart and get the tire changed. Back on the road in no time!
We take the next exit. I call the Walmart and they say that the tire place closes at 8 but they will help us because we sound desperate. Then I realize that I somehow called a Walmart in Plano, TX?! Damn current location finder on my iPhone!!! So I look again and find the right Walmart and call them. Yep. The tire place closed at 7 pm and didn’t open until 7 am. “Ok. Ok. It’s going to be ok.” I think as we pull in to the Taco Bell. J needed to be changed and we needed to re-group.
I take J in to the Taco Bell bathroom and end up having to bathe her in the sink after I got all the big chunks off. Got her clean, changed and in to clean clothes. Brought her out to the lobby and noticed that Matt had poop on his shirt sleeve from getting her out of the car. I covered her car seat with paper towels, stolen from the bathroom, until we came up with a better plan.
Plan B. Ok we’ll stay here for the night. It would make the drive Saturday a little longer but we could get the tire fixed first thing in the morning and be back on the road home. Luckily there is a hotel literally right next door to Walmart! We make it over there. Get a room. Get J in the bathtub for a real bath. Take apart her car seat and wash it in the sink and hang it to dry. Matt unloads some stuff so we have more room for the tire and then he notices that the rim is bent and that is probably what caused the tire to lose pressure. This is a MUCH bigger deal. The rim has to be replaced. It can’t be fixed. And apparently they have to be ordered. A normal tire and lube place can’t handle this… Generally it is done by a mechanic. Fuck. And then it hits me. I should probably call our insurance company. This could get expensive.
I call Progressive and they are very helpful starting our claim. We go through all the details with a satisfactory amount of “oooohs” and “thank God everyone is Ok’s”. Then she says “I will pass this on to a local agent and they will call you to help you process this. Oh wait. They closed for the weekend at 8pm. No one will be able to process your claim until Monday.” My heart sank. “You can get the car fixed and pay out-of-pocket for it. You might be able to get it reimbursed but I can’t guarantee you will get your money back.” UGH. Well we have to do what we have to do. Both Matt and I had to work on Monday morning.
Matt talks with the front desk and they say that there is a mechanic near by that all the dealerships use. He makes a Walmart run for some essentials and picks up McDonald’s for dinner. J is fried by this point. She won’t eat dinner and is spazzing out about being in a hotel. Once I get her under the sheets she crashes. I finally fall asleep at 1130 dreaming about driving home in the morning.
I am woken up at about 0400 because I am sweating. J feels like an oven. She is hot. Like fever hot. I turn down the heat. I strip her down to her diaper. She doesn’t cool off. She has a fever. Ugh! I find the children’s Tylenol that I keep in her diaper bag, I measure it out and turn to give it to her and notice that her cheeks are flushed. It breaks my heart. I hate my baby being sick. She is such a healthy kid. I give her the Tylenol and bring her back to bed to snuggle until she falls asleep/fells better when the Tylenol kicks in.
I wake up again to Matt shaking me. He looks crushed. “The tire placed didn’t open until 9. I called the mechanic and he is closed today. I found another mechanic and he said we could drop the car off but, he wouldn’t be able to work on it. I don’t know what to do now.” Oooofffahhh. My heart sinks. J wakes up. It’s time for breakfast. I need coffee. We head to the lobby and grab horrible coffee and free waffles. Matt talks to the front lobby and they say we can stay until 1:00 and we will go from there.
We get back to the room. Find a Goodyear Tire and Auto Center that is near by. Matt calls and they can get us in at 10:00 and will work on the car. They say that they will call the local junkyard and see if they can get a replacement rim. THANK GOD! Prayers and blessings were said.
9:45 Matt leaves to drop the car off. The center is about 4 miles from the hotel. J and I hang out in the room and play Play-doh. About 1100 I realize that I haven’t heard from Matt. J is getting tired and hungry. Lunch and nap time. I offer a sandwich and welcome to melt down city. J doesn’t want to put the Play-doh away and I am starting to panic about getting ourselves together to get out the door (if that ever happens). Matt calls and tells me that they can’t get a rim, the rear differential has a leak and they had to fix the emergency brake. They can’t fix the alignment until they get the rim and tire on it. The mechanic told Matt that he thought that the doughnut should hold for the drive back to Pennsylvania. This freaks me out. Matt asks me to check the account and make sure that we are going to be able to cover the cost of the mechanical work. I log on and curse. My car payment had come out leaving us with $94 in the account. Matt says the mechanic will be $77. Ugh! Thank God we have our Christmas cash for the drive home.
I get off the phone with Matt and call my dad. I have a melt down. I couldn’t help it. I was just so frustrated and tired of being a grown up and not knowing what the correct answer was. Dad offered to pay for a rental car for me and J to take home. He said it would make him feel better about us driving home. At least me and the baby would be safe. Matt could take his time coming home with the Pacifica. I get off the phone and call the local Enterprise number and they closed at 1200. It’s 1210. I call again and get connected with a rental center at the Tri-State Airport. I didn’t realize this so when Matt got back to the hotel and we headed out the door we went to the local one. Freaked out when we got to the door and it was closed. I had to call again and get directions to the one at the airport.
20 minutes later (in the wrong direction) we find the airport. Brittany, the lady behind the desk was very helpful. I got the last car available! Only problem was that since I was taking it one way it was going to be $140 instead of the regular $50! “I just want to be home. I don’t care” I told Brittany. Oh and it has to be returned to an airport since we picked it up at an airport. Hello more driving on Sunday… if we ever get home at this point.
I rush back to the hotel, passing where we had our accident the night before, to get the cars packed and out the door. Matt had already returned and had started cleaning up the room. J was running around crazy. She was wired and tired at this point. The excitement of the accident, staying at the hotel, running around switching cars and no nap she was done. The hotel cleaning staff was standing outside the room waiting for us to get our butts out of there. Ours was the last one that they had to clean for the day. Talk about feeling guilty. I have never packed a car and baby so fast in all my life.
We finally got on the road at 2:30. I was starving since there hadn’t been time for lunch. I vowed to stop for Chick-fill-a the first one I saw. But we were on the road and that is what mattered.
I am so grateful to the people in Huntington, WV. The mechanic, the hotel, Enterprise, etc. Everyone that we came in contact with was AMAZING and did their absolute best to help us out.
The drive home was pretty unremarkable. J dozed. I listened to music and dreamed about being home. About two hours away from home I realized that Matt, who was about an hour behind us, had the house keys. Face palm. I call my mom.
“Guess what mom! We are about 2 hours out!”
“Wow! That’s great honey. I’m so glad you are going to be home and this is going to be over!”
“It gets even better mom. Matt has the house keys.”
“Ok. Oh. Well I guess we are going to get to see you and J tonight.”
We agreed that I would text them when we were about 20 minutes out and they would meet us at the house and get us settled. Which went off without a hitch. We got home and I unloaded the rental car without any problems. I just left everything in the kitchen. I didn’t care anymore. Matt got home about an hour later.
The next morning me and Dad took the car to the Harrisburg airport which is about an hour and 20 minutes away from our house. J played with my mom and Matt got to sleep in a little bit. When we got home from returning the car we finally had Christmas with my parents. J got lots of presents and a fancy pink big wheel! She was so happy. We ran over to see my uncle and grandmother before we left the neighborhood. We still had to go to the grocery store, unpack and get ready to go to work on Monday.
After presents at my grandmother’s house we headed over to Walmart. J was zonked out. She slept in the cart the entire time we were there. We grabbed the essentials to get us through until I got paid again.
Work on Monday was unremarkable. I left for a couple of hours to drop off the Pacifica at the garage and pick up the rental car. Tuesday afternoon I got a call from the insurance agent saying that the car would likely be fixed by Monday. It needed a new rim (duh) and probably an alignment (duh) but that is all that they could find. Great. It was only going to cost about $413. And we have to pay that to get the car back because we have at $500 deductible. Great. Another $500 we have to come up with. I called Matt to talk about what we were going to do and asked about his unemployment. His company doesn’t have PTO they do unemployment for time off. Matt had called and they said that he didn’t qualify for it. So he wasn’t getting paid for the 6 days he was off work. Which means no paycheck. Which means no money for the cars.
I think I have failed to mention that we put another car in the shop just before we left for Kentucky. My Echo was in the shop having a CV joint and strut replaced. The mechanic told me it was going to be about $500 for all that. I had told the mechanic to take his time on it because we were going to Kentucky for a week.
So great. Both of my cars are in the shop and we don’t have any money to pay for them. We have had a series of unexpected expenses since September that has depleted our savings and we have not been able to catch up. It feels as if it has been one thing after another. There is no extra money at this point. None. I am worried about paying the regular bills at this point.
So Tuesday (New Years Eve) after picking up J from mom and dads, I stop and get the mail. I get home and while talking with Matt start to open it. The first is from the District of Columbia issuing me a $100 ticket for doing 56 in a 45 while I was lost in DC after visiting my best friend three weeks ago. Just fucking great! It isn’t due till the end of the month so I figure my part-time shifts on the ambulance will pay for that. Then I open the electric bill. I am not worried about this one because last month it was $147. Not this month. $286. I break down right there. I couldn’t handle anything more.
I called a friend who helped me re-group and decided that I wasn’t going to make any decisions that night. I was going to eat dinner and go to bed since I hadn’t been getting enough sleep and was still a little sick. I felt like Scarlet O’Hare “I’ll just think about that tomorrow.” Matt and I discussed some options about where we can cut back. But we decided that we wouldn’t do anything until Wednesday.
So off to bed I went on New Years Eve at 9:30 with J. I didn’t make the ball drop. I didn’t care. I can’t wait to shake the dust of 2013 off of me. 2014 has to be better than 2013 has ended. I can’t say that 2013 has all been bad. We did buy our first home (which was stressful too).
I don’t know how this all will work out. I know it will. I have faith that my Higher Power will see us through this. Lessons will be learned and we will be better people for surviving. But Ellen if you are reading this we sure could use some help!
That is a wrap up of my Christmas vacation. I think I need a vacation from my vacation. I hope your Holiday season was better than ours. Happy New Years!