Krissie: Trouble

Okay, guys. If you want to understand what’s going on with my life, go to youtube and turn this up very loud:

Some of you have heard the Linda Ronstadt version of it, but she doesn’t have that plaintive WTF that you need for it.
So on top of the plumbing issues ($500 and counting — wait till the spring when we have to dig up the whole line and patch it), the hot water heater (either $600 for a new one installed and high electric bills and we have some of the highest rates in the country, or $1200 for a new tank or over 2k for a tankless system), we now have my beloved Thelma on her last legs.
Thelma is a blue PT Cruiser I bought right after ICE BLUE was written. We don’t buy expensive cars and never have, and I’ve always bought my cars outright. Life Has Changed.
I love Thelma with a passion. But a few months ago we were considering whether the repair bills were now surpassing what a car payment would be. We dropped that notion as we drew our belts even tighter, but fate or God has a way of laughing at you while you’re making other plans. We took Thelma in because her fucking air bag light was on. (A few years ago a town truck backed into me, I was considered at fault (even though he was moving and I wasn’t) and we supposedly got the car repaired. Apparently there was still a crack and some damage, the front part split and we’ve been holding it on with duct tape (I’m not kidding). So I asked for a quote on that too.
Turns out the airbag light has to do with the front piece, and various sensors, and the air bag could deploy at random (I checked on the internet because I didn’t necessarily trust them and yup, it can). And it’s going to cost $2000 which we don’t have and Thelma has 92k miles on her. And on such a wounded baby they’ll give us only $1,000 toward a new or used car.
We’re feeling pretty blind-sided. I mean, what the fuck? Beating my head against a wall until it bleeds won’t do any good.
I love Thelma. I hadn’t seriously thought about giving her up. But I’m feeling like she betrayed me.
Unfortunately any car I can afford feels like a piece of shit, not something I could really love.
So … I’m looking at used cars for sale, checking the rate I was offered (I think it was 2%) and what kind of payments we could reasonably afford. We’ll also call our insurance company and see what kind of redress is possible.
And they can’t fix it for three weeks (delays in getting parts due to the holidays) and we can’t drive it so we need to rent another car for the duration and there’s more money and the wall is getting dented and covered with blood as I bang my head …

We don’t know what to do at this point. I guess these are issues everyone face, but we haven’t faced them since we were young and could borrow from parents in a plumbing emergency. There’s no one to turn to at this point.

In fact, at this point I’m so upset that I’m not gonna talk anymore. I’m just going to cry.

31 thoughts on “Krissie: Trouble

  1. I don’t stress over much but money gets me bad. Things are very tight right now, but they’ve been much tighter in the past so I keep telling myself I can do this.

    What I’ve learned is that these are the times we have to have faith. Over the years, when I really needed something to save me, something came through. An odd small check from the IRS, found money in a pocket, a major repair turning out to be minor. Somehow. Someway. Everything works out.

    Some call it mumbo jumbo but this is the thinking positive challenge. If you expect the worst, you’ll get the worst. Take things one day at a time and remember the sun will come up tomorrow whether you’re stressed or not. Whether you have money in the bank or not. And there’s really no reason to fret about expenses not coming for several months. Cross that money bridge when it comes.

    I would suggest getting the newest car you can. Interest rates are lower if the car is new and you get a warranty. With the sales going on in the next week, you should be able to find an amazing deal if you do your homework.

  2. I believe what Terri said, Too. Bring your focus back to hope, to trust, to faith in God or Spirit or Higher Power.

    I lived this when I was getting divorced. Kid in college, ancient house falling down around my ears ( and I adored her), super crazy income ups and downs….and then my car died. I bought a new Kia Rio for little money down, and payments of around 160 a month. I drove her for ten solid years without a minute of trouble. You might look at them. Still really cheap and reliable. The red ones are cute.

    And really, even if you don’t love a car, what does it matter? It’s only for a little while.. Things are going to turn a corner….but not until you are able to accept this dark stretch with some grace and have faith that you can find answers. There are answers there is joy. There is faith.

    It’s just hard to see those answers in the midst of disasters. Have faith.

  3. Oh, I’m sorry things are so rough right now! Money troubles are so hard; they are most of what makes up my stress and have for a few years now. So I feel for you. And car stuff on top of that!

    I’m sending good car-finding-spending vibes to you, as well as vibes for your poor banging-against-the-wall head (you’ll probably have a headache when you stop).

    Be well!

  4. German Chocolate Betty says:

    Man, when it rains, it pours, doesn’t it? I sympathize so much — and agree with all of the others that something, somehow, will show up to ease things a bit. Gotta believe it.

    Other than that, no advice. We’re still reeling from finding out last week that our 18-yr-old kid ripped us off for another $3000+ in the past few months. After both we and his therapists all agreed things were improving. Double whammy — financial and emotional reserves running low.)

    Hang in there, Krissie — and so will I!

  5. Deb says:

    Oh Krissie. I’m sorry. And just when you think “ok, at least things are as bad as they can get”…the universe sucker-punches you with a new load of crap. I’m sorry; I wish I could make it better. Please know that we’re all sending you the best of good vibes. Take care

  6. Gah! I’m feeling your frustration, Krissie.

    If you have equity in your home, would the bank consider a small home equity loan? If so, that could cover some of the necessities. Don’t go big though, (’cause if you do you’ll find a way to spend it all) ask for just enough to cover your needs because you’d have the monthly payment on that. Interest rates are low right now, and you could always opt to pay interest only on the loan until you get more income. Just an idea. Other than that I have no suggestions.

    Hate money problems. I’ve pulled my belt so tight I have a permanent muffin top.

  7. Money problems are the worst. Killer stress. Still, there are ways. The home equity loan is a possibility. Selling some things on Etsy can possibly help. Nothing you love and want but if there are things that you don’t particularly want and others might, it might work out. There’s a place in town here that will do all the listing and monitoring and packaging and mailing for you. They take a percentage, of course, so I’m not sure how much it’s worth it but if one had things that would actually make some money, it might be worth it. Any place like that by you?

    I make this next suggestion with real hesitation since I think the last thing you need is more stress, but is it possible writing could make money? Do your contracts allow you any self-publishing as an option? I’m thinking of Courtney Milan’s novellas for instance. They are a treat to read. I don’t know how well they sell but I suspect fairly well. Is a shorter piece that you self-publish a possibility? A little follow-up adventure for some of your characters we know and love? Wonder what some of those sexy bad boys might do for an anniversary . . . what with those assassins and all.

    And please ignore anything I say if it seems intrusive or dumb. I’m crossing fingers for you and hoping all works out soon. Cause, jeez, you sure do deserve a break today!

    • Lola says:

      I know someone who knows someone who self published on Amazon and made a year’s salary in three weeks. Don’t know how much of that Amazon got or if the gov’t got any but there’s money to be made in epubbing. She’s also a romance writer with great fans like yours. Something to think about.


  8. Krissie,
    If you really want to keep the car, I wonder if you might be able to disable the airbag or even have it removed? Not sure how you feel about that safety-wise, but if it’s just for a little while and you don’t drive much, you might be able to get by for a little while until you feel able to do something else more permanent.

  9. Any gold? Broken chains, old school rings, backings for pierced earrings, old watches? I sold a ton of mine a year or so ago and was really impressed with how much I made.

    Oh, and here’s an idea. Tod Goldberg (author of The Burn Notice) wrote some short stories about growing up in a certain area/street and put them up on Amazon. I think for $2.99. I don’t know how well they sold but I adored them and in years to come intend to do something similar. His collection is: Where You Lived: Stories. He wrote some in second person, which I found interesting.
    You’re a fast writer, you could do this. : )

    • Hugs and poor baby. Money troubles suck the great ropy goat chunk o’unfunness.

      I’m all for you self-pubbing some things so you can snag the money all to yourself. It’s not an immediately today solution, but it is a way to add to your income with relatively little effort.

      Hugs and crossing fingers for faith paying off!

  10. Eileen A-W says:

    No more advice just warm thoughts & lots of hugs. Is there a way to make lemonade out of all these lemons being thrown at you?

  11. Oh Krissie, I feel awful for you.

    As ever, here’s a (((((HUG))))).

    I have a parallel experience – a mistake with financials mean tax records need to be sorted out, which’ll cost me a pack o’ pennies, pretty and ugly.

    I’m looking for a new car too.

    I’m limiting myself to looking for something made in my country so there are spares available. Else, I have to get a used car that has a lot of “pirate” parts so I could fix a broken taillight without waiting for a spare part for 1 month.

    Also going to use insurance quotes for each type of car as a guide to see if the car is considered a safe bet.

  12. Sharon says:

    Do you still have all that silver you polished last summer? Sell it at a pawn shop or on Ebay. You can take lots of stuff to the pawn shop and every little bit adds up! Other fabric collectors would love to pay you for your hoard of material. Any antiques or collectibles-look around and go to the antique store or put an ad in the paper. I recently sold our piano and a trumpet-no one was playing them- for $1,000. I advertised at the area schools and in the local paper. Any old cars or metal machinery in the back yard? Around here, people will pay for the chance to haul that stuff away to get money. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

  13. Ouch.

    Not sure if this will be comforting, although it helps me, but I subscribe to the fault-line theory of bad luck, in which every little disaster is bleeding off the stress that could have led to a big disaster. In other words, the small earthquakes are the universe’s way of protecting you from the big ones.

    This won’t help you today, but do you own the rights to characters you’ve created? If your contracts permit, a short-story or novella set after the HEA of your biggest selling book, a little bit of a mystery but also a glimpse at the lives of the happy couple, self-published, sold for $2.99 so that you get $2/sale, could go a long way toward helping you out.

    Self-publishing is definitely a Your-Mileage-May-Vary thing, but no one has ever heard of me and Amazon still sends me a few hundred dollars a month. I find it really hard to believe that you couldn’t do at least that well, and that’s a car payment.

  14. C.G. Morrison says:

    This is a wild card thing, Krissie, but aren’t you paying the bulk of the support for both your kids? Turns out they are deductible family members, if you haven’t been. If they earn less than the minimum (about $3500), you can deduct them for the difference between that and what they earn. We got over a thousand back from the gov’t by refiling for a couple of years (and I think they still owe us some money…we have to pry details out of DS as to his income that year.) Who’d a thunkit? Your child you support isn’t a deductible child, but a deductible family member.

    Of course, perhaps you knew that. LOL Sending good wishes. We’ve had a crap-load of stuff hit recently too.

  15. Barbara Cameron says:

    I don’t know why it can feel like everything hits at once but I hope you don’t let it ruin the holidays for you. There’s no one who deserves to have a great holiday more.

    You know, it’s interesting that your son and daughter are there right now. Maybe they needed to see that you have money problems and can’t always help them as you want to do?

    Hand in there. Things WILL get better. I’ll pray for you.

  16. H says:

    I’m so sorry. 🙁 I hate money troubles! Nothing stresses me more, and it makes me feel like an incompetent adult to boot. Hang in there and take it a day at a time. You are still fabulous – just temporarily out of pocket!

  17. Micki says:

    When you’re out in the boonies, not having a car is a big deal . . . depending on one family car is a hassle, too. I hope things work out and you find a car that’s new to you with all the things you want, and at a price that’s fairly reasonable.

    There’s only a few days left of the year. If you can just burrow in the house, play some games and eat food you’ve already got, surely something will turn up in the New Year.

  18. I’m with Terri and Barbara. Focus on the positive. So many good things have happened in your life lately – no, really. Tim’s back and doing better; you finished your book and turned it in; you’re decluttering like a madwoman; Jenny’s moving closer, you found great Christmas presents for your loved ones. You’re holding steady on the weight issue and hey – you can walk, talk, hear, touch, taste, feel. Those are no small things.

    I’m not saying money doesn’t matter, because it does. But your attitude toward it is everything. Focus on the positive, if that’s at all possible.

    Sending love and hugs!

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