Friday, November 13, 2009

Just a quick question...

Has anyone out there ever brought your car in for a "minor" thing (like an oil change, or scheduled tune-up or whatever) and NOT left spending tons more money than expected on a problem found in the process!??!?

I brought the ol' Focus in this morning to get two new tires.  S, my maintenance go-to guy in the neighborhood, told me that I would need to get the rear tires replaced, and the front ones rotated to the back, before winter hits.  I totally agreed with this, as a) this is a used car, and since buying it last summer I haven't done much of anything with it in terms of checking out the tire situation, and b) last winter was TERRIFYING in Wisconsin and every time it snowed I was sure I would slide right off the road.  Silly me, didn't realize it was a tire "issue," I just figured it was because the car is sorta dinky and small and doesn't have all-wheel drive.  So when S suggested this I was all for it.

Tried to plan out when best to do this, to work around my work schedule and also being able to shell out about $200 for the tires and labor.  Decided today was a good day and made an appointment.  Brought her in at 9 am, and S said she'd probably be ready by 11.

I got a call a couple minutes later saying that he didn't have the tire I needed, and would have to bring the car out to a warehouse and it would be ready closer to 1 or 2.  Ok, I guess I can wait to do the grocery shopping (my sisters-in-law are coming to stay with us this weekend and I wanted to stock up!!!) until mid-afternoon. And I guess I can skip the yoga class I was planning on attending.  I can deal without it :(

UM, yikes when I got yet another call an hour later: apparently while S was driving the Focus out to the warehouse he was troubled by a little noise.  This noise was not really that noticeable to me and Derek, or we thought that, again, it was because it was a 7-year-old car and was bound to make a noise or two while driving fast.  But apparently I was wrong because S told me it was imperative that I get the hub bearings changed pretty much immediately on both sides.  YIKES!  How much? $400!!!!  Oh crap. (By the way, I had no idea what the hub bearings are or what they do, and did some research.  Here's a video explaining it pretty well.)

Unfortunately, S's place doesn't take credit cards unless you want to be charged the extra fee, but thankfully I can pay by check.  (By the way, despite this minor inconvenience about the credit cards, I go to S for stuff because he's right in the neighborhood, so I can walk; it's a mom-and-pop operation, which I like to support; and he develops a good relationship with his customers and is very honest about what needs to be done.  For instance, this summer my "check engine" light came on and brought it to him.  His code machine-thingy said it was probably a vacuum leak, but upon further inspection he discovered he only had to change the gas cap, which was thankfully only about 20 bucks.) 

Yup, so there's $600 I could have spent on any number of things I wanted to spend money on...oh let's see: a honeymoon (still haven't done that yet); getting some new clothes (haven't gone clothes shopping in over a year); maybe going out to eat or to the movies or getting my nails done or ANYTHING else we have been trying not to do because we are so short on cash right now!!!!  This sucks.  We've been eating macaroni and cheese and rice and beans for dinner and even stocked up on Ramen (I realize this sounds funny, and it sort of is). I am only working part-time (even though I tried for months to find a full-time teaching job), and despite Derek's 13-hour days he isn't making a ton either.  Not enough for his grad school bills, our huge gas bill that I just paid today too ($120! What!??), plus various medical and dental charges (although thank heavens we have insurance!!!!!!)

But I realize that as aggravated as I am, there was really no way around this situation.  I mean, I really don't want to be driving on the highway and all of a sudden have one less wheel!  My stepdad helped me through it by saying it just needed to be done, it was nobody's fault, and it's better to keep our safety in mind than worry about spending more $$.

I guess this post was not "just a quick question" after all.  Sorry to be complainy and whiny.  But I hate always having that feeling of not being comfortable with the amount of money we have versus what we have to pay.  And we live in Cleveland!  Imagine if we were still in NYC.  I just don't like feeling worried that we won't be able to buy a house, or afford to have kids soon....I am really feeling overwhelmed.


  1. How frustrating! It is a necessary thing, but it's too bad that cars can be so expensive.

    Have fun with your sisters-in-law this weekend!

  2. Car stuff is always so so frustrating! Yout think your taking it in for one thing but nope 8 more things pop right up! You awesome though for checking what the hub bearings stuff was all about. I usually just nod a lot when the mechanic gives me info!

    Money is also a pain! There never EVER seems to be enough! Hope things get better soon! And I hope no more car trouble comes your way!