Friday I took the cars to the shop and learned that both would need significant repairs if we wanted to keep having cars for very long. The initial estimate was $300 for Ben’s car and $1500 for mine. If we paid for the cars, November rent was not going to happen. I asked around and got the cost of my car repair down to $600. Then, in basically the same moment found someone willing to buy Ben’s car for cash. Awesome. Now we’re saving $40 a month on car insurance, thanks to switching to poverty.
The reason Ben’s car was the sacrificial lamb is because it doesn’t have much life left in it whereas mine should be fine for at least 50,000 more miles with regular maintenance after this fix.
It’s going to be hard with only one car, but we’ve done it before and with me working from home it’s not as big a deal as when I was working 25 miles on the opposite direction.
For some reason, I feel sort of elated. I have been wondering when I was going to get the spirit to rise to this challenge instead of just plodding along, Eeyore style, waiting for the end to come. And here it is. It’s sort of annoying that I only do well when my back is against a wall. Although I guess if I had to pick one place to be awesome it would be when all else fails.
When I started this post, I was feeling very enthusiastic about being a freelancer. I felt a fire in my belly and I was ready to let the whole world burn so I could get what I wanted. Last week I’ve been involved in a lot of really fulfilling work that makes me happy to wake up in the morning to take care of it. Unfortunately, none of it pays anything near what we need to live on. Now that we’ve sold Ben’s car, we might be able to hold out like this until the end of November, but after that we’re out on our ass.
After I first learned about the cars, and before I found the cheaper mechanic, I was certain we couldn’t fix mine, and that it probably wouldn’t sell for much more than I owe on it with a $1500 repair hanging over its head. I fell into an impossibly deep chasm of self-doubt. I’ve worked as hard as I possibly can to make this work and so far I have failed. With both cars out of commission and Ben’s on it’s last legs anyway, I didn’t see a solution. I knew that we would continue onward somehow, I just didn’t care how or why. And then the grief of failure turned back on itself into a smoldering determination to die before I gave up.
That night in bed I told Ben that if he wanted to leave me and go home to his parents in Oregon, I’d understand, but that I was determined to ruin every thing in my life to see if I could make this work. I’ll sell everything I own. I’ll live anywhere I can. Despite how consistently difficult and heart-breaking and exhausting my life has been since May, somewhere along the line I realized that this is all I ever want to do.
And then I applied for a job at Target. So there’s that.
The things I know right now are that I never want to give up my working autonomy again, I love it when clients start sentences with the phrase “I don’t even know if this is a real thing, but if would be cool if,” and in no way do I need all the stuff I was convinced I needed back when I had the money to buy it.
This week we’re going to start separating our stuff into the things we can’t bear to part with and the things we can sell, toss or give away. I’m actually looking forward to it. The less shit I have, the less shit I have to worry about moving out of here once we run out of rent money.