So Hal is sick again – leaky brake drum. $291 (including oil change which was due). I figured out that since 2002 I have spent between $600-1000 on repairs yearly. Averaging that to $800, plus insurance and gas puts me at just under $2000/yr for Hal to keep kickin’ and for me to go places via fossil fuel. That probably doesn’t seem exactly outrageous by some standards but for me and my New & Improved Even-more-strictly Budgeted Medium-Income Debt-up-to-my-Neck (at least not to my nose anymore) Life it is a sizeable chunk. Oh to be in Tucson (or France of course) and be able to shun cars again and still get on with one’s life with little or no inconvenience. Of course here in Auburn if worse came to worse car-wise I’d do relatively well, living quite close enough to walk or bike to school and to Kroger’s. (Biking is about 4 big steps easier to handle in the Old Pueblo tho, since they have actual bike lanes and myriad other Cyclocommuter types plus lots of sensible motorists who have driven with bikers in their midst for decades.) It would actually cut down on spending, and I know a few people who wouldn’t mind giving me the odd lift, too.
I am going to use this to re-spark my exercise craze from summer and early fall. Even tho I haven’t been driving excessively, seems a good time to cut back anyway. It almost follows that if I simply stop using Hal except for truly essential things he’s used to helping with like groceries, he won’t have as much wear & tear and the next thing waiting to break won’t do so for a while longer, right? This does not account, of course, for any of his bits that are just deteriorating on their own thanks to age and regardless of use, but....
I guess really the biggest impact of this is that every time something goes wonky with Hal I have to readjust (obviously) that month’s earmarking of funds and, often, my ego. I know there are MUCH worse off people in the world than me but it’s still pretty danged deflating. Two steps forward, one back. Situation Normal.
And in fact this kind of stuff does happen often enough for me to call it the norm, so why can’t I just assume that money stuff every month is going to suck and then on months when things go better I’ll be pleasantly surprised? I’ll tell you why: because contrary to what many believe – including myself usually – I’m actually the ultimate optimist! In my heart of hearts I assume that This Month things will go well and I’ll miraculously pay off way more stuff than ever before. I can’t help it. Then things invariably go to hell and I spend the rest of the month dejected because once again my hopes for $mooth $ailing were dashed against the subsurface iceberg of life.
Yeah OK well maybe instead of the ultimate optimist I’m really a pessimist who simply pretends to hope for better things in an attempt to do some kind of reverse psychology on fate. I guess you can’t fake out fate. Or as someone else put it: you can’t shit the shitter.
Oh yeah, so much for our 70-degree weather! Misty and cold today (by Alabama standards obviously, not those of Cleveland Heights or Boston).
Since I’m being all fake-optimist-y, here’s today’s icing on the cake (TMI alert): in case you were wondering, the digestive problem to which I alluded a few entries ago is still alive and well, tho I can’t say the same for my intestinal muscles. I’m keeping the Chocolate Smooth Move people in pin money at least. I’m sure it’s been exacerbated and maintained by finals-week-prep stress altho it was sparked by a few really poorly-chosen meals in a row (waylastweekforcryingoutloud): crêpe-overload from when I made them for classes last week, followed hard by Tomatino’s pizza with Ed and Jessica… I know, I know… Altho it didn’t occur to me at the time. It was about a ½ hour post-Tomatino’s that it hit me what I had done, that the pizza would be the clincher, so to speak. By then of course it was too late, despite the gallons of grape juice and handfuls upon handfuls of prunes I consumed when I got home.
Anyway if any of my entries are even more blah than this one in the next little while, you’ll know there are a couple of actual challenges feeding this malaise rather than merely this fall's natural doldrums.