despair. It is hard sometimes. I looked up a quote to start off my blog post today and the one I found from Blessed John Paul the Great seemed most fitting.
We had a rollercoaster of a weekend. My dearest had a four day weekend. I have mentioned how much I love his new job before. I was excited for a nice long weekend so much so, that it didn't matter that crappy weather was all that was being forecasted for the entire weekend. We had our share of snow, rain and grey weather.
Friday morning, we went to Mass at our old parish, went to confession and then hurried to make it to my sonogram appointment on time. We made it, praise the Lord. The funny thing about the medical building was, I had the directions, navigated my dearest the whole way and found out upon arrival that the name of the building had changed. My husband laughed when he saw the final destination. He disclosed that he had spent 6 months coming to this building every day under it's old name. This was a previous job site. Driving into the park garage, he explained to the kids what he had all painted, including the park garage.
Advanced Medical Imaging Cetre 2000 Veteran's Place, Calgary, Alberta
Isn't a beautiful and grand looking building. I have veered a little off topic. We knew that we wouldn't come out of this building in the same light that we had entered it. We knew this day would change our lives forever.
It was quite surprising, but everyone was allowed to come in for the sonogram. EVERYONE!!! There were six of us. A dear friend, who was going to babysit for us, unfortunately got sick and couldn't watch the kids. The kids were all fidgety, they turned off their ears, didn't listen and poor Sascha had to take a few of them out of the room and missed most of the appointment. Needless to say, my daughter found out the gender of the baby before daddy did. She cried, again. She is going to be desparately outnumbered.
Isn't he beautiful?
Our weekend got off to a great start. We grocery shopped, ate lovely meals and did some organizing here and there. We went to the thrift store and picked up a few little outfits for our little boy. After three boys, a lot of our baby boy clothes are worn out, stained and some are falling apart (onsies & sleepers in particular). We even found Noah a nice dress shirt from an expensive name brand for five bucks. Life is good.
It was so good that daddy sprung for a bit of fabric from the fabric store. He bought her some material for an Easter dress. It is beautiful, but I wouldn't have paid that much for it. Daddy's little girl will look beautiful on Easter morning. God Himself, I believe would have bought her the material, too. Don't all daddy's want their daughters to look special? I will use this pattern.
We had fun, spending small amounts of money and were excited about the weeks and months to come. We did some reorganizing of the nursery, put up some pictures that we already owned, filled holes from old pictures, touched up paint and started clearing out things to donate and sell. Little did we know that the rest of the weekend would be less than stressful.
Sunday morning, everyone dressed up more than usual and piled into our van. Daddy started the van and that's when our life changed again. It started funny. Do you know that sound? It is an eerie sound. Our old lady, was dying. She is 14 years old and has suffered some incontinence for a while, but the garage assured us that it was nothing of too much concern. Then and there, my dearest urged everyone out of the van and quickly out of the cold and snowy outdoors. We weren't going to Mass. My husband was afraid that we wouldn't make it there or home again. Sundays without Mass are always odd. I hate being sick on a Sunday for that very reason.
Monday morning, hubby carefully drove the old lady to the local garage for an assessment. He felt the worst case senario was a $500-$600 repair. In the meantime, we cleaned out the kids' closets and somehow found two garbage bags worth of donations and 1 garbage bag worth of trash. They have tiny closets, so this was rather shocking. Anyway, during lunch we received the dreaded call.
Van has numerous leaks.. three most noticeable leaks are coming from the trasmission pan.. other leaks noted.. and he goes on saying that the front brakes are noisey and very rusty.. should be repaced. Outer tie rod ends are falling out loose and should be replaced and both idler arms have excessive movement... all shocks are extremely weak and soft rears are leaking and van is very bouncy... front sway bar bushings are worn... left rear park break cable has been pinched between fuel tank strap and the tank.. cable in ineffect so tight that park brake is applied... would need to remove tank strap and reposition calbe and see if cable still functions.. could not get the rear drums off to check rear brakes as brakes are very tight.. you cannot spin the wheels on the hoist brakes are dragging on the back... could require rear brakes.. suspension items are more of a concern than oil leaks.. also could use some new wiper blades.. belts showing some wear.. exhaust is rusty, tires are worn likely due to worn front end parts..
Then came two pages of the costs listed for all of the repairs resulting in a whopping $3,237.13!
Wow, we thought. That was a lot more than we bargained for. We took the van to the garage on a fairly regular basis and had no idea. That is almost double what we paid for the van in the first place. She was an old lady, afterall. The nice man told us this van was extremely dangerous to drive and that he recommended strongly that we find something newer.
So, we faced racking up some more debt. Oh how I dread the word, DEBT. We had a few really old appliances replaced and put it on the line of credit. Not my idea, but I agreed, so I can't point fingers. It seemed harmless at the time. It wasn't a huge amount of money and our line of credit has a great interest rate, so we used it. Then, in the middle of a cold snap our windows wouldn't close properly, we had frost inside and during the thaw we had mold and there was water leaking through the hardware. The drywall under some of the windows was getting soggy and we decided that at least the worst windows would need to be replaced. I was quite upset about the windows because we had an inspection before buying the house and the inspector said that the windows are good for a few more years. Tax money was arriving soon, so we shopped around for windows and hoped that the tax money would help pay for them. We hoped that the debt load wouldn't be too high. We approached this company and didn't look back. I love the new windows, but cringe at the debt.
The tax money came and a load of it paid off the some of the debt, but now we are faced with our worst fear. We knew that our van was an old lady, but the last garage gave us a feeling of security that all was well with her. We thought that once we had the debt load paid off, it would be time for a new to us van. We were so wrong. Now we stand here faced with the reality that a new van is needed. We can't afford car payments, hubby needs a car to get to work and it has to be asap. We are grateful to have such a great credit history and have access to a line of credit. Most immigrants don't have this option and would have to pay interest rates that are abominable through a dealership. Thanks be to God that not all of our past decisions have been bad. Debt is debt and we should not despair. Despair would be letting the devil have the upper hand. I cringe at the numbers, but know that nothing else can be done.
We live simply or at least I think we do. My husband keeps telling me that we need to keep living and that life does not stop because we have debt. Why do I feel so guilty? What if I had known this would have happened? Would I have made different decisions? What would I have done differently? I have my rosary and prayer as my only weapons. Surely they will help. We are so dependant on the Lord. We have a few collections that we are willing to sell. I knew that they might come in handy some day. I will spend some time in discernment and prayer. For peace of mind, I need to hack away at this debt, shake off the bonds of stuff and sacrifice.
Paycheck to paycheck living is the only way we have lived. In times of excess, we have invested in good pieces and they have proven to come in handy during our famines. Money is not a god and does not govern us. Money is a tool that I haven't mastered the art of attaining. That is ok, because this world is not our final destination. Lack of money is a tool, too. It humbles us, and makes us look at what is truly important.
Tonight after work, my husband will be bringing our new-to-us van home. With it, he is bringing home a greater dependancy on God. I want to thank you for reading this long post. I hope by sharing our story that others will see that no matter what, do not despair. God opens windows. He might even help me open an Etsy shop. Any ideas about what I should sell?
God is good. I have so much to be thankful for. I can't let a hunk of debt take away all of the love, laughs and cuddles. Thanks Blessed John Paul the Great for reminding me that "we are the Easter people", even during Lent.