Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Four For The Price Of One

I've been over playing on my FreeSourceFull blog lately and have been neglecting my poor snakey at GreenbackAnaconda.  But he's mean to me so he deserves it!

I just wanted to shed a few random thoughts on money matters without derailing myself by holding out until I can write a masterpiece!  So, here you'll get four mini posts for the price of one.  And the price is already free!  What a deal!

First, to update you on my semester of Auto Mechanics 101:  I killed the whole motor on the Prelude (it's name is Flash 2, by the way).  The only upside to that is that I learned to roll start it because it would die every time I slowed down.  Thanks goodness Fayetteville has lots of hills for rolling down -- though the going up part was extremely challenging due to a terminal loss of power.  So I had what turned out to be a fun challenge trying to drive the Prelude home from the very downhill spot where it had been abandoned all weekend.  Between roll starting down hills and putt-putting up hills at a whole 5 mph, I got it home without the use of a chain and another vehicle.  This felt like a HUGE victory.  Now poor Flash 2 sits in front of the house awaiting an emergency transplant.  Someday.

The good news is that the fuel pump for Bonnie came in.  $30!  The dealership wanted $330 to fix it.  Matt (the ex-husband) installed it for me and now Bonnie runs like an oiled-up rollerskate instead of a rusty roller skate!  And Bonnie really warmed my heart this morning (literally and figuratively) because Bonnie has HEAT and it was 35 degrees this morning!

In other news, and speaking of 35 degrees, I have discovered that with highs in the 70's and lows even as low as 35, I don't need heat or air in the house.  I've had the whole HVAC turned off all week!  It's only been a tad bit chilly -- nothing too uncomfortable.   I haven't had gas service in the house for months so I wouldn't have heat even if I wanted it.  Luckily, the kitchen and one bathroom run on the second water heater which is electric so we have hot water for dishes and one bathtub.  Soon I'll have to figure out how to come up with $400 (that's two, or maybe three, months worth of gas bills from the spring when it was still cold) to get the gas turned back on.

All this makes me want to put up windmills and solar panels and dig a well so I can get completely off the grid!  Wouldn't THAT be amazing?

I have a friend who grew up in another century.  Well, actually, she grew up AS IF she lived in another century because her father was, apparently, born in the wrong century.  Her name is Darlin (yes, that's her name because her daddy thought it would be cute if her four older brothers had to call her Darlin -- they circumvented him and called her "Nay" instead! ).  Darlin grew up with kerosene lanterns, propane heat, and well water on a farm where they raised their own produce and livestock and where her father ran a water-powered sawmill.  She tells the most wonderful Little House On The Prairie stories about forgetting to feed the goat and trying to plant all the seed corn in one hole ("we were transplanting little baby corn plants for days!", she told me, laughing). 

I could so totally become a convert to alternative energy sources and gray water systems and NOT paying utility bills which have become a constant source of stress and sleepless nights for me.  As long as I can have my technology (cable TV, iPhone -- internet, even, I can get at work or free public wifi)!


I'm realizing the chemistry of bank balances.  When the bank balance gets low, REALLY low, or empty, all the toxins come seeping into my blood stream and contaminate every aspect of life.  It's like running a car on the sludge in the bottom of the gas tank (which I do most of the time).  All the yucky stuff is down there at the bottom.  I go to bed with it.  I wake up in the middle of the night with thoughts of bills and balances lurking in the darkness like monsters under the bed.  My first thoughts of the morning are of money stress and, if they aren't, the morning news always finds a way to trigger it with talk of foreclosures and the economy.  The temptation to pull a pillow over my head and refuse to get up and face the day is strong. 

Right now I feel lucky to have about $175.  But I haven't made my $1850 mortgage payment.  I have immediate bills totaling about $1200 plus that $400 I need to turn the gas back on.  $60 will go toward kids' school lunches this week. 

I have 3/4 of a tank of gas in good ole Bonnie who gets 50 miles to the gallon so that's about 300 miles -- no gas money needed for the week!  Whew! 

But I need groceries.  And I'm starting to feel that poison flowing through my veins again.  I go to work (I'm a realtor, if you don't know) but the poison seems to have found its way to the office too because all my prospects have dried up all of the sudden. 

But I have faith that something will come through.  And I look forward to writing about it when it does.  Because I really DO believe that the Lord will provide, somehow.  And I really do wrack my brain day and night to try to be smart enough to overcome this.

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