So, my car is dead. That's basically... carry the one... zero surprise to anyone who's ever seen my car.
I wound up with this gorgeous piece of machinery through a series of missteps that began with my layoff in 2001, while my wife was 7 months pregnant with our first child. That was a fun experience that left me with a bunch of credit card debt related to medical exams and procedures that were rather necessary and subsequent baby food and such that were rather unavoidable.
My wife and I had never actually had any debt before, so we got pretty upset about carrying any. We entered a cycle of paying all our bills each month, then spending every penny on our debt. Turns out that's a losing strategy. A good friend of ours is a debt counsellor, and helped educate us a bit. (He offers this service for free, by the way -- their money comes from other services they offer if they're able to help you, which they're quite open about -- and he's fucking awesome. If you find yourself in a similar sad situation to mine, let me know, and I'll gladly give you his info.)
So we got our finances sorted out. Yay! We started the process of buying a house. Yay! We started thinking about what to replace my aging car with. Yay!
A deer does a half-gainer into my wife's car. Shit.
Totals her car. We didn't want to replace her car while our home loan stuff was in process. I gave her my car, and carpooled with a friend. We purchased our home. We purchased a new car for her. Wife and kids have a car that's safe. Yay!
My car dies. Shit.
My dad, who is fucking awesome, gives me a beater that he was going to donate to charity. Yay!
I drive this until it dies. My finances are still not such that I can really afford another car payment, even a modest one.
My dad, who is fucking awesome, gives me another beater that had been rusting in his driveway. Yay!
I drive the wheels off this one, too. It doesn't take long. My wife drives me to work for a few months.
My father-in-law donates his old beater to us. I'm really starting to feel like a fucking loser mooch. God damn it.
The car's on its last leg, but our finances are in pretty good shape now. We've paid off my wife's car, our credit cards are in a good place, we're saving some money... life is looking up. We start doing our research to figure out what kind of car we want to replace my bucket with.
The IRS sends me a letter. I fucked up my taxes a few years ago. We redo our taxes with help from our lawyer: it's not as bad as the IRS thinks, but it's more than we can put our hands on at the moment. We set up a payment plan. I start crossing my fingers that my car will hold together... not for the duration of our payment plan (I'm under no illusions there), but every month helps.
This car has run on sheer fucking bloodymindedness for a long time now, but today it gave up the ghost.
Two steps forward, eight steps back. I realize that kicking me in the spiritual nuts is pretty funny, but I'm pretty sure Bob Saget gave you the $10,000 prize a long time ago, God. Please stop. I'm sore.