Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Five: Purging Freak-out Edition

1. Have you heard those deep, rumbling waves of booming noise in the sky lately? The Universe has had a great belly laugh at my and A.'s expense lately.  I am trying really, really hard not to give it the finger.

On our first trip to get firewood the chainsaw didn't work properly.  Hell, it just didn't work. It refused to idle, and the pull cord refused to retract after three or four pulls. We spent most of the day taking apart the chainsaw, re-wrapping the pull cord, putting it back together, trying to get it to start, then trying to keep it running long enough to cut a damn tree. VERY. FRUSTRATING.

We returned the chainsaw and replaced it.

On our second trip, the new chainsaw worked much better, though it had some trouble idling at 9,000 feet. Totally understandable! Everything is hard to do when there is no damn oxygen in the atmosphere.

We finally started to make progress when a huge storm appeared directly over us, out of nowhere. Lightening struck, more than once, within a few hundred feet of us and hail the size of marbles came down in angry torrents. Thankfully, we were near the truck and could wait it out while safe and dry. When the storm finally passed, we hauled the tree we had just downed before the sudden hail to the truck in two inches of hail and mud. It wasn't fun trying to keep from breaking my neck, sliding around on mud and ice, all the while catching my feet and rolling my ankles on all the uneven ground, covered in downed limbs.

When we drove down the mountain, not even a quarter of a mile away, all was dry. The storm, it seemed, hovered directly over us and where we were working. NICE.

We did find a great spot on our way down the mountain and hauled in two more trees, so at least the day ended on a positive note. A. and I had even managed to keep our spirits up throughout the day.

On our third trip, we never made it to the camp site or to any trees before the truck broke down. A 30-mile tow to the nearest town, a week and a half in a tiny town shop and $800 later, we brought the gas guzzling, money pit truck home. On the way, we filled the bed with about a half a cord of wood.  We still didn't have enough for the full winter, so we decided to go up again the next day.

As we got ready to head out for what we hoped was our final haul of wood the oxygen sensor in the truck went kaput.

The truck is back in the shop. We may have to replace the entire catalytic converter. The one we replaced in March. For $700.  (If the garage, the one who replaced the catalytic converter in the first place, tries to charge us for a second one in six months, I really think I am going to SNAP. In fact, I've been calling around town to a couple of garages that longtime residents recommended and getting quotes. Why the hell would I have the same garage do this? A. is nervous I will really let it rip with the current mechanic and his concern is not unfounded.)

I am very, very near the end of my rope, folks.

So much for a carefully planned budget with the damn wood stove!! Ha, ha! At this rate, it will pay for itself in three to four years, and we may not have enough wood for the entire winter to boot.

*shaking my fist at The Universe*

I really am trying to focus on the positive little gems that have surfaced in all of this, too. Maybe it isn't so much positive things as thinking about how much worse things could have been. We could have really been stuck for days in the mountains, it could all be costing us $3,000 instead of $1,500. We could have been without the resources to break free of propane heat this winter. At any moment, A. could have cut  his arm off with the chainsaw or I could have been struck by lightening.

We are lucky!

See? Positive thinking.

There has been a great little happy gem, though. A friend of mine from college found me on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. He will be in town later in October and I am absolutely thrilled to see him. It has been at least eight years since I've seen him. I've always (not so) secretly harbored the fantasy that he is my long lost brother. Wooooooo hooooooo!!!

2. I haven't been sleeping well and I haven't been able to concentrate at work. Simply put, there isn't room in our current financial situation for this bullshit. The money isn't there. I suppose it doesn't get any simpler or more complicated than that.

3. Last night, while lying in bed wide awake, I completely rearranged our finances and think I've found a way out of this. It is not ideal by any stretch but will see us through and will just have to do. I am able to concentrate again.

4. I haven't felt like posting because all I've been doing lately is stressing out and worrying about money.  Thinking about where I've been and where I am now. (Have I mentioned leaving a well-paying job to become a poor-as-dirt grad student was one of the hardest things I've done?) Where I hope to be, where A. and I are working to get to. (Is that not the most hideous sentence ever? I am too worn out to fix it. Sorry.) Who wants to read about that? And, hell, I don't really want to write about it, don't really want to share this situation with anyone. I don't want to feel like I have to defend myself, explain the choices A. and I have made. I don't want to fight the urge to plea with you to understand that we take special care to make sound financial choices. Because we really do, and I hope you understand that. I wrestle with my pride and my (righteous?) anger. None of this is really what I want to say, it doesn't capture the depth and breadth of the arguments I run through in my mind. But, it is there, as unexpected and unsavory as a sudden upset stomach. There you have it.

5. I find I am relieved I did post this. As unstructured and poorly-written as it is. I should move on to chapter two of The Thesis while I am on such a roll!

I am not ready to tell The Universe to go to hell. Not yet, anyway.

Happy Friday to you!


  1. Yes you are right. Sometimes it makes things better just to elaborate about them on the internet. Glad you feel at least a little better.

    Also, I am with you on the fact that chainsaws SUCK. I use one at work all the time and I still hate it hate it hate it. Of course, they are also really effective. And I couldn't live without them. But still, they SUCK.

  2. Oh man. Financial worries can really wreak havoc on your psyche. It could always be worse, that that doesn't make it suck less when you're in the thick of it.

    Hang in there and have a great weekend!

  3. I'm glad you posted this, too, and glad that you've been making good use of your insomnia to work some stuff out! I hope things get better, and soon.

  4. financial worries have that special ability to permeate ALL ASPECTS of life. it... well, it sucks, to put it lightly. despite the frustrations of getting the firewood, it STILL sounds all fun and romanticized to this urbanite :-)

  5. Not even a quarter of a mile away, it was DRY?!? Oh man. Like the proverbial cartoon gray cloud of rain right over you guys! And hail too? MAN.

    I'm sorry about the truck. I know how frustrating and unfair unexpected expenses can be, especially when you're working SO HARD to save money like responsible adults.

    Um, we have a whole woodpile from the tree that got knocked over onto our porch 3 years ago - you're welcome to it! :)

  6. I completely understand. Sometimes (read: every day) I think back to when I had a 9-5 job with a great paycheck and great benefits and could pay all my bills plus have enough left over to take nice vacations every year. And I repeatedly bash my head against the wall when I think that I gave that up. And then just when I was finally digging myself out of the hole I created with that decision, I decided to go to grad school. And it seems that no matter how hard I try to be responsible, just when I think I'm on solid ground, something happens---like a dead battery and a broken oven in the same week---to slap me back down.

    I hope the universe stops screwing you soon!

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Glad you could keep a positive attitude in that crazy hail storm and mud.... Maybe someday it will all be an adventure to look back on... BUT....if not I think letting the finger fly does make you feel a little better sometimes...
    In fact just today I was running with my double wide jogger (yes it is a bit of a monster... but needed if I ever want to get any exercise with 2 rugrats at home...) and a lady driver shook her fist at me. I guess she thought I didn't have a right to the road or something... so as she passed I let the finger fly at her... well, she might not have even seen me... but I sure felt better :)

  9. sorry to post that twice... I don't know how to use my new computer...


Sorry for the word verification. Spambots have found this little blog!