Monday, November 2, 2009

Beg. Borrow. Deal.

October is over, and quite honestly it's a relief. I love October...usually. But this October chewed us up, spit us out, then picked up our slobbered remains and shook them to and fro. In summary, October went: bad colds for everyone, travel for work, shit we're overdrawn!, get reimbursed by work and feel like it'll be ok, Luca and Rohan get puking sick, travel again for work (MISS MY KIDS), work 2 Saturdays, get sick again (3 colds in as many months...), unexpected car payment issues, overdrawn again, swallow pride, cry.

I debated whether to blog this, but this is life. And this evening, as my mom handed me a pile of twenty dollar bills folded in half and I sat next to her on the front porch bench unable to look her in the eyes, I didn't want it to be MY life. I was ashamed, having called her in a tear-soaked sobbing panic an hour earlier to ask if she could help us out. And when I went to collect that pile of bills, I gave her a half-hearted attempt at optimism, cloaked in shame and embarassment.

She looked at me, my mom who gives us so much and asks for nothing but our time, and told me to stop. Stop worrying. Stop feeling ashamed.

These things happen. SHIT happens, she reminded me. And then she told me something I did not know. When I was a kid, every once in awhile, she would call my Grandma in California. "Mom, the car needs new tires. I don't know how we'll manage." she'd say. And then, a few days later, a check in her mailbox. Tires purchased. Attempts to thank and repay rebuffed and shrugged off with a, "We've all been there. Take care of my Grandbabies."

The least she could do, my mom assured me, was give me that same kind of support. The least she could do was to help us now that she can.

I've worked since I was 16. I have never asked to borrow a dime. A bad decision made when we bought our car a little over a year ago dropped us into a financial sinkhole. There we were, excited to buy a brand new car we'd saved for. We knew our budget. We talked them down. We were signing the papers when they offered the alternate payments. Pay twice a month, half payments, and save big on interest in the long run. "Sounds good!" we said. "Sign us up!" we grinned.

Fine print and me...we're not always the best of friends. Twice a month payments were actually every 2 week payments. Some months have 5 weeks, you know. And in those months there are 3 payments. Three payments each equal to half a regular payment. For you math impaired readers (which I seem to be), that means every time a month has 5 weeks, we pay 1.5 times the monthly payment. Several hundred dollars a year MORE than expected going to pay our car really screwed us over. Add to that an unexpected medical bill (I won't go into it, but suffice it to say I won't be having another kid for at least a few more years so as to get my money's worth...) and a 10 pm A/C repair on a Sunday night in September, and you've got the makings of the humbling situation explained above.

I have serious pride. My husband does too. But greater than our pride is our love for our kids. So I begged. We borrowed. We'll deal. Tomorrow I get a reimbursement for my trip to DC. Friday we both get paid. We'll be out of the red, into the black, and repaying my mom her donated cash by Saturday.

And someday, when my kids have kids and they call me worried and disbelieving that their hard work hasn't saved them from this kind of situation pulling them under, I'll repay my mom and her mom before in spirit.

November, please be kind to us!



Kellie said...

Oh Katie, you just made me cry. Aren't parents wonderful? I am taken back constantly at all they do and are willing to do for us and I only hope one day to pay it forward.
I hope November is better for you!

Freemad said...

Oh Katie - I'm sorry that this past month has been so hard on you all. Your writting made me tear up because it hit really close to home.

September was like that for us. No matter what we did, somehow we were always about a week short of money and now our savings account is almost drained.

It will get better and you are so lucky to have your mom who is there to help you when you need it.

Tabitha said...


I am so sorry you had a hell of an October... but things gotta look up, so why not here, why not now, why not for you, right?!?!


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