Come, Mommy

Friday, June 30, 2006

What is This Word "Budget" of Which You Speak?

We're pretty good with household finance around here. We pay off the credit cards every month, we know how much we spend on the usual bills every month, and we squirrel a little money away for unexpected expenses. But after this week, I'm thinking we vastly underestimated the latter category this year.

Last weekend we picked out new carpet for our living and toy rooms. That's all well and good, since we had budgeted for it. It ran a bit over our estimate, but didn't knock too much of a dent in the emergency/unexpected expense fund.

We have two of those famous bald ferrets here at the moment. Both Houdini and Jeremy have adrenal disease, and they were both scheduled for surgery this week. The estimate for each surgery was around $1000. Houdini had her adrenalectomy on Tuesday, and it came to $1200. Then Jeremy went in on Wednesday, and the poor guy went into respiratory arrest on the table. The vet resuscitated him, and then began unexpected expense Number 1. A cardiology consult, which came to $500. (Jeremy's fine, by the way. He aspirated some saliva, but after a few days of antibiotics, he should be back to normal. The vet and I still have jangled nerves.) And he'll have surgery next month, but it will probably be closer to $1500 dollars since the vet will have to work around some medical issues. But still, all was well money-wise. Pretty good-sized dent in the slush fund, but still doable.

My car went in for a routine oil change this afternoon. Kevin and I were saying on the way home that everything looked fine, and we had a couple of thousand dollars in the slush fund in case of a major expense, like the death of our creaky old refrigerator. And then arrived the Big Unexpected Expense. We were home not thirty minutes when the Saturn dealership called. Apparently my car needs new brake pads, new calipers, and new tires. And some miscellaneous other things. To the tune of $1200!!! That there sound? It's the sound of a slush fund imploding.

And now I'm mad. The ferrets are one thing since we've been through these adrenal issues with many of our ferrets, and we knew it might happen, and we want them to be as healthy as possible. We owe it to them. The car? Is two months past warranty, I just put $600 into it two months ago, and we've got just over a year of payments left on it. It has a questionable mechanical history, and my gut is not predicting good things for the future with this beast.

It just cheeses me off to no end when machines break down right after warranty expiration. And now I'm wondering which path would be financially more prudent - do I put all this money into the car now and hope it doesn't give up the ghost before it's paid off, or do we just get a new, more reliable vehicle and hope we can get enough of a trade to take care of the remaining loan balance? And should I get another Saturn? I've loved their cars since they came out, but lately the dealership is getting all Pushy-Pushy about expensive services, and the repair prices seem to have risen inordinately. I'm not feeling the love with Saturn these days.

Ugh. But still, it's a holiday weekend, and fun things are in store. Houdini is back to her normal cuddlebug nippy self, and after such a scare, Jeremy is fine. I don't have to worry about the ferrets now, which is a relief. So, here's to potato salad and fireworks. Have a Happy 4th, everyone!


  • Oh God, when it rains it pours, right? We had a similar issue when we had just laid out a ton on emergencies, but it was Nate who needed the surgery, not our animals- emergency wisdom tooth extraction with NO INSURANCE.

    You don't even wanna know.

    Good luck with it all and enjoy the potato salad.

    By Blogger Mom101, at Saturday, July 01, 2006 8:06:00 AM  

  • Oh, poor thing. I feel your pain on the car thing. We are willing M's station car to stay alive on a daily basis.

    And, they actually have cardiologists for ferrets? Who knew???

    By Blogger chichimama, at Saturday, July 01, 2006 9:47:00 PM  

  • Mom-101, yup, never a dull moment. I have a profound fear of dentists, and I feel so bad for Nate. And your wallets. At least with pets the medical stuff is cheaper than corresponding disease in humans.

    Chichimama, does willing it to stay alive help? 'Cause with my car's history, I'm willing to try anything.

    They have veterinary cardiologists who handle cardiology issues from all the species, and then the surgeon is an exotic animal specialist. I tell ya, veterinary medicine is getting as specialized as human medicine.

    By Blogger Liesl, at Saturday, July 01, 2006 10:41:00 PM  

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