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Emergency Fund

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I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write about our EF. I guess it just seems like a boring topic to me??? Or also because I know the popular opinion is going to be to get rid of it (throw the excess at debt). Probably a little bit of both.

Remember when I first started blogging, we had a pretty decent-sized EF. Although, I hadn’t officially called it an EF. I simply called it “assets.” See here.

At the time (March 2014) we had $11,750 in assets.

  • $4,00o in checking/savings account
  • $1,750 in Capital One 360 Savings
  • $6,000 in a money market account.

Since then there have been a few changes.

First, I ended up shuffling money around a bit.

I started some dedicated savings accounts in my Capital One 360 account and moved all the money from my checking/savings into Capital One 360 (<<that’s a “refer a friend” link). Instead of one general savings, I have lots of savings for separate purposes.

My current savings are:

  • $200/month toward car repairs/new-to-us car fund
  • $125/month to dental/vision/health
  • $100/month to annual expenses
  • $100/month for Roth IRA
  • $25/month for 3-6 month expenses
  • $25/month for travel/Christmas fund
  • $10/month for girls’ birthday expenses

You’ll notice I don’t actually have an account called “Emergency Fund.” I consider my 3-6 month expenses account as an emergency fund account. It should be noted, however, that if there were a true crap-hit-the-fan emergency, I wouldn’t hesitate to dip into my other savings accounts, as well, in order to avoid going into debt. BUT, I like having each separate savings account for its own specific purpose. And in the meantime, I hope we won’t have any true crap-hit-the-fan emergencies! Yikes!

Currently, our 3-6 month savings account has nearly $4,500 in it.

What’s happened to the rest of the money?

Well, it’s been spent!

Way back in April I put $1,000 toward debt. This was an intentional spending of money, as many readers expressed that they thought our current savings were too high.

I’ve also had 2 months where we’ve been over budget. Once was only by about $20, but the other time was by $640! Ouch! Both times I dipped into the EF to cover these expenses.

I still have my money market account, which is separate and has not been touched. And, finally, I’ve been saving $25/month (ever since I first started blogging), which is automatically deposited into my 3-6 month savings every month.

So there you have it. Almost a year after starting to blog, and after having to dip into our EF a couple of times, our net assets are still nearly what they were at the beginning of my blogging journey. Savings has always been a bit of an issue with hubs and I (because we BOTH are natural savers and want to stockpile money like the apocalypse is coming). I know this is a large EF for someone in as much debt as we have and many will say to continue throwing it at our debt. But having this safety net makes us feel…well, safe. Plus, we’ve actually had to dip into it a couple times so I’ve been glad its there. And I haven’t rushed to refill it or anything (just the same old $25/month we’ve always done), so I feel okay with that, particularly since hubs’ income is variable and we have young kiddos.

So there you have it. The deets about our emergency fund.

Do you have an Emergency Fund? If so, how much did you have in it while you were in debt?


Bad Things Come in 3’s

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That’s the saying, right? Bad things come in 3’s. So apparently the God of the “bad things” has trouble counting because I’m pretty sure we’re on bad thing #130903480 in the past couple months. Sure, it’s a bit of an exaggeration, but some more crap has gone down.

First, on Monday while I was driving my front left tire blew out. I’ve been a passenger in a car when a tire has blown out before but this was my first time driving when one occurred and it was scary! Luckily nothing too crazy (I was going about 45 on a regular street, not on the highway), but it swung me into the center median pretty hard before I regained control of the car and was able to safely navigate to the side of the road. I’m so, so, so glad I just hit the median and not another car! Yikes!

Four new tires + an alignment later (oh yeah, plus it needed new brakes too), I was coughing up $1100 for car maintenance. All relatively necessary. The car (5 years old) has never had new tires so we knew we’d be needing some in the coming months but didn’t realize the day would come so suddenly. The tires weren’t completely bald or anything, so the blow out was a huge surprise. I guess the thing to be grateful for there is that the blowout occurred while only I was in the car (no kids in the car), in our own town (not on the road somewhere between Tucson and Austin), and no one was hurt. The alignment was necessary because its good to do when you get new tires plus I had really whacked the sh*t out of the front blown tire when I rammed the curb. Not sure if that can mess up the alignment, but I’m sure its not good. Alignments are relatively inexpensive anyway. The only thing I think we could have gotten cheaper were the brakes. Husband knows how to do brakes and I would have liked to have had him do them, but they were all rusted and corroded (so weird because the car is well maintained and we rarely have rain in Tucson?? but we bought it used so the rust could have been from before we owned it), and hubs said to just have them replaced since he’s been so busy with work and wasn’t sure when he’d have a chance to do them before our Texas trip.

Oh yeah, and remember how we used up our full vehicle maintenance savings fund last month when husband’s car needed maintenance? Yeah, so we’ve got nothing saved for it.

Then the second thing occurred this morning. Husband always wakes up before me (he’s usually out the door by 7am, and I only wake up at 6:30-6:45ish). Today, though, when he woke up he went to the bathroom and came back out, gently shaking me awake. I open my eyes and see…..a swollen cheek.

I’ve seen this before. This is the same mother-freaking swollen cheek I saw last time husband had a bad tooth that required a root canal. Correction. This is the same swollen cheek he had the time before last time. Last time was just this past July (remember??), and his mouth never swelled up that time.

Seriously, world? SERIOUSLY?!!?!?!!?!

He says it came out of nowhere; that it hadn’t been hurting or anything. But he’s now in serious pain and the situation is going to require immediate attention (side note for long-term readers: yes, it’s not really “out of nowhere” because we knew he had a few teeth that really needed root canals and we’ve just basically been putting them off, trying to save up money and pay down some debt first).

So this morning he had his helper meet at our house so the helper could take the truck and get started working. Husband went to the dentist and had some preliminary stuff done (he did get a prescription for some antibiotics, too, but apparently the infection wasn’t bad enough to preclude some of the initial root canal stuff – like taking a mold of the tooth or whatever happens? I’ve never had a root canal so I don’t know). But here’s where I get really pissed. I’ve had a couple people (real life friends & readers) comment on how awesome these dental discount plans are. I’m familiar with these plans and, back in July when husband had his last root canal, I had suggested he buy one of these plans.  Husband said that the office showed him their rates with the plan, but they were able to match the plan’s price without having to actually purchase the plan. If you’ll recall, back in July we paid $1600 for the root canal + crown.

Welllllll…. I was b*tching about this to a friend today on the phone and, again, she brings up the dental discount plan. She urges me to check it out myself, practically insisting on it, even though I tell her that husband already saw all the rates while at the dentist’s office. I get off the phone and do a little internet research and – lo and behold – guess what guys! The dental discount plan could have saved us nearly $600! Yes. Root canal + crown for just under $1,000. We paid $1600 (and that’s the same quote we got for the current root canal, too). WTF!?

So now I’m conflicted. We already owe the dental office from their work today (to the tune of $800), but now what? Try to find an in-network dentist to do the crown at the discount rate (of about $500), or just finish up with the dentist we’ve started with? Husband is in immediate pain and has already had the process started at this current place so he just wants to finish there. But I feel like they’re basically swindling us out of money! It’s our fault because we should have researched and learned that different offices have different rates (husband & I both assumed the rates he was shown for the “dental discount plan” would be comparable at all Tucson dentists), but it just makes me angry! We’re basically hemorrhaging money around here!

I feel like Murphy  (of Murphy’s law) is testing us. How dedicated are we to this whole get-out-of-debt thing?

Guess what, Mr. Murphy! Pretty f-ing dedicated. Why don’t you just pack up your bags and take a hike?!

In the meantime, we’ve spent $1900 and counting (that’s $1100 on the car + $800 on the tooth, and between another $500-800 to go). Thankfully, we do have some savings in our dental insurance savings fund, but not nearly enough to cover the full procedure (we have about $500). So, I’m breaking my living-on-last-month’s income rule. I’m raiding our bank account to cover these costs so I don’t have to dip into additional Emergency Funds to cover the deficit.

December looks like it’s turning out to be quite profitable for husband’s business so I think we’ll be okay. Meaning, I think that even after paying these expenses we’ll still have enough to “live on last month’s income” for January (so we won’t have to start over on that). Essentially, January would have seen a great debt payment. Instead, it will get an average-sized debt payment and a lot of what would have been surplus will be going to pay car maintenance and dental procedures. Big bummer. But at least no new debt is incurred and we’re still making progress on our existing debt.

This also impacts how I’ll be budgeting in 2015. I still need to find the time to go over everything and really analyze our spending, but now I’ll be able to know a precise number to save for dental expenses or car maintenance, etc., instead of just randomly selecting a number out of thin air to save (which, as it turns out, has not been enough). So, live and learn.

And…no more bad things. We’re capped out on bad things right now.


Priority Order

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I greatly appreciate all your constructive feedback on my priority list that is being incorporated into my life plan.  After evaluating much of your feedback and really weighing what is important to me, here is the current priority list and broken down bits.  (Timeline to be added with next revision.)  Please review and let me know your thoughts.

Car

  1. Take ownership of Honda Accord – add insurance, tax bill.  This happens this week as my dad is bringing the title to what we call the “twins car.”  This debt ($1900 was eliminated via the sell of the house per my dad and my agreement.)
  2. Sell car – eliminating high car payment, higher insurance payment and tax bill. This has been listed for sale for months no with some interest but no luck yet.  I will explore other options of getting it sold…ie Car Max etc after Christmas.
  3. Enroll in AAA.  This will bring me some security in comfort in driving an older car.  Thanks for the suggestion!
  4. Begin paying self “car payment” to savings for next car – est $300 month – add this to monthly budget so I 1) have money for car repairs and/or 2) can buy a newer used car with at least mostly cash when time (eta for this would be Fall, 2015)

Finances

  1. Continue paying minimum payments on all debts.
  2. Pay off checking account debt this month (December) whatever it takes! Total $746
  3. Focus on Credit Card – Retail with any extra debt payments.
  4. Build $1000 EF
  5. Pay off Credit Card – Consumer with any extra debt payments
  6. Add monies to EF until I have $6000
  7. LAST DEBT: Pay off Student Loan with any extra debt payments
  8. Begin living on last month’s income using EF monies to start.
  9. Retirement plan

Housing

  1. Continue to work on design for dream house – free
  2. Continue to monitor land sales – free
  3. Get solid phased plan broken down by costs and timeline
    1. Land phase (owner financing or foreclosure possibility)
    2. Phase I house – livable shell with construction loan  (architect costs and find construction loan so I only have to pay interest during build out)
    3. Move out of apartment (moving and furnishing costs)
    4. Phase II house – build out interior doing as much DIY or bartered as possible (this is an as I have it phase, incurring no more housing debt)
    5. Phase III house – ???
  4. Land phase – at any time with right deal
  5. Begin House – Phase I after Finances #6 is complete
  6. Get re-certified as foster family (this will have to be done if we are not able to take in children by May, 2016)

Personal

  1. Learn something new every month.  This doesn’t always have to cost money or alot of money, ideas include but are not limited too:
    1. Learn to knit – class available at Joann’s for about $30
    2. Find car maintenance class for self and twins (try Parks & Rec and local community college)
    3. Find house maintenance class (local community college?
  2. Vacation…save for it, dream about it, plan it

Business

I did not add this into the priority list because frankly, it is the gate through which everything else must be done…so after much consideration I have decided NOT to return to corporate. I did not make this decision lightly.  The thought of a steady and most likely higher paycheck was tempting, sorely tempting, not to mention the possibility of signing bonus, moving expenses since I’m will to relocate…well, very tempting.  But let’s face it…the cost would be too high.  I would give up the flexibility I have to be wherever my kids need me, when they need me.  Not just activities, but sick days, therapy visits and just mental health days.  I would give up these moments with my kids where they really grasp something and it lights up their faces and then proceed to sprint forward in understanding in application of concepts and ideas.  I would give up those little moments of me time that I get almost daily because after returning from a full day at the office I would need to supervise homework, get dinner on the table and really be there to get one on one time with each child, something I am really able to do at leisure throughout the days now.  And all these don’t take into account the very high possibility that I would have to travel, have lots of job related stress and the over-hanging cloud of working mom guilt.  So that’s a long way of saying…I have decided not to return to corporate.

However, this does not mean I must accept the status quo.  When I lost my oldest, and almost biggest client last fall, I took a big financial hit.  It was literally like going from a two parent income to a one parent income, and I didn’t get the relief or help that would have been in there was actually a second parent staying home because I was still doing it all.  So I have decided to go with option #4 from my original priority list.  It is time to change the game.  I’ve enjoy my “off” time per se since losing my 40 hour per week phone client and it’s time to re-strategize and then market the new and improve business model.  So here is my current game plan for my business (still under construction:)

  1. Set up a meeting with local SCORE chapter.  It’s time to get some expert advice.
  2. Redesign marketing channels: web site, social media, LinkedIn
  3. Create marketing plan
  4. Revitalize job hunting profiles: Guru, Indeed, Fiverr, etc.  Got more suggestions?  Where do you search for consultants?
  5. Research passive income streams
  6. Get the kids involved
    1. Twins have expressed an interest in doing projects via Fiverr, encourage and guide them
    2. Daughter has expressed interest via actions and words in dog training and care, encourage and guide her
    3. Little Gymnast needs to focus on school but add income and budgeting to his curriculum through real life experiences

Okay, so that’s where I’m at.  Probably not the best format for this type of plan, but the goal for the next round of evaluation will be to put it in a timeline format with dependencies in place.  I am wide open for your constructive opinions and criticism.  Obviously there are places that I will need to plan and break things down a bit more, but I’m feeling good about this first draft right now.


November Budget Update

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Hi all! I hope you’re doing well! November seemed to fly by faster than most. I swear I was just typing up my October Budget Update the other day….and somehow a full month has flown by! I guess that’s how it works, especially around the holidays!

As a quick reminder, we live on last month’s income, so for the month of November we had a total of $5855 to budget and appropriate to various categories. Here’s how things worked out…

November budget (planned & actual spent):

Place Planned Budget Actual Spent
Rent 1055 1055
Electricity 170 168
Water 60 56
Natural gas 20 28
Sprint (2 lines) 115 114
Cable/Internet 100 100
Car Insurance 56 55
Health Insurance 350 350
Trash 35 35
Debt 1498 1498
Miscellaneous 300 867
Groceries 400 419
Baby Purchases 1100 1180
Gasoline 100 75
Saving for Irregular Expenses 495 495
Total Budgeted 5854 6495

 

As a reminder, miscellaneous is broken down into 4 categories:

  • Entertainment: budgeted = $20; spent = $26
  • Eating Out: budgeted = $100; spent = $129
  • Personal Maintenance: budgeted = $30; spent = $5
  • Other: budgeted = $150; spent = $707

Side note: In January I’m going to do a big, formal assessment of my monthly spending all year and re-do my budget/categories a bit. Right now I have miscellaneous broken into these four sub-categories but starting in January I’m going to simply give each of these categories its own line item instead of lumping them together and itemizing separately. It’s so weird, I don’t even know why I did this to begin with!?

I think this is the very first time since I started blogging that I went over in the entertainment category (I went to a movie with a friend, which cost $12 and tipped me over in this category). Obviously the biggest overage is in the “other” category. I don’t feel comfortable divulging exact details regarding the monetary settlement we came to with our landlord (for damages from the Great Flood of 2014), so I’m purposely going to leave out exact numbers here. I will, however, say that the overage is due to a combination of these three things: (1) iphone screen repair, (2) costs associated with the Great Flood, and (3) truck repair. Note that I was, indeed, able to get my phone screen fixed (rather than having to buy a whole new phone – whew!!), and a portion of the truck repair was paid for out of our vehicle maintenance savings account (we didn’t have enough to cover the full repair, so the deficit came from this category).

I also went a little over in our natural gas bill and in our grocery line-item. Nothing too bad. But I was over by a full $80 in the baby purchases category (which includes the cost of preschool, pull ups/diapers, and any purchases that are toddler-specific). Honestly, I generally budget $1200 in this category so I don’t know why I thought I could drop it down to $1100 and not go over. That was unrealistic and I’m bumping it back up to $1200 for next month.

We had a total of $5855, but spent a total of $6495. This leaves us with a deficit of $640.

Ouch!

We’ve had other rough months in the past but this is, by far, the worst since I started blogging. I think I was only over budget one other month, and it was only by about $20. Here we stand this month, over by nearly a grand (I exaggerate, but we’re still over by a lot!) Again – thank goodness for our emergency fund! I think I’m actually going to write a full blog post dedicated to the EF sometime soon because I haven’t talked much about it since I first started blogging.

At any rate, this month we learned some tough lessons. Lessons in preparedness and in the amount of funds we need to have liquid for future “Murphy’s Law” incidents. I’m going to hold off on changing anything at this time (e.g., altering savings for car repairs), but this will be something I look closely at in December and January as I plan and budget for the new year.

 

How did you do with your November spending?


New Priorities

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As you’ve heard the last couple of weeks, I’ve kind been through the fire these past couple of months and just now am beginning to feel like I’m coming out the other side. Not saying that a majority of what I’ve been through isn’t of my own making, but it certainly all wasn’t. So now I’m starting to process the lessons learned, especially financially and personally and just now starting to think of a new life plan.

Notice I did not say, financial plan, because frankly I’m way past that now. I not only need a financial plan, but a whole life plan. So that’s where we begin today…with a complete tear down and reconstruction of my life goals so I can build a plan, with your help, of course. Just pretend that you all, together are my spouse, partner, guidance counselor, and let me have it. I want all your perspectives, all your input.

So here’s my I’m at…my “big” goals in life in no particular order. I figure once I prioritize them, I can start the plan making.

  1. Three month emergency fund (approx $10,000) <-obviously a savings goal, so should I break it into pieces?
  2. Get rid of car payment <-car is listed for sale
  3. Build house that will not only accommodate current family but 1) allow me to take in additional foster kids, preferably sibling groups and 2) allow me to assist those in transition as I have been that don’t have the support/assistance of others ie single moms (thinking 6 bedrooms, 4 baths)
  4. Evaluate current business model and revise to more consultant rather than assistant for more marketable and economy OR
  5. Evaluate corporate possibilities
  6. Establish retirement plan
  7. Become financially independent of both younger kid’s dad sporadic child support and adoption assistance that is available for foster/adoptive kids (ties strongly to 4 and 4 on this list)
  8. Learn car maintenance skills (this has been a big hang up for me in regards to buying used cars. I figure if I can tackle it, I can feel most comfortable with 2.)
  9. Learn basic house maintenance skills (I’m well on my way with this one, but would like to find a way to learn more especially in light of 3.)

Ok, I think that’s it.  So hit me with your best shot here. Are these achievable, realistic, good goals?  What type of priority order would you put them? Any suggestions on achieving them?


Life Happenings…

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Hi guys!

Probably didn’t expect to hear from me this evening, hmm??

Truth is life has been scattered lately! Instead of having posts pre-planned and waiting to go up at “X” time, I’ve just been writing and pressing “publish” whenever I can. Writing as life happens, that is.

At any rate, we’re back in our house. It’s still a bit of a cluster. They had to re-carpet two rooms and although the carpet installers moved things for us, it was still quite an ordeal. The cribs were too big to fit through the door frames so had to be completely disassembled. Even with things finally moved back, it almost feels like we’re in the middle of a move or something! On the good news front, our landlord is going to work with us on some of the costs. I feel uncomfortable disclosing the numbers in our agreement, but I’m happy with the situation. This month will still require us to dive into our emergency fund (both for the house stuff and for the car repairs), but I’m knocking on wood for a calmer week this week!

In other news, I was able to get a couple work applications submitted! I had 2 due on the 15th (which was a Saturday) and one on the 17th (a Monday). I looked at them all and decided to ditch one of the applications. I selected the job I was least likely to get and metaphorically chucked it out. The other two applications I completed late Sunday night (the 16th). I realize this was past the deadline for one of them, but I figured the reviews wouldn’t start until Monday anyway so I just crossed my fingers and hoped it would work out. And guess what…I’ve already heard back on one of the jobs! They’re requesting additional information, which is always a good sign (means I’ve at least made it past the initial round of cuts). It’s for a job here in Tucson and is not a tenure-track position, though it still keeps me in academia. Obviously a tenure-track job is what I’d really like (or maybe its not so obvious….but I spent 6 years in graduate school specifically to try to earn a tenure-track position, so this is a big point of distinction for me). However, I’ve figured that if I get this position I could probably keep teaching at least 2 classes per semester online through my teaching job, and would effectively make my salary higher than most entry-level tenure-track positions. Plus then we wouldn’t have to deal with a cross-country move (so torn on this though, as I’d love to be closer to family). So, we’ll wait and see what happens. I know better than to get my hopes up at this stage in the game.

Also, I’m taking some of your advice and trying to fix my own iPhone screen. Since I initially mentioned that I’d broken my screen again, the crack has progressively gotten worse. There are now pieces of glass that have fallen out and I’ve actually sliced my fingers a few times (small slices, more like paper cuts). At any rate, it needs to be replaced. I found a $15 kit on ebay complete with new screen, all the tools, adhesive material, etc. and it should be here tomorrow. I’m a little nervous. I’ve watched a couple youtube videos and it does NOT look easy. But I did find a cheaper place that can do repairs here in town ($115, whereas last time I paid $150). I figured even if this doesn’t work out, I can still go with the cheaper place and be saving money over what I paid last time. Obviously I would prefer if it just works out with this repair kit and I get away with only a $15 fix (+ cost of a new OtterBox case, as that seems to be the consensus for best/strongest case). I’m still mad at myself over breaking the phone, but in light of the Crap River we just dealt with, it seems like small potatoes.

Meanwhile, I’ve been having to hold myself back from some retail therapy. I’m really not a big shopper, but I’ve been longing to go to Kohl’s and buy myself some new warm tops (now that it’s finally a bit colder in Tucson…sorry to those of you in negative degree weather!!) I think this is partly due to stress, partly due to simple change in weather and wanting newer clothes for the new season, and partly due to all the spending we’ve been doing. It almost feels like “oh, well, we’ve already spent $XXX on hotel and food, what’s another $50 or so for clothes???”  Don’t worry, I haven’t done it (and I have plenty of warm-weather clothes, for the record), but the struggle has been real!

And, lastly, I’m SO SO excited for Thanksgiving next week! My Dad is going to come to town and it will be the first time that I’ve hosted a Thanksgiving at our house since the girls have been born (the first year when they were 5 months we went to a friends’ house; last year when they were 17 months husband was in the hospital with his mystery illness and we skipped the holiday all together). I’m starting to think that Novembers are cursed (not really…but kinda), so it will be good to be with family celebrating everything we’re thankful for. I’m trying not to go too overboard with food, so I’ve planned a menu. I plan to write a whole post on this to run it by you all for some suggestions on how you save money at Thanksgiving. The point is, I’m really looking forward to it!! Now I need to find a free Turkey Trot 5K or something. All this eating out has made me bloated and “ugh” feeling!

I hope your weeks are all off to a great start! Let’s get a head start on Thanksgiving week – leave me a comment with something you’re grateful about! 

 


“Crappy” Day

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Warning:  Pretty graphic details to follow so if you have a weak stomach….you’ve now been warned.

Friday started out pretty normal. I took the girls to preschool, hit up the gym, and settled into working at the JCC. About noon I had to come home because I was expecting a package that required a signature. I got home, ate lunch, and jumped in the shower. I took an indulgently long shower. This is one of the areas that I’ve tried to cut-back since I’ve been blogging away my debt but a long, steaming-hot shower is one of my favorite weaknesses and on this day I decided to be indulgent. My shower lasted probably close to 20 minutes. As soon as I turned the water off and stepped out, I heard the unmistakable sound of water running.

“Hmm, that’s weird,” I thought. “I didn’t accidentally leave a sink running in the kitchen, did I?”

I grabbed a towel, wrapped it around me, and walked out of the master bedroom into the living room. At that point I see it. Water is streaming from the second bathroom. Still nekkid (save the towel), I run down the hall way, splashing through water to get to the second bathroom. At this point I see water just pouring from none other than the toilet. Sewage water, to be exact. I grab the plunger and furiously start plunging (totally naked at this point, as I’d had to abandon my towel to plunge with both hands), but the river flowing forth from the toilet is undeterred.

I’ve never dealt with plumbing issues this severe. I’ve learned a lot since this point (ummm…turn off the water to the toilet!!!), but at the time I had no idea what to do. I’m running around the house screaming and trying to stop the tide of water from entering the bedrooms by throwing towels down on the floor to act as little barricades. Finally the water stops.

I call Chris frantic. I tell him we have an emergency and explain the situation. I don’t think he realizes the full extent of the situation. He tells me to simply mop up the water and he’ll handle a deep cleaning when he gets home. I do what I can to try to mop up a bit and I had successfully kept the water confined mostly to bathroom, hallway, and laundry room (all tiled areas of the house).

Next I do what any person who has just splashed in sh*tty water would do. I take another shower.

This time it’s a quickie. I basically just soap up my hands, arms, feet, and legs to get the sewage water cleaned off of me. I turn off the shower and I hear it again. The toilet in the second bath is freely flowing like a raging river of crap water. Again.

I throw on a robe and race from my room in horror. This time I call my Mom in tears and explain what’s happening. She guides me through turning off the water to the toilet. I call Chris, explain the full extent of the situation, and he heads home. At the end of the ordeal we have literally two inches of water in the bathroom, and it has now expanded into at least 2/3 of the house, including the baby’s room, the guest room, living room, and into the kitchen.

I am absolutely frantic. There are actual human turds floating down the Ganges River that is my hallway. I have never seen or dealt with anything so uniquely disgusting and horrifying and it is about this point that I have a breakdown, sobbing as I watch the water soak into our beautiful living room rug, overtake the baby toys scattered about, and ruin everything in its path.

I’m sure you can imagine how the next several hours went.

We called our landlord who came out to assess the situation (we rent from a private individual, not a company). He called his home owner’s insurance, who came out and sucked up the water and set up huge fans to dry. A plumber came out and discovered that there is something wrong with the line out by the street. What I didn’t know earlier (while taking my long shower) was that all of the water that was going down the drain from my showers was meeting a blockade and somehow in the pipes it forced the closest thing (the sewage water) to come back up in our home. We were also told the problem would not be able to be fixed until at least Monday (at the earliest).

We gathered up some essentials and moved into a hotel.

I never did finish my job applications. It’s now 3:00pm (Tucson time) and not looking likely that I’ll finish them in time. I’m also hopelessly behind on grading first due to the girls’ being home sick and now due to this situation. I want to go to sleep and just wake up middle of next week and have everything be done. If only it were that easy.

But let’s look at the bright side of things. This situation, although disgusting, isn’t all doom and gloom.

  • I’m so glad we rent! It’s no secret that we’d like to be home owners but when situations like this arise, I’m so, so, so glad that we aren’t the ones footing the bill.
  • I’m so thankful we just renewed our renter’s insurance. The home owner’s insurance only covers damages to the house (e.g., if drywall or flooring needs to be replaced). Our renter’s insurance will have to step in to cover any damages to our personal property.
  • I’m so thankful we have a healthy emergency fund and that we live on last month’s income so we have a big buffer in our checking account!
  • I’m glad I’ve had a chance to calm down and gain some perspective. When this first happened I was literally like, “WORST DAY OF MY LIFE!!!!” That’s just silly. Yes, its a huge inconvenience. Yes, it’s freaking disgusting. Yes, it has screwed me with work. But it’s not the worst thing ever. We are all safe, healthy, and happy-ish (the girls get a lot of anxiety over the new situation so they’re not exactly happy campers). But we’re all in one piece, and that’s something to be thankful for.

I’ve already spoken with a claims person from our renter’s insurance and will need to work with them on reimbursement of various things. We will for sure end up paying our deductible ($500), but I believe they should replace damaged items and cover our costs for a hotel.

There are plenty of other financial implications from this situation. Unable to access our home (and the main water has now been turned off…not just water to the toilet), we have had to eat out for dinner last night and all day today (and will continue having to eat out throughout the weekend). We haven’t talked to our landlord about what our tenant’s rights are (will he cover any of these costs??) because right now we’re just in survival mode – hanging out a hotel and trying to keep things as “normal” as possible for the girls’ sake. That’s the most important thing to me. Next week, while the girls are at preschool on Monday, we’ll have to deal with all the financials further.

I’m going to be 100% honest and say I don’t know how much I’ll be able to check in for the next few days. I will try to keep you all abreast of what’s going on but this is still very much at “minor emergency” status in our lives as we are displaced from our home and trying to make things work. My order of priorities in the coming days is as follows:

1 = family

2 = work

3 = house drama

4 = everything else (which includes blogging)

Sorry to be so brutally honest but I’ve got to keep it real with you AND with me and not make promises I can’t keep. I hope to be back on Monday with some sort of update but if I’m not then you know what’s going on. We’re all safe and healthy, but just dealing with some major life drama right now.

Thanks so much for the support!