The week before Thanksgiving, Sea Cadet went out in the pouring rain to visit the local fire station. He came back that night excited about the possibility of becoming a volunteer fire fighter.
One week later, he was unanimously voted onto the force and when we returned from Texas, he was fitted for his uniform, given his pager and made official. He’s already been out on several calls this week, one of them at 3am!
There are some days I look at this child and pinch myself. I mean, I can’t take much of the credit for the amazing man he is turning into, but in some small ways I have contributed. And every day he just gets better.
A Short Version of Sea Cadet’s Background
If you have followed me for a while, this will be repeat information, but if not, I wanted to give you a brief history of where Sea Cadet came from.
Sea Cadet (and his identical twin brother, History Buff) were placed with me as foster kids when they were 12 years old. Sea Cadet, in particular, faced several challenges. He suffered from multiple delays and when he arrived at my home with his stuff in black trash bags was performing academically at a 3rd/4th grade level.
He was in speech to help people understand him better, had a dedicated education aid in all his classes with him, couldn’t write and so on. You get the point. In fact, at the first IEP meeting I attended for him, their goal for him was to be able to ride the public buses by himself.
At the end of his eighth grade year, social services gave me special permission to pull him out and homeschool him because there was a real fear that if he went to high school environment at the level he was at, we would lose him to some very negative influences.
And Now Today
He is just 9 months from completing his Advanced EMT certification, he is working part time (and waking himself up to get there on time consistently,) he has a car that he pays for and maintains, he pays his own insurance and cell phone bills and he has saved a nest egg emergency fund for his car maintenance and in anticipation of moving out next fall. And now, he is a volunteer firefighter!
And this is the kid that they set his highest goal as “riding the public bus by himself.” He is just a living example that with patience, the right path and continued flexibility to accommodate someone’s needs…things are not always what they seem.
I am one proud mama. This kid will graduate with no student loan debt. He’s currently acing all his tests. And he continues to take on more on his own initiative. There are just some days that I am overwhelmed with how blessed I have been to have the most amazing kids. And they continue to make me want to do better, make me want to do more, be more for them!
Remember how a couple weeks ago I was near-death-status with kidney stones? Well what I didn’t mention in that last post was that the SAME WEEK where I was single-mommin’ it while simultaneously puking my guts out and writhing around in horrific kidney stone-induced pain, my car’s entire Sync system went out. It was like a cruel joke from the universe.
What does that mean? No clock, no radio, no backup camera, no control over HEAT AND A/C!!! The day it went out I had to be on campus to submit grades for a class. I was in POOR shape, guys. Like, I couldn’t get dressed in real clothes (anything that put pressure on my kidneys KILLED ME so I had to wear stretchy yoga pants – basically workout clothes to my job. UGH). So I just snuck in to submit my grades and snuck right back out. Get into my car and – BAM – for no reason the entire Sync system just went out. This has happened once before, when it was still under warranty. I remember the total bill being about $1500 and being SO GRATEFUL it was covered by our extended warranty. Well…..warranty is now long gone, folks.
I swear, had I not needed to get home IMMEDIATELY (because of the pukes and all), I would have driven straight to a car dealership and traded in the car. In Arizona, you cannot LIVE without having control over your heat and A/C. It’s just not happening. Plus the side-view mirror is still taped on (yes. still. life has been a bit hectic over here as my marriage has disintegrated, I moved out, life happenings, etc. Give me a break). So basically it felt like my car (and entire life, really) was falling apart. I wanted the path of least resistance. TIME FOR MOMMA TO GET A NEW CAR.
Well, I’m glad my near-death-status forced me to go straight home instead of to the car dealership. I spent about another week weighing my options. But in looking at information (my car’s trade-in value, the blue book value if I were to buy a similar car, etc. etc.) I realized I could NOT buy a new car. I can’t afford a payment, and if I were to trade in my car for another car (without a payment), I’d be taking a step DOWN in vehicle no matter where I looked. My car may be high mileage, but it’s a newer (7 year old), still very high quality car. It was top-of-the-line for Ford Explorers the year it was made. Originally a $30,000 vehicle! I was not going to be able to find something comparable without a payment.
Solving My Own Problem…
So then I set to the interwebs in trying to solve my problem. I stumbled across THIS youtube video titled: How to Reset/Fix Ford MyTouch System.” I watched it a couple times. Seemed easy enough. Basically, you unplug the fuse and plug it back in again. I could do that.
But no. No, I could not. The vehicle shown in the video is an Edge (mine is an Explorer). The fuse box looks very different. I couldn’t identify the right part. I started just trying to pull out random fuse boxes (there look to be several in my car) and couldn’t get anything to snap out as easily as shown in the video. Not wanting to break anything and not even being sure what I was doing, I didn’t apply too much pressure. I was hoping something would just pop out easily. But nothing happened.
A week went by. More and more I was coming to terms with the fact that I was going to have to pay (likely $1500+) to have my electrical system all reset. A one time $1500-2000 charge is still cheaper than a recurring $500/month car payment for the next 5 years. This was happening. I’m keeping my car and paying someone to fix it.
In a Hail Mary attempt, I went back to Google. I tried a more thorough search for how to reset my MyTouch system at home. Nothing helpful came back (a lot of resetting to factory settings, but mine wouldn’t even turn on so I needed something more). I went back to that same YouTube video. This time, I read the comments under the video. And right there, written in black and white, someone spelled out my problem for me:
Clifford Shack (post from one week ago, so the comment wasn’t even present the first time I saw then video):
Touchscreen blacked out on my 2018 Explorer. Fix: Press seek up button and Volume button simultaneously and it will come back with nothing lost (Hold for 2-3 seconds for reset).
Well, thank you to Mr. Shack. I tried it out and Glory Hallelujah it worked!!! My radio is back in action! Mine was reset to factory settings (so it wasn’t true for me that “nothing was lost” because all my presets are gone, the blue tooth settings were wiped out, etc.) BUT I DON’T CARE BECAUSE AT LEAST IT’S BACK!!! FOR FREE!!!!
Given that hubs always did our car maintenance, this is a pretty proud moment for me as a newly Single Woman. Excuse me while I go pat myself on the back and count all the money I saved by NOT having to go to the dealership to have this problem fixed.
And because I’d budgeted $500 for car repairs this month (thinking that wouldn’t be enough to cover the electrical, but I wanted to put some aside)….I ended up going onto Ebay and found the side-view mirror I need for just a couple hundred dollars! I have a friend from work who offered to install it for me if I got the part so I pulled the trigger and the side-view mirror should be at my home by next Friday (whyyyyyyyy is Ebay soooooo slow?? I’m an Amazon Prime girl over here. Waiting over a week for an order feels like eternity!) At any rate, the MyTouch is fixed and with any luck the side-view mirror will be fixed within another couple of weeks. I need to go wash and clean it really well and hopefully the beauty will be back to new(-ish…. with 150,000 miles. But you know what I mean) 😉
Boom! Any other stories of saving serious money by DIY and/or female empowerment/DIY that you’d like to share?