So much for that...
Ah, the joys of car ownership!
Yesterday, I announced that we were finally getting one of our cards under $3,000. I was practically asking for trouble, I suppose. It's the same logic that makes my mom call a car wash a "rain dance."
The check engine light came on again -- 8 days after the last fix cost us $96. This time, the bill is $285. Something about the gauges that monitor gas levels, etc. I was reeling from the number at the time.
The funny thing is, my mom had the car checked thoroughly before we left. Yet, so far, we've had over $500 in fixes in the past three months.
To be fair, we did drive it 1,500 miles to get here. And we're having to drive more here than we did in Seattle. Things are farther apart, and the public transportation system is maybe half as good as Seattle's. But I think the car just misses my mom and is protesting.
I'm trying to bear in mind that it's not the biggest setback in the world. It's just disheartening.
Luckily, we're doing Tim's birthday celebration tomorrow as a relatively frugal event. We're hitting Chili's for some of the appetizers he loves so much ($10 per person), then over to the Cheesecake Factory for a cheesecake slice of his choice and a slab of chocolate cake for me ($6-7 a person).
I suppose $40 doesn't sound terribly frugal, but for a decent birthday outing, I consider it an acceptable expense.
It's also lucky that I've been taking on the odd mystery shop. It will bring in a few bucks here and there. Plus, Tim ended up getting one last birthday gift out of it.
Before you go saying that I caved, I would like to attest to it practically being fated. I had to go to a department store for an audit. But it involved killing some time in the store. That's when Tim spied some Ecko hoodies he's been drooling over for about a year. Specifically, the Darth Maul hoodie. Tag price was $99.99, but it was half off. And I had some gift cards that I still hadn't used three months after getting them.
I was already relatively convinced the stars were aligning in our favor. But, while we were standing in line to see how much was on the cards, the woman in front of us was informed she couldn't use her $10 off coupon. So she gave it to us.
And even though the coupon shouldn't have worked after 1 p.m., it did, bringing the hoodie's cost to $39.99. With my gift cards, our total cost was $4.53. You can spend that on a Blizzard at Dairy Queen!
So the hoodie came home with us, and Tim has been wearing it pretty much non-stop since. He is the envy of all of his friends. And they already coveted his PSP, so now they may actually be the green of an unripe tomato. Who knows.
What matters is that Tim is practically skipping around with glee. Not really skipping, though. In fact, he is actually walking around quite purposefully, with his hoodie zipped all the way up. It completely freaks people out. At the very least, he gets some interesting double takes. Especially at night. That's the gift that keeps on giving.