Back to the Future: If You Cut Us, Do We Not Bleed?

The hits continued as we slogged through 2010. And by hits, I mean emergencies. Big emergencies. Looking back, I cannot remember a year when we had so many unexpected expenses, one after another, without stopping. Rereading these posts I cannot believe at times that we just didn’t give up, but we knew we had to succeed. At this point (November) in our journey, the goal was strictly to get ourselves out of debt; other bigger motivational goals had yet to emerge.

One of the big lessons we took from all of this was that there is no one way to walk this path. One family might experience one or two small emergencies, while another might have things going wrong for them all the time. I remember reading Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover, and watching a couple of his videos at the beginning of our journey, and he made it all sound so easy. Beans and rice. Drive a beater. Gazelle intensity. Put $1000 away for possible emergencies. Well, $1000 can go pretty quickly when you have four major emergencies in a month. And it can be nearly impossible to restock that fund or pay down your debt when bad things continue to happen. Gazelles do eventually get tired. Based on the scenarios in Dave’s book, we should have been approaching the finish line at this point in 2010, but instead, it took us over two more years to finally get rid of all our debt.

Life happens. An unexpected turn helped get us into debt, and the road out was filled with twists and turns, ups and downs, and plenty of roadblocks along the way. That’s the story these books don’t tell you. As we discovered, there’s no easy or quick way to prepare for all the pitfalls either – you just meet them head-on, do or build what it takes to go on, and keep going. 

If You Cut Us, Do We Not Bleed?

This whole thing with emergency expenses this year just has to be some kind of giant cosmic joke. I mean all I asked a few days ago is that we be allowed some time off to just catch our breath, and hopefully restock our emergency fund. I did not say, “Bring it on!”

However, this was apparently asking for too much because on Monday morning we woke up to another very sick dog (with a totally different illness). That trip to the vet and the medication cost us nearly $200, and she has to go back the day after Thanksgiving to make sure she will not be blind for life. It turns out she is no longer producing tears, so her eyes got irritated and became infected, poor thing. She will probably need to take medication for the rest of her life so she can make tears. Can you say $$$?

And then on Tuesday evening, just to make sure we were still paying attention, Brett’s laptop died. He went to turn it on, got a blue screen for a moment, heard a sizzle and a pop, then got a black screen and nothing. Thankfully everything is backed up, but this is something that has to be replaced and soon because he uses his laptop for work.

We, of course, have no emergency funds because the expenses just keep coming and we keep paying for them and can’t get anything back into the fund! And now, unless we break out the credit card, there goes our Christmas fund, our meet-the grandchild fund, and our daughter’s school trip fund to cover this latest round of emergency madness. Accelerated debt reduction? Not so much these days.

I cannot wait for this year to be over!

(Apologies to Shakespeare, but we feel like it’s gone beyond mere pricking.)

Sadly, things did not get better after this, at least not right away. Brett did not get a new computer for a few months. Our dog did need medication for the rest of her life; we somehow fit that into the budget. And, I’m not sure how we did it, but we did not use up our special funds nor did we put any of these expenses on a credit card. I don’t remember what we did at this point. All I know now is that we kept going.

12 thoughts on “Back to the Future: If You Cut Us, Do We Not Bleed?

  1. Yeah, 2010 was awful. The. Whole. Year. I was already limping along on the surprise huge income cut of more than half my income that happened October 23, 2009, and barely surviving. Daughter was in college and I could literally not help her with one dime. Thankfully she had a full scholarship, which covered, room, board, tuition and books, and was nearing the end of college in May 2010. She didn’t go through graduation ceremony because of money issues. Ugh. The only bright lining was that she had auditioned and got accepted into the Navy Band and went through boot camp and successfully completed it. My older son was having issues and my two younger sons were starting junior college. Their dad’s income also tanked by about half. It was truly an awful year, with three in college. One never completed his schooling and I still think a lot of it is the awful memories from that time. He just doesn’t see the value in education when his friends came out of college during that time, and were waiting tables, just like those who didn’t go. I am with you on the expenses also. They were hitting fast and furious, with no end in sight.

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    1. I think your year may have just been worse, because you had kids in college. We just had a never-ending stream of things breaking, people and pets getting sick, etc. It never let up. Looking back and reading about all the things that happened, I almost can’t believe we kept going, but we knew that failure was not an option and somehow managed. The good side of it was by the end of the year, everything was fixed and running as it should, and things had straightened themselves out. But what a pain it was to get there.

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  2. What a year of hits. How far you’ve come!

    I know we had many years where we were lucky that we had no “incidents” or “cuts” or “bad luck”. Also, luckily, we have free universal health care. Which we accessed for our son. But we also had private health insurance so we could access other medical services for our son and ourselves.

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    1. It was miserable, and kept going right up until the end of the year. 2011 was much better, but that’s because everything that could have gone wrong did in 2010 and was taken care of.

      We’ve been blessed with excellent medical insurance because of Brett’s time in the military. That was the one thing we never had to worry about, thank goodness, because there was enough else on our plates.

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  3. Is it true what we are reading? That Japan schools are closing short term to address the corona virus? Based on what our “leadership” here is proclaiming…..me thinks you are safer where you are!

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    1. Yes, the schools will be closed through winter break (end of March) and reopen for the new year in April. I think many parents are going to have similar problems here that would occur in the U.S. though as there are many two-income families in Japan now. Families tend to live closer together here though, so I’m sure many grandparents (like us) will step up to help out.

      We are watching the U.S. very closely now – I have a scary feeling things are going to erupt big time over there. I hope not, but many signs point to it. I’m afraid too many people without health care will be afraid to go and get checked, or scared they can’t afford to pay for subsequent health care. Also, in many service industry or hourly-wage jobs, workers are expected to come in sick rather than risk losing their job. It has all the makings of a potential nightmare, in my opinion.

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      1. I heard on the news last night about Japan closing schools and was just about to ask you. Are kids attending school remotely or are the schools completely closed?

        I agree with you about the US. I am not eating in restaurants for the reasons you mention. I feel a lot of people here have the attitude that “it can’t happen here” but of course it can.

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      2. All schools will be closed, but our grandson will be receiving daily lessons via computer, so it will sort of be like homeschooling for him. Not sure about what the public schools will be doing, but it will keep lots of students off of trains, and other places where they might pick up the virus through close contact with others.

        It definitely can happen (and explode) in the U.S. – and we have several things that will feed the fire as well (expensive healthcare, even just to get checked for the virus; immigrants afraid to seek medical care for fear of ICE; and hourly/service workers afraid of losing their job if they call in sick).

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      3. And there was a ruling two days ago regarding sanctuary cities. This means anyone who is illegal will also be reluctant to seek medical treatment, which can also lead to the spread of the virus.

        Here’s the quote from AP:

        The Trump administration can withhold millions of dollars in law enforcement grants to force states to cooperate with U.S. immigration enforcement, a federal appeals court in New York ruled Wednesday in a decision that conflicted with three other federal appeals courts.

        The ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan overturned a lower court’s decision ordering the administration to release funding to New York City and seven states — New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, Massachusetts, Virginia and Rhode Island

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      4. I liken the situation in the U.S. to a load of dry tinder with a whole bunch of matches currently being thrown at it. So far nothing has caught (that we know of) but it’s only a matter of time. I am so sick of waking up everyday wondering “what’s happened now?”

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  4. I get the image of the old Bozo inflatable punching bags with sand in the bottom. You kept getting hit and bouncing back….but what emotional stamina it must have taken to keep going.

    You have GRIT girl!

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    1. This is a good analogy, and exactly how we felt. I have one more post about 2010, and then it’s on to 2011, where things did get better (because everything that could have gone wrong did in 2010!).

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