We have had the loan of my sister’s car since we arrived — she started the lease when she was living out in the country, but now that she lives in a city, she can get by quite well without it and resents having to pay to park it, so she was happy enough to let us have the use of it for awhile. She very graciously gave us the first two months as a gift, and said that if we wanted to keep it longer than that, we need only give her the money to cover her payment and insurance — a very fair deal indeed. She joked that we could keep the car as long as we let her keep our cat, and I had half a mind to point out that there are cheaper ways to get yourself a cat (…why, some people even give them away), but I realised there was no point in messing up such a good deal, so I kept my gob shut!
But, good deal or no, the car goes back next weekend. As M points out, it is time (though she hasn’t said so to us, we know she found it was harder to get around without the car than she anticipated) and, the real nub of it is, we can’t afford to keep it. Several weeks of living on base-pay has driven that point right home to us. By the time we take out the rent and utilities, his child-maintenance (just slightly less), our frugal food-budget, the cable/phone/broadband package (my one real luxury), and the monthly payment for my newly acquired medical bills, the amount that is left gives us only a double-digit figure each to cover the month’s miscellaneous spending, including petrol, prescriptions, and those dreaded copays. There is simply no room for a car payment — it has got to go.
We were hoping that M would have gotten a work-van by now — they had initially said he would — but that has not happened and looks unlikely for awhile. So, he will have to take our car to work, where it will sit in a lot all day while he goes out in one of the other guy’s vans, and I will be car-less at home. More to the point, I will be dependent on my mother again. Though the obvious answer is for me to drive him to work, it becomes a practical impossibility when you factor in two sleeping toddlers, a wife who has been up three times in the night, and a 5.30am departure. M will, I know, do everything in his power to get lift into work whenever possible, but we’re both realistic enough to realise that that will be an occasional treat at best. The real answer is get M some sort of cheap run-around just to get him to work and back. Nothing fancy, but it will cost several thousand nonetheless — more expense — and take a little while to get sorted.
So, this coming weekend, my mother and the girls and I will pack up in two cars and drive half-a-day to my sister’s flat. It will be nice to see her, her new place, her city, and have a brief and joyful reunion with the cat. I am looking forward to it very much. And then, it will be back into my mother’s car, on the passenger side, to be driven home — out of control and dependent on her, an uncomfortable position I will have to get used to all over again.