Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year; New Bumps

Well Happy New Year to anyone who may be reading.  I hope your festivities this season were what you hoped for.  Mine pretty much were.

I'm not very big on Christmas, and that there is probably the only time you will see me spell "Christmas" rather than use Xmas.  I have nothing against the religion behind the holiday, I'm just lazy.  That's also why every year, without fail, I leave the Xmas shopping until the very last minute.  I always regret it, I'm not a fan of crowded places.  But I just can't help procrastinating.  Plus, the closer you shop to the actual holiday, the easier the gift ideas become.  Every year it gets harder and harder to buy for people I've known for years, and when I can find a nice gift basket or flower/plant arrangement, my holiday is made.  I suppose most would find it impersonal, but it's no more impersonal than giving someone a gift card, which I gratefully accept from anyone.  I find gift cards to be very useful, because I always need to buy stuff, or spend money, and this way I won't be spending my own.

We just got back from visiting my grandpa out of town.  His gift to us was a $100 gift card for a variety of restaurants.  It's awesome!  David and I eat out all the damn time (to our financial detriment), and this card will come in handy.  Now we can do something nice for his birthday/Valentine's day.  I got him an assortment of scratch cards.  Seems easy, but he is an old man and he was thrilled.  He is also alone and on oxygen, so it provides meager entertainment for him.

As much as I love my Pops, it's hard to visit him lately.  He is only in his early 70's, but he has gotten quite sick over the last couple years and it's hard to see.  I don't want to think about him dying, since I was so close to him growing up.  It will be as crushing as when my Gramma passed.  Also, his recent partner, Joan just passed away a couple months ago, leaving him alone in her house, with only her family around.  It's sad to think about, he seems really lonely.  But it looks like he is thinking about moving "back home" to where my mom is, and they can take care of each other.

But we had a nice time visiting him, even though my mom cut it off short.  He took us all out to dinner, and we had a good time, but we left right after.  I felt bad about eating and leaving, but since my mom spent all day with him the other day, I guess she didn't want to stay long.  Plus her precious dog was home alone, and we can't have that!

To switch it around without a good segue, we went to that house party for New Year's Eve.  It was OK.  I baked cookies all day for it, and once everyone was drunk enough, they went fast.  I got a lot of compliments, which is always nice.  I love baking, it is the one thing I do right.  I can't cook to save my life.  That's the reason why I gained so much weight since being with David, he used to be a chef!  But I have always enjoyed baking, and cookies are my specialty.  But now that David bought me a fancy-ass KitchenAid mixer (normally $300-$400, $188 at Wal-Mart) for Xmas, I am determined to broaden my baking horizons.  This house will be chock full of sugary sweets, which will be awesome for David the diabetic.  But I digress.

The first thing I saw when I walked into the party (besides the chicken wing deep fry-fest happening in the shed) was delicious looking brownies.  I made a mental note to have me one before they were gone.  But the first thing my friend tells me when I sit down next to her is that they are special.  Damn.  Under any other circumstances I would still have had one, but I'm sure you are aware of what an umbilical cord does.  So I made sure David was also aware of the brownie state, as he had a bad experience at a weekend camping party a couples years ago from just a few bites of a special brownie.

The rest of the party went so-so.  I had a couple glasses of watered down wine (wine + club soda = more drinks throughout the night), since I am able to have one normal glass.  Being sober in a house full of drunk and/or high people is never fun for me.  I am definitely a social drinker, I do admit I like to get wobbly, but I am OK with myself if I'm not getting drunk.  All in all I didn't have a bad time, but I know I would have had more fun if I was able to get my drink on.  We all did the countdown along with the NY ball drop, and had a good time with that.  David got his drink on for reals, and was sick by the time we left at 1:30am.  I had to pull over on the way home so he could puke down the side of our brand new car.  My motherly instinct wasn't there yet, but I wasn't mad.  He is an adult, and he is allowed to have a good time.  I did however make sure he had water and a bucket when he went to bed, but he was fine by that point.  I'm a good girlfriend.

So the next day he used a water bottle and some puddle water to wash the remaining yuckies of the passenger side door.  Luckily it had rained most of the night so it was mostly taken care of.  I was concerned about it since I mentioned it's a new car (to us) and I want to take care of this one.  Our last car, a Jeep Liberty, was pretty run down by the time we crashed it and it got written off.  We are not very good car owners.  The accident was what I was referring to in my previous post, about talking more about some of the other bumps we face in our money-whoring life.

It happened in mid-November, when I was around 15 weeks pregnant.  We had just left work and were no more than a block away.  It was raining, and David wasn't paying attention, and we rear-ended another SUV at full speed.  That SUV hit the car in front of that.  It was nasty.  The other two cars didn't get much damage, but our front end was a mess.  And the impact caused our passenger sitting in the middle in the back seat to fly forward, into the front seat.  I got snagged on the seatbelt pretty badly, right at my gut, and also leaving bruises on my chest.  About 5 minutes after the impact, I started having pains in my lower abdomen.  I had been crying quite badly, and everyone else was standing outside in the rain, waiting for the police.  When I told David I was having pains, he got really freaked out and called for an ambulance.

So I had my first ever ride in an ambulance, and went to the hospital by myself while David stayed at the accident.  I wasn't bleeding so that was a good sign.  The Jeep was obviously not drivable, and had to be towed.  So David came to the hospital a couple hours later, where I was still waiting for a bed.  We waited a total of 5 hours in the hospital, slowly being upgraded to another waiting room, then a bed, where I fell asleep for an hour.  When I woke up, the pain was gone and I hadn't been seen by a doctor yet.  I figured that since I wasn't bleeding, and no one had seen me, it was obviously not urgent, so I signed myself out.  We skipped work the next day to rest.

The guy we hit was a co-worker whom David knew and was friendly with.  He kept in touch with us as he took two weeks off, complaining of neck pains.  His emails were friendly, but had an undertone that we were leery of.  We thought he might try to sue us, the way he was talking.  So when he asked how the the baby and I were doing, I told David to tell him it was still touch-and-go, so that he might feel bad and not think about legal action.  So far so good.  He is back to work and asks how I am when I run into him.  The last guy involved in the accident apparently didn't have insurance, so we have no idea what happened to him.  He barely had a dent in his car.

So I had gotten myself depressed at the thought of taking the bus all winter long, especially in the later months when I would be the size of a house.  But David went to work, not only on the insurance clear up, but on looking for a new car.  We found a new place who guaranteed financing, and approved us for a 2007 Dodge Caliber.  We had rented a Caliber before we got the Jeep and really loved it.  So it was something we always looked for.  It was out of our price range back when we ended up with the Jeep (which I loved and miss dearly), but this time, a used one was priced just right.  And the dealer also got our financing through the same bank we had the Jeep, except they lowered our interest rate by 12%!  So our car payments went down, and things worked out for the best.  We love our new car, which is in much better condition than the Jeep, and we intend on taking better care of it.  Especially since it has to last us 6 years until we are done paying for it (eek).

So needless to say, Xmas was a bit of a wash up, when money became so tight after the accident and down payment on the new car.  But luckily, we never have many people to buy for, and those that we do understood the situation we were in.  It was just another situation that really screws things up for us.  We are not good at saving, and more often than we'd like, shit goes wrong and leaves us in a tight situation.  More times than I can count, we would bring the Jeep in for a simple fix, and leave having spent a grand on other things that were extremely important and broken.  Like when we brought it in for an oil change, and they showed us our belt that was shredded into three strips...

...Right before we were going 4 hours out of town.

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