I mentioned that the van broke down a few evenings ago after overheating. I was hoping it was a hole in a pipe from the radiator, since it was the same symptoms as a different van we owned a number of years ago, and the repair for that was just $80. The next morning my husband was able to get it to the mechanic, who said it was the head gasket (in the engine). That’s the kind of phrase that makes your heart sink to hear it – we had a blown head gasket with a small car we owned five years ago, and we sold it for scrap rather than put the money into repairing it.
The initial repair estimate was for $1200. I wasn’t exactly happy to hear that, but I was very grateful that it happened exactly when it did, not a day earlier (when I was in PA) or later (when we’d be in NJ) , not even a half hour later when my husband would have been stranded on the highway in a thunderstorm at midnight. It could have been so, so much worse if it had happened in any of these scenarios. Now it was just annoying and expensive.
A day later, we got the new estimate. $1900. And I still felt grateful, even though this is a serious bill for us. It will end up being more by the time we’re done, because we asked him to check the status of the pipes or whatever else is in the engine area, and if advisable, we’ll have them replaced at the same time. It might not seem like such a frugal thing for the queen of frugality (that’s me ) to do, but I think it will be a good decision.
To fix the head gasket, which is a small and inexpensive part, they have to take apart the entire engine, and then put it back together. That’s what makes it so expensive. And I don’t want to have to do this again for some other little part that could break and require similar effort to repair. So we’ll do what we can now to make it sure everything is running perfectly.
I’ve had a lot of inner peace about this whole thing. No blaming anyone, or annoyance that I won’t have a vehicle for a week (that’s how long fixing it is estimated to take), or that now I have to spend money on this when I’m trying so hard to save in other areas, things that I’d all be usually feeling and working hard to reframe mentally. I have a deep sense of it being a blessing, that I’m being tested financially with my van and this repair bill than with our health or something more directly affecting the kids. It hasn’t been something I’ve thought about intellectually to convince myself of, it’s just something I instinctively feel. Maybe because it coincided with my son coming home, and I feel so, so fortunate to have such a wonderful young man in our family. So I’ve been thanking G-d for His kindness to us in this situation with a strong feeling of gratitude for all the blessings.
Here’s another little blessing: I bought a very well used double jogger on Monday, just two days before the van broke. My husband thought it was unnecessary, but I told him that it would make walking with the kids much easier. And now, just in time, I have a stroller that will enable me to comfortably get out with the kids, when usually the only option would be driving. Isn’t that perfect?