Since I left off with our car situation before Baby R's bday, I thought I should wrap that all up since I know you're all dying to know how it ended. (Warning: This post is long and boring, but I know I left it as such an enticing cliffhanger before that you all are compelled to keep reading even with that disclaimer.)
We found a van on Carmax in Wichita and they were going to bring it to Kansas City for us for free. We went and test drove a different one that was the same model before it arrived to make sure they weren't wasting their time sending it. While we were waiting for it to arrive, a friend of mine who had started working at a car dealership let me know he had a van available, and he could get me his discount so even though it was listed at close to $19K, he could probably get it for the $15K max I told him we were looking for. DH and I met him that Friday over our lunch breaks and as soon as we saw it, we knew there was no way we could get it for that price. It was way too nice. But I took it on an extended test drive and dropped it off at our mechanic's to check it out just in case.
Side note: Remember how I didn't have my insurance card the day of the accident so I had 10 days to show proof of insurance and they'd eliminate the $200 ticket? Well, on day 6, I looked up the phone number to the clerk's office at work since I'd left my ticket at home so I could find out where I needed to go to show my insurance card. The clerk said she didn't even have it in her system yet, and they always say 10 days, but they rarely even have the ticket processed by then and to call back next week. Ok. So Thursday, I got to thinking and realized that when I looked it up online, I found the COUNTY traffic clerk's phone number. Not the CITY one. The municipal court was where my ticket said I had to show up. Awesome. Thursday was day 10. Thursday was also Veteran's Day so the government offices were closed. OMG if I end up having to shell out $200 because I was a super flake and called the wrong clerk's office on top of everything else, my husband may leave me. At the suggestion of co-workers that the clerk might have more pity for me in person than anonymously on the phone, I decided to stop by Friday.
So back to the vans. Thursday was also the day that the Carmax van arrived from Wichita. DH went to test drive it after work while I stayed home with the kiddos, and we planned for me to test drive it after work Friday since we were already going to the other car dealership over lunch. I left work early so I could pick up the van from the mechanic (who gave it a stellar review, BTW) and stop by the courthouse. Of course, it started raining, so traffic was terrible. Then I went across the street to the jail instead of to the clerk's office, so I literally ran through pouring rain to make it before 5:00pm. Dripping wet, I related my tale. Thankfully the clerk had pity on me and let me show proof of insurance even though A) I was a day late, and B) I was a flake and called the wrong clerk's office, and C) I didn't even have the ticket with me, because, again, I had left it at home (I'm like a Grands biscuit by this point, extra-flaky). I was also able to not have to go to court now, so I just paid my fine then as well. Whew! One more thing checked off the list.
So now I had to take the van back across town during a deluge-ridden rush hour. It took me an hour and 15 minutes to make the 45 minute drive. I dropped it off, spent 30 minutes with them trying to tell me that $150 payments over 66 months is totally doable (even though no matter how you slice it, it's still $3K over what our max price was). Finally left there and stopped by the house for 10 minutes to tell the girls goodnight before heading to Carmax to do the test drive and basically sign the paperwork.
I got to Carmax and the woman who had been helping us came out to meet me and then offered to pull the van around so I wouldn't have to walk out in the rain. I waited and waited. And waited. Finally, I saw her walking back through the showroom. I met her halfway. She couldn't find the van on the lot, so she was going to pull up the information on the computer. Someone else bought it in the three hours I had been late getting there because I was returning the other van. I actually laughed on the drive home. This is seriously my life. I know it's nothing tragic, it's just a ridiculous string of bad luck I've had lately. I've always been unlucky, but this month takes the cake.
Speaking of cake, Saturday was Baby R's 1st bday and party - awwww! Here's a pic of her cake which turned out fantastic if I do say so myself. I'm not very skilled in the cake decorating department, but I was quite pleased with this. (The cupcake just happened to be on the plate when I took the pic, so just pretend it's a silo.) Sunday she took her first steps! So amid the frustration, we found joy. And I was really needing to find it, let me tell you! Things were starting to look up. All I had left to do was resolve the title situation and find a new car and we could finally put this whole wreck behind us.
Monday I went to the tag office and thanks to the new supercool wave of technology that has FINALLY reached the government offices, I can sign up online and they will text me when there's about 15 minutes until my turn so I don't have to stand in line for an hour and a half. And I had already downloaded my form to request a copy of my lost title and filled it out so my turn would go quickly.
When I got there I explained to the woman that I had my lien release, but couldn't find my title. She said that's because I never had my title; it was still in Topeka. Ah, well that made me feel better to know I'd never lost it! So now I had to contact the state office and they would be able to send it to me. Tuesday I called, but those lucky government employees close up shop at 4:00pm so I'd just missed them. I tried again on Wednesday, and she said I just needed to go to my local tag office and they could issue an e-lien release. "But I was just there, and she told me to contact you? Don't I need to give the lien release I have to you?"
"Yes, well you can just come to Topeka and do it that way."
Uh, yeah, because I have 3 hours out of my work day to do that. "Well, can I just mail it?"
"Sure, but it will take six weeks to get the title that way. If you do an e-lien release you can have it in a week."
Why didn't the woman at the tag office tell me that the first time? Grrr....
By then it was the end of the day so I couldn't make it there in time, and Thursday was going to test drive another van DH had found, and I needed to leave early since they closed at 6pm. So the title resolution was postponed.
Thursday I picked up the van after work for another extended test drive so I could have our mechanic check this one out Friday. Friday morning, I went to get the girls loaded up and head out, but I couldn't find the key to the van. DH had driven to the store Thursday night. Please don't tell me....
I called him and yes, he had the key with him. For the first time in weeks, we were ready early. I was going to be on time to work! And now I would be lucky to get there by 10am. Sigh. But at least I got some dishes done while I was waiting
That afternoon, the van got a clean bill of health, so we made our way to the dealership to sign the papers after work - WOO HOO!!!
What a gleeful experience we had in that cashier's office. The girls were playing contentedly - Baby R even walked 5 or 6 steps to the doorway! Oh, happy day! We left and went our separate ways so I could get the girls something for dinner and meet DH back at the house. I got them settled and hit the highway at bedtime thinking they might drift off to sleep. Ha! I knew that wouldn't really happen, but it was a peaceful journey, and I felt more relaxed than I had in weeks.
Until we'd gone about five miles. Suddenly there was something in the middle of the road. A crate? A table? I didn't see it early enough to swerve (which is probably good since being in a top-heavy van, swerving is not very safe). However, that meant that I hit said crate/table/someone's garbage in the middle of the road that they didn't bother to come back for. NOOOOOO!!! My new (to me) van had a huge hole ripped in the front bumper. LESS THAN 20 MINUTES AFTER I BOUGHT IT, PEOPLE!!!! I. Was. So. Angry.
Suffice it to say, so was DH. I couldn't talk about it, I was so angry. (And clearly, I'm one who talks.) Crying tears of frustration and anger, I was physically sick to my stomach I was so upset. I felt so depressed, I just wanted to go to bed. I decided to watch some TV first thinking a sitcom might break me out of my funk. Nope. Went to bed on time, got a decent night's sleep. Still depressed the next day.
Sunday we had family pictures to wrap up Baby R's first year series, so I managed to put on a happy face. And I was glad to see the photographer who is a friend of mine. By the end of the weekend, I was in a slightly better mood. I was far from thrilled Monday morning to have to explain to my co-workers why my nice new van had a broken bumper, though. Found out yesterday it will cost around $750 to fix it.
I feel like this phase of my life will never end. I think it is truly the worst month of my life. Not the worst day, by far. Not the worst week even. But I don't think I can recall a continuous month-long downward spiral like this. And as I mentioned before, I know it's not the end of the world. I know things could be much worse. But I am really hoping that Thanksgiving is the turnaround point!