08 February 2011

Straight up Potholes

For those of you who live in places where there is a regular freeze/thaw cycle all winter, you will be familiar with the bane of winter driving otherwise known as the pothole.  The city I live in is notorious for its absolutely horrendous pothole problem, and right now it’s at its worst.  To help you understand exactly how bad our pothole problem can be, several years ago on my way to work, I hit a pothole.  It bent the suspension and frame of my car (I can’t say that the car was all that rugged either…)   Why am I telling you all about potholes?  Because my unexpected bumps in the road from the other day weren’t just bumps… they were the cracked pavement right before a giant pothole appears in the street.  On Saturday, we had our pothole.
Turns out, my car overheated because the cylinder gasket was failing.  Apparently the clue was that it looked like someone had vacuumed out the air/water in the upper radiator hose.  I took a picture of it, because I thought it could help them diagnose it.  I was right.   This is not a good thing; in fact, I think you can find it in:  The Book Of Bad: Car Edition on page 1 or 2.  Without the gasket, your car doesn’t work.  It overheats, and dumps exhaust into your cooling system.  Plus – the gasket is in the middle of your engine, so you have to take the engine half apart to fix it.  And, if that wasn’t enough, there’s the possibility that you’ve warped your cylinder heads and that they have to be machined.

Needless to say, fixing this problem isn’t cheap.  We had $12,500 in our IVF fund, and were expecting about $3,000 more this week, bringing us very close to the $16,300 that we needed to be able to pay up front for IVF.  But – fixing the car will be about $2,000, which is a lot more than we had hoped.  I have been trying all this time to be able to pay for the majority of our treatment with cash and reimbursements, and now that’s a little bit out of reach.  Especially since the amount I’ve quoted above doesn’t include any of the medications, or the anesthesia… it’s just IVF and ICSI.  We have enough available credit to forge ahead anyway (mostly because the total balance on our credit cards is less than $300), but it wasn’t really what I wanted to do.  It sucks.

I had a really hard time Saturday afternoon; because after the mechanic called Jakobe said that we needed to talk and that we shouldn’t make any decisions right away.  I thought he was talking about postponing IVF, and I had a mini freak-out in my head.  Turns out that what he meant was that we had to decide how we were going to pay for it: with cash or with credit…  I think we should pay with my new rewards card, and then we should pay off the rewards card with our cash.  Keeps us out of the hole, and gets us frequent flyer miles.

One of the things I said to Jakobe while we were talking is that now that we’ve started the ball rolling, I don’t think I can stop.  Postponing things again would be extremely hard for me.  In response he said that even while we were on hold, I couldn’t let go. So we aren’t changing our plan to go ahead with the April IVF cycle, just having to re-think how we’re paying for it.

Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.


  1. Ugh, I too live in a place where potholes are part of life. How frustrating for you!

  2. Oh, yes, living outside Boston I've become quite familiar with potholes, unfortunately. And this winter has been so, so bad. Everything is just a huge mess.

    Fingers crossed for this next cycle... I'm of the "hey, just throw all your money at it, it'll work out okay!" group, which obviously isn't always the smartest idea. I'm not a great budgeter, heh.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog, by the way. I like meeting new people :)


  3. PA = some of the worst roads in the country. Very familiar with the pothole scenario.

    I am so, so sorry about the car! When it rains, it pours, right? Grrr. I'm glad you are still able to move forward, though.

    Damn the torpedoes, indeed! Woot!

  4. We don't have bad weather (Los Angeles) but we still have potholes. They stink!

    From the way you describe it, I'd pay with the rewards card for the miles and then pay it off asap. I don't like carrying debt either, but the rewards are nice.

    I hope April works out for you!

    ICLW #61

  5. Potholes are part of our lives too, and they wreck cars!


  6. I hate pot holes..I live in a place where they never keep up with the roads so the pot holes get huge! lol

    Happy ICLW #122

  7. Stopping by for ICLW. I'm sorry about your car. That stinks. It seems like when it rains, it pours. Good luck.


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