So after my last post, I was cherrful, chipper. Christmas was so close I could taste it. We’d gotten our car repaired and back on the road…
Then Christmas Eve mom heads out to work and…. I get a call.
My mom’s alright, to anyone that suddenly thought the worst. She’s perfectly fine.
The car however, is not. Between when I picked the car up from the shop last Tuesday to Thursday night, everything was fine. The car was running great. No weirdness. No problems….
Then my mom turned onto a main road towards work not 2 blocks from our home, and suddenly all the lights came on then it just stopped dead in the middle of the road. She calls me. There’s people who saw it happen, and they stopped to help her get it out of the road. They help her try to jump the car 3 times before she calls me. It doesn’t work.
I’ve got my pants on, feet shoved into shoes and grabbed up my purse and phone. I’m out the door like a shot and running up hill to get to where she’s at.
I reach her and the disabled car. She’s sobbing. The people who have stopped just offered to take her to work so I can stay with the car. They come back, they wait with me for the tow truck I have coming through our roadside assistance program with State Farm. It’s going to be an hour wait. Turns out the people that stopped go to church with the guys who own the tow company. They call the guys, and they raise hell. I shouldn’t have to be waiting an hour on Christmas Eve, so close to my home, too.
The woman’s on the phone shaming them into coming out much sooner. The man has the hood up and is looking at my car. He’s a mechanic, but he’s not got any of his tools with him, so he can’t do a thorough job of looking it over. His best estimate, in the dark and the rain, is that the timing belt broke.
When I get home, I don’t want to think about it. I just crawl into bed. The car can’t get worked on till Monday anyway. Our mechanic, and pretty much every mechanic, is taking the Christmas Weekend off. So it sits in my driveway until yesterday.
I have it towed in to my mechanic. Over the weekend I’ve looked up what it means when the timing belt on a Hyundai Elantra breaks. It’s not good. We’re looking at a repair job in the thousands. Might as well buy a new car.
Mechanic confirms the timing belt is broken. But because we don’t have a free-wheeling engine, we’ve got an interference engine, there’s a 99.9% chance the engine is shot to hell. Bent valves and broken heads. We’re fucked. But can’t know that until the timing belt is replaced, because the parts that are potentially fucked can’t move, so can’t see any damage to them.
So just to put the belt in, it’s $180 labor. He made sure to show me the manual with the detailed explanation of the work involved. Hell, now I’m surprised he’s not charging more than that, to be honest. The part is gonna be another $60. And so here we sit, getting the belt replaced JUST so he can see what damage is done. We don’t have the money to fix it, we don’t have the money to buy another car. Even a piece of shit clunker. Not until probably March or April, when the taxes get done. If even then.
So here I sit, faced with that same old difficult decision of getting a job or sticking with the plan my doctors have me on so I can file for disability in June.
IF I can get a job, it has to be within walking distance of my home because there is NO public transit in my town, and I would not be able to afford a cab, since every penny would have to go into bills and such, with an added car bill and car insurance in the mix. The assistance we already get would be cut drastically, which would also mean more money out of pocket for food as well. My medicaid would be cut off, and I would lose eligibility for my disability. Further damage to my knees and back of the crippling variety would also be an issue, as I already need a cane most days to walk around my own home. Sitting or standing jobs, it won’t matter as my back pain only lets me sit for about an hour before my back locks in place. Standing for more than an hour at a time, or walking, and my knees give out. Hence why I’m trying to figure out a way to work from home. There’s the added issue of how much I might make in a month. If I make more than a certain amount, my husband’s disability check will get cut back. It’s literally the only stable income we have right now. SO if it gets cut, there’s the very real possibility of not having enough to cover bills.
However, IF I stick with the plan I have with my doctors, I’ll have to wait it out, and we may not be able to make it financially because even then, wait till June to do the paperwork, and there’s an unknown amount of time before approval or rejection, and then I start the process over again. In the meantime, bills.
The potential for catastrophic failure is high in both options. Because it all hinges on IF I can even find a job, and IF I even get hired, and IF I get approved for disability.
So right now, I’m waiting to hear back from my mechanic, clinging to the hope, the slimmest, barest possibility that when the pistons stopped, the valves were open and there is no further damage to the engine. If there IS damage, our options are to fix it for 1100-1200, replace it for 1500-1600 or get a new car…. and his initial recommendation is to just get a new car. So… Yeah. I’ll post an update on the car later after I’ve heard from him and have talked it over with my mother.