I wanted to provide an update of what’s happened since we asked for help back in June, good, bad, and indifferent.
First of all, and by far the best news of all, is something I’ve kept a little close to my chest. I’ve managed to land a much better job that pays more than enough to right our ship going forward.
The reason for the discretion is that I had landed a job some months ago that looked to be a good thing, and shared the news in the forum chat immediately, only to promptly and humiliatingly receive the “thank you, but no thank you” within two weeks of starting the job. It was a job doing something I had no prior experience doing and I guess that showed through pretty quickly.
Not in a rush to make an ass of myself in quite the same way, I wanted to make sure things seemed to be okay before speaking about it publicly. And, well, it’s been going very well! It’s a remote job with a non-profit, much like my original employer before I was laid off last February, and the job duties are honestly not that much different. I’m fitting in well and my colleagues and immediate manager seem happy with me so far. I’m also not feeling any impostor syndrome as I’ve already done this before.
Also, the help we received meant not having our backs completely against the wall. We were able to get the other vehicle working (Well, sort of. It still needs more work. It’s the little 2-door guy that’s been mostly sitting since my original post.), which gives us two-ish running vehicles, which is a big deal. If one goes down for repairs, we could possibly switch to the other until we can make repairs (It “runs” but some more tinkering is required before I feel we could really rely on it as a temporary backup, but we’re closer.). There were also little things that cost more upfront, but would save us money along the way. Like re-upping our defunct Costco membership, which pays for itself within a couple weeks (cat litter alone is a big deal) but we were too hand-to-mouth to justify paying the annual membership at the time.
Another huge bit of good news was received from my spouse’s brother back in Pennsylvania (he’s a general contractor, but he has been too busy to drive up until now). He just spent a few days going through the house we bought last summer (tax sale before everything went topsy turvy) and he had some very good news for us. One, the roof doesn’t need to be replaced and the leak we had was due to wind damage to some flashing. He repaired it and says we have at least 5-10 years left in the roof. Two, there are two separate circuit breakers. That may sound like a headache at first, but we thought there was only one connected to an original knob and tube system. The second is installed with modern wiring and services most of the house. Meaning, at some point someone installed the modern circuit breaker and wiring, and simply left the old system there, probably to save money. He said it’ll still be a headache to resolve at some point, costing us a small fortune in electrical work, but he disconnected the older circuit breaker from incoming power, so it isn’t an immediate fire risk nor an immediate barrier to habitation as the modern system provides power for everything else. The only space that seemed to be still serviced by the old knob and tube was the basement, which we can live without for the time being. Three, he was able to get the old oil-burner heating system to fire up and run. He said we’d want to replace it sooner rather than later and probably with a new furnace and an alternate fuel source, but it does still function despite sitting for a few years.
Basically, it isn’t pretty, but with a few weeks of sweat equity, he believes we could actually move in, which is huge. We thought the house needed far more costly repairs to be base-line habitable, but being able to move in and work on the rest while we’re already there is a big deal. Our lease is up on June 1st, 2024, so if we can swing the move and rehab, we can move into the house and we won’t have rent or a mortgage payment. It’s what we were trying to do before I was laid off in February, so this breathes some fresh hope into our plans. On top of it, I have a remote job again, which makes moving sooo much easier. My spouse was able to confirm with their employer that their job will also transfer to the area next June.
So, basically, assuming nothing completely unexpected happens, like an anvil falling from the sky or whatnot, this puts us in a much better position, especially if we can get to June in one piece.
There is, however, a negative side to this. I started this job on August 14th. The job pays bi-monthly (mid-month and end-of-month). When I started, I asked about when I would expect my first paycheck, and I was told they believed it would be the end of August as my first day was before the second half of the month started. The end of August has come and gone, and after contacting my employer’s payroll, I was informed that unfortunately my immediate manager had been mistaken and my first paycheck wouldn’t arrive until mid-September. Sorry for the inconvenience.
The work I was doing prior to this was gig work, which, despite it’s many, many drawbacks, it had one positive. It paid same day. So, had I continued to work gig work for the remainder of the month, we would have money in hand, albeit less of it.
So, we went from receiving a trickle of money every day to holding our breath when I started working this job. We managed to get through, mostly due to the fact that the help we received put us far enough ahead that we had enough to scrape up to the end of the month, but with my check not hitting until September 15th at the earliest, that puts us in a not very super awesome spot.
This is honestly ironic given the fact that our luck has significantly turned for the better, but it doesn’t change the fact that, after confirming details with my employer, we are now significantly short on our rent.
We’ve already stretched our landlord’s patience with late rent a couple of months ago when we first ran into problems. So, when we spoke with our landlords and after a significant amount of back and forth, they only gave us until 10:30pm EST on Tuesday, Sept. 5th to come up with the full total. They said they would seek eviction after that point even if the rent was later paid-in-full, which they can do because our lease was converted to a month-to-month the last time we signed a renewal.
This is really frustrating because my spouse is paid on the 12th and I’m paid on the 15th. We’re about to be broken over a week’s difference, which I tried to stress with our landlords, but to no avail.
I’m doing gig work over the holiday weekend and I could call in on Tuesday (granted, not a great look with a new job, but what can you do) so I can do gig work that day as well, but the work is fickle and the vehicle I’m using has a 23 year-old truck with a V8 engine, so the gas economy makes the pay inadequate. Almost half of what I earn goes back into the tank. On top of that, I didn’t “dash” enough last month, as I started working the new job mid-month, to secure “top-dasher” which would allow me to sign in and out as I please. Without that perk, I have to fight for available shifts with other drivers, which means I’m not even able to work consistently, even with the gas-guzzler handicap.
I was hoping to finish repairs on our second vehicle (the little hatchback that died on us in the first place) so we would have some much-needed vehicle redundancy, but I could scrap it instead. The problem is it’s a very small car and the best offer I could get for it was $150. It’d also be a little shortsighted to scrap a vehicle that is technically running and that I can likely finish fixing for so little money, but that’s being between a rock and a hard place.
Even with scrapping the other car and a very optimistic estimate on gig work earnings that will still leave us short on Tuesday night.
I tried to see if I could get a vehicle title loan with our primary vehicle as collateral, but it turns out that title loans are illegal in Michigan, so that isn’t an option here.
I even thought about selling our primary vehicle to make up the difference, but that would truly be a pyrrhic victory as we would immediately be up a creek without a reliable vehicle and I don’t have the credit nor long enough work history at my current employer to pull another car loan right now. I know, because I recently tried when the hatchback died in the first place; they want at least 3 months at your current employer, preferably 6 months or more.
It’s probably a good thing I can’t legally sell a kidney, because I would seriously consider it right now.
So that’s about where we’re at. We have a serious path forward with my new job and the tax sale home and we are painfully close to being financially solvent for the first time since February. But we need to make it through to the 12th to make that happen.
So, we find ourselves full circle, needing a way to cover this gap until the 12th. And I hate coming back here, metaphorical hat in hand, but we are so painfully close to not only being solvent, but financially in a way neither of us have ever been. It’d also be super neat to not crush the car I’ve spent a dozen hours coaxing back to life, but I’d be deeply thankful just to make it through at this point.
In short, if you are able and willing to help, please do. If not, we understand, and we’ve both agreed this is the last time. We won’t be imposing further after this.
We either make it after this or go down with some sense of acceptance.
With that said, thank you all for the support, kind words, and all of the help already rendered.
With humility and deep appreciation,
Pinkunz & Company (+1 old kitty )
Edit-to-Add: Someone pointed out I should include specifics, which is, duh, yeah, I should have done that. To make up for what I haven’t been earning this holiday weekend, and depending on how much I earn tonight and tomorrow, we probably need about
$250 $200 $150 $130 $99.10 $84.10 $0.00 (thank you!!!) to make up the difference. About $150 $134.10 $0.00 (Thank you!!!) more to not smoosh the car.
Edited-to-Addx2: Again, someone pointed out something I should have included. Sorry for not thinking clearly. This is a short term shortfall, meaning these transactions can and will be reversed when we get double paid later this month. This is a request for a loan, not a gift.
Edited-to-addx3: Sorry, been trying to keep up and door dash at the same time. The last bit needed to cover not smooshing the car came in while I was dealing with an alcohol delivery gone sideways. That was everything we need! Thank you all so very very much!!