Alyse In Words

A Year of Practicing Contentment

14 Days In: Emissions & Omissions

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I started this with the grand idea of posting every day starting around January 1-2 and have totally failed at it because I spent time worrying what people reading this would thing, spent time designing the writing space, and spent time redesigning the writing space because I haven’t mastered that ‘no overthinking’ thing yet.

I do this exercise of choosing a word/concept to apply to my life every year.  It seems more achievable than making a resolution.  Doesn’t that always feel like you’re just setting yourself up to fail? You know why they run all the Weight Watchers ads in January? Because the same people resolve at the start of every new year to lose weight.  Somebody said that repeating the same actions and getting the same results each time is a bit of lunacy and I agree.

Anyway.

I am determined to spend less and appreciate what I have more.  With this in mind I cleaned up my 10 year-old Chrysler Pacifica and took it for it’s emissions test on 12.30.16. The engine light has been on since the day I bought it–faulty sensors, no car malfunction. It has always passed inspections but this year the emissions minions have added that all senors must be working.  I limped away with my failed sticker to an Auto Zone.  One free test later, I am aware that the Starship (name of the Pacifica) has 4 malfunctioning sensors.  Next a mechanic announced that sensor repairs and fixing a pesky oil leak would cost approximately enough to build a replica of the Millennium Falcon.  I hate this equation.  I think about how much I hate car payments. I rationalize to myself that it’s not 2017 yet and, honestly, that even though it doesn’t quite fit into all of this, it’s the smart thing to do.  Eight hours later I try to celebrate the positives here–no anxiety at credit check, no pressure from sales guy, not a payment that frightens me. No engine light on at purchase–this is certainly a step forward.  Hello Sapphire, my new-to-me Chevy Eclipse.

Part of last year’s quest for comfort culminated in me getting some older-person-with-lower-income funding from my county that resulted in some major safety, green, happifying upgrades to my house. They finished in December and I applied for a refinance on the mortgage because it would take the mortgage down to 3%. Yahoo! The folks at the county assured me on multiple occasions this funding is never considered in mortgage refinance.  This was SO not true. And from 12.31.16 through 1.13.17 I found myself wrestling in the muck between the county (‘your bank is just too fussy–you should use a different bank’) and the bank where I have happily re-fied before (‘these guys aren’t following Fannie Mae guidelines’). On Friday the 13th (cue gloomy music), the woman from the county program yelled at me.  YELLED at me. People don’t yell at me. I don’t yell at people. I knew it was time to reassess based on contentment protocol.  The new refi will sever any obligation to the county but it also requires me rethinking how I wanted that to look in the future. I’m okay with that. I also realized that I had allowed myself to be pulled in to something that doesn’t belong to me. The county rep owned up to making a mistake on my transaction and said they won’t make the same error on someone else’s account.  And that’s a good thing. Not everyone asks questions and stands up for themselves. I feel like I regained my equilibrium and will admit that I smirk a little because I know that my banker is still taking these county folks to task. I’m just not in the middle of it.

The state of life is most happy where ‘extras’ are not necessities and ‘necessities’ are not wanting. – Lao Tsu

 

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