“Mija, these tires aren’t looking good.”

He was bent down getting an up-close-and-personal view of my tread, even ran a finger over the surface.

“Sí Papi. I know. I’ll get new ones soon.”

That was mid-June.

I didn’t get too close, because I knew my time was running out and the tread was running mighty thin…and I didn’t want to face it. Too many other responsibilities were pulling at me, and I just needed this one to give me more time.

More time.
Just a little more time, please.

And it’s ironic that I told the girls at brunch this past weekend: “I need a man in my life. I need snuggles. And I need someone to take care of the car. I am lousy at the car details. Snuggles at night. Snuggles in the morning. And a periodic, ‘Honey, take your car in this week for an oil change,’ would be nice. That’s all. I wouldn’t bother him much other than that.”

We giggled.

Because at that moment, it was funny.

It wasn’t so funny when the Service Coordinator told me this afternoon that I had failed the state inspection, because my tires were…hold on, let me get the paperwork:

FAILED STATE INSPECTION DUE TO SECONDARY RUBBER SHOWING ON TIRES AND THREAD DEPTH BELOW 2/32. ALSO RIGHT FRONT TIRE IS SEPARATING AND HAS EXPOSED CORDS. NEEDS 4 TIRES.

Huh.

So, yea…that’s, ah…pretty bad.

I mean, I have no idea what “thread depth below 2/32” really means, but “exposed cords” sounds pretty grim.

You’d think…me being a really big fan of roadtrippin’ and all, that I would have this car care thing down pat.

It seems, no. That is NOT the case.
Utter failure is more the term that would fit here.

Groan. 

Of course, that really wasn’t the news I wanted to hear today.
But, I had it coming. No one to blame but myself.

I immediately had to reset the kid’s expectations and tell him that our Friday road trip was now at the mercy of whether 1.) I could get an appointment for 4 new tires and 2.) whether I could afford it.

There was no way I was going to, in good conscience, drive up to Philly and back without a new set of wheels. And I told him why and how unsafe it would be. And that, really, we had been granted a whole lot of grace in the way of safe travels up to now. No point in testing that grace a little further…that would just be greed on top of negligence.

He took it in stride, and I was thankful.

Amazed, might be the better word.
(He’s pretty excited about being back at Kidchella Friday night to see some of his favorite people.)

We stopped at a local tire shop, and I got a quote that was great, but still an unexpected lot out of the budget. And awesome on top of great, the guy said they could have it done tomorrow and within an hour if I got there first thing in the morning.

I think my eyes were bugging out while the gentleman at the desk was giving me all the details – I was just so surprised at how…possible…everything seemed.

So, money was the next big hurdle.

There’s a fair bit on the way, but one of the biggest challenges I find running my own business is balancing time between front-side development and back-of-the-house chores. Invoicing is an important chore…no doubt. But it sometimes falls behind. Combine that truth with the fact that you’re an expense to clients, and sometimes, they don’t pay their bills on time.

Sounds like fun, right?!

My parents fronted me the funds so that I could move things forward.

I hate it, but am so thankful for it all at the same time.

So, in my follow up conversation with the kid, we talked about my weaknesses as a grown up, and areas for growth opportunities…

I don’t need a man in my life to take care of the car. I need to use my tools and resources to better plan for car maintenance, and do a better job at 1.) saving money for those services and 2.) having a robust enough emergency fund to handle a “SURPRISE! You need a new set of tires…like yesterday!” kind of announcement.

So, money is in the account.

I’ve prepped the kid for my early AM disappearance.

I’m expecting a smooth in-and-out at the tire shop tomorrow.

And, we’ll be on the road Friday for an quick up-and-down to Philly and back, as planned.

I’ll get a re-inspection appointment next week, pay my additional $6.25 for the e-sticker fee and that will be done. And, I’ll write a check to pay back my parents by Wednesday, if not before.

I’m on this side of it keenly aware of the Grace that has been all around me, keeping me and the kid safe up to now, giving me the information I needed to make changes, offering me a new set of tires at a good price with quick service, gifting me with money now instead of having to wait for money next week, and keeping me in line to honor my commitment to the kid to make connections that matter to him happen.

I’m overwhelmed.
And thankful. So, so thankful.