Saturday, July 26, 2014

Circling The Wagons

How quickly things can change. I spent yesterday afternoon comparing hotels and entertainment options. I spent this afternoon comparing used cars and financing options. A never-before-seen dashboard light alerted my wife to a problem with her car, and the dealership’s repair estimate is greater than the car’s value. Long story short: it’s time to replace the car, and doing so will be such a large expense that I must abandon my August vacation plans.

My wife’s car is a 1998 Toyota RAV4 that we bought new. It was great for years, but now it really shows its age. It needed a major engine repair in 2013. That was one of our biggest bills in a very expensive year. Until this weekend, 2014 had been a year with no nasty surprises. We weren’t merely on secure financial footing; we were really getting ahead of the game. This new setback won’t break us, but it will require a quick restructuring of our priorities.

Vacation has to go. I had planned to take the family to Pennsylvania, Aug. 9-17, but now I will spend the time at home. That’s actually better for my cycling ambitions, as all of those days now offer training opportunities. On Tuesday the 12th, for example, I can attend cyclocross practice at Royal Oaks Park. By staying home I will sleep better, eat better, ride more, and save something like $1,000.

At least for now, I don’t expect our automobile drama to limit my bike racing schedule. What could throw a wrench into those plans is the prospect of yet another business trip. My boss introduced that possibility during a meeting on Thursday. I might be heading to Atlanta for a week in October, the busiest month of the WCA cyclocross season.

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