When I don’t have a vehicle, I feel like I lose my lifeline to the world, and I feel like I am not as good of a mother. Between not being able to get out to things, having no one visit me, and being so overwhelmed/exhausted that I get frustrated more easily, not having a vehicle effects us in more ways than I can say. While my family means well, they say things like “at least you live in the city” and “good thing there are buses/taxi’s” and my personal favorites “good exercise to walk” and “it’s not that far”… they simply don’t truly realize what it’s like to live without access to any vehicle for the periods of time that I have over the years. I understand why they think that way though as it’s how I thought living in the city would be when I was a kid and my mom and I would visit my Nany in Portland (now that is a city you can thrive car free in!) and my sister in Lewiston. I used to love going to see them and being able to walk to the store or to the library. My Nany even took me on a tour including a bus to the Maine Mall and a walk to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s home, all with the power of our own two feet, and it was amazing! I love to go for walks, but *having* to walk, whether it’s the heat of summer or the dead of winter, in the rain or the snow, with a small child in tow and usually bags (since I don’t go out unless I absolutely have to, usually because we need something) is much different than going for a walk or even a hike. It’s difficult enough for people who are well but it adds a whole other level of complicated when you add fibromyalgia to the mix. For me, it takes days to recover from my good days, and longer from those days I push myself to do things when my body is screaming NO! When you don’t have a vehicle though, you don’t have a choice about it, if you want to feed your children, you must go buy groceries one way or another…
I was sure I would be walking until at least Spring due to the quotes I was getting from local garages. We received $300 in Christmas money though so last week I asked my father about his mechanic to see if his prices were any better. He had Gertrude picked up a few days later. They were able to find a used alternator to put in for us to save money AND found a tire to replace the one that no longer held air too! When my Aunt unexpectedly showed up last night, after just two days, thanks to my cousin Alicia agreeing to follow her up to drop it off and bring her back, she told me that she wasn’t sure what the bill was yet so I offered the $300 I had but she told me to put it towards insurance instead ❤ “Don’t drive it without insurance this time!” I agreed and started reviewing the quotes I’d gotten as soon as they went home. I was excited to be able to find an amazing deal on insurance through Allstate, at half the cost of Progressive! The down payment took most of it but left me with enough to fill the gas tank giving us a new lease on life ❤
This morning I woke up with a HUGE weight lifted off my shoulders. Knowing that today was stock up grocery day, and that I would be able to buy literally anything I needed (or wanted) without regard for getting it home was awesome! Even better was being able to travel to the Lewiston Hannaford which has far more organic and gluten free products at better prices than the stores closer to our home, and where we haven’t been able to shop in months!
I don’t know that they really realized how grateful I was/am for my cousin dropping everything to follow my Aunt to my home to drop off Gertrude, nor how inadequately I feel I expressed my thanks to my Aunt through how awkward I felt about not paying, again, for something I fully intended to but was surprised with being debt free, but perhaps knowing what it opens in our lives, and what we have to look forward to now that we’ve gotten our van back can scratch the surface of what it means to me and my family:
Visiting family and friends
Trips to the library/museum/parks, etc. both in town & full day trips
Being able to sign up for classes/activities to benefit the boys learning
Having more time and energy to do the things I need and want to do instead of using it on the way to places