Talk about penny wise…

This is a post where I throw my husband under the bus. He wasn’t “pound foolish,” but rather flat out plain foolish. I know I wrote that I wasn’t going to complain about my husband ever again in this post, but that was so last week.

sunrise in the Sonoran desert reflected in swimming pool
Our first sunrise back at home.

We drove eight hours from Santa Barbara to our Arizona home on Saturday. The car hadn’t been driving as smoothly as it normally does. Anytime we got close to 80 mph it shook. It’s never done that before. But we managed to keep it in the 70s and we had an amazing drive home without hitting traffic.

Now for the penny wise part. After we unloaded the car, I noticed the right rear tire had gone flat. I had taken the car into the dealership twice — once for servicing last month and for a recall days before our trip. I was told both times that we needed to replace the two back tires. The first time I was told this, I called my husband. I didn’t trust the dealership because one, I’m a woman, and two, some dealerships try to upsell you. The being a woman thing in my experience is that I don’t know enough about cars and mechanics and dealerships can take advantage of that.

So I relied on my husband. He said the tires were fine. He didn’t want to spend the money — the penny wise part.

We were too tired to deal with the tire after our eight-hour drive on Saturday. We called Triple A Sunday morning to change the tire. The spare tire turned out to be a little skinny thing I call “the donut tire.” Triple A came three and a half hours later. My husband said when he saw the back tire, he was shocked. It was down to metal without tread! That was on the inside of the tire where he didn’t check it — obviously — when he told me we didn’t need new tires.

We called Costco and other tire stores and NOBODY had our tires. They said it was a supply chain issue. Service at the dealership was closed.

Last night, I noticed the donut tire and left rear tire were both losing air. I called the dealership this morning at 7 a.m. and the service person said they didn’t have the tires either! I called back and asked to order tires and the guy in the parts said they DID have the tires.

I told my husband I’d follow him to the dealership. He pumped up the donut tire and put in “fix a flat” and pumped up the left rear tire with a bicycle pump!

I prayed as I followed him for 25 minutes to the dealership, watching the tires get lower as he drove.

I was shaking when we finally made it. I am so thankful we didn’t have a blow out during our eight-hour drive home from California. It could have happened anytime — on the freeway through Los Angeles — or in the desert in 110 plus heat without any cell service. We could have been stuck anywhere along the way with NO tires for days. As annoying and inconvenient as the past two days were, we are safe and it could have been a whole lot worse.

green desert views after monsoons
It must have rained while we were gone. The desert is so lush and green. Even the hillsides are green.

Have you or a family member ever been penny wise and pound foolish? In what ways? Would you do things differently if you had a chance? Have you had any experience with car dealerships or mechanics taking advantage of your lack of car knowledge?

7 Tips for parents of college freshman on move-in day

Move-in day for the parents of college freshman can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips I wrote when we moved our daughter into her dorm room this week four years ago.

 

The check-in table at Move-in day.

The check-in table at Move-in day.

Yesterday was move-in day for our youngest. It was easy to spot check-in with bright red pop-up tents, a field of red carts and dollies, and a line of students ready to help move us in. Not us, but my daughter. It sure felt like us, though.

Being 15 minutes early was an excellent idea. There was parking. There were carts. There was a small line. Later in the day — parking was in the outer limits — and it was wall-to-wall students and parents making their way to the dorms with carloads of matching “Big Box College-Bound” gear.

In her dorm room getting settled.

In her dorm room getting settled.

Once in the room, we began lifting bedding, towels and clothing out of the cart. I wondered if I’d be strong, without tears, and how I’d get through the day. 

Here’s what worked and didn’t work:

1. Don’t try and unpack for your kid. Don’t try and put things away. This is their space, their new home. They need to make it their own.

2. Don’t hover and stay in their room. Make sure they have what they need and leave them alone. Be sure to be nearby for when they will invariably call.

3. Be prepared to shop multiple times during move-in day. We made one trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond, Home Depot and Costco — and five to Target. This was after we drove a packed-to-the-hilt Sequoia through four states with everything she needed.

4. Make lists. The large stores have lists for your student to make shopping easier. Of course, they have way more things on their lists than you actually need, but it’s a good starting point. Make your own list with the store’s list as a guide. After you move in your freshman’s things, you’ll discover what you didn’t think about or forgot — like strips to hang up pictures and art. Revise and rewrite your list as the day goes on.

5. Don’t try to stay up with the roomie. Some roommates will come equipped with flat-screen TVs, $1,000 bikes, and the best and latest technology. Don’t worry about what they have and you do not. In a dorm room, keep remembering the mantra — LESS IS MORE!

6. Don’t go out and buy a router for the dorm’s WiFi until you read the section on technology on the college’s website. Most likely routers are not allowed and it’s a simple passcode that is needed instead.

7. Feed your student. He or she may be so intent on getting unpacked and settled and meeting dorm mates, that he or she won’t take time to eat. Make sure to stock bananas, apples, yogurt and other healthy snacks in their room and fridge.

The swim tee shirt quilt I made for my daughter's dorm room. Years of memories.

The swim tee shirt quilt I made for my daughter’s dorm room. Years of memories.

I made it through the day without tears — mostly. It was a long, busy and tiring day. When my husband and I stopped for lunch — alone — and I realized that we were truly alone — the tears ran down my cheeks. I wiped them off and prepared myself for battle for the next stop at Target. When it’s time to say goodbye — well, I’ll tell you how that goes. You can read about how I said goodbye here.

18 years ago.Here’s a song “Teach Your Children Well” that fits my mood today. Listen and enjoy!