Repairs steal bulk of stimulus payment

How are you going to spend your stimulus payment? Everyone wants to know. People go around announcing plans for new carpeting or lawn furniture or vacations made possible with their “tax rebate,” which we all know it is, even though the government says it isn’t.

Hey, I call ‘em like I see ‘em.

The fate of my stimulus payment was decided the day Congress determined the amount it would be. I was driving my car, listening to a radio news blurb about the stimulus payments, when I hit a particularly nasty pothole exiting U.S.-131 into Kalamazoo. This led to the inconvenient drama of a flat tire and bent rim, which all-told cost me $168 bucks.

My apologies here to my long-time steady tire guy, Randy Little, for my infidelity on that occasion. I did not set out to cheat on you, but I had no choice but to take my car to Discount Tire, a short, whumpety whump drive from the scene of the crime. I pledge future faithfulness, Randy, and am willing to attend counseling together if it will help reconcile our relationship.

Perhaps I could have avoided the pothole if I’d been paying more attention to the road and less attention calculating how I’d spend my $1200 windfall.

No sooner had I replaced the tire then I discovered the pothole incident had damaged the oil pan under my car, creating a slow leak. Cost only $346 and half-a-day of missed work to get it replaced. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one planning how to spend my stimulus payment.

That brings me to one of my many theories I know I am right about, although I can’t prove: My house, grounds, and vehicle are plotting against me. They may be inanimate objects, but they know when there is extra money and take extreme measures to get their share. They overhear information and use it against me.

Returning from the car repair shop, I went to the mailbox and was greeted with a $544 furnace repair estimate for something that absolutely must be taken care of if I want to continue to heat my home, which I do. 

That’s the last time I leave the radio on within earshot of the furnace!

I must have made the mistake of leaving the furnace estimate and vehicle repair receipts on the kitchen counter near the sink, because within a couple of days, I needed to replace the faucet. Not just the handles, but whole thing … to the tune of  $78.

You don’t need a calculator to realize this is adding up to around the amount I anticipated receiving in stimulus payment.

I called to check the balance of the credit card on which I’d floated all the unanticipated expenses. Wow, I still had $64 left after applying the not yet issued $1200 stimulus check funds toward all my repairs! In retrospect, I think that very information is what caused the telecommunications failure. A short $53 later, I owned a new phone.

On the day the $1189 credit card bill was to arrive, my mailbox disappeared. I am not making this up. The one-of-a-kind yellow bulldozer mailbox I’d bought my son at an antique show was AWOL from its post by the road. At first I thought someone had stolen it, but have come to believe it was in cahoots with my car and left under its own steam.

Late that night I went to Lowe’s and plunked down eight bucks for a cheapie plastic mailbox, plus two something for a wood base. With only 41 cents left from my $1200 stimulus payment, I had to borrow a one-cent stamp from my secretary to mail in the credit card payment, as postage had gone up a penny during my ordeal.

This was not the first time my house, grounds, and vehicle have ganged up on me. One spring I had to replace a garage door, dryer, refrigerator, and oven in retribution for a hefty income tax rebate.

So don’t tell me how you’re going to spend your stimulus payment. Don’t breathe a word to anyone, especially not while driving or in front of your appliances. You can’t afford it.

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