Ever think of the unplanned expense as kind of like the sasquatch? There’s no such thing as a bigfoot, eh? Surely if you spotted one, it would be a fluke. It would be a long spell, indeed, before you ever happened upon another one.
So one would think. The year 2014, though, has been the Year of the Bigfoot Expense around the Funny Farm. I swear: every month one unholy monster or another has jumped out of the brush. This month’s AMEX bill came in: $3420. Three times the budget!
Now, part 0f that was over $1700 for the car and homeowner’s insurance. But the rest of it? Mostly veterinary bills. Vet bill after vet bill after vet bill. And then the MasterCard bill came in: another $150 for the new vet, who won’t take American Express!
Every single month this year, starting in January, has brought bills like that: $2,000, $2,500, $3,000, now almost $3,500. Costs are out of control, and I don’t seem to be able to do much about it.
Some of these expenses were predictable: the insurance bills, of course. The Medigap bill that’s rising by another hundred bucks. The cost of pruning the accursed palm trees that flower and fruit and drop tons of equipment-busting beans, sharp little dried blossoms, icky worms, and filth into the pool. Gerardo reported that he talked the tree guy down to a mere $180 from his initial offer of $240.
Last week I had to buy a new pool cleaner. Granted, Harvey was ten years old, a very superannuated Hayward Pool Cleaner. But forgodsake: the bill was FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY BUCKS! The alleged $100 “rebate” is one of those mail-in rip-offs, and you don’t get cash back with which to pay your American Express bill. No. They give you one of those fake Visa cards, so you have to go out and spend the money needed to pay the bill on some other junk!
The puppy is costing a lot more than I planned on. It’s one thing to pay the breeder’s fee and then to get the usual shots and spaying and the like (she’ll have to be spayed in just two more months! That’ll be another two or three hundred bucks, presumably). But this little dog has been one constant drain on the checkbook. From what I can tell, too, once a dog gets a UTI, it’s likely to be a chronic condition that ultimately leads to bladder and kidney stones, which have to be treated with expensive and painful surgery.
Now I’m about to have a low fence put in to block her from the pool, since she will not stay away from the water and there’s no way I can train her to get herself out of there.
In the first place, “trainable” is not her middle name. UTI or no UTI, she’s still not house-trained and shows no sign of ever becoming so. Part of the problem is that she doesn’t indicate, the way most dogs do, when she feels the urge — it’s unclear whether she even does feel an urge, or whether she just kind of leaks. She doesn’t sniff around. She doesn’t circle back and forth. She just creates a puddle. Last night I had her penned in the office with me while I sweltered through another piece of Chinglo-academicese that needs to be returned to its authors within the next few days. In spite of being right under my nose, she peed under the chair, silently and seemingly motionlessly leaving a great puddle for me to find when I got up to let her out.
Given her general stubbornness, training her to get out of the pool is highly problematic. There’s only one spot in the entire, large pool — which must look like an ocean at dog’s-eye level — where either one of the dogs can get out. That’s the topmost of three steps at the shallow end. The corgis’ legs, even in adulthood, are too short to reach any of the other steps or to reach the bench at the deep end. That one, single step is only about three feet long and eighteen inches wide. The chances of a panic-stricken dog finding that thing, once it fall into the drink, are slim to nil. And “panic” is the operative word. Both dogs are so frightened by the water they can’t think.
In the second place, this proposed fence has to be custom-built and will cost $1,100. I am not at all sure I should spend eleven hundred bucks to protect a dog that I probably ought not to keep it all. Really, if I had any sense whatsoever, I would return her to the breeder. It’s painfully obvious that this dog came to me with something wrong at the outset, that she probably will never be well, and that I’m going to be dealing with yellow puddles all over the floor for as long as she lives.
Hate to do that, because she’s such a sweet little gal. But probably I ought to cut my losses while I can.
Because…more losses lurk on the horizon.
Sooner or later I’m going to have to get a car. The Dog Chariot is now almost 15 years old. It won’t run forever.
The pool has grown a permanent coat of algae. Nothing I do is getting rid of it. The best hope for a DIY fix is to pour an entire container of PhosFree in there and hope for the best. That will require having someone come and clean out the filter again (just had that done a month or so ago): another $150. That’s on the low end. And it’s a temporary fix.
The house needs a paint job: inside and out. That’s likely to cost around four grand.
The cracked tiles in the living room need to be replaced. And most recently, the kitchen cupboards or the wall next to them have settled, opening a big crack along one countertop and splitting a whole row of Mexican tiles. So, at best a couple dozen tiles need to be pulled out and replaced — quite a trick, with Mexican tile! At worst, the cause for this subsidence needs to be determined. God only knows what that will cost. And the middling possibility? It’s not outside the realm of possibility that the tiles can’t be replaced and so the whole countertop will have to be yanked out and rebuilt.
Those damn palm trees need to be removed. There are four of them. Cost could be, all told, as high as four grand.
So…think of that. We’re looking at tens of thousands of dollars in potential upcoming expenses. And we’re probably already pushing ten grand in unplanned expenses so far this year. It that’s not a sasquatch, I’d like to know what it is.