Thursday, 20 February 2014

Transportation troubles

It hasn't been till this separation started that I realized just how dreadfully isolated I was out here. And how important access to transportation is, when you have children. It was almost scary!

So, my plan began. First, I needed to get a driver's license. I know, 30 years old, never managed to actually get a full driver's license. There are reasons. For one, I never saw the importance until now, and for two, I really don't enjoy driving, among other reasons. But now, with 5 little girls depending on me to keep them fed, healthy and to take them to church.. I needed to be able to drive.

At first, I thought I would be able to use my stbx's vehicle -- it was for the kids, after all. And generally, he was willing. It depended on the mood, of course, and I really didn't like being dependent on him for access to transportation, but hey, it worked. Until December.

In December, his vehicle broke down. Seriously broken.. as in.. cost-of-repair-greater-than-replace broken. It was not a good thing. He ended up selling his vehicle for scrap, and now the problems began.

We were fortunate in that a couple from his (formally our) church stepped up and loaned us a vehicle for the time being. I always knew it was a temporary thing, and started saving right away. For some reason, my ex did not. However, as soon as he found out (I did try not to tell him!!) that I was saving for a vehicle, he figured if he behaved himself, he might be able to use mine.

If anything, I'm getting decent behaviour out of it from him. That's a plus. Even if I feel somewhat taken advantage of..

An offer was made earlier in the fall, before the vehicle we were using broke, from my stbx's brother and sister-in-law, that I would be able to buy their old van for a very good price. Of course, that offer was rescinded after a blow out of any hope of good relationships between us around Christmas. So I was on the hunt.

I was in the market for a minivan. I couldn't get a smaller vehicle -- with 5 children, no matter how you try, you can't fit that many in a car. It just doesn't work. So I talked to a few people. I emailed and called ads. Finally.. finally I got a yes. A vehicle that seemed to be in decent shape at my price.

Now to scramble to get insurance. Uh oh -- obstacle number 1. Due to my checkered licensing history (not driving record!) the insurance companies wanted to list me as a novice driver. Thankfully, my stbx had actually put me on his insurance at one point, so I did have an insurance record. That meant that my rating would go way up .. and my insurance rates way down. It was amazing how quickly that turned around.

Obstacle number 2: the timing. I couldn't get the insurance done in time, and I couldn't find a ride to the vehicle at the right time that the seller wanted to meet. It was so frustrating. Thankfully the seller was able to accommodate me, and I paid her via email, and I was able to get the insurance done (mostly) via email.

The seller agreed to drop the van off at a garage, where I had arranged for a safety check to be done. This check was required before I could get license plates and registration done. Obstacle number 3 was when the garage called me and told me significant repairs needed to be done before they could certify it. Uh oh.

The garage wanted to charge me more than I could afford. Now what? I didn't know what to do. I sent off a panicky email to the seller, and prayed hard. Amazingly, the seller proved faithful. She told me I could get a temporary license sticker, and I didn't have to get the repairs done right away -- or at that garage. She also told me that she was willing to prove that she had done her job in making sure it was in working order, to the point where she was willing to take it back to her mechanic, who had gone over it before she sold it to me.

Now I needed a ride. My oldest daughter became my opportunity here. She has weekend visitation with her father (not my stbx husband -- long story), and it just happened that one of her visits with him fell on her sister's birthday. She begged me to get him to change it, so she could be here for her little sister's birthday party. Her dad and I get along great, so it was no problem for me to text him and make some arrangements. It worked out that he would split his overnights with her over two weekends, so she could be here the night of the party. Then, on impulse, I asked him if he'd be willing to drive me to the garage where my van was, when he picked up our daughter. And.. he agreed.

I had a ride, I had a plan of action, and I had a vehicle. And this is where it stands right now.

Stay tuned for the developing story..

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