What keeps you up at night?

Today I was still up past midnight for more understandable and obvious reasons than other nights. DW is away on business. I can’t sleep very well without him here. The house seems too quiet without his strong silence. Although he goes to bed earlier than I do, there is a comfort snuggling next to his warm body while watching T.V., reading or writing. And after the kids go to sleep, I am desperate for adult connection – conversations that don’t revolve around the ramblings of an 8-year-old or the demands of a 12-year-old.

Last night I fell asleep and was awakened at 4am. Luna was laying across my chest, her nose pressed against my nose, kissing me until I woke up – pleading to be taken outside. I had forgotten to bring her downstairs and had slept with her all night. Last night was a more conscious decision. She was pressed up against my side, her tiny lungs rising and falling with each breath, slumbering soundly after a day of doggy day care and grooming at Pawsitively Spoiled. I hoped to make it til 6am this morning.

Most of the time I can’t get to sleep because worry sets in and I obsess about all the things that didn’t get done around the house, or the harsh tone I used with the girls during the day or perhaps even the friend that I feel like I should have helped out more. Over the last several weeks though, I was consumed with selling my car.

Sometimes you think you know a person until finances become the center of your conversations. An acquaintance was interested in buying our van but could not afford the price that I was asking. All we really wanted was to pay off the balance of our car note – fair enough, I thought – especially since our asking price was almost two thousand dollars less than what Kelly Blue Book suggested. But our asking price could not be met. However, we were not in need of selling the car immediately, nor did this family need to buy it so soon. We had the pleasure of time. We decided to wait until closer to August and then re-evaluate the situation.

Almost 60 days had elapsed and I hadn’t given the car or buyer much thought. Ironically a friend then offered to buy the car and had no problem with the asking price. We also found the vehicle that I wanted and had to move quickly on it before they were all gone. I’m not sure why, but I felt guilty selling the van before confirming with the original prospect about whether or not he could meet our asking price. Afterall, he had shown interest first, right? Wasn’t I obligated in some way to give him the opportunity? I never had to answer those questions because he called me first. Usually I have no problem being very direct, sometimes verging on uncomfortably blunt, but my mental status last week truly hindered my assertive professionalism. He of course was now able to meet our asking price and wanted to test drive the van before we sold it “out from under him”.

Sigh.

I should have walked away then. DW asked me to walk away then – he said he really didn’t have a good feeling about this. How did they come up with the money so quickly? My guilt (and lack of drugs) wouldn’t allow me to respond with anything other than, “let’s just see what happens”.

He came to test drive our immaculately cleaned vehicle. The van is an 06 Mazda MVP ES – fully loaded with leather seats, DVD player and 6 disk cd changer. It has roughly 91,000 miles. He was not impressed with the condition our van was in, and reminded me again that our asking price was more than they had wanted to spend. I was told that the sale of the vehicle would be contingent on how much repair work their mechanic found and if they could afford it. Then I was also told all the reasons he didn’t like my van, i.e. not enough storage compartments, no heated seats, the back head rests couldn’t fold into the floor …blah, blah, blah.

My stomach hurt before he even left the house. My brain started thinking about our finances, wondering just how low could I go and pay the difference on our note to get him into this car. I was worried that somehow I was causing his family financial strain. Later that afternoon I was shocked to find out that his mechanic said that there was $1500 worth of immediate repairs. Repairs? That would indicate something was broken. Aren’t we really just talking about expected maintenance on a 91,000 mile used van? It needed new brake pads,spark plugs, and a couple of other odds and ends. Maintenance.

Here is where I started choking on DW’s advice, “We have another buyer ready to buy – just sell it to them and be done with it!” because now I was asked this question by the prospective buyer:

“Since you won’t come down on the price, and your husband works on cars, we would like for him to do the repair work and we will buy the parts. I just don’t think we can spend this much on the car and turn around and pay for all the labor on these repairs.”

Again with that word repair! I had been up for several nights trying to justify why we should lose money on the vehicle so that he could buy the van and now he had the nerve to think that my husband should give away his time too? This is where I hit a breaking point. I felt totally manipulated. Was this simply his idea of aggressive negotiation or was I being bullshitted? It was a struggle to put the sweet faces of his children out of my mind, remembering how they floated between the seats, testing all the doors and dvd player.

And since he had made his finances so public, including me in such a private decision between him and his wife, did I now have some moral obligation to protect them from themselves, if indeed this vehicle was out of their budget?

I decided, yes. There was just no way that I felt good about selling this van to them now. I determined that I would rather face him later being mad at me for not selling the van, then hearing over and over what a financial drain this van had been on their family, or how much he really wished my husband had helped them with the repairs.

“After careful consideration, DW and I have come to the conclusion to not sell you this van. You have convinced me that it is truly not a good investment for you, and I think we both just need to walk away…” (or something of the like.)

He was, of course, stunned. We hung up the phone rather quickly and a huge weight lifted.

Until he called back.

“My personal finances are none of your business, and you have no right to make a decision on my behalf. I think you have an ulterior motive for not selling me this car.”

I was done being nice – really? He was going to accuse me of an ulterior motive? Me – the one who was selling the car under market value? The one who had been up several nights wondering if we should just take what he could give and pay out the rest from our own savings even though we had another buyer. The one who paid out of pocket $300 to replace a missing headrest because I worried about the safety of his children.

At least three days of thyroid pills were now in my system, and I had caught up on my sleep.

“You are right – your finances should be none of my business, except that you decided to share them with me over and over and over. So now I am uncomfortable selling you this car knowing you are at your limit with the price and then will need to pay for maintenance.”

And then the truth finally came out.

He preceded to tell me that all of those “repairs” were merely suggestions that didn’t need to be done right away, and how could I let his kids down like that or his wife when they were counting on driving their new van on vacation in a few weeks…and where else was he going to find as nice a vehicle for as little money as mine?

I’ve learned over the years that the person who speaks the least, holds the most power. So I said nothing.

There was a moment of silence.

“Then I’d like to be reimbursed for the $102 I spent getting our mechanic to look at the van. Unless you would like to reconsider; sell me the van instead,” he stated.

“Consider the check in the mail.”

I slept much better that night.

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2 thoughts on “What keeps you up at night?

    1. Finally! I seriously almost caved because I was allowing him to make me feel guilty – why do we do that? And he conveniently kept avoiding my husband and only dealt with me. Arrgghh!!

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