I ended 2018 on such a high note. Six years after discovering Mr. Money Mustache, I finally met all the financial goals I set out to complete in a year. I had an emergency fund, got my mortgage under $50k, and paid off my credit cards.
And then, 2019 came in – pardon me – like a wrecking ball.
I’m a pet sitter. That is where I make additional income while on SSDI. People bring their small pups to me and even on a bad day I can pull myself together for a 3 minute drop off.
I’ve been incredibly lucky that I have never had an occurrence of bordetella (aka kennel cough). While all the pups are vaccinated the vaccine doesn’t cover all strains so there is always a risk despite disinfectant and air scrubbers. To clarify to people: bordetella doesn’t mean the boarding facility is dirty or unclean or that people aren’t taking care of your dog. It’s a doggy cold. Just like sending your kid to school or day care there is a good chance they will catch a cold at some point. Vaccination helps, but cannot prevent it completely.
So one of my clients did a one off at a local day care with their pups and then came to me the next day. While their pups did not get sick they did act as carriers and my dog became ill. I’m so grateful that I did not have any other dogs, and that he developed symptoms quickly, and I could trace who, what, where, when and end it at my own pup.
But he was sick and contagious. I had to cancel the two bookings I had for January. The only bookings I had for January outside of that one night stay for those carrier pups. I’ve never cancelled on anyone. Ever. That was really hard, but what was worse? I had to refund those pet parents.
Not only was I at zero income for January, but now I was negative income for January.
Here is where we say hallelujah for the emergency fund. If I had not worked so hard to build the emergency fund over the last year plus I would have had to take cash advances off my credit cards to refund those pet parents. It really hurts to lose what I worked so hard for, but I’m so grateful I had it.
I have a very clear no refund policy on bookings so I have never had to issue a refund before, but in this case it was very appropriate. I also worked to help them find other accommodations for their pup.
Thankfully, since I pay all my bills the minute money comes in, I was okay for January. I stopped driving around and worked to eat what I had at the house (despite being in the middle of a WHOLE30), and spent a week waffling about refilling my most expensive prescription, but then chose to and a MIRACLE HAPPENED!! I went to fill it and was going to have to use every bit of my remaining efund to pay for it when it came back at less than half the normal price. Some sort of discount program had become available for cash pay clients. Huzzah!
Then, my dog’s groomer came by and dropped off a box of my dog’s food without even realizing it was the food he ate. She just knew I fed that brand and that her dogs had turned their nose up at the fancy food. I just gained a few weeks before I would need to buy dog food! We got to chatting and I let her know I would need to bump my pup’s groom out a couple weeks and she just said, “Nah.” and told me to come in like normal. WHAT IS THIS AMAZEBALLS?
I called on a medical bill that I believed was incorrect and was able to have it zeroed out.
I volunteered at a food bank and was then told I could, “take whatever I needed,” and I told them thank you very much, but I was okay for most things, but my favorite coffee and creamer were quite a luxury and I’d be grateful just for that. I got my favorite coffee and my Whole30 approved Nutpods. As I was leaving I notice that there are pallets of my dog’s fancy dog food and I asked if I could have one and she, again, told me to take what I needed. Another small box of food to gain another few days!
This just keeps getting nuttier, y’all. Two of my friends contact me and know that I do a lot of flipping of small items on the side and tell me they have stuff of value, but have no interest in selling it. “Just come make it go away.” I’ll be swinging their way next week.
I worked on this website and worked with some friends for ideas on how to improve it for you all and my web traffic as of today beat the last three months!
I really want to share with you that when the sh*t hits the fan you have choices. You can hunker down in your anxiety and stress. I could have wailed about no income, negative income, and just sat in the cycle over and over and lost weeks of my life. That was very much me a few years ago. Instead, I choose to continue moving and boy, have I ever been rewarded!
I’m still out the money, my efund is still depleted, but I have the opportunity to practice incredible gratitude for my friends and the great serendipitous universe right now.
I’m about to finish my Whole30 and I do want to share that my GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) is remarkably reduced by the lack of sugar. It is absolutely astounding how clear my thinking is and how badass I am handling things without sugar in my life.
I’m looking at all the wonderful things that came out of this experience: self efficacy, stress management, appreciation for friends and family, gratitude for the gifts of the universe. I’m stewing in this. Despite the very next sh*tty thing that happened. Which I will share with you in the next blog post. Optimism is my drug y’all. I just always believe things will work and and we’ll get through it because you know what? I’m still here. Alive and kicking. Proof that it always does work out.
Sending you my love, my friends.