You know that old saying – “Life Happens”?
Well, this weekend it did.
Picture it – Friday night, local high school football game. Our oldest son (still living at home that is) has been practicing doing standing front flips for a few weeks. Has them down to a science. Pretty impressive actually! Well, Friday night, whilst no doubt trying to impress the young ladies in attendance at the game, decided to try a standing back flip. Let’s just say it didn’t go so well – foot slipped on takeoff, landed squarely on his back. He’s a tough kid – got up, shook it off, and stayed to watch the rest of the game. Didn’t say much to us Friday night about it other being sore and wanting an ice pack to put on it.
Saturday morning, we wake up and he’s in considerable pain. A trip to urgent care, a few X-Rays and an arm sling later we’re left waiting for the on-call radiologist to look at the films. And wouldn’t you know it – they called back and he’s been diagnosed with a fractured scapula. He’s fifteen, he’ll be fine and recover with no issues I’m sure. And he’ll get a free pass in gym class for 6-8 weeks, although I’m not sure he’ll be too happy about that one. He’s an athletic kinda guy – I feel bad that he’s going to be sidelined for a few weeks since I know he loves to be active.
Sunday morning – sleeping nicely around 4:35am and suddenly we hear a large CRASH off to the side of our bedroom. Seconds later we hear things being knocked over, frantic running through the room and general pandemonium ensues. You see, we have a (almost) 2-year-old standard poodle, named Romeo. His “brother” is a lab-pit mix named Butch. They sleep on the king size bed with us near our feet. Apparently, Romeo either rolled off the bed in his sleep or went to jump down and misjudged something because he landed on the bedrail and then took off at high speed into a dresser, his kennel and various other pieces of furniture in the room. My wife and I wake up in a panic because he’s crying loudly, can’t stand and is shaking so bad we thought he was having a seizure. So off to the emergency vet we go and $200 later we are pretty sure he’s ok, probably just a doggie concussion. They sent us home with pain medication and we watched over him for the rest of the day to make sure nothing else was going on. Good news is he’s been fine the remainder of the evening and this morning, so we think he’s just clumsy unfortunately.
So yeah – “life happens”. It can certainly throw a huge wrench into your plans to become debt free. Obviously, we weren’t planning to have a kiddo with a broken shoulder blade or to make a pre-sunrise trip to the veterinary ER this weekend, but it happened.
Here’s another instance where I will sing the praises of Dave Ramsey. One of his steps to becoming debt free is to establish an emergency fund, which luckily, we have been working on. That allowed us to cover the vet expenses without having to halt our monthly debt pay-down. We will have to replenish that fund, but it’s better to do that instead of reverting back to a minimum payment for something for a month. The impact on the overall payoff plan would to prolong it, which we certainly don’t want to do.
I’m also lucky enough to be employed, have pretty decent health insurance for the family, and a flexible spending account at work to cover the soon to come doctor bills for our son’s shoulder. That FSA account will take a hit in the coming days/weeks, but I don’t even want to imagine being in this situation with no health coverage or emergency fund to help with expenses.
Moral of the story – establish that emergency fund! Ramsey recommends $1000 minimum, which is what I’ve stashed away. Hopefully there aren’t any more of those “life happen” moments in the near future, but at least we have some cushion just in case it does.
What’s your “life happens” story? Some can be comical, others devastating, but we all have them. Would love to hear how everyone else has dealt with theirs!