domino effectI do not believe everything happens for a reason. I just can’t. However I do believe in dominos. I know that an event can trigger another event which will, in turn, be the reason for yet another event.

I believe that dominos that have been set into motion can suddenly stop.

I also believe that they can fall in unpredictable ways.

I am going to present to you the events of my Friday. It was a day where neglectful choices became bad choices and dominos fell.

I achieved a total of 3 hours of sleep thursday night.

This led to my being (more) emotional, short-tempered, and spacey on Friday. This information does not alter or shape what happened, I just share it because OMG I only got 3 hours of sleep.

I had a work meeting friday morning in an office.

This meant that I could not go home and rest after dropping W off at school.

For reasons that are not necessary to know I decided to pick W up from school early on Friday

This led to great anticipation of a nap.

After I picked up W, and just a few blocks away from his preschool, I noticed a police officer behind me.

A block after noticing the police officer his lights lit up and he indicated that I should pull over. I was asked to provide the usual collection of paperwork. The police officer asked me if I knew why I had pulled over. I had a feeling, but I stammered to allow for him to fill me in.

My state inspection sticker was expired.

Yup. The thing I kept putting off renewing until the next paycheck was now expired and I was moments away from a giant ticket.

The officer took my cards and paperwork back to his police car and W and I sat, pulled over on one of the busiest roads, and I begged my body to not cry. Oh I knew I deserved a ticket. Absolutely. But the tears came from the humiliation of being pulled over, of being exhausted, of W getting anxious.

Ten incredibly long minutes later the police officer was back at my car. He explained that he was going to issue me a warning that will expire if I do not take action. I needed to get an updated state inspection sticker within ten days and then drive to the police office and show any officer on duty that I had performed this task. Once I did this my warning would stay a warning. If I failed to do this within ten days I would be mailed an incredibly expensive ticket.

I was so relieved. And thankful.

Then the officer informed me that he strongly suggested I go immediately to a mechanic for inspection because every police officer in the county was out looking for expired stickers and he couldn’t say whether or not I would get pulled over again.

I called Mom at her work and asked for help tracking down where to go and she found a place less than two blocks away. I went immediately there.

I left the car at the mechanic and got a ride home.

The mechanic was incredibly kind and he said I could come back for the car in a few hours. I got W down for a nap, I started my afternoon work, and I drank 3 cups of coffee.

An hour later Mom calls to tell me that our car failed inspection.

FAILED. Tires and brakes and brake rotors all needed to be repaired or replaced. It wasn’t just a tiny fail it was an expensive fail.

I don’t have to tell you because I know many of you are existing the same way – paycheck to paycheck is awful. Every cent dedicated to something; an unexpected expense devastating.

And that is what happened on friday.

Whatever domino started the chain of events – I was suddenly turned upside down. Not being able to just fork over the money for the repairs was humiliating. IS humiliating. I am incredibly thankful (and lucky) that a friend offered to loan me enough for the repairs and as soon as the funds are in my account I will be able to get the car.

Friday was just horrible and I really beat myself up for not being prepared for something like this.

Today I have a bit more perspective. This story could have ended with a tragedy of brakes failing. The dominos started to fall that way within our car. Somehow by my deciding to pick up W early on friday I began an opposing line of events that lead to my altering the original domino chain. It’s going to be very inconvenient for a few days and W will have to miss a few days of school since I won’t be able to drive him. But when we are able to pick up the car it will be safer.

All of the crap in the middle: my humiliation over being pulled over, my beating myself up for not having emergency savings, my new debt to a friend, my not having a car for a few days – ALL OF THAT is worth wading through in order to be safe.

Life lessons are hard.