I took the car in to the repair place today.
The list of things that needed done was a little longer than I'd hoped... Four new tires, serpentine belt replaced, one brake light replaced, oil change, alignment adjustment.
I knew about the alignment and tires, but not the rest. The alignment problems goes all the way back to his ex-girlfriend, who moved out of state to live with another man while he was serving in Iraq (seriously). Since she just left his car in a parking lot, it was towed, and the tow did some damage to the frame and alignment.
I ended up getting the worst two tires replaced, the alignment fixed, and the brake light changed. It was $250 total, which wasn't bad I suppose. I was hoping to fix the rest today as well since this place has 6-month no-interest payment plans, but I wasn't approved for the plan.
I essentially have no credit whatsoever. I guess a lifetime of paying most things (including my car) in full with money I actually have doesn't count for much.
When I get to Oklahoma, my family's going to give me a little Christmas money and some travel food, so hopefully that'll be enough to tide us over so we can get the car fixed in Oklahoma. That is, if there are any places open when I get there. Tonight they're supposed to get almost a foot of snow, after having been 75 degrees just last week. A friend joked to me that I must be Mr. Freeze, since every time I visit home there's some kind of horrible snow or ice storm.
Today I also sold the keyboard for $350. Ending the day with $100 more than I started with is pretty exciting, even though I definitely started tearing up when the buyer closed it into his trunk.
Overall, I would say I'm filled with a cautious hopefulness. Things are working out fairly well for now. Money is tight, but we have enough to get by, and a little padding just in case.
I'm excited about starting over, but I'm trying to stay realistic about it. While I loved California, I realize it is not a perfect land of rebirth and happiness with fairies dancing between the palms. I know it will be tough. I know it will be a lot of work and sacrifice. But I also know it's got to be better than here, where even the McDonald's isn't hiring.