Whack a Mole, Anyone?
Since mid-November, it's been one financial crisis after another. Thousands of dollars in vehicle maintenance and repairs that had to be done to keep the cars running ...so we could both get back and forth to work ...so we could pay the repair bills along with all the regular bills. Lately I feel like I'm trapped in a Whack a Mole game ...and in my real life version, sometimes I'm the mallet and sometimes I'm the mole.
Every one of our vehicles cost us something those last two months of 2011. A couple of weeks ago, the main ride, the '95 Camry with only 130,000 miles, developed a slow intermittent leak at the oil pump which will be another couple of hundred dollars. But the mechanic said as long as the leak doesn't worsen and we make sure there is always oil in it, we can let that slide for a little while. So I'm saving ..hoping to scrounge up the funds by March. Then last Sunday night, I broke a tooth. Great. Now I'M falling apart too!
The tooth didn't hurt when it broke and hasn't hurt since. It doesn't seem to be hot or cold or pressure sensitive so my immediate inclination was to let it slide for a while too. But Yeoldfurt's kind of funny about some things and this is one of those things. He likes his wife to have teeth. So he encouraged me go to the dentist and see what the options might be.
Of course, the dentist is all about people keeping their teeth so she wants me to put a crown on it ...my cost would be over $700 even with insurance. Not happening. It's a back molar and has a huge filling in it from at least 20 years ago, so I asked her how much to pull it. She gave me THE LOOK and started telling me about some fancy 'buildup filling' work she could do. My cost would be $120 with insurance. She said she didn't know if it would last six weeks, six months or six years ...but when it failed, she could pull the tooth then. The only guarantee apparently is that the buildup filling would not last forever. Grumble, grumble.
The full set of xrays, exam and consultation cost me nothing because the insurance considers it preventive, but apparently fixing any problems are going to cost me dearly. I guess I should be grateful she found no other immediate problems. She did say I grind my teeth. I've never had a dentist tell me that before so I guess it's a new habit I've picked up. So she wants me to wear a mouth guard when I sleep ...apparently to protect my teeth from each other.
Great. I think I am officially old. My teeth are at war with each other and both sides are losing. I am still keen on yanking the offending tooth out. I am open to doing it now or postponing the expense until it actually starts being sensitive. But it would be $100 (my cost) and problem solved. It's a back molar so it's not a cosmetic issue and I'm pretty sure I won't starve to death with one less tooth in my head. The dentist and Yeoldfurt want me to go the 'buildup filling' route, then pull it if that method eventually fails. But that would cost me $120 now and at least $100 down the road ....allowing for inflation in case the fancy buildup filling work actually lasted a couple of years.
Hmmm... $120 now with a guaranteed $100+ later or $100 now and be done. Any money I spend now postpones the needed repairs on the car which, as I mentioned, is kind of important because it's our means of getting to and from work so we can pay all the bills.
So. Fix the tooth and postpone fixing the car ...or stay on track with saving for the car repairs and postpone fixing the tooth. No wonder I've started grinding my teeth!