It was our second to last night on holiday. Slumbering in a cute Airbnb in Napier. Literally the last thing I expected was a call from the local cops at 4am notifying me the car had been stolen (from right outside!) for a joyride, recovered, and the perp in custody.
Instead of carrying on to our last stop, Rotorua, after breakfast – the morning was a flurry of phone calls and Googling. Dealing with insurance. Frantically trying to find a rental car. Figuring out what we’d need to replace immediately and where to buy it. Trying to get to the tow yard, which turned out to be closed all weekend.
You may also know the exquisite pain of tapping your emergency fund.
But it’s an amazing feeling not to have to worry about money in a situation like that. We just needed to find a way to get home, preferably while continuing with our original plan and one more night before heading home. It didn’t really matter how much it cost.
Annoyingly, insurance would only reimburse the equivalent of bus fare directly back to Auckland, which was a couple hundred dollars. We considered flying, but in the end found what must have been the last available vehicle in the city for about $900 for a one-way overnight rental. We’d drive on to Rotorua as planned, spend the night in town, then back to Auckland to return it at the airport. (It was a neat vehicle. Brand new, lots of little self-driving functions.)
There is, it turns out, an extra you can add on to your car insurance policy for car rental in this situation. It is not free! Nor is it all that great. It simply entitles you to preferential hire rates (whatever those might be).
We did also replace Spud’s carseat right away (which again, has risen significantly in price since I bought the original 2 years ago). Honestly, this is what bugs me the most. What a waste of a perfectly good carseat! I hope someone picked it up off the side of the road or whatever, because seriously, that was a $500+ (now $700+) carseat with a LOT of life left in it.
Some other annoying, random things were also lost from the backseat. Cereal, books, hat, jacket, drink bottle, etc. (A few bits, not worth claiming through contents cover.) But they left everything in the boot. The wagon, the ball, the beach toys, scooter, etc – untouched. The damage was minimal. They clearly just wanted to go hoon around.
Eventually, it got towed back to Auckland for repairs. The mechanic also got hit by thieves over the summer break and had no courtesy cars available. And then we had the devastating cyclones that upended things around the country. It took two months to finally get my car back! But it was better than ever. It felt like they did a full mechanical once over – the brakes are smoother, and even though I specified that the crack on the back of the side mirror was already there, they still fixed that up and bundled it all up in the claim.
I was out hundreds on the car rental, and then paying for convenience for nearly two months to have grocery delivery (only available from the more expensive supermarkets). And it was fine. Inconvenient. But fine.
The last few months have been spendy…
More generally, it’s been an expensive few months. Yes, there’s the cost of food and basic necessities. But also, a lot of choice. That road trip, a much needed holiday. A long overdue trip to the dentist (I hadn’t been since, uh, pre-pregnancy…) and my first fillings ever. New glasses, well overdue. And a lot of overdue things around the house, like fixes to the side gate, getting the roof painted (which had been on to the todo list since moving in 8 years ago) and getting the rotten eaves replaced.
It’s been an invitation and challenge…
to practise, deepen, and embody everything I’ve been thinking and talking about in relation to money.
To channel deep gratitude for being in place of safety and plenty, to not have to worry about any of this. As I said to the victim support rep – it has been a hassle, there have been many inconveniences, and the expenses are annoying, but not devastating. (I was actually kinda excited to go through the restorative justice process, which I wrote a big feature about when it was a new thing and I was in journalism school. But between the perp’s circumstances, the distance, and then the massive cyclones that disrupted everything, it seemed the cons outweighed the pros in this case.)
To remember that money comes and goes, is designed to flow, to support us, and trust that it is always continuing to flow in, too.
I don’t advocate for burying your head in the sand. It’s not about denying reality.
It’s about acknowledging the circumstances, and choosing to face them with grit and grace. Deciding, over and over, to spurn the fear, scarcity, and anxiety. Releasing the need to control and letting go of that power dynamic of struggle. Surrendering to what is, and choosing calm and trust through it all – even as insurance approvals and supply chain delays drag out.
Making moves from a place of fear never works out well. Making moves from a place of confidence, empowerment, and expansion is the real flex.