I haven’t been into my office very much this month, and as those of you with office jobs know, it’s best to show your face every now and then. After all, you don’t want people to start thinking that things work just fine when you’re not around!
I was out the first week of the month, working from home while simultaneously playing Mr. Mom with Mandy being out of town. The week after than I worked form home for a few days because mudslides did damage to the freeway near my home. Last week I was traveling for work and spent four days in Dallas. This morning I woke up to snow.
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TRAPPED AT WORK
The Washington State Department of Transportation plows our main roads and spreads sand, which helps with traction, but WSDOT doesn’t salt the roads which means we often get icy conditions. Add in all of the hills in our area and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. That’s why normally snow = work from home for me (and for a large portion of King County residents as well).
But today I felt like I needed to show my face because of all of my recent time away from the office, so I bundled up and walked to my bus stop. The bus routes were severely delayed this morning because of the weather (that should have been my first red flag). By the time I was ready to leave work at the end of the day, snow had once again started falling. By the time I got to my bus stop it was coming down pretty hard.
And the snow kept falling. And falling. And the freeway started getting more and more backed up. That’s when I first realized that I might be in trouble, so I checked the King County Metro website for bus information and saw that the route to my home had been “suspended due to severe weather conditions.“
I called Mandy and things were even worse in our neighborhood, so having her pick me up wasn’t going to be a viable option. An Uber was going to cost well over $100, but I seriously doubt any sane driver would have taken me to my neighborhood anyway, so no dice there either. Even my neighborhood city office tweeted out a warning telling drivers to stay off of the main artery that leads into town. Strike three. It was time to face facts and call it like it was – I wasn’t going to make it home tonight.
THE COST OF HAVING ONE CAR
If I had my own car then I could have easily taken off from work a bit earlier than normal and made it home just fine. But instead I was stuck at a bus stop because of a freak snowstorm that had shut down several bus routes. With nowhere to go I was forced to make the mile long hike back to my office where I booked a hotel room and grabbed some takeout from the teriyaki shop next door. Here’s what being car-less has cost me (so far):
- Teriyaki take out (I got the super combo and it was soooo good!) – $10.06
- Hotel (one bedroom, one queen bed, non-smoking) – $121.74
Luckily the hotel is close to my office, so getting there will be a short 5 minute walk. The hotel also has a free breakfast, but I’m not expecting it to be all that special. So at the end of the day, my attempt at saving money by taking the bus is going to cost me just over $130.
IS THAT BAD?
But is that really so bad? I don’t think so. I figure that I’m saving over $8,000 per yer by having just one car, so does this one time $130 hiccup even matter?
More than anything it’s the inconvenience that sucks. I’d much rather be at home tonight asking my son how his high school soccer tryouts went. I could be helping the other kids do homework, or just hanging out with them. There’s a very good chance that my home will lose power tonight and I feel bad that I won’t be there to make my family feel safe if that does happen. But everyone will be okay since we’ve already prepared for our storm emergency.
And really, I suspect that Mandy might be okay with having the bed all to herself and not having any competition for the remote this evening. 🙂
So I’m out $130, but that’s a small price to pay. The amount of money we’ve saved more than makes up for the PITA factor that we’re dealing with tonight.
I talk a lot about the good things that happen when you follow a budget, but in reality there are days like today when it would be nice to have a new car of my own to be driving. I wanted to make sure and capture some of the hassles and inconveniences that I deal with because of my budget. Have you had any similar experiences?