In Which I'm Forced To Resort To Begging... [crisis resolved -- thanks!]

First, a recent-history recap, just to set the scene (there’s a TL;DR version down the bottom, if you want to cut to the chase):

Split with my wife awhile back, now living with my girlfriend and daughter (well, The Littlest Briston spends half the time with us and half with my ex). Living a little bit hand-to mouth, but things aren’t bad. They were great when I used to telecommute, but my company took that away last year, which when you work out the expenses involved was the equivalent of a $14k/year pay cut. But, life goes on. Once TLB starts school in the fall, my girlfriend will be able to go back to work and the ship should right itself.

As some of you know, my girlfriend moved here to Jersey from Indiana so we could be together, and it’s been relationship perfection since. But, there’s the matter of those she left behind – a sizable family for whom she was kind of the familial glue. And then there was Kalyana.

Kaly is her cousin – an adorable eight-year-old girl in a lousy situation. I won’t go into a ton of detail, but her family life was kind of crap, and it went seriously downhill when my girlfriend moved away. See, she was pretty much more of a mother to Kaly than Kaly’s real mom, and dad had vanished years before.

Kaly and my girlfriend talk often, and she’s miserable out there. So we worked things out where Kaly’s family came out here for a visit last month, and when they went home, they left Kaly behind for a month. This is a kid who has grown up with nothing, done no traveling, seen nothing, and had little joy. I really wanted to give her a time to remember, and so far it’s been terrific.

In the months leading up to this, we picked up every Groupon deal we could for family-friendly activities such, so she’s been having a blast and we’ve been able to do it pretty much on the cheap. She’s seen and done more in the past couple of weeks then she has in her entire life, and although she gets some bouts of homesickness (life there may be crap, but it’s the life she knows), she’s still loving her time here.

Now we have a week until it’s time for us to bring her back home (in conjunction with the big annual family reunion) when the bottom just dropped out on us – the car started making an unknown clunking on Monday, and the verdict is a huge repair bill that we’re simply unable to cover. “Completely and utterly screwed” pretty much covers it – I’ve called in favors, scraped together what I could, but we’re nowhere near – still hundreds of dollars shy on the repair bill, and that’s with using the money we need for the trip to bring her home.

So, now I find myself, hat in hand, asking if any Dopers happen to have a couple of bucks to spare. Naturally, it galls the hell out of me to have to do this, but there comes a time when you just have to suck it up and put pride to the side (this is me we’re talking about…it’s not like I’m a huge stranger to public humiliation on the Dope). If you can help out, I’d be eternally grateful.

TL;DR version:
Gotta make a 1,500-mile road trip to get an eight-year-old family member back home, but the family car is royally screwed. Care to help out?

If so, here’s a link to a page where you can use PayPal.

Very, very much appreciated if you can lend a hand – thanks!

(Moderator permission for this thread sought and received)

Some specifics about the repairs and what they cost might help you out.


Is the person doing the repair willing to negotiate?

Maybe you should just keep the kid. It’s a sign.

I don’t have the full breakdown here, but the bottom line is $1,100 (which he’s considering the “your entire family has always been good customers of ours” rate). I’ve put together a shade over $700, which includes the $300 earmarked for the trip.

As for keeping her, believe you me, I’ve already bought it up. When a kid tells their mom “I don’t like you” (as kids will do, since, you know, they’re kids), the proper response is not a completely serious “Well, I don’t like you either”.

I could fill a thread and a half with the things I’ve seen and heard that would make me happy to make this a permanent arrangement.

Agreed on “it’s a sign”, unfortunately there are laws about that sort of thing… too bad “mom” isn’t suddenly realizing that life is easier without having to pay the girl even whatever half-assed attention she manages to do…

Though there’s obviously a lot of baggage involved in making her a permanent bristonette (especially as you figure out the whole blended-family thing), it might be good if she made the family-reunion thing a round trip vs. one-way.

Good luck, Hal. I’m happy to send a little something for the entertainment you’ve provided over the years.

Just a gentle suggestion, though - a plane ticket for one girl is much cheaper than a four-person road trip to Indiana, and most 8 year olds can fly on their own without trouble. It’s not as emotionally rewarding, but that might need to not be your first priority right now.

I was worried that this was a plea for an end to the sheep jokes. :slight_smile:
Donation sent.

He knows better. Us Dopers are generous, but we’re not THAT generous ;).

Hal, I will see about donating, but as someone who brought a family member across the country to get them out of what I viewed as a bad situation, I would like to extend this advice:

Talk to the girls mother, and she may surprise you. Don’t attack, don’t say she’s a crappy mom and she would be doing her daughter a life changing favor, but at least ask.

The worst that she can say is no. He who dares, wins.

I sent a little.

My vote would be talking to the mum. Focus on the benefits to her if the child stays with you. Perhaps describe it as an e x t e n d e d vacation because you have enjoyed it so much and she would be doing you the biggest of favours…

You have my bit. Your name isn’t Hal?

I second talking to the mom, if you can afford to keep Kaly. She may have enjoyed her month without a child as much as you’ve enjoyed having her.

If you go to Chicago and kill Mean Old Lady’s mouse, you can have all her money at your fingertips.


I’m not sure taking in the 8 year old is a good idea with a new relationship. But I wish you the best. Sending chai your way.

Doing what I can, because I can. Not much. Hope it helps.

I don’t have much to send, but Dopers literally saved our ass over Christmas last year and I’d like to pay what tiny bit forward that I can. Hope things work out for her, Hal, and that life gets back to more of an even keel for you. You and your girlfriend are good eggs for doing this. Many hugs.

Hope it all works out for the best.

Now, where’s our sheep joke? :wink:

Being laid off on the 24th of this month, but I sent a little.

Just got online for the first time since yesterday afternoon, and let me say: Woah woah woah…please, stop the donations!

Thank you an unimaginable amount, but between you folks and some eBay sales that came though, we’ve definitely hit the mark. As always, Doper generosity is over the top!

As for the possible permanence of our situation, we’ll see what happens, but we all know it’s not going to happen right away. Kaly has been here three weeks with a week to go, and while she’s had a wonderful time, she’s very ready to go back home – mostly because she has two younger sisters there whom she misses terribly (FTR, Kaly is the product of a previous guy, while the two sisters are from her mom’s current relationship).

So, we’ll see what happens down the road. I’m quite sure that she’s be better off here, but there are, of course, a ton of moving parts here. I thank everyone for their advice on this! If it comes to fruition, naturally there’ll be a thread about it.

Thanks so much again, everyone!

Whew. I was embarrassed at how little I was able to send right now, so I’m glad the collective came through.