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.
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)