For the last six weeks, it seems that all I’ve done is sleep and cough. And wake myself up from sleep to cough.
The virus that brought me down this year was atypically nasty, and it was quite humbling to be so sick for so long.
And Life Goes On
When we’re sick, we still need to eat, drink, and bathe. Bills, mail, and emails still arrive, and the senders expect responses and payments. Our plants threaten to die if they don’t receive enough water, and our bosses and clients still expect us to do the work.
I’m sure you would understand if a Friday came and went without a post here, but I made a commitment to myself to publish every week for a year and I’m too close to give up now.
Emergency Funds Saved The Day
Money can help solve problems, and when we arrived home from the trip on which I caught the plague* to find a flood under our washer, I couldn’t physically complete all the steps required to pull it out, take it apart, diagnose the problem, locate a replacement part, reassemble the machine, test it, and repeat as needed.
It was all I could do to climb into bed and Google a repairman on my phone, call and croak out a few sentences of explanation, and crawl down the stairs to let him in.
I’m normally up for a challenge and a learning opportunity, but that day was not a good day. When it took a repairman less than 20 minutes to do what would have taken me several days, I knew that it was an excellent use of our emergency fund.
Non-Monetary Emergency Funds
When I hear the term ‘Emergency Fund,’ I think first of money, but this isn’t actually what helped us the most.
Yes, money can buy almost everything, but we had cushions built up to save us time and effort too.
We had frozen pizzas, frozen fruits and veggies, and a pantry full of dehydrated rice, beans, and soup to get us through the days we weren’t strong enough to leave the house. And popcorn. Glorious popcorn that we popped by the bucketful.
Our garden and fruit trees are on drip irrigation with a timer, so they thrive whether we pay attention to them or not. Sometimes a water line gets clogged and the plant gets an impromptu stress test, and occasionally we’ll unwittingly create a fountain for the neighborhood to enjoy, but for the most part the system works quite well.
My goal is Inbox Zero and most days are successful. So when I can’t think clearly enough to respond professionally for a while, at least I’m only starting from scratch rather than from a few weeks behind. Now that I’m feeling well enough to tackle my inbox again, it’s comforting to know that even with the delay my responses aren’t lagging that much behind everyone else’s.
Our internet, water, natural gas, electric, HOA, insurance, and credit card bills are all set up on automatic payment from our checking account. Typically, I’ll receive a bill, review it for errors, and monitor that the payment processed correctly. For the past few months, though, I let it go and trusted that all would be well. And it was.
Oh, how I wish there were a way to automate the writing, but at least I can automate the posting. I had six weeks of posts and emails already written and scheduled, which turned out to be just enough.
It’s wonderful to finally be feeling better, and I’m grateful for my health. As I look around my life now and try to pick up the pieces, it’s pleasantly surprising how little collateral damage there was after so much time doing only the bare minimum to survive.
Yes, the house is dirty and there’s some laundry to be done, but we didn’t starve, the power wasn’t shut off, and our fruit trees are thriving. And a post got published every Friday, even though I didn’t write a single word.
Replenishing Our Emergency Fund
The next few weeks will be busy as we catch up and rebuild our buffers, but having to use them only reinforced their importance.
Travel and illness are stressful, and anything we can do ahead of time to make life just a little easier during hard times is more than worth the effort.
What do you include in your emergency funds? What other tasks have you been able to automate? Let me know in the comments below.
*It wasn’t actually the plague, but it sounds nice and dramatic, doesn’t it? Of course I was generous enough to share it with my husband so we were both out of commission for a while.
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