There are times that I can see the road ahead of me clearly. There are time that same road seems to disappear. Its not the road to success nor is it the road to happiness, just a road I follow for the course of my life. I try not to take detours or go off roading but there are times that the obstacles won’t budge, so I have to go around. I could let the obstacles define me but I don’t, I just find a way around. Sometimes these detours take a considerable amount of time and when that becomes the case I try very hard to get back to my known road, my course, because one day I will find my destination. Hopefully death isn’t the destination, but then again life is the journey and all journeys must end eventually I would guess.
I find myself needing to re-define the important things in life from time to time. This ranges from how to budget better to be better at having the bills on time, to not wanting to be that person who has no money left in the banking account three days before the next pay-day. Patience isn’t exactly my strongest personality trait so, at times, I tend to get frustrated with the speed others move. I was off work for a long time in my opinion, eight and a half months is most of year in my eyes. During which I had to creatively disperse funds from our savings to live day to day. One day that too had yielded its last bit of money. We all know what happens when you stop paying bills right? The collection offices start calling, demanding payments, and accepting no alternate arrangements. It is hard to satisfy the needs to many when I was more worried about where the money was coming from to buy ramen noodles that week. It put allot of stress on the relationship of my wife and I as well. Looking back, I remember conversations we had, where I may not have had the answer she was looking for. As she remained working I often felt guilty when she would call me to inform me that a bill collector had called her at work and what am I going to do about it because this madness has to stop. Agreed, it has to stop. In the beginning, when I was first laid off, we already had a plan in motion to have my knee operated on once again because it had deteriorated so badly. While I was working I had great health coverage and we decided to pull the trigger to get the ball rolling. I had my evaluations done and I was set, I had my appointment date set and everything. I had over 140 hours of vacation and my employer was willing to let me be off for a minimum of two weeks for recovery. Then, one morning I went into work and was blindsided, I just got laid off. Well, fuck everything I knew for the last 5 1/2 years because that went straight down the ol’ toilet. Plans for knee surgery in three weeks just flew out the fucking window, to say the very least because those plans just ended.
To say this new development put a wrench in the fan is an understatement from hell. Immediately many things had too change. We had already led a rather meager life in my opinion. We didn’t eat out, ever, we didn’t really have any bills except for 2 loans, our cell phones, and of course utilities. Now, we didn’t live a bare bones life, but I made sure that I was putting money back for a rainy day, a vacation, knee surgery, graduation, college, or whatever. I made things tight, nobody saw the money I was socking away so nobody missed the money I was socking away. Little did I know that the balance I was seeing over time was an optical illusion. It was not nearly enough money to even just scrape by, which we were used to, but scraping this way was more of a challenge. I forecasted that we would be good for at least 18 months of regular living, living like we had been living with our expenses we already had. I was way off. I made a very simple, yet important mistake, I didn’t take into account some major expenses like paying the additional monthly money to have the health/dental/vision insurance switched to my wife’s company coverage and their rates were quadruple what I was paying. Then there was prescription costs, not just the co-pays, but paying full price on them until my wife’s insurance kicked in, for my son alone it was over $1500.00 a month. I didn’t include the expense of feeding five adults each week, gas for vehicles, nor my wife and my smoking habit. All of that eats money and it eats that shit fast. When my current job started our checking account was operating on fumes, it had been for two months already. One can only make so many trips to the pawn shop for a quick loan, especially when I knew I would not be returning to get them out of hock.
But, here we sit just shy of two months of my new job and I am still trying to beat off bill collectors with a stick because we have been playing catch the fuck up since my first check. Now lets toss Christmas into the mix. To say it will be meager would not do it justice. By having older kids, I think they understand, they may not like it, but they haven’t given us any grief. We sat down, we explained, we all expressed our concerns, and I thought it was over-with. I had went to my room for some quiet time, some me time, time to not be around people, I was disappointed, I didn’t even want to be around me. My son knocked on the door, asking gently if he could talk to me. I was in there, in the dark, laying sideways on my bed, too lazy to take my shoes off so my legs just dangled. He and his sister had got together, along with the boyfriend, and collected money for me and my wife to go have a date together, just the two of us, no worries, just go see a movie and have dinner, their treat. I was touched. We did go out, just her and I, we saw a movie that she had been saying she wanted to see, then we went to eat. We had a nice time, we didn’t talk about money a single time, and we were almost at a loss to have something to talk about, it was a bit sad if you ask me. When we were done neither of us was in a real celebratory mood so we went to go look at the area Christmas lights on our way home. It’s hard to be festive or to remain festive since we both know that this will be a very quiet Christmas for us. We both are looking forward to the coming year as anything has to be better than how 2014 turned out.
I guess my message is this, no matter how prepared for a disaster you assume that you are, you aren’t. There were probably thousands of ways to do things different but my goal was to keep my “credit” in tact as well as possible, late payments seem to hurt more than missed payments for some reason. I’m sure the kinks will get worked out soon enough, too bad its not today tho. I still wish that all of y’all have a very Merry Christmas (or whatever y’all do or don’t celebrate) and that the new years brings you one step closer to your dreams. I would like to give a quick shout out to Patty and Dr. Rexi who have made me smile and think in my times when I didn’t want to smile and think, and for that I can offer nothing more than my sincere thanks and gratitude. There have been other friends that have been there as well, I have not forgot y’all either. Y’all behave yourself at this time of year. If I don’t get back to writing another post by the end of the year just know we are well and we wish for all of y’all to be well as well.
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