That Small Measure Of Relief…

This is for those who’ve wondered what the heel inspired me to “go off” the way I did in my A WTF Monday! post. It’s a little more involved than I had intended, so feel free to skip it if you want…

I really envy those people that seem so cool, so unflappable, in the face of chaos. I’m not bad at pretending to be that way, in a pinch, and it’s really easy to to appear that way in my writing, but the fact is that I’m nowhere near as “cool” as I’d like to be. Hell, the fact is that I live right on the hairy edge of panic, and the only thing preventing me from falling over that edge is the isolated and highly regimented, almost ritualistic, lifestyle that I live.

Knowing how tight my money always is, at the end of every month I create a spreadsheet for every penny I plan to spend in the month coming up. And, just to make absolutely sure that spreadsheet is based on accurate starting numbers, I add a stop by the ATM to check my balance to the walk I take to the tobacco store each month on the day I get my disability check.

Well, imagine my surprise when, not one, but two separate ATMs reported a negative balance when I checked this past Monday. And let me tell you my friends, my mind was absolutely reeling with nightmare scenarios on that long, empty-handed walk back home.

To make a long story as short as possible, it turned out that my payee (my middle son) had neglected to send in some required annual accounting form to Social Security. They, in turn, rather than making my deposit directly into our account, sent it instead to a local Social Security office where he can pick it up once he fills out that form.

No big deal, right? Wrong! It turns out that the office in question closes at 3pm and my son’s boss simply refuses to let him off early enough to make it there in time. The result of this is that he won’t actually be able to get there until Friday, which he’d already scheduled off for other reasons.

The thing is, I had no idea what, if anything, he planned to do about it because I didn’t hear back from him again until late on Tuesday – after nearly a day and a half of sitting here in a full blown panic because my whole world seemed to be collapsing all around me!

An overreaction on my part you say? Perhaps. But it’s not as if I didn’t have cause. For example, remember that negative balance? That was caused by the bounced check fee the bank applied when there was no money to cover the automatic deduction for my rent. And, adding insult to injury, my rental office has decided to “punish me” even further with a 10% penalty on top of my rent when I am able to pay – leaving me almost $100 in the hole before I even begin to take care of my other expenses!

I haven’t talked to them yet to make sure that’s the full extent of that particular set of damages (I’ll explain why I haven’t in a moment), but my son did tell me (in a damned text message!) that he’d arranged for the bank to block them from trying again until he straightens this out. And as for why I haven’t been able to call the rental office again, well that’s because I spent all day yesterday with no cable, no internet, and NO PHONE!

Remember when I said that money was tight and that I felt forced to forecast every penny to be spent in the month ahead? Well, the next step in my “payday ritual,” after the balance check and the tobacco purchase, is to use my cable company’s over-the-phone automated payment system to pay at least the past due amount of my bill to keep them from cutting me off.

And, to make matters worse, that company has been undergoing “technical renovations” for the past two months, resulting in nightmarishly long periods where all I get when I call is a busy signal. And, just as you’d expect in some bizarre “terminator” parody, my inability to get through their system to beg for an extension did not prevent that cold calculating bastard from cutting me off early on Tuesday morning!

Well, to wrap this up, I did manage to get through late last night to get that extension, as you can see – from the machine no less, with no human interaction whatsoever. Also, my son brought me some much needed tobacco supplies last night as well. So, thankfully, I’m not looking at almost a week of of full-blown nicotine withdrawal and nothing to distract me from my crazy, runaway, panic-driven thoughts after all. Whew!

In conclusion, I want to state as clearly as I can that I am not angry at my son. He actually is the kind of cool, unflappable type of person that I dream of being myself. And even better, he doesn’t have a malicious bone in his entire body. Hell, about the only “flaw” I see in him at all is the incredibly “full” life that he leads, which has to involve one hell of a lot of stress.

Which, of course, is why the nagging worry that something will prevent him from following through on Friday remains. But that’s just me I guess, the crazy guy…

I want ice water.

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18 thoughts on “That Small Measure Of Relief…

  1. Anyone who doesn’t doesn’t freak out over a negative bank balance is a fool. The cascade of NSF notices to creditors, the huge overdraft fees, penalties, etc. that can result from even a few hours with a negative balance can cost hundreds of dollars, hurt credit ratings, and at the very least raise a lot of suspicion among the people you routinely do business with. It’s happened to me once or twice and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Having your phone go out just when you most need it and the clock is ticking … I’d say under the circumstances your reaction was perfectly normal. (That’ll be $100 for the diagnoses, please … 😉 )


    • Wow PT, I hadn’t actually called my rental office until I read your comment. I just did and they told me that they are now adding an additional $5 per day, on top of the 10% penalty, to what I’ll have to pay when my money is available! Assuming my son does come through on Friday, that’s brings the damages up to $115 from the $95 I was expecting when I wrote this post. Argh! 😡

      I know it’s right before Xmas and all, but I’m really hoping my son’s gonna help me recoup some of that! 😯

      BTW, your check is in the mail… 😉


  2. Well; I guess that I had better get into my work room and start working! I got depressed about a year ago and things have been sliding down hill. Gotta get on it and make more inventory. WHEN I AM KING IT IS GOING TO BE BETTER!!!! You better believe it. We won’t just tax the rich; we will EAT them!!!!

    You son will come through for you. He is already coming through and he won’t stop. “A body in motion tends to stay in motion!” Quote some famous ( dead ) smart guy.


      • The meaning is that you should be treated well. First there is a penalty and then a daily charge? That is a double double and doesn’t sound even legal although it probably is. I don’t think that I will ever be King or that we will ever BBQ the rich. It would be nice if they paid taxes and there was a real effort to have everyone have a roof over their heads and food to eat. The WalMart family has as much wealth as the lower 40% of Americans. That would make them better off than 120 million Americans in the lower strata of the population. The foregoing is a TRUE number. I am not just slandering the poor Waltons. Why the hell can’t we all have Wi-Fi? In some places people get Wi-Fi for paying taxes. In fact I think it just runs free like a river and tax paying isn’t even necessary and it is considered ‘for the common good’. We won’t even talk about medical care.

        Hope for a better tomorrow (or today as it is still young), Phillip


  3. Pingback: What, Me Worry? | I Want Ice Water

  4. I heard it is your birthday! I hope that you get something you both need and want as well. I don’t mean a new pair of socks either! Phillip 12-9-12


  5. IM,
    I can truly relate, in more ways than one. Having to account for every single penny is draining enough, but to get socked with those overdraft charges and penalties is akin to emptying a bottle of tobasco onto a paper cut. Hang in there. I’ll be thinking of you.


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