The hardest decisions

I don’t know how to tell you about this, or even if I should tell you.

I have your basic American male fear of failure. I would sooner eat aluminum siding than tell you in this WordPress blog of how I have failed miserably. I want to keep my mouth shut. Nobody has to know about this. Nobody wants to know. It would pollute Our Internet to tell of it.

But since there are those who would wonder about me and worry about me, I need to tell about it anyway. I am coming to the hardest decisions I have ever had to make about material possessions and creature comforts and which of these I can afford to keep.

The one that will have the biggest effect on you, my friends, is my Internet service. I cannot afford to keep it. Insight will pull the plug on me in the next few days for nonpayment, and there is nothing I can do about. it.

Another thing that will have a big effect on my locally, is I have come to a decision about my apartment and my car. It’s as plain as the nose on my face I cannot afford both. So, I have chosen to keep my car. I have a feeling I can more easily get somebody to help with shelter than with wheels. I’m not sure if I have made the right choice, choosing car over apartment. I should never have to make such a choice, but I do, and I would feel better once I have charted my course clearly.

By Saturday, I will have done my last work for the U.S. Census. I have not lined up another job to replace it. The unemployment office is having some issues about how much benefits to pay me in light of the inventory job that I work, and I need to fax them a pay stub to prove that I work there. They have held three benefit checks to date. I can’t expect anything from them in the next ten business days.

I’m telling you about this as matter-of-factly as I can, stating only the straight facts. And with that, I must bow out for a moment, and continue to try to do the best I can with what little God has given me.

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Small victories

I’m happy to say I’ve stopped the bleeding of money from my checking account from last month, and successfully bought my car out of the collision repair shop.

Successes! Minor victories! My God, how my sad sack life has desperately needed those!

I’m far from what most people would call normal, though. (What really is normal?) I narrowly escaped having my cable internet chopped for non-payment. And after all that noble, effective spending of funds, I am now sitting on a small cache of food money that I am guarding jealously.

And guess what happens. The chairman of Morphicon calls a staff meeting for 8:00 PM tonight. SonicBlu, Dark, and WolfDog will need to be ferried to the far side of town. I did not figure that into my budget for this week.

Just when you think you’re doing pretty good, you learn where you’re failing miserably.

Ooo Shinee is home

Yesterday, I successfully brought my Pontiac GrandAm home. And it’s looking good. And it felt good for all of three hours. The first thing I did before driving Ooo Shinee home was take the Census placard down out of the rear window. Methinks that placard may have turned my car into a target three weeks ago. I’m sure the folks who made it were thinking of my safety, but you might as well mount flashing lights and a siren on that car for all the good that placard did me. It made me look like a damned Federal government rat.

Having the car with me enabled me to visit all the houses I had left in my clipboard in just three hours. And I conducted enough interviews to cut that number in half.

It looks very much like I’m going to get that two-week furlough that the Census Department will give me before the final push to verify vacant addresses. This morning, I had realized that all I brought home yesterday was an excuse to berate myself for not searching for a new job. Seems I never ever give myself time to celebrate my achievements.

Things seem to be going to plan. Just barely. Keeping a close eye on my checking account—and simulating in a spreadsheet what is really happening to it—has thus far avoided the overdrafts that I saw this time last month.

And I was barely able to squeak out enough money to keep my cable services going. At least I think so. I’ll know a little better after midnight tonight.

Your prayers are doing something

I have some somewhat good news to report. Dan Vanoy of Tru2Form called. The region manager was visiting and he was having a talk about my inability to raise $500 deductible on the fly, and the region manager authorized him to cut the deductible to $250 if we can get it paid this coming weekend. Now I know I can come up with it by next Wednesday, but asking for it Saturday is a bit much. The automatic payments I wrote about last post already have the lion’s share of yesterday’s paycheck and there’s no way I can slow them down.

Don’t stop praying. Your prayers are doing something.

The Not-So-Vanishing Deductible

Dan Vanoy of Tru2Form Body Repair called yesterday, saying that the body work to Ooo Shinee has been finished. This is good news, and at the same time, not so good.

This completion of the body work is very poorly timed. The second week of each month is when the automatic payments for auto insurance, FDB Loans, and my debt managenent plan come out of my account. I have to carefully watch my account through this period (especially that all-important pending queue, which likes to rearrange payments from big to small) and make careful calculations of what I can do, taking into consideration the Evil Banking Formula. I have to know what’s coming out and when. And I have the automatic payments scheduled in Yahoo Calendar to tell me when to look for them.

I have talked to both Nationwide and Tru2Form about my difficulty in coming up with the deductible immediately, and asked them if they can reduce it. Both say that their hands are tied by contract law and other strict rules. No help there.

Also, no immediate help from Anapol Schwartz, which is still in the investigating stages of the class action lawsuit against PNC bank. Attorney Ken Grunfeld says that while I definitely look like the class of customers the firm wants to represent, there is no leverage he can apply against PNC right now.

We shall wait and see.

Ooo Shinee Update

Dan Vanoy of Tru2Form Body Shop called this morning. He told me of how the painting work on the new quarter panel has just commenced, and will done before reassembling the rear end. I’m not quite sure I can explain it to myself, much less you.

Okay, let me tell you of some positive things. One, I’ve managed to stop the bleeding in the bank account. I think that happened about two weeks ago, but here’s what I plan to help me out in the future.

I have all my automatic payments loaded into Yahoo Calendar, which will warn be by email when they are about to hit my account. When I receive the warnings, I will put them into my daily Evil Banking Formula spreadsheet in my computer. The spreadsheet will start with my posted balance—the only balance in the web site that is real—deduct in order of descending amount every transaction in the pending queue, and finally add any paychecks in the pending queue. I will know down to the penny what is happening in that account before it happens.

PNC Bank has released my bank statement for this month, and I quickly forwarded a copy of it to Ken Grunfeld, a lawyer for Anapol Schwartz, along with a scan of a page from Consumer Disclosures and Agreements that proves that PNC Bank does have this pending queue, and the days transactions that accumulate there are indeed processed in order of descending dollar amounts. I can’t wait to see what Mr. Grunfeld comes up with next Monday.

It’s raining today, so I’m taking the day off to mess with a new theme here in this blog, and what kind of new widgets I can use in it. I really need to know what I can do here in this particular web site. I’m sure I can put in some fun new features if I can just take the time to discover what they are.