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Life Lessons

December 7, 2008

You know, I’ve been thinking of how to word things so that I can explain the seemingly endless load of crap that seems to be raining down on my head the last few weeks.

Last week, I was having a pretty good thanksgiving although it was so much more difficult than I could ever imagine to be around my sister in law.  It seems to me (and come to find out after a conversation with my mom) that they are just focused on the fact that they are pregnant and what they can get out of it.  They spend money on useless things (like my brother getting tattoo’s that cost hundreds of dollars apiece instead of saving for the medical bills that are coming with Az needing to be in NICU for estimated 8wks) and it frustrates me to no end that they take it all for granted.  Every minute they are still so focused on themselves—

Sunday we left for home and on the way our only car broke down.  It being the Sunday after a major holiday one would think that there would be more people on the road and more than one place open for business.  Neither was the case.  No repair shops were open and the traffic flow on a state road isn’t exactly what one would call  a consistent flow.  Had to call the state Sheriffs office because our cell phones kept dropping the signal with our roadside assistance company (it didn’t help that we were literately in the middle of nowhere) and a very nice man came out and not only got us a tow truck but also stayed close  by until the tow showed up.  Because there was nothing open we had to tow the car three hours home.  I had to call my grandmother and ask if she could pay for it because we just didn’t have the money.

If you are still reading this then I would ask that you keep that particular phrase in the front of your mind as you read the rest of this sob story: we just didn’t have the money

Near the end of our particular journey we roll up to our house to find our garage door open.  We know we shut it because we waited until it was all the way down before we pulled out of the driveway.  So we called the police and requested that an officer check the house before we walked in- just in case there was someone in our home or there was something missing.  From the time we called we unloaded the car from the back of the truck…positioned it and did all the paper work and the cop still didn’t show up.  Our tow truck driver was a bounty hunter and a bail bondsman as well as a truck driver.  If we had been in New Mexico then he would have had the jurisdiction to sweep the house for us but seeing as that wasn’t the case he decided to wait with us until the police officer showed up.

20 minutes  and three followup phone calls later the guy shows up.  We were standing in the cold, in the dark, and with our dogs locked in the car waiting.  Gee… Im glad it wasn’t an emergency <insert eye roll>.  After the cop leaves the neighbor from across the street comes out for a smoke and informs us that Thursday morning our garage door was closed and when he came home Thursday night it was open.  He says he kept an eye on things for us since he knew that we don’t leave our garage door open.  So it was three days, and even though I’m grateful he “kept an eye on things” I am wondering why in the world he didn’t just call the police when he realized that we weren’t home.

Monday morning rolls around and at 9 the maintenance/repair man from Century 21 is at our house. The reason being that a week before we left for my Mom’s our garbage disposal stopped working.  Since we didn’t know that it wouldn’t work when we cleaned out the leftovers from the meal- even as I type this it is rotting in the sink because the only thing this particular morning  established was that the garbage disposal is broken.  I have yet to receive a call to schedule the replacement to be done. The Hubbs was home because there wasn’t anyway for him to get to work and I can’t find a dealership that will even look at our car because it has more than 100k miles on it.  So I had to first find a place that would even look at it, then find a tow truck because the place I found with the cheapest estimate cost didn’t have their own.  So that was another towing charge.  I couldn’t miss my neurology appointment on Tuesday morning, or my acupuncture appointment in the afternoon- so since we don’t know anyone that meant that we had to rent a car.

Tuesday morning I was up at 530 to bring the Hubbs into work.  I came back home and attempted to do something about the house.  It isn’t exactly what one would call neat, nor is it in any way shape or form ready for holiday decorations. Then it was off for the trip to the doctors.  While I am there I am informed by my husband that he has got field work from Wednesday morning to next Wednesday morning- which would normally be fine but I am in Fl from Thursday to Wednesday.  Remember, we know no one.  We have three dogs and I had to find a kennel for them to stay in for a week.  Since I was in Las Cruces, I ended up with a Kennel there since that was the only place I had time to actually visit- an hour and fifteen minutes away.  Anyone want to guess the going price to board three dogs for seven days?   Yeah… exactly.

Wednesday morning I woke up to bring the Hubbs in and ended up there waiting and driving him around as we are trying to get him out of this field problem.  We were denied.

We applied for assistance from AER (Army Emergency Relief).  We were denied.

We applied for a loan from the bank.  We were denied.

You maybe wondering why I decided to continue with my trip in light of all this mess.  My Grandma paid for this trip and she doesn’t have a license. She would have been left in the airport until someone could get off work. Not to mention left in the hotel all day until whomever got off of work for the day.  Also not to mention she would have lost the money she spent on the flight and hotel –seeing as they are non-refundable and non-transferable.

I had to bring the dogs to Las Cruces–only with rentals you arent’ supposed to have pets in the car– or there is a hefty fee– but I couldn’t walk them to Las Cruces so I covered the back of the car with as many over lapping layers of sheets as I could.  They all sat back there and behaved so well.  Would you believe though… that it was the hair from our clothes that incurred us the fee anyway. I was home all buy myself that afternoon and it was odd.  I got a phone call from the mechanic and the fix they hoped would be enough wasn’t—the original issue cause a greater issue- one that would require that my engine be taken apart- pistons changed out.  I’ll let you guess how much that might be.

Thursday I didn’t have a car so I had to call a cab to bring me to the airport.  I suffered from a mild case of sticker shock on that one (are you remembering that phrase I mentioned earlier?)  To avoid the baggage fee I didn’t check any bags (that was fun for a weeks worth of stay).  I was thinkin I’d have to starve since I knew that spending money on overpriced airport food wouldn’t exactly help the bottom line.  I normally fly US Airways or American Airlines.  This time I was booked with Continental and let me just say that  they still serve food -for free- on their flights.  This is something that I was truly grateful for.

I get to the airport here in Fl and think that I have to rush to meet my grandma. Our flights were timed so that we would be landing at the same time.  My phone had died and so I booked it to our meeting place then proceeded to worry when I couldn’t find her.  So I ended up sitting along the wall across from the information desk, looking for my phone charger and then charging my phone– which is when I found out that her first plane had been delayed which caused her to miss her second plane-so I had a while to wait.

It was a hour or so later, I was tired, and so was she but we were glad that our day of traveling was almost over. It was still a good time: around 230 in the afternoon.  The place we were staying has CRAZY rush hour traffic and the whole reason why I had us arriving between the lunch hour and rush hour was so that we could avoid as much of the headache as possible.  We go down to the baggage claim and her bag is one of the first to come out so we were feeling good- ready to grab a bite since she didn’t have any snacks provided on her flights. I am feeling good because I can get away from things kinda for a bit.

We go to the rental car place to pick up our reservation- only to find out that what the booking agent told us and what was legal were two very different things.  As a last resort, we decide to put the deposit on my debit card and then Grandma would deposit the cost of the car into our account so that we could hurry up and get out of that airport.

Only a word came up that I’ve come to know quite intimately over not only the last few days but over the last freakin four years: Denied.

My card was denied- and yet I knew that there must have been some sort of mistake because I checked the balance by phone the day before to keep track of what was cleared, what hadn’t, and how much would be in there should I need to know.  It hit me that I had not informed my bank that I would be traveling outside our normal spending area- and they must have put a restriction on the card as a precaution. So I called, informed them of what was happening, and found out that our account was practically cleared out over the previous 24 hours with online transactions of various amounts.

Somehow someone had copied my check card information. In the space of 24 hours they almost completely cleared out the account with multiple online transactions.  Fraud is not something that is easy to deal with in the best of times- but in the middle of all this other crap…. there really isn’t a word I can choose that would convey the feeling in the pit of my empty stomach.  I called the bank and tried to rent a car for the same rate as the original company (who could not process a denied card less than 24 hours from a denial) but everyone was more than double.  I literally went from counter to counter with a phone on my ear–with the bank so they could unlock our account for the time it would take to process an authorization– looking for a car.  In the end, well after 5, I had to call my brother to see if he could get off work early and pick us up.  While we waited, seated next to a “Smart Cart” rack and surrounded by our luggage– I wept. I eventually called my Mother in Law and asked if there was anyway her boyfriend could use the work truck so that my Grandma and I could have our own transportation for the time we are in town.

During this ride to the hotel he (my brother) made the statement that he was thinking about getting a new car because his window and a/c weren’t working.  Don’t tell me how it makes sense to take on a completely new payment rather than just fixing the problem but whatever.  Today my Grandma and I were getting ready to go to his graduation and she said that she was going to talk to him about buying the car from him for me so I could drive home and have a vehicle to use.  This was an absolute blessing because then the mechanic could fix the car, hold it while we made payments on the repair and still have transportation.

So we are at dinner and surprise of all surprises: after all the talk about just thinking about a new car was far more than that.  My brother used the car as a trade in yesterday for a brand new one.

Today (or rather yesterday as this posting has crossed the midnight threshold) brought such a sense of failure to me- not that I wasn’t already feeling like it already.  I guess it would be better to say that it brought me lower than I thought I could go.  Just everything compiling before today- even smaller issues that I haven’t even mentioned in this post because it is already too long.

But juxtaposed with everyone basically saying to my brother all through dinner and all through the look over for his brand new SUV: “Great Job, a Graduate, New Car, a new place of employment —we’re so proud of you” compared to me– who can’t seem to catch a break on anything–

denied.  failure.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 8, 2008 7:15 am

    I’m sorry things have been so rough for you. I hope that you enjoy the rest of your visit and that things start looking up soon.

  2. December 8, 2008 6:08 pm

    OMG. What a fucking shitty week… I am so, so sorry you had to deal with all that crap! 😦

  3. December 9, 2008 8:27 pm

    Oh sweetie… I hope things look up for you!!!

    Here from the LFCA


  4. December 11, 2008 6:57 am

    I found your blog through L&F at Stirrups. I’m thinking of you! (((HUGS)))


  5. December 13, 2008 10:15 am

    You were denied an AER loan? I didn’t even know this was possible if you really need it and it certainly sounds like you do. If the company commander supports it, it’s almost certainly going to be approved. If s/he doesn’t support it and you really need it–as it sounds like it’s your best option–go to ACS and speak with a financial advisor who can smooth the way the commander. I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with all this stuff much less doing it all in one week. Hang in there! If you want to contact me by email, I might be able o speak to my husband to see if he has any advice. It’s been a while since we’ve had the company commander/FRG leader gig but we’ve both sat throught enough classes on army assistance programs to be able to give pretty good advice.

    One more thing, and I’m really not judging, just offering advice: Have your husband get several phone numbers from people in his squad in case there are transportation emergencies in the future. Missing work and/or field problems due to car issues is, as I’m sure you know, never looked upon favorably and can effect so many things.

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