When I broke that shoelace this morning, I sould have just crawled back in bed.

I’m mad. I’m frothing mad. Not the creamy and delicious frothing that you find on the top of your freshly prepared espresso coffee creation. No no. This is the scummy, churning frothing that you find where the overflow pipe from the wastewater treatment plant spills into the river. That kind of frothing.

I’m mad that the local school district canceled all classes today due to the weather. Why? Did we get a foot of snow? Will the power be out all weekend? Tornado? Gerbil sized hail? Hell no. We got rain. They canceled school because it’s wet. Wet and cold. Jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick, people! We live in the Northeast! Cowboy up!

I’m mad that because the local school district canceled all classes today due to the weather, the daycare that takes care of our oldest daughter (the Bean) is also closed. At least I don’t have to pay for today. Oh wait. I already did. I guess I have a credit, then. The only place I have credit right now.

I’m mad that because the local school district canceled all classes today due to the weather and the daycare that takes care of our oldest daughter is also closed, my wife was forced to go into work late. She’s a manager where she works. As a salaried employee her schedule has some flexibility that wage army employees might not enjoy, but as a manager her schedule has certain expectations that wage army employees would certainly not enjoy. I got the impression that she was given a certain amount of disapproval at her decision not to simply instruct the kids not to drink anything that’s not in the fridge, lock up the house and come into work anyway. Now she’s going to have make up those hours on an upcoming weekend, instead of being able to spend them with the family.

I’m mad that because the local school district canceled all classes today due to the weather and the daycare that takes care of our oldest daughter is also closed and my wife was forced to go into work late, I had to leave work early. I’m a manager where I work as well. However, since my management position is hourly, I had to cover my missed hours with personal time.

I’m mad that because the local school district canceled all classes today due to the weather and the daycare that takes care of our oldest daughter is also closed, forcing my wife to go into work late and myself to leave work early and cover the missed hours with personal time, I now won’t have those hours to use in June when we’re going to GeoJamboree 5 for the weekend. Hopefully by then we’ll be financially stable enough for me to be able to take that Friday off without pay.

That’s just today. By itself it wouldn’t be too much more than an annoying inconvenience. When things are going wrong though, they do so in flaming gouts, and all that heat helps to bring all the other problems floating around boiling to the surface.

We owe $300 to my youngest daughter’s daycare provider. She (the Grumble) is in the child care program at the University, where my wife is a continuing ed student. Now, we owe them $300 because we have an outstanding bill of over two grand and they’ve put us on a payment plan. We have an outstanding bill of over two grand because we never got a subsidy for her tuition last semester. We never got a subsidy for her tuition last semester because my wife was not technically a student last semester. She wasn’t a technical student last semester because she was never registered. She was never registered because one specific form was never “completed”. This form was never “completed” because it had been revised from the previous semester, and the option describing my wife’s filed of study was removed. Since there was no option that correctly listed her field of study, my wife never checked anything on that section of the form, assuming she didn’t need to. When she mailed back the unknowingly incomplete form, the university would look at it, determine that no field of study had been selected and then mail her a brand new form, with a request that it be filled out and mailed back. Since there were never any explicit instructions stating that a field of study must be selected, we both assumed the last submitted form was somehow lost (which is nauseatingly plausible. They once took 3 months to cash a check) and my wife would begin the cycle all over. We only discovered this hellish Catch 22 after my wife finally got the time to go down to the offices and used her “You can’t help me? Then get me someone who fucking can.” style to brush aside two subordinates and talk to the person in charge. When it was eventually made clear to this woman how they had screwed up, the best apology she could muster was “I guess we’ve done you a disservice.” By this time, it was too late to be enrolled for the current semester, leaving us holding the bill for 100% of the child care tuition. Right now, all registration issues have been resolved. My wife is enrolled for the current semester and we’ve qualified again for the subsidy for childcare tuition. But it’s not over.

We were able to expand that subsidy to cover the Grumble and the Bean’s tuition in the same daycare that the Bean attends. Having them both in the same place will save my wife time in the morning, it will save me time in the afternoons, and it will save us both some money since they’ll be dropped off later, picked up earlier and most of the resulting bill will be subsidized. Knowing this, we promised the child care center that we could start making payments on the bill we owe them. But all of this is only possible with this subsidy, and the subsidy is only possible while my wife is a student. The center drew up a payment plan for us, which started with a March payment. The paperwork mentioned that payments are due on the first of the month (wait for it…) and that a late fee of would be charged after 10 days (here it comes…) and finally, if payments are not made on time, “an Administrative Withdrawal will be placed on you undergraduate records”. Today is March second. The payment is already late.



At the beginning of February I took a draconian hold on our finances. This is because back in October, over a 50 day period we bled over 4,500 dollars on repair and insurance for both cars. Everything fell behind after that. We spent December and January in denial about just how bad off we were. I refused to sit down and figure out our earnings to expenses ratio for fear of the truth… that we were spending more than we make. It was in Feb. that I smacked myself hard and did it anyway. What I found was that we could come back, but not unless everything we made went toward bills. I bought two dry erase boards. I used one to outline every single bill we have, weekly and monthly, and figured out what everything costs us per week. I used the other as a calendar to schedule what gets paid when. Since then, on every payday, without exception, I spend every last dollar we have on bills. If I don’t have enough to pay a whole bill, I pay part of it and move the balance to the next payday. I started putting away a third of our monthly mortgage payment every week so that eventually we’ll be back to paying it at the beginning of the month instead of two weeks into the next month. I hate all this. My wife hates all this. We make bare bones grocery trips. She’s had to cancel crafting days with friends. I’ve put all my geocaching activities on hold. It sucks out loud.

Wednesday was a payday. I performed the ritual before going to work. That afternoon, I picked up the payment plan agreement from the childcare center. I glanced over it. My wife and I talked about it. We both overlooked the part about how we’d have to make a many hundred dollar payment on Friday. It was pointed out to my wife when she dropped off the Grumble this morning. Now, follow the landslide… If we don’t make the payment, my wife’s registration is effectively dropped, which voids the subsidy, which makes daycare for the girls too expensive to afford, which makes it impossible for both of us to work, which makes all the bills unpayable. There is absolutely no way out of this trap right now. We both need to work to stay financially afloat. The girls need to be in daycare so we can both work. My wife needs to be a registered student in order to get the subsidy that allows the girls to be in daycare… so that we can work. How the hell did we get ourselves in this deep?

We have to make this payment. They’ve agreed to extend this month’s deadline until Monday, but all that does is postpone the cascade of disaster. It wouldn’t have mattered if we’d read the paperwork correctly when we got it. That payment would still be what it is… the equivalent of the mess with the cars that started all this crap last October. We can only pay this by using funds that were ready to go somewhere else. Everything will now fall behind again. Auto payments will bounce and fines will be added, and through it all we still have to make sure that when the first of April rolls around we have that next payment ready or… else.

So I’m mad. More than that, I’m exhausted. I’m beat. I really need a distraction.


4 responses to “When I broke that shoelace this morning, I sould have just crawled back in bed.

  1. Sorry to hear about this…wish there was something we could do to help out. =(

  2. The biggest side effect of events like this is that they sap me of all my optimism, and it shows when I write. What’s good still outweighs what’s bad. Now for that distraction… I’m going out to fire up the sap boilers!

  3. So you owe 300 dollars? Or more?

  4. You’re amazingly prophetic in your inquiry. I’ve looked everything over since last night, and it’s not as bad as I thought it was. Tight, but do-able. Getting all that out of my system was more important than anything else.

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