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Monday, July 31, 2017

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due...To Yourself.

What a month. To say that the last month has gone smoothly would be to lie and to say it was difficult would be an understatement.  But, thanks to my own smarts and efforts, we have made it through the roughest patch on the way to a happy life. And no, that's not ego. That's honesty, let me tell. And then you decision.  

To really tell the story I have to back up a couple months to when I was working as an accountant at an oil and gas contract accounting company.  It was a new company to this industry and, aside from the archaic system that they were using for the job, their management was completely untrained and unprepared. As the company moved to a deadline that I knew they were not going to reach, I had to look out for my own professional career.  So, knowing that their untrained and irresponsible management would blame those under them for the failures of this transition, I knew I had to exit.

Of course, this put a financial strain on the family, and, even though I was driving Uber and working at what I could work while I was applying for new jobs, it caused the strain of financial being underemployed. 

Finally, I got an offer.  However, that job was not going to start for a month. But, I planned it out, gave my notice to my apartment complex (30 days)  We were going to pay the rent at the beginning of the month, travel down to where I was going to be working in the middle of the month, get a place, and then transition over to it.  It all would have went very smooth, and that's when the difficulty began. 

First, we got to the beginning of the month and on my bill was 4 months worth of rent due on the first of the month.  They had charged me the full move out fee, prior to us having actually moved out, even contacting the apartment complex resulted in no answers.  I knew that we did not have the money for that kind of fee, so I had to make the only fiscally possible choice of taking that rent check money and using it for hotels, down in the new location until we find our new place to move.  But, choosing to do that meant moving some stuff into storage and taking some stuff with us and living out of a suitcase on very little money, since there was no paycheck until a few weeks after I begin that job. However, I found an amazing place with a great move in special. Then, I started attending my job working at my job and got approved for the new location; but, they said there was an old apartment bill unpaid on my credit report from 5 years prior. I knew nothing about this bill, but I contacted the collection agency about it who proclaimed that this bill had never been paid.  Well, I contacted the apartment complex about it, but, their only contact at the apartment complex was an email address for the accounting office who took a while to respond to emails.  I needed to get into my new apartment, so I paid the fee out of my limited amount of money to the collection company.

Within a week of having been approved for my new apartment, I get an email back from the accounting office at the old apartment office. As it turns out, that bill had been paid in 2012.  I contacted the collection company about that. They said that they won't accept the email from the apartment complex and needed to hear it from them themselves.  So, I contact the apartment complex to have their accounting office send a message to the collections company.  However, even upon hearing from the apartment complex that the bill that they were collecting already been paid, they refused to refund the money to me.... yes, I have contacted the state attorney general about this fraud. The apartment complex did eventually agree to refund their money, but not until next month and so that money is not useful.

On to the next challenge. Near this time I had a charge suddenly appear in my bank account for U-Haul after we had already paid our bill. Upon looking at the details of the bill, I saw that, after we paid the bill, they charged me for an extra day, more equipment, and a late fee for not having paid the extra charge.  This...also...took many phone calls and weeks, but I did at least get THIS refunded.  

Then, the new apartment complex that had said, "don't worry about the pet fees....we can put them off till the next month or longer" were suddenly like..."Well, there is the 30 dollar fee for our discount off your deposit that we are giving you, and we will need 200 of the pet deposit, now....after we were already moved in so, of course, we kinda have to do it.

So, to make up for this we decided to get a car tag loan to help in the moving costs of this very strained month.  I asked my work if I could get a few hours off to take care of that, and the manager said..."why don't you take 4 hours for it"...so I agreed.  What she failed to share is that it would be UNPAID leave, so when I got my first check it was 100 dollars less than normal.

However, one thing did come through for us.  When we were in Tulsa, we got on food stamps to go along with Uber.  I just assumed that because I had moved to another state, we could not use them.  However, in desperation, I gave it a shot and called them to ask.  They informed me that, in fact, I COULD use them in the new state, until I could get setup in that state.  Finally, some good news.

And, here is what inspired this post.  Upon telling my co-workers about my financial struggles for weeks and hearing about the food stamps, one of my co-workers says, "That's great.  I like hearing things like that, because I believe there is someone up in the sky that takes care of us."  

Now, I am sure she meant it in a positive way, but I couldn't help but note that in weeks of having told my co workers about my struggles, none of them had offered me a single dime.  However, they certainly had criticism of the manner in which I solved the problems.  When I mentioned the car loan, I was informed that those places were outlawed in many places and were not a great idea.  AGAIN, I note that not one of them said, "Do you need a few hundred dollars"...even as in the same day the one that had criticized the title loan bragged to another co worker, "I always carry a few hundred dollars in my pocket...just in case."

And, people wonder why I have a problem with conservatives.  I mean...they are not being intentionally mean...just intentionally careless...not caring for others by choice to enhance themselves.  It is not just true for my office but has been a ringing truth among Conservative Christians in almost every place I have found them.  Indeed, conservatives EXPLICITLY are engaged in elections to CUT food stamps and the very means that I had just fed my children, while I have YET to see a single Evangelical church with a food pantry for the poor in it.  They condemn Planned Parenthood, but none of them have funds for single mothers.  But, hey, at least I got food stamps by the grace of GOD, so I guess that means God works for the department of human services, which would make the church opposed to the work of God.

I kid, of course, because God DIDN'T help me this month.  Yes, I said that ... God didn't help me.  I know that it has become the default thing to say..."well, praise God" or "I am blessed" or such.  However, I look at facts, and the FACT is that God's people on earth gave me not one dime of support in all my months of struggle, and the ones that DID help me are the very programs the Religious Right want to end.  No one walked up to me and said, God told me to give you this, and there were no unwarrented funds that appeared in my bank account.  No, every dime I had this month I earned by work...and the reason it lasted was because I was wise in spending it and budgeted effectively to last.

Look at your own life, and ask the question...honestly.  The good in your life, what is the literal source of that good.  Honor those people that fit that bill, as they are a great treasure in your life.  Similarly, don't blame the devil for every evil but ask the question...WHO was it that took my money, cut me off in traffic, disrespected you, used you, or harmed you and make sure THEY, not the devil, gets the blame for that.  Only, when we look at the source of good and evil in our lives can  we make decisions of who to trust and surround ourselves with toward a better tomorrow.

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