Something funny happened over the past 24 hours. It started from the dark place of yesterday’s post. That was prompted by my discovery that I had miscalculated my pay for this payday. So this morning, I went to the bank. I was worried about an education loan that reaches maturity in 2 weeks and has a balloon payment due. And I was talking to the manager.
“I’m just tired,” I said. “I’m tired of working this hard and making the money I do, and having nothing to show for it at the end of the day.”
And he did something I didn’t expect. He pivoted his computer screen around so I could see it from my side of his desk.
“Not for nothing, Andrea. This check right here? Well, it was written to a school. A certain elementary school. And the memo says ‘tuition-Evan’.”
“And this right here? It tells me that you have a very late-model car that is over halfway paid off. And this line? That line shows me that your husband has a motorcycle-a toy– worth more than that late model car. And here is your personal loan. And the beauty of it all is in these columns right here,” he said as he pointed to 2 columns of zeros. One being days past due, and one being balance owed today. Zeros all the way down the screen. My bills are paid. Not completely paid off, but paid.
And this morning, as I was trying to figure how to squeeze bill payments out of a smaller than expected paycheck, I began to look into stuff. Turns out it is November, the next to last month in the year. And I have accrued a bunch of vacation time that has to be used by December 31st. No vacays for me, but I can cash it out and have it added to my next payceck. Plus, according to the bank manager, I am allowed to skip one month of each loan. In all of the years I have been doing business with this bank, I never knew this. It’s a sort of freebie thing they do. So no more car or motorcycle payments for November, which frees up about $700. And last night, I got called into work. You know what I make in one overtime shift? About $580. In one fucking day of work. So just like that, with a little mental power, I came up with an extra $2700 for this month’s budget. Just like that.
The bank manager is so right.
I have no reason to bitch. Tonight, we went to the grocery store. I was able to buy an entire case of diapers for Zach. Not generic ones, but Pampers Cruisers, which are the most expensive diapers I have found. (Those are the only ones that don’t break him out.) There are parents all over this country who can’t buy enough diapers for the day, let alone for the month. We bought food. Granted I was a little more frugal–I bought the veggies that were on sale instead of just grabbing what I always buy. We bought the cereal we like, but instead of the snacky cereal we usually buy for Zach, we bought the gigantic bag that is cheaper. I bought the pasta sauce that was on sale and store-brand coffee creamer. But I left with a cart full of food and was able to fill the fridge and freezer with food while only going one dollar over my budget. And tonight, we are going to eat dinner on a table that is only a couple months old. In a house that is warm and has electricity. While dinner is cooking, I am blogging this on a month-old laptop with my highspeed internet access. My beautiful, healthy ten-year old, who was never even supposed to make it into this world, is sitting on a newer sofa watching our digital cable on a tv that may not be the latest technology, but is more than adequate. My husband is laying on the living room floor completing a homework assignment for the math class that I paid for. And when he gets stumped on a problem, I am able to help him. After dinner, when the beautiful, healthy toddler , who also shouldn’t have made it into this world, gets his bath and dressed in pajamas, he will give me the big Zachy smile and sloppy baby goodnight kiss before he is tucked into bed. And then I can complete the homework for the businesses classes I paid for and are going to be my ticket to a better tomorrow. And then I will study with a 5-inch thick book that says “GMAT” on the cover, which will be my ticket to an even better better tomorrow. And tomorrow morning, I will walk to the park with my beautiful baby and we will spend my day off laughing and giggling while Daddy and Bubby are both at school.
The moral of the story? I don’t have a damned thing to bitch about. I have everything to be grateful for tonight. That’s what this month is supposed to be, right? To pause and give thanks?
No, I don’t have a huge balance in the bank account. But it’s in the black for right now. And I have this life that is so…full. And I did it. I did it all.
I’m not wealthy. But I sure am rich as hell.
(Thanks to Mary for the inspiration. Something about her words today just drove home what I have been thinking all day.)