Friday, April 29, 2011

When It Rains...

We made it this far.  We limped through living off of little more than a wish and a prayer every month in the income department.  We paid down debts.  Moved forward.  Finally bought a house.  Took the plunge and traded in our car for a newer one.  That itself was a hard financial decision to make.  While the car we had to begin with wasn't paid off completely, it was getting there.  But Noel's ex-wife had beat it to death and it was on its last legs.  We had no extra money whatsoever, and the list of necessary repairs was growing ever longer.  So we sucked it up and committed to a new car loan, thereby avoiding costly repairs.  It was the best decision we could've made at that time.  When we bought our house, our real estate agent said that I had the best credit he had ever seen in someone my age.  We even gimped it through the financial strain that went hand-in-hand with Madi's ordeal-thanks to lots of friends and family and generosity.
Now this.  My husband busts his butt.  He has worked for the same guy off and on for 16 years or so.  He genuinely loves his work, and is very talented at what he does.  He probably could make more money somewhere else, but in this fragile economy it's best to just try to stick with what you have and make it work.  Especially when he has really good medical insurance.  For the past couple of years, it has been happening more and more frequently that Noel doesn't get his paychecks on time.  Sometimes they will be a day late, sometimes two.  More often it's a week, ten days, a whole pay period behind.  It's kicking my ass, to say the least.  I can make one dollar stretch to two most of the time but you can't make something out of nothing.  We no longer have a savings account.  We have several late payment "dings" on our credit report.  We now have credit card debt again.  It's very frustrating.
Why does this keep happening?  Well, it depends on who/when you ask.  Sometimes, it's that they are waiting on pay from an insurance company, the county, for a big job to be done, for the mail to bring some check.  Sometimes it's because there are problems with taxes and accounting.  Sometimes it's just some idiotic clerical error-like overdrawing the vendor account, which then saps the payroll account. 
So I have been keeping track.  Of every late fee, disconnection/reconnection fee, interest, bad mark on our credit.  I feel I have a right to collect these fees (once money comes in) as I did nothing to cause them.  We did our part-my husband gets up every day and goes to work-but for some reason this company fails to appreciate what we are going through.  Don't get me wrong, they were wonderful when Madi was going through all that she went through.  They were there when we needed them, and were as flexible with scheduling as was possible.  But when we come to the pay, well, it gets to be a war.  You see, Noel's boss seems to think that if we didn't live the way we do, we wouldn't have money problems.  Even with late paychecks.  What does that mean, anyway-"living the way we do"?  We live in a mobile home, precisely so we have lower mortgage payments.  We only have one car.  (Yes, it's new, but as I stated above, it was a decision that was the best for us.)  We don't go on vacations.  Noel and I do not go out.  Our weekends usually consist of grocery shopping and hanging out with my mom.  A lot of the furnishings in our home are used, and most of the ones that aren't came as a gift or were deeply discounted.  My children's clothes come mainly from gifts, or from thrift stores and garage sales.  I have worn the same shoes since I was pregnant with Madi.  (What, they are super comfy!)  I clip coupons like a maniac and sign up for every mailing list and sample I can in the hopes that I get some good coupons.  I really shouldn't have to justify our lifestyle.  We try very very hard to be the best people we can be, and to do it within our means.  I just want to scream at him "Do you even REALIZE what we have gone through, you F**KHEAD?"  I USED to have a back up plan.  I USED to have savings.  But all this has sapped every single last resource I had on tap. 
Meanwhile, Noel's boss, his wife, and their seven children sit in their giant house and shut themselves off from the world, not realizing that it's MY husband who put them there. 
Yet here we are.. waiting.  Again.  And the end doesn't seem to be in sight.  Noel's boss probably is well aware that he has us between a rock and a hard place.  There aren't jobs out there right now for what Noel does.  He can't qualify for unemployment unless his company actually has a lack of work and has to be laid off.  The company is never lacking for work to do, it's getting people to pay that is causing such havoc.  Stuck.  That's what we are.  I am sure that it will get better.  In all reality, we are blessed in many other ways.  And money really doesn't mean everything to us.  We have made it so far, and i have great faith that the Lord will bring us through this storm too. 
I think I just need to find an umbrella...

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