05 June 2006

"I've learned something today..."

I am the queen of useless worry. It's almost as though I think that through worrying over something I can change the outcome of the situation. Seriously. I think maybe it's because I watched so much sit com television growing up...everything works out by the end of the half hour, so maybe subconsciously I think that if I worry for 29 minutes that everything will work out in minute 30 and I can relax.

Case in Point: my bank account. I never have enough money...I know, who doesn't? But I've had a lot of trouble since separating from Scott managing to have enough money for everything that I need money for (see application that has been sent to higher paying job in Alabama...) at the time that I need it AND being able to save any money. Couple that problem with my overabundance of worry genes and you can see the storm on the horizon.

Lightning strike number one came when I got home from Tennessee last night and checked my bank balance. I ADORE the online banking option with my bank...it really has done a lot for helping me manage my money because I can see how much I have at any given time, including how much will be left when pending transactions clear. I checked last night and there was a charge in the pending column that was almost $300 that I had NO recollection of making.

Now before you start thinking that I bought some outrageous pair of shoes or a new outfit...I don't do that. I buy my clothes at Walmart and Target. I balk if the tag says anything higher than the $10-15 mark, and at that mark it had better be a two piece suit or a buy one/get one free. I recently got a purse from Walmart.com and when it came today I considered sending it back because I still have life in my old threadbare back-killer that looks like a saddlebag AND it would be $22 that would be back in my account in case I need dog food or gas or cat meds or something.

I used to be absolutely AWFUL about spending money. Ask my soon-to-be-ex-husband, he'll tell you. I'd get things just because they were on sale. Not so much anymore. I'd spend hours on eBay and feel so stoked that I'd "won" the right to give someone else my hard earned money. I barely visit eBay these days.

Anyway, back to the mystery charge. I sent an email to my bank this morning flipping out that the charge was still there AND that I couldn't see who would be getting 1/3 of my paycheck. All I could imagine was how my rent check was going to bounce...that I only had enough dog food for 3 more meals in the freezer...that I had only enough bottled water for about another day for me...that I would need gas money by Thursday...that I didn't get paid again until the 16th...it was bad, y'all. So bad, in fact, that I did what all those suffering from what my groovy one-time therapist Neil called "situational depression" (the kind that isn't really treatable by meds, but more effectively by ridding oneself of the thing or person causing it) do in lieu of being able to change the situation at hand...I took a two hour nap.

When I dragged myself out of bed and fed the poor puppers their unfortunately still frozen dinners, I realized that it was Profile's birthday. Number 11. I sat with him on the sofa and held a Frosty Paws doggie ice cream for him to eat, not telling him that I'd had it in the freezer since Jeany's birthday in April. The old thoughts started coming back...I can't afford these dogs...I'm not being fair to them or the cats...he should have fresh ice cream on his birthday...and yes, I know that they don't know the difference...

So I finally did something proactive...the bank hadn't emailed me back so I called their customer service line.

Did I mention that I love my bank?

The charge in question is from the hotel where I stayed last weekend. They charge the card used to make the reservation when you check in, and if you don't make changes as you check out it just stays as is. Well...we made changes and split the bill, and that charge showed up as well. The wonderful person I talked to said that they would settle up the account tonight, and if when they checked with the hotel the charge was not removed that they would dispute it. "We will get this taken care of and off your account, Ms. Lassiter," she assured me. I wanted to hug her.

So what did I learn? That I can be proactive, and that I can take care of myself. My animals have food in their stomachs. I have a check on the way from a free lance job I did last month that will help some. I won't be negative (at least I don't think I will) before payday. It will be okay, even if the job in Alabama doesn't work out.

I learned that I need to work on my patience, and that if I do, everything will work out at the end of the half hour.

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