Wednesday, December 03, 2008

"Would it ruin some vast eternal plan?"

(from "If I were a rich man," Fiddler on the Roof)

I just got off the phone with Sallie Mae. They administer the loans that paid for the year I went to library school. I need to reduce payments. Tomorrow I get paid, but today I was $12.00 overdrawn. Thank goodness for overdraft protection. But that's getting low too.

The Giant Eagle where I shop has two entrances. And one Salvation Army pot. I entered by way of the non-Salvation Army pot. I have more than I need--a Master's Degree, a good job, more laundry than I can manage, an apartment with more clutter than I can manage. And yet when it comes to finances, I come up short, generally once a month.

I laugh, because Sallie Mae is all into "online security." They advised me to close the browser after I logged off. Right, because someone is going to hack into my school loan online account and pay it for me? I wish! And the questions--who is your favorite band? That depends. Who is your favorite school teacher? I had more than one favorite. What was your first place of employment, no abbreviations. My first place of employment doesn't fit in the space provided, if I put no abbreviations.

Here are some questions that might work:

  • What year did you first fly on a plane?
  • What was the first overseas country in which you lived?
  • Which now defunct airline did you fly on most of your childhood?
In case you want to hack my account, pay my loans, here are the answers: 1972, Brazil, Pan Am.

Sallie Mae couldn't help me tonight, because they can't change payment plans within 14 days of the next payment, which will be on December 15. So I can call them on December 16. It's a date.

Oh, the car? Yes. The car. My dad will pay for the alignment, which was like $65, and I'll pay for the tire and new rim, about $100. Mike asked me if I was ready for Christmas. I almost snarled. "No, not yet," I said, and this doesn't help, I didn't say. I said, "have a great holiday, I hope you aren't offended if I say I hope I don't see you before Christmas." He laughed.

I was very very very very lucky. And still. My gift purchasing budget isn't much more than $100, and that includes birthday and Christmas presents for both siblings. Fortunately I'm mostly shopped, but still.

Publisher Simon and Schuster laid off 35 people today. Publisher Thomas Nelson laid off about as many yesterday. Libraries generally do more business during times of recession/depression, but if people leave, will positions be re-staffed? Although our library isn't in deep trouble, libraries in Philadelphia face the possibility of closing close to a dozen branches.

This too shall pass. I can almost taste my tax refund. And I will get a tiny increase at the beginning of the year. And I am going to start working with someone to figure out how to pay off my credit cards. And, no, I do not want FIOS, please Verizon, stop calling me.

Dear God, you made many, many poor people.
I realize, of course, that it's no shame to be poor.
But it's no great honor either!
So, what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?

Lord who mad the lion and the lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am.
Would it spoil some vast eternal plan?
If I were a wealthy man.

I better go do some of that laundry, so I have a clean shirt to wear tomorrow.

*lyrics by Sheldon Harnick.

1 comment:

KitchenKiki said...

The thought of Christmas shopping has me utterly depressed. We bought a few things for the kids while we were in Italy, but the Boy's birthday is New Year's Eve. And he has expensive wants.

I will be making a lot of presents this year. (as I did last year) but I don't think that I can make anything that will be suitable for my niece, my nephew or the 2 teens in my life. (Although J will get a mug made by me, his sister got 2 for her birthday)

Good luck on your shopping. Loved the Fiddler quote, am amused by the irony of using a Jewish tale to talk about Christmas! :)