As a single parent, like a lot of single parents, what’s on the forefront of my mind 70% of the time is my family. Yeah, there’s a small percentage, according to national polls stating I think about sex 18.6% of the time and men are thinking about it 34.2% of the time. Think of that in a fraction! But the other part is considering supporting the decision of sex. This means the other 11.4% can be spent wondering about traffic and what I’ll do with all that “free” time after cleaning my house, shopping, and paying the bills. The remainder I get to dedicate to myself is about 2% for sleep and showers.
Back on the subject of my family, because I had to have my car inspected and registered, the impact of -$250 total added a bit of strain on our month’s finances. I felt voiced to force this concern to my kids when my daughter asked if we could buy her a onesie to sleep in this summer. As it was, we’d be canceling Spotify, the HealthyWage weight loss contest, internet, and scrimping for gasoline so I can get to work. Food will be another animal. Rent must be first, and catching up on my car payment will be second before trying to get a jump on utilities. You can see I’m a few inches short of being the financial wizard I need to be in order to make this situation work. It’s fairly frustrating.
Wednesday afternoon, my cell phone buzzed. I quickly stole a glance at my device on the way to the restroom and saw my daughter had called me in the middle of the day. Odd. I answered it, but there was no voice. I quickly called her back several times and it went to
voicemail. I did the level-headed thinking that if “it really is an emergency, she’ll call back or leave a message.” We’ve all been there before, right? Wrong, no message or call. Then again, Nikki’s the typically unpredictable sixth grader. Who knows how she thinks?
At 4:00, I tried again. This time, her voicemail was full. (What lunatic’s been leaving so many messages her storage is full?) I figured Cameron would be home and tell me his sister had just arrived. Mysteriously, he didn’t answer or return my call, which is odd.
I left a message on his phone — every half hour. At 5:30, I left a message on his girlfriend’s phone as a last resort, telling her how worried I was about him. I nearly left work to come home. I was shaking, sweating, and had no concentration. My mind was going on about how Nikki didn’t arrive from school. Cameron must have found her body broken and beaten. He found it was her friend who had assaulted her before Cameron loss all sense of reality, beating the kid within an inch of his life. I was in a frenzy.
At 5:45, Cameron texted me to tell me he’d been working on his grandpa’s farm to get money so we could pay rent. I get it, I should be relieved right? I’d been worrying for nearly seven hours — two of them were intense. If I’d have left my job during my training, I would have been fired. But if I’d come home to find my daughter had been dead for seven hours and I never got suspicious, I never could forgive myself. So I was a combination of relieved, thrilled, angry, and proud. The weirdest combo I’ve ever felt at one time in my entire 51-year life. I didn’t know if I should scream with joy or go to my car and take a nap. Unfortunately, it didn’t end there.
Cameron said he’d gotten $30 and would donate $20 to rent. Our rent was a total of $1235 and I was short about another $30. I made an appointment to donate plasma on Saturday the fifth. That would barely allow us to pay rent on the deadline before late charges ensure, but worse, credit dings. Not good. I was hoping the Office of Recovery Services (ORS) would grace me with the full amount in time. Cameron could keep his money and we could eat! Yeah! That didn’t happen. The ORS did their typical FAIL!
What did happen was unthinkable!
Thursday, sitting at my desk and hoping some bank truck loaded with cash would crash in the parking lot just before I went home, my phone vibrated. The bank sent a message stating the amount remaining was $2.25. What?!? NO! Who in their right mind took all of the money? And nightmare of all, how in the hell would we pay rent now? Have you ever been so upset you couldn’t cry? That’s where I was.
I was distraught and didn’t talk to anyone the remaining two hours. I dragged my feet out to my car, wondering what I was going to tell the kids. This was disastrous!
Slouched in my seat, I pulled my fortune-telling phone out and peeked at my account. I don’t know why I insisted on seeing that gawdawful number staring me in the face again, but I did. I swear my heart stopped for a second. The notification I received wasn’t mine.
It was letting me know Cameron had added $2 to his account. We were going to be okay. I thought. Until early this morning, my car insurance of $79 was removed, and my finances took another bite. Back down on life’s rollercoaster again like many families.
I’ll be donating a couple more times to cover the late fee and final amount. Looking at the bright side of my credit taking a hit, we’ll be able to purchase groceries. It’s not all bad. If there’s a lesson to be learned from this, share your experiences!