If all had gone as planned, I would have sold my house by now and be settling in a new one. The house would be smaller, more manageable, and here’s the crucial part, less expensive. Also, I’d have some money left over from my house sale. That money was supposed to pay for the kids’ college expenses this year. Instead, there was a fire at my house one and a half days before it was to go on the market. The best laid plans and all that.
It’s been over three months since the fire and I have yet to see any money for my personal property. I did get some reimbursements early on for some clothes and our laptops, but since then, nothing. Over the summer, I’ve slowly but surely been replacing kitchen and bathroom supplies and they really add up. Just think of everything little thing you have in your bathroom. Replacing all those grooming niceties like lotions and nail care supplies and make-up costs a pretty penny, not to mention all the medications. Starting from scratch buying groceries isn’t cheap either. I’ve written my insurance appraiser a few times asking when the inventory will be ready to review and all he says is ‘soon.’ Sigh.
In the meantime, the college bills are arriving – tuition, room and board, books. Even though the kids get scholarships, grants, and loans, my ex and I still need to shell out some big bucks for the rest. This is another reason I wake up early stressed. I sure thought I’d be in a better financial position by this age. I get a decent salary, but that’s been only the last five years. Before that, I was a teacher. And a single parent. I was unemployed for about a year when I moved to Texas, so that ate up my savings. I know that I’m better off than many people and shouldn’t whine. Eventually, I’ll get some insurance money. Eventually, I’ll sell my house. But the tuition is due in a week, so I do what many people do – I swallow my pride and ask a parent for some money. Luckily, my stepmom has come to my rescue, or rather my kids’ rescue since the money will go to finance their studies. I take a deep breath of relief.
Until the next day. My daughter informs me that no one got work-study at her college. It might come in a few weeks or it might not, but she’s not going to risk it. She’s looking for a campus job now because she doesn’t have a car to work off campus. She’s fairly resourceful, so I’m not worried too much, yet. Then my son calls me mid-morning in a panic. The community college financial aid office needs his official university transcript from last year to process the federal money for his loans. Here’s the rub – he’s got a huge bar against him at his former university, which he was hoping to pay off with some of the financial aid. Can you say catch-22? When he took a semester off from the university because of severe depression, they told him he might have to pay back some of the grants he had been awarded because of his failed semester. He explained his situation and we never heard back. Turns out, they posted a couple of thousand dollars as a bar. He’s angry, almost tearful. I finally get better to go back to school and live on my own and now I’ll have to go back to living at home. Live at home again? This is serious! I know we can find a way around this even if it means taking a loan. I convince him to talk to the university and explain his dilemma, not really expecting much from them. However, a few hours later the university financial aid office gives him a promissory note for the registrar stating that he’ll pay the bar in 30 days. The registrar then gives him a transcript. Jacob then runs it over to the community college to hand it in and all is good again. At least for 30 days. Maybe he’ll get his federal loans by then to pay the bar. Maybe I’ll get some insurance money soon. Until then, I can hope, right?