Friday, July 09, 2004

Financial Fears and Hopes

I am on the verge of willingly becoming a web whore. I am being given a chance to throw a link to Llewellyn Publishers website on my site. Any sales resulting from such a link, I get a commission on. It is difficult for me to imagine much commerce going through that link, but every little bit helps.

However, I think that will go on my personal webpage and not here. Some of the things I discuss here are, I feel, inappropriate to mix with a for profit link.

Money would be a good topic for today because I have been in a financial bind lately and it has really impacted me spiritually. I am not able to be as spiritually active when I am in fear, and money, for the moment, is filling me with fear.

In a nutshell, here is what is up: We finally got out credit card debt below $10k. It is like $9,800 right now—well, $9600 after the payments I made last night get processed. That is great news for us. The bad news is that we have been hammered with a series of unexpected costs.

My dental insurance really screwed me. I am paying for two dental insurance plans, one from Lisa’s company and one from mine, in the hopes of having my teeth taken care of. Lisa was told that her plan would kick in when mine was exhausted. She was so excited when she found that out—I remember her telling me. Well, either her HR person did not know or she lied. It is that simple. Turns out it only covers the difference in what procedures the first plan only partially covered. We got a $1,200 bill for dental work done on me.

It is hard to describe how I felt about that. Actually it isn’t. I have lived with crummy teeth for years now—literally they were falling apart. This past year, because I thought I had all this insurance, I had all of the non-cosmetic work done. This is great—my teeth are in better shape than they have been in decades. But I allowed myself to believe that I could get the cosmetic stuff done next year and now I can’t. I feel like I have been stolen from. I don’t smile at people because I am so self-conscious of my teeth, I don’t want others to see them. So that feels awful, it really does. I am so angry about this I can hardly stand it.

Another expense that ambushed us is my liver biopsy. I had some abnormal liver enzymes in blood tests early this year and given my history of alcoholism they decided to be pretty aggressive in investigating what was happening. They found nothing, so we still do not know why my liver enzymes were elevated. But we got hit for $1,300 there.

A big one is our crummy ’93 Plymouth Sundance that we inherited for free form Lisa’s grandfather after he passed away has eaten about $2000 in repairs this year. The car is literally falling apart. Lisa will not put another penny into the piece of junk and I cannot really blame her. So it must be replaced.

Lisa and I had made a commitment to each other that we would purchase an environmentally friendly vehicle. It is an important part of my faith, it is a part of our commitment to do what we can to clean up the environment. We ordered a Toyota Prius hybrid. There is a six month backlog for the purchase of a Prius right now and we have three and a half months wait left. Possibly longer. But with all of these unexpected expenses, including sick cats and dogs, I do not think we can afford the car. We have had to raid savings severely to pay these unexpected bills and unless we have a $4k downpayment we ain’t getting the car.

So, off the record, between you and I, I do not believe that we will have a Prius anytime soon. That is very frustrating.

There is another perspective on this. If this had happened even two years ago, this would have been a financial Armageddon for us. As it is, it is awful and frustrating and I feel very defeated, but—we will survive this mess. We don’t have to put anything on credit, so we will not rack up even more debt. In other words, we are okay even if we don’t like our situation.

Now there is a reason for an attitude of gratitude.

Thank You, Goddess, for all of the blessings You have given us, small and large. Thank You for my wonderful family and my friends. Thank You for my job. Most of all, thank You for my sobriety.

Blessed Be!