Paying Up

one-hundred-100-dollar-billWe woke up to a pleasant surprise this morning: our tax monies were in our checking account! We had gotten them done last Saturday and we were told that the deposits would be made in 7-14 days with the State check being the first.

The real surprise was that both checks were in this morning.

We got a decent sum from both of our returns mainly because I worked all of 2011, when compared to 2010 when I only worked the last three months of the year and had to claim nine months of unemployment checks.

The difference was such that we planned to do the only reasonable thing with our return: pay off our credit cards.

During my time of unemployment, we had to make some sacrifices and skipping credit card payments was the norm. We paid what we could, when we could but the calls kept coming.

Naturally, fees got tacked on and before we knew it, the monthly payments were out of control and then the letters, calls, and emails starting arriving.

We put a sudden end to all of that today.

Aside from Ann’s Visa card, all of the others were specialty cards for places like Dell and whatnot. Ann called to take care of her cards while I was at work and I handled mine when I got home.

HSN stuck to their settlement of 60% of the balance, Old Navy was happy with the amount I offered to settle, and I talked Dell down from $1,500 to $900. Yes, I know our credit will take a hit but with all of these being paid, we have no more credit card debt.

Zip. None. The only thing we have are car payments, utilities, and a few other things like car insurance and our TV/Internet bundle. But as long as we don’t dig ourselves into another hole, we’re good as gold and will take some time to get rebuild our credit scores.

Part of the fun of paying off bills is calling and trying to get the issue resolved. Most of the time, the person who answers has no clue and will either transfer you to the appropriate department, where you will have to enter all of your information again – via voice or keypad – and be put on hold again. It’s frustrating.

This was the case with Old Navy. Ann had already called to explain everything and all they needed was my approval to settle. There was such a delay in the connection (to India) that I had to repeat almost everything I said and using Skype, the delay was even worse.

I had to repeat my name twice. When asked a third time, I sighed and with voice that resembled a radio personality, I proudly proclaimed, “Yes! This is David Moreno, the one and only.” The Old Navy rep laughed, even though I wanted to continue with “Every knee shall bow to his magnificence!”

Done and done. Paid. Then I called Dell.

Their original offer was a bit much so I countered with my own, which they accepted. During the process, as the rep was asking for my checking account information he asked, “Could you repeat your routing number, sir? My monitor just went blank.”

“Is it a Dell,” I sarcastically asked. I was met with a 10-second silence and I’m pretty sure I saw those daggers starting to come through my Skype line. I muted the line and turned to Ann, laughing.

“I really don’t think he liked that one.”

Meh. At the end of the day, everything is paid off.

And I’m sure the credit card companies will miss my sarcasm.

"Dude, your Dell account is paid off! Where's my bong?"

Greatly Exaggerated

To quote Mark Twain, the rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.

I decided that after the dreadful week we had, I needed some time away from the blog to unwind and prepare myself for my new job which, at least after the first 5 days, isn’t too bad. That should explain my lack of posts–my brain was pretty much fried by Friday, expecially after sitting so close to the stage for Depeche Mode’s Hollywood Boulevard performance.

Either way, great show. And give a great, big hand to Ann who, even with her bad back, stood for at least 7 hours and didn’t complain once. I knew she hurt but she didn’t even whimper. She definitely earned her Mars bar.

In addition to all that, we had to contend with some credit card companies this week so that we wouldn’t end up in court (at least for one of them). Listen, people. If you have a credit card that’s nearly maxed out and / or you’re behind on payments, do not–repeat DO NOT–consult one of those debt settlement companies. We did and while at first we saw some positive results, we soon realized how expensive those actions were. Not cheap at all. We ended up calling the card companies ourselves and got all of the balances reduced–one went from $1,200 to $400, cheaper than anything the debt settlement company could do. If you’re willing to settle the debt and have the money, the card companies will work with you. In fact, we settled more in 3 days than this company did in 6 months. Pretty sad–and it didn’t get charged up the yin yang for it.

At any rate, there you go. I have to go and make my lunch for tomorrow and leave early since I will be riding my bike to work–and I couldn’t be happier. And for shit’s sake, don’t fall into the media trap about swine flu! Yes, people will die from it and while unfortunate, this strain is no more dangerous than that of the typical flu

Oh, and also note that because I don’t have a computer (or a desk for the matter) just yet, I am not checking my e-mail at lunch or during breaks. They will have to wait until I get home, usually just after 4:30.

I’m outta here for the night. Keep the faith, brothas!