Friday, October 05, 2007

The Return of House Pendragon (or Zen and the Art of Septic System Maintenance)

"Where should I start?", I ask myself, and sure enough, I reply, "How about at the beginning....."


Lessee........"It was a dark and stormy night........."


It all began I suppose with the letter from the collection agency informing us we were being sued for some ungodly amount of money that had built up over time, years upon years of time, and lots of interest charges and fees and who knows what. Once I had honest debt, honest debt that I was managing quite well, thank you very much, but it was that kind of debt that is only managed during the good times, not during those times when income suddenly gets bitch-slapped by unexpected expenses. Hell, it's been so long now I can't even remember what exactly precipitated our downfall, whether it was the well pump going out or the car breaking down or whatever, all I know is that I went from paying WAY more than the minimum monthly due on each card to trying to figure out which Peter to rob for the benefit of which Paul, until it all fell to far behind to matter. My attempts to get some sort of cooperation from the credit card companies was, of course, if you've ever had to deal with these bozos, met with stern "pay it all and pay it now" rebuffs, until it got to the point that I no longer answered the phone. No, I wasn't going to sell an organ or borrow money from grandchildren I don't even have in order to pay the increasing mounting interest and penalty charges. I asked to work it out; it wasn't until collection agency number 57 bought the debt that any deal was offered, and even that demanded HUGE hunks of change. FUCK ME? FUCK YOU!!!!

So, I grab the phone book, and while looking for a lawyer I knew I couldn't afford, I came across CREDIT COUNSELING. The promise is to work out payment deals with your creditors so that some day in the next mellenia your descendants can somehow pay off your debt and you can scrub your horrible credit squeaky clean. We got an appointment, we went, he looked at what we had coming in, going out, and laughed. You could never hope to pay all this off, he says, and tells us our only real alternative is bankruptcy. I was surprised, assuming that our fine legislatures in congress had made it all but impossible for the working man to declare bankruptcy anymore, but he assured us that even under the new guidelines we were a basket case and could easily qualify to get a fresh start. So...........

Around that time, THE Wife finally, FINALLY, found a way out of her retail job from hell, having been offered a job at an opticians shop, an offer that initially had been given to another younger (uh-huh) and more "experienced" girl who lasted all of a few days before disappearing. He agreed to her wage demand and more or less BEGGED her to accept the job....hehe. Let me tell you, THE Wife's tenure at her last job, selling shoes, was more like a sentence for crimes against humanity than any way to make a living. So, anyway, this segways into how we suddenly came upon the funds necessary to hire a lawyer to file bankruptcy.........

Of course, the wife conducts a circle under a full moon and casts a spell to somehow come up with the money we'd need for a lawyer...........

THE Wife had been at the department store long enough to be fully vested in her pension and 401K. According to the rules, since the amount vested in her pension fund exceeding $5 grand, she was required to receive the money in monthly payments, which only amount to just over $100 a month, so THAT wasn't going to be the financial windfall we really needed right now. HOWEVER........we didn't even think about the 401K, which was a different animal altogether, and when we found out she HAD one and that we COULD access the funds instead of rolling them over (just pay the taxes and penalties and it's yours), well, thank the Gods, we had the money we needed for the lawyer AND taking care of some festering wounds here at the hold, namely our broken down septic system and an old carpet that was promising to incubate the next deadly plague.

So, finally, at long last, we are getting a major monkey off our backs, and although this will not make us financially independent, at least the threat to our home and hearth has been overcome. This has sworn us off of any kind of credit cards forever, and the only borrowing we ever do again is for transportation. If we don't have the cash, we simply will have to do without. I would have much preferred to pay ALL these bills off, but they never attempted to work with us, instead inflating the amount we owed to the point we NEVER could have caught up with it. The cost of living continues to go up, but our wages barely advance at all, so now we are in subsistence mode, and the idea of having credit cards to deal with......forget about it!

In addition to the lawyer fees and infrastructure repairs, we also managed to have enough left over to purchase the laminate flooring we have wanted so badly to replace this awful carpet that's been growing how knows what beneath our feet. It took me almost a week moving furniture, ripping out cat-urine stained carpet and pad and pulling staples, but I managed to get the floor installed and now all I have remaining is to install the quarter rounds and transitions all around the perimeter of the room. This house looked like a hurricane passed through it, but it was worth the mess to get this done. It looks so WONDERFUL, don't you agree?

Of course, the universe demands balance in all things, so of COURSE, the central air conditioner decided to just crap out for good. The stopgap recharge of freon leaked right back out within a few weeks of putting it in so that's that. SO, in addition to all the other expenses we've incurred, I had to go out and grab as many window air conditioners as I could afford and put them in before the humidity destroyed everything inside the house. No, we didn't have the 5 to 7 big ones they wanted for a new system. The FIRST time the air conditioner crapped out the laminate on the countertops started to peel off. Humidity is the great killer of all things wood and electronic in a house, so it has nothing to do so much with comfort as for simply trying to keep things dry. Luckily, it's getting towards Fall now so the air conditioners were all on sale, so I got some really great deals. The caveat to all this is that I am dreading my next electric bill, as these window units do seem to be running all the time trying to keep up with the cooling load. I have every finger I have crossed three times over. If you all could spare a few fingers to cross for us I would certainly appreciate it.

I haven't had a cigarette since I quit a few months ago.

ANYWAY......THE Wife's new job has proven to be fantastic. Already she has commanded immense respect for her personality and work ethic. The ONE thing we DID fear was when and if her employers and the coworkers were going to discover that she was a witch, and how they might react to it. THIS is what happened..........

Her office manager pulls her to the side. Wife thinks, uh-oh, what did she do wrong? Office manager asks her if anyone had been giving her any trouble concerning her religion. Wife says no, not that she had noticed. Manager says "good, because you don't have to put up with any of that, and if anybody says anything to you, you come tell me!"


THE Wife, unlike SOME people we've known, does not prosteletyze (even spell-check is having trouble with this word, so don't laugh if it's badly misspelled) her practice of Wicca, for we don't do that. If you are curious, just ask, but we have no interest in "converting" people. You can either check it out and accept it if it suits you or not, no skin off our ass. So, a few of the girls make minor little inquiries about it but the Christians give her a wide birth and don't give her any grief about it. In return, the wife doesn't cast any spells to turn them into goats or frogs or anything. He he. Just kidding. We don't, and couldn't do that, either.

No cats, dogs, goats, or lizards were harmed or sacrificed in the magik cast to get through all this.

While we have been dealing with heaps of issues here on the home front, out there in blogville two of my favorite bloggers (one of whom I consider a brother) decided they didn't want to blog anymore. Yes, folks, they DARED deprive me of the salve my soul has relied on to keep me sane while the fates were fating all over me. I'm sure they have their reasons, but I'm sorry, but once you achieve the heights of fame and glory these two have amongst us commoners out here in the real world, you can't just drop us cold turkey like that. We will hunt you down. We will kiss you on the lips or seek some other fashion of revenge. Because we miss you. Merry met, Gentlemen, Merry met indeed. We await your encore.

LIfe at Pendragon Hold has always been interesting, to say the least. It's always been two steps forward, one step back, but lately we managed to leap just a few steps ahead for once. The stress has been immense and how I managed NOT to seek solace in a fresh carton of cigarettes is beyond me, but I've stayed clean. We have gotten used to the fact that life is going to throw us curve after curve, and the best we can hope for is to stay ahead of it.....the curve, that is. Thankfully, I have a witch for a wife who is a natural at working some powerful magic. But, the most important thing is that despite everything, this witch still loves me. What more could a pagan ask for?


Buffalo said...

"What doesn't kill you makes you...?"

I gotta ask. How would anyone at your wife's job know what religion she practiced?

Good to see you publishing again.

THE Michael said...

Well, we have two bumper stickers on the says "Where there's a Witch, There's a Way", the other, "Blessed Be".

It kind of gives you away.....grin.

Kindness said...

I have crossed all my fingers for you and I tried crossing my toes but it is my turn to make dinner tonight and the pain is really too much. Great post and thank you for sharing!

Whitesnake said...

Now that whole post explains a hell of a lot.
Did you know I thought you had gone and left the planet.....ASSHOLE!

I enjoyed the post thank you.

Paul said...

Glad the stress has been relieved -- and that you didn't cave in to a pack or carton! Were you tempted?