A Mixed Bag Life Update X

Life Update

Time for the 10th installment of my life update series, and as is par for the course, it heavily features financial woes, so I will start there. Reluctantly I have applied for a fourth consolidation loan, this time for $24,500, which will result in a lower payment than my current consolidation loan while rolling in all the credit card balances, hopefully, it will be approved, as debt payments have gotten out of hand.

I took out my current loan about 16 months ago, for $18,500 with a payment of $557 per month over 39 months at an interest rate of 9.99%. For the new loan, assuming I am approved, which I have no reason to believe I would not be, the interest rate will be 17.49% over 72 months, this is the reason I am reluctant to refinance again, but there are two options, either cosolidate or default on a number of credit cards, as our debt payments have exceeded $1,000 per month for the first time.

We are not irresponsible people, we don’t use credit cards for frivolous reasons. But, due to the cost of living significantly increasing, and a number of unplanned costs, such as dental surgery and car repairs, over the past year and a half, we have amassed over $8,000 in credit card debt. As the balances increased, so did the minimum payments, exacerbating the problem, as more and more of our income goes to debt payments. This means we have to lean on credit cards to buy basics like groceries and fuel for the cars, and it feels like we are stuck in a vicious circle, leaving me feeling absolutely hopeless.

Continuing the money situation, the child support payment from my son’s absent father stopped in August as our son turned 18, with a loss of $1,066 per month, that’s about 1/3 of our income gone. We thought that our bacon was saved, when after a 3-year battle with Social Security finally came to an end and Erin was approved for disability, which provided us with an extra $1,400 per month. But, after just two payments, we received a letter from Social Security saying Erin is no longer, and never was eligible for disability payments, due to her income being over the allowed limit. To cut a long story short, Social Security claimed that Erin has earned more than $1,100 more than she actually did Since February 2022.

Moving onto something more positive, our son Conner, got his first job, it’s only about 12 hours per week, but it’s a start, giving him some income of his own, and gaining valuable work experience. And the company he works for, Ollie’s is friendly to his autism diagnosis, not forcing him to do things that cause him anxiety, not giving him customer-facing tasks, and it pays a decent amount for a first job.

Staying on the subject of our son, Conner, he applied for remote learning at Full Sail University and was provisionally accepted. But we have run upon a roadblock, due to us filling out the paperwork with the name, Conner, when his birth certificate and social security card states Connar as his first name due to a clerical error at the hospital in Dallas, TX where he was born. Long story short, because his ID says a different spelling than the name he applied with, he cannot attend until this is fixed, Full Sail admissions are unwilling to make a simple change to the application, simply changing an E to an A.

Erin has been trying to get his birth certificate corrected, and months after sending off the required documentation and paying the associated fees, that name correction request was denied as she tried to add his middle name as well, which the hospital also failed to add to his birth certificate. The supporting documentation only showed the initial S, not his actual middle name, and apparently, this is not acceptable. I’m not sure why Erin did this, his middle name was not the issue, but here we are, having to look at other options, as the Texas Department of Statistics seems like a dead end at this time.

My work life is just fine, but I still feel somewhat underutilized, I am much more capable than the responsibilities that I am given. My employer does keep on giving me a 3-4% pay raise every September with at least two bonuses each year, which unfortunately is given to me as a separate check, meaning it gets taxed at 24.8%, instead of the usual 17.2%. Obviously, I want to get paid the highest amount I can earn, but job satisfaction is more important, feeling like I am making a difference, and being integral to the success of the company, but I have job security, as my skill set is very unique and hard to replace.

I’m going to end on a sad note, one of our cats, Seven of Nine, escaped from the house, we believe on Monday morning and has been missing for four days now. Every now and then, she would get out, but usually after a period of time, she is meowing at the door to be let in. This time, we didn’t notice she was missing until Monday evening, and thoroughly searched the neighborhood, but there is no sign of her. We have been checking with local shelters and no one has handed her in. I’m hoping that someone has taken her in, and not that she has been snatched up by a wild animal. Suffice to say, I have been worried about Seven being out there, affecting my ability to concentrate, and checking around the house half a dozen times each day. Some might say, it’s just a cat, but to us, Seven is part of the family.

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