The past few months have greatly tested my ability to laugh in frustrating moments. I have fallen victim to “Murphy’s Law” in the areas of technology, vacation, transportation and homestead.
I work in the field of education and one of my roles is an adjunct professor. I love what I do and sometimes it is best to follow by the same advice we instructors give students, “Never start work at the last minute.” I had to learn this the hard way as I decided to rest a few days before submitting final grades.
All hell broke loose, my laptop had fan issues, causing overheating and shutdowns. I also downloaded a virus that randomly blocked Wi-Fi internet access. However, I persevered and submitted grades hours before the deadline. The laptop saga ended, it was repaired for $50! SWEET!
My wife and I love Christmas vacations, so much so, we invited two our closest friends for a Christmas cruise. Before we could fully enjoy the exotic sites, people, food, and fun; a four hour drive to Galveston, Texas stood in our way.
We had great friends along for the ride, so we anticipated the 4 hours flying by with laughs and occasional rest stops. Little did I know my ability to laugh in frustrating moments would be tested again…
Have you ever felt like you forgot something important at home while on the highway? Can you guess what my wife and I forgot to pack? You guessed it, we left our passports. We eventually made it home to retrieve them, delaying our arrival time by an hour.
Car troubles always happen in the most inopportune times. My wife affectionately nicknamed our Honda Accord “Purple Rain” because it always needs repair. Annoyed with the constant breakdowns, we bought another car.
We viewed the new car as a bargain until discovering an electrical problem; causing issues with the turning signals, windows and locks. Around the same time, my truck at times would overheat and leak engine coolant.
In the end, the repairs cost us $200 in parts with free labor from my father-in-law. Thank you very much sir, you are a great mechanic.
After repairing the laptop and cars, our washing machine breaks. My wife calls the apartment manager and is told we will receive a new washer. GREAT! Yet, we become victims to “Murphy’s Law” again.
While replacing the washer, the maintenance worker put a hole in the washroom’s wall and soaked our living room carpet with dirty water. We guess the worker made an attempt to mop up the water, as evidenced by wet bath towels in our dryer.
Issues we have in life take time to address. While I felt inconvenienced by my circumstances, these same circumstances led me to people. It was neat spending time with my wife and father-in-law working through frustrations. Until next time folks, press on and God Bless.
Happy Belated New Year folks!
It is a blessing to be alive and in good health. So much has happened since the last post, so as promised here’s a personal account about credit.
This story starts on a relaxing August evening while visiting my wife’s parents for dinner in 2011. While everyone conversed and gave thanks for the meal being served, my mind raced with questions. What if I lose my job? Will my marriage end in divorce? Is it even possible to pay off $85,308.07? These thoughts were in stark contrast to my outlook on life in December 2010: I was a recent college graduate, landed a great job, and was soaring with feelings of invincibility. After a few short months unfortunately, 2011 arrived with my impending financial doom. As I sat at the table that night, I felt like the chicken on my plate…DONE.
The warning signs were there four months prior, as I noticed my credit score would fluctuate by as much as 25 points. I created a credit monitoring account and set up text message alerts through Experian. I investigated reasons behind the score changes on Experian’s website, and read that score fluctuation was a normal occurrence, so there was no need for alarm. I dismissed my concern and figured everything was okay, forgoing any further investigation.
Experian is one of the major credit report bureaus, along with TransUnion and Equifax. These guys monitor and report credit scores used to determine your ability to pay back debt. Typically scores range from 300-850. Your chances of being approved to make big purchases on credit (like houses and cars, for example) improve with higher scores. The higher your credit score, the lower the perceived risk for the lender. The lower the credit score, the less likely you are to be trusted with a loan, as you are perceived to be more likely to default on your end of the deal.
After a couple of months of occasional text alerts gradually becoming more frequent, I started to feel something was actually wrong. I ran over to the nearest computer and logged into Experian’s website. In bold red letters read, “Payment 30 days Late”. In shock, I realized that it was a student loan company owed. In angst I thought, “I’m already paying over $900 a month, and now they want more?! This has to be a mistake!” Sadly, it was an oversight on my part, and not an error as I so hoped.
From this experience I’ve learned:
1. Never assume everything is okay.
I ignored the many warnings that I had not kept current with all my student loan accounts. After discovering the additional obligation, I had to fork up another $90 a month. For the next seven years I have a late payment attached to my credit report, which lowered my credit score. Sometimes making that extra call or sending another email can properly inform us of what’s really going on.
2. Keep Calm. Don’t panic.
I worried about insolvency and divorce as a result. Well, I’ve lost jobs and every time the Lord has provided. My wife is still by my side, and we will celebrate 5 years of marriage next month. The sleepless nights have all proven futile as they did not improve my ability to keep jobs. Nor did stressing about the future make me a better person; ask my wife, it made me grumpy at times.
3. Goals take time to be reached.
Earning degrees don’t happen overnight, neither will paying back the student loan balance. Education taught me to plan and break monstrous goals into smaller tasks. Graduating from college took focus through each class and each semester before realizing the dream of walking across the stage. Now the year is 2016, my goal is to one day be debt-free. I can smile knowing that 85k is not my loan balance anymore.
4. Enjoy life.
We all have places to go and things to achieve. We stop living once we lose hope and have nothing left to live for. 2011 marked a time for me where I didn’t enjoy watching movies, practicing guitar, or playing video games. Taking breaks to discover and engage in hobbies helps relieve stress. So while it is important to work hard, be sure to never forget how to play hard.
That’s all I have for my credit experience. Thanks for stopping by, the next blog post will be entitled “Murphy’s Law”. See ya!