Thursday, September 21, 2006

Forward It Already!

Okay, here's this week's panic attack. It may seem a little personal in the financial department, but bear with me here . . .

7:45am on Thursday and I was hustling kids out the door into the garage to get them to school (I don't know if I mentioned before, but Northern Lights doesn't have buses so I make the 10-mile roundtrip twice a day, three times if I've got a kindergartener). There was the usual morning rush over lunches, coats, shoes, permission slips, whatever each child chose to forget that morning. I remembered I hadn't opened the mailbox Wednesday so I checked and found the normal handful of letters.

While the kids piled in and buckled up (aren't we a safety conscious group?) I opened our Visa bill to see what the damage was. Instead of the regular monthly total I was expecting--the one we pay off every month--it was a whopping $8,000! Eight thousand! I did a double take and immediately began scanning the lists of charges to determine where someone had bought a new car but it was only the normal list of grocery, gas and Banana Republic (shh!) charges.

After gaining control of my senses I could see someone hadn't stolen our number and made some horrendous purchase but that the balance had been accumulating over three months. There was no record of my past two payments.

By this time the kids were ready and I had to pull out of the garage, my mind was churning, thinking of all the possibilities of what could have happened and what the chances of getting it fixed would be. Anyone who's ever had to make those kind of "you messed up, please fix it" calls to credit card, utility or (my personal favorite) insurance companies--don't get me started, there was this vacation we took where Spencer split his face open on a coffee table and we made an ER trip in the last six hours of our vacation . . . d'oh! I started. Well, anyway--you know what a nightmare it can be to get things fixed. And if it wasn't a mistake, but some kind of theft, then that could be even harder to fix.

There's only one stop light between our house and the school so I had no chance to look at the bill again, I could only worry about getting home and on the phone to resolve the problem. It was then the highway traffic came to a standstill and my light bulb lit--an epiphany or something. I looked at the paper again and, sure enough (sigh of deepest relief) . . . it wasn't our bill.

The people we bought our house from (the same ones who lied about having a cat, the ones who forgot their rifle hidden under dust on the closet shelf and who left us a 12-foot pile of composting grass clippings behind the shed) never bothered to forward their mail and left us to redirect five to six letters every day. At first I was so happy to have my own home that I didn't mind but it got old fast. After six months I was tossing anything with their name on it and eventually (three years later) the letters stopped. I havn't received anything for them in a year but there it was. WHEW!

Maybe they thought I'd pay their bill for them.


Mel said...

I wish I was getting someone else's bills. Or that someone else was getting mine! ;)

txmommy said...


I too hope Dumbledore turns up magically somewhere...although I have my doubts!

Anonymous said...

Phew. That would have caused me some serious stress. Glad you kept a cool enough head to realize the bill didn't belong to you!