Up North: Money


Today we go to a financial advisor. It’s not that we have great stores of wealth to manage but we have tried to be smart with what the husband has earned in his many years of service.  We would rather not have to make others support us in our old age. Given how quickly money can disappear these days, it is good to have advice. And is it really money when all you know of it is numbers on digital screens. It’s a strange world.

With me, it gets stranger still. I am not an astute financier. The thought of me managing any amount of money is not a good thought.  I am in awe of CPA’s and financial advisors, even of bank tellers. But I have to do it now that the husband gets too tired when he thinks about numbers. God helps me. Oh, and I have this.

Secret weapon

What people like me need to do, I think, is find and hire others who have the gift. The IRS is my enemy at present, so we have hired our own army of money soldiers. They are mercenaries from some other planet judging by the language they speak. I don’t understand most of what they say. They seem friendly.

As I said, God helps me. I just ask him that none of my mistakes be fatal, and that there will always be a roof over our heads and beans and rice to eat. So far, he has greatly exceeded my requests. I am grateful. And I am amazed at how many interesting things I can learn along the way. There is a website for everything, of course, and a password or two for each portal. There are secret questions and chosen pictures to keep me from wandering into the dark web, whatever that is.  All I have to do is keep my memory intact. Hmm….

Oddly, I am comforted when my bank makes a mistake. When there is no one there who can explain why I’m getting monthly service charges on an account that shouldn’t have them, I am happy to know that there was a human somewhere who, like me, makes mistakes. And there is a human who can make a phone call and tell me that they will remove the charges, just like that. Sometimes it’s still that easy.

So, I am praying today for my “soon to be” financial advisor and putting him in God’s hands. It will be okay. We will be okay. (The stock market goes down, the economy collapses, but we will still be okay, just sayin’.)

Disparity Troubles Me

Journal: June 30, 2018

It’s been 18 years but I still find myself starting dates with 19… I don’t actually write it, but I think it, momentarily. Another last day of June, three quarters gone. Time is doing its protective, progressive, profound thing.


A friend had his car repossessed last week. It disappeared from the Salvation Army parking lot while he slept inside the building. He was taking a night off from swatting mosquitoes. That’s the trouble with sleeping in your car with the windows open, and you have to have them open or else you have to run the engine to keep cool. He left his clothes, his wallet, and pretty much everything else he had in the car because it was thought to be safer from theft than inside. He had been on the phone with the used car dealership that day, assuring them his payment was coming, and that he was getting the insurance coverage current. They had sounded understanding. But, of course, they have to sound that way. They don’t want to clue you in…

He spent the next few days convincing his mom and grandmother to go halves toward the insurance. His weekend gig at the church nearly completed the $300 payment due. Then he found out that he was being charged $300 for the towing to the repo lot. By this time the shirt and shorts he had been wearing night and day were getting a bit rank. He needed to get his clothes, wallet and maybe a few things he could pawn out of the car. Before I took him the 25 miles I wanted him to make sure he was going to the right place and that they weren’t going to be closed when we got there. He has a history of borderline cluelessness about details like that, in spite of being constantly in some kind of situational drama.

We got there before closing time. I let him go in to do his business with them. He came out and got in the car, silent, no stuff with him. They hadn’t told him it would cost $150 to get access to his car, for any reason. I went back in with him, but the lady was curt (mean), cold, unyielding and wouldn’t even talk to me. She said it was time to close and left us standing at the counter with no recourse.

This is not an unfamiliar kind of spot for this particular friend. I would accurately say it is a cyclical happening, with variations having to do with dwelling places, jobs, girlfriends. He’s pretty worn out with the struggle, tired of waiting for things to be different. His fantasy is to have his bills paid.

Last night while working on a mindless task I had the TV on – I don’t remember the channel. It caught my attention because a neighboring town was mentioned. Another business was cashing on the reality show craze. This was a company that built pools, amazing pools with rocks, grottos, beach entries, waterfalls. A doctor had hired them to redo his backyard pool into something you’d find at a high-end resort. It was on a $350,000 budget. It was really an interesting show, and the pool turned out to be gorgeous. The doc worked in an ER and did twelve to fourteen-hour shifts most of the time and just wanted a place to relax.

I don’t know how to feel, but I am bothered, troubled. I don’t have a solution to the disparity in lifestyles. Money is in there somewhere but it’s not the real problem. I have tried to throw money at the problem but I don’t have enough to make anything different for my friend for more than a day, if that long. I don’t begrudge the doctor what he is earning for his many years of study, his dedication to his job. He paid some deserving workmen to build that pool.

I pray for my friend and help when I can, and hope with him that things will change. But I’m troubled, just sayin’…