Monthly Archive: January 2010

Death and student loans

Ok. They really need to stop putting “death” right there on the options of ways to “cancel or discharge your student loans.”

I mean, the least they could do would be to include some type of warning, like “please do not attempt to do yourself” or you know, SOMETHING.

But no, it’s just listed there. Right under, “School owes you a refund” and above, “public service employee loan forgiveness.”

I’m just saying, $51,000 is a desperate amount of debt at 26 years old, and people might take the “death” advice the wrong way.

Not me. But other people.

Me – I’ve just decided to live on whatever is cheaper than ramen noodles, thank you very much.

Here’s the thing, I haven’t um, well, I haven’t really been paying off my loans, mostly due to the fact that I enjoy eating. Daily.

Don’t get me wrong, I tried to work with these people, but they’d be all “we need $600 a month” and then I’d be all “I can’t afford that. How’s $50 sound?” and they’d be all “No. We need $600.” So I would pretend like I was all on board and that I could magically get the money.

But I couldn’t.

I’m a journalist. We don’t even make money. We just get free pens and stacks of post-its for our work.

So I wouldn’t pay them anything, and then well, that was kind of like two years ago.

My one friend who knows all this, has been telling me that I need to deal with it. And I knew he was right. I knew the loans were just sitting there like bad Mexican food in my stomach waiting to be vomited up.

But I didn’t know what to do.

Then, I grew up, and talked to my loan company. Which is actually my “whatever the name of the company that takes over for the loan company when your loans are in default” company. And by “grew up and talked to my loan company” I mean, they called me at work and I can’t be having that, so FINE I WILL TRY TO WORK WITH YOU.

I was all on board when the woman was explaining that all I had to do was make nine monthly payments on time and Viola! The loan would come out of default and it would be like it never even happened on my credit report.

But then she told me the payment amount.

“We just need $1,000 today and then a monthly payment of $728.”

My jaw disconnected from my skull and dropped right onto the tile floor.

“Umm, I just explained to you that I have $170 in my checking account.”

“Well that’s what we need.”

“That’s not going to happen.”

“Well, why don’t you just call us back on Tuesday and let me know if your finances have changed.”

Seeing as how my scratch ticket was total crap, and that I didn’t manage to marry a wealthy anything on Saturday – they didn’t.

Actually, I take that back. They did change. I spent about $80 on gas and food. Leaving me a solid $90 in the account.

I called back to tell them the news.

“Oh. Yes, well I do realize that $728 was a little high.”

You think?

“How about if I ask if you can do our affordable and reasonable plan?”

I like those words.

“That would be just $364 a month.”

Wait, what do affordable and reasonable mean to you?


And then she’s all, “OK. Now I just need the first payment and we can get things rolling.”

So I start post-dating my debit transaction over the phone with this woman and whatnot and she’s all “OK, so we’ll charge $728 to your account on Monday then.”

And I’m all “Can’t breathe. Need air. Help.”

“Ya. That’s not going to happen. My take-home pay is about $890 every two weeks, and I have a car payment and a car insurance payment, and a medical bills payment, on this check.”

Five more minutes of her supposedly negotiating with her supervisor go by, and finally I’m told that, LUCKY ME, I can split the first payment in half over a month’s time.


I guess.

So that’s my plan right now.

My, “life sucks, and I’ll never have any money ever, and holy cow $51,000 was a lot of money for a couple stupid diplomas that I could have made myself on Photoshop,” plan.

Pretending that – seeing as I how I have no savings at all – I can somehow, after making each of the first two payments, live on $145 for the first two weeks (do-able. ish.) and then, umm, $16 for the next two weeks (less doable), let’s break down how this payment plan will affect my monthly finances once I’m JUST paying the $368 – shall we?

I make $1,820.50 in take-home pay a month.

Subtract: Rent, car payment, car insurance, $17 for Jazzercise (it’s actually $37, but my company pays $20), $100 a month for medical bills and $10 a month for a prescription I take and you’re left with:


Then take away $368 a month for this loan payment.


Then take away $50, fine, $40 a week for gas.

We’re down to: $398.50

Divide that by four, and I’m left with $99.62 a week for food, and um, everything else. Clothes, car repairs, random medical things, tithing, spending money on church activities, buying toilet paper.


Maybe I should be embarrassed that I apparently can’t get my crap together enough to either a. somehow get enough money for pay for this or b. live on $99.62 a week. And, maybe I shouldn’t go around broadcasting this for all the Internet world to read.

But it’s there. It’s sitting on my brain all the time as I drive around, or look at Facebook, or pee.

It’s there like a big shining spotlight that reaches every section of my life.

So now it’s here too. Feel free to judge away if it makes you feel better.

As for me, I’m looking into my options, praying every three seconds and hoping the money fairy would just get here already.

Here’s to ramen noodles. And college.

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Happy me.

I had so much blissful, chocolate-covered-with-a-cherry-on-top fun today that I don’t want to go to sleep.

I just keep scrolling back over to the  camera-phone pictures I uploaded to Facebook so I can see it all again.

There’s me at the Chicago Diner and there’s that awesome picture of the skyline. OH! OH! And there’s me holding Bronson’s martini glass so I can look cool.

I have not lately been as calm as I was sipping my $8 hot-chocolate-with-caramel-minus-the-marshmallows in the Signature Room at the Hancock. Looking down over the entire city of golden lights and black diamond buildings and a pond so big they call it a lake, I was all-good.

The world was small. And I could conquer it any day of the week. Twice on Sunday.

Sometimes I forget that I have that ability. Bronson made me remember though.

For all of today.

And I was just me.

Just happy me.

There. I’m done now. Feel free to puke from the joy of it all.


I was born in ’83 for those keeping track.


A city to love.


No alcohol was used in the making of this picture.

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Future self.

On a cold, snowy, craptastic day like today two years ago (ish) I wrote a letter to myself.

Wed., Jan. 2, 2008.

All pre-blog and brown hair and 50 extra pounds ago.

I told (which either does not exist any more, or has turned into this) to e-mail it to me in three two years.

I just got it today, but I’m willing to overlook the four-days-late thing seeing as how I only paid zero dollars for the service and wouldn’t have even know it was late except that they told me when I sent it, and really, I guess there’s a chance I told them to send it in two years and four days.

I’ve edited out one sentence, which was about, umm, this one, umm, thing, because, um, well somethings are pri-vate. Gawd. But here it is in all it’s spelling mistakes and grammar errors glory. (UPDATE: Also, I actually said 2007 where I meant 2008 in the original. I was confused. It was a new year. I have changed it here though so I don’t look totally stupid).


Well 2008 is starting out well. Can’t wait to see what it brings. I started 2006 in Iowa and then moved to south dakota, but i really do plan to stay in oshkosh for 18 months to two years.

… Also, if you are looking for a job, remember to look somewhere warm. Although you may think it’s not a big deal — you hate cold weather.

If you are thinking of selling out — either with work or with a guy you only kind of like — don’t do it. You’re better than that. Have faith not only in God, but also in yourself.

Also, if you have enough money to have bought a christmas tree you are doing very well — remember you didn’t have one for two year back in 2006 and 2007. Oh, and tell April I said hi — I really hope you are still friends with her.

love, past self

So, ya, I only stayed in Oshkosh for 8 months. And, I still live in a land where it snows everyday.

But, I totally had a Christmas tree this year.

I’m glad I (past self) think I (future/current self) am worth more than whatever it is I could be settling for. It’s good to read that.

I’m also glad I still have faith in God, and most days, myself.

And yes, I’m still friends with April.

Speaking of April, she recently made this thing called a vision board at her church, where you cut things out from magazines that represent what you’d like to have or be in the future. That way you can pray about it and stuff.

I liked the idea so much, that last week we made them in my youth group, and I tied it in to the New Year. (I’m clever).

Only a handful of high school girls showed up, and the project turned out to be A. a hit (I think) and B. a great excuse for us to talk about that one girl in that old seventeen magazine issue who dated a guy who was really a girl.

The sole boy, an (awesome) college guy who helps me, was, um, a little less excited, but willing to give it a go.

Mine is obviously on alarmingly pink poster board. Obviously.


Starting with the top center, there’s a picture of a computer with my blog card pasted on the screen under a sign reading “Web site launch of the year” – a goal I didn’t even know I had Jan. 2,2008.

To the right, that’s a picture of a church because I want to explore that section of my talents as much as I can. The quote reads “One girl really can change the world.” I’m one girl.

Underneath that  is a stack of books, which were incredibly hard to find among our stack of make-up magazines. The nail polish and the butterflies were mostly just pretty. I want to be pretty.

On the top, well, that’s a picture of Hawaii because I want to go there or live there or live somewhere like it . If you look close, you’ll see a mini-Johnny Depp. I can’t have a vision board without Johnny Depp.

The large quote in the center is my favorite part.

“I have to believe in fairy tales. I have to believe in love.”

(If I told you Taylor Swift said that, would it be any less blissful?)

The whole thing is a little shout-out to my future self. A little nudge to the hope that three years from now I’ll be living somewhere south of Kentucky, changing the world one blog post and prayer at a time.

I’d like that.

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