Thursday, February 6, 2014

Two days...

In two days, my car will be paid off.  That means both vehicles will belong to us, free and clear.  Hopefully, Bill will find a good job so I don't have to sell it in a few months!  My car is five years old and has less than 20,000 miles on it.  It's an adorable convertible that is a lot of fun to drive, though I rarely do.  I probably ought to take it out for a spin, but I see no reason to do that given the traffic in the San Antonio area and the fact that like every other city in America, its individual charms have mostly been overtaken by box stores and fast food restaurants.

Anyway, yesterday I was arranging it so that the next payment will take care of paying off the car.  We owed $1035, which was about $308 more than our usual payment (we were paying more per month in order to get the car paid off sooner).  I had managed to cobble away that amount in different savings accounts, so I made a couple of payments yesterday so that the next payment will overpay by about 43 cents.  With luck, that will cover any interest due tomorrow.

I know I've mentioned it before, but paying off two cars is a very big deal to Bill and me.  Bill went through a lot of financial disasters with his ex wife.  He is a very responsible person, but he irresponsibly let his ex wife handle their finances and she really fucked things up.  He is to blame as much as she is for that, since he handed over his paycheck to her and allowed her to fund trips to the temple and new carpeting for their money pit of a house over paying their mortgage and other bills.

I know why he did it.  He wanted to avoid conflict.  Fighting with his ex wife was very unpleasant because she fought dirty.  She said things that were deeply wounding and she wasn't above screaming and yelling.  My husband is a very sensitive person and hearing his wife scream at him was very upsetting on a primal level.  But the bottom line is, she wasn't a team player and he stayed married to her for far too long.  He paid the price for that and to a lesser extent, so did I.  

It took years for him to recover, although it seems that he's lost his children forever.  Those lost children are like deep scars that have changed who he is deep down.  But the good thing is that he's healed very well.  He doesn't have financial problems anymore, aside from more credit card debt than either of us likes.  We're working on that together, though.

I've also mentioned before that Bill has been taking a computer security course.  He was planning to finish the second level of the three year program as he retires.  While we were on our trip, he told me that to get the third and final level, he'd need just one more course.  I asked him if there was any way he could take that course before he retires (because otherwise, he would have to have to get an employer to pay for it, unless he works for the government).  He said he'd have to go to DC for a week in June for a residential class.  I told him I wanted him to pursue it if he could.

This week, he asked a professor at the National Defense University about taking that extra class, which would be going on during his "terminal leave" (using up all his unused vacation days while still on the payroll).  The professor said it was possible, so he has signed up for the other course.  He will finish that third and final level and then be set to eventually get certified in computer security.  Those hours also count toward another master's degree, should he decide he wants to get one.

I'm not sure what I will do about my own "career".  I mentioned before that a friend thinks I should be writing books.  I think I should be doing that, too.  So I've been reading up on the process.  If it comes down to it, I may try to re-enter the workforce for real… though I doubt it will be doing what I trained to do.  Or, if I have to, I may become even more overeducated.  I'm determined not to live out of our freshly paid off cars.  This is a genuine concern, by the way.  Last month, I read a very scary story about a retired colonel who lives out of his van.  Granted, I think this guy kind of brought some of his problems on himself and he has some issues affecting him that Bill and I don't have.  For instance, he's paying for his sons' college and doesn't seem willing to live far from them.  However, a man with years of military experience, three master's degrees, and an attitude of service should not have to live out of his van.  I did read that some veteran's groups had reached out to try to help this guy get out of his van and into a home.

It's scary to think of this transition.  Fortunately, we have a lot of things going for us.  And it's great that we will clear one more financial hurdle tomorrow.

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