variations on a theme: WAHHHH.


Okay, look. I know you're all sick of hearing about my money woes, but I need to bitch about this stuff in excruciating, tacky detail. Just bear with me.

Michael and I spent the better part of this year paying off his student loans from 2003. It wasn't a lot of money in the grand scheme of things — about $5000 — but it was a lot of money to us. Half of that came out of our tax return; the other half was paid off in the most painstaking, teeth-gritted manner you can imagine. We got it done, and we registered him for school at CCC. We were both pretty excited about this semester; with both of us attending school, our financial aid and tax return would increase rather dramatically.

Or… so we thought. We ran into trouble when CCC notified us last week that ENMU wouldn't release Michael's transcripts. They require transcripts from all schools attended before they'll release financial aid, so this was a rather large deal. We called ENMU and found out that Michael had another student loan out, this time a private loan arranged through the school rather than a federal loan. It had gone unpaid since 2002, so now we have to pay the entire balance ($1589) before ENMU will release his transcripts.

Well, shit.

I thought this would be all right. Stressful, irritating, and painful — sure. I thought it would be all right, though, because I'd be receiving my own financial aid (about $5000) in a couple of weeks. I thought I'd pay off Michael's loan, get his transcripts, and let him pay me back when his aid finally arrived. I sure hope you can all see where this is headed.

I got a letter from CCC today. Due to the fact that I already have a degree, all of my federal grants and school scholarships have been denied. It's “school policy,” despite the fact that I received aid over the summer through an appeals process. I called the school, and apparently somebody “made a mistake” when they approved my summer aid. I am “really just ineligible” for anything but one student loan of a very specific type. I applied for the full amount of this loan — $3000 — and was told that since CCC is a junior college (as opposed to a university), the most they could guarantee me for is $1750. That's for the entire semester, even though they estimate my cost of attendance (including room and board) at $7775.

Here's the dilemma. I need to pay rent, to the tune of $1000. I need to pay Michael's loan off, because if I don't, I'll have to pay for his classes. I need to pay for my own classes. I need to fix my computer. I owe my mom about $400. If Michael will be receiving financial aid — if we pay that loan, in other words — then I can do all of this. The problem is that if I use my loan to pay off his, that leaves us with a three-week gap between when we turn in his transcripts and when he receives his aid. I don't know if our landlord will wait that long; he's already waited six weeks. I don't know if my mom can wait that long; she's moving on the 10th and desperately needs the money we owe her.

I have no idea how to go about covering this gap. Michael's job brings in about $300 every two weeks, which is just about enough to pay the bills and buy food. If we're lucky we sometimes have a little extra to give to the landlord, but his patience is rapidly wearing thin — and I don't blame him. He's been extremely willing to work with us so far, but he needs money just as badly as the rest of us. I just don't know how to ask him for yet more time; we've already had to extend our payment plan twice, as CCC's financial aid office kept pushing the disbursement date back.

I don't think we're going to be evicted or anything drastic like that, but I'm at my wits' end, here. We had plans for our financial aid — Connor needs new clothes, we need to make some minor household repairs, the car desperately needs new tires and a new window — and now I'm afraid that by the time Michael's money comes in we'll be so sunken in late fees and overdue bills that there'll be nothing left. I'm afraid that if I use my money to pay off his loan, we'll end up broken down on the side of the road some rainy night because the car couldn't wait for a tune-up. Or I'll lose out on a webdesign job because I couldn't get my computer fixed in time. Or the landlord will tell us that no, actually, he can't wait another three weeks and we'd better find a place to go.

Again, I don't think it'll come to that last one, but I just don't know what to do here. If I pay off Michael's loan for him — $1589 — then he should receive his aid at the end of October. He should get around $3000 then, but… that's then. How do we cover that $1589 gap in the meantime? And if I don't pay off his loan, then he won't get his financial aid and I'll have to pay for his cltm>AE@@(B0FP`oa P,kpos;s hard.

Did you hear me, kids? It's haaaard! I don't liiiiiike it! This suuuuuucks!

I've been doing it, though, at least in a lackadaisical way. On the track, I've been walking a mile at an almost-trot, then sort of stumble-jogging through another quarter mile, then walking as slowly as humanly possible for another quarter mile, then doing a final mile at an almost-trot. Yes, I am fully aware that this resembles the Cto5k plan about as much as I resemble Charlize Theron, but at least I'm doing it. (See also: dreading it, cursing it, whining about it.)

Today, though, was a Gym Day. Furthermore, today was the first Gym Day since I decided to start the insanity pick up running. It went okay. It went really okay. I still didn't manage to do short intervals — I'm beginning to think Cto5k may not be the plan for me after all — but I did manage a mile of almost-jogging, a quarter of a mile of stumble-jogging, another half mile of fast walking, and then a quarter of a mile of actual jogging.

I was sort of dizzy and couldn't feel my legs for a while afterward. But, you know, in a good way.

I liked itpos;s hard.

Did you hear me, kids? It's haaaard! I don't liiiiiike it! This suuuuuucks!

I've been doing it, though, at least in a lackadaisical way. On the track, I've been walking a mile at an almost-trot, then sort of stumble-jogging through another quarter mile, then walking as slowly as humanly possible for another quarter mile, then doing a final mile at an almost-trot. Yes, I am fully aware that this resembles the Cto5k plan about as much as I resemble Charlize Theron, but at least I'm doing it. (See also: dreading it, cursing it, whining about it.)

Today, though, was a Gym Day. Furthermore, today was the first Gym Day since I decided to start the insanity pick up running. It went okay. It went really okay. I still didn't manage to do short intervals — I'm beginning to think Cto5k may not be the plan for me after all — but I did manage a mile of almost-jogging, a quarter of a mile of stumble-jogging, another half mile of fast walking, and then a quarter of a mile of actual jogging.

I was sort of dizzy and couldn't feel my legs for a while afterward. But, you know, in a good way.

I liked it. Once I was past the initial 10-minute “Dear Lord, WHY DO YOU HATE ME?” period, it was really good. I do tend to get obsessed with the calorie counter and heartrate monitor when I'm on a treadmill, but that's all right. It just means I can report to y'all that I burned almost 300 calories and kept my heartrate at a pretty decent 180 (okay, with a five-minute dip to around 160). I was actually moving my body faster than the speed of sludge for longer than ten consecutive minutes.

Progress. Real progress. I even didn't die. I think I've worked out a schedule that'll allow me to do my running thing at the gym three days a week, so hopefully I won't have anymore Shitty Track Excuse Days. This feels pretty good — or it will, if I can resist stuffing my damn face as soon as I get home.

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