Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 22

Not a good day and it isn't just because my weight is up two pounds. I think that's to be expected considering how I ate this past weekend. I was tempted by family and friends and gave in far too easily to foods and treats that I knew I shouldn't eat. I do think that I'm becoming aware of everything I eat instead of just eating mindlessly like I use to do. Today, is very stressful and I guess it will be a test to see how I eat under duress. I've always turned to food for comfort. When I'm upset, I get an aching in the center of my stomach that just begs to be fed, filled, numbed. I know that the food isn't the answer and I've already realized my problem with instant gratification. I know that eating provides just temporary comfort and if anything, actually hinders the long term solution. I'm having financial problems at the moment. Two years ago with the encouragement of friends who told me that they could get me all of the business that I wanted, I started my photography business. I'd made my living doing wood sculpture and free lance design for the gift market for over twenty-five years. I'd always done quite well financially but I reached the point of creative burn out with the medium. So, I went in search of something new to do that would satisfy me creatively and also keep my bank account from shrinking. I loved photographing horses and people kept telling me that I was able to capture something special in my photos. This seemed like a marriage made in heaven at first. I went out and bought new camera equipment, new computers and software, loads of office and photography supplies and I charged it all to my business credit card because I thought that I would have no problem paying that debt off within the year. Well, we all know what's happened to our economy over the last two years. The horse business seems to have taken an especially hard blow. Well established and internationally known horse photographers have told me that their business is suffering. They are no longer doing show shoots and their commercial work is drying up. I worked for over a year shooting shows and doing barn shoots only to have the "customers" steal the prints off of the internet. I have had sells of my art prints but they are few and far between. I did some commercial in the first year which was very profitable at first and then I discovered that the company had used a bit I hadn't bothered to read in the contract to start paying me less and less and themselves more and more. Basically, I've had a difficult time making just the minimum due on that card bill much less coming anywhere close to paying it off. And then the credit card company halved my available credit which allowed them to raise my interest rate to a whopping 24 and a quarter percent! I've been paying for two years now and the principal has barely lowered.
Friday, I spent the day with my friend Pamie. I've discussed the difficult time that Pamie is having with her health at the moment and I realize that my money and weight issues are not even comparable. I realized that I can change my life around and sweet Pamie, such a good friend, was very encouraging on Friday as we discussed my current problems with this credit card company. You see, Friday morning, I'd signed on to my account to make certain that my payment had been credited and there was a $3.95 past due and a $49.00 late fee. No, you did not read that wrong, they did charge me that much on three bucks and the worst part was, it evidently was their computer glitch that had messed up the payment due amount that I always pay by computer. Pamie told me to call them today and not only get that late fee removed but get my interest rate lowered. I was encouraged and my spirit boosted. Then on Saturday, I receive a letter from them saying that they think I should close the account because I'm behind on my payments!! I called the number provided and spent at least 15 minutes ranting to this poor man who was actually quite nice and helpful. He told me that he didn't think that closing the account was the answer and that I'd end up paying more in the long run. He suggested that I call a number he provided today and see if they wouldn't lower my interest rate. I was even more encouraged and thought that it must be some sort of cosmic karma that had caused both he and Pamie to suggest this. I was sure that it would be the answer to my financial problems or at least an aid. So, as soon as the clock said 9:00AM this morning, I called. The lady kept putting me on hold. I tried to explain the situation to her just as I had the man but it didn't seem to help. She said that because of my late payment, she couldn't help me but I was welcome to either close the account or call back in three months to see if I had a better payment history! I explained that the late fee had been removed and she said that she knew that. I explained how the late payment had happened, at least as it was explained to me. She didn't care. The phone call ended with me breaking down in tears of disappointment and her saying that she hoped my business turned around. I told he that, if it did, I was paying off the account and closing it and would never be dealing with them again. I know it might seem a small thing but it feels like a guillotine hanging over your head to know that you're just scraping by each month to pay bills that both Steve and I ran up for our businesses expecting a windfall that never came. We can't save, we've depleted what saving we hadn't already lost to the plummeting national economy, people aren't buying the unnecessary luxury items that I provide and I keep anticipating that blade falling. Like I said in the beginning, these are not unsurmountable problems. I still have faith that through hard work that we'll get both our bodies, our home and our finances back in shape. It's just that today is also my 36th wedding anniversary and this is not how I anticipated it starting. I'm just hoping that the fortune cookie message that I got with that Chinese take-out I shouldn't have had on Saturday doesn't hold true, "It will be Spring before your luck turns around."

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