Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ack ack ack

That's one ack for each thing that's gone wrong this month. It's been a ride, let me tell ya.

First - Our kitchen ceiling started leaking, and after sawing a hole in it, the plumber determined there was nothing wrong with the pipes (phew) but that the walls around our tub were leaking (shit!) and so we have decided to replace the tub walls. The owners before the last owners of this house redid the bathroom, and while they generally did an OK job, they put this PVC sheeting stuff up on the walls around the tub, and didn't quite get it to actually meet at the bottom. This means that there is a lovely gap wherein water can shoot through and come out the kitchen ceiling. We had been meaning to redo the bathroom and put in tile, which would look nicer and also raise the value of the house somewhat, but it was rather low on our priority list. So we have to bite the bullet and get that done, and hopefully it will be all up tonight so maybe we can take a shower sometime soon! I'm actually kind of glad that we are getting this done, because when we took off the PVC sheet, we discovered that the drywall and part of the window box were wet and gross, so now we are preventing the gross from migrating further. It seemed pretty contained so the damage should be all gone now. I think this is going to cost us about $900 and a year off my life - our contractor is very nice and very good, but not very punctual, and I went to four different stores yesterday trying to find special tiles for our weird little foot-of-the-tub wall and the window surround.

Second - So my car developed an expensive and irritating condition - the speedometer needle started jumping a little bit. I didn't think much of it, and when the car went in to have its shocks replaced, I asked the guys to take a look at it and replace the sensor or whatever was not working properly. I figured $100 max. Turns out that there is something wrong with the wiring to the instrumentation panel, which is a single unit, and costs $600 just for the part, plus another $500 for the labor, which includes taking it to the dealership and having the car's computer reprogrammed. Fun! Other than being annoying, this caused the car's cruise control to no longer work properly, as it's an aftermarket addition and depends on the speedometer needle to maintain speed, instead of being routed through the car computer as is typical in other cars where it's installed at the factory. I decided that one way or another the car's value would go down by at least $1,000 - either I would put $1,000 into it to fix this, or the speedometer might eventually break altogether and then I would have to fix it then, or attach a gizmo to the car computer slot that would tell the speed, which would probably look really stupid and further make it difficult to sell the car in the future. In the end I decided I'd rather not deal with it at all, and should sell it before it gets more noticeable. I ended up selling it for only $200 less than I bought it for a year ago, and I probably could have gotten the same price if I'd been more savvy about my advertising. Then I went out and bought a nicer car, for about $1,000 more than I sold the old one for, which needed $500 in repairs (the condenser was cracked so it had no A/C.) Altogether after all is said and done I am pretty much out of cash, but I own a more valuable car that works much better. Hooray!

Third - American Express cancelled my cards. I had kind of seen this coming, because I am no longer exactly the prime grade A beef customer I was when I got my cards several years ago. I put several large purchases on the gold card which I immediately paid off, but they saw this as suspicious activity, and asked me to have my bank verify how much money I'd had each of the last six months. The not very nice lady on the phone told me that this was to help out their customers who were having some financial straits. Lady, if I was not having financial straits, don't you think I would have just paid for those in cash to begin with?? Sheesh. So basically they cancelled the cards because I don't have a lot of money and didn't use them much. I still have a balance on the cards and have to pay that off, but now the only older credit card that is still actually open is the Discover, which only has $400 in open credit line on it, since all of my cards keep cutting my line every few months to be pretty close to my balance. I realize that they don't want me to charge any more, but if they haven't noticed, I've only been putting charges on the Amex gold card, which I always pay off quickly, and I've been paying everything else down as much as possible.

Because I now have so little actual available credit anymore, Boyfriend went ahead and put me as an authorized user on one of his credit cards - obviously without asking me, because I would have told him not to, but he does have a point, that I might have an emergency and need to borrow money, and he knows I'm good for it. And I have a tiny bit of hope that perhaps his stellar credit will lift my credit score a little, since it's likely to have taken a nasty hit after my Amex cards were cancelled - one was at least eight years old, and one was five years old, and given that I've only been able to have credit for nine years, that's kind of important.

And a little bit of funny news - I did apply for a credit card and got approved. However it has a $250 limit and comes from Virgin Airlines. I guess it's better than nothing, since I'm trying to raise my credit score. I'm pretty sure that nothing short of paying off all of my credit cards is going to raise my score at this point though. I'm looking forward to that day (according to Mint, in approximately March 2014) when I have no credit card debt, and I start getting fawning credit card offers in the mail for all of those lovely 0% balance transfers that I could REALLY USE NOW. Grumble.

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1 comment:

miss rags-to-riches said...

New reader to your blog :) Sorry to hear about some of the setbacks. Overall it looks like your doing great! Just curious why AMEX closed your accounts out of the blue after years of being a loyal and PAYING customer?? Did they give you any notification beforehand and the reason why?