In keeping with the best theme, which is going to get old quickly, please allow me to present you with my best fuck-up in years...maybe ever. It happened Wednesday and trust me, no matter how bad your shit might be right now, you'll read this and think "Okay, mine's bad but that might have been a little worse. Or at least equally as bad as mine." At least I think you will and I think you might feel a little better about your own life. That's my hope, anyway. Also, we may as well call this another one of my "really keeping it real" posts, much like my trashy house was because I've got a gut feeling I might be one of the only people in blogland to not only own up to this kind of stupidity, but show the results of it. Ready?
Backstory: I HATE my own financial matters and suck at them...always have, always will, I'm afraid. Well maybe not now, but we'll see on that. Give me the finances of a business to handle and I'm aces, even my own businesses. Let me take care of yours and I'll do a top-notch job. My own. It's bad. Really bad. Bills, banking stuff, investments? Hate them. As a result, I've had utilities shut off more than once, not because I didn't have the money...oh, no. Because I get my mail while in my car, so I tend to shove everything between catalog and magazine pages, then toss it in the backseat of my car where it emerges again only when I'm expecting company and I clean my car. This is my normal filing system except for important stuff like tax notices, insurance crap, investment stuff...those make it into the house and get shoved in a filing cabinet, unopened. Seriously. Checking account statements? Get shredded and trashed without even being opened because I check my checking account balance online every few days to see what I have in there. Over time, I have put all of my utility bills on autopay, which is a real blessing for someone like me. And I set up overdraft protection with another account so I don't even have to keep track of when those get pulled from checking. This, folks, is the extent of my ability to mind my own finances. How's that for some honesty? So, a little more backstory, I don't have a mortgage on my house, which means I have to pay my property taxes and insurance myself. Insurance is on autopay...yay. Property taxes can't be. Years ago, well, 6 exactly, Miss Arse told me to just give her my tax bill when it comes in and she'll pay it when she pays hers. That's not as generous as it sounds since we share one specific account so it was my money paying it but she would handle it and she's pretty good with this stuff for an old bird. So, twice I dropped my tax bill on her table...two years. Then I get served papers that my taxes are delinquent by 2 years. The hell? I go to her and she swears up and down she never told me any such thing. She doesn't lie and she's not senile so it had to have been some really awful misunderstanding...I trudge up and pay my taxes. In an effort to prevent this from *ever happening again, I tell her we need to turn over anything that says "tax" on it, be it federal or county, to the CPA who handles some other stuff for us. Just pay him to take care of it all. She agrees. I take my stuff to him and she says she will soon. He tells me he's going to semi-retire and so one of his employees will be handling my stuff, something I totally understand since I'm pretty peon-y in the financial world. He assures me things will be monitored and he'll alert me/us to any issues. We set up a deal where I autopay into an account quarterly for my property taxes and a couple of other things. Cool. That's how I like it...no muss, no fuss, let the professional keep me from muddling it all up and at a reasonable cost, comparatively speaking. So, for the last 4 years, I get my property tax bill, drop it off at his office and go on my merry way. Here's where I need to admit one *huge mistake I made in all this. Because really, I'm not blameless in this story. I never opened those tax bills. Ever. Like I said, I hate this shit and I'm paying someone to do it all so why should I? Well, I know why I *should now, but that was my reasoning.
Cut to day before yesterday, Wednesday. It's 1pm-ish, I'm still in my PJs, farming away and there's a knock on the door. Now, I never answer the door if I am not expecting anyone and particularly to people I don't know. I peek and see a young woman standing there, back to my window. I ignore her, even though I know she can see my car and that I have a TV on. She knocks again and I ignore her. She knocks a third time and something tells me to answer it. I do, all pissy-ish, and am immediately thrown off by her face. She's *so damn sweet and kind looking that, I kid you not, my first thought was that she looked like a Renaissance angel. In my confusion, I was nice to her. She stutters about how awkward this is and then tells me that she and her dad have been driving the neighborhood with a list of homes getting ready to be auctioned Thursday for delinquent taxes. Okay. She then asks if I know my home is on that list. Silence. I mean, I literally said nothing but my face must have shown my shock. She takes my hand, asks if I'm okay and explains that she just felt drawn to stop and check with me, that when she saw my house it just didn't look like the home of someone in that kind of situation. I finally get the words out that I didn't know, somehow stuttered a thank you and closed the door on her. And then I freaked. I mean, I came unglued. I first called the tax collector's office to confirm this and yes indeed, the deadline to pay was 4 hours away and they gave me a total. I gagged. I mean, I have no credit cards and I know I can't liquidate anything that fast...at least I don't think so. I call Miss Arse, screaming. Literally screaming. Now, those who know me well know that I've lost total control of myself maybe twice in my life. It's just something I don't do. But I did then. I mean, this is my *home. She calms me some and I start to think that hmmmm, unless the CPA embezzled my money, it ought to all still be right there in that account where it's being put quarterly. I call the bank and there it is, minus the huge amount of penalties, fees, advertising costs, legal fees, etc. that is now tacked on. For four years. Yes...FOUR years. They just never paid my taxes and no one ever told me. Well, except the county probably did tell me in those unopened envelopes I was dropping off. *sighs* See, I told you this was my fault. I called the CPA, had to leave a message and figured I'd deal with them later. So, I'm now down to three and a half hours to save my house, unshowered for the second day and now literally sick to my stomach and vomiting. I head for the bank where, with the help of some lovely ladies who understood the urgency (God, I love Wachovia, even before this deal), I head off to the tax collector's office with about an two hours left. You know, TO SAVE MY HOUSE. All because I can't get my shit together well enough to be a grown up and handle my own bills and finances properly.
Now, so that the lesson of my failure really sinks in with you all, would you like to see what this little unexpected...adventure...cost me yesterday? Because really, this is going to impact how we live for awhile and so much of it could have been avoided had I just, oh, you know...opened my mail.
Here. Click to enlarge it, then bask in the fact it wasn't you.
Don't you feel better about your own crap now?
I live to serve.
PS: Miss Arse's house taxes were fine. She never got around to taking her stuff to the CPA and has just been doing hers herself. Ughhhh.