June 29, 2011

"Grippers" #3 (how to get homeless without even trying)

Recap: #1, Bob Slider is laid off; #2 Tracey loses her unemployment. (scroll down for these episodes)

Episode 3: Confronting finances over beer & pizza


When Bob returned home the first thing Tracey asked him was, "Did you talk to coach?"

"He pulled in behind us. He was late too. Jake is fine. Stop worrying."

"Okay, that's good. His worrying wears me out sometimes. Look Bob, we have to talk about money."

"I know Tracey, I know. I know all about it. I live here too."

"Well, you don't have to get nasty about it."

"Tracey, for God's sake, I was laid off today, I get home and find your car is broke down and then you tell me you were cut off unemployment. Cut me some slack, all right? Hey look, let's go to Carmine's and get a pizza. We can talk there plus, it might be good to get out of here for an hour or so. Then we'll head over to Jake's game. What do you say?"

She agreed and, as they got into the truck, Bob paused and looked over at her car. "I'll check your car in the morning. Can't worry about it right now."

Carmine's Pizzeria was doing their usual brisk, Friday night business and Bob and Tracey were only able to get a table for two in the middle of the dining area. "I really wanted a booth. We need some privacy."

"It will be all right, hon. We'll talk low."

Bob ordered two beers and a pepperoni pizza. As they took their first sips of beer Tracey asked, "So, how much money do we have?"

An astonished look covered Bob's face. "Are you kidding me? You always know down to the penny how much money we have. Why would you ask me that? Didn't you check the on-line balance this morning? We have direct deposit, don't we?"

"Remember the storm the other night? The computer is fried. There was no way to check anything on-line.They cut my unemployment. Remember?"

"Okay, yeah, but I didn't understand exactly what happened with this unemployment thing."

"Very simple. I was supposed to sign in, on-line, by yesterday, to stay certified. Our computer did not work. So, their computer automatically kicked me out of their system. I finally got through by phone this afternoon and I was all ready to run over there and--- Oops--my car did not start. Now I have to wait until Monday to re-apply. I guess we can go together and apply."

"Well, don't think for a minute that I will need to get unemployment. I WILL be getting work. You just watch."

"Well, how much money did you get today? I think there was about $400.00 left in checking."

"Well, my stub said they deposited $876.34 and then I was given an extra $500.00 as sort of a severance pay. So I guess we have about $1775.00. Plus, we also have about $900.00 left in savings. So a total of about twenty six hundred. We're okay."

"Oh my God, Bob. Are you kidding me. this is a disaster. Tuesday is June 1. We still owe Mr. Margolese $700.00 for May's rent. Add in June and it is $1650.00 we owe just for rent. Electric is $276.00 and that is after a ten day extension and is due Tuesday or they can shut off our power and the car insurance is due and that is $158.00 and don't forget the May truck payment of $278.00 and now two payments will be due." Tracey paused and was adding the numbers on a napkin. Suddenly she had tears coming down her cheeks. "If we pay all of our bills we won't have a penny to our name. Oh my God, we could lose everything."

"Stop it Tracey, just stop it. I am not crippled. I will get work. We'll be okay. Plus, Greg Margolese is a good guy. Maybe I can do some work on some of his houses.He'll understand our situation. Don't worry. We'll be fine."

Bob's confident demeanor was calming his wife. He knew that they had not even discussed money for food, Tracey's car repair, Jake's medicine, gas for the vehicles, and the water bill. Heck, Jake was growing and they went through at least five gallons of milk a week. That was $75.00 a month right there, just for milk. On this particular Friday something else was going on with Bob Slider. Hiding inside the big, burly. tough looking man, was a cowering and suddenly very insecure little boy.

Next time: Episode 4; Dealing with the landlord