pikestaff: (Rainbow Dash - Do Not Want)
I got a cryptic letter from my student loans. This is what it says:

Dear Borrower:

We have received your request for forbearance; unfortunately, we are unable to process your request for the following reason(s):

There are not enough forbearance months available to bring your account(s) current.

Other: Please make a full monthly payment in order for our forbearance to be process. [sic]

Please make all necessary corrections and return all information with this letter.

Sincerely,

Processing Specialist

I really have no IDEA what they mean by that first reason there. The second I have an inkling of-- namely, I need to cough up $300 within about six days (Yeah, I've NO clue how I'm going to do that. I'll be lucky if I have that much in my bank account right now, and I still have $400 worth of cash going to my car payment + insurance this weekend). But the "there are not enough forbearance months available" thing? Yeah, I have NO idea what they're talking about or what they want me to fix.

I went to their website and managed to electronically submit another request for forbearance, and I'm hoping that will do the trick, because if you recall, last time I sent the form to Wells Fargo and then they sent it on to this new bank. So maybe, now that I can bypass the middleman, my chances are better.

I hope it works and that they get it and decide to process it before I need to figure out where this $300 is coming from. Otherwise I'll have to call them, and I hate calling people. I'll do it, though, I just won't be happy about it.

*COUGH*

Feb. 18th, 2011 11:26 pm
pikestaff: (Gir is dead)
Okay, I need to apologize for not posting in a while. I was massively sidelined by some sort of flu/cold/bronchitis that resulted in me essentially losing my voice for a couple of nights (hilarious results were had), missing a good three days of work, and having to relinquish a couple hundred bucks to the doctor so I could get meds and a time-off-work note.

Technically I'm still pretty sick but I can't afford to miss any more work so I'm loading up on cough meds and toughing it out now. Really though, this is the most sick I have been in... months!

I blame myself. See, this all went down mere hours after I was bragging about how I was the only one in my department at work that hadn't caught the mysterious Sears illness yet. Buuut yeah.

That's about all that's going on with me. Well, [livejournal.com profile] azuhuxley_daioh has introduced me to Civ IV and now I'm addicted to YET ANOTHER video game, but that's beside the point, since it probably comes as no shock to anyone.
pikestaff: (Tree Finger Wag)
I'm considering sprucing up "Cricket Song" (NaNo 2010) and chucking it at this contest. I mean, I'm not anticipating any sort of response, but why the heck not, right?

In other news, my paycheck today was a good few magnitudes smaller than my last one. This has both a.) made me decide I dislike commission-based sales, since it's impossible to anticipate paychecks and budget anything, and b.) Kicked me out of "Moving Toward Financial Freedom" Tier and put me back firmly in "LOL, At Your Mom's House Living Paycheck to Paycheck" Tier. It stinks, but there's not a whole lot I can do about it, I guess, except wait it out and keep job hunting for something better.

I'm trying to decide whether or not I want to move back to Montana this summer. I keep alternating between being all "Yes, 100% Positive, Coming This May to a Moving Van Near You", and being all "Meh, May As Well Stay Here Now That I've Got License Plates and Everything". I guess I'll just see how things are going in a couple of months. It's not like I can go anywhere for a while anyway, what with all the snow between here and there.
pikestaff: (Jetfire/Skyfire)
So, it's looking like I may be paying Internet from here on out, or at least for a couple of months. Including this month. This is a bill that I was not expecting, so I hadn't budgeted for it at all, so... this will be interesting. Since Internet is basically a Must for me, I'm scrambling to find ways to make it work. (Oh, and the bill was due like today or yesterday or something. Yeah and I just now found out about this...)

I'm thinking if I can a.) break into my poor anemic savings fund (hate doing that, but...) and put off the (recently due) oil change in my car for a month or so I can pull it off. My car's a tough little bugger and I think it can handle the extra wait, despite the whole 50 miles a day thing.

Anyways, if worse comes to worse and I find out I can't afford it, there's always toting my laptop to Starbucks and basically living there for a while. They won't mind terribly if I'm nothing but a WiFi leech, riiiight?
pikestaff: (PikaRaichu)
Decided to post an actual update rather than a typical QQ/Bawww post. So here we go:

Work/Money Update: It's looking like I'm going to end the month (barely) in the black, as opposed to in the red. Granted, that's not counting new medical bills and the like, but this is much better than having no reliable income (aka October). My main concern at this point is that work has really nerfed the heck out of my hours now that the holidays are over. The last couple of weeks had me pegged at ~32 hour weeks, this week I've got 20. Only time will tell how that plays out...

Book Update: I'm in the middle of doing some last minute tweaking to "Windshifter" which you may recall I had declared "finished" a couple of months back. Specifically I'm making Windshifter himself a few years younger and then adjusting the ages of other characters accordingly. I've also been throwing in other minor edits as they strike me, but nothing big.

I'm still in e-mail discussion with that furry publisher, though it's sort of starting to turn into a game of tag more than anything. The last I heard they want to get the nod from one more partner (the publishing house is run by a few people) before they ask to read my manuscript. They're being very friendly about it all, and supposedly they get a lot of submissions and between that and the holidays I'm willing to give them the time they need. That said, I'm also prepping myself to start a mass-query-letter-fling to big league agents should this publisher not work out, (or should they end up taking too much longer...)

The Other Book Update: I made myself do some (very) minor edits to "Cricket Song" (aka this year's book) and sent it to my mom and sisters as a Christmas present. Am eager to get some alpha feedback on that before I jump into real editing. (This book will not need nearly as much structural editing as "Windshifter" did, thanks to having a decent outline beforehand.)

WoW Update: I'm playing more WoW than I probably should be, haha. Cataclysm turned out to be a lot more fun than I was expecting. I'm not even spending much time in the high-level zones yet, just dinking around on like a dozen alts and soaking up all the new quests. <3

Hokays, time for work!
pikestaff: (Tree Finger Wag)
It wasn't particularly interesting or helpful )

In other news I have an awesome new book idea. It involves anthropomorphic timepieces. If this surprises a single one of you I will be speechless for the rest of the day.
pikestaff: (PikaRaichu)
I came up with this idea where anytime I think about some aspect of my life that sucks, I force myself to add "...but [something positive]" at the end.

Examples:

  • I miss Bozeman... but at least I'm not buried under a couple of feet of snow and ice like they are.
  • I'm putting 50 miles round trip into my car every day... but it's a Toyota and can probably handle it.
  • I can't afford my phone... but I need to get a new one and get a new, cheaper plan anyway.
  • My (previously spotless) credit rating is destroyed beyond belief... but so is most everyone else's these days.
  • I can't get insurance or Medicaid... but frankly I could have about a million worse health conditions!
  • I spend an hour and a half in a car every day... but I love driving. And the scenery is pretty.
  • Food is expensive... but I can borrow my mom's food card, go to Wal-Mart, and buy a bunch of chicken pot pies for 60 cents a pop. Also, ramen.
  • Gas is expensive... but for some reason people want to pay me to do art for them so I can do that if I need extra cash.
  • Doing art commissions takes up a huge chunk of my time... but I can watch movies while doing it.

So this all probably sounds either inanely trite and silly, or like something directly out of a schmaltzy self help book, but honestly I've been doing it for a couple of days now and it's amazing how much better I feel about things. :3

It's also kind of turned into a game I play with myself, where I try to come up with the worst possible things in my life right now and then challenge myself to come up with things to counter those. But yeah!

I've also acquired an electronic money-counting jar that was on massive sale at work the other day. It's a pretty good size one, too. I'm putting all my spare change in there from now on, and when it's full I'm going to take it to the bank, deposit it all, and put all that money straight into my car loan. Either that, or put it into savings for Going Back to School, but I have this tendency to panic and drain my savings account at a moment's notice (current balance: $9) so I'm not sure if I'd trust myself with that yet.
pikestaff: (Jedi Pooh)
I had never heard the phrase "Broke as a joke" before but then I moved here and I've heard it about ten times in the last month. Maybe it's a Northwestern Washington thing. ANYWAYS...

The other day the store manager called me in to his office to "talk" to me. I knew it was about how my seasonal position was almost over so I braced myself for any sort of news.

The first thing he said was that Christmas was over and that they wouldn't need me in my department anymore after that, because they were full.

But then, before I could respond to that, he said, "But, everyone really likes you, you already know how to work a register, and you seem to be good with computers and that sort of thing, so we were wondering if you wanted to continue working with us and move to the pricing team."

(The pricing team, for those of you lucky enough to have avoided working retail, consists of the people who come in, take down old ad signs and put up new ones, interact with little scanners and things... that sort of deal.)

I told him I would "think about it".

My two biggest concerns are a.) that it is so far away and I'm dumping a TON of mileage and gas money into my poor car, and b.) the hours, which from what I understand consist of either showing up really early or staying until really late, because you typically want to change signage when the customer population is at its most thin. Which means weird hours.

Also it's still just a part time job. And I wouldn't be making commission anymore (though that may end up being a stealth raise since our commission over in tools is like... 1% or something ridiculously minuscule anyway).

But at the same time I went on a job-hunt rampage the other day, hoping beyond hope to find something closer and full-time, but there is still NOTHING so I think I don't have much of a choice than to accept and stick around until something finally opens up over here. Or I move away, or something.

I do need to seriously look into public transportation, though. There is a free bus that goes from here to Mount Vernon on the hour, every day, and then there is another bus that goes from Mount Vernon to the mall. That would save me a ton on gas and general automobile wear-n'-tear. It would also probably eat up a couple of hours from my day, since the buses go slow and make stops, but as I am fond of saying lately... beggars can't be choosers.

ALL I WANT FOR BIRTHDAY/CHRISTMAS IS: $3500 so I can finish paying off my car. No more monthly car payment + cheaper insurance = OMG, ACTUALLY BREAKING EVEN EACH MONTH, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FOREVER *dreams*
pikestaff: (Default)
At this point I have no real choice but to move back to Bozeman next month. I was hoping to put it off until the weather got better but...

Right now we have no heat in this house; I'm wearing multiple layers of clothes and toting blankets around and still shivering like a leaf. My stress-related health issues are not improving and I can't afford to do anything about it; Medicaid won't talk to me. Internet has been officially closed and will be shut off for good in a couple of weeks. That last one is the kicker for me. That may sound petty, but the Internet is where I am currently making a sizable chunk of my income (art commissions) and also my only real tie to the book publishing world (have I mentioned that I'm in the middle of e-mail communication with a publisher?) Frankly the Internet is a necessity.

I hate having to leave most of my family behind here but everyone keeps telling me that I need to focus on myself and getting myself in order and the best way to do that would probably be to move back home to my Dad. Not that he is much better off than my Mom is (he's struggling almost as much) but at least he does have internet, heat, and a job and I think it would be easier for me to get a decent job over there, where everything is contained in one little city, then here, where everything is a 40 minute drive away.

This isn't 100% set in stone yet, some crazy miracle could still happen, but I think it's just about time to tell work that I am, in fact, planning on remaining seasonal and leaving in January, and then figuring out how to go back home.
pikestaff: (Kain is Scared)
Okay guys, here's the deal. The tabs on my license plates expired, well... the week I moved out of state.

Upon arriving here I promptly got a new Driver's License and then went to go get new License Plates. Well, slight problem. Because I'm still paying off my car I need to get the lienholder to fax the title to the DMV before they'll give me license plates.

After playing considerable amounts of phone tag I finally got an answer from both parties along the lines of: Lienholder: "Okay we'll set it up to be faxed" and DMV: "We'll call you when we get the fax."

THAT WAS LIKE FOUR WEEKS AGO.

I have called since then and both parties feign complete innocence. "Oh, we faxed it." "Oh, we never got the fax." Also, apparently the DMV has actually faxed them, asking for the fax, to no avail.

My problem is, now that I have a job that is millions of miles away, I'm spending a total of an hour and a half on the road each day WITH TWO MONTH OLD TAGS, and I'm stuck in this horrible state of limbo because I have a Washington Drivers' License and Montana plates. And I've heard that the cops here are brutal. They're not gonna care about my rigmarole with all of this, they're just gonna slap me with a fee that I can't pay.

Now it's possible that I'm over-reacting and that nobody is going to notice and/or care before I actually get the plates thing sorted out, but I hate this feeling hanging over my head that I'm playing Russian Roulette with the police twice a day. Regardless, I'm calling both the DMV and the car dealer again tomorrow morning, but I'm pessimistic on the outcome.

Intar-Voo

Nov. 4th, 2010 09:58 am
pikestaff: (Devious Snaps)
I have a job interview tomorrow at the Sears at a mall that's a 40 minute drive away. I'm not sure if I should feel good about it or not, because it wasn't exactly a personalized scheduled interview... rather, at the end of the online job application it automatically signed me up for it. That's a new one. I'm not sure if they do that for all their applicants or just the ones that meet their pre-screening requirements.

Regardless, it's a retail job, and at least I have tangible experience with that, as opposed to all the bank interviews where I had to admit that I'd never worked in a bank before.

The commute there and back is gonna suck (assuming I get the job) but it's money and from what I understand it's not bad money-- base pay plus commission. Plus Christmas is coming up which means more sales.

Anyways, I googled this mall because I had no idea where it was and wound up scoping out the mall's website. So, guess what? In the mall there's this watch/clock repair place like... right next to the Sears. I'm kind of tempted to stumble in there and be like "I LOVE YOU, ARE YOU HIRING, ARE YOU TAKING VOLUNTEERS, HI" if the Sears interview doesn't go well, but I know what would happen:





...yes, I made a Nyoro~n comic . Really though, that's how I visualize it.

Aaaanyways!

I just now got a phone call from the Montana Unemployment Office mid-LJ-post. She asked me a couple of questions and then escalated my claim to the next level to see if I qualify. Here's hoping. (Well, here's hoping that I get a job before they get back to me, but you know.)
pikestaff: (Kain is Scared)
And another day goes by without a single phone call. Yesterday I applied for three jobs and today I applied for one more-- this doesn't count all the several I applied for last week-- nothing. And we're not talking super fancy jobs here, folks. We're talking Petco (40 min drive away, btw) and part-time at Blockbuster, K-Mart and Office Max. And may I remind the audience that I have eight years of retail experience (three in a pet store environment and two in a "lead" position.) But no, I haven't heard a peep.

BUT, today I logged into my online banking and prepared myself for a severe panic attack only to find that PetSmart mysteriously deposited $200 into my account. I have no idea why. I could have sworn that all my vacation time was accounted for with my last official paycheck a few weeks back. Regardless, I'm not complaining. And the art commissions keep rolling in and they're getting complex (i.e., not just the cheapy avatar orders-- we're talking complicated group shots which I can charge lots more for.) so that's good too.

Regardless, I applied for Unemployment Insurance today. I doubt I even qualify, since technically I voluntarily left my job, but I tried to explain my situation (my parents are getting divorced, I'm steeped in debt, my mom has no job and now I have no job, our whole family is eating nothing but rice because it's all we can afford, etc.) and we'll see what happens.

Gosh I wish I was self-sufficient. I swear I'm never spending money on anything unnecessary ever again. u_u

Hay guys

Aug. 15th, 2010 11:21 am
pikestaff: (Devious Snaps)
So in response my last post, wherein I mused about going to a watchmaking school or something, except it would be expensive? Yeah, well, I've been doing research and there's totally a certified school that you can go to FOR FREE. Because it's sponsored by Rolex or something. Seriously, you just pay for the tools, and you go to school and they give you a diploma.

Of course, it's somewhere on the East Coast, so the relocation thing would still be expensive. Oh, and did I mention that they get like 100 applicants a year and they only take 12 students? I so would not get in. orz

Still, I am throwing that into the pile of possibilities if I'm still wandering around wondering what I should do with my life by the time April/May rolls around next year. I kind of have this little goal to have my financial situation considerably cleaned up by then so I can really get serious about "doing something with my life"... I don't know how practical that is, as a goal, but it's one that I hold nonetheless.

I guess it's kind of exciting overall, having no idea what I'm going to be doing in ten years. I could be doing a variety of things, but I think whatever it is I'll be happy. That's what I like to think, anyway.
pikestaff: (Pandaren)
Gonna tell the landlady tomorrow that I'm leaving, cause I can't afford rent anymore. Aiming to move back home at the end of the month.

My emotions can't decide if I am relieved or depressed. ...reli-pressed? Or Delieved? I like Delieved better.*

--

* Edit: I am much more depressed about the moving process than I am about actually living at home again. I hate moving with all the vitriol I can summon.

Blargh

May. 22nd, 2010 08:39 am
pikestaff: (Jedi Pooh)
I was doing pretty good with my change jar, aka "Pike's Fund For a New Sexy Watch", primarily because I figured out how to Bring My Lunch From Home rather than Buy It At Target Every Day. So all of my normal "lunch money" went into the change jar.

Anyways yesterday my watch battery died (which I'd known it was in the process of doing for a while, hence why it would end up a few minutes slow every week), soooo... I tossed the theoretical "price of the watch battery" into the change jar and added it all up and ordered Sexy Watch. Now I just have to wait 5 - 10 days. The watch warehouse place is in Salt Lake City so theoretically it won't take that long, though, since I am pretty close? >_> I hope so. I am soooo impatient right now.

Still no luck on the job hunt, though. Although on the plus (?) side I realized I never actually renewed my rent contract this year and am just paying month by month, which means if worse comes to worse I can disappear to my parents' house without repercussions. Which I would really rather not do, but backup plans are a good thing.

SOMEDAY I WILL LJ ABOUT SOMETHING THAT DOES NOT INVOLVE MONEY AND/OR MY NOVEL.

Did I mention it's snowing right now?

Meh

May. 17th, 2010 11:18 am
pikestaff: (Gir is dead)
I'm really not sure what to do on the job front. I've basically come to the conclusion that if I don't have a second job by the end of the month, I'm pretty toast. But my original plan-- "Find something that is 40/hours a week, $10+/hour, with a set schedule, so I can work part-time PetSmart around it"-- is failing miserably. There is very little out there right now that meets those requirements, and what does, I have already sent resumes to with no luck.

So I'm getting desperate and thinking I may have to do something I really didn't want to do and stoop to a second retail job for now. There are two major issues that complicate that plan: a.) When I was hired at PetSmart I signed a non-compete clause, basically saying that if I work at PetSmart I can't also work at say, Target/Wal-Mart cause they're competitors, so that limits a lot of options, and b.) you know how retail scheduling is? Good luck, me, trying to get two retail schedules to cooperate.

ANYWAYS, it turns out that Staples is in the middle of a hiring spree. They're right next to PetSmart, aren't a competitor (except for mouse pads or something maybe, I dunno) and maybe I can manage to negotiate something with the managers. I figure whichever one is more open to working with scheduling difficulties can have me full time.

So I guess that's a possibility. I really hate being "That One College Grad" working in retail for $9/hour, and it just gets worse as I get older, but I dunno if I have a choice anymore. I'm thinking if nothing promising pops up in jobs.mt.gov / classifieds in the next couple days... =/

(Really I just want something to keep me afloat for now so I can go back to working on my novel. It is REALLY HARD to do any good writing when "how am I going to pay for lunch tomorrow?" is floating above your head. Just sayin'.)

K, so

Mar. 22nd, 2010 09:31 pm
pikestaff: (Clockwork Hare)
The checkmarks next to all the items on my "THINGS TO FIX IN MY NOVEL" list are coming ever faster now and by this point the checkmarked items far outnumber the... non-checkmarked items. Be on the lookout for instructions on how to apply for a Pike's Novel Beta Test very soon. Like, within the next few days.

Scary, I know.

Welp, that's really all I've got, going to bed now. OH, thoughts & prayers that Student Loan forbearance (like a deferment, but for those of us who don't automatically qualify) will go through would be nice. (And new job that I am applying for, and car loan refinancing, and possibly moving into a cheaper apartment, and and and and... x_x)
pikestaff: (Giddy Snaps)
So while I wait for someone I called to get back to me regarding my money issues I'm trying to continue pushing on with art commissions and things, which will at least provide some small amount of help. The fact that I have been able to pull in about $75/month with art for the last couple of months, even though I still consider myself to be a rather mediocre artist, is something I am rather grateful for.

But I need to up the ante, and now that I'm out of the blog spotlight the commissions are fewer, so now I'm lurking around FurAffinity because I can at least sort of draw cartoon animals right? And maybe I can get something from that?

Speaking of which, I have discovered a "steampunk furry convention". I am 99% sure that said convention has my name all over it in gigantic letters.




And I would totally dress up for it.




Um yeah other than that, novel editing is going slowly but surely, and I'm even getting some vidya-gaming and movie-watchin' done. Other than the money scare, life's been good lately.

Bleh

Mar. 15th, 2010 04:02 pm
pikestaff: (Clockwork Hare)
So yeah, just as I suspected, despite all my saving and scrimping on food/extras-- the student loans kicking back in are killing me.

Really I'm sick of this having to worry about money crap; I want to turn things around. I want to pay off my car (and then by association be able to switch to a cheaper insurance policy,) and the two credit cards that I've been unwise with. Unfortunately I've basically dug myself a hole so deep that this isn't gonna be easy. I'm not taking sole blame for the whole mess but I'm also certainly not denying my responsibility either. Let's just say that some bad planning/poor judgment on my part, combined with the sucktacular economy, combined with my parents being unemployed... is a pretty lethal combination.

Soooo, it looks like I'm going to try to find outside help on this. Programs, church welfare, etc. I will swallow every last ounce of my pride to try to turn this around so I can make a fresh start.

That includes moving back in with my parents if worse comes to worse. Though I'd rather not. Not so much because I don't want to, but because it would be very unwieldy. Their place is small enough as is, and they're probably having more money issues than I am (if that's even possible...) and I'd be up at weird hours going to my weird work shifts and it would just clash. But I'll do it if I have to, since obviously I've done it before...

Here goes nothin'.

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