Thursday, April 07, 2011

steel-belted mysteries and the tao of routing

So, this came up in a conversation with Biff last night:

Are you living at odds with your goals?

Oooooh, yeah. That's a question it hurts to answer.

After careful introspection, I have decided to answer this question but instead of giving the whole truth, I will simply answer 'Sometimes, yeah.' Sometimes I do live at odds with my goals. Especially when those goals include the mundane and craptastic, like taking out garbage or doing laundry or sweeping the floor for the umpty-millionth time. Things that undo themselves almost as fast as you can do them up are frustrating kinds of goals to achieve, aren’t they?

Like, for example, I recently paid off my car via a lovely telephone conversation with a representative of the bank that initiated the loan 3 years ago. Why, a few minutes on the phone was all that was needed for her to merrily chirp ‘well, that does it – you’ve paid off your loan! Congratulations!’

Sounds easy, right? Sounds like I was living toward my goals, right? That I was taking the reins of responsibility and whipping the horse of progress into a full-on gallop toward a GOAL! Well, I'm here to tell you that it wasn't so much as gallop as a crawl, my a one-legged sloth. For those few minutes of congratulatory talk and achievement of they payoff, I waited 3 months. Three MONTHS to make the call, to pay off the damn car, to relieve myself of financial burden. Three months of procrastinating and excuse-making. Three months of living at odds with my goals.

It felt so good to have it over and done with – I felt like an adult, facing up to my responsibilities! Finally, some progress toward financial freedom! Woot-woot!

And then I got an email:

Dear Tiff – you are late with your car payment this month. No, we don’t know why the electronic automatic fund transfer isn’t working anymore like it has for the past 3 years, all we know is you owe us 148.72 like, yesterday. Make it snappy, sister!

WHAT? The loan outfit wants a payment on a loan I PAID OFF a month ago? They’re telling me my moment of living to my goals was a sham? How could this BE? So I did the only thing that’s meet and right so to do in this circumstance: I wrote an angry letter. I explained just what went down on 04 Mar of this year, how I was CONGRATULATED by a very nice customer service rep, how I actually have the title to my car in hand which indicated to me that the payment went through, that I’m pretty sure it’s not my problem that the payment was somehow borked and no, I don’t feel like I should be paying an y interest on that loan I was told I’d paid off, thanks for asking.

And I got an email BACK! Saying ‘well shoot, we’re sorry, but dang if it ain’t your bank that reversed payment almost immediately on this here charge and please hand over that there payment to us, thankee kindly and take it up with the folks on your end.

This being an adult is hard WORK, people. Consistently hard work.

So I called the credit union at which I bank. I asked, almost nicely, why they reversed the charge. The helpful customer service rep searched my account for the transaction, and….found nothing at all to indicate that my loan company ever touched the account for the amount in question on the date in question. NOTHING! It’s like those few hard-fought-for minutes on the phone with the congratulatory lady that occurred on 04 March while I was standing on the back deck were a figment of my imagination. Poof! Moments of my life utterly erased into the void of eBanking!

Except – I have the title, and a nice note from the loan initiator once again congratulating me on the recent payoff of my loan, and aren’t I a good little citizen for doing that.

Folks, this begs a question - Because i have the title and the nice letter, can’t I just count that as put-paid and skip the rest of the financial drama, or am I really going to have to go back to the bank with a request to please provide me with some kind of tracking information that they use when doing those types of payoff transactions that the nice girl at the credit union can use to find out if in fact the loan people really even tried to take the money out of that account (which I distinctly recall specifying them that they should do)?

I think the title and nice letter should, in fact, count as put-paid, because at this point? I AM HAVING TO DO ALL THE LEGWORK, and I don’t even know what I’m asking for! Something about not finding the ACH transaction code and could I maybe find out a trace# the bank uses and ohmygosh could I maybe also figure out if this is an FDIC-insured agency that also happens to require terminal employee loyalty by completely effing up all important end-of-loan transactions so that the bank keeps getting their interest payment and their customers can’t access a chance to improve their credit scores?

But let’s remember – it wasn’t the bank farking things up. Oh no - they're happy I paid off my loan! It was the CREDIT UNION. It seems they don’t want me to pay off the loan. They don’t want my money to leave their coffers. They DENIED me the ability to get out of debt on my own terms and are now asking me to please provide them information that might turn the key in the lock of their mysterious systems that would free up MY MONEY.

Shit man. I’mma just go get a payoff quote and MAIL the bank a damn check.

And then? Wait for it to get lost in the mail, so that I can continue living at odds with my goals, but this time, as I'm clearly becoming more adept at facing responsibility, I'll be living at odds with my goals through no fault of my own.

It just seems easier that way.

Tiff out.

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