I have never claimed to be a whiz when it comes to household finances. I generally get bills, put them in a stack on a flat surface, and hope that said flat surface doesn't get completely covered up before I remember to pay the bill. With the occasional exceptions, my failure to pay a bill has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with how much money I have available. I admit that my process has flaws.
The ability to see and pay bills online, over the telephone, auto pay, etc. has been helpful. However, I hit a stretch where I had to turn off the auto pay because the timing just wasn't working for me.
My furnace died the coldest week of the admittedly mild winter. It took several days for the repair folks to identify and attempt to repair the problem. Then they figured out that a new furnace was needed. The crawl space in my home is so small, that they actually had to dig out a larger area to squeeze the new furnace through to the very small area that opens up. My sister called me a lamer for not going down to look and see if it was just the pilot light, but the guy who came to work on it said it was about the worse crawl space he had ever seen.
Fast forward to Spring and the first warmish weather we have had. Of course, the A/C goes out. I also get an extremely high gas bill and decide it is time to finally tell my landlord that the water heater also needs work due to a leak. I noticed the leak about the same time as the furnace, and just didn't have the heart to tell her. She doesn't do rental property for a living, but used to live in this house and is hoping to get a better return on her investment than she would have when she got married and moved out.
The next night I prepare for my nightly bath ritual. Take meds, warm bath, read in bed, hopefully fall asleep at a reasonable time. This has been my routine for longer than I can remember. I'm letting the water run to warm while I brush my teeth...and....nothing remotely warmish is coming out of the tap. I start an email to my landlord to tel her that the water heater is now a higher priority than the A/C.
Thankfully, before I hit "send," I have a thought. My extremely high gas bill. I go find it in my stack of papers and while I had been correct about the due date of April 4th, I had failed to notice that it was a bill for 2 months...with a notice that my gas *could* be shut off as of That.very.day. Crap! I know it is my fault, but I curse the gas company for writing the note about potential cutoff in the corner with type the same size as everything else. I wonder why I didn't get one of those brightly colored postcards telling me to get my shit together. (I know they used to send them, I have gotten more than 3 in my life.) I curse the fact that my abysmal credit rating (which may or may not be related to my marriage or divorce) forced me to be on a pre-pay plan that does not cut me very much slack.
I am then grateful that I have the money to pay the bill. I jump online and do this immediately. I am grateful that I have a sister 0.5 miles away who will let me use her facilities and not mock me for my stupidity. I call the Customer Service department with my payment confirmation number in hand...only to jump through the series of "press this for that" and end up being told that they aren't open that late. I wash my face and go to bed.
So, the A/C is fixed...and it didn't cost my landlord anything...that's a good thing. They came out and turned on the gas today, so I only had to bathe at my sister's house for 2 days. Also, I should have a higher functioning or new water heater by tomorrow when someone comes to look at it...and if I'm lucky, that will leave me able to take a bath as hot as I wish, rather than really, really close to how hot I want it.
So, how have your appliances been treating you?