Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas Kick-off

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. My daughter came home for a couple of days--first time she's been home since Labor Day. The folks and a step-brother came for dinner. I actually timed everything right for once--all of the food got done on schedule! We usually have Thanksgiving at Mom's but the kids like my turkey better, so I figured I might as well do it this year. (Mom bakes it the traditional way, I brine mine and stuff it with fruit and vegetables--it makes for a much juicier bird!) I had to be at work at 7 a.m. on Black Friday, so no crazy shopping for me! Usually customers start trickling in after 9 o'clock as they return to town from hitting the sales in the neighboring town and it's fun to listen to their stories. This was my husband's first Black Friday since he started working at Walmart. He works in one of the smaller stores and people are usually fairly civil. They didn't have any problems this year, but I guess last year they had a couple of women get into a fight in the toy aisle. Next year I may have to take the day off and give it a try! My daughter wanted to put up a Christmas tree while she was home, so we did the big one Friday night. Today I'm trying to put up some of the other decorations. I figure I'll take my time and try and do a box or two each evening. That way the cats can gradually acclimate to the new "toys". The new kitten is doing pretty good so far--he's knocked a couple of ornaments off, but he hasn't actually tried to climb the tree. I think that's a good sign!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Financial Aid (Pain!)

My daughter attends the Art Institute of Indianapolis. That's 150 miles away. She is now in her 2nd year and her loans are already more than she is going to be able to pay right out of school. I think that it is sad that education has to cost so much, and sadder still that the interest rate on student loans is higher than house and car loans! Unfortunately, we are not in a position to help her much financially. We provided a car for her and pay the insurance on it and I try to throw a few dollars her way on occasion, but for the most part she is living off the trust fund her Grandmother set up for her 10 years ago. Of course, with the stock market fiasco of the past year, that money isn't as much as it should be. Because her school runs on a quarter system instead of semesters, we have to refinance every 9 months. Oh, such a pain! And it seems she always has a different finance adviser. seems like they don't really know what they are doing! We had a letter a month ago that said payment started this month. Whoa! I wasn't expecting that! So I sent her the letter and told her to take it into the school and get a deferment form. She calls me and said they said we had to get on Sallie Mae's site and download it from there. (Why does everything have to be so complicated!?) I tried. No joy. The username and password I had written down didn't work. So I tried to call. And got a machine with different options... none being one I needed. I think we have all been in that situation. Needless to say, I got frustrated. Started banging on the phone. My husband looked at me like I was nuts. (at that point, maybe I was!) But, hey, I got switched over to a live person!!! Who would have thunk it! Very nice man and he told me what to do. To conclude this rather long narrative, I took off work to day, drove to Indy and talked to a financial aid officer who actually seemed to know what she was talking about and got things squared away (at least for the moment!)