Friday, May 7, 2010

Too Many Balls

Yesterday, I was a little stressed from lack of sleep and my husband being on a trip, but all would soon be well because I was almost done with the week and he would be home that night. I was minding my own business in the school work room cutting construction paper for some kindergarten project when I got a text from my husband that our local bank account was overdrawn. I, of course, immediately panicked and then in my mind blamed my husband. He must have taken too much money out without checking the balance first. Brownie points for me.

This account is our local cash account. We use it for the ATM and to deposit checks. It has a very small balance but since it is just cash I have a really good idea what is in it. Or so I thought. It is with the same bank as our credit card. Long story short, when I went to pay our credit card online I kept hitting next like I always do without realizing that this cash account had somehow become linked and yada, yada, yada, our account was overdrawn because of a fee we were assessed when the credit card tried to pull from our local account to pay the balance.

I figure this should be easy to fix since it was a simple error and I had a check to pay the full balance from my other bank account. So I walked into the bank, with all three boys, and started talking to a nice lady who was trying to help figure it out. But somewhere after hearing that the credit card company would not waive any fees and her saying she was going to talk to a manager and call me back later when he got back into the bank, I started to get really agitated. "How dare they treat me this way? How much are they going to try to charge me? I'm going to take my business elsewhere..."

And then I got really defensive. "I'm a good customer. I always pay my bill (and in full). I have the money right here."

I was surprised at how agitated and defensive I got over a mistake I made that at the most was going to cost me some money. And if I was calm and listened to the banker, I would have realized she was trying to help me but that after all the banking problems of late, grace was no longer an automatic. It was going to take some time to solve.

But I didn't have time. My reputation was at stake.

Wait, a minute. My reputation? My integrity? Really. I was taking this all very personally. But to me it was personal. Because for me, a woman who used to be able to balance four different bank accounts and multiple online payments, always reading the fine print and making sure to copy down my confirmation number, I felt like I was failing. I used to pride myself on my ability to juggle and now I had dropped a ball. In my head and heart this was a huge big deal. But in reality, not so much. A mistake that could be fixed. A fee I would have to pay but I have the money to pay it. Then all in our financial world would be well again.

Though maybe I need to consider how many balls I try to juggle at one time.

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