House of Cards

The following post is brought to you by Discover it. 
Last year something dreadful happened. Dreadful as far as credit is concerned which, unfortunately, becomes dreadful everywhere when you're trying to refinance your mortgage. Mediocre credit bleeds all over your wallet and your purse and the dress you're wearing except you can't just scrap everything and start over, you have to clean the stains and scrub the wallet and try to make due with a blob shaped stain on your collar for way longer than seems fair.

I'll back up...

First off, my credit has always been solid. Well, hold on... that's not true. It took many years to even establish credit because I didn't go to college and not going to college means (in my experience anyway) that the only way to establish credit is to PAY for one of those super high interest cards which I did at age eighteen except I didn't understand what "high interest" meant so I bought super fancy presents for boyfriends and was like "charge it, yeah, YOLO!" (A Fender Telecaster ended up costing THOUSANDS of dollars because I was a complete idiot and didn't understand what 39% interest meant. Ouch.)

Anyway, I had a couple high interest cards that, after years of wasting money on interest, helped me establish enough credit to rent an apartment without a cosign and, finally, buy a car.

After, consolidating finances with Hal, we (eventually) were able to pay off the high interest cards. From there, I put them in a drawer never to use them again.

Except one of those cards had an annual charge. And that card was filed under an old address and an even older email address and because the card was paid off,  I assumed that was that.

Six months of delinquent charges and emails to my old email and letters to my old address and phone calls from a blocked number (which I never USED TO answer) I finally picked up the phone. 

Too late.

My credit score had dropped 100 points.

From a $19.99 charge.

On a card issued to me in 2000.

I cried.

A lot.

We paid off the $20 charge, closed the card FOR GOOD AND FOREVER, paid off the late fees and begged the credit company to see that we were good credit card payer-offers and this was merely a miscommunication.

"Too late. It's already been filed... Nothing we can do. You are the weakest link, goodbye."

My credit went from pristine to mediocre like (snap!) that.

"Just start rebuilding," our broker told us.

So that is what we did.

Our two credit cards became six credit cards. We opened up cards at the stores we shopped at most and paid off every cent of every card within weeks of purchasing. We are STILL doing this, btw, because my credit, although climbing isn't exactly where we want it to be for our refi. 

And now? We wait. We keep super good tabs on what is being spent and what is being paid off and soon enough, we'll be back in the saddle.

2013 has been a trying year financially and without boring you with particulars, the most frustrating/lesson-learned-got-it-now-thanks-life part of the whole shebang has been this credit card business. Because it really is a house of cards, this adult life. In order to rent an apartment or lease a car or buy a house or start a business or refinance a mortgage or, you know, pay the bills when jobs are scarce and cash is not an option (Been there. Many times.) we must be reasonable. And responsible. We must remember to update and answer phones and keep track of what is happening where and with what and ugh, being an adult is kind of a bummer, don't you think?

(It's kind of a bummer.)

I digress. Repairing my credit has been a HUGE pain in the bottom.

And now I will end this post, welcoming 2014 with optimistic (and more financially stable) arms.
IMG_1009 Namaste.