Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Dancing With Joy
My ex was a bully...pure and simple. No other way of putting it...and I...a naive country bumpkin was ripe for the picking. There is no other way to explain it. The ex just walked all over me. For example, he was an aspiring actor who worked two nights a week as a bouncer in a club. I was a case worker for a home care agency...a city job with good benefits...but according to him, my little job was nothing, that HIS acting was what was important. Never mind that MY job paid the bills. And, when you are beaten down enough, you start to believe it...and stop believing in yourself. Just how beaten you wouldn't believe. He worked only on Friday and Saturday nights...and if he got a call from his agent that he had a 'part' for that Friday, he would take off work and then insist that "I" pay him for the night. And like a darned fool, I did it.
Moving on, back then credit cards were just beginning to be the 'in thing'. It wasn't like today when everyone...or most everyone...has at least three credit cards in their wallet. Back then, most of us were still paying with cash...and credit cards were not as easy to obtain. So, when the ex decided he wanted a card, he applied, but they turned him down because of his income. I haven't applied for a card in awhile, but in those days, those with questionable credit could get a card...but only if they had a co-signer who could pick up the payments if necessary...Guess who that co-signer was??? Yup, t'was me, the fool.
It was working out all right, though. I have to give the ex credit for that. He charged about $1800 but he was making the payments and not leaving it for me...until....Until the day I walked out on him. That's the day he stopped. But see, I didn't know this...not until almost 20 years later. That's when I went to the bank November, 2008, to take my rent money out and discovered my bank account was -$4,000. Turns out that he never did pay the card of. It was taken to court and the bank won the judgment, but for some reason did not pursue collections. Instead, it passed the 7 year limit and was turned over to a collection agency. The agency, too, did nothing and went to court renewing the judgment. And still nothing was done. I realize now that they must have wanted to let it sit until almost 20 year limit so they could make as much as possible in interest. The Ex died in 1996 of a rare form of cancer.
It wasn't until that day in 2008 that I realized the bill was still out there, unpaid. And boy, was I ever up a creek. That was my rent. I didn't want to tell hubby; it was his money, too. My son's both helped me out, and I withdrew money from my retirement savings to pay the rent and bills that month. I will tell you this, I went down fighting. I contacted the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Affairs, radio stations, lawyers for legal advice...I fought tooth and nail...but lost. I was responsible for the money. So, they cleaned out my bank account...and I do not have one to this day. I am afraid...don't know if the ex did anything else. Then they sent me a letter stating that I had made a so-called agreement with them to pay $250 month. I NEVER agreed to anything. That was an amount that would be a hardship on me. I wrote back and agreed to pay, but asked for smaller monthly payments. Instead of responding they went to court and got a judgment to garnish my salary. Talk about being devastated. I cannot begin to tell you how I felt...angry, embarrassed, frustrated.
Well, since that time...January, 2009, my employers have religiously deducted $153 from each check to the tune of $306 per month. It has been quite a struggle, and quite a sacrifice. That is a lot of money each month for a bill that wasn't even yours. But my friends, I am happy to say, my ordeal has finally come to an end. I received notice that the bill has been paid and is no longer a part of my life. Take my experience as a lesson. Do not co-sign for anyone. You just never know...and it catches up to you in the end.