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2002-11-11 - 2:24 p.m.


It snowed this morning! I was still in bed (although awake) when The Scientist shouted from the living room, "It's snowing! Big flakes!" He came into the bedroom and opened the curtain so I could lie in bed and watch the snow falling. None of it stuck to the ground, and in fact it stopped after only a few minutes, but it was the official First Snow of the Season.


Last night there was a huge thunderstorm. I was playing tennis and suddenly we heard the patter of rain on the roof. Then a deluge. Then loud thunder. More rain. The rain had tapered off by the time I left, which was fortunate because The Scientist and I had to carry in groceries from the car.

I spent my weekend in typical news isolation (my weekend TV consists of many episodes of This Old House and that's about it). I was shocked when I realized this morning that what had been a thunderstorm for us had been tornadoes for other people. Over 30 people died.


I'm warning you now, don't go to http://www.ebertandroper.com (I'm making it harder for you by not linking). I was looking for their review of 8 Mile and entered that as a logical place to find them on the web. No. Wrong. Porn. Adults only. Since my internet connection is sponsored by work, I did not click any further.

8 Mile is getting good reviews. I knew it! I've wanted to see it since the first time I saw the preview. People, that was back on August 19th, before all the hype.


Karyn is out of debt. For those of you who haven't been following this internet story, Karyn is a late-20s woman who got herself into $20,000 worth of credit card debt, lost her job, figured out it would take decades to pay off her debt, and launched a website where people could donate money to her so she could pay off her debt. After only a few months, she has broken even, according to CNN.com.

I have really mixed feelings about this. Karyn did make the necessary lifestyle changes to get out of debt--she found a cheaper apartment with roommates, stopped shopping, sold stuff on eBay, put her own money towards her debt reduction, etc. But over $13,000 came from donations (which leaves less than $7,000 that Karyn herself paid off). What did she do to deserve all this money? She made a little website and she asked for it.

One the one hand, I see a spoiled white girl who didn't take responsibility for her actions and got bailed out by strangers to the tune of 13 grand. On the other hand, I see a resourceful woman who did what it took to get out of a bad financial situation that she fully admits was her own fault (and who says she's learned her lesson and that it won't happen again).

This issue hits particularly close to home for me because I was Karyn. Not literally, but I was in a similar situation. Credit card debt of my own making and beyond my means to pay back within the near future. It weighed me down. It gave me nightmares. It made me want to eat pints of ice cream. I avoided thinking about it. I avoided doing anything about it besides paying my minimum monthly payments. I was ashamed. I was terrified. I was unable to fix it. And finally, I got out of it.

Like Karyn, I got out of debt partly by making lifestyle changes. I stopped (mostly) buying things I couldn't pay cash for. I went out less. I worked more hours when I was a freelancer and sent more of my paychecks to Visa and Mastercard. I had setbacks (huge tax bill to the IRS from when I was a freelancer). I got a full-time job with benefits. I cancelled any card I could. I transferred balances around to low interest cards. I never once told my family about it. I only told one friend the extent of my problems. It turned out she had them too, only worse.

Do you know what finally put me over the edge and let me pay everything off? The Scientist. We met, started dating, fell in love, and got married. We talked about money. I told him about my problems with credit card debt. He was shocked, but it didn't make him stop loving me. We talked about how it had happened and what I was doing to get out of it. I transferred balances some more. He gave me loans. I got a better job that paid a third again more than my previous salary. We spent our wedding money paying off the last of my credit card debt. Not all of our wedding money (some went to the honeymoon and the wedding expenses we paid for), but a good chunk of it.

It's been over a year since I've been out of debt. We've added some debt of our own (bought a couch on credit, but paid it off before any interest was due; bought a TV, DVD, and TiVo on credit but are also paying those off before interest is due; bought a car) but it's all manageable. It's all no interest (except for the car) if we pay it off within a set amount of time, which we do. Every time. It's not the 18% or 20% interest I was living with before I realized that I could transfer debt to lower interest credit cards. We have a savings account. We met with a financial planner (my work paid for half the fee). We have financial goals and are getting together a plan to turn them into reality. A plan that we should actually be able to accomplish.

When I think back to when I thought I'd never be out of debt, even though I was stressed out and upset about it I didn't realize how much of a burden would be lifted once I was debt free. There's no more shame and guilt and terror when I think about money. Instead, there's satisfaction and hope and happiness.

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