Thursday, October 4, 2007

More ways to spend money than you ever thought...

Well, ever since about last summer, my DH has been on a nonstop spending spree (or ten) involving loans, credit cards, bad checks, etc. I truly did not know much about what happens when you spend money and can't or won't pay it back, I thought: "Well, credit cards are finite--they have a limit. When he reaches the limit, he'll be forced to stop spending."

Well, the next thing that happened, of course, when the credit cards got shut off, was that he started writing bad checks. This is the guy I married because he balanced his checkbook every single day, to the penny. I thought I could learn from him! Anyhow, he went on a check-writing spree to the point where, when they threatened to close his bank account, he decided that "they" were being unreasonable, so he opened another account at another bank, just a few days before the first account was closed for having a negative balance for 30+ days.

I thought that he would have learned something from all that. But as soon as possible, he got his new account into trouble, too. I figured, "once the checking accounts are closed, that's it." Ha Ha. Silly me.

The guy that plows our driveway in the winter, also runs an excavation business. Our driveway (dirt) had a lot of potholes in it, but it was not at the top of my priority list, when it was taking every penny I had to just keep the lights on....anyhow, DH happened to run into the snow-plowing guy, and asked him to bring in some dirt to fill in the potholes. "And while you're at it, could you bring in a load of dirt to level our our yard, too?" Argh. A $400 bill. And this guy is a neighbor, a friend. I paid it to save face.

Then I found out that the hardware stores in town allow people to "charge" things. Not with a credit card, but just with your good name. So lets say a pipe breaks and you need some parts and it's in between paychecks, you can "charge" your parts until you can afford to pay for them. I think that's very neighborly. DH, unfortunately discovered this, and the first time I found out, he had a $360 balance at one hardware store, and a $150 balance at the other. These balances were over three months old, and the storekeepers were starting to ask him "when are you going to pay off this balance?" DH seemed really worried about them, so I went and paid them off using my credit card (which used to have a balance of $0 before all this started). I was pretty angry, but I kept thinking that he wouldn't dare do that again, he put me in a bad spot.
About 2 weeks later, he got a bill, which I opened, just so I could feel good about it being paid off, and I saw that the very day after I had paid off that bill, he had charged $200 again!!!! He now owes that store about $540. I am trying very hard not to pay it. I do feel bad, though, because it is a small community and all, I really struggle with things like this.

Then there was the CO2 detector. It started going off one day, DH automatically, without even thinking to check the batteries, panicked and called the fire department, who found no CO2, just dead batteries. The bill for that visit was $350. I paid that also, because I don't want to have a REAL emergency and have the fire department say, "Well, sorry, yes, I know your house is burning down, but you owe us $350.00, so too bad." or something like that.

DH's therapist thinks that I am enabling DH by paying things like that, and I really struggle with it. First off, because we have always had a good reputation as hard-working honest people in our town. Secondly, because someday, I am still hoping, DH will be better again, and I know it is going to be very difficult even without him having to worry about looking our friends and neighbors in the eye. I am almost at the point where I feel like I should go to all of these people and say "Please don't let him buy anything at all without putting the cash in your hand right there", and even maybe telling people that there is mental illness involved, but to me that feels so very disrespectful, something I would never ever do as a wife, it's very hard for me to admit that I might have to do this.