This is always my grumpy time of year. Now right away some of my close acquaintances are saying they’ve never noticed any change in my demeanor since I am grumpy all year round. But that is not the case. I know I am grumpier in the last few months of the year because that’s when the big bills start rolling in. And they just don’t come gently rotating so gracefully across the front lawn and up through the mail slot. Nope, they come thundering in like the proverbial herd of wild horses.
It begins every September. First comes the preliminary notice of the annual property tax bill. It’s not due until November, but the local authorities are kind enough to let you know well in advance so you have time to appreciate the increase. Then comes the next highest bill; this one’s the insurance bill on the house. It’s accompanied, usually in the same week, by a side bill from another company who wants money to provide me with flood insurance for the house—something the home insurance policy doesn’t cover. Along with these lovely invoices come bills for automobile insurance, the quarterly homeowner’s association fee from the community we live in, a hefty semi-annual life insurance bill (the bill is hefty not the amount of insurance) and I think that’s it. Somehow my timing has been really off on contracting all these expenses since they all come within the same 60 day period this time of year. Oh yeah, and just as I send off the last payment, Christmas arrives in a very untimely fashion.
Each year I pride myself on having been smart enough to have spent the first three-quarters of the year attempting to save up a pool of money to handle this annual fall mother load. Over the years I have been pretty successful doing this. But this year is different. Both my wife and I are now officially retired…officially not working…officially not bringing in a paycheck anymore! This is the bad part of retirement. The part they warn you about. The part you don’t see in those TV commercials and magazine ads with the happy, smiling gray-haired folks walking hand-in-hand telling you how great viagra and a reverse mortgage are.
The only thing that un-grumpifies the situation is that I annually brainwash myself into thinking how lucky my wife and I actually are. After all, there are many people who can’t even afford insurance at all. Nor can they afford to live in a nice community with a nice scenic canal that runs just 30 feet off the back patio…a canal that has never even come close to flooding in 18 years. Others, meanwhile, may not be able to afford owning a car, gassing it up and keeping it insured. Nope, things could be worse for us. Even Christmas brings Santa Claus and who doesn’t like Santa Claus? At least until the bills come in January. But by then it’s time to start saving all over again for the big blowout that’ll come next fall. Uh-oh…I can’t begin saving. ‘Dem days are over. I don’t bring in any money to save. All these big bills we have to pay each fall get paid out of our savings now …and now there are no new funds to replenish the ones we use. Holy crap…I’m going to be even grumpier than last year.