Math is just not my thing. No: correct that. Arithmetic is not my thing. I can hold my own with algebra, geometry, and even trig. But adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing? The stuff drives me to despair. Under the best of conditions, reconciling my bank accounts makes my gut tighten up. The tiniest stupid mistake can result in an hours-long struggle with numbers, which sooner or later lose all semblance of meaning other than that they represent one huge stress attack.
The credit union made a mistake in a statement for one of my checking accounts. A $1,522December deposit somehow got added into the January figures, pushing the opening balance way out of whack.
I traipse the December and January statements in to the credit union, where Shibu, one of the personable bankers who hang out there, says not to worry about it: don’t change the opening balance in Quicken but just enter the ending balance and then clear everything that actually has cleared. Oh…and…uhm…by the way…. when the Great Desert University’s furlough scheme cuts my paychecks, the fact that the figure doesn’t jibe with the amount I’ve been transferring will negate the automatic transfers I’ve been making, to shift funds into a different account. So, says he, henceforth I’ll have to make those transfers manually. All the other electronic funds transfers (which depend on that first transfer being done on time and correctly) will continue as usual.
Huh? say I. The amount I’ve been transferring is less than the amount of the paycheck, and there’s a large cushion in that account. GDU could direct-deposit a grand total of $5.99 and the regular transfer would not bounce.
Well, says he, it’s just because the incoming amount is different.
I go away, think about this, and return the next day. After hearing my argument to the effect that there’s no good reason a change in the amount of incoming cash should change the amount of outgoing cash as long as the account has plenty of money, Shibu agrees to set up a transfer that’s independent of GDU’s direct-deposited paycheck. The credit union will henceforth transfer $1,522 every 15 days. This should roughly coincide with GDU’s payday schedule.
Makes me nervous, because I sense that nothing will coincide with GDU’s anything, since the place is through the looking glass. However, I say OK and stagger back out into the sunlight.
Today I sit down to reconcile the cockamamie account. In the process, I go online and check what’s in that account. And what do I find but that the credit union transferred the reduced GDU paycheck of the 13th, which came in about $140 less than the normal figure. Nooo problem.
But waitaminit… $1,522 is now supposed to go over into the other account, too. And that will empty the first account, probably bouncing EFTs.
I’m doing another furlough tomorrow and working from home today. Don’t want to make a 30-mile drive just to rattle Shibu’s cage some more. On the other hand, I can’t afford to bounce utility payments. So, it’s onto the telephone lines, where I reach a clueless call center employee who tells me Shibu doesn’t have a telephone, because there are no incoming telephone lines to the credit union’s branch offices.
Amazing, how stupid they think we are, isn’t it?
Anyway, after long discussion, this worthy realizes he isn’t up to the task of figuring out what I’m trying to say. He calls Shibu, who several hours later calls me. Not to worry, says he: the first $1,522 transfer isn’t scheduled to happen for two weeks. It will then supersede the paycheck transfer. As a parting gift, he reveals the number for his direct (nonexistent, we’re told) telephone line.
WhatEVER. And, furthermore, we’ll see about that.
I feel a gigantic screw-up looming in the darkling woods. You can smell these screw-ups, sense them coming a mile away. Something is wrong here, and when it outs, it will really out. Payments will bounce, creditors will threaten, my hair will be torn.
Mark my words.