Yesterday was a heavy day.
Jonah’s landlord sent him threatening texts about April’s rent. Before this all happened, I was annoyed that we pay $680 per month for half a room in a house that should be condemned. Now that the place is empty and that everybody who lived in a dorm got a refund, I was fuming. I told Jonah not to pay him, until I talked with someone at the university.
The university lady told me that we had no choice. We had to pay the scumbag for April and May. Because he plans on charging the boys $1,000 for last summer’s water bill that resulted from a broken toilet, the boys would probably lose their security deposit, too. Jonah got stuck being the point person for bills, so he had to chase his roommates to Venmo him their share. He might not get that money from all of them. If his roommates don’t get down there and clean out their rooms, they’ll lose the security deposit for sure.
He and the other students at his college aren’t getting refunds for the thousands of college fees for crap like sports and events, all of which have been cancelled.
Some of the higher ed stimulus money should go directly to students.
I’m out about $1,500 for work done on freelance articles that will never run and air tickets for cancelled work events. I’m not pitching stories anymore, because there are only about three or four education angles right now and the full time writers have that covered. Besides, all the topics are depressing. Other journalists that I know are getting furloughed. Instead, I’m putting all my efforts into various entrepreneurial efforts.
Steve’s job is fine, thank god, but there won’t be a year-end bonus, which we use to cover extras like a vacation and home repairs. I haven’t had the heart to look at the 401K plan. There’s no refund on the commuter parking lot by the train station or the monthly train ticket.
I spent money on various online programs for Ian for this week-long school break, just because I needed to keep him busy. He’s starting to act more autistic lately without the routine and socially demanding school environment. We’re going to have to spend big time bucks on private therapists to help me get him back up to speed, once we’re allowed to see other people again.
We are saving money, too. With four people eating three meals a day at home for an entire month, that’s a serious savings. We’re not spending money on gas for the car, trips to museums or movie theaters, girls night’s out at the fancy restaurant, trips to the hair salon and barber. If things keep up, we’ll save more on fall’s college room and board, a summer without a vacation, car repairs, home repairs.
It’s hard to truly assess the financial impact of the pandemic on my family. Some costs can’t be calculated, like Ian’s increasing autism and Jonah’s slow realization that he’s going to be stuck with his parents for a very long time. Some days, the costs outweigh the benefits.
And yet, Steve still has a job. He’s not one of the 10 percent. We’re all healthy.
I went for a very long walk by myself today, which is slowly becoming part of our new normal. I needed that alone time to listen to my podcasts and to regroup.