Merry Christmas!

christmas 2007

christmas 2007 (Photo credit: paparutzi)

Its early in the morning, Christmas Eve.  I love this time of day, when I’m the only one up and there’s no place I have to be or anything I have to do.  Its very restful and energizing for me to have this time alone.  I love it.

I have almost everything done that I need to do to be ready for Christmas.  There are a few gifts to wrap and one batch of cookies to bake.  And I need to go shopping for Christmas dinner.  That should be a picnic (not!).  I don’t usually wait this long to get things done.  I’m a world class perfectionist and usually stress myself out getting everything ready early.  But my hand was forced this year and I have not been able to do all of the things that I usually do.

Last Friday, the 14th, was my payday.  When I got up that morning, I went online and checked my bank account like I usually do, just to make sure my check had been deposited before paying bills, etc.  The check was there and everything was great.  When I got to work, there was a voice message waiting for me from my bank.  It said they had noticed suspicious activity in my account and please call them.  As I was dialing the phone, I was also pulling my account up on my iPad.  What I saw caused me to hyperventilate (figuratively).  I was now $150 in the hole!  Someone knew when I got paid and had my bankcard information!  They spent my entire paycheck and everything else I had in the checking account in the 2 hours it took me to get dressed and get to work!

Its taken the bank all of this time to investigate the situation and credit the money back to my account.  Its only been 10 days and they said it would probably be longer, so I can’t complain too loudly.  However, I’ve been entirely without funds that entire time.  Its been very stressful and, of course, I have had to modify my usual MO for Christmas.

I think a few lessons have been learned.  First, I need to find a place to keep a quantity of cash in the house for just such emergencies.  If we hadn’t had a decent food storage in place already, we’d have starved.  I had $9.00 in cash on hand when this happened.  My daughter and I decided what we needed most (kitty food and toilet paper) and we just lived on what we had the rest of the time.

Maybe the most important lesson I’ve learned, though is that I don’t have to stress myself out to have a good Christmas.  Usually I spend the entire two weeks baking  food to give away.  Which is not a bad thing in itself, but by the time Christmas has come, I’m exhausted.  Last year I ended up in the emergency room two nights before Christmas because I thought I was having a heart attack.  I wind myself up way to tightly with my world class perfectionism.

The crisis over now.  The money’s back in my checking account and all is right with the world.  Here’s hoping your Christmas is wonderful with lots of friends and family at your side.

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