So, the last few weeks I have spent learning how royally fucked I am soon to be. The council decided to sic their bailiff on me after they forgot to update my account with the agreed payments I was making on the agreed dates of the agreed amounts. The bailiff visit, with free threatening police officer, was traumatic but even after admitting it was their mistake, the council would only say that after they had sent the account to the bailiff, they could not get it back. The bailiff was texting me and insisting he come to my house and take an inventory of my belongings and set up an arrangement direct with them. I was freaked out and scared. But no matter how freaked out and scared I ever am I can usually hold my own with bullies, I had great practice in grade school. But, the bailiff was not going to back down, and I knew I needed help. After my 3rd or 10th tearful phone call to the council- sobbing to civil servants while you keep reminding them they fucked up is more effective than sobbing to bailiffs and claiming someone else fucked up- the guy finally gave me a break and told me the Citizens Advice Bureau had the power to freeze the account and get the bailiff off my back. I went and spoke to them that day, which is how we get back to me spending two weeks learning how fucked I am.
I spent two hours with the CAB lady, on my birthday, and she was clearly not impressed with the state of my finances. Or with me, I didn’t really understand what was happening and probably seemed uninterested as opposed to scared to death and confused and trying not to break down into a sobbing heap at her feet. I kept trying to explain that well, yes at this point in time I officially am receiving £800 a month in benefits and yes that is it and yes my outgoings are in excess of £1200 (£2100 if we include rent!) and that’s only because she figured there was no point in continuing listing my expenses. But, that this is all BRAND NEW, I couldn’t quite impress on her. I only quit my job a week ago, well almost two. I’ve still got a paycheck coming. And I’m in the process of applying for other benefits. I haven’t been living like this for ages. (Well, if we ignore the £85 a month I’m paying toward joint £40k+ worth of credit card debt) Also, my husband is still paying the rent and is here visiting every day. I have no idea whats happening, he might move back in if the social worker says it’s ok, and then I’ll have to go around changing things again. It’s very confusing. In the end she was more sympathetic, and made it clear it was inappropriate for the council to sending a bailiff to my house under the circumstances.
I wad glad she was nice at the end, but when I left I felt like…like scum of the earth. Can’t pay my bills, apparently, not working, when she asked me how much I spend on public transportation I looked at her blankly. I’ve only ever taken a bus in this country once, and that was two days before. It cost me £1 and a very nice lady at the bus stop answered all my questions about “TAKING THE BUS”. I tried to explain this to to the CAB lady without looking like an idiot, and I don’t think I succeeded.
I am a control freak. This does not always do me any favors. My husband does not plan ahead well and can’t really manage more than one thing a time. The British are not usually forthcoming with information and I usually end up realizing a conversation has ended and I’m still standing there waiting for the plan of action to unfold. And right now, at this point in time, I have no control over anything, it seems. This is probably why I am taking refuge in painting. I can control applying paint to a stationary object, I can plan it out and prep it and begin and decided on whether another coat is needed and finish when I am happy. Control. In the midst of a hurricane, calm.