Monday, May 29, 2006

How I Became My Own Consumer Credit Counseling Service And Bounced Back From My Bad Credit Nightmare (part 5, continued)

So, how did I manage to get myself in bad credit hell?

I was working at a California HMO whose name I'll refrain from mentioning. I was in a marriage that was steadily descending. My wife was working at the same HMO in the pharmacy department, doing the customer service phone thing. She hated the job and was sweepingly, elaborately unhappy.

I noticed that when she was feeling really depressed, she would whip out a credit card and freely, frantically spend. She hadn't established credit, so I just gave her my cards. After all, we were sacredly and eternally bound to one another through the sacrosanct institution of marriage!

Instead of trying to reason with her, I figured, okay, big deal. I was writing songs on the side and wanted to record them at home in my own semi-pro midi studio.

For this I needed equipment - a digital multitrack recorder and mixer, a keyboard with a built-in sequencer, plenty of virtual tracks. Outboard gear, sound modules, limiters and compressors, near-field monitors. I'm talking Korg, Alesis, Proteus, Tascam. I needed a decent microphone, an 850-dollar one! There was no end to what I needed. I bought it all with plastic.

About two months after we'd bought a new Jeep Wrangler (SE), we maxed out our credit cards. Two months after maxing out the cards, we sacredly, eternally went our separate ways. I would never have bought the Jeep she insisted we so desperately needed had I known that the collapse of the marriage was imminent.

Once the marriage was over and done with, there was no way I could pay the bills we'd jointly accumulated, not with my modest - or paltry, depending on how you looked at it - single income. I managed to limp along for a few months, robbing Peter to pay Paul at every opportunity, shifting balances from one credit card to another.

Then I was laid off ... (consumer credit counseling, to be continued)