Thursday, August 5, 2010

Indentured Servitude

As previously stated, I live with my 11 year middle school granddaughter, known here as my MS. It's just the two of us, she and I. I kicked the deadbeat husband/pretend grandfather back to California last summer. That was in some ways exhilarating and in other ways scary as you know what. We've survived though. Things are just a smidge tight money wise, but I found out that I have a multitude of wonderful and supportive friends and family there for me.

The former hubby left me with no bed and my baby sister bought me the mattress and box springs. My oldest son and his wife gave me their old bedroom suite! Sweet!  My other sister and her husband helped me get a car from my parents.  My middle son put new tires on my car when I had a blow out recently and my daughter paid a major AC repair bill for me so I wouldn't have to suffer in the horrible heat we're having this summer.

I felt that I needed after school care for my MS last year and one of my neighbors volunteered for her to get off of the bus at her house in the afternoons. Another neighbor has graciously offered to help me with my yard work. An offer that I am eternally grateful for!

Mid year my MS decided that she was old enough to ride the bus to our house after school and then rip and snort her way throughout the neighborhood all afternoon until I arrived home after a work day. I had a house key made and one of the aforementioned sisters gave her a prepaid cell phone so that she would have a way to be in touch even when she was out being the Queen of Laurel Lane.  A wonderful idea, however a trac phone's coverage area is limited at best and there were more dead zones in Social Circle than in a Stephen King novel. So began the campaign for a real cell phone. One like mine. Meaning one with a keyboard. Most assuredly, I needed a reliable way to keep in touch with her after school before I got home from work, but I didn't feel quite ready to take on that added expense. One evening, she bursts into the house with one of her BFF's and demands to know what she can't have a real cell phone like her?!?!?!?

I folded. Buckled. Gave up. Knuckled under. Wimped out. Was suckered punched yet again.

Reaching for my laptop and calling up  Falling for the "add a line for only $9.00/month" promotion.  Of course they don't immediately tell you that you must increase your monthly minutes to a minimum of 700. So my nice little adequate cell phone plan increases exponentially with every click I make. I balk when it suggests that for only $4.99 a month I can add the "Usage Controls" to limit the number of minutes for each line, texts allowed per month, ban numbers and premium services, mark certain numbers safe.   Nahhhhh......  I don't need that. I can't afford another $4.99 on the bill.  Click - order - and the phone is on the way.

There is the requisite "be responsible" talk. She looked like she was hearing me. Her eyes weren't glazed over. She nodded her head at the appropriate times and parroted key phrases back to me on cue. Little did I realize that the "lights were on but no one was home".

First months bill was a little high. Attributed it to the activation fee that I had agreed to. Second months bill arrived last week.  I was only unconsciousness for a little bit, and came to without ammonia ampules. How does one medium size MS accrue upwards of 2200 text messages on a 2 line plan that allows 250 in 30 days. If that isn't higher math I don't know what is!

Confession is good for the soul, and I do confess that a small part of a gasket blew. Phone confiscated. Parental controls added to the plan for the paltry $4.99 a month. Most importantly though, I now have a cute little servant girl for a long, long time. It will take more that a month of Sundays for her to work off that $300.

Bless my little MS's heart.

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