Waiting By The Mailbox


Oh Mr Postman
Give me a sign
Tell me you’ve a letter to make me feel fine
Oh don’t you know I am waiting here for you
Tell me it will be here tonight

It’s funny now.

But man, I was kicking myself, hard, hard, hard, when I got off the phone today with the woman in the financial aid department at CIIS (California Institute for Integral Studies).

I mean.

I was fucked up.

I felt bereft.

I felt idiotic.

I felt stupid.

You may be sensing a thematic here.

I had, once again, tried to figure it out on my own.

Coming into work this morning I had asked my employers if I could use their printer to print off the deferment application for my student loan, undergraduate student loans, so that I could begin the process of not having to pay on them while enrolled in school.

They were super helpful, got me all set up, and I got the forms.

And cool.

Done.

But not done.

Oh.

Wait.

I have to take them into the financial aid office and get them signed?

Fuck.

When the hell am I going to do that.

Ok.

The office has office hours, check the website and, oh, damn, exact same hours that I’m working.

Fuck.

I call the office, I speak to the woman on the phone, I’m not even sure how to phrase what I’m trying to do, but I ask if I can mail it in or if I really have to come down in person, hand over the paperwork and do the deal that way.

“Oh no, you just down load the file to pdf, and e-mail it to us, we’ll sign it and send it back, then you print it off and send it in.”

Oh.

Um.

What’s a pdf?

Ok.

I sort of know what a pdf is, but sometimes, most times, my brain is just not hard-wired that way, things that make sense to everybody else are totally foreign to me.

I parroted back everything she said and she said, “yes, that’s correct.”

Then I asked the big time question.

“When will I receive my financial aid awards letter?”

Pause on the line.

“I was awarded a scholarship and I am wondering when the funds will be disbursed, I found out a few weeks ago about the award and was told by the head of the department that an awards letter would be sent out and I just needed to sign and accept the award, but, uh, I haven’t received the letter in the mail yet.”

She did not laugh.

Let me give credit where credit is due.

She did not laugh or sigh or berate me, I did that all on my own quite handily.

“You don’t get a letter in the mail, it’s in your financial aid account online.”

OH.

OH well, fuck me, I haven’t been able to access that account and every time I try it gives me a wrong password message and contact the school and I am ready to bash my head against the wall.

Except that I can’t.

Because the five-year old is done with quiet time and is hollering a the monitor, “CARMEN! CARMEN! CARMEN!”

Oh jumping Jesus on a fucking pogo stick.

I speak into the monitor and tell my charge I’ll be right up.

But I have to clear this up.

I tell the woman on the phone about my inability to access my financial aid account online.

“What browser are you using?” She asks.

“Um, I’m sorry, I don’t follow,” I reply, turning off the monitor so I don’t have to hear the five-year old becoming apoplectic.

“On your computer, what browser are you using, some of them don’t support the website, have you tried switching browsers?”

Something in my head goes, “click.”

“I use Safari,” I say.

“Yeah,” the woman replies, “the site doesn’t work so well with that, try Chrome.”

I thank her and get off the phone, I can feel the fear choking me, I can feel the panic, and I can feel how inadequate I feel for doing all this stuff.

How in the world am I going to navigate doing graduate school if I can’t figure out to switch browsers.

Never in a million years would that have been a solution I would have thought up.

Most of my solutions take an enormous amount of work and effort and then, they don’t pan out.

Keep it simple.

I drop the stupid.

Especially after I got on the phone, after having retrieved both my charges from quiet time and was feeding them cut up organic strawberries from the farmers market I bought yesterday.

As I express to my friend that I am an “idiot” I hear the oldest boy pipe up from the floor, “Carmen, you’re an idiot.”

I paused on the phone call, “that’s not nice.”

Then I realize, he’s only repeating what I have said and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and in his own little way he was commiserating with me.

Now I know better.

And it was actually good for me to hear it from the mouth of a babe, don’t talk to yourself that way.

My friend concurred.

I told her about the interaction with the woman in the financial aid department and how I’ve been literally, I mean LITERALLY, waiting by the mailbox, I checked it yesterday and every day since I received the e-mail telling me that I won the awards, waiting for that letter.

“That is adorable!” My friend exclaims, “cutest thing I have heard all day.”

And then.

I burst out into laughter.

The boys dance around me smelling of strawberries and the sun shines down on me again.

I get off the phone with my friend and attend to the matters at hand, finishing up the day with the boys and vowing that when I got home I would switch the browsers, now currently using Chrome, thank you very much, and get my god damn awards letter.

And yes.

I just accepted everything a few minutes before starting this blog.

It still boggles my mind that it was there all along.

Apparently one can teach an old dog new tricks.

I still checked my mail box when I got home, though.

Old habits die hard.

Ha.

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