Life As A Ball Pit, or Beginning of March

5 Mar

I woke up this morning half-dreaming about building a giant ball pit. (Bear with me, this story is going somewhere.)  We all remember those square pens of netting and foam-encased steel, lined with a trampoline and containing hundreds of pieces of the most perfect childhood ammunition since the paper airplane- the hollow plastic ball.

The hollow plastic ball was a wonder of safety engineering.  Its brightly-colored exterior was soft enough to not dent a child’s skull, while its empty innards made sure that no matter how much force you put behind it, that throw was not going to make it to the end of the pit, let along clean through your younger brother’s head.  There was never a less throwing-friendly ball invented.

Sorry Mr. Ryan- even you couldn't get one of these things across the plate.

However, even all the brains of the adult generation couldn’t compare with the ingenuity of blood-thirsty children.  It didn’t take long to figure out that those soft plastic hollow balls provided more molding opportunities than a new cup of play-dough.  A grip of the fingers, and that ball morphed from a perfect sphere with the flight capability of an obese emu into a canoe-shaped weapon of mass eye-putting-out destruction. (Bonus points if you found the stress line and got the plastic to split open at one end.)  You still couldn’t take your younger brother permanently out of commission, but you could sure teach him a thing or two about breaking your favorite toy pony. (Sorry- getting a bit personal here.)

All in all, the ball pit was an excellent place to learn a thing or two about the real world (See? I told you there was a point).  Think about it for a minute.  You show up at the entrance, all excited to play and make friends, and then someone hurls an oblong piece of plastic at your face.  You have two choices: duck and cover, or stand up and fight.  You could try to crawl through the balls along the bottom of the pit and grab your enemy’s leg, jerking them down to your level among the contents of a hundred children’s pockets and the occasional lost sneaker.  Or you could grab your own ammunition (it’s a BALL pit after all.  Running out of ammo is an impossibility) and defend your right to play with the big kids.

Paying student loans off, or really paying any kind of debt off, is like being stuck inside a giant ball pit for the duration.  You show up, all flush with excitement at the wads of cash in your pocket/ new degree in your hand, and the loan company hurls a promissory note at your face.  You have two choices: sneak around and try to pull them down to your level, or stand up and fight.  Either way, just remember that no one’s mom is going to call them to come eat their chicken nuggets.  You dove into the ball pit- now make sure you have an exit strategy.

 

The money stuff.

Beginning of March

$10,980.16 (end of February balance)

– $658 (initial March payment)

+ $??? (March interest)

– $??? (Secondary March payment)

—————–

A balance under $10,200, with any luck.

 

 

For the morbidly curious: Where I Should Be

$11,530.13 (amount owed at beginning of January)

+ $307.41 (accrued interest)

-$961 (January payment)

———

$10,876.54 (end of January balance)

+$110.03 (rough interest for February)

– $961 (February payment)

——-

$10,025.57 (End of February balance)

 

I am $954.59 off where I should be going into March. Essentially, one full payment behind.  The good news is that I might have some extra money coming my way this month from babysitting jobs, if everything goes according to plan.  I know that each month I talk about making a second payment, but so far it hasn’t happened.  I’m going to try really hard to change that this month and boost that payment into the $800 range.  Mainly because I have to beat Amanda, who has accepted my Amazing Loan Race challenge.  But also because I’m an adult and I can’t throw hollow plastic balls at those who stand in my way anymore.

 

At least, not literally.

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