I feel like an idiot.
The only thing I can figure is that after staring at this computer screen for so many hours so early on so many mornings, I neglected to catch onto the simple arithmetic of the the whole thing: three pay periods = more income. Or, more pressing, three pay periods = smaller amounts toward monthly fixed expenses.
To add vinegar to our already salted wound, we also discovered that the Federal Government, the same one that can process our taxes and track satellites and employ millions of people, cannot apply extra loan payments to specific disbursements. Forgive the boring explanation: our graduate loans, which are not consolidated, are a BUNCH of little-ish loans disbursed at different semesters as we slogged through PT school. Our plan was to look at each disbursement as a separate loan, order them from smallest to largest and start ticking them off. Our first extra payment the other day, knocked out three of mine and a huge chunk of one of Nicole's. On our spreadsheet, we changed the balances to 0.00 and struck a big, beautiful red line through the account numbers. It was visually stunning; inspiring, really. A few days later, I received an email explaining that it doesn't work that way and would I please contact the nearest customer service representative to discuss. More Charlie Brown music in the background, more slumped heads.
Still, we are here.
After such a successful first month, we both started counting down calendars and planning a celebration for the specific day the last payment would be made. Now, we've returned to our original approach of looking past deadlines or timelines. More than anything, I think, more than debt reduction or simplification or pretty envelopes, this process is about faithfulness. I think Nicole will agree, we are not known for our tenacity. We are known for our passion and excitement and multiplicity. Unfortunately, those qualities are not naturally a part of a life of faithfulness. So, we've taken a deep breath, looked at our son, stared into each other's eyes, turned toward the most profound call either of us has ever heard, and taken the next first step.
Thanks for walking with us.