That was probably my first mistake.
But I did them on the computer, and it went fine. A tedious, frustrating, pain-in-the-butt few hours one evening last week (a fuse blew at one point, the computer went black, and I had to start all over again), but otherwise not too painful.
I chose to have our refund directly deposited into our bank account. That way, we would get it in 7 to 10 days. Money we need very badly. You know, for things like heat and food. Okay, and the occasional iTune.
Well, I went to the IRS website to check on the status of our return, and found that our refund was supposed to be deposited into our account last Saturday. Dani checked the bank (that automatic dial-in service), and there was no record of it. I was starting to sweat, knowing we have an awful lot of bills coming due that we are counting on that money to pay.
Sunday morning I asked her, Has our refund come in yet?
Same thing Monday. A faint flush of panic began to wash through me. I didnt mess something up, did I? An equally quiet little voice was whispering, You know you did.
When it still hadnt shown up by that afternoon, the sense of fear and dread was building.
I didnt want to check the printout, for fear of what I might find.
But.... I knew I had to.
Of course, I couldnt find the confirmation sheet. It was right there by the computer all weekend, but when I actually needed it, of course, it was gone. If it was a crime to be disorganized, I would be serving a life sentence.
I finally found it in a pile of papers on the dining room table (how did it get there?).
I checked the account numbers...
The bank routing number was... fine.
Our account number...
It was okay too.
Whew! I was off the hook!
Better check again, just to make sure.
And as I looked again at our account number, that hot flush of panic flashed across the back of my neck. There were three zeros in our account number - and I only put two.
You know how you get that feeling that all your blood has just drained to your feet?
I was calm at first. But then as all the implications came to mind - where did our refund go? How will we get it back? Will we get it back?! How are we going to pay our bills? - fear and panic got all mixed up with frustration and anger.
Of course, there was no one to be angry at but me. It was all my fault. I had made the mistake.
In situations like these, when those feelings of frustration and anger rush over me, and there really is no one to be angry at, I have the tendency to want to take it out on my glasses. I don't know why that is, exactly. It is a bit of a mystery.
But I always have this powerful urge to whip my glasses off my face and send them flying across the room. And, I have to sheepishly admit, there have been a couple of occasions when that urge became too strong to deny.
...and then I get to feel angry AND stupid, as I gather up the shattered pieces of my glasses from the floor.
This time I managed to contain myself, however... mostly because without that refund money, I knew we couldnt afford to buy another pair - even if they were only cheapie $5 Walgreens reading glasses.
But what are we going to do now?
We were really counting on that money.
How were we going to pay all those bills???
But that is how our life seems to be going. Nothing seems to go right...
...and I started to sink into that empty feeling of hopelessness and despair, try as I might to fight it off.
I wanted to believe that God was still with us. That everything was going to be okay.
But I couldnt.
The next morning I spent an hour on the phone (well, it seemed like an hour) trying to talk to a real person at the IRS. I hope whoever invented automated answering systems gets to spend some time trying to get reservations in eternity.... Your call is important to us.... If you would like to spend eternity in a villa in France, press one. If you would like to spend eternity skiing in Aspen, press two. If you would like to hear the forty million other possibilities, press three... but no WAY are you going to get to talk to anyone who actually cares!
Anyway, I eventually found out our refund will have to be mailed to us. In three to four weeks.
Excuse me while I step out of the room...
There. I feel better.
No I dont.
But here is the thing that bothers me.
Why did this have to happen?
Was it God's WILL that I made this mistake?
Couldnt He have stopped me from making it??? ...or did He make me see three zeros when there were really only two??!!!!
Or did He have nothing to do with it either way. It was just a mistake. It just happened. He wasnt involved.
Could He have saved us from this little predicament.... but chose not to?
Or was His hand in what happened, and in His wisdom, He saw that what happened was for the better - in a way that He could see but we can't (but perhaps will someday)?
I don't know.