Well, this isn't something I want to write - but I have to swallow what's left of my pride, tuck my self-respect in the drawer, and get this out.
I don't like to write about myself, there are much bigger things going on in the world, and in the nation, than my little problems and issues. Technically this one is fairly small, fairly minor, but I've done just about everything I can do about it and time is running out - I've got until Monday to handle this so now is the time to bring it up and hope for the best.
Details over flip.
First I'm going to say that people at Kos have already been ridiculous generous to me on so many levels. I've written my thanks many times. I even owe the fact that I can even type this on a fully functioning laptop with an unbroken screen to the good people at Kos.
I don't feel right asking for help - again - but I have to.
Ok, so once upon a time we used to have a home bundle with Time Warner Cable for TV, Phone and Internet. My mom is on a fixed income, my wife is functionally disabled - and still awaiting her SSI hearing - and I've been trying to get my own business off the ground while doing web and graphics work for various clients.
It's been a dicey financial situation for years now. Around 2008 it got a lot dicier for many reasons most of you are fully aware, and we eventually reached a point where our Time Warner Bundle - which was then adding up to nearly $180 per month - was starting to weigh us down. We started getting late on our payments, which made them go higher - and higher. Ultimately they wanted about $400 from us.
So we finally dumped them and switched to DirectTV, Vonage and AT&T splitting the bundle up so that if we happen to have further problems and got behind we wouldn't lose everything all at once.
That worked relatively well for a few years, but then we still we're having ongoing issues and dumped DirectTV. In recent months AT&T's rates have suddenly gone all wonky. Their service keeps going down in the area, finally our gateway failed and we had to have it replaced. Since it was no longer on warranty they charged us for the replacement, and our monthly bill which was suppose to be about $48 jumped over $168 in a single month.
We didn't have it. Just didn't.
We tried replacing them with a Sprint WifI Hotspot, but it only had 6Gig of data support - and within few days we were - as we all use the internet for our primary communication and also my main business - up to over 28gig in usage.
Since they were going to charge $15 per Gig over the limit, that really wasn't going to work for any length of time.
So we called up AT&T and decided since it had only been about 5 weeks since we were stumped with them to put the payment on my mom's credit card temporarily and then catch up to it later. By this time they had cancelled our service so they wanted $220 to bring us current.
Ok, found enough room on the card - did that.
Then we had to call to have our service restored and they slammed us with another $100 down payment to get going again.
We killed the payment and regrouped. Since the only good Broadband available in our area is either AT&T or Time Warner, and hotspot services like Sprint or Verizon were going to cost more and provide us less - we went hat and hand back to Time Warner expecting to face the worst.
But the worst didn't happen. Not right away. They signed us back up for less than $100 including Wifi and installation with a new Gateway.
Monthly costs were about $50 bucks which is about the same as the 6gig from Sprint, but without that limit, and without the instability and excessive extra charges we were getting from AT&T. Alright, fine, problem solved. Or so it seemed.
Then I got a phone call on Wednesday.
They'd found that we'd had a previous account with an outstanding balance. They wanted their $400 or they were gonna interrupt our service - they needed $200 by Friday.
I managed to haggle them down to just $140 by Monday to keep us going [although they'll want more after that I'm sure] because I really don't mind paying what I owe, even if the debt goes back 5 years. Fair is fair. We've already used the card twice now [although the first time technically shouldn't count if that payment has reversed], I'm not sure it has the limit for this and I'm kind of anti-credit anyway unless there's literally no other choice. Particularly when it's someone else's card we're talking about. Still, I figured I had enough outstanding client invoices from this week to handle Monday, or at least I hoped.
But now it's getting to Saturday Afternoon and none of my clients have paid their tabs. Several of them are frankly two and three weeks old with their bills already, yet they keep calling me to do more work - and most haven't paid me since mid July.
I don't know what's up with them, maybe it's an "L.A. Thang" because it's been going on for years, some of them are usually slow but they all do eventually catch up. Eventually. But with their track record and time running out, I'm not currently confident they're going to get it together on time.
I hate this. Really I do. But I'm out of choices other than doing all my internet stuff for the time being from Starbucks. [And that won't work for the graphics which is where most of my cash comes in] Meanwhile we'd lose our Vonage house phone until I finally get paid for all the things I've already done.
Argle, fargle. fine - I give up. Here's the pitch.
If you need graphics for something, even something simple, you can go to here and submit it - and I'll get it back to you with a Full Estimate and Invoice by Sunday Afternoon.
If you like handmade gift items, you can order what you like from my wife's Etsy Page Here.
If you need a cloth shopping bag for the groceries my mom has a site I made for her where she has bags with cute pithy little sayings on them that you can order.
If you need Web Design Work you can go Here and begin Building a Site for either E-Commerce/Blogging or Both.
And lastly, failing all that... you can Donate Directly to help us keep on the web if you don't happen to need any specific services we can provide, but you still want to help.
10:09 PM PT: Ok, I think we're in good shape everyone. We're going to be very busy fulfilling these orders - all we can say is thank you very much deeply. We we're all at the edge of despair not just because of Monday's big bill, but just because it had been so long since we'd had any sales at all - gracias - de nada - arigato - xie xie ni - thank you. Deeply and truly.