Perfect Month

So July has been pretty spectacular for me. I was asked to contribute to a best-selling author's next book. I was asked to audition for a lead singer in a wedding/funeral band - not my style, but a very nice compliment. I found an experienced vw mechanic who does side work who fixed my driver side window, which has not been able to open for over a year. The dealership wanted $270 just to LOOK at it. Then $400/window. Three were broken. We don't have TWELVE HUNDRED to pay to the dealership. Carl did the job for $185/window. So we are getting one replaced each month.

Then there's grad school. The whole process has been so easy that I'm worried that I've missed something important and they'll say I can't start. Every time I get mail from the university I have a sinking feeling that this is going to be the letter that breaks the bad news to me. And of course they are all mundane.

And the financial aid system is so simple and straightforward that it seems too good to be true. File your FAFSA when doing your taxes, it is automatically sent to the school. When you are accepted, the financial aid is managed by that department. A few weeks later you get an award letter that shows the amount approved and you drop an email to confirm that you need that aid. You sign a promissary note online and go through entrance counseling at the aid website and take the most obvious quiz ever written. Twenty questions which basically all have the same answer - yes, this is a loan and I know I have to pay it back. There's a HINT on several questions, the funniest being the hint that lists the four kinds of repayment types, when the question is how many types they are. So if you can count to four, you're golden. A few weeks after that get a university bill with nothing due because they automatically apply your aid and direct deposit the difference into your checking account.

Back when I started college (in the 80's) you had to get student loans on your own through your credit union or bank. In my freshman year the person in charge of submitting the paperwork didn't do it, so I never got my aid that year, and the credit union would not replace the aid amount with their own loan. One time I got my aid check saturday and got a notice Monday that congress had passed a bill that retroactively canceled it and I had to return the whole amount. Good thing that school's registrar office was closed on the weekends, or I would have been totally screwed. I withdrew from classes, worked hard and saved for another semester out of pocket.

Th difference is amazing and it seems a little *too* smooth.I'm getting financial aid that covers tuition, books, permits, and supplies with room to spare and save for the summer term.

I hate this quasi-paranoid feeling, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'll believe I've really made it when the money's in the bank and the first week of classes goes by uneventfully.