February 7th will mark the third month of living by myself,
and I have learned a great deal living on my own.
I’ve learned things like:
Toaster Ovens are awesome but can be a difficult cooking partner.
Plastic Bags don’t like hot Toaster Oven doors.
Boiling water freaks me out.
I’m not a totally hopeless cook.
And no matter how many times I thought I had everything I needed. I’m still missing something (I.E. a can opener.)
But I learned one of my biggest lessons, when I had to pay my rent for the first time last month.
My apartment complex allows its residents to pay online, however their conveniences fees are sky price. 34 dollars for paying with my credit card seemed unreasonable to me. There was the option for an e-check, but I didn’t have any of my account information to set that up. That left two options:
Cashier Check or Money Order.
I woke up early January 2nd and raced to my bank to get one of these strange pieces of papers. Planning to pay my rent before I had to go to work a 1030am. I must have looked a little confused when I walked into the bank because one of the tellers asked if there was anything wrong?
I gave him a deer in the headlights look, I know I need did because I panicked and stuttered. “I’m paying my rent for the first time,” I said nervously, “I need a cashier check or a money order. Can I get that here?” The guy gave me a look I’ve seen my friends and co-workers give me all the time, the AWE-YOUR-SO-AKWARD-CUTE look.
“Yes, you can,” He said very professionally sitting down behind his big desk. He then proceeded to bombard me with questions and information about the money order and cashier check; I swear my head started spinning. “Do you know who to make it out to?” he asked after 5 minutes of straight talking. I explained to him I did not know who to make it out to, I just needed a way to pay my rent. “Then a money order is your best bet.”
A little bit more talking and five dollars later, I stumbled out of the bank head reeling. I gained a newfound respect for my parents who are constantly having to deal with a bank due to their real estate business.
I rushed back to my apartment office, and low and behold, the place wasn’t going to opened until 1pm. Great I was going to have to use my 30 minute lunch to race back and pay, which I did just that.
Now, this being my first time paying the rent officially, I was not sure how to go about it. Did I hand it to someone? Was there a box? Did I have the right form of payment? I stood in the middle of the leasing office for a good 10 minutes looking from person to person, the various residents and workers looking back at me seemingly equally as confused as I was. Finally, someone took pity on the poor lost little girl that was me.
“Do you need help?” An older woman asked looking up from the stack of papers she was working on.
“I need to pay my rent,” I responded waving the money order in the air.
“Just put it in the box,” She pointed at this brown box behind me with the words, rent payment stenciled across it. She turned back to her paperwork. Clearly thinking her job was done, well I can tell you right now it wasn’t.
“Um…” I started very intelligently, using my board rang of ‘I’m so confused and scared,’ sound index. “Who do I make this out to?” Waving the paper again and this time pointing at it.
She rambled off some letters to me without looking to see if I understood. I stood some more, looking at her. “Can I borrow a pen?” She held one out and I wrote the letters on the paper. I looked for what else I needed to do to it. I flipped the paper over and started at the back where it said Sign here.
My pen hovered over the spot.
“Don’t sign that.” I didn’t move. “Don’t sign that.” I still didn’t respond. “Excuse me,” I looked at the woman startled. “I said don’t sign that.”
“Okay,” I then tore the check off, slipped it into the box, thanked the woman for her assistance and speed back to work. But something tickled the back of my head. I knew I had forgotten something. Something very important.
I asked my co-workers when I got back to work. “Am I supposed to sign money orders?”
They all gave me that AWE-YOUR-SO-AKWARD-CUTE look while laughing at me. When one of them could finally breathe, they affirmed I needed to sign the slip, which of course confused me since the woman at the leasing office said not to.
Before I fully clocked back in from lunch, I got a phone call.
“Excuse me,” the gentle man over the phone begun, “I’m sorry to do this. But someone turned in a money order and didn’t sign it.”
“YYYYEEEEAAAAAHHHHH, that was me,” I answered embarrassed that I messed, something as simple as paying my rent, up.
I did correct my mistake, and now I know money orders need to be sign and addressed.
When we first move out,
there isn’t a guide book or a wise old man to walk you through your first few months on your own. I’m finding out that I’m not as prepared for adult hood as I thought. I’m learning all sorts of new things, and as I learn them a new found respect grows in me for my friends and family. I understand, now, why everyone is always concern with money and time. There just doesn’t seem to be enough of it. What with work occupying most of your time and money being sucked up by bills and taxes, it’s easy to get stressed out.
So, I’m creating my own little adult guide book as I go.
Things like, hot Toaster Oven doors and plastic bags don’t mix have made my list.
But number one is: