Bank Error In Your Favor

I know that most of us feel like this is a completely untrue premise…that this never actually happens in real life.  This week, however, either some of the old Ernest Greene luck or divine providence kicked-in.

Since I was a youth minister for so long, I worked for a very long time in positions that paid well below market rates for people with $124,000 educations.  Couple that with some genuinely bone-headed financial decisions between 1998 and 2003 and I ended up with a student loan that stayed in deferral for far too long.  Now, I’m forty-six and still paying off a student loan where the balance is actually greater than the original principle from twenty years ago.

Thankfully, and to my great surprise, I got a notification from my lender this week.  Apparently they had made a serious error on their end some years ago.  Although I have been faithfully paying for well over fifteen years, they had not been billing me properly or in accordance with our loan agreement.  As a result of their error, they credited my student loan balance to the tune of about $6,600 and adjusted my payment terms.

As a result of their error and subsequent adjustment in my payment terms, I should be shed of this burden in about five years.  At that point, Master will have given Dobby a suit of clothes and he will be a free elf.  Dobby will finally be freeeee!

Seriously, modern student loans feel so much like indentured servitude and all it takes is the mistake of taking out a consolidation load to remove most of your rights and stick you with a ridiculous interest rate.  This is such a huge blessing.

Via con Dios, 12 Bones!

I was about to kill this whole website.  Frankly, I’ve just not had the energy or the time to do much of this sort of thing since my dad died.  Between raising kids, taking care of my mom, and working full-time, there just isn’t a lot of breathing room.  However, I feel like I need a little outlet for my writing or my skills will all start to atrophy.  What issue, you may ask, is pressing enough to make me start writing again?  Barbecue in Asheville.

I have had a long-standing gastronomic relationship with 12 Bones, here in Asheville.  Our relationship began long before it was cool to eat there and years before President Obama made it chic.  I loved the food and it was close to work.  Never mind that they weren’t open for dinner.  Ignore that they didn’t have enough seating.  Their food was excellent and the waiting line and atmosphere were well in line with what one can expect from a good barbecue restaurant.

Over the past several years, our relationship has begun to suffer.

First, Jake, their best customer service providing cashier moved away from Asheville.  Jake was awesome.  He had good tattoos and a great disposition.  His not being there makes me sad.

Second, their corn pudding recipe changed when a member of the kitchen staff left.  If you think that it has always been the same, you are wrong…it used to be better…much better.

Third, the original owners (who used to really get in there and work their business) sold out and went to start a BMW motorcycle business.  My dad sold his auto parts business in Asheville to another guy once, now there is no AAA Auto Parts of Asheville anymore.  Correlation?  Probably not, but it makes my point that the original owners of successful businesses are best.  Maybe that’s hyperbolic or an overstatement, but that is my opinion.

Finally, and most importantly, there is the most vile and pervasive problem that has risen in my relationship with 12 Bones: All of the stinkin’ tourists.  The rudeness and sheer number of these people is not to be believed.  They line up like cattle, happy to be in line for as long as it takes because they are on vacation and this is a destination for them.  Me?  I just want some barbecue for lunch; lovely, familiar, and well-smoked pork, chicken, or beef.  Did I mention that I work for a living and that I only have about an hour for lunch?

I went there a couple of weeks ago with my friend who moved up here from Atlanta and I thought Genene was going to kill at least three tourists…maybe four.  Apparently, tourists can’t read the sign on the door that says to keep it closed because of the air conditioning.  As an aside, they have the same problem at White Duck Taco, so that apparently is a wide-spread issue.  However, I digress.  I should get back to my main point.

I have finally realized that it is time to end my relationship with 12 Bones.  It is not that any one big, huge issue is driving a wedge between us.  The simple fact is that we just have a lot of little problems that are adding up to a breakup conversation.

12 Bones, it’s not me…it’s you.  I would like to be able to stop in and get lunch, but you need your resources to better serve the tourists.  Me?  Oh, I’ll be fine.

I’ve found another barbecue place.  It’s on Patton Avenue, the blue-collar part and it is also less than five minutes from my house and work.  It’s even open for dinner and they even had the good sense to hire my buddy, Wes, so that their bar side would have someone with some actual music and bar experience.  I dropped-in for lunch today and had a wonderful chicken sandwich, with wonderful house-made sauces and sides.  All this came with air-conditioning…and not one single tourist.