I have had lots of carrots through the years. Getting married, and all of it's planning and excitement was great. Being pregnant was a huge carrot. HUGE! And all of my babies milestones were carrots as well. Maybe it is the human condition. Planning for winter, planting for spring. Always looking to be ready for tomorrow, with hope, and a little bit of excitement. Not just thinking about today, but the mystery of a day, not quite here yet, and all of it's possibilities.
A few weeks back, David's best friend called him. It was after we had put the girls to bed. He was on the phone for a bit, and he was saying things like "so her name was on the list?", and, "you entered her maiden name?" When he said something about my old, childhood address, I was busting. Busting! What the heck are they talking about??? David kept putting up his finger to shush me, but I could barely stand the seconds of not knowing.
He jotted down something on a piece of paper, and FINALLY, hung the phone up. "WHAT IS IT?????" I was beside myself. " "Craig said that your name came up on one of those lists that you see in the paper, and online. Those lists regarding unclaimed money".
"Are you KIDDING ME???????????"
This kind of stuff doesn't happen to us. Ever. And if we are on a list, it is usually for an unpaid medical bill...you get the gist. Unclaimed money!!! No. That would be impossible. I would know about money coming my way. But then David said that it was from an insurance company that I had actually dealt with, from a car accident my girlfriends and I were involved in, when I was about 20. I broke my arm, and messed up my nose, and face, after we were hit by a drunk driver. We sued, and all of us got a nice settlement, which paid for my rent for a few years when I lived in NYC, as well as lots of travel, which, what else would you do with it when you were single, and young, and not planning for the future?
Unclaimed money. Holy moly! That was a big carrot. We joked, David and I, that it was probably a check for postage due, or actually, it was a bill. Then we started to hope maybe it was a tank of gas, or a weeks groceries. But, being human, and optimistic, we started to dream that maybe it was more. Maybe it was some part of the settlement I never received. A chunk of change that could really help us out right now. Maybe, it was substantial.
The carrot got bigger. And with that, so did our day dreams. Like when you purchase a lottery ticket for the giant jackpot. You dream. You hope. You think who's houses you would pay off. Who needs a car. Where could your money make a difference. What kind of business you might want to open. How amazing would it be to pay off every single one of your debts? What could some found money do for you?
We were told that the check was being processed and it would take 7-15 days. They couldn't tell us how much. So the wait began. I really did try and put it out of my mind. I truly did, because like I said, things like this just don't happen to us. But the carrot was there. It started to look more like a parsnip. David and I didn't say much about it. I guess we didn't want to jinx anything. But we checked the mail everyday, which we never do, because it is always just a pile of bills. We started looking at cabins at Jellystone Park. We are planning to take the girls there for a "vacation" this summer. We have a tent, but then I saw the cottages, and thought...what if?
Finally, it arrived. From the New York State Comptrollers office. A sealed check. I ran to the car, and casually said to David, "the check is here", still not wanting my excitement to show. David carefully ripped the small tabs from there perforations. I pretended to look through the bills, acting nonchalant. Yet, my heart was racing and I felt my stomach flip flop. I thought, maybe this is the last few seconds of being broke. Maybe, in a few moments, our story will be minus the financial stress.
David opened it, smiled, looked at me, and said, $51.02.