Sunday, November 27, 2016

FAFSA and Christmas Lights

What do you do the weekend after Thanksgiving? Those last days before school starts up again, before life and after school activities kick in? Those days that are the front end of the four weeks or so before Christmas -- a whole other set of requirements of shopping, wrapping, partying, decorating and coordinating schedules. Feels like a lot of hoping and praying for fourth parts. Sounds like a lot of organizing.

First things first, a FAFSA for the current school year (yeah, 2016-2017). Don't judge. Yes, I'm just filling this thing out today. Filling out this form which shows me we get $0 from the federal government -- must be Trump's fault, right? (Had to do it -- no political responses necessary. Go with the joke, people.)

For about, let's see, eight months, completing the FAFSA has been on my to-do lists. On the chalkboard cabinet above the cookbooks and on the pantry calendar and on the paper to-do list I carry around with me. Such motivation. Such reminder. And, yet, it's November 27, 2016. The school year is halfway over. And, my college student managed to attend a local community college without the FAFSA. Oh, but wait, he can't officially apply for scholarships for his new college which he will attend in the spring without this FAFSA for the half-way completed school year.

So much for planning. I mean, how did this slip by me? I know. I do. His community college cost was so, so low, we didn't need financial aid. Sweet mercy. I mean, if your child does not have a college affiliation, nor a scholarship to a certain college, nor any sort of idea what they want to do -- go to a community college. I'm oversharing here, but we paid $1010 for 15 hours. Yes, you read that right -- $1010. That's it. There were book costs, but that's not significant when you take some online courses and can rent through amazon.com.

Now, reality is setting in and we have to pay quite a bit more (maybe add a zero to the end of the aforementioned dollar amount -- God keeps us humble) -- so we need the FAFSA. By the way, the FAFSA will officially get us $0, but we need the info for scholarships -- which maybe we will receive? (Read that in a tone of confusion, plus contemplation with a touch of sarcasm.)

While I'm enjoying digging around for our 2015 tax return, my son's social security number and the FSA ID (Which why isn't it FAFSA!? Why another acronym? Details.), my family is decorating the front yard and hanging the outdoor Christmas lights. I believe I heard them singing a Christmas carol (prompted by my brother-in-law's exuberance and a playlist).

Great planning resulted in our trees going up yesterday and our outside being decorated today. G willingly (or maybe just did) pulled down Christmas from the attic Friday morning with Chris (great planning because Chris had to be at work and that kid sleeps until the last minute). And, I took care of a meeting early yesterday morning so I could get home and work on the decorations. And, we got up going this morning (OK, around 10 a.m.) so the girls and G could take care of the outside.

This all amounts to some serious fourth part very early in the day today. It's a Christmas miracle.

Yes, we have to take care of grocery shopping, some ironing and some meal prep for the week. But, we got it done.

Yes, the early bird gets the worm. But, the late bird doesn't get anything from FAFSA forms.

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