One of the biggest challenges of this deployment (other than missing  big fella)  has been the reality that I am now in charge of our finances.   Anyone that knows me will say, “Janie avoids all things financial”…. it’s true!  When Chris met me… he was shocked to learn that I balanced my checkbook using the tools of estimation and rounding…all of which was designed so that I would have what I called “fluff” (some unknown amount large enough to purchase at least one great pair of shoes per pay period).

Now for those of you reading this who have met Chris and know his “spending style”….you are probably in shock to learn that Chris had a better accounting system than me. After all, this is the guy who wrote his parents a post card from boy scout camp that read, “…and Mom and Dad, don’t mention money…because I am spending it like crazy!” This is in the Neeley archives of famous quotes.

So you can imagine our distress when Chris learned he would be leaving for a year and that I would become our family’s “chief financial officer. ” Surely, this was a bad joke!

Bad joke aside, it’s a reality. The few weeks we had before Chris’ departure he worked tirelessly to compile all of our financial information in a “manageable document” for me to follow in his absence. He titled it “Neeley Liabilities” to which I immediately responded that I would never read anything with “liabilities” as a title (I won’t read a book with a bad title…why start now?!?)… so he rolled his eyes…. and then retyped a short lists of  “assets” (one of which included me….his lovely bride) and then dropped the bomb on me with all the financial stuff. He also titled those “Neeley Accounts” which I thought was a much better term…don’t you agree?!?

Anyway….less than 24 hours after Chris’ departure, I receive a call from our realtor in NC, that the heat pump had gone out in our Clemmons house. … great news when it 12 degrees and your pipes can freeze. It is very long story of what transpired that day and frankly the details bore me…but I do want to share a new story/quote that will be added to the Neeley archives….

In the midst of my despair/anxiety attack, I attempt to explain to the repairman and realtor that I am not qualified to make big financial decisions that I just took office as CFO and that really…. I didn’t even apply to the job, I just got it! At one point in this diatribe, I say “Look…I’m artistic…right brained…this isn’t my area!”

Now, you would think this was the end of this story, but it’s not!  Following that emotional conversation, I immediately dialed my mother for sympathy. I related all the events of the day and reiterated my convincing, yet ineffective speech which included my “famous” quote. There was silence at the other end of the line. Waiting for what I thought would be a consoling response from my Mama, I was floored when she said, “Janie,……(long pause)…why in the world did you tell someone you’re autistic?!?”

Well….there you go….another day in the life.  I just wish my new CFO title came with a private office!


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