Friday, 27 February 2009

Noodles to the CSA...

I have just called the CSA for the 774th time in the last 15 years.

This is not a random calculation. This is based on an average of one call for every week of The Teenager's life. This is a fair estimation-some weeks there are daily calls, but other weeks there are none. It's the times of inertia when I have clarity. I realise that based on spending an average of half an hour on the phone to the CSA each time I call, I have burned, in total 387 hours. In turn, they have managed to recover about £2000 in the last 15 years. Which means I am getting less than the national minimum wage for my efforts. I could bring home more money for The Teenager being a Sandwich Artist in Subways.

But today I am having on of those crazy optimistic moments when I imagine that a government agency might weild a fair bit of power in retrieving a legally enforced debt.

So I spend 10 minutes pressing buttons and entering my national insurance number, date of birth and bra size. I spend another 10 minutes explaining to a woman in Birkenhead how their enforcement department has failed another single parent by failing to enforce anything.

''Show me the money!'' I yell, but then realise Birkenhead woman has put me on hold. A decade later she comes back on the phone and recites a stream of information, which she claims to be the latest update. Unfortunately it is ad verbatim exactly what I just told her at the beginning of the call. So I just spent half an hour on the phone for a human parrot.

The upshot of this information can be summarised simply: Tesco Value noodles for The Teenager and I this week.

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