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I hate sitting by the phone, so to speak, but my mail carrier came and went today and there is no sign of my economic stimulus check.

I was a loud and bitchy critic of the economic stimulus plan from the start. It always seemed more politics than fiscal responsibility (but then when was this Republican administration ever about smaller government and fiscal prudence?). What's $600 going to do for the average debt-burdened consumer? Buy a month of groceries? Notch down one credit card? Yeah, I rolled my eyes and ranted and raved.

And then I figured out that I would be getting $1,800. That's $1,200 for being married and filing jointly, and $300 for each kid. My husband and I looked at each other sheepishly. Then we launched into the Happy Happy, Joy Joy dance.

According to the IRS, I should be receiving this windfall no later than today, May 9. This, I gleaned from the site, because of the last two digits of my Social Security number, the fact that I filed electronically in March and had my return direct deposited into my account.

And so we waited. "You'll probably see it earlier," my husband told me. "There were news reports that the first wave of people got theirs earlier in the week than expected." He then optimistically did his part for the economy by spending his half on a new laptop, since his old one had just died.

"President Bush thanks you for being a good American" I sneered. Then I went out last weekend and let myself get carried away at the mall, spending $160 on clothes I wouldn't otherwise have spent, all because I knew my economic stimulus check was coming the next week to cover me.

But where is the money? As a freelance writer, I'm used to the proverbial "check is in the mail" waiting game. But I also know that radio silence is cause for suspicion. So this morning I went back to the IRS site, and clicked on its tool, "Where's my stimulus payment?" I plugged in my information.

I don't expect much when it comes to forthcoming government information. But hope springs eternal. Alas, up pops this message: Not any information on this taxpayer."

Then I notice this cryptic note, "If filing or preparation fees were deducted from your 2007 refund, or you received a rapid refund, you will be receiving a check instead of a direct deposit."

So...the $30 electronic filing fee I paid Turbo Tax means I won't be getting my money today? That's the first I'd heard of that stipulation. I check the paper check payment schedule.

June 20.

I feel a little like a jilted date. He said he'd call and he didn't. Really, I should know better by now. Monies promised should never be anticipated or waited on. And I'm feeling a little foolish because hey, I thought this was a bad idea to begin with. That didn't stop me from quickly spending more than was in my budget though. I guess that makes me a "better" American than I thought I was.

So have you gotten your stimulus money yet? What are you doing with it. Really...

  • Ideas for spending your stimulus check:

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