I’m not mad. At least, I don’t think so. I’m just mostly perplexed and super fucking frustrated.
But no…. I guess sometimes I am mad. Because I’ve sent off a couple scathing emails and letters to these mortgage companies and even the state offices trying to help me. Mostly because the system seems so absurdly difficult and completely set up for failure.
Let’s start at the beginning.
I take full responsibility and fully acknowledge I fell behind on my mortgage. I was unrealistic in how hard it would be to build up a business. I was unrealistic in how quickly my divorce settlement money would go. I didn’t fully grasp the repercussions of my failure.
While I also acknowledge that things right now could be much worse for me. I am actually truly grateful that the mortgage company works with me (albeit in what seems a very forced and unwilling manner) and I’m happy the government has programs in place to assist me (albeit extremely bogged in bureaucracy and with the expediency and care you’d very stereotypically expect from government offices and programs.)
But what I fail to understand is why it works this way: the foreclosure process mostly seems like a pretext for everyone to pretend they care without actually caring and all with an exponentially absurd amount of paperwork pushed back and forth.
But let me start by explaining exactly what happened to me.
We had a “kitchen table” divorce. We paid one lawyer to submit all the paperwork and help guide us. We agreed (on my suggestion) that I would get access to more money from his 401k than I was actually entitled to. And with the excess money I would pay off all our combined debts. Then with the money I was personally allotted I also paid off my car.
So financially I had a clean slate coming out of divorce with a nice little nest egg left, not huge but decent. I knew the money wasn’t going to last more than a few years and that I had to invest in my own future to obtain stability and not just blow through it.
But also, unfortunately, even though I wanted and petitioned the divorce myself when it got finalized and he moved out (2 month gap there) I was devastated. Not just at the enormity of the situation and now being head of household and having primary custody of 3 children, but I fell into the emotional hell of someone in very severe shock.
I couldn’t eat. Everything from those first few months is a completely unremembered blur in my mind, as if I was living in complete darkness. I lost 25 pounds unintentionally and it was about the time I started having dizzy spells and feeling faint that I took matters into my own hands. I started working out, not for health, I was actually extremely weak and unmotivated, but I knew it would help me feel hungry.
Sure enough a week into working out consistently I was eating again. And I very gradually was starting to feel better.
The thing was that I had worked so hard at actually just getting divorced, at going through the hell that is that process; the emotional equivalent of 1000 bad break-ups except one you have to keep coordinating over and over and never seem quite done with, that I completely neglected to plan for after the divorce.
I mean it most literally took every single bit of my mental ability and emotional endurance just to get divorced in the first place, just to get away from that man.
So here we are a few months after the divorce. I’m feeling better mentally, I’m losing weight healthily now but I have no idea what I’m going to do to survive.
I wanted to take my time and plan it out as best I could because I didn’t want to make a mistake. Or if it was a mistake at least it was the best thought out one I could make and therefore I would have no guilt for going that route. Right?
I tried to get a decent paying job. But without a degree and being out of the work force for over 15 years I wasn’t finding anything. Months and months of trying and I couldn’t get a single interview for the jobs that paid what I needed to make to take care of myself and my children.
I could get jobs making less but then what? If I worked 40 hours and still needed more income how was I going to cut it? Working 40 hours was already going to leave me with childcare issues. And childcare is horribly expensive.
But I wasn’t panicking at all, until the rental company increased our rent by almost 20%. Then I started panicking. The rental manager said “oh you’re a single mom, maybe you can ask the owners for leniency”.
I know they had indeed worked with another single mom in the complex but at the time I was absolutely not used to asking for help or “handouts” or putting myself in the very vulnerable situation of having to tell people my problems in painful detail, like a contestant on AGT. Nope. There had to be another way. Because then too, who was to say they wouldn’t try it again next year. After all the year before they had done the exact same thing already and we had just accepted it because we liked where we were living.
Anyway, I enjoyed working for myself. I had done it previously. I was also still doing eBay sales. I even tried to rent a store front to expand that business but after that failed I changed my mind. Primarily because I was expending all this time and energy on something that even though I knew would succeed I didn’t really enjoy.
And putting in that amount of work on something I actually kind of dreaded was making me miserable.
So off I went brainstorming again. I took a sheet of paper and just let myself write any and all ideas I could think off; from absolutely idiotic to real possibilities. It was fun. Then I realistically narrowed it down to two viable options and settled on colon hydrotherapy.
I went and got trained. Which was a lot of money and time that I didn’t legally have to do to work in the field. But I figured that would knock out two stones. It would give me a real hands-on introduction to the actual work involved, so if I change my mind I would only be out a limited amount and not have wasted years and who knows how much on it. Two, it would make me a much more confident and knowledgeable therapist.
But….turns out I loved it. Genuinely loved it. Even though it wasn’t easy. Even though it was messy. Even though it was extremely intimate and required a lot of emotional labor, akin to nursing maybe.
And I looked for locations near me to set myself up but kept hitting walls and when I made the calculations it made more sense to buy a house where I could run the business and not have so much overhead.
So I took the plunge. But a huge amount of my funds were now taken and I had only about a year of financial cushion left. But I was feeling good, hopeful, energized. I had a plan and if I could pull it off I would be set, my kids would be set. The risk seemed worthwhile.
But about 6 months in I realized things were not going well and my boat was sinking, slowly but steadily. I started aggressively networking. Something I’m absolutely horrid at. But I kept at it. When that failed to produce any results I reverted back to eBay to supplement. It helped, but I still didn’t like that business and it still wasn’t enough. And I didn’t want to work at building that business up.
I soon found myself in arrears. I petitioned the mortgage company for help. But in order to get the loan modified I had to prove I could actually pay it. Right?
So on top of these two businesses I’m now trying to simultaneously manage I went out and got a part time job helping a colleague. She had the same equipment and enough clients to offer me 2 days a week paying me a decent wage.
But as soon as I started the process the mortgage company switched hands. So I had to start all over. Fine. Mounds of paperwork and 6 months later I get approved. Finally. I’m working 40-60 hours a week but I’m doing it and I’m finally going to be stable. And I can keep building up my colon hydrotherapy business and drop the others as I grow. Deep sigh of relief.
I got approved for the loan…… Hallelujah!!
And then literally the pandemic hits and I get laid off and have to close both my businesses.
Panic! I have 30 days to make my first payment or the contract gets voided. This was April, 2020. And I’m staring at this paperwork now having literally zero income wondering what the hell I was going to do. So I turn the modification down.
Knowing I can reapply but now I have to figure out how the hell I can get the income I need in the middle of a pandemic with no work in sight. So I make the hard decision to completely shudder the colon hydrotherapy business and move everything into storage. The kids and I move into the small but dedicated business space and I rent out the main living space of my house.
Then I reapply. I have the income to prove now because when you add rental income, alimony/child support, my sporadic eBay work coupled with unemployment I’m actually managing it. It looks messy as heck but it’s enough. I reapply, going through all the hoops again.
And I am so happy. I am finally going to get the financial stability my children and I need. At a sacrifice but it’s fine. I’m grateful. But then the mortgage company switched hands again and I have to start all over.
Meanwhile, the $25k equity I had in the house prior to defaulting has been wiped clean and I now owe in arrears so much money with penalties, fees and interest that I actually owe more than what I originally for the house. And not just a little more, like $25k more.
And I barely qualified for the loan I got on this house in the first place. Now they have to approve me for more and potentially more than the house is worth, oh and by the way my credit is now horrible because I’ve been in default for so long. And if they raise my mortgage too much more, because the last company had renegotiated it to almost $250 more a month and I didn’t owe as much then, what do I do?
If they go too much higher I am not going to be able to prove sufficient income or realistically pay it.
So basically, what I am saying is that I am now being priced out of my own house, if they don’t just outright deny me the claim entirely and just take it back.
The only glimmer of hope is that if they do approve the loan and if it is within a range I can actually afford then we will be fine. And I can slowly try to figure out a way to become financially solvent and move back into the house with no pressure. After all the renters would be paying the majority of the mortgage.
I’m trying not to stress out. I’m trying to keep playing along with this idiotic game that seems completely set up for my failure. I’m trying to stay hopeful and sane. All while managing my every day life, which as a single mom is already so extremely difficult.
And we aren’t even brooching the actuality of the pandemic or my heartbreak over Brad or any of the other shit in my life.
Rant over. I’m sure I missed some important information but I’m done talking about this. This rant didn’t make me feel any better.
Just a post to remember where I am I guess. How I feel. The actuality of this moment in time plastered in posterity, as if that was a real thing. Lol
I’ll laugh about all this one day maybe. Maybe.