Friday, July 13, 2012

Insight On Moving...According to My Kids

Without trying to incite a pity party, I have wanted to write this post for a long time. I held off, hoping not to embarrass my parents or to classify myself as a "failure." I've battled this a long time, and feel if I write about it, I may somehow, relieve myself of some of the guilt I've been feeling.

About 3 years ago, when my husband lost his job, I decided the best thing we could do was to consolidate our debt. I went to Wells Fargo, a bank who considered me a VIP for nearly 20 years. They referred me to Wells Fargo FINANCIAL, who, using a salesman pitch so slick they could sell ice to an Eskimo, convinced me take a loan which would allow us one payment a month, rather than several payments to credit cards, car loans, etc. I was under the assumption that they needed to appraise my house as collateral. What they were really doing was giving me a home equity loan. I didn't understand that, and I have no one to blame but myself. They told me that they would start me out at 9+% interest, and every year that I made my payment on time, they would re-evaluate me and lower the interest rate. Sounds good, right? Except they went out of business 2 months later, and I was stuck at the high interest rate.

We sacrificed as much as we could to make those payments. We robbed Peter to pay Paul, we gave up Netflix, went to basic cable, bought our kids' clothes at second hand stores, gave our kids haircuts at home (bad idea), had to forgo fresh fruits and vegetable for frozen (they suck), didn't take any vacations, clipped coupons, and gave up our health insurance (not the kids), and worried ourselves to ulcers. But we did it.

I called every person I knew to try and help, the mortgage company (who informed me that I was making "empty threats" when I genuinely asked them if they wouldn't want payments vs. a foreclosure) I called the head of their complaint department, other banks, everyone I could think of. I said "no" so many times to my kids because "we didn't have money" that every sentence they asked me, started with, "someday...when we have money...can we..." I'm worried I've warped them.

Then I lost my job. I went back to school and worked part time. We had to file bankruptcy. I was ashamed. Humiliated. Degraded. And after cautiously telling my closest friends we had to do that, found it was more common than I had thought. Two weeks after we filed, we had to transport my husband to the hospital by ambulance for vertigo. Where he stayed for 2 days. Without health insurance...well you get the idea.

After consulting a lawyer, she said we would be better off giving up our house. I can see why Kleenex boxes are common in their offices.

Long story short, after 8 years of on-time-payments and more than 20 years of VIP status, we have to move.

Now to tell my kids. Thank God for my kids...they put it in perspective...

I told them, "We have to find a new place to live."

They say, "We need a new house, ours is old."

I told them, "You might not have your own rooms."

They say, "Yea! Can we get bunk beds?"

I say, "We need to go through everything because we might not have room for everything."

They say, "I think other kids would like this toy."

I say, "I'm going to miss our fantastic neighbors" (And, Oh Lord, I so will.)

They say, "Can we be somewhere with more kids?"

I say, "I can't imagine packing!"

They say, "We have so much junk."

I say, "We have to have a garage sale."

They say, "Can we have a lemonade stand?"

I say, "It might be a longer drive to daycare."

They say, "Can we be close to a place where we can go for bike rides?"

I say, "Our new place will be so small."

They say, "You won't have to clean so much, mom."

They are so excited to move. I hate it. There's not a day that goes by that I don't look around and miss a part of my house. Kamrin may not even remember this house. I'll miss the height marker in the garage.

A patio that my husband and I worked on in 90+ degree heat to create. My faux painting that I have received so many compliments on. My Sponge Bob mural in the kids' playroom I painstakingly painted. An extra bedroom for my parents to stay in. The piano I've had since I was 8.

The faucet my husband installed for me, the bathroom remodel that happened because my kids chipped a very soul in each and every space. A place I can navigate in the dark. Every ding, every scratch, every stain, every memory. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't have a part of me die because I have to give something up.

My oldest once asked me if we could move somewhere where they had a pool. I said it would be very hard to find a place like that with our two dogs. He replied, "I'm sure going to miss Bo and Ripley."

I see it as a mountain, a chore, a devastating life experience. They see it as an adventure. A new start.

I'm trying so hard to see it that way. But I LOVE this house. I LOVE the people around me. I'm mad at me, I'm mad at the economy...we tried SO hard. We didn't live off the government! We struggled to not be "those" people.

And we don't know WHEN we have to move. That sucks the most. I can't even plan on what to keep and what not to keep, because I don't know where we are going.

And you assholes on Craig's List, who advertise an affordable house for rent, only to find out you are "missionaries in Africa, have a sick wife," may you rot in hell. I hate you people. Because you give me hope and then rip it away.

I made this house. It's mine. I know every crevice, every nick, everything I had hoped to improve...and Wells Fargo, I'm not even going to tell you what I think of you. So glad you covered YOUR ass.

Oh I know, things could be worse. And my parents have been supportive beyond belief, but I hate this. I hate letting go. I hate having to prioritize my belongings into keep and not keep.


God isn't suppose to give you more than you can handle...but sometimes...I wish He didn't have so much confidence in me.


  1. Some blogs make me laugh, some provide fantastic photos of places I’ll never visit, but I’ve always looked forward to your posts because they are full of the best type of smiles - warm smiles. It’s probably way past time for me to thank you.

    You’ve certainly had a dreadful kick in the teeth, and it probably hurts more because you’ve fought so long and done all the right things only to have it all snatched away so easily. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. At the very least it would probably be easier if there was some ‘person’ you could blame so you are not tempted to blame yourself.

    In the same situation I would probably be reluctant to talk about it, or feel embarrassed, but as I’m not why don’t I just leap in and say you’ve nothing to be embarrassed about… far from it.

    It takes courage to try, so you must have buckets of courage. And buckets of character.
    Filing for bankruptcy is not cheating – it’s legal for a reason: The law exists as a reminder that it’s okay to fail, that the important thing is to try. I think that’s God’s main message too – don’t expect to be perfect, just keep on trying.
    Cheating is not what you do. You haven’t taken the easy way out, you’ve looked each problem in the eye and fought back.

    There would be something wrong if you didn’t wish you could give your kids things more often, but they get so much from you already that millions of kids never get… unconditional love. You are protective of them, you are proud of them, and you even enjoy them. I get the impression they know instinctively that these are the greatest things they could ever hope for. That’s something you’ve worked for that no one can take away.
    I hope this doesn’t all sound patronising. I don’t envy your situation, but I think I’m still a little bit envious just the same :)

  2. @FruitCake, Thank you so so much for your kind words. It makes me feel a little less alone. They mean more than I can say.