Wishing you courage

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow'."
- Mary Anne Radmacher

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How do I say this?

I've known since the beginning of January that the big "f" word that concerns mortgages was happening to my house and it's been almost 3 weeks since I moved and I've told hardly anyone about it.

Most of this is probably mentioned in prior posts but here is what happened all in one place:
In Spring of 2008 my husband was laid off from work and a few months later I took a position that was a departure from the career path I wanted because it had better pay and full benefits.  In November 2008 hubby left for greener pastures and I stayed in the house because I could afford it easier than he could since I had a job.  In hindsight that was one of the dumbest things I have ever done.  Fast forward through 3 years of me struggling to make the damn mortgage payment (done terribly... I learned pretty quickly to give preference to keeping the utilities on) and I was laid off.  It didn't take long for the mortgage company to get really annoyed with me.  I applied for a mortgage modification but since my ex-husband was still on the loan, proof of income was required from him too.  But not just one time, they needed monthly updates of pay stubs and bank statements and each time it took longer and longer for my ex to send the information until the application was eventually denied because of missing information.  In November I tried again for the mortgage modification.  The ex and I had been running into each other out and about and had even exchanged some pleasant text messages so I thought I would have fewer panic attacks when requesting information from him and he would be more receptive to helping out.  A week after my first request I sent him a message and he said he had missed that email but that he would get the information to me and that he didn't want the house to go into foreclosure.  A week later I sent a reminder.  And then more reminders, for six weeks, and he never responded.

In early January I spoke with a housing counselor of sorts and went through my financial information with him.  I had my income and monthly expenses memorized from having done so many applications and whatnot.  But he presented things in a different way and he asked how much the household income was reduced by the divorce (quite a lot) and then how much was it further reduced when I was laid off and took a part-time position.  I was working with about 20% of the income we had.  I was trying to pay for the house with next to nothing.  He talked about how you should be paying about 30% of your income on housing (the entire mortgage was about 100% of what I was bringing in monthly - I was just paying several hundred a month towards it at this point).  And, after first protesting because the mortgage amount was in the right range when I moved in and how could I even afford ANYTHING on 30% of my income, I finally started to get it.  I couldn't afford to live there.

On the day when I learned that the bank had bought back the house and there was nothing else that I should or could do about it, I wept for hours because I was so relieved.


It's been a hard time.  The strongest feeling has been shame because you are not supposed to lose your house.  There's also been a lot of happiness over leaving the house where so many bad things happened.

What has been the most difficult are the feelings about my ex.  He is not an idiot and he knew exactly what would happen if the modification wasn't approved.  He elected to have a foreclosure on his credit score in order to see me displaced.  While not a violent act, his lack of action feels very aggressive.  Again, he made sure that I knew he was the one in control.  Again, he let me know that I am not capable of doing things correctly.

I don't know what I did to him to cause him to be such a jerk.

I have not said anything to him about it but I have documented all communication between us in case he takes legal action against me over the house.


I've been going over and over all of the things I could have done differently to avoid this.  And there was a lot I could have done better.  I should have explored short sales more.  Perhaps I should have sold it for a loss (the mortgage was more than what the house was worth).  I rehashed decisions made all the way back to 1995 (my favorite life-fork-in-the-road) when I didn't take a new job in California and instead moved back to Washington because the letters being exchanged with the jack-ass I would later marry were getting very sweet.

If I didn't feel so bad about failing on that important commitment, I would have very few regrets about the whole situation.  Maybe none!  Few people know where I am or even that I moved and I feel more secure with my ex not knowing where I live.  The place I'm renting is much smaller (I wanted to downsize so that is good but it has been hard getting rid of things.  It's still a work in progress...) and the neighborhood isn't fancy (we're talking bars on the windows) but guess how much of my income goes toward rent now!  Right about 30%!  And the house is truly adorable, is in town (versus a suburb), and I haven't had a single problem with crime or anything so far.  Snugglebunny lives here too!  We are trying to have a fresh start.


In the past 12 months my divorce was finalized (FINALLY), I was laid off from a long-term job, and had the house foreclosed on.  I'm so tired.  And I feel so happy!  It feels like there is space to move on now.

Thanks for listening :)


Kristin said...

I am so glad you are happy despite going through all that stuff.

Alexicographer said...

What Kristin said.

Also, yeah ... it really does sound like this (foreclosure) was the right move. Certainly getting out of the house one way or another. I'm sorry you found yourself there, but it's happened to lots of people who've had far fewer hurdles to deal with than you have (understatement obviously but I hope you see what I mean).

Here's to new beginnings.

Anonymous said...

sometimes a terrible experience can be a freeing one. I am so happy for you, and glad you are taking steps to keep yourself protected.
New beginnings are awesome. Embrace it!

Barbara said...

I love that you've found freedom from this situation and another untying of the knots between you and him.


waxpop said...

I am SO proud of you for getting through this past year. (And the year before, and the year before, etc.) You're an inspiration!

Quiet Dreams said...

I also went through the f-word with my former house, also because of my ex's actions. By the time it happened, I felt relieved also.

For me, there was definitely something healing about changing my surroundings and getting rid of a lot of possessions. It really cleared things out emotionally as well as physically.

I hope it's all up from here for you.

Reba said...

hey anna,

like someone else said, you truly are an inspiration to me.

my situation feels so different but in some ways there are things that are the same...namely the house. oh, this house full of memories.

i so badly need to do an update post on my blog. partly it feels silly because it's private now so i think nobody reads it. also i have like 3 or 4 updates i've written over the last couple months that are unpublished.

i think i forgot to say happy birthday before. you sound like you're doing really good. i'm so glad you and sb are making a fresh start.


Sophie said...

I want to beat your ex around the head with a blunt instrument for dicking you around like that. Jerk!

House stuff really sucks, but yeah, you know what, he really screwed you over with that. He really did. Good on you for getting out, and I am so glad to hear you and Snugglebuns has a new place. Live it up girl. Woot.

What happened to your Garden? Does your new place have somewhere to put Toren's beautiful things?


Jenn said...

Sending you hugs for the hard stuff and for the happy stuff. Good to hear from you again! xx

M. said...

I understand how hard it's been as well as a big relief now - I was in a similar situation and did a short sale instead of foreclosure, but it was a very stressful and lengthy process. I think you're wise not to give your ex your contact info.; he's toxic to you so don't give him any more chances to hurt you.

I hope Snugglebunny is paying his share of the expenses; I was concerned when I read that in the past he wasn't helping you out despite your dire financial need. Please, please don't let history repeat itself and be w/ a man who doesn't deserve you - make sure he's someone who you can truly rely on. Better alone than w/ someone who sucks out your life energy...

I hope the quality of your life will get better SOON!