Where do I start?
I don’t know why it never occurred to me to do this before. But I was tweeting this morning about working on my taxes, and I mentioned all I had lost trying to save our home…and a writer named Beth Wareham who tweets as @PowerofNo responded to me, sparking a tweetstream soliciting donations to help raise money to save my home. I explained that it wasn’t just one months mortgage payment but closer to $42k that I needed.
When I first started on Twitter, my intention was to gather information about foreclosure and loan modifications, and to educate myself on the best way to go about trying to save my home. What has happened in a year is completely different from anything I ever expected. I have connected with others who have helped me helped me look for a solution, vent about the obstacles I face, and celebrate every tiny victory I have had along the way. Working to save my home dominated my life, and become almost a full-time job…..the connections I have made helped me start living instead of worrying. For the first time in a long time: I felt energetic and excited, and could see beyond the doomsday foreclosure. We have a long way to go before we save our home, but the idea that life can go on regardless of what happens, resounds to me in the echo that the Twitter community provides on the daily. Here I am, a year later…. humble and thankful for the real friendship, inspiration, and pep talks that got me from there to here.
My hardship letter hasn’t worked with my mortgage company, maybe it will help on the web. I feel like I have to preface my request for donations and help with a little more about my story. The easiest way is a timeline.
- March 2007 I was diagnosed with a bone tumor in my knee. It’s an uncommon condition called Pigmented villonodular synovitis (PVNS). The surgery was invasive & left me with a foot long incision in my left leg. It took me months to walk again and I used most of my sick leave. Mortgage: Current
- April 2007 I found out I was pregnant with my second child. I was hospitalized for exhaustion several times, and went into heart failure right before I gave birth to Olive. (I was diagnosed with a heart disease ten years earlier when when I was 22 years old.) Mortgage: Current
- January 2008, I lost my job because of my employers leave policy. My cardiologist said they would help me file for short term disability, the HR office said I would quailify for unemployment. I was sick, tired, still in heart failure, had a newborn, and was suffering from postpartum depression. I did not file for any of it. Mortgage: Payments deferred for six months.
- March of 2008, my mother asked me to take over and close our family business, which my mother ran for 26 years. She was ill and ready to retire. They have legal custody of my two nieces, (my sister is unable to care for them) ages 12 & 15 at the time. They asked if I could take them and I agreed. This is how I ended up with five kids. I have a son, a stepdaughter, a daughter, and two nieces. Mortgage: Subprime adjustable went up approx $400, we could not make payment.
- August 2008 to May 2009, I returned to work part-time. With five kids — one in daycare, the money I made wasn’t even close to what we needed, and most went to the cost of childcare. Balancing it all started to take a toll on my health and I left my job to try and figure out how to work for myself from home doing consulting and promotion. Mortgage: We started our first loan mod, made payments & then they wanted a balloon payment. We couldn’t afford it. We started it again.
- May 2009 to Present: I have an established clientele. I have four of the five kids full time, serve as home base for the different sets of co-parents, try my best not to get hospitalized again, and I work….as much as I can. Even if I worked full-time…it’s not enough to catch up on how far we fell behind. Mortgage: We have been under review for modification several times since we fell behind in March 2007. We have tried two different programs and are now under review for third. The first two times, it failed because of balloon payment requirement. The third time it failed because my husbands salary dropped dramatically for six months. Calling and waiting, waiting and calling. I think our mortgage company knows less about what is going on than we do. The problem I have is one lots of people are going through. A series of posts on my “progress” with our mortgage company is here.
Like most of American families, I make difficult and humble choices to make ends meet. My experience with illness has taught me to be thankful, creative, and balanced. If we can catch up on our mortgage payments, we won’t have to continue to live in limbo while we negotiate a loan modification. I want to raise $42k or as much as possible to bring us current. I haven’t filed for bankruptcy, haven’t applied for welfare, haven’t filed for unemployment. While these resources are available to me, I simply can’t feel good about it, when I know there are others who need it more than me.
What followed the mentions by @PowerofNo was a list of suggestions from others on what I could do to help raise money…a list of incredible suggestions that I plan to follow up on. Until then, thank you so much for the donations that you have sent, the ideas that you have shared with me, and the generosity that I continue to find in all of you.
If you have extra, I would appreciate it…if you don’t? I appreciate you still.