Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Beautiful Wednesday

I am deep in home construction (minor stuff but construction nonetheless) and home reorganization.

For the first time in years, my home has been open and awash with light.  I am sorry to say that, in the not so distant past, I lived up to what certain people would imagine to be the cliche of the traumatized and depressed female: I hung heavy curtains at every window, opening them now and again when family members complained about the darkness or when we had guests coming over.  Oftentimes, I would go for weeks without even touching the curtains much less draw them back to let some light in.  Like most men/husbands, the spouse wasn't too bothered by the fact that the house was kinda dark just so long as the power was on and the internet readily available.  One kid in particular, Cat of course, used the depressing interior as an excuse to stay away.  As I've since come to terms with the fact, I now know that Cat will use ANY excuse to stay away so that she can continue to do whatever she wants with whomever she wants to do it. 

Like artists and other dramatic types, I had a Dark Period.  Unlike artists, I produced nothing tangible.  Everything I produced was intangible: moods, obsessions, compulsions, neuroses.  All dark.  Nothing I could actually hold up and say, "See?  Look what I did!"  Everything internalized, to eventually be projected at the mall, yard sales, other people's houses in the form of collecting stuff, spending all of our income.  Come to think of it I did create something.  I created a hoard.  Not very artistic at all.

Well, as I've written several times already, the hoard is gone. Some more stuff left out of here at the weekend and my yard is essentially empty now, save for one set of patio furniture.  Time was, my (very large) backyard at the ex-custom home was jam packed with crap.  Inside the house, I am parting with the final vestiges of my interior hoard.  It really is almost gone.

I have this habit still of creating small groupings of stuff.  A side table, a wicker basket with magazines, a box full of old vinyl record albums, a curio cabinet.  That little useless group of stuff will sit by itself up against an unused wall and collect dust.  Two wooden trunks, a box full of old knickknacks, a bird feeder.  That sits forlornly up against another unused wall.  An unneeded office desk loaded with useless crap.  Up against another wall in another room.  And so on.  These little groupings of crap I don't need, use or want are the final barrier between me and total decluttered freedom.  Of course, I'm not including my closet in this list but that will be the absolute final area to clean. It's not that bad but I still need to go through it one more time.

I plan to deal with my 'group' hoarding this week.  If I can't find a place or a use for these things, out they will go.  The spouse is away for a few days beginning Friday, so he won't be here to interfere with the urge to declutter that I feel coming on.....

All in all, my house is looking quite beautiful.  I garner compliments whenever I am out in the garden and people pass by.  Sometimes, they even stop the car to tell me.  LOL  Mind you, when I bought this place it was derelict, sort of like me.  Over the past 5 years, we have both slowly come back to life.  The facade is bright, clean and cheerful and the garden with its roses and other plants looks quite lovely.  This house was once neglected, run down and the bane of the block.  Now, it is rapidly leaving all the other nice houses in its wake ..... there's no stopping us LOL

If I could post pics I would and ya'll would be quite surprised at the transformation.  But this is an Anon blog so no can do.  Maybe one day, right before I go off the air, I'll post some pics for a very limited time.  You never know ;)

Monday, March 31, 2014


The spouse is being sent to Florida on Friday for a short business trip.  He hates to travel, especially when it involves traveling with the Powers That Be.  He just walked in the door as I started to type this blog post so gotta go, catcha later ...... perhaps tomorrow. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Vent for a Monday

OK, well I've been coasting along over the past few months, trying not to get worked up over minor (or major) things.  But there is something going on around here that requires a Blog Vent because, if I don't vent, I am going to blow up and say things I am going to wish I hadn't said.

I noticed it before and I am noticing it again now:  one of my kids, in particular, has a really bad attitude when she has to come home from college for spring break/summer/Christmas.  She doesn't want to be here and she makes no effort to hide her disdain in that regard.  Yesterday she even made a snide remark to her sibling, who attends the same school, that they needed to go out and find/steal a car so that they could return to campus.  Her sibling raised an eyebrow as if to say, watch yourself.  And I just looked at her with a 'bitch' look in my eye.

I am not even going to go into the sacrifices I have made for this family.  I've already done that multiple other times in multiple other blog posts.  If there is one thing I have always done, it is that I have put this family first most of the time.  Some times I did in fact put myself first but quickly realized that selfishness is not the name of the game when one is raising kids.  I have done the best job I knew how to do, given that I grew up in such a violent and dysfunctional home myself.  My childhood was a war zone of mental illness, depression and bitterness on the parts of both of my parents ~ we know that.

My kids attend a top school.  I have endangered the spouse's retirement to allow them to attend.  I constantly bitch about college expenses but I keep an eye to the future and tell myself that we only have one more school year to go and then it is done.  "We made it" .......  I made it.  Believe me, I made this WHOLE THING happen for them........ but with each passing semester this one particular kid of mine has grown more and more critical, demanding, ungracious, rude.  Believe me, I know that she is growing up and wants a life of her own but is it too much to ask that she be respectful and gracious on the very few occasions that we can all get together?  I so look forward to them both coming home to spend some time that it is like a knife to the heart when I look at what she is becoming.  She is losing her humility and is forgetting how to be humble and grateful for what she has.  Instead, she sits on her laptop and shows me pictures of her friends and the exotic places they are visiting for spring break as if to say, why are we here?  Why aren't we in Fiji/the Galapagos/Hawaii???  You have to ask?  Because I spent everything I have and more in keeping you in the school you are currently enjoying.

The school is top tier.  That means high pressure.  Sometimes my daughter goes off the radar during midterms and finals because of the stress and I understand that.  But when she comes home for vacations all of that stress is usually done and behind her .... it's time to relax.  Instead, I get a good dose of bad attitude and sniping and I am SICK of it.  I have to drive for miles to pick them both up to bring them home but I am coming to the conclusion that I need to let my daughter go and do whatever it is she wants to do if she doesn't in fact want to come home.  As long as she pays for it, let her go to whichever country it is she wants to visit during her time off.  I would rather her do that than slouch around the house like she's doing me such a great favor in being here.  I would rather she NOT be here than deal with the current situation, which is her making me feel like crap because I haven't laid on a luxurious vacation or constant activities.  I have reached a time in my life when I realize that spending money on constant day trips may not be the best use of my money ..... while she is at a time in her life when she is discovering herself and the world.  That's great for her and all but ..... I can't continue to fund it all.  I AM DONE.  I am putting my spouse ahead of the kids and they are feeling the effects of it.

We used to have great times together.  But I am facing the fact that I am 'losing' my daughter to the world, to her peers and to her own future.  I am only a bit player now in the big picture.  And it sucks.  So while I continue to try to hang on to a shred of the dynamic of what our relationship used to be like, she is forging ahead in an entirely different environment, one in which there is a LOT of money all around her.  Her college is richly endowed by private organizations and philanthropists who think nothing of throwing up another tall glass and steel building on campus and funding it.  My daughter rubs elbows with very VERY wealthy individuals from all over the world including TV personalities who have offices on campus.  She is on first name terms with people we see on the Discovery channel.  Her roommates have billionaire banker fathers.  It's no wonder that my little hole here in the desert cannot compare.  But please! don't rub my nose in it.  Don't forget where you came from, daughter, because you're gonna meet us all on the way back down.

Today, we are supposed to go museum hopping but I am afraid that I can't stand to be around my daughter right now.  She is exhibiting signs of becoming an academic snob, like she's too good for us and we're not good enough for her.  I look at her and I wonder who this Ice Princess is.  Yesterday, she stayed in bed all day only getting up at 6pm.  When I asked her why she was still in bed at that time her reply was, "I'm bored".  Honey, you had only been here 5 minutes.  I'm sorry if I'm not entertaining enough for you.  The fact is, I get bored being around YOU because all you can talk about is yourself.  You don't want to hear about anyone else in the family, or how anyone else is doing.  Your own scope of conversation has become centered entirely around YOU.  Any idea how boring that is??  And I cooked your favorite dinner too!!!

This is gonna be a tough week.  I hope I can make it through to the weekend when it's time to return to campus if I can stand it that long.  So far, it ain't lookin' good.  I am feeling highly needled, antagonized, disappointed, concerned, pissed off.  In one way or another, my kids have all spun out as they've entered adulthood.  It hasn't been an easy time for them.  I don't think any of them really wanted to grow up.  In adulthood, Cat (for example) continues to barrel around town like an overgrown teenager.  And now, another daughter is making it clear that she is not satisfied with the fact that she has to bring herself down to peon level every once in a while.

I am going to continue to let go.  I will do it with grace.  If Miss Thing doesn't wake up in time this morning at the time we already agreed upon, I will not make any effort to wake her up.  I would rather stay home anyway and share the museum with the spouse.  If I don't wake her up, I know that she will cop an even bigger attitude but ..... what can she expect when she gets out of bed at 6pm and then stays up all night on the computer??  Up with this bullshyte I will not put.  I want my own life back.  We are at that stage in life ...... my kids are building their own lives separate from mine and that's fine.  That's great.  But when they start up with this condescending crap, count me out.  Just because I don't spend my days in auditoriums or around expensive technology or illustrious professors doesn't mean that my own little life is no less significant than theirs!   Don't put me down because I don't want to go to classes myself ..... or because I live in a desert hole ..... or because I am still carrying the weight I was carrying 5 years ago.  I have my own issues to deal with, things you kids know NOTHING about.  Why not focus instead on the amount of financial and emotional support I have provided you with, often at my own great personal cost.  By the time I have gotten done with you guys, there is NOTHING left for me ..... I am financially and emotionally drained.  And so I sit slack jawed in front of the TV sometimes.  I've run out of steam.  That's life.  Don't rub my nose in it by making fun of me and pointing it all out ..... I already KNOW.

I KNOW that I wasn't the Room Mom.  I wasn't the Mom who baked cookies while running a Girl Scout group .... while my home was perfectly clean .... and my perfect cardboard cut-out husband was running the world as I plucked the perfect rose blooms from my groomed garden.  I was the Mom who sat in the bar all afternoon until school let out.  You don't know that ..... but maybe you had just an inkling when I was late home in the afternoons, smelling of booze and cigarettes and 'good times'.  For a while, I was the Mom with cobwebs in the corners of my rooms and a film of dust over everything and the shades drawn tightly shut for years. I'm sorry that most of that latter scenario took place throughout most of your life and most certainly throughout your childhood.  So I guess it's no wonder that you really don't want to be here.  But you are also finding out that I am no one's doormat either and that I too can cop an attitude when I want to.  Even bigger than yours.  My life is on the downswing and yours ...... the sky's the limit.

Damn, it's tough having kids.  Babyhood was EASY, childhood was not bad.  But adulthood???  No one warns you about the time when the kids become adults.  Then they start to look at you with this look in the eye that says, "It's been real and it's been nice .... but it hasn't been real nice" ........

PS.  Up yours, spammers.  How dare you invade my blog???

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday: Spending

Greetings on this lovely sunny Sunday afternoon here in SoCal.  I've been wanting to jump on this here blog and rant/report on some of the goings on around here but ..... I've really been busy......  Without further ado or excuses, here's what's going on:

1.  The Wedding

You like potato and I like potahto
You like tomato and I like tomahto
Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto.
Let's call the whole thing off ~ Louis Armstrong

JC Almighty, why can't my son just call this whole thing off??  As I have already stated, my son is already married.  He married in secret almost 2 years ago but yet here we are, planning a huge inflated wedding for an 'event' that has already occurred.  The marriage is still a secret to all but The Core Family.  Other people still don't know that my son is already married.  They think that they are jetting in from far off places to witness a brand new union.  Meanwhile, I am dealing with a frazzled 'bride' and all the BS that goes along with it, including dish smashing arguments and freeze outs.  Last week, my son came home for a few days and slept in his old room to get away from the madness.  I have no sympathy for him.  It is time to rein this whole thing in and bring the 'bride' back to earth.  I told them both that it is past time to reveal their matrimonial state to family and others and to perhaps consider cutting back on some of the wedding arrangements.  We do not need 6 bridesmaids, a maid of honor, 6 groomsmen and bestest man.  We just don't.  As a result of my frankness, the 'bride' is no longer talking to me which gives me an out.  As in, I will not show up to this wedding if she continues to act like a beyatch.  It's crazy ..... but time is ticking down and the August date will be upon us before we know it. 

2. Home Life
Stuff is getting done around here.  I have been busy painting and cleaning.  Finally, after living here for so long already, the house is getting finished up.  I still have stuff to sell on Craigslist but I have pared down magnificently.  I recently bought a new sofa to replace the one that was sagging in the middle and now my living room is almost done.  I am looking for finishing touches to tie it all up.  Yes, I have been spending money because I want a home that I am proud of.  I am tired of feeling embarrassed by my environment.

3. Medical
The spouse was injured 2 weeks ago.  He is better today and returning to work tomorrow.  That's good because we need our income back. 

4. Crazy spending
A family member showed up last week in a $75,000 car.  This same person asked the spouse and I for monetary help a few months ago.  We chipped in $250 at the time.  The spouse is derisive.  Once again, we have pledged to no longer help out family members who mismanage money.  We can't afford it regardless of how hard the begging.

5.  My father
My father inherited a sizable sum of money from a relative who recently passed away.  All of a sudden now, my phone calls are not  being returned and my parents have disappeared off the radar.  Upon talking with a relative on that side of the pond, I found out that they have purchased a new truck, are shopping constantly and out to dinner all the time.  This is crazy!!  My parents should be looking at changing their dire housing situation and saving money instead of doing what they've always done whenever they've come into a bit of money: pissing it away.  And ya'll wonder where I got my terrible money habits from.  Anyway, I hear through the grapevine that my father even took a wad of cash to the races.  Typical.  I feel used and abused ...... here I was preparing to help fund my parents in their extreme old age even to the point of living with them if necessary.  Now I know that I will never live with my parents ever again.  Aside from the fact that their house is a water damaged mold filled menace, I just cannot get along with my father for very long.  But it has just shown me that he was only after my money and assistance while he thought he needed it.  Now that he has inherited a sizable sum of money, I am ignored and neglected and my parents are too 'busy' to even return a phone call now.  Shades of old times.  But it's OK.  This situation also represents an 'out' for me ..... I no longer feel obliged.  I actually feel relieved.  But I already know how things will play out: my parents will spend this money on my sibling and other bullshit and end up right back where they started from.  I should also mention, however, that I have no idea exactly how much money my father inherited.  No one seems to know.  Or, if they do, no one is telling me.  Just judging by the amount of spending that has been occurring, it is a sizable amount.  That is all I know.  My parents are getting up there age-wise, but it's no wonder that they've never had a pot to piss in.  They just don't get it, even now.

PS. I am sorry about the effing spammer links on this page.  I have obviously contracted some scum spammer's disease and will be reloading my entire operating system to get rid of whatever malware has infected my computer.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Mortgage

I updated my mortgage progress bar.  Since refinancing almost a year ago, the mortgage has been paid down by a somewhat measly 4.98%.  OK, so that's far better than the zero by which it was being paid down with the lousy interest only loan we had before so I will keep my outlook bright.  At least the mortgage is being paid down!

I'm paying $245 a month in interest right now, which drops each month as the mortgage amortizes, and my property taxes plus homeowner insurance expenses are $259 monthly.  The remainder of my payment ($400 and increasing) goes to principal.  Not bad.  At one time, I had a real problem making the annual property tax payment and, as a result, our property always ran a deficit.  It's a wonder to me that the city allowed us to go from year to year without paying the taxes but ..... that's what happened.  When I moved out of the custom home, I owed around $25K in taxes, which the bank had to pay to the county before they could sell our foreclosed house.  I'm ashamed of this fact and I write about it here so that I can feel the shame, resolve to never make the same mistake again, and force myself to move on.  I can tell you, I used to hate receiving that annual bill, red lined with the terrorizing word "DELINQUENT' all over it, because I knew I was going to lose my house eventually.

Anyway, water under the bridge.  Today, our property taxes are current and have not been late in 5 years.  In retirement, this mortgage payment will still be affordable even though the spouse wants the house to be paid off.  We will have to see what can be done about that next year.  We continue to save and we are going to have to make a decision at retirement: Does it make sense to take money out of stocks and pay off the house OR should we leave the money in stocks to (hopefully) build a better balance and just make a mortgage payment each month?  We have 14 years to go on our mortgage if we stick to the loan repayment schedule.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Stormy Friday

Life is moseying along here at a stately pace.  There has been much going on in the family but some of the events are so specific that I cannot go into detail here.  Suffice it to say, I have been kept busy. 

One of the things I can talk about is the fact that Cat has returned from her remote assignment far, far earlier than ever expected.  She wasn't supposed to have returned until June but here it is, beginning of March, and she returned yesterday.  It turns out that she became 'romantically' involved with a co-worker (for heavens sake) which resulted in a multitude of complaints.  I am too embarrassed myself to go into the details of the interlude but apparently it was a hot and heavy encounter and both Cat and the man in question were terminated from the assignment.  Can it get any worse?  Cat has a real problem with men and apparently, both of them were apprehended in a rental car and both were the worse for wear on drink and who knows what else.  Cat is currently 'crying on the shoulder' of a male acquaintance somewhere in the valley.  Does she still have a job?  I cannot extract that information from her but it's Friday and she's not at work so perhaps that says it all.  The spouse and I are distancing ourselves from ALL of Cat's drama with the understanding that she very well may end up in jail/prison one of these days.  We are choosing to be responsible for ourselves only, and our adult children are going to have to be responsible for their own actions and choices.  The spouse and I are finding it easier and easier to take this stance.  We are resolved and resigned.

Our financial situation continues to improve as the months pass.  We are now granted credit everywhere we apply, we have a very affordable mortgage at a low interest rate, our credit scores are in the 700s, and we are building our savings up each and every month.  We have stopped lending money to everyone, even our kids.  My mother called and asked me for money with which to buy a new car and I just had to say no, I couldn't do it.  I explained that the spouse is retiring very, very soon and that I no longer have the self assigned carte blanche authority to just do whatever I like without consulting with him first.  My mother was not used to hearing such a response from me.  Usually, I bullheadedly do whatever I want.  I realized, finally, that I need to show the spouse much more respect than that and I think my mother was more surprised than anything to realize that I have at last grown up.  Better late than never.  Cringe.

My parents continue to live in a house that is rapidly deteriorating around them.  My sibling called to let me know that the leak in their roof is much worse after the terrible storms in the UK.  What do they want me to do?  Put a new roof on??  No!  That, I said, is the landlord's job so tell him to get his ass over to the house and remedy the situation.  My parents' housing situation is reaching a crisis point and my sibling is finally realizing it.  When I visited a while back, I told my parents to think about their housing situation and ways in which it could be improved.  We all came to the conclusion that certain forms needed to be filled out and presented to the local council to at least give my parents a shot at moving into a smaller, newer home.  Have my parents followed my advice and filled out said forms?  In a word, NO.  Of course not.  As usual, the situation is going to have to become absolutely dire before my parents panic and take care of their business.  They are becoming too old and frail to maintain what is basically an old farmhouse with wood fires and lousy plumbing.  It's easy for me to sit here and pontificate, I know, but I lived with this state of constant procrastination in which my parents never took care of situations until they reached a crisis.  It's totally nothing new.  I do, however, find it infuriating to think that my father prefers to get drunk at the pub rather than face up to what must be done.

I am getting out and about more.  I even made a new friend which is definitely a sign that I am moving beyond my complicated past.  I used to always have a lot of friends, by the way, but after I fell victim to a stalker, I retreated inside a self imposed shell and looked out at the world with distrust.  I cut many people out of my life .... old friends, family members and general acquaintances. I guess I have emotionally healed to the point that I figure I can take risks and chances with outside relationships again.  I gave myself the time I needed to get better.  In my case, it was 15 years.  In the course of that 15 years, I gradually shed all those relationships that were no good for me.  I just recently shed the 25 year long friendship of an alcoholic friend who gets blitzed every time I see her.  I love her, still, but I don't want to be around people who have not, will  not or cannot resolve their issues in a healthy way.  Don't want to sound judgmental because dog knows I have abused myself and abused the people closest to me but I realized what I was doing and found the means to stop it.  Yes, it took years.  Heavens, I stopped spending and hoarding 7 years ago and only now can I say that my finances are strong and stable and that my house is truly not hoarded any longer.  I still have stuff to get rid of but it is amazing just how much stuff I have gotten rid of.

As for the spouse, he is retiring at the end of 2015 come what may.  He doesn't care if we don't have a million dollars in the bank (or the 8 million that Money Magazine says we should have).  He is kissing corporate America buh-bye and we are just going to have to make the best of what we have.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wednesday Morning: F@## the Banks

Well, hello readers.  I've sort of disappeared off the radar the past month or so but never fear ~ I have been busy.

The spouse seems to think he can retire this year but it is a pipe dream minus the pipe.  We don't do drugs.  There is no way retirement is going to happen this year unless The Employer pays the spouse off.  The spouse seems to think it's in the cards.  We'll see.

I have been busy cleaning up after renovations and figuring out what to do next.  We really need to get this house finished so that we can enjoy living in it sans dust.  It is all such a slow process.  We still have college expenses to worry about (naturally) and that constant infusion of cash into the University of California system drains off a lot of resources and extra cash.  There is still much to do to the house but not a lot of money with which to do it.  Much of the interior work we will have to do ourselves because we are receiving ridiculous quotes from contractors who seem to think we are going to make them rich.  Not gonna happen.  If I need to climb up a 25 foot scaffold to save $3000, I will do so.  Done it before.

Tax season is upon us.  I've been completing our 2013 return.  Done and dusted.  Last night, the spouse commented that our paper pile is breeding again .... we have a stack on the desk, in the kitchen and on the floor next to my armchair, not to mention the file box.  Yes, it has gotten out of hand and I am spending the day sorting out old papers, shredding and burning.  Along the way, I have seen tax statements that have hurt my heart.  Would you like a glimpse?  OK.  These items will hit the 'burn' pile later this afternoon but here, recorded for posterity, is a look into my financial life of yesteryear which, thankfully, is long past and will not ever be repeated, and I say that with a giant middle finger pointed in the direction of every loan officer and bank who loaned us money when it was abundantly clear that they should NOT have.  Not with credit scores in the 500s.

From 2006:
Mortgage interest paid: $31,661 + $3206 + $4671 + $1174 + $20,049 + $7015
This grand sum is more money than many people make in one year.  It is certainly more than the amount I personally have made in the past 5 years combined.  The amounts above represent the number of times our mortgage deed was traded and transferred in the secondary mortgage market in 2006, the height of the money grubbing craziness among banks.  Six times.  One bank in particular held our deed for just 2 weeks before selling it on.  If that alone doesn't represent the fraud and corruption of the banking system during the run up to the 2008 crash, I don't know what will.  Bastards.

I have a monthly mortgage statement from Countrywide Home Loans (one of the biggest 'exotic' mortgage loan offenders during this time, if not THE biggest) that shows that one of my home loans is about to adjust to over $3000 a month.  Interest only.  With a past due amount of $6000+ showing in the box underneath it!  Almost $10,000 required to bring my loan current.  Crazy.  I don't know how we ever survived this time but this is definitely the run-up towards our own personal financial crash.  The principal owed on this particular loan was almost $400,000 which was all just numbers to me then.  I'm not even including the amounts owed on the second mortgage.  I'm sure I never even paid attention though.  This is also about the time when my hoarding reached its zenith.  I was too busy 'medicating'.

From 2007:
I am missing papers here, no doubt a symptom of my extreme disorganization back then.
The numbers below are all true and equally unbelievable.   I'm sure there are more itemized mortgage statements somewhere in the ether but this is what I have:
Mortgage interest paid: $64,188 + $4470 + $8155 + $27,536
2007 was the year that everything fell on its ass.  My years of suppressed grief and anger at the way I was treated for the first 20 years of my life came to a head when I finally confronted my father with his behavior and my unwillingness to put up with his shit not one minute longer.  The housing markets were beginning to slide off the edge of the cliff, taking my high paying job with it.  I was left in a panic, facing foreclosure, bankruptcy and a huge house full of hoard.  The numbers above represent our unsustainable, unhappy, expensive and inflated lifestyle.  Not shown is the amount of money it cost to 'maintain' that lifestyle in addition to the mortgage itself, which would've exceeded even the mortgage interest amount shown.  Don't forget too that there were property taxes due on the huge custom ex-home as well and I will fess up here:  At the time we hit foreclosure and had to move out, we owed almost $25,000 in property taxes which had to be covered by the bank and paid to the county before they could transfer the house at foreclosure auction.  We drowned in that house.

I don't have any information for 2008.  I think I shredded it all last year but kept 2006 and 2007 information to remind me of my past gross stupidity.  It's time to let it go now.  I do know that in 2008, my high paying job was gone, disappeared like spit on the hot sidewalks of the Mojave.  In a bid to hang on to the house, before I realized once and for all that such a pursuit was futile, I cleaned offices and houses to make money.  I made a decent sum but spent all of it on mortgage payments so all of my physical exertions were really a total waste of time.  2008 was a tough year.

No information for 2009 either.  Paperwork was all shredded too.  I am only keeping the past 4 years of financial records in order to streamline the amount of stuff I carry around with me.  I do know that 2009 was the beginning of a fresh start, rebuilding our credit and rebuilding our shattered finances.  We were broke and almost out on the streets.  I had some money left over from my high flying days which had to be used to provide shelter for the family and, luckily, I caught a Robosigner at the bank on a 'good' day: our present house was signed over to us by someone working in the bowels of a bank somewhere in the Midwestern States who was tired of handling a massive backlog of seemingly useless and unsellable foreclosures.  We made an extremely lowball offer on a half way derelict house in a decent part of town and the rest is history.  My knowledge of the housing market combined with the internet combined with PURE LUCK made the transaction possible.

5 years later, we continue to rebuild.  It will take a while.