Walking Forward Thru Challenges

"Breathe in, breathe out, move on..."  ~singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett

Walking forward, taking one step at a time, a day and a week, and a month at a time...no looking back.

Forward from my position or point of view, is often so scary, so insecure and unsure that I near the edge of despair.
I know I promised not to this year – “no despair” was a resolution that I continue to fight to keep. Some days it’s very hard.

Some days I have no fight and no faith, and no hope left in me.
*I found this tiny nest just outside the fence, under pine trees- it has a FLAT backside, like it was up against a tree trunk, and ONE black Cherihuka hair woven into it. Precious to find yet one more nest with his hair... yet like a slap in the face too. Cherihuka is still out on pasture near Flagstaff.

Thank you God for such a good natured spouse, who says we’ll be ok no matter what happens; I know that's true, but he helps me keep things in perspective.

This is not a rant. But it might be full of details and angst. It's PERSONAL and you may choose not to read it. (It's not that personal - I'm sure to mirror another few million other Americans these days!)

It’s an explanation of why I am not getting far on those farmy-related things I speak so passionately of. I want you to know it’s “not me”. Of course it is, to some extent. 
I AM holding back some, but I want you to know there’s a reason.

They keep saying the economy is getting back on track, and that may be so, but we’re just scraping by like everyone else we know. But here’s what’s been happening:

In order to keep our home we had to do a Chapter 13 (house lost so much value that it wouldn’t sustain a second mortgage), but the 1st, being part of the same institution as the 2nd, is apparently doing all it can in revenge (after so many swaps of ownership it’s hard to keep track of which bank really has the note). 
They are really, really, doing their best to force us into a Chapter 7.
Every time we re-file a new ‘plan’ to pay them back, they bring up some tiny argument – and that paper says:

 “wherefore, the Bank of --- F/K/A The Bank of ----, as Trustee for the Holders of the Certificates, First --- Mortgage Pass-through Certificates Series  (some numbers), By First --- Master Servicer, in its Capacity As Agent for the Trustee Under the Pooling and Servicing Agreement respectfully requests that this Court deny confirmation and either convert this case to a Chapter 7 proceeding or dismiss this case pursuant to the provisions of ...... some kind of relevant legal provision.
(Is it STRANGE, that this list of banks and servicers and trustees for, et al, has changed over 3 months? Before, it was also listing MERS electronic systems- which is now (I read) under investigation- and myseriously missing from these papers).
Yes, I’m highly suspicious, but what can we do?

Give up the house, means giving up all our investments (and dreams) in this place... which adds up to a whole lot, especially since the 1st was an interest only loan, and the equity on the 2nd evaporated. [We had qualified for a better loan, and had a huge down payment, and a better than average credit score. Our only bills were utilities (and cell phones) and a student loan, so no high debt to income. We should have been suspicious of the loan terms but were told that was all we could get- and we didn’t know enough to question that. Now we know. But, you can't go back and change things!]

Going Chapter 7 means we would give them the house and walk away.
They have now used 8 attorneys to do this! Sometimes up to 7 names are listed on one paper. Why??
Of course they added all their attorney fees and foreclosure filing fees and who knows what else to their payback demands. After we filed 3 different payback plans. Of course they have never sent any kind of breakdown of any charges to us, at all. We’re flying blind into this snowstorm of papers. 

They can say what they want to and we have to pay it!

The feelings of helplessness, the feelings of LIMBO... just go on and on and on!

[This is after their offer to help us, telling us to apply for a modification - then pretending they never got the paperwork requested (which was sent via Fax by the HUD approved housing counselor’s office). Of course when confronted with a witness who had proof of those transactions, the bank/servicer said “oh our fax machines automatically send a false positive ‘transaction successfully received’ whenever a fax is over 17 pages”.
Although they received some of our ‘packets’ of requested papers because they asked us for “updates” on our income several times.
I suppose you could set a fax machine to reject any number of pages you want to (or all 3,000+ of them in your bank servicing business)  - but if you request someone’s past 3 years of taxes plus all their current bills, and proof of income, you gotta expect it might go to 20 pages. So you might warn them to send the info by mail perhaps. Or to break up the fax into 2 parts. Right?
Or maybe your servicing company could just reset those machines?

Now the problem with this is layered. Of course they offered to help if we were behind, so we skipped a payment - and then they refused to put our payment toward the mortgage , instead suddenly putting payments toward some mystery ‘reserve’ fund, to pay themselves their late fees out of it, which shorted it for the mortgage payment. And in ’09 it was really hard  to come up with extra - and then when you’re 2 months behind they refuse to take any payments at all- so we never could catch up.] 

So you’re then made DESPERATE to get a modification.

Now, who can pay 2x their normal house payment plus stay current on taxes and pay an attorney and a trustee (middleman who tracks payments), and all your other bills that you need to keep a business running? (Thankfully we own a service business that doesn’t need large equipment or investments/loans for product). But we had to lose 2 employees and raise our rates to do it.

 Now THAT’S a double-edged sword.

Of course, hardly anyone can do that- and I’m sure that’s really why the banks make sure to wait a long time before sending foreclosure notices. That puts you between a rock and a hard place after having been led along on that wild goose chase for modification.

Actually, we’re lucky we didn’t get one- I keep reading how folks end up getting tricked into even worse loan conditions on those! OH can you imagine something worse than an interest only loan? Scary!

And, in Colorado, there are really few rights for homeowners to take advantage of, like “show me the note”.

Even when there are 'red flags' in your loan. [We found this out when the insurance company that the mortgage bank hired to pay them off "if" we defaulted (for some ‘unforeseen mysterious reason’) did an AUDIT and red-flagged our loan! (They currently refuse to respond to our attorney). We don't know what happened with the audit and we can't find out! (The insurance company called us after the auditor did- and asked if we intended to keep our house). Geez, why won't they help us keep our house? Would they rather pay out to the bank? 

Even if you could afford another attorney who specializes in property stuff, and subpoena such evidence... it would make no difference. No one is winning these lawsuits.

So after all that, it was almost 2 years and they denied us and started foreclosure (although we were getting letters of intent all the time anyway). Simply because we “didn’t respond to their request” for updated info. Which of course, we did. But the court doesn’t care because Colorado law doesn’t care, and the White House apparently doesn’t care... and our attorney is double booked for Chapter 7 filings now, and has to do our court appointments by phone through his stand-in assistant person. That's how bad it is out there.

Whew! Sometimes I actually feel half crazy too. Or like having a cold beer or something.
         Maybe a view out into this, which immediately takes your breath away again- but in a good way.

Anyway, it’s hard living in a place you bought to retire in, knowing any sweat equity on improvements or anything you do to make a house a home, might any month - due to someone not paying us or enough work not coming in - be taken away.

So I watch the economy signs like a hawk! I read and read and read...’cuz you can’t get anywhere near the truth on TV news. And it’s so scary, and so much anger is out there in the internet news. And you read about one investigation after another and nothing ever happens to change anything. 

But we keep waiting for one of these myriad of investigations going on to end up to be something that would make the bank stop and listen, and somehow allow us to just get back to the point of asking for a modification- all we wanted was a conventional loan (instead of interest only).
Where’s that beer?!

Because the chipmunks and lizards are out now, I’ve had to take the dogs out for daily property walks - which makes them happy dogs. They are toad/lizard/mouse hunters. And chattering chipmunks make them crazy too. Half a dozen (at least) baby chipmunks poured out of the beehives when Tikki convinced me to take a peek.

                                  I've been informed corrected - these are FULL GROWN chipmunks!

I have to walk around carefully, because of cactus and tree stumps and rocks... and am amazed that we missed all the problems with this property- the deadwood and felled trees, and random 2" to 2’ high tree stumps, and spiny clumps of cactus, and rocks (they are mostly sharp-edge rock that often splinters into layers, so is not good for building with). Although I still try.
               (Oh you don't want to see THOSE ugly pictures, do you??) Here's a teaser- useless rocks, dead trees, and spiny clumps of cactus (you'll have to zoom in I guess). There are worse pictures, but I didn't go that far yesterday...

We have a resident BADGER somewhere too- with several dens well within 100 feet of the house. I saw it once, and that was enough!  It was about 200 yards away at the time, facing off our littlest Pomeranian. I thought at first it was a skunk.  I almost wish it had been.
We used some firecrackers down it’s hole, thinking to chase it away... but, it only managed to come closer. I would take a picture, but I'm too scared to get that close. 

Oh, and I forgot about the water. It’s really bad sulphur. We have put 4 different kinds of filtrations systems on it and still need to replace the broken Chlorine pellet-dropper on the well head. (that's $750 plus the chlorine tablets). Either way, the plants don't really like it! Oh you should experience brushing your teeth with rotten eggs... gag!

So, sometimes I really wonder why we fight so hard.
Of course most of the reason now is simply not to let the bank(s) WIN. But to do that, your blood pressure has to go up.

I guess the real reason we love this place, this house, is because of the Eagle that rests in the tall pine outside our living room window for 6 months of the year, and that although the trees are about ½ scrub oak, they do form a barrier against the world. No one can see our junk and we can’t see theirs. 
And the little herds of mule deer wander through all the time. You can’t go 10 feet without seeing deer droppings, or go 15 feet anywhere on the property without stepping onto a clear deer trail (it’s often the best way to get around and between all the tree branches). 
Some of the deer are not that scared of you, you can get within 4 feet of them- if you dare! And the bucks are just too cool. They’re much more rare, usually only see them during fall, although I do see them chasing does during rut season, just underneath our kitchen window in November. They make all kinds of funny noises. And the babies with their spots come out just after Father’s Day.

And we can watch the light change on the mountain... and the monsoon clouds towering up over them before they spread out all around us. In our little microclimate here between mountain ranges, we get to see much more weather than we get. For instance, half the snow of surrounding areas and phenomenal silent lightening shows around us over the mountains all summer. 

And the house, well it’s rustic. It’s open and airy, but rustic. We're casual people in a casual town... and it fits us perfectly. (All of our furnishings matched when we moved in, even our cars matched the house trim). Of course it’s true that I can’t reach some of the ceilings, even with a ladder and holding the tip of a broom. That makes it fun at 3am when the fire alarm batteries go out.

So this is my life these days while I carry on trying to keep my eyes on the prize, the future. Trying desperately not to cave in to despair, and trying to find ways of being productive that I could take with me, if I have to leave.

Because it’s just as likely that I will as won’t.

So please understand why there are so few updates to speak of, so few projects to show off, or progress made. But know that I'm not giving up, wherever I happen to be/end up.

And thanks for your company on this journey!
It helps to get feedback and learn things from others about what it is to pursue the dream. If you want to share your current challenges, please feel free! 

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