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Bumpy Waters and The Next Chapter

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I have no debt update this month because frankly it’s bleak and depressing and I just don’t want to think about it right now.  We are still on track to close on the sale of the house in less than 10 days and then my parents will arrive for a week long visit with us a week after that…I’m praying that things will go smoothly with this and that there is money available to me from the sale of the house, but no further mention has been made.  I continue to have to put little bits of money into the old house with additional small repairs based on the inspection report and the ongoing utility costs until it closes.

I am still driving a rental car from the accident three weeks ago.  On two separate occasions they have said it would be done, was done and it was not.  It’s really fine, since we do have something that suits our needs to get around, but I do feel like I’m in a holding pattern.

After the wreck, my back was quite sore.  I hoped for the first few days that it would calm down on it’s own believing it to be muscle strain and nothing else.  But the Tuesday (after the Wednesday wreck,) I broke down and went to the doctor.  They did x-rays, etc. and luckily found no degenerative issues which is what they suspected might have been aggravated by the wreck, but as a result I have been at the doctors 3 times a week for a couple of hours at a time. Just this week, I am relatively pain free and today they gave me exercises to do to help continue my recovery.  I do not like going to doctors and I do not like having physical limitations…at all!

Needless to say, with these “extra” things added to an already full life…well, it’s left little time for anything else.  But I have begun/continued dreaming, considering and thinking about what the next step in our life will be.  As great as the idea of small space living is…well, the reality is pretty hard.  (I am working on a series for my personal blog on this, I will post some links when I put it up since several have asked about it.)  Or maybe our space is just a bit too small for the 9 of us and our lifestyle.  If I worked outside the home and/or the kids went to traditional school, well, it might work more easily, but that’s not our reality.

So where do we go from here…as early as May of this year I was pretty certain that I would not move forward with buying the house from my dad.  Now don’t go back and say I lied…it was a decision in my head but not something I was ready to set in stone with anyone else and frankly if there had been a way to purchase the house in a timely fashion, I would have pursued it first.  But I did start to explore other housing options with an eye on my debt reduction…you can see a post I wrote hinting toward that end here on my personal blog.

Since that time, I have continued to look for a way to stay in this area, but to be able to have housing that costs significantly less than the going rate (this is a very expensive place to live.)  So I think I’ve found a solution and to that end, I have a meeting with some architects/designers next week.  After that meeting I will post additional details.  This is not something that will deter my debt reduction schedule and certainly not something that would happen quickly; although my hope is that we can move from our tiny space at the end of our year lease.

On the flip side of that, and the most effective way to get out of debt is to increase a person’s income.  Two things have come up in this regard…1) all the retail stores are hiring for holiday help.  I’m considering picking up a part time job with that in mind.  With the later hours that retail keeps in comparison to my previous part time job, this might be a viable option for me, but again not a done deal yet.  2) I have decided to begin applying for corporate work again.  I’ve been out of the corporate world for 8 years now, and I love my life.  And frankly, I’m not sure corporate is the right way to go.  But what the big idea is…well, I need to be open, completely open to what is to come next for us.

I feel like a failure.  I’ve slid backward with my debt due to this housing debacle.  My kids  no longer have the “stable” home they had for the past four years.  And I’m doubting myself at every single turn.  But what I do know is that 1) not buying the house from my dad was the best long term decision financially and 2) God has a plan, and while I seem to really stink at making decisions, if I lean on Him, that plan will come to fruition.  (I know this is not a religious blog and I’m sorry if my God references offends anyone, but frankly, right now, I don’t trust myself with the big decisions so I’m really, truly just trying to open my mind and my heart to whatever comes next.)

Blog posts coming soon from me…a new monthly budget (post house sale when I don’t have extra utilities to pay,) medical insurance (someone mentioned this in  a comment once and we’re going with something new starting Dec 1 so thought I would share,) small space survival skills (I will post this mostly on my personal blog but will put some posts here with regards to the financial aspects.)  Sorry, I missed last week, the bumpy waters have limited my “free” time.


27 Comments

  • Reply Walnut |

    Stay positive, Hope. This too will pass. Don’t beat yourself up over not having as stable of a living environment as you would like. So long as your kids feel safe and know that you love them with every ounce of your being, they’ll be just fine.

  • Reply Juhli |

    I am curious why you haven’t talked to your Dad directly about the house financial situation? I’m sure he can’t read your mind or know how much you have spent on preparing it for sale unless you talk with him.

    • Reply Hope |

      Actually, he asked me to know how much I spent in preparing the house for sale so he could claim in on his taxes in regards to the sale of the house…I’m not sure how this works. But I am hoping that since I sent him the totals he is going to possibly reimburse those monies with the sale of the house.
      Why I haven’t talked to him? I’m scared too. I and he as well have worked REALLY hard at not letting this situation come between us in our relationship. It’s taken alot on my part and I’m sure on his part as well, so I just don’t want to rock the boat.

      • Reply Juhli |

        I understand the difficulty of some family relationships and that they take priority. Perhaps though you could bring it up by saying that you are really trying to put together your financial plans and budget and it would be helpful to know how much, if any, of those expenses he will be able to reimburse you for as well as any sale proceeds that might come to you. A smile on your face and in your voice. You have a lot of dependents and a lot of debt that comes first IMO.

  • Reply Jen |

    Hope, I am rooting for you and I enjoy your posts (here and elsewhere). Everything I say here is coming from a loving place. Protect yourself and your kids. Period.

    Having your father involved in your finances/house purchasing was a mistake from the get-go. Put it in the past and make sure you are protecting yourself and your “investment” in the property. From what you have posted, it sounds like he has no legal or moral motivation to actually follow through with the “deal” that you have struck. Your father has a track record of not doing things that are best for you. I think you may be hung out to dry in the end, though I sincerely hope that it is not the case. Is there any way possible to get written confirmation from him that he will return the proceeds to you at closing (e.g. text, email, etc.)? Legally it seems as if you have just been a fantastic tenant who chose to make improvements on your own dime. Additionally, the fact that you have not hashed out the details and put it in writing does not bode well for the state of affairs when the deal finally closes. When dealing with ANYONE, family most importantly, you should always always always have a written contract. Money changes people and it can/will ruin relationships.

    I think the corporate job may be just what you need right now (financially and mentally) to get things rolling along a bit faster. There could even be signing bonuses to help knock out some debt or make a nice down payment on a piece of land. Maybe this would give you a since of stability since you won’t be as anxious about where the next job might come from. How would the homeschooling work out if you took this route? With the boys heading off to college this might still be doable for the younger two.

    It kind of sounds like you just need to force yourself to sit down and make a solid plan that you won’t falter from in a few months when it gets tough (e.g. car wrecks, housing changes, etc.). Think it through thoroughly. You know where you want to be, so break it up into small pieces and work toward each one of those mini goals with specific measurable outcomes. Set a timeline and stick to it. Do not drastically deviate from your plan. If you spent quality time planning, you know it will get you where you want to be.

    All of that being said, trust yourself. You have surrounded yourself with loving friends and have built a family of your own. Though you have moved to a different home, the stability you long to provide the kids will come from within you. You are where home is for those kiddos. Your address is just a location.

    • Reply Hope |

      Jen, thank you, thank you, for your kind and constructive words. You are right. I’ve come to the same conclusion myself as far as what the future holds…and thus the last couple of weeks of mostly listlessness while I mull things over. And I guess alot of what this post was about….letting you know the big stuff that’s been going on and what I’m starting to formulate in my head as far as the next phase goes.
      Once this house business is done, I will not ever mix family and finances. That lesson has been learned and I will not forget it again.
      I don’t know what the next step will be…but I am really working myself up to being open to whatever comes alone, whether it be corporate or staying in this tiny apt longer or ???
      Again, thank you for your kind words.

  • Reply Jean |

    Jen’s post is beautiful. She said what I was thinking, but much more eloquently and lovingly than I would have said things.

    You’ve been through a rough patch lately and had to make some hard decisions – some of which you are second-guessing right now. I’m sure it’s hard to not have a partner when it comes to making some of these decisions. Do you have a close friend or mentor that you can bounce ideas off? Even if you stick with your original decision, you might feel better having talked it out with someone else.

    Like Jen, I feel like you’re not focused and you need to regroup and come up with a plan. Maybe that’s what you’re trying to do, and you’re ‘talking’ out loud on the blog. My husband thinks out loud, and I’ve learned to only half-listen, i.e. not take anything he says as his final answer.

    You cut down your hours at your part-time job, yet you want to go out & get another part-time job? I’m confused about that one. Are you thinking that it’s ‘only temporary’ and you can do it for a couple of months?

    I’m also curious about what you would do with the kids concerning school if you went back into Corporate America. You’ve said that homeschooling is the best choice for your family, but would you be okay leaving them alone all day?

    I think you mentioned something in a previous post about moving to a different city/state – is that still an option?

    Pray for guidance, and God will show you the path He has for you. Prov. 3:5-6, Gen. 28:15

    • Reply Hope |

      Hey Jean,
      I think you are right, Jen’s post was spot on to me. One of the things that has been hard has been the lack of really hands on support. I just don’t have that being a single mom. While I do have a couple of friends that I am completely open with, neither of them live here any longer and while phone calls are great…they are limited. Not to mention, they just haven’t ever had this experience before one being a happily married SAHM and one being divorced but with parents who have fully supported her as she got on her feet. I’ll try to address a couple of the questions you had…
      1. Considering retail is an option because they don’t stick to the traditional 9-5 type hours, so I could be more available, this was what caused the issue at my current part time job.
      2. I will not consider any other school options for my kiddos other than homeschooling. But I am aware of several avenues we could take if I did go back to a traditional career. And I will cross that bridge when we come to it, no use borrowing trouble.
      3. Moving to a different location is something I have been open to personally but when I consider my kids I am less inclined to that option. But if the right job opportunity comes along, I will consider it.
      And lastly, yes PRAYER, that is where I am focusing asking for guidance as we move through what I hope is a transitional phase in our lives. We are stable and okay so I don’t have to rush into anything and I’m beyond grateful for that.

  • Reply Rebecca |

    I think you are doing great, making the hard choices, and hanging in through the tough times. I’m impressed. Of course a car wreck and a slow house sale will slow you down. Just keep moving through it. I agree a corporate job with a higher income is a great idea, more income equals a bit more flexibility in the budget. You can do it.

    • Reply Hope |

      Rebecca,
      I think you are right as far as income goes; however, I want to make sure I am moving towards that for the right reasons and not just because I’m scared. I really do have the best of both worlds in my current situation…getting to stay home and raise my kids and do work that I love. So I will weigh all opportunities carefully before making any leaps. This is the only life my kids have ever known, and they really struggled with me just being gone 10 hours a week.

  • Reply TPol |

    I do not agree with Jen and Jean about Hope’s father. Didn’t she make it clear that, her father provided her with the home when she needed that stability the most? I think he loves her very much. I guess he was disappointed that Hope did not hold her end of the bargain. Although, we do not know the whole story from both her and her father’s perspective, I tend to believe he wants her to make good decisions. I do not want this to be considered a rude remark but, taking the responsibility of additional kids while the financial situation was less than ideal was one of those questionable decisions. I do admire Hope’s big heart but, some of her decisions seem to be based on impulses. Having so many pets is another one. Pets need care almost as much as humans do and that may get expensive. A lot of people wouldn’t have made the decisions she has made given the debt situation. I think I am sounding judgemental so, I will stop here. Before I go, I must also say that, I think she is on the right track and she will be able to get rid of her debt. I also like reading about her. Wish Hope, the best of luck…

    • Reply Jen |

      TPol,

      I may be reading to much into her father’s actions, but based on a specific incident mentioned in another place her father doesn’t seem to be working in her best interest. I am sure that he loves her, but enabling someone to make such a major purchase when they are not financially or mentally in the right space is detrimental to that person’s well being. Rental homes provide just as stable of an environment for children. Additionally, a rental would have given her more flexibility when she realized that her priorities were changing (after the smoke cleared and she was again single and stable).

      I do see your perspective though 🙂

    • Reply Financial Fan |

      I do hope it all works out for you, Hope. Your life does seem to be a bit chaotic to me, and I think that this has come home to roost, so to speak. I believe that we really don’t have the whole story on the house, and that you have not been completely transparent. Reading between the lines, it seems to me that your father went out of his way to provide a good home for you and your children through a down payment. He might have thought that your lives had been unstable since your divorce. Perhaps you really did not like the financial connection you had with your dad through this home and wanted to break that off. It seems perhapshe saw it as being ungrateful, and he may also have felt great concern for his grandchildren. He, of course, knows Hope, and we don’t. He may have predicted that they would well be in these “bumpy waters” with that decision.

      Another question I have is if your children are getting a consistent and regular homeschooling in this situation.

      • Reply Hope |

        Financial Fan,
        My kids schooling is going GREAT! Having much less “home” responsibility definitely frees up time to work on some AWESOME science experiments, do great field trips and really spend lots of time together on a daily basis. Thanks for asking!

    • Reply Hope |

      TPol,
      I know my dad loves me, you are right about that. But I do want to clear something up…I did not take on additional kids while my finances were so tight. I actually had a full time contract for 8 years and literally lost that contract in a day with no notice, less then two months before the adoption was finalized.
      Just to be clear on that…

      • Reply TPol |

        Thanks for sharing and clarifying that.

        I am a bit sensitive when it comes to dads. I lost mine just when I was 27 (20 years ago) and there is not a single day that I do not miss him. I am keeping my fingers crossed that you will improve your relationship and leave this stuff in the past. I also wish your dad a healthy, long life with you guys around him.

  • Reply Joe |

    Hope,
    Keep your head up through this rough patch!
    I feel for your tough situation. Some things really seem like very bad luck (e.g. The car accident). Being not quite right physically always imposes a mental burden that can really exacerbate the rest.

    Having said that, I am glad that you are being introspective. Not that second-guessing is what you want to do per se, but the fact is that almost every issue you brought up with regards to space, time, and overall financial burdens was covered at one point on this blog. For instance, numerous readers counseled you that there would not be enough space in the new apartment. Admittedly, I actually thought your decision and explanation there sounded terrific, and a boon financially as well. I think a follow up post would be helpful, briefly outlining how the space has differed from your vision and especially whether the financial side of the equation has not lined up as projected. My recollection is that you would be saving several hundred dollars a month from the move; now you are talking about moving out after a year which would incur another set of moving expenses and family disruption.

    My own advice from a few months ago, and which I would re-iterate although the timing is not nearly as good now, would be to let the kids go to public school even for just one year. I understand your distaste for the school environment, but any “different” experience for kids is highly enriching in my opinion, even if just to reaffirm the homeschooling benefits. This one year would give you a lot more time to work and sort things out, and could put off having to make a major career shift back to the corporate world that may not work out for you in the long term.

    But regardless, please concentrate on getting healthy and the rest will become all the more clear!

    • Reply Hope |

      Hi Joe,
      I certainly appreciate your perspective, and you are right, when the dust settles from the house sale and the additional bills I am paying now are gone, I will be saving several hundreds of dollars a month here in the apartment.
      I think just the compounded issues that have come up have just thrown me for a loop. And when the holidays approaching, the stress just mounts.
      I think until someone has homeschooled, they cannot understand how important that is so while I appreciate your perspective on schooling as far as getting the kids out of the house for 8 or so hours a day, it’s just not the right thing for them, and they are the reason for everything I do.
      Thank you for your encouragement and support, I do take what the readers say to heart as I continue to put out feelers for what will come next.

  • Reply Mary from SC |

    Good Morning Hope – being on a debt free track myself, it gets hard, bumpy, boring, stressful and so many more things. The important thing is to not kick yourself when you are down. You need to look at the successes you have made and the sacrifices you are making to help your family get on a more stable financial footing. First off…you are NOT a failure. You are giving it all you’ve got and doing it pretty much alone. Many people, myself included, have someone beside them in the fray. You have been open to suggestions from readers regarding the big ticket things like your vehicle, giving up some extra-curricular activities with the kids, making them more accountable with money, etc. Your decision to move to a much smaller place to help in your quest was HUGE so please give yourself some credit. You just need to take a breath, take a step back and evaluate where you were 9 months ago and where you are now…financially and also with your money mindset. You have made progress. Now you are in the rut and that is to be expected, but now is the time to dig in and just do the “next right thing”. Take a few hours to yourself and get everything financial on paper and find out exactly where you are. You may want to wait until the house closes, but don’t let it go on to long where apathy will begin to set in. Get your focus back. I have heard it said it is like being on a diet and slipping and eating a cookie then thinking well, I have blown it now, so I’ll just eat the whole pack. Same thing with finances. Stop, evaluate and then get back to the business at hand. As far as a second job, I have a suggestion. I am taking tax prep classes and will work PT evenings from January – April doing taxes. They work around my schedule, so that is good. This works for my family, schedule, etc. Maybe something like that would work for you. Before making any decisions, know exactly where you are again financially. Wishing you the best!

    • Reply Hope |

      Hey Mary,
      Thank you for your kind words…as always! The tax preparation idea is a great one and there’s one of those offering the classes within walking distance of our apartment. I will definitely check it out.
      I am taking each day at a time right now and not committing to anything. I need to regain my equilibrium before making any more decisions, that’s for sure!

    • Reply Theresa |

      I agree with Mary. Go somewhere quiet and get the numbers together. That way you will be better prepared when you get the numbers from your Dad. A part time job as a tax preparer is an excellent idea. And don’t forget about these folks here. There are some smart cookies that comment here and they can give you insight on the most efficient manner to psy your debt off.

  • Reply Den |

    Not to be too simplistic, but it sounds like you are overwhelmed and just need to take a break.

    Don’t make any big decisions when you are feeling this way….just stop, relax, do the main things you need to do to keep life moving for your family, listen to your heart, take notes, talk to trusted friends, and just be patient…..the answers will come, but you have to be patient. Maybe give yourself until January for the dust to settle before you make any decisions?

    Good luck!

    • Reply Jen From Boston |

      This was my thought as well. A LOT is going on, and if I was in Hope’s shoes I’d want some quiet time to just unwind and regain perspective. Maybe there’s and afternoon or morning in the next few weeks where the kids are all outside of the home at different activities and you can use that to gather yourself and regroup?

    • Reply Hope |

      Thank you, Den, that’s kind of been my perspective over the last couple of weeks. I don’t want to rush into anything with all these big changes happening and the emotions tied them. I certainly don’t want to make a life altering decision based on fear or desperation. I appreciate your perspective and feedback.

  • Reply debtor |

    awww, Hope.

    It will all work out in the end! As they say, all this will be in the past one day.

    Take a breath and then regroup.

    I said this on another post and i think someone else did up there. You need to spend more time setting up a plan and then trusting in the plan when things get tough. You spend all the effort and time setting up a plan that takes into as much as you can think of and then when trouble comes you can go on auto-pilot.

    I was one of those that didn’t think that the small apartment was a good idea for the reasons you have listed but now that you have moved – i think you should try and stick it out before making any other moves.

  • Reply hannah |

    I agree with others, you sound overwhelmed, and that is totally understandable. Ugh. It is rough being an adult isn’t it? I remember being a kid, wishing I was an adult so I could stay up as late as I wanted, eat whatever I wanted, do whatever …….
    Then adulthood happens and guess what? Life doesn’t get easier, it gets harder. It’s tough.
    You have it much more challenging since you don’t have a spouse to support and help you through life’s struggles. I hope you can find some friends to support you and lend the listening ear you need these days.
    As you said, it wouldn’t be a good idea to make big decisions right now, just give yourself some time to get through this stressful time and relax when possible.

So, what do you think ?