If you didn’t see the tweets or hear the news, “Love in the Time of Foreclosure” was recommended on NPR’s Planet Money Blog. Here.

We’re delighted to have more readers and welcome your comments and questions!

We’ve actually been getting a lot of really interesting questions over the last few days and plan answering them in a post. So please send us your questions (and suggestions) either in the comments section or via e-mail:

loveinthetimeofforeclosure@gmail.com

Thank you!

Living with Foreclosure – Planet Money

 
 

After rebounding from my darkest moment in this entire experience I am very happy to report that THINGS ARE LOOKING UP!

How? Why? What’s going on?

Well, I’ll tell you.

It all began on Tuesday morning when Bob declared this week a “Bull—- Free Week.” As in, no baloney. No messing around. Just getting it done. Making it happen. Turning it all around. It was a powerful declaration and I got on board.

With a foreclosure looming on the horizon and no word from the short sale negotiator, I decided to call Countrywide and request a Postponement of the Foreclosure. That was an interesting/frustrating couple of hours. I actually “tweeted” (yes, Littof is on Twitter! Follow us) in real time while I was on the phone. If anyone is interested in what that looks like, here’s a screen shot of my tweets from Tuesday. Click on the image to enlarge, then read bottom up to get the progression:

The bottom-line is that I was given the run-around (per usual) for a while until I was told by someone in the short sale department that they had no record of our offer, our file was closed and they wouldn’t be able to postpone the foreclosure.

No record of the offer?! We submitted it weeks ago! What the hell?!

I e-mailed our Realtor that has been handling the negotiations with our lenders and expressed my utter confusion and frustration. She sent me our negotiator’s phone number and said I could try to call him but that she’d been leaving him messages and hadn’t heard back. I did call him and I left a message asking him to get in touch with me as I’m worried and had questions. I tried to sound sweet and not like the crazed banshee that was raging inside.

About an hour later, our Realtor called with our negotiator on the line. The negotiator said he was looking at the offer and not to worry, he could have it approved by Wednesday evening.

“See? There’s nothing to worry about,” said our Realtor. I know, but I won’t rest until this deal is done and the foreclosure is off my back, I told her. She said she understood completely.

She was right, though. Because Wednesday morning it was approved. Phew! Finally!

Next step was to get the approval from National City (our 2nd mortgage.)

And we got that yesterday! Just like that. Getting it done. No Bull—-. As soon as the National City approval came through, we entered ‘escrow’ (see definition at the bottom of the post) and the buyers were already scheduling the property and termite inspections.

What does this mean?

This means we are on the path to successfully avoid foreclosure.
We will officially celebrate when we close. But, this is good. Great, actually. Things are looking up, indeed.

Our closing date is June 27th. 30 days. That means we have one month left in this house. That means that we can start selling things. We can start planning. We can begin to move on. Yesterday, I sold (with lots of help from a friend) enough books to earn $109 on abebooks.com. Today I’m cleaning the house, getting more boxes, selling my remaining books at a used book store, bringing some items to Goodwill, planning a giant estate sale. Moving on.

Yesterday as my friend and I itemized our belongings and entered them into an excel spreadsheet, it hit me, this is actually exciting. I mean it. I’m excited to sell all this stuff. I didn’t think I could do it. But I am and I’m excited. I think I’d feel totally different if I were packing everything and having to store it somewhere until who knows when. That would be completely different.

“Yeah, how depressing,” said my friend.

This is exciting and not depressing because it’s an adventure. An opportunity to learn. To wipe the slate clean and begin again.

Last week Bob said to me,

“I don’t want to acquire things. I want to acquire experiences.”

And that’s exactly it. That’s what I want our life to be. Acquiring experiences. I think it’s what I’ve always wanted. And that’s what we’re doing. Yes, this has been incredibly challenging, but I am so grateful for the experiences we’ve ‘acquired’ in the process. We are far more interesting now than before. Lighter, freer, happier. And Bull Shit Free.

What’s escrow?

From Realtor.com:


Escrow opens when the buyer and seller sign a sales contract, commonly called a real estate purchase agreement and receipt of deposit. The contract, along with any additional instructions, serves as instructions for the escrow officer.

Escrow assures that the lender releases the home purchase funds at or about the same time that the deed is recorded to reflect new ownership. Escrow includes depositing, with a neutral third party, funds, documents and instructions necessary to complete the transfer.

For us, escrow means that things are moving ahead. But, like I said, we won’t officially celebrate until the deal is done. Until June 27th.

Any readers want to elaborate on the ramifications of escrow in California? Do it in the comments below! Thanks!

 
 

This is my hair. And my eye. Peaking through my too-long bangs. Can you see it?

I thought it was time to do a little update on the
Quest for my Organic Self or What Color is My Hair?

I have not spent any money or used any chemicals on my hair since I embarked on this quest. And I think you can tell. I love progress, don’t you?

The last time I dyed my hair was in January. It was almost black.
Very dark brown. Now, 5 months later, it looks like this:

How many colors do you see?
I see at least 3.
And a clear grow-out line.
I’m still not quite sure what my natural color is yet-
(dirty blonde??)
-but I’m getting closer.
And finding a lot of gray along the way.
Would you just look at that streak of gray!
I have a lot around the temples too.
I don’t mind the color so much as the coarse texture.

This ‘quest’ began on March 24th. I should have taken a ‘before’ picture. I didn’t. But I did write about it in a post here. It began as an opportunity as I wrote:

Yes, this is an opportunity. To let go. To confront all of my “looking good” issues. To see myself au nautural after years of being chemically enhanced (so dramatic, I know.) It’s an opportunity to let my hair rest. I’m letting it go. Through all kinds of crazy striped color weird and potentially extremely ugly awkwardness.

I’ll be honest. I’m a little afraid. I’m afraid I’ll look ugly. That people will point and stare. That I’ll have way more gray than I can possibly handle. That I’ll look old, haggard and unkempt.

So why am I doing this? To embrace my fear. To strip me down to my organic self. To save money. To make a small personal sacrifice for the benefit of our household. To just see. See what? I don’t know… what I really look like, what comes up for me. I’m just gonna see.

How do I feel about it now? Well, it is what it is. I’m definitely saving money and that feels good. I’m allowing my hair to ‘rest.’ I’m letting go of looking good. It’s kind of fun, actually. It’s more of a fascination. Each day more gray…. The “crazy striped color weird ugly awkwardness” is kind of fascinating. My response is, “Wow! Look at that!” instead of: “Oh no! Damn! Help!”

One day a couple of weeks ago while Bob and I were eating lunch together, he just looked at me and said, “I like your gray hair coming through.”

And I said, “What? Really?!”

And he said, “Yeah. It’s pretty. It’s you.”

I just kissed him. What more could I do?

When you strip everything away and are just left with you… nothing added, no house, no material possessions, no money, no make-up, no chemically treated hair, no fancy clothes and expensive lingerie… will you still be loved?

That’s the question and the fear, right?

If the answer is yes, you know you chose the ‘right’ partner. If it’s no, well, to quote Liz Lemon from NBC’s ’30 Rock’: “That’s a deal breaker, ladies!” But that’s just an opinion.

And I do believe more than anything that it has to first come from you. From within. Right? Everything else is gravy.

Wow, I just made what was supposed to be a lighthearted post, dramatic.
I guess I can’t help it.

What do you think?
Did any readers join me in this quest? If so, please share your progress.
If not, anyone want to start now?

 
 

“THE PLACE IS LIKE A MUSEUM…”


FERRIS: If I had to live in that house, I’d pray for a disease, too. The place is like a museum. It’s very beautiful and very cold. You’re not allowed to touch anything. Can you appreciate what it must have been like to be there as a baby?

For $2,300,000.00 YOU could own the house that housed the Ferrari in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Set over a creek in the Highland Park woods – north of Chicago – the home is a stunner.
A STUNNER!

Description from Realtor.com:

THE BEN ROSE HOME-site of the famous movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, cantilevered over the ravine, these two steel and glass buildings, which can never be duplicated, have incredible vistas of the surrounding woods. This is a unique property designed by A. James Speyer and David Haid, both notable architects of the 20th Century. Estate Sale Sold -No disclosures! This is an amazing architectural treasure.

Want to see more pictures of Cameron’s house? There are a bunch of gorgeous interior shots and more info at: Gizmodo

“THIS IS A STOLEN HOUSE!”

BEHRANI:Do you remember our bungalow on the Caspian, how I ordered the trees cut down on the west side so we may view the sea? … I today have bought for us another bungalow. I purchased this home for a price no one would believe.

At a more ‘affordable’ $1,999,000.00 you could own the ‘bungalow’ from House of Sand and Fog.

Thanks to L.A. Land Blog we learn:

The ocean-view house staged as a San Francisco property in the 2003 movie “House of Sand and Fog” has come on the market at $1,999,000.

Actually in Malibu, the 1,239-square-foot house was built in 1955, sits on more than an acre and has two bedrooms and 1 1/2 bathrooms.

This is a probate sale, so I wouldn’t worry about the film’s tragic plot playing out in real life.

— Lauren Beale

I have to comment on Lauren’s point about the movie’s tragic plot not being an issue in probate. Hmmm…. still could be an issue. If the deceased’s family has emotional ties to the house but cannot afford to own it themselves, there could be a similar plot. Something like this, perhaps:

DAUGHTER OF DECEASED: I grew up in this house and you think you can come in here with your millions of dollars and buy, er, TAKE it from me?! This is a stolen house!! I will now cash your check. Thank you.”

Or not.

For listing info & more pics via Redfin

Let’s play a game.

Which house would YOU rather own? And Why? Who wants to start?

(If you like this post, please share it. Buzz it up. Stumble it. Tweet it. Facebook it. The buttons are right here. Just click ’em. Thanks!)

 
 


“The Inquisition”

Just a quick recap:
I experience darkest moment of whole foreclosure experience which leads to a day of recovery in the form of movie watching. We’ve just finished KUNG FU PANDA and I’m feeling a little better thanks to that delightful film. Now I’m ready for public. At least I think I am. I think it will be good for me to get up off the couch, shower, make a salad and eat smoked ribs with other human beings. This, I believe, I can handle.

And on with the story:
I’m now at the BBQ, picking the meat off said ribs and telling a couple of friends how we are planning a sale to sell everything. I know I shouldn’t bring it up. My goal was to NOT talk about the house. I’m still feeling on the verge of tears. Feeling “leaky,” as it were. But I bring it up because, well, I just… they’re offering to help. So I say, “Thank you. That would be great!” and that’s the end of that. Next topic. Something more cheerful, please?

But, someone had been listening. And decided to join the conversation. Not a terrible crime. It is a BBQ. We’re all friends of friends. But I don’t know this person and I really don’t want to talk to strangers about our financial disaster. It’s my own fault. I shouldn’t have brought it up. “You’re selling everything?” he asks. We’ll call him Bud. Do I really have to answer him?

ME: Yes.
BUD: Why?
ME: Um, well…(would it be rude to say I really don’t want to talk about it?)
BUD: Are you moving?
ME: Yes.
BUD: Why?
ME: Well, we’re selling our house.
BUD: Why?
ME: (oh my freaking lord) Why?
BUD: It’s a terrible time to sell. It’s the worst time to sell.
ME: Yes, I know.
BUD: Then why?
ME: Because we have to.
BUD: Why?
ME: (seriously?!?!) Because we can’t afford it anymore.
BUD: Why?
ME: (speechless)
BUD: Can’t you rent it out?
ME: (is this really happening right now?!) No. That won’t work.
BUD: Oh. What about refinancing? You should try that.
ME: We did.
BUD: You did?
ME: (getting pretty pissy now) We tried everything. (period. end of conversation.)
BUD: But you really shouldn’t sell now if you can–
ME: (cutting him off… ripping off the band-aid) We’re in foreclosure!

Suddenly all eyes at this big, long table are on me. Followed by a chorus of:

“Ooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”
(Which translates to: how sad, you poor thing, glad that’s not me, yikes, etc.)

ME: Yeah.

Just then Bob returns with beverages. A beer for himself (homemade by the host!) and a Mexican Coke for me. What makes it Mexican? It’s imported. From Mexico. And it’s awesome. It’s way better than American Coke. Why? It has Sugar Cane instead of High Fructose Corn Syrup and it always comes in a glass bottle. It’s a classy choice by our host to provide Mexican Coke. Classy.

BOB: How’s it going?
ME: Oh, fine. Thanks for the Coke! (I turn to my friends) Look! Mexican Coke!

I am desperate for anything else to talk about.

FRIEND: What’s Mexican Coke?

So I explain. With relish and great detail. I’m grateful for this new conversation. To have something so trivial to discuss. I am aware that Bud has turned his questions to Bob. I try not to listen. But I hear him fire away. And I hear Bob answer each one with great patience and generosity. Today I’m Doom and he’s Hope.

Bob explains how he lost his job and… so this Mexican Coke is so good, right? It’s pretty sweet, but better flavor and better for you. Right?

Okay, the thing is… this is exactly why we started this blog. Why? To answer people’s questions. To pull back the curtain. There are a lot of people who are terrified that our experience will become their experience. They’re afraid the same thing will happen to them and we have been willing to share our experience to hopefully make a difference for others. It was our choice to do this. To become the walking face of foreclosure.

Bob tells me later that Bud’s questions were coming from his own fear. He and his wife had just bought a house and she had apparently just lost her job. Our reality is his biggest fear right now. Bob said that he seemed really negative about their situation so he was trying to leave them with some hope.

I get it. People want to know what they can do to NOT end up like us. And they want to know what it’s like in case they do. Like a former co-worker of mine. At least once a week he would say to me, “I want you to tell me more about foreclosure because I’m afraid we’ll end up there soon.”

So, if there are any readers out there with the same fears…. I hope this blog helps. I hope you learn from our mistakes. I hope we leave you with some hope. I hope you don’t spend too much time worrying. I hope you don’t let your fears (like I did on Sunday) possess you. And it’s okay if you do. We get it. Trust me. We get it.

At this point I invite you to ask us questions.
What do you want to know? Ask anything.

You can do that in the comments section below.

Or send us an e-mail at:

loveinthetimeofforeclosure@gmail.com

Please. Ask away. That’s what we’re here for!

Where to buy Mexican Coke? Costco of course [Serious Eats]

 
 


“The Fit”

It’s Memorial Day and I’m at a BBQ sitting at a table outside next to a couple of friends picking the meat off the delicious smoked ribs, trying not to think or talk about any of this. This. You know. The house, foreclosure, where we’ll go, when we’re leaving, what’s happening, etc. I’m in no mood to talk about it. No mood at all. Why? Because I’ve traveled to the dark side.

It happened Sunday night.

Actually, it probably began the day we got the notice of sale. I was slowly heading towards that place. I just didn’t know it. People ask how I am and I say, fine. Because, well, I’m breathing. I’m surrounded by love and support. And it’s only a house. I know this intellectually. What I experienced Sunday night defies logic. But it points to the deep, emotional impact of losing one’s home. We are not immune.

What happened Sunday night?

It started with me ‘leaking’ in public. At a bar. Tears pushing their way out of my eyes and me trying to wipe them away before anyone noticed. Unsuccessful.

I don’t feel normal anymore. I feel scared. And the last few days it has been extremely difficult to be hopeful. The bright side has darkened. How dark, I didn’t know until later. Until at home I…

…well, until I flipped. I just lost it. My fear and anger welling up inside of me, emerged and took me over like an alien. “We’re losing our house and I’m terrified!” I screamed. I got hysterical. I screamed more, I cried, I wanted to smash things (but didn’t), I hyperventilated- unable to breathe at all. I choked for air. Bob was telling me to just breathe. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t breathe.

Is this an anxiety attack? What the hell is this?!

I was scaring myself. My body felt all twisted up, like something had possessed it and I was fighting to be rid of it. This foreign thing. This darkness. My body wasn’t mine. I had lost all control. And then it happened. I, well, there’s no delicate way to put this… I puked. On the hard wood floor. In the middle of desperately trying to breathe, I threw up. It felt like an exorcism. Out. Get out. Leave me be.

We’ll pause here for a brief intermission:

Now- I debated whether to write about this. I just have to interject that here because it felt too real. Too scary. Mom, please don’t worry…. but I know you will anyway. It’s embarrassing. But, it’s part of this. I don’t want this blog to be only about the ugliness of our situation… which is why I hesitated in sharing this part. But I am because we’re committed to the transparency. And there is a happy ending. So keep reading.

“Oh my God, I just threw up! Holy shit! What the hell is happening to me?!”

Bob, the saint, is cleaning it up. Telling me to just calm down. He’s handing me a towel. I’m trying to take back control over my body. Slow. Breathe. Don’t freak out.

I’m just so angry.

“At who?” asks Bob.

“At me. At myself!”

“Why?”

“For not saving us. I thought I could.”

“I know. It’s okay. It’s just a house,” Bob comforts. He’s right. Of course. I know this. I know it’s just a house. This isn’t about logic, I tell him. I don’t know what this is.

I tell him that I want to smash things. That I want a huge earthquake to swallow up the house and take everything with it. I want to just get in the car and drive away. Drive away and leave everything behind. Or smash. Back to that. Back to smashing.

I don’t know where this is coming from, but for the first time I understand why people in foreclosure destroy their homes. The ones that do.

1. It’s a way to let go of some of the anger and rage. It’s a release. Why not? There’s literally nothing left to lose.

2. If you destroy the house, it’s no longer your dream. It’s damaged. It’s easier to walk away from a damaged house than a perfect home.

3. ? I don’t think there is a number 3.

And 1. doesn’t apply to us anyway. We do still have something left to lose. We want to leave our house in the caring hands of new owners through this short sale. We are committed to walking away whole and complete. Not broken. Regretting.

Also, we have logic. And love.

-Love held my hair while I expelled my rage onto our hallway floor. (gross, I know. sorry.)

-Love cleaned it up. (again, sorry.)

-Love looked at me and said, “I’m scared because I’ve never seen you this physically upset before… but I can understand how you feel. And it’s okay.”

-Love got me water and Tylenol and put me to bed.

-Love sat and watched movies with me for most of Memorial day and said it’s okay to rest.

-Love and logic said destroying the house will only send you down a path you don’t want to travel and one that isn’t you. Don’t succumb.

-Love held me while we slept.

I thank my husband greatly for his love. Thank you, Bob. So much.

Monday morning I woke up to an e-mail from my dad that read in part:

“…just focus on the good news and your strengths…you have to deal with the bad news—-but try to deal with it only the amount of time required, do not let it possess you or monopolize your time.”

How perfect. It was as though he had somehow witnessed my fit the night before. Because that’s exactly what I did. I let the bad news ‘possess me.’ And it wasn’t pretty. Thanks, Dad. And don’t worry. I won’t allow it to possess me again.

What to do? Rest. Regroup. Watch movies. Comedies. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story followed by Kung Fu Panda

“There is just news. There is no good or bad.”

– Master Oogway to Master Shifu in KUNG FU PANDA written by Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger

Again, how perfect. Bob looked at me when this line was delivered by Master Oogway turtle with the long nails. He looked at me, like, yes. It’s true. There’s just news. And that’s how we get through this. It’s not bad. It’s not good. It just is.

(to be continued in Part 2… “The Inquisition”)

 
 

F is for a lot of things…

Like French Fries, for example. And Family, Fiscal responsibility, Fate, Flourish, Fear, Fritatta, Fold, Fumble, Flophouse, Friends, Feedback, Fun, Flashdance, Forecast, Forestall, Furniture, Fishbowl, Failure, Finance, Fire, Freedom and…

Foreclosure.

In today’s mail, we received 7 more
NOTICES OF TRUSTEE’S SALE.

Seven. Enough to form an F.

As though the 12 total notices we’ve received via mail so far weren’t enough, there was another posted on our garage door today for all the world to see.


We discovered it as we were leaving to see a movie– an attempt to carve out a little bit of fun in this long weekend. We stepped out onto the driveway and there it was. In plain view. BAM! The thing that we’ve been trying desperately to avoid for months.

I tore it down immediately out of embarrassment. Hoping none of our neighbors would see. It wasn’t until later in the day after having some time to cool down that I taped it back up for purposes of this photo.

How I felt? Like a big loser. Like a failure. And afraid.

Seeing that notice up there on our garage made it impossible to escape this reality. The last nine months have slowly been leading to this, I suppose. I just want to hide from it all. But… I can’t. Because we’re determined to see this through. To sell the house before the bank auctions it off. They may have set a date, but it doesn’t mean this is over. The short sale is so close to being approved. Our Realtor keeps telling us not to worry. This week will determine everything. We should be in escrow by the end of the week and this auction date will go away. We just need to stay calm until then.

Regarding the Notice of Trustee’s Sale on the garage door, my mom said, “It’s just words on a piece of paper.” And she’s right. Words on a piece of paper. Letters that make up words. That spell foreclosure.

It’s all a little too real right now.

(The top photo is my attempt at maintaining a sense of humor through all of this.)

The ‘F’ word we’re yearning for: Freedom

 
 


Do you guys every listen to the Planet Money podcast? Well, it’s great. You should! Monday’s podcast (“Your Future Mortgage”) featured a story about a homeowner who had been attempting to modify his loan through Obama’s plan and had no success. Wells Fargo is his loan servicer and hadn’t been able to give him any answers even though he was a perfect candidate for the Obama Plan. This sounded just like us. They kept giving him the runaround. For weeks. And weeks. No answers. Just, “Call back.” And, “Send us your financials.” Just like Countrywide did with us- as I wrote here.

Anyway, Wells Fargo eventually told this guy that he had been denied for a modification. Until, that is, Planet Money aired his story! Monday, the day the Planet Money podcast aired, this guy was suddenly told that his modification had been approved. No explanation as to how it went from being denied to approved.

He is now saving $500 a month and has a 3.75% interest rate down from 6-something%. Today’s Planet Money podcast talks about this and how this is seemingly a phenomena. People go through hell trying to get modifications, get nowhere, then a major media outlet airs their story and WHAMMO! Loan Modified!

So, now to get someone’s attention. NPR, PRI, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, XYZ, LMNOP?! Help.

“And Three Baby Camels” – Planet Money

 
 

A life-changing post… this is all happening in real time.

That’s what the envelope said in all caps:

IMPORTANT
INFORMATION
ENCLOSED

I’m sitting here just writing a blog post about how we’re so tired of showing the house after 9 months of jumping at every potential buyer’s request to see our home and how we’ve decided to not show the house anymore since we already have 3 offers and how nice it will be for us to have a little privacy back for now… when something happens.

There’s a knock at the door. A Realtor and his client. We were expecting them. Then the dog freaks out. Barking like crazy. At what? The mail carrier who arrives practically on the heels of the agent and potential buyer.

Bob picks up the dog as he’s growling at the mail carrier.

“Steph, can you sign for something?” he asks, dog in arms. I quickly say hello and welcome the Realtor/Buyer and sign for the 5 (5!) certified letters from ReconTrust.

This is not good. ReconTrust (or RCT) is the company contracted by Countrywide to handle the foreclosure of our house. The last time we had received anything from them was on February 16th when they sent us- via certified mail- our notice of Foreclosure without a Sale Date. Again, 5 copies of the same letter.

I sign for the 5 letters, a sinking feeling growing in the pit of my stomach, and walk back into the house with a plastered-on smile.

“You have such a beautiful home,” says the Realtor.

“I love the views,” says his client.

“Thank you,” I reply. “Would you like me to show you the downstairs room? Can I answer any questions…” I feel like a broken record. We’ve done this hundreds of times now. It feels like.

They breeze through the house and ask us about the offers.

“Yes,” I say, “We have three. We just got a third today.”

“And have any been accepted yet,” asks the Realtor.

“Not yet,” I say. But almost, I think.

They leave. Seemingly interested…. but, honestly, I don’t even care right now. I care about the offer that is almost accepted. I care about these 5 certified letters from ReconTrust sitting unopened on my desk. I care about them because I know. I know what they’re going to say.

And I’m right.

NOTICE OF TRUSTEE’S SALE

They have set a date. A date has been set. We are now in foreclosure with a date.

Notice is hereby given that RECONTRUST COMPANY, N.A. blah blah blah will sell on 06/09/2009 at 10:30 AM, at the West side of the Los Angeles County Courthouse blah blah blah at public auction, to the highest bidder for cash or check as described below, payable in full at time of sale, all right, title and interest conveyed to and now held by it under…. blah blah blah blah

Here’s what Bob just figured out. February 16th, 2009 our house went into foreclosure without a sale date. June 6, 2009 is exactly 3 months and 3 weeks from February 16th. By law, they have to wait at least 3 months and 3 weeks. They are foreclosing at the earliest possible date. This, I have to say, is a surprise.

Why is it a surprise? Because in our attempt to modify our loan with Countrywide we were told by the Office of the President not to worry because they are so far behind that the likelihood of them actually setting a date in 3 months and 3 weeks was so slim. It could even be six months away. We wanted to believe that. So we did.

But that’s not the only reason we’re surprised. The short sale has been approved by both Countrywide and National City. Why would Countrywide approve a short sale and foreclose instead? At this very moment, Countrywide is considering two offers on our house. We just got a third offer today that we’ll be submitting to them for consideration. Three different parties are trying to buy our house at this very moment. Why would they set a foreclosure date in the face of all of this? Well, perhaps it’s a case of the right hand not knowing what the left is doing.

That’s one explanation. Another is this. We were supposed to close on the first short sale offer (the one that fell through) on May 19th (3 days ago) but didn’t. Because, as we’ve written here, that fell apart. The letter from ReconTrust is dated May 20th. Perhaps they decided to move on this rather than wait for another deal to come together. I don’t know.

This is what I know: we have 3 offers. 2 are already at the bank under consideration. The people who submitted these offers really want our house. Our Realtor is telling us not to worry. That the short sale will come together and this date of foreclosure will all be moot. None of it will matter. I want to believe this.

Another thing I know: it will all work out. I don’t know how. I just know. In the meantime, we will do everything we have to do to make sure this short sale comes together. Foreclosures don’t benefit anyone.

June 9th (the auction date), by the way, is 10 days after our 6 year wedding anniversary.

 
 

I have decided to begin the overwhelming task of shedding our possessions by giving away our magazines. (Baby steps.) This has led me to several realizations:

1. We have a lot of magazines.
2. We have a lot of magazines no one has ever read
3. Reading magazines makes me want to buy things
4. Reading certain magazines makes me feel inadequate
5. Despite my best intentions I will never read our back issues of National Geographic
6. The magazines in our collection fall into two general categories: a. Magazines that make you want to spend money and make you feel inadequate and b. Magazines that make you want to know more and make you feel inadequate

“YOUR LIFE WON’T BE COMPLETE UNTIL IT LOOKS LIKE THIS”

I stopped buying magazines 9 months ago to save money. I thought I was just saving money on the cover price, but what I didn’t realize at the time is that by eliminating magazines I was drying up the main source of my wanting, therefore saving a whole lot more.

Take Dwell, for example. I love Dwell magazine. The images, the homes, the stories, the ideas it would inspire… but I could never shake the fantasy it sparked. The fantasy and dream for a better life.

What I didn’t realize until I stopped reading Dwell is that looking at the perfect images of other people’s homes and furniture made me feel lacking. Our home wouldn’t be complete until I replaced the living room furniture with that (incredibly expensive) Ligne Roset sofa I saw or until we installed solar panels on the roof. Until we renovated our 2nd bathroom and installed a rain shower head in the first. I compared my life to the lives I saw in those pages and always felt inferior. The luster of our home would lesson each time.

After closing an issue I would look around our house and just feel, ugh. That rug needs to go. Look at our dining room table… it’s so boring compared to that oblong white marble table I saw in Dwell.

Now that I don’t read magazines anymore, I no longer fixate on things I don’t have but feel for some reason I must. The fantasy of a ‘perfect’ life no longer haunts me because I love the life I have- for everything it is and everything it isn’t.

The other day I picked up a magazine in the check out line at Ralph’s. It was an issue of Lucky. And I saw clothes. Lots of clothes. Suddenly I was struck by a familiar feeling of wanting. Needing. Lacking. I quickly put the magazine down, turned and walked away.

Other magazines in our collection that fall into the Your Life Won’t be Complete Until it Looks Like This category:

Sunset
Domino
(now defunct)
Los Angeles
Budget Travel
(oh, the places we haven’t seen)
Metropolitan Home

“YOU REALLY SHOULD HAVE READ THIS BY NOW”

Magazines in our house that fall into the You Really Should Have Read This By Now category include:

The Paris Review
Story
Glimmer Train
Zoetrope
National Geographic
Written By
Robot
Inventor’s Digest
Seed
Wired
Good

I OBVIOUSLY should have read these magazines by now. The literary journals especially. That’s why I bought them. Years ago. Every time I look at them on my bookshelf I consider picking one up to read one of the short stories within. But there’s always another day. These journals are so old that one of them is now defunct (Story.) How sad is that?!

If we read every issue of National Geographic that we have in our stack, we would be two extremely knowledgeable, well-informed people. Our lives, I’m sure, would be enriched considerably by the stories contained within those pages. But we don’t read them. Ever. So I keep them… hoping that we will. Feeling like we should. One day.

Inventor’s Digest? I subscribed to that one for research on a play. It’s a great magazine but I’ve fallen behind and think one day I’ll have time to catch up. But I don’t. Robot Magazine? That’s Bob’s. He got a subscription for Christmas one year and I doubt he’s read even one issue. Good magazine? I have no idea. It looks… well, good. I should read it. It was a premium for subscribing to KCRW… I always intended to read it…

You get the point. I’ve been reluctant to toss away this treasure chest of information. So instead they’ve sat collecting dust on our bookshelves and their presence only reminds me of all the things I haven’t done (in life) but should. All the things I don’t know but could if only I took the time. But I don’t. And now it’s time for them to go. All of them.

Dwell is the first to go. I found a good home for them. Next? That depends.

Anyone out there have an interest in robotics?