This is post four in a five post series about how I got to this point. If you'd like to read the whole story, you should start here.
In January 2013, I made my last mortgage payment. My therapist assured me that I wasn’t a bad person or a failure, but I really felt like I was. I was knocking around in this huge house. My kids were glued to the television. Some days I could barely drag myself out of bed. We kept the house at 60 degrees, and used space heaters to make up the rest of the heat, because I couldn’t afford the oil bill. Our electricity bill tripled. My ex and I agreed to half his child support until I moved out of the house so that he could save up money to give himself a buffer after the foreclosure, and maybe pay off some additional debts that he had. This turned out to not be a smart move on my part; I stayed struggling to make ends meet. I wanted to get a better job that paid more, but the truth was I wasn’t doing great at the job I already had. I was preoccupied, depressed, and convinced that life was never going to get better.
We decided to try deed in lieu as an alternative to foreclosure first, but we were warned that it was unlikely to go through. We turned in all of our paperwork twice, but never received a phone call from the mortgage company. Every time we called to talk to our loan officer, we were transferred to voicemail. The ex spent one whole day off trying to call the loan officer. I wish I was kidding. In the meantime I was receiving automated phone calls from the mortgage company asking me to call them. I cried on more than one occasion.
I tried to call a debt consolidation company, but my income to outcome ratio was so bad that they refused to even try to help me. They told me that maybe when I had paid off a few bills they would help me, but I needed help to pay off bills… I am not sure that’s how this is supposed to work.
In May 2013, I ran out of oil for the last time. There was nowhere I could pull money from. We started showering at friend’s houses, and eating most nights with friends, so that I didn’t have to worry about groceries very much either. I went on an all-expenses paid business trip to New Orleans, and spent less than $100 in the four days I was there, and that was financed by my mother. Shortly after that I made the last payment I could afford on my Target Card. I tried to apply for a financial difficulty program with Target but I was rejected.
I came clean with some friends and family about the reality of my situation, and my mother and my aunt offered to help me when it came time to move into an apartment, monetarily. I reluctantly accepted, but this turns out to be one of the best things I have done. I couldn’t have possibly afforded first, last, and security at any point on my own. I started looking for an apartment, and found one at the end of the summer.