My Life: Chapter 13

The past 11 months have been the most uncomfortable in my life. Even more uncomfortable than being 8 months pregnant in the heat of August .  I struggle with the word uncomfortable, because it does not quite hit the nail on the head, I know that it could have been so much worse.  But uncomfortable it is.

We were forced into foreclosure, even with a signed purchase agreement and then when the home was purchased at auction, by the same purchasers, the mortgage company chose to sue us for the difference.  Since we did not have a surplus of $60,000 laying about we ended up in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  Most people when they think of bankruptcy they think of a clean slate and a redo with the minor inconvenience of a couple of years with no credit.  That is the case in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, not the case with chapter 13.  You get relegated to chapter 13 when you make too much money to liquidate debt, and they reorganize it for you.   How this looks in the whole scheme of things is this:  the trustee of our account decides what they feel is appropriate for us to live on based on our housing, utilities, secured debt (ie; car payments) insurance, gas and groceries for the number of family members.  They basically take the rest, for 5 years.

At this point I had resigned myself to being placed under “bank arrest” and had come to terms with it and have learned to make concessions in the way we live.

Then the unexpected happened.  Our landlord for the past 4 years has decided to sell the house.  I cannot fault her for it, she had been renting it out for over 5 years, waiting for the market to turn the corner while she lives on the other side of the country.  I am not taking it personally.  It just gave us a whole set of circumstances we had not planned for.  And no one could prepare me for right now.

We have been looking for new housing for a few months. Renting a property is not something you can do too far in advance, as most property owners are looking for a 30 day turn, if not sooner. And apparently, properties go quite quickly!  After multiple inquiries and extensive searches we finally landed one we felt would do the job for our family.  We applied, got all of the required paperwork together, only to be denied.  Not too disgruntled, we kept the search on, only to be denied before I even looked at the property.  They were not remotely interested in the fact that we have a near perfect rental history or that we make almost 5 times the rental rate.  As soon as I told them we were in chapter 13 they denied us.

Our lease ends in one week.  We are placing all of our belongings into storage and hoping for one last-ditch effort on Monday.  If it does not pan out, we will be homeless.  And that is a very uncomfortable feeling.  You can make a 6 figure salary and be homeless.  And that is my life in chapter 13.

Most of my close friends are well aware of what has been happening and have been a great support to us, but what has been really frustrating is that no one talks about this.  There are no “reality stories” or blog posts by people going through this to be found.  Every google search leads you right back to the same 3 law websites with lots of technical jargon and no practical advice or words of wisdom.  No one is talking about it, but there are many going through it.   So, my hope (beyond finding a place to live) is that may be someone else is going through this, finds this post and can feel a little less uncomfortable.

Was I Out of My League?

I never win anything.  I mean rarely am I the winner.  I have yet to even win a dollar from a lottery ticket.  But last month I did.  I called into a radio station and won two concert tickets to see Capital Cities and Fitz and the Tantrums.  The concert was a month away and I foolishly thought that getting a babysitter on a Sunday night wouldn’t be that difficult.  My husband and I could finally have a date night!  yay!

Yeah, well, no babysitter meant no date night, but maybe I could find a friend to go last minute……crickets chirp…….so I was left with a very uncomfortable feeling.  I never win anything.  I can’t afford to pay for concert tickets, it’s a frivolity that our budget doesn’t always allow.  So, do I dare go to a concert downtown Detroit alone?  I hated that I was missing it yet I could feel the resignation of a life less lived settling in, an all too familiar feeling……I have always thought about the regrets in my life as mostly things I wish I had done.  I hope to teach my children that as well….to ask yourself “Will I regret this if I do not do it?”  So I had to ask myself the same thing.  And the answer was yes.

So I go.  I weasel my way up as close as I can without being squished and possibly groped by a desperate hipster who has mistaken me for a cougar. Meow.  I could not have found a better spot as I sidled myself up next to a few ladies and proceeded to enjoy the music.  I realized I was getting old as I wished for a place to sit in between sets and my back started to ache.  I also noticed that I was really listening to the music and enjoying its capabilities to transport me.  The hornist (is that a proper term?) for Capital Cities was phenomenal and sounds just as good live, if not better than on the track.  Here is a little taste:

 

Don’t believe me?  Here it is live from the concert I was at, and no that is not me singing.

 

The horns reminded me of the olden days of Duran Duran and the Rio album.  Sublime.

But the headliner is who got me going and who got me to call in to the radio station to begin with.  The female vocalist is amazing and soulful and lyrically they got it right on!

 

And one more….because the lead guy reminds me of the 80’s. Love.

 

What most impressed me was how incredible both bands sounded live.  Maybe even better than on the radio.  There are a few artists that I have heard live and found them just as good if not better then on the radio.  It is a sure sign of true talent in my opinion.  So no regrets.  I danced by myself amongst a bunch of 20 somethings and it felt great.  Thankful in my old age that what anyone thought of me was far behind me and yeah, I would totally do it again.

Breaking Amish

How exactly did I get this busy?  I never finished blogging about summer and along comes fall.  It’s November 4th already???  Well, I will tell you one thing.  If I have not been very proficient in my blogging, I have been proficient in doing one thing.  Each month, I am for mid-month, I bake/make something.  Something I may have never done before, or something I have not done in a long time.  I started the adventure  in september with bread making.  it was an overall success, if not boulangerie worthy.  I didn’t take pictures of the process, but enjoyed it enough to try it again and will document it when I get time to do it.

This past month I attempted applesauce.  we took our annual trip to an apple orchard and plundered the trees to bring home a 1/2 a bushel of apples.  I won’t talk about how many we ate while out in the field….

Applepick Applepicks2 Applespicks1 Kids LuLu AppleNow the applesauce recipes I read all stated that one would peel the apples as part of the preparation.  However, my dear friend whom grew up in Eastern Germany, (yes they used to be divided and a communist state!) stated that once they are cooked, the skin will easily come right off when you press the pulp through the sieve. Hmmm….. well I am perpetually lazy so no peeling! So this is how it all went down……

ApplesFirst you get a bag o’apples, about 4 pounds worth.

Apples2Let them soak for 10 minutes in a mixture of cold water and vinegar-to clean them.

Apples3Slice and core. Slice and core. Slice and core….

Apples4Toss them in the pot.

Apples5Add cinnamon stick, sugar, dark brown sugar, lemon peel and lemon juice.

Apples6Bring to a boil and then lower to simmer, covered for 20-30 minutes.

Apples7Scoop and pour and smash and pull out skin and smoosh and sigh a lot.

Apples8pour into jars.  The end.

 

Overall, applesauce making is sticky.  If you are not Amish, perhaps you should avoid this.  If you enjoy peeling apples maybe you are Amish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Against the Wind

And so the adventure began.  we travelled across the Mackinaw bridge under a wind advisory.  We were only allowed to drive 20 mph over one of the longest suspension bridges.  It is amazing how oblivious of potential death kids can be.  I was acutely aware.  So much so i was sure I was going to throw up.  Obviously we survived and hit up a meet and greet with Paul Bunyan and his great ox Blue

 
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Like I stated in my previous post, the weather had turned to a brisk 64 degrees fahrenheit.  However, it did not deter us!  Next stop?  Tahquamenon Falls!

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Since it wasn’t getting any warmer and we were already in the upper peninsula, we drove a little bit further north and headed to Whitefish Point on Lake Superior. It was incredibly windy, choppy and cold.  As we are true adventurers, it did not deter us!  Rowen even met a little friend!

_DSC0387 _DSC0384 _DSC0389 _DSC0397 _DSC0402 _DSC0404 _DSC0427 _DSC0428 _DSC0434 _DSC0436 _DSC0440We wrapped up our day and headed back south.  Along the way you could really feel the isolation and the “wilderness” of the UP.  we dd not see much for wildlife besides some cranes along the side of the road, however, this left an impression:

porcupineI call this image “Porcupine’s Revenge”.  Dead porcupine and a car with two flat tires. Ha!

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One of my favorite images.

We headed back over the Mighty Mac and got back to camp in time for an enchanting sunset.  Thankfully the wind advisory was done and I was able to take some pics of the bridge.

_DSC0464 _DSC0480 _DSC0487 _DSC0490 _DSC0518 _DSC0519 _DSC0526Good night!

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Summer Adventure Continues……

So we continue on the odyssey of the solo camping trip with the children…….  This is LuLu helping set up the tent._DSC0205

 

 

Not too bad if I say so myself…..

_DSC0237Our first moring!

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_DSC0215Our view…..

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_DSC0236Our neighbors.  We need to get that one next time!

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We took in some beach time…

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And a bit of putt putt…

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The next night was the night of the thunderstorms.  The thunder woke me about 1:00 am and by 2:00 am I had to go to the bathroom really, really, really bad.  So I got up and braved the elements to pee int he woods, only to find it lightly misting, so I bolted to the bathroom.  Of course, when I got back the rain and thunder had stopped, but the wind kicked in.  I was sure that we were going to be blown away.  I was awake until 5:30 am.  We got up the next morning and it was 52 degrees out and this is what LuLu thought would be good to wear!

_DSC0311But the sky was blue and held the promise for an adventurous day ahead!

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Grand July!

In came July.  We spent a day at the lake with my brother to celebrate the fourth and then later in the month, I, by myself, decided to take my youngest three kids camping.  In a tent.  Many people called me brave to do this by myself.  I really did not think that that was all that courageous.  What really tested my courage was the thunderstorm that rolled through and driving across the Mackinaw bridge with a wind advisory.  Do you know that when there is a wind advisory the speed limit is 20 mph?  Its like, let us make sure that if you get blown off this bridge that is the third longest suspension bridge, in the world,  that you do so in slow motion so we can get really news worthy footage.    In any case, we had a lot of fun, despite the night that I was awake the whole night because I was sure we were going to be struck by lightning or a tree was going to collapse on us while all the kids slept right through it.  Here are some images of our grand July!

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Our camping trip started with a stop in Oscoda to visit with our old neighbors and then off to Alpena for the first night in a motel.

_DSC0053 _DSC0074 _DSC0080 _DSC0094 _DSC0098 _DSC0105 _DSC0155 _DSC0169 _DSC0175 _DSC0182I think I’ll make you wait for the rest of the camping pics…..

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