Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The foreclosure insight

The kitchen ceiling in a Cleveland area house.
The yard looks nice, right?

Like droopy elephant ears, the kitchen ceiling tiles hung from above. The floor in the master bedroom looked like a chessboard: every other board just happened to be missing. The basement smelled like something alive and life threatening lurked in corners and inside walls.

My husband and I were touring foreclosures. We were scraping the bottom of the barrel to see what was left from the housing crisis. Once on top of the world, we were now looking for the cheapest house we could find in the suburbs just outside Cleveland.

These homes were one-tenth the price of our last home, but they still seemed out of reach, a fact I found mind numbingly depressing. Five years had passed, and we were still struggling to survive. It didn't feel good.

But I realized something.

Over the past five years I'd been struggling to be happy with what was left. I was looking for good all around me: the ability to live with my parents, the gifts my children received living close to so many family members, the opportunity to help my mother care for my father. These were all good side effects of losing house and home.

But somehow, in this process of trying to be okay with less, I lost myself and my ambition.

So, on a muggy Wednesday evening in August, I left my real estate agent deeply wanting one of those crappy homes. I wanted a disaster to call my own. I wanted independence again.

And so, big changes are coming. I think I'm about to find out how many jobs one person can hold. I'm about to find out just how much change my husband and children can take. I'm about to push myself to my limits, and I'm scared to death.

I'm sure there will be lots of bumps along the way, which I'll undoubtedly share with you. Put your seatbelt on, dear reader.

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