Step 1: Turn the page. The next chapter.

Everything I’ve experienced and written about until this point generally only involved me and one other person. It is a game changer when children are involved. My whole world was turned upside down in the course of several years following this divorce. The real estate market took a dump in 2008 and even though I fought through that crappy market, I personally became part of the famous robo-signing scam. Our governments horrible attempt at the first HARP loan re-modification program and various other disastrous lending practices. You know the one they made a movie about? Yes, that. When you are one person traveling through financial disaster your time can easily be filled with working every job you can to keep afloat. I had three children that relied on me all the time. There was no long term planning. It was a daily decision to see what I could do to put dinner on the table, get them to all their activities and still try to work a little to pay the bills. Then for shits and giggles, I got involved with a man. We dated for five years. Five very dysfunctional years. I cannot even devote an entire post about him because it was so draining to be with him. The irony in all this is that five years later, after we broke up, he admitted how horribly he treated me and that he still cares for me. Take a moment here to laugh with me. I didn’t know how to respond to that since he chose another woman over me and married her. I dodged a bullet. Some people should just never get married. He is one of them. I moved on. That’s the one consistent thing about me and relationships. Once you tell me you are done, I leave forever. I know it’s hard to do when deep feelings are involved but trust me when I tell you, you will be okay. What you seek isn’t behind you, it is in front of you. Keep moving in that direction.

I am thankful that I had many good years in real estate up until about 2008 because I banked a lot of my money in a mutual fund.  That is what allowed me to stay in the house as long as I did but when the money ran out, the shit hit the fan. Honestly, I did the best I could for years and I fought hard to keep that house together. I wrote a blog on realtor.com called “My Loan Modification Story” because that’s what I do. I write it all down and share. I will never forget how excited I was when “they” said they would approve my loan modification and then literally a few days later, they sent me into foreclosure. I almost threw up. Where am I going with my children? The pets? How much time do I have? I did try selling the home before this happened but the market had turned and everyone was selling and getting out. I did not have time on my side to find a buyer so I pulled it off the market when I knew I was in the foreclosure pipeline. One of the sickest feelings in my life was the day the Sheriff pulled into my driveway and came to my door. There were a couple other police officers with him and a realtor who I knew through my local board. He officially served me my papers to vacate the property and slapped a yellow foreclosure sticker on my front door. My son was already off to college and my oldest daughter was getting ready to leave for college in Chicago so now I needed to figure out where I was going to live with my youngest daughter and the pets. I will never forget that shortly after that sticker was placed on my door one of my neighbors said that another neighbor couldn’t believe “he” let that happen to us. Well he did. Here’s the thing about men post divorce. They move on with their lives. Most of us ex wives are the clean up crew and circus ringmasters at keeping the kids on some sort of normal schedule. Well shit. Now what? I managed to reach out to the attorney that represented the lender and he said to trust him. He would try to keep me in the house as long as he could. Thankfully the court intervened and delayed the foreclosure to call a hearing. This wasn’t just for me. It was something that our local government was doing to try and help keep people in their homes. The hearing didn’t go well, but the attorney called me shortly after and I asked him to just keep me in the house until school was out for the summer. He promised he would and he kept that promise. The house went to foreclosure that February and we moved out the beginning of June. I emptied that entire house. I could only keep what I could fit into the apartment I had found for me and my daughters. That was it. We no longer had a home to feel like the rest of this suburban community. That was the most jagged pill I ever had to swallow. It still bothers me to this day that I couldn’t give that to my youngest daughter at least through her high school years. We’ve been through some shit together but I think it has helped to make three simply outstanding human beings. The stress of losing your home is tremendous. Unfortunately, not all divorces end well financially for the wife. So where does that leave me? Staring at my future thinking “I need to change this shit around.”

I was barely still in that relationship when I made a decision to go back to college. It was the first real part of finding Emily again and proving I had worth. That was the first thing that was taken away from me so I figured I better start there. I walked into Baldwin Wallace University and sat with a counselor and asked if I had enough work experience and credentials and college credits from years past to make a go of this. She smiled and said yes and that is when I turned the page….

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