It’s official – I think. The paperwork from the mortgage servicer came back signed and stamped. Let me check for the third or fourth time. Yep. Signatures have been applied. Okay, what’s next? Ah, wait a minute. I skipped a step or three. Wasn’t there supposed to be a cork involved? Allow me to start over.
Step 1) Stop paying the mortgage (for a very good reason.)
Step 2) Successfully go through an emotionally and mentally tortuous process for 19 months (numerous posts through this blog, check the tag “mortgage”).
Step 3) Get a mortgage that is half the monthly payment with a much higher principal.
Step 4) Celebrate.
I’m working on Step 4. The news hasn’t sunk in. I saw the envelope. Opened it and found the document. Acknowledged the milestone. And thought about what is next.
Such a subdued reaction felt very weird, so I told a friend. To paraphrase their response, the mortgage company (actually a mortgage servicer) numbed me down. Now I get to recover. So, he gave it a shout. That’s what friends are for. Another one high-fived me, danced in her seat, and said “That’s fantastic!” about five times. Another wrapped me in hugs and smiles. Okay, okay, it is beginning to sink in.
I took the rest of the day off. It’s evening and I’m making a steak dinner with roasted veggies and a nice red wine. It is a ritual meal I’ve planned for months. The feeling is beginning to sink in, with maybe a bit of help from the wine.
My brain went to the long list of things to do around the house. Some subdued portion woke up and gave the logical part of my brain a dope slap and said think about that later. Instead, imagine what I don’t have to do anymore and what I get to do instead of have to do.
What I don’t have to do:
- Worry about notices taped to the door, nor any footstep that could be delivering the note.
- Deciphering fake notices from unknown agents pretending to be official bank notices.
- Screening all my home calls because answering could kick off anxiety attacks that took days to recover from.
- Treating the mail box as a booby-trap, because it could contain terrible news.
- Drawing up my courage to open the mail, then scan, copy, email, and mail it if it came from an official source.
- Wonder what seemingly bureaucratic arcane process is under way that I may have to respond to without understanding.
- And most important, I don’t have to put off the things I want to do.
What I get to do:
- Undam my Dammed Plans; dozens of plans put on hold because I didn’t know if I was going to have to move within 17 days – for the last 16 months.
- Keep working as hard as I’ve been working to make the money to make the payments.
- Pull together my financial records now that I know what I owe, and maybe embark upon the Nine Step Program
- Commit to living on Whidbey, at least as long as any other resident. Almost all of my work is virtual, so any move could have been to any place reached by the Internet.
- Know that my house is my home.
- Restock the pantry.
- Restock the wine “cellar”.
- Thank everyone who supported me through this trial.
Help others navigate their way through their trials.
For now, I think I’ll work on that mood by emptying a bit of that wine cellar and enjoying a view that varies every night – for many nights to come.
PS Thanks again to Parkview Services, an organization that (as I understand it) works with the state of Washington to help homeowners stay in their homes for no fee (at least I was never charged for any of their services.) Special thanks to my counselor, Ivy, who had to deal with my style of handling paperwork.