Mindset is all it is

Some event must have triggered a response in my mind – an outlook that has eluded me for eleven long months.  I can attempt to justify this by serious problems that already existed or ones that arose in short order.  But by getting caught up in negativity and “don’t haves” I have been missing  something so huge, so all encompassing, so monumental – right there all this time, yet mindset of my own doing allowed me to overlook the obvious.

I am living a life of abundance!  I already am!  How could I have been so blind since last December when I moved here?  How did I allow negativity to swallow whole all the positive that has come to me?   Here I am, already IN abundance, while my poor tired brain and body are still striving , stressing, longing, wearying to attain something I already have.

I have been blessed so many times over.  The struggles, fears, hurts of the past several years are over and I have been rewarded, yet I failed to see this as I stressed over each and every problem and made them into mountains too high to climb.  I have been found, yet I envisioned myself as still lost and adrift with no lifeline to cling to.

I have the dearest friend anyone in the world could hope to have.  I moved into the unknown, yet have a nice little house with the kindest neighbors one could wish for.  I have spent the months in a struggle with myself, feeling useless in this world instead of enjoying the fruits of my labors of a lifetime.  I have all I need!  If I am not at present saving the world, or at least a person or two in it – it is because this is a time of making my own little nest, a time to pause and reflect, a time to enjoy the many wonderful things the universe has given me.

I have a good roof over my head,  I have enough to eat,  I have many lovely things in my little home,  I have two hands to make it beautiful to my eyes,  I have children who call, neighbors who care, a friend who is there for me each step of the way, books to read,  a computer to stay in touch with the world, my four beautiful cats to keep me company, a car to go  the places I need to go.

I have allowed the loss of those no longer in my life, past problems and hurts, the fear of “not enough”,  the worries of lack of monetary safety,  life lessons which have happened and are past yet cause anxiety and hurt each time they spring to consciousness, yes, I have allowed these things to blossom into a magnificence that overrides all the good in my present.

I am living a life of abundance.  And knowing this is a choice.  I can choose the mindset of focusing on things I don’t have…or I can choose to revel in the wonderful things that I do have.  Gratitude for the abundance in my life.  abundance22

 

 

A home for me!

Finally, after so many fears, tears and months turned to years, a real home is on the horizon.  The journey to this point has been long and arduous.  I found out a few months ago about a different type of loan available to very low income individuals and the paperwork began again.  Once that was completed, the task of locating a property that would be considered suitable by this agency was begun.  I traveled over 1400 miles to look at different properties, was on the computer night and day for weeks, along with a couple close friends who were trying to help me locate a place that I would like to live as well as one which was acceptable for the loan.  There were so many requirements that the odds seemed insurmountable.  And we were working against a time limit as funding for this loan was to run out on September 21st, after which I would have had to wait until February of 2016 and begin the process all over again.

And then, at the last minute, I called the realtor I had been working with about 200 miles away to ask her if I could go ahead and make an offer on a property I had not seen (other than the pictures on the internet).  She drove to the house and called me as she stood on the deck of the home and told me it was peaceful and adorable and let’s go ahead.  The offer was made on Friday, September 18th and accepted by the sellers on Saturday the 19th.  The paperwork for the loan itself went in first thing on Monday, the 21st, the last day for funding. 

So many thank yous to all of you who helped in any way to make this possible!  I am going to attempt to add a few photos here so you can all see what your kindness to me has accomplished!  I will be moving 173 miles from my children, but  there was nothing closer suitable that I could afford.  It is a 3 hour ride on good roads, so I will be able to see them every couple months. 

The house is set to close on November 23rd, but I am hoping to get early entry and at least move boxes down on November 7th, as we can get some snowy or icy weather later in November.  Again, there are no words to thank you all enough!  This month marks 6 years since my youngest daughter and I drove away from our beautiful little farm.  5 years of sleeping on the couches or floor at the homes of others.  I am grateful to you all.  Heart hugs,   Debi – We’re going home….

My new home
My new home
Decks and back porch
Decks and back porch
Dining room and kitchen
Dining room and kitchen
Kitchen
Kitchen
Living room
Living room
Bath
Bath
Back porch
Back porch
Back yard
Back yard

International “help me home day”, June 13th

The month of June is, among other things, “rebuild your life” month.   As I write this, a huge event is taking place in Norway to help raise funds for me to get a home.  So many emotions as I sit here in the US on this day –  but as these feelings all rise and ebb, what remains through it all is deepest gratitude – to my dear friend who conceived and engineered this whole event, to her friends and relatives who have spent hour upon hour to help her, to all who donated items, time, their skills.

Five years of sleeping on floors, on couches, clothes carried in the trunk of my car, of infringing on the kindness of others by being in THEIR space all this time – it needs to end.

I am asking anyone who reads here to consider sharing my blogs  – with a link from your page here in word press, on twitter, on facebook.  Any who reads and find it in their hearts and finances to help with even a single dollar, that person will forever be a part of helping this homeless lady to once again have a little place to call home.    Donations can be made through paypal, at 

lifeinthelostlane@yahoo.com

Bless you for taking the time to read.  reinvent

Can you even imagine?

Can you imagine laying down on a quilt on the floor at 11:30 p.m. only to awaken at 4 a.m. with your pillow soaked with tears?  The small glimmer of hope and determination you have managed to brace yourself with to make it through each day has vanished with sleep, defenses are gone, and the reality takes over in your dreams.  You awaken confused, fearful and hopeless.  Go into the bathroom and quietly cry it out, then lift your chin and vow that today will be the day when something changes, when you or someone you know will finally come up with some way to fix this depressing situation.  Lord, please.

Can you imagine after months and months of phone calls, payments, paperwork, hunting for forms and statements in the camper and storage unit, trip after trip to banks – FINALLY, you are actually approved for a small mortgage loan.  It’s okay, there are houses a few hours away that are within your limits.  Only to find out in the ensuing months that it was all another dream.  Banks now require homes to be “perfect”, and all you can afford is a fixer-upper. 

Then you find one.  No repairs needed.  It is listed at $31,000.  You can only bid $29,000 as that is the highest amount the bank will lend you.  So you bid, someone else bids $32,000.  Then you find another one.  It is listed at $28,000, with an escrow for repairs of only $800.  You can do this!  But the bank tells you it is a double-wide and FHA will not allow ANY repairs on a double-wide.  On and on, over and over, you watch  the homes go to someone else, or go for $19,000 to an investor as he has cash.  Ten months later, I am no closer to finding a home. 

Or finding one for $15,000 with 8 acres of land, needs a lot of work, but you look at the photos and feel your fingers itching to repair those dilapidated outbuildings and paint those walls.  Cash only.  You have $5,000 saved for closing costs and earnest money.  $15,000 might as well be a million.  I know of no one who can lend me 15 or 20k over 15 years to get a fixer-upper with cash.

Can you imagine your youngest child staying in someone’s basement at a place she can have her horse.  She also has our dog and one of our cats.  She has nowhere else to go and cannot afford to rent elsewhere in this area as rents are very high.  We thought to rent together until I can find us a home, but there is nowhere to rent where we can take our animals.  They are our family.  We cannot abandon them.

Can you imagine calling your dear friend sometimes two or three times a day as the panic and hopelessness once again get a firm grip, the tears begin to leak unbidden, fear wells up threatening to choke you.  A little conversation, laughter, and once again you can make it through the next hours.

Dear friends are trying so desperately to help, it hurts my heart that all their efforts have so far been for nought.  A fundraiser, sending money to buy lottery tickets, writing to tv shows to try to find help for me to get a home; when I feel like giving up they are my cheerleaders.  I spend a week day and night on chip flavors, desperate to come up with one that will be one of the four finalists, with $50,000 (even minus taxes) I can get a home.  Entering the DIY win a home contest, once a day on both sites, maybe my name will be picked.  Dreams, all of it silly dreams, but what else is there?

Homeless on the street or in parking lots, holding signs, saying they are hungry, or trying to get to the next state.  My heart breaks.  A dollar or two, five if I have it.  Bottles of water that are always in my car.  Buying a little bag of dog food in the dollar store for their dog, lunch for others.  I am homeless, yet there are others  worse off than I am.  I cannot drive by or just walk past these people who need help, these brothers and sisters, children, of my heart.  We are all in this together and I must do what little I can.  The pain and fear is mine, mirrored in the eyes of these others who have lost and are searching for a way to survive.

Can you imagine going to a gathering; when it is late and everyone leaves to go home, you drive back to your daughter’s home, get your blankets from your car and slip in quietly to lie down on the floor?  For you have no home to go back to, five years of no place of your own, no bedroom, no private space at all.  But are grateful for the floor, for it is more than some have.

Trying to give my daughter’s family some time of their own in their home, I go to sit on a lawn chair with a book and bottle of water down at the barn.  After an hour or two, I try to think of somewhere I can go, but being ten miles from the nearest town I cannot waste the gas.  Think of taking a walk, but my mishapened, badly bunioned feet will only go so far.  So I sweep and rearrange things in the barn.

Can you imagine being 64, applying for jobs online and in 4 years the only positions that even replied were to sell vacuums door to door and a 3 week part time job for Xmas ?  That you get less than $800 a month on social security, that is all you have to work with, and after helping with electric and food where you are staying, paying your few bills, you can manage to save 100 to 150 a month toward a home, barring an unexpected vet or car repair bill? 

If you have been here, I am so, so sorry.  It is not an easy place to be, or get out of.  If you have not….can you even imagine?cry

A cry in the dark

I never expected to be where I am at this stage in my life. If long ago I had been able to gaze into a crystal ball and had seen this future, would I have been able to change it?  I feel like Alice down the rabbit hole, nothing is as it seems, I don’t care to attend this mad hatter party; I just want to go home.  But for me there is no home to go back to. 

I woke again yesterday morning at 4:30 a.m. with tears upon my face.  The dreams vary, but often I am on a street and can’t find my home and someone comes up to me and tells me it isn’t there anymore.  Or my daughter is being taken away, and I scream and beg for the people taking her to give her back to me, but they tell me she is better off without me.  Or it is night, and I  am driving  a car with no brakes, heading down a hill toward a large dark and murky body of water.  At times I do not recall them, just the feelings of desolation and despair, and the tears on my cheeks.

There is no more sleeping; I fold up my blankets from the floor, make a cup of tea, and carry my night things out to the back seat of my car.  The sadness remains with me for some time, but eventually I get on with mundane chores – feeding the feral cats out back here at my daughter’s home, walking to the barn to feed my cats in their room there and also the strays that stay at the barn.  Come back and wash up any dishes and put away any in the rack from the night before. Get online and once again attempt to locate a home, ANY home, where I can take my animal family ( and my daughter if she chooses to go) , that the bank would allow me to buy.  And once again, I can live for the day around the pain and sorrow. 

For so long now it has been one tiny step forward, four giant steps back.  What hurts me the most is I can find no means to change this situation. Everything that has been attempted has failed. 

Last fall I would often buy a dollar salad at a fast food place and go sit at the park to give my daughter and her family some time alone in their little house.  I would look at the homes on the streets along the park and wonder if those people knew how lucky they are.  To have a place to go at the end of the work day and on weekends.  A place to come back to after visiting or a vacation.  A bedroom to sleep in,  a closet instead of a car trunk for their clothes. 

Friends tell me I am such a strong lady, but I feel anything but strong.  Some days I feel like Humpty Dumpty, as though I will shatter into a million pieces and no one will be able to put me together again.  The only thing which sustains me, gets me through the next hour, is hope.  For somehow through the past 5 years of loss, pain and homeless fear, a small glimmer of hope remains.

I beg, take this cup from mine lips, for the taste is bitter.  Hear my cry from the bottom of this well.

cry-sad-alone2

Mortgage pre-approval! (but the joke is on me)

In October of 2013, I began the long and arduous task of getting pre-approved for a home loan.  Three months later, I was turned down for various reasons on my credit report, but no one at that bank told my why. So I went to another bank, and it took the loan officer half an hour to ascertain the difficulties.  For some unknown reason, although the home loan for my farm had been marked “paid in full”, that bank had a note on my credit report that stated they had seized the property and sold it themselves to procure the funds to pay off the loan.  In other words, that would be considered “foreclosure” and I would not be eligible for a home loan for…alas, I do not recall exactly, but I believe it was 7 years.

Eventually, after many, many calls to various departments in that banking system, as no one could locate paperwork as I no longer had any account with that institution – many trips to a branch of theirs 25 miles away – weeks of waiting for the credit report to clear – the statement was removed.  I also had one back bill that had been sold to a collection agency.  Unfortunately, it had been sold again and it took weeks to locate the present holder and get that settled and removed from the records.  Weeks, frustration, tears, phone bills, gas, settlements, credit institution calls when items remained that should not have been posted there; finally it was done!   In late June of 2014, I was pre-approved for a home loan for the amount of $29,000.  (My income is just under $800 a month now on social security).  I had enough saved for closing costs and was set to go!

A couple of my friends and I were so hopeful, as we had been perusing the HUD site and realtor.com for weeks, and had found quite a few suitable properties at the amount I would be able to pay.  We had to watch for taxes and also look for homes with private septic and well to keep the bills down.  But we were very excited!  The search was on!

I had a few requirements – an acre so there would be room for the horse, preferably a private well and septic, and some sort of shed, barn or building.  I still do not know if Megan will be moving with me, but she is renting in the basement of someone’s home. She has Valentine, our dog and one of our cats with her.  I have our other 4 cats (all strays that we took in) and also our 3 chickens.  I need a place where she can come, for if anything happens where she is presently, she will have nowhere to go with the animals of ours that are with her.  I am not comfortable with getting a home where the animals could not go.  My dream, since our farm was lost in October of 2009 was to get us a new home.  To get us off people’s floors and couches, have a bedroom once again, a place where I can make my crafts, my herbal salves and preparations, cook,  plus a place to put my clothes and not have to keep them in the trunk of my car. 

At first there were a few.  I found a nice place with a very pretty double-wide, 2 acres, a big shed and some fencing.  It was listed at $31,000.  I put in an offer, sight unseen, for $29,000.  That property sold for $35,000 in 5 days. 

We found another, similar on a Friday evening.  I tried calling 4 different realtors over the weekend, and when I finally spoke to one late Monday morning,  I was told a contract had been signed that morning.

We also found several that were being sold by banks and not FHA HUD homes.  Nice places that needed a little work, such as fix a deck, paint rooms or put down carpets or tile, all of which I can do.  What I did NOT know and was soon to find out is that banks will no longer give loans on properties that need ANY work at all.  And banks will NOT put carpet in that one room with the subfloor.  Will NOT put in the required stove and will not allow a buyer to until it is purchased and after closing.  The other problem is that more and more of the low  priced HUD homes are listed as “uninsured”, which means FHA will not back the loan, so the home has to be purchased with cash.

So these properties are available ONLY to people who have cash or to investors.  One that I really loved and was listed at $25,000 was sold to an investor for $17,000.  Okay, the bank took a lot less, but no mortgage, no loan, off the books – easier for the bank.  But where does that leave low-income people who are desperate for a home? 

I cannot afford to rent.  Rents here where I am presently are $700 and up for an apartment,  $950 and up for a house.  I only get about $800 a month.  I could not even afford the rent without utilities, phone or internet.  Without food or water bill.  Even if I would move south of here to a depressed area where it is cheaper, I could not rent for $400 and pay utilities.  And there certainly is no place to rent with our animal family.

A home at the $29,000 I have been approved for would be about $230 a month, insurance and taxes included.  This is my only chance to get a place to live.  A house, a HOME.

I did put in an offer on a house about 3 1/2 hours from here and my children.  The house was a HUD home, needed some work, but there was an escrow amount which goes to the bank for repairs, and it was low enough that I could do it.  (For those who know something about mortgages, I have a 203b, not a 203k loan approval).  The house was listed with 1 1/2 acres and in an area I am somewhat familiar with.  I got a call from the realtor and my offer was accepted!  However there was a problem.  The land that was on the listing did not go with the house.  So there was approximately half an acre which was all trees but for the small front yard.  I was heart broken.

Months went by, searching frantically on every site I could find, day and night. I finally decided to try a different route.  I went to realtor.com and for each area put up the LOWEST price houses.  I needed one with a decent roof and good foundation, but many repairs I can do myself.  There were (are) a couple that  I really like, however, they are selling for anywhere from $14,000 to $20,000 and payment has to be cash.  My $5,000 that I have for down payment and closing costs is not nearly enough.

The other idea my friends and I discussed was someone purchasing one of these very low-priced homes for me, me giving them the $5000 I have, then making payments to them for a few years like a mortgage, all of which can be set up with just an attorney.  We found a few problems with this, as the home would not be their primary residence.  Taxes and insurance would be higher (which I could not afford), and they, too, would have to have cash for the remainder of the purchase price.  No bank would lend to them on one of the “fixer upper” homes, and any loan would add back  the price of closing costs.

8 months of looking, making offers, finding out a home doesn’t have a carpet in a room so it has to be a cash deal. 8 months of hopes dashed, frustration, despair and tears.  And still no home.  My loan is a joke.

The photo on this blog is of a home for sale last week.  Pretty nice on the inside with over an acre of land. A friend of mine found it and sent the link, but I was unable to get out due to the ice, snow and flooding here.  It is already under contract.WPpondview

My life in my car

While I do not actually sleep in my car except on rare occasion, my daily life is all packed in my vehicle.

023 This is a photo taken on one of the days when I re-packed my car.

My little Saturn is my closet, dresser, pantry and bookcase.  Because I sleep several different places and have nowhere to leave my things, I carry them all in the trunk and backseat of my vehicle.Quilt, pillow, blanket, towels,  soap and shampoo, jackets, clothes, shoes and boots, toiletries, vitamins, bottles of water,  some food and a plethora of books travel wherever I go.  As well as jumper cables, some small hand tools, paper towels, paper plates, plastic silverware, some rope, paper, pens and pencils and a pencil puzzle and word game book (not Dell, I am still unhappy with them).   I am better at packing, but things still tend to get messy and out of place every couple weeks. 

I have this winter once the snow began stayed at my oldest daughter’s home.  The vacation home owned by a very nice man is about half a mile down the road and I have permission to sleep there.  But the water is turned off for the winter and the home is kept at 40 degrees.  It takes forever to heat up the one bedroom with the electric space heater he left in there, and going out in the cold at 11 pm to drive down and go through the process of carrying in of blankets and pajamas to sit in the cold waiting for a room to heat up to 50 to lay down and try to get warm just doesn’t seem worth all the trouble. Then up at 7, get jeans back on, out in the cold to start the car and let the ice or frost melt off the window to drive back to my daughter’s while I  really, really have to pee very very badly…

So I sleep on the living room floor at my daughter’s.  Their house is very small, about 960 square feet.  They have two bedrooms (one for my daughter and her hubby and one for my 16 year old grandson), a tiny office, a living room open to the little dining area, a galley kitchen behind which is room for the washer and dryer.  That’s it.  There is a folding table with a desk chair for my computer in a corner of the living room away from the tv area.  I have a few books and my computer there, and that is my spot.  A stool next to the table holds a couple changes of clothes.  There is no extra closet.  So except when I am washing dishes, or cooking when my daughter works late, or down at the barn taking care of the animals, this is where I am.  I can hardly wait for the weather to get a little better so I can sit out in the front lawn on a bench and read. 

I so miss having any space of my own.  It is long years without any.  No bedroom, no room at all.  Yet I am grateful that I am not outside in the cold and snow.  Day after day, month after month, this is my life – the life of a homeless person with an address.  One of those who falls through the cracks.