I am so tired. It’s Sunday night and all I can think about is watching the latest season of Futurama and falling asleep. Why, you ask, am I so tired that it warrants writing about? Moreso, you may wonder, if I am so tired, why waste time writing about it?
All excellent questions.
Because I think I am almost DONE being tired, and I have been tired so long. I think the fatigue started when I purchased the Money Pit back in January of 2004. Two and a half years later, I am so relieved to get rid of it (I have a contract that seems as if it may actually go through) that had I not received a contract I was fully prepared to let and even euphoric about the possibility of letting the bank take it back. I have always- ALWAYS- paid my debts as soon as I could, so for me to say I actually WELCOMED foreclosure should tell you something about exactly how tired I am. Also, I’m using passive voice, something my 10th grade English teacher almost entirely beat out of me. What a bitch she was (Hi, Mrs. Parker!)
I think my problem is simple. I’ll start at the beginning… about four years ago, give or take a month, I decided that my marriage was contributing to how miserable I felt, as was my job and educational direction. So, starting in the fall of 2002, I ended my marriage, my career, and, finally, my education. I felt so free, so alive. I started working as a freelance writer, very small time, but I was so happy. I spent time with about four people, Mad Dog, and Scrubfy (my dalmatian and my conure), and I loved it.
But then my apartment building changed hands, and the new owner (very kindly on her part, I think) gave me several months advance notice of what she intended to raise my rent to (wow, I AM tired… ending a sentence with a preposition. Is Mrs. Parker dead so that she can roll over in her grave? We can but hope!). $650, up from $500. I knew I didn’t want to do what it would take to pay that on my own, so I started looking at other options. I wanted to stay in Gulfport, but the property values there had skyrocketed, and getting a mortgage company to loan me money would be like getting Cuba to allow capitalism… or so I thought. My new landlord, also a mortgage broker, said she could get me a loan. Ok, so we’ll try that, I thought. After all, I had owned two houses before, why not another?
Ultimately, I found a two family home for $137,000 in Gulfport. I had tenants ready to go. It worked financially. So I did it. And there, my friends, started the trouble.
Perspective, I like to say, is a wonderful thing. The only problem is, I never have it while I’m in the middle of something. And I certainly didn’t have it then- I jumped headfirst, wholly unprepared for being a landlord. My tenants came over whenever they liked- and I loved Leroy and Holie, they were (are) amazing people. While Holie lived there, the rent almost always came on time, or, at the very latest, before I could legally impose a late fee. But Frank and Chez… not so much. I HATED Chez coming over all the time, hating getting maintenance requests as we passed each other in the driveway. Don’t get me wrong, Frank was a good friend at one point, and saw me through some very low times. I see now that he never would have done so had it not been easy for him, but no matter, I appreciate it, and part of me misses that part of Frank very much. Chez, well, Chez I never much liked, but I tried not to make it a big deal at first- after all, I instinctively do not trust or like anyone until I get to know them, with very few exceptions. But… but the situation disintegrated when Holie moved out. Rent came later and later and I heard excuse after excuse, and I, too much of a wimp or a pushover to do ANYTHING but let me “friends” pay me whenever they wanted, found myself bartending and working to make up the difference, pay my mortgage and “our” utilities to save my credit rating.
And then they left and Pam the stripper moved in. I moved out, bought a single family in south St. Pete, and Frank moved into my former apartment. Pam was a dream… for four months, until she couldn’t get to work and moved back up north. Then the place stayed vacant for a few months (me working extra to pay TWO mortgages totalling over $2000 a month, less Frank’s always late $550, on a writer’s salary) until Chris and Matt moved in. That lasted a few months until they skipped out, leaving me a $400 power bill and no rent.
Then Michelle Briscoe moved in, payed the prorate for one month and nothing else. The Sheriff had to evict her (cost to me: roughly $300, not counting the mortgage). After that, one of my best friends from way back moved in.
Can you guess where this is going?
My dad warned me that my friends would screw me worse than my enemies. “Not her,” I thought “She would never do that”. Weeeellllll… no mortgage payment later, no utilities payments… (they asked that I keep both power and water on in my name, which I, unable to learn from my mistakes, agreed to do)… well, I’m out almost $2000, but they have, at least, moved out. They have not returned my calls or my e-mails, which is why I have no guilt and a substantial amount of anger (both of which allow me to make this blog entry with no remorse), and I do not expect to ever hear from them again.
Now the kicker. Progress Energy is transferring the power bill to my home account this month (that’s about $600), and I can’t sell the house until I pay off the $300 water bill (it’s more in total; I’ve already paid $300), so I can’t even get rid of this thing cleanly. I should clear enough to do all that, but still… I have to PAY $1000 within the month to sell the house and keep power on at my place because I tried to do a “friend” a favor.
I have lost three friends (although one would argue they aren’t really friends if they put me in this position) over this place, and I have lost that wonderful feeling of being alive and free that I had before I bought it. I have, from time to time, gotten so damn sick over paying those bills that I have both cried and vomited. I don’t feel like myself; I have a hole in my stomach the size of Rhode Island. I HATE this feeling; I have to find a way out.
So keep your fingers crossed that this house actually sells the end of this month. Because if it does, I’m hoping it will help turn the clock back a few years.
And never, ever, EVER, under ANY circumstances, try to help people who refuse to help themselves. Also, your parents, your pets, and one other person is really all anyone ever really needs. Trust me on this. Your parents will always love you, your dog will never stiff you on the power bill, and that means that one other person can be whoever you need it to be without expectation or dependency.