Fell For It

We have met the enemy and he is us.” And who said comic strips don’t contain wisdom? That line is from Pogo, a classic and cancelled comic strip. I’ll make it personal. I have met the enemy and it is me. A few weeks ago the mortgage company gave me a fright, and I’ve been reacting to it almost every day since, without any extra effort on their part. They used my own energy against me. I bow to their martial art. I shall also get back up again and bow to myself.

A few weeks ago I made the mistake of actually trying to talk to the mortgage company again. I’m interested in having a logical discussion about the financial agreement we are operating from, but they come across as relying on emotional tactics, as if accusing me of unseemly behaviour will somehow produce money for them. It sounds like a terrible business model, but they do it so well that maybe it pays for itself. I continue to wonder how many heart attacks they induce, and what the total cost is to society. On February 26th they told me that they’d start foreclosure on my house on March 17th. I’ve been in a panic mode ever since, coupled with the death of my step-mother. It’s been a turbulent month.

Friends and family weighed in. No one goes through exactly the same situation, but enough other people have gone through foreclosures that I have a better idea of the possibilities. By the way, one of the surprises has been how many foreclosures have happened to people making six figure incomes. That would seem to be a powerful symptom that something is not right with the system or the situation.

My fears prompted me to consult with people in the industry. I talked to real estate agents first, and got a wide range of responses. I needed better information. I hired a professional, using money which won’t be going to the mortgage company. A lawyer who works on real estate law took forty minutes to find that there was no clear answer. My active imagination wasn’t going to be bounded. Worries and fears proliferated.

It is now March 20th, and at anytime I may be delivered the actual foreclosure notice. The lawyer did point out to me what the mortgage company had done. Nothing. All they had done was make a phone call. Nothing official happens with a phone call. Everything has to be written and delivered. If I’d ignored that phone call I wouldn’t have had the double stresses of the first half of March and wouldn’t have changed the timing of the notice. I wouldn’t be sitting here reacting to every car or truck that drives by. I wouldn’t have anxieties about opening the mail box.

Ignorance is bliss, eh?

Well, only to a point. It is prudent to be aware of our situation whether it is housing, health, security, or whatever. That’s responsible living. Uncertainty is the ally of anxiety. What if this? What if that? Worrying every ache and pain can drive up health care costs. Scare tactics are one of the reasons I unplugged my satellite dish. The ads for health care were really ads for disease. “Are you going to die from this undetectable illness? How can you know? Call now for details! And don’t forget to talk to your doctor to see if you are at risk.” Daily deluges drove me away. My stress level improved when I streamed shows instead of wading through tortuous messages every 5-10 minutes. I feel much better now, thank you. (Well, right now I have a headache, but you know what that’s about.)

Actually, I do feel much better. Yes, I have a headache, but most of my other aches dwindled. And, yes, I have a headache; but, I also spend less time gnawing on that rock. Imagine how bad it would be if I hadn’t learned that lesson.

My situation is actually comical when put in perspective. The amount of money it would take to postpone this situation is less than what I’d see as a daily swing in my portfolio just two years ago. The amount of income it would take to make this situation go away is far less than what I could make as an engineer. A few days of full-time consulting each month would clear up the issue and steer me back towards thriving. Such small amounts in a different situation have enormous effects in this situation. There are probably people spending more on upgrades to their new car. Yet, yesterday’s portfolio can’t pay today’s bills. A job I can do, but can’t seem to get again, doesn’t help if the paycheck isn’t delivered. The optimist in me keeps in mind that those people visiting my consulting page or hearing about me from word-of-mouth could call at any time. Please pardon a delay as I check to see if it is the mortgage company’s number. The repercussions of their calls are counter-productive.

As an ad campaign, the mortgage company tactics are very effective at dissuading people from wanting a mortgage. I think the tiny house movement is driven more by a desire to be debt-free than a desire to downsize. Cabin by Angela Of course, for some of us, both things are a draw. First, lets see if I can stay in this small house (864 sq. ft.). The long term impact may be the undermining of the housing market at a time when people are downsizing from other trends like smaller families, smaller yards, and a return to urban living.

I’ve studied martial arts to varying degrees for over two decades. One of the simple lessons: when you fall down, get back up. Catch your breath. Shake it out. Try again, maybe with a difference.

My plans remain in effect. Lately I’ve been investigating a few variations. The most noticeable is a series of indiegogo campaigns that may be launched soon. (Indiegogo is a way to raise money for projects via crowdfunding. Trust me, you’ll read more about it soon.) The less noticeable change is a greater reliance on faith. Conventional wisdom is frequently backed by anecdotes, not data. I have to trust that hard work will pay off, that perseverance pays, that good luck follows bad luck, that the dawn follows the dark. If faith wins through, then maybe the fall I take is into a life I can live and love without fear.

Oh, maybe that’s why this particular piece of art just found a nice home, so I’d have a reason to remember that day and smile too.

October Smiles

About Tom Trimbath

real estate broker / consultant / entrepreneur / writer / photographer / speaker / aerospace engineer / semi-semi-retired More info at: https://trimbathcreative.net/about/ and at my amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0035XVXAA
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2 Responses to Fell For It

  1. Susan Averett says:

    Tom, I appreciate everything you write, and the range of emotions you are willing to share. I think a lot of people are probably learning from your experiences, and that is a gift! We also got rid of TV and all the crap that goes with it a few years ago – what a relief! I’m in the process of launching a Kickstarter campaign to further expand the Emanations of Love project. I looked at indigiegogo, too. I think these kinds of opportunities are so cool!

    I wish you well always, my friend. Please come for reiki anytime to de-stress. The door is open. Cash is not needed, only hugs and laughter.

    Sue Averett The Enchanted Studio photographic and healing arts http://www.the-enchanted-studio.com

  2. Thanks. You may hear from me very soon. Nice photo called “Stones” in your show at Bayview.

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