News From Words Versus Paper

Tap. Tap. Tap. No, it isn’t dancing. Yes, it could be the sound made as I type. It was, however, the therapy a friend showed me for dealing with stress. Many friends have offered their professional help as I navigate my financial turmoil. Whether it’s the tapping, the herbs, the remote healing, the Asian medicines, the meditation, the breathing, or merely knowing my friends want to help, something is helping me get through this. I intended to write about some larger issue, or maybe some general detail about personal finance; but first, I dutifully opened the mail from the credit card company. Tap. Tap. Tap.

Recent readers of this blog know that good news is happening more often, both for the country and for me. You’ve probably heard about the improving American job, housing, and stock markets. My version is so much work that I look forward to hours off instead of days off, whether through foreclosure forbearance or renewed interest my housing situation is heading towards a positive resolution, and my dwindled portfolio jumped more than 50% (though that has retreated somewhat) with the promise of more. The stress-related aches are diminishing to only being present most of the time instead of all of the time. Hey, it’s progress.

The promise is promising, and yet, the current situation is that I don’t have enough to appease my financial shortcomings. As the representative from Fannie Mae said, “From what you’ve shown me, you don’t have enough.” I agreed. On a purely mathematical assessment of my current accounts, I don’t have enough. The pleasant surprise is that he then listened to my reasons for optimism and agreed that I should get more time. Thank you!

Yet, this morning’s mail surprise is that my credit card company has dropped my credit limit to just barely above my current balance. That cushion went away because of my defaulted mortgage payments. Evidently Fannie Mae doesn’t talk to Chase Credit. Ironically, I’ve been paying more than the required amount despite advice to not pay my credit card bill if I wasn’t paying my mortgage. Somehow I’ve been able to pay all of my bills, except the largest one, the mortgage (oops, and one other I just remembered.) The loss of that credit buffer sent me to tapping.

Before I’d learned about the possible foreclosure forbearance I decided to rent a desk in a co-working space. From what others have told me, a house that is going into foreclosure becomes a focal point for a bizarre parade of visitors, some legitimate and some questionable. My work was already disrupted enough with worries about interruptions. I need my work to make the money to resolve my finances (unless some windfall happens), so I had to spend money to make money. I still live in my house, the only house I’ve ever bought that feels like home, but for hours a day I run away to Langley and work from a sweet spot over a restaurant and overlooking a coffeeshop run by kids for kids.

Langley Second Street Market 060713

Yesterday was Friday, and the street is turned into a market of art, music, local food, and even massage. During a break I wandered through and realized I knew at least half of the people running the booths. I like Whidbey. I told a few of them about my new “office” and one was even interested enough to come up and check it out. She’s an entrepreneur too, so we were commiserating over marketing, billing, and the continual effort required to maintain a business. She struck upon a core common aspect of modern life for those who can’t, or won’t, work for a corporate paycheck. It is easy to hear good things, but it is hard to celebrate until the good news shows up on paper or in the bank. Compliments are welcome. Encouragements are welcome. Prospects and collaborations are welcome. Yet those that deliver them are sometimes surprised that the recipient isn’t as enthused. For those who don’t have a large cushion of cash, frequent unrequited enthusiasm may have diminished emotional reserves. “Thanks for the good words. Do you care to buy what I’m selling?” Celebrations happen when the bills get paid, or at least the promised check gets deposited.

Her insight helped me understand my emotions. Good news is happening more often for me. The foreclosure proceedings may be foreborn for three months. The new office may have opened up some new business opportunities. I’ve been told that I am being considered for at least two attractive positions. The potential for good, or even great, news from MicroVision is so incredible that I have a hard time believing it. My home, which is for sale, has even had more traffic from folks that appear to be legitimate buyers; which makes sense considering the bubble aspects of Seattle’s housing market.

Her other insight was to point out that any unsettled feeling I have may be caused by the fact that I still haven’t been paid for a job or two, the news about the forbearance or jobs or house sales are all just words. Even MicroVision’s improving situation is something deciphered from reading the body language of winks, hints, and shrugs. In the meantime, the factual side of the world is as the Fannie Mae rep said, “…you don’t have enough.”

I know the encouraging catch phrases. Whidbey is wonderfully full of coaches, counselors, and healers. If I hadn’t already learned the words before I moved here, I’d certainly hear it here. Which is why many people are drawn to Whidbey. It is a healing and understanding place.

A few months ago, I didn’t have much more than the healing catch phrases. Evidently this blog is a source of encouragement and inspiration. Glad to be of service. Yet I know that most folks in my situation need more than words. They need good news on paper, whether that is a job offer, a check, or an improved bank balance. I can see several ways through to better days for me, and even to enough and comfort; but, for today I have a reason to drive into Langley (the buses don’t run on Saturday and there’s a dance tonight) and work working with words to make some money. And occasionally take a break to tap, tap, tap.

About Tom Trimbath

real estate broker / consultant / entrepreneur / writer / photographer / speaker / aerospace engineer / semi-semi-retired More info at: and at my amazon author page:
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1 Response to News From Words Versus Paper

  1. Miss Molly says:

    Tom, the conversation between you and your friend is what prompted me finally to either do things free or do them with at least half payment up front and balance due within 10 days of completion. (This doesn’t work with the government, but for others it does.) I reached a point before I moved to Whidbey when the promises of work, projects, payment, etc. were unbearable and in some ways insulting. So I instituted the new policy. It’s worked much better for me. I also learned it from working in the professional arts world. Performers are paid before the show, not after. The lackadaisical life style of places like South Whidbey are wonderful if you have that financial cushion you mention, but not so good when you actually need to earn a living. I have a good feeling about the decision to move into an office in town. Let us hope it does bring more projects – and by all means, ask for a little money up front. It’s good business. People who balk at this are probably going to be hard to collect from anyway.

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