Saturday, March 14, 2009

Moving On

Alright, time to clear up the mystery of what's really been going on in the life of the Ashleys. It's not easy to share, or to even admit to myself that it's all actually happening.

I found out a few weeks ago that my job is being reduced to part time. This actually ended up being good news because by the time I was told, I had convinced myself that I was being laid off completely and was already in full on panic mode.

I have to preface this all by saying that I work for a fantastic company. I know this decision isn't anything personal, my supervisor is probably the best boss ever, and the corporation itself isn't some faceless, scheming empire or anything. I work for a big company in desperate times and have been impressed with their compassion, and inspired by some of the emails from our higher-ups.

It is just really hard because I LOVE my job. Shout it from the rooftops--LOVE MY JOB. It was my dream situation and has made me so happy. That sounds so bizarre to say about a job of all things, but really--it was fantastic. It makes me really sad that things have to change. Even above and beyond the money situation, I am going to miss working full time. I enjoyed keeping my brain busy that way.

However, from a financial standpoint...this situation makes things impossible. When Mr. Ashley took his new job last year, his salary was half of his old job and me getting this job made up the difference. It has worked for this past year and enabled us to continue bailing out our sinking ship, but this new turn of events means it is time to put down the buckets and look for a life raft.

Unfortunately, my city was just listed as #3 on a list of places with the worst job markets. I know waiters with 10 years experience in the finest dining establishments in town that can't get a job waiting tables at the new Chili's. A second job is most likely not a realistic goal right now. Our area has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and we're going into "off season", where commerce slows down dramatically for several months.

We cut out just about all of our extra expenses back when Mr. Ashley lost his job last year and the only significant one left to cut is............housing. Ugh. We can no longer afford the house.

Cuntrywide (that's how I spell it now) isn't too worried about it, but obviously we are. We built this house. We brought two babies home to this house. This house has the spanish tile porch inlaid with the handpainted Talavera tiles from Mexico given to me by a really cool, world traveling old lady. We helped design the slate mosaic backsplash that was created by three Croc wearing, pot smoking lesbians. It took me 5 years of bitching to get Mr. Ashley to put up my custom address plaque. I have the bath tub of my dreams here. We put a lot of real money down on this house, proceeds from our first home which was a foreclosure that we put a ton of sweat equity into.

It royally sucks, truly. It feels like we're going through the 7 stages of grief here, shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, depression and I think we're just now rounding the corner to acceptance (but I still cry about it every day, accepting it doesn't mean it doesn't completely break my heart.)

I am nowhere near comparing the pain of losing a house to the pain of losing a person though. Both of my bestfriends have lost their fathers to cancer within the last couple of months and Catfish's mom is now battling cancer as well. If anything, the unfairness and the hurt of all that has made me realize that my situation is not that bad. It is scary, but it is not tragic.

I also realized at Catfish's dad's funeral that I was living my life wrong. That we were so busy trying to keep it all going and stay above water that there was no time to enjoy life. We were stressed and tired. We worked too much. We prioritized wrong.

Catfish's dad's eulogy got a standing ovation. The church was packed like it was Christmas mass. He made an impact and you could undoubtedly say he lived a good life. It made me realize that I want to re-prioritize and love my family more and appreciate my friends more and try to be a person who truly enjoys and lives life. It's just money, it's just a job, it's just a house--you only get one life.

We've decided to move while our credit is still good for fear that it will get trashed while Cuntrywide makes us play these bizarre games with them, and because the thought of possibly being forced into the rental market with bad credit, school aged children and four pets is terrifying.

We've found a house to rent in a great school district, in a great neighborhood, that's as big as ours for considerably less. We'll put this house on the market and hope that the mortgage company will eventually consider a short sale or a deed in lieu of foreclosure or something. It's really hard to think like this, and so scary. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and think, "We are crazy. What are we doing? We can't do this!" but then I realize that it isn't really a choice, and that there really isn't any other way. Sure, we could stay until they kicked us out but that's not right either and would be even more nerve wracking.

It's also so embarrassing. I feel like all of my hard work for the last ten years has dissolved into nothing. I'm going to be working a part time job and living in a rental. That was definitely not in the Life Plan.

I was walking around Target the other day and found myself overcome with anger and resentment that this was happening to me. My eyes burned with tears and my hands itched (a fun, new anxiety symptom of mine) and I thought again that if there was a God, I was pretty pissed about the state of the world right now and who needed Him anyway.

Just then I rounded an aisle and leaning up against a stack of towels in completely the wrong section, was a big sign that said, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."

It is so corny, and you all know I don't do a lot of touchy-feely cheesiness or anything, but I felt like there was my sign. (I didn't buy it or anything, because I'm poor and all.) How many times have I hoped for a sign that things would just be okay, and there it was, leaning against the towels in Target.

I felt like laughing out loud when I saw it and it's been a bit easier to look forward instead of back since then. I'll still get to do my job and make some money, I'll have lots of time to be with my kids (who I love more than ever, achingly so, same with Mr. Ashley--when you're facing your worst case scenario, it's amazing how much easier it is to focus on those you love), I'll have a nice home in a nice neighborhood that I can actually afford, we will all be okay.

So there it is. The thought of telling you all was worse than the thought of admitting it to family and friends. I told Mr. Ashley that it would have been easier when things still felt more anonymous and he quipped, "Oh, the price of fame!" which cracked me up and made me realize how silly I was to care what the Internet thinks. He also brought up that others are going through the same thing and that if sharing it even made one person feel better about being in a parallel situation, then it was worth sharing. Yeah, it's embarrassing and difficult but we have no false pretenses around here about me being perfect or anything. Because I'm definitely not.

So, stay tuned to hear about the New, New Life Plan, and the ups and downs that house hunting brought us, and the joys and pains of moving with the ever neurotic Big Kid.

93 comments:

Beth said...

Oh Ashley, I'm so sorry. This damn economy!!! We're all going through it...and we'll all get through it! All of us in the closet love you!

Dana said...

Oh, Ashley. I'm so sorry you're going through this. Mr. Ashley is right - you are not alone in it. My little family has taken a big hit financially, too. I keep reminding myself that it could always be worse. Good luck - I know the Ashley's will land on their feet. :)

Mrs. Newlywed said...

I am really sorry you have to deal with all of this.

You are right though. Changes like this give you a chance to refocus on the things that are most important.

I am sure it will all turn out the best way possible when all is said and done.

Renee said...

This is a fresh start and I know that life is going to just get better and better for you and your family. Thank you for sharing this, I know it was hard. I love you, man!

-The Renee

Julie said...

Oh Ashley!

I don't even know you and have only been reading you for a short while but I started crying while I was reading this. It was hard to finish through the tears.

I know what emotions you are going through about the job, I've been there and it sucks.

You certainly are not alone in the housing situation. You have your game face on but please know that it's ok to mourn the loss of your home. Be thankful you have your family and your health. Life will get better, it just has to.

Jodi said...

Wow, Ash. Big changes! I'm thrilled with your silver lining and seeing the signs, and I know that you know that things just happen the way they're supposed to. Sorry you're losing your house.
xo

julie & joe said...

I am so sorry for you. This economy stinks! Times like this do make you thankful for the people you have in your life and the things you may have taken for granted. I would be so sad to leave a home that I put so much of myself into. Things will eventually look up.

Allyson and Dave said...

You are going to be okay. My parents went through something similar 12 years ago when my Dad lost his job. I was away at college so I did not see the worst of it. My mom never worked so Dad was the one who brought home all the money. They had cars reposessed and almost lost the house but managed to sell it last minute. They had thousands of dollars in credit card debt they had to just let go. They cashed out all of the 401k to get by on. There was a time they had less than $5 a day to feed themselves and my brother. Me and them were living off of my student loans. It took a while but they are back on top of the world. They bought a huge beautiful home 2 years ago and have huge nest egg to retire with in three years. So don't ever forget there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to get to it.

Ms. Attitude said...

Oh Ashley, my heart goes out to you and your family. That is just terrible, but you know things will be okay. Remember: Everything happens for a reason.

Anonymous said...

The house that I grew up in for 12 years just got foreclosed on a few months ago... it sucks, and its hard, but shit happens. So at least you know you're not alone. I hope you're able to sell it - trust me, the real embarrassment kicks in when you have a HUGE "public auction" sign on your front lawn.

Jeri is said...

Wow, I've had that fear, too. It sounds like you have made a good plan for your family, one that is not easy to make, but will be for the best. I am hopeful that your home can sell soon so that you'll have a little nest egg to take to your new beginning.

Don't be embarrassed. We are anonymous faces and many of us are going through the same things you are. And like your husband said, maybe what you said will help someone else.

There are no coincidences in life. The placement of the sign was just for you, Ashley. I'm glad you saw it.

Please continue to let us know what's going on. It will be better for you to get it off your chest, too.

Take care!

Jen Deaux said...

Don't be angry with God. He puts us through trials and tribulations so we can learn new lessons. He's not being mean, he's teaching you something. The silver lining is you now get to take time and smell your childrens' hair (instead of roses). Having the nicest house, cars and whatever else is not the end all be all. When you die would you rather people said, she had such a big beautiful house, or would you rather your children say, she was an awesome mom and was always there when I needed her? Sounds like you've decided on the latter. It's hard to lose possesions (my house burned down just over a year ago so I understand) but it's just a house in the end. Your memories are always yours and always with you. Keep positive and things will get better.
That's my 2 cents anyway.

Anonymous said...

God bless you girl. Life can be hard but it's the only one we've got. Sounds like you have your head together..I'm sure your bank account will follow in due time.

Susan

Desiree said...

I am so sorry Ashley. Unfortunately, this economy has forced many of us into less than ideal living arrangements. I am glad you can see the silver lining, but don't feel bad for feeling bad either. Your home sounded lovely, with a lot of yourself invested in it; that is difficult to give up. I know you all will get through this with grace and humor. Hugs!

perfect just like mommy said...

Just wanted to leave a comment and share my support and empathy. And thank you for sharing this story- yes it is difficult and embarrassing, but I am in a similar situation and considering the same option. You're not alone.

-Lilly

cw2smom said...

This is so sad and definitely the sign of our times. So many people I know are being affected and it's tough! The Serenity Prayer is popular in AA and Al-Anon and it totally has a calming effect on me personally! If you can see the good in this, focus on how it will enable you to breathe a little bit and enjoy life in that rental home, since it won't be such a burden on you guys. I have some dear friends who are going thru exactly your situation and that's what they are looking forward to, after struggling with a crazy escalating morgage. Blessings and best wishes to you all. Lisa

cw2smom said...

One more thing I forgot to say..I know how hard it was for you to share this! We say in Al-Anon that we're only as sick as our secrets...so letting this out has to be a big relief! We're all in this together..in some way, shape or form. We're here to be a support! Tell all Sweetie! Blessings, Lisa

Theresa said...

You're not alone. But remember that this too shall pass.

PaperCourt said...

I'm so so sorry! I'm from FL and I know things there SUCK right now.

jenn said...

Ashley, I'm really sorry to hear about all of this. I know that your job brought you joy - it jumped right off the screen in your posts. I feel certain that there is something else out there just waiting for you that will be an equally awesome opportunity.

The house thing ... well, that just sucks. It breaks my heart how many people I know (in real life & the Internetz) are being forced into this same scenario. If it helps, I think you guys are doing absolutely the right thing bailing out before you're forced to.

Good luck. I'm rooting for you.

Lori said...

I'm sorry. It sucks that you have to go through this. So many people are going through this though. You are not alone. I know that doesn't make you feel better. But it does mean that other people can commiserate with you. So vent away. Here's a shoulder to lean on.

Joy said...

You have NO need to be embarrased. So many are in the same place. We are the ones who yes are still paying the mortgage but barely we are living pay check to income tax check to get us by. It physically hurts my head to get online and look at our checking account balance and then look to see what bills are due before the next check comes in.

So hang in there and don't let Big kid flip out too bad about the move:)

Shannie said...

You're a strong, confident, smart woman. You guys will make it through this... You know it... And better things will come your way. Even if it seems to all be turning to shit before your eyes right now. Hang in there and keep up that awesome positive attitude, my friend.

XO

Stereos and Souffles said...

Tears while reading your story. Best of luck to you, hold on tight to your loved ones!

ElleBee said...

Aww, Ashley, that stinks. Thanks for sharing. I hope it makes dealing with it a bit easier!

~Emily~ said...

I am so sorry...But I love your attitude!! Keep your chin up!

It's Always Something Around Here said...

Oh man I am so sorry! It is such a bad time right now. I do believe that things happen for a reason.

You don't have anything to be embarassed about at all

Lou Ann

mommy dearest said...

I think everyone is getting fucked by the economy right now (whether they will admit it or not) so don't be embarrassed. If you ever need tips on how to be psycho frugal (I'm talking going to the nitty gritty bare bones), stop by my blog. I'm not trying to whore myself out on your blog (you don't have to even post this if you don't want to). Anyway, I'm getting by right now by being on a "buying nothing new" plan for the year and using vinegar, baking soda, and honey in ways 16th century bitches used it.

So anyway, yeah I feel ya. Also, lots of positive vibes for Catfish's mom!

Cake said...

I'm sorry Ashley :( this sucks for you and so many other Americans.

Home will be wherever your family is. And if something breaks in a rental, someone else has to pay to fix it! ;)

Catfish - my heart goes out to you and your Mom. :( Stay strong.

Cake

Former Fat Chick said...

Aw, Sweetie,

Hang in there, we went thru this with our neighbors and good friends.

1. Get out while you can

2. Do what is best for you and your family, don't worry about anything else.

3. No one is judging you. Everyone can see themselves in the same place, if God forbid something went wrong.

Anonymous said...

hi Ashley... i don't know you and you don't know me, but i FEEL like i've known you for the duration of the time i've been reading your blog. you feel like a friend, and it hurt to read your blog tonight. i, myself, was laid off back in november. unlike you, i don't have a lot of financial worries (i.e. i don't have a house, husband or kids) and i'm still being affected... i can't imagine how scary it must be. BUT i just wanted to say that there are hundreds more like me who are cheering you on. you've got a lot of good thoughts and positive energy coming your way and you'll be just fine. i look forward to hanging out in the closet when things come back on the upswing for you and your family and rejoicing with you then, as well :) take care Ashley!! we're thinking about you!

AnastasiaBeaverhousen said...

Ashley - I know we were never friendly to each other on BBC or elsewhere, but I have to give you props for this post. You are real, honest and from the heart. So non-TeamKade. :) But seriously, I cannot imagine what you are going through and I am in awe that you have thought out, planned and been on top of such a shitty situation. It takes guts to stand up and move on and I know you did it for your kids and your sanity, but please take a moment to realize that you are an incredible person for not just laying down and letting things run over you. You looked adversity and tough times in the eye and said Fuck you! and you found your family a new home, new start and new hope. Yes, you will miss the beautiful home you built, but 50 years from now your family will look back on not what the house looked like, but the HOME that you made sure everyone had. Kudos to you girlfriend, and good luck. Oh, and if I win the Powerball, you can tell Cuntrywide to kiss your ass as well as mine :)

Chloe said...

Ashley,

I am sorry for your being sad, but I thought I would share this: My husband of four yrs. and I are still living in a 2 bedroom apt. with our 3 yr. old son -- we have yet to buy our first place because I choose not to put work and money before my child. I stay at home with him, even though though it means we live on one income and we're not quite ready to buy our first place. There are plenty of other women out there just like myself, and we welcome you to the world of motherhood. And here's a little-known secret: it does involve sacrifices. Trust me when I say that society does not pour out empathy on me either; mostly just disdain for "only" being a housewife and "only" living in an apt. Suck it up. I think you have a great blog and I enjoy reading it, but, in contrast to your previous commentors, I cannot muster any empathy for you when you whine that you will be forced into the rental market because you can only work part time. I wish you and your family the best.

Ashley said...

Chloe, I'm mostly whining because I'm losing my dream job, nearly perfect credit, 7 years of love and improvement that went into the home we chose to build, and tens of thousands of dollars...but whatever.

Also, believe it or not--working moms make sacrifices too. Lots of them. All moms make sacrifices, sometimes we just choose different ones. I'm glad the situation you chose is working out well for you, but I was also a non-working, sacrificing stay at home mom until Mr. Ashley lost his original lucrative job and I decided to get a job to help out...so even the sacrificers aren't safe these days.

To everyone else, thank you so much. Once again you have no idea how much your words of support mean to me. I know we'll be okay and I know we're even lucky compared to a lot of others right now. Thanks for being such great friends, all of you.

The Chic Chauffeur said...

Ashley, I know you aren't whining! It is tough to be forced to change the plan midway through the game. Hang tough and DO NOT BE EMBARRASSED. Most Americans are also experiencing some financial downfalls, and you are facing your adversity with grace. Keep your eye on the prize, your family, and keep moving forward!

Anonymous said...

if chloe can't see how different your situations are, she's either retarded or in her early 20s and still knows everything.

stay strong sister! i didn't hear any whining, your admitting your mistakes and doing the right thing and moving forward. it's ok to be sad things didn't work out!

jennyandcompany said...

I knew if I kept reading I would find a rude comment. at least this one left her name, even though she had the nerve to welcome you to motherhood and tell you to suck it up. actually, i think you've done a hell of a better job of sucking it up than i would be in your situation. we could be in it at the drop of a hat, as could anyone else.

come to louisiana, our unemployment rate is dropping :) I know a few houses for sale too.

Keep your head up Ashley, and don't be too mad at God. He isn't doing the bad stuff to you, He's the one providing the opportunities to help the situation.

peggy and The Cats said...

Ashley,
I feel your pain. The economy is hurting the wrong group of people. The honest, hard working, American families. I think I feel the worst for you losing your art - the tile and slate you mentioned. Is there anyway you can save them and throw down some indoor/outdoor carpet or something? All the rest (IMHO) is just stuff. But to me art is precious. I sincerely hope all goes well for you from now on, and as corny as it sounds, life goes on. Hopefully soon you can look back on all of this as a stepping stone to something bigger and better. You and yours are in my thoughts.

~Gretchen~ said...

Ashley, we are almost to that point. Nine months--he still has no job. And I just got my second one. This one pays 11.50 an hour. We're saved, right?

I'm angry for you. And crying. I know how much love someone can have for a house. Our little doublewide may not be much, but I laid the flooring on my hands and knees. I painted the roses on the 40 feet of chair rail in the girls' room with my own hands. I hunted for months for just the right bathtub chandelier. Every inch of this house screams 'gretchen'.

i brought my babies home here. they learned to walk and talk and be who they are here. and every time dowlan follows up on a lead that would take us to another city, i go sit in the nursery and cry.

i'm sorry you're losing your home, but so glad that you have the next step already planned. that's more than a lot have right now.

Kristin said...

I rarely comment, but had to on this post. I have yet to pull up the courage to write about us foreclosing on our house - the one we built from the foundation up & that I loved so very much because it was ours & everything I wanted in a home.

I know exactly how you feel.

We had a HORRIBLE year after that & looking back, we wondered how on earth we lived and fed our toddler. But, we did. And things got better. And we moved into a better rental and had another baby and things are looking bright & shiny again.

Hang in there. It does get better. And even more so when you enjoy it with your family :)

Ashley said...

I was mostly mad at God on behalf of Catfish--that's just not fair. None of it. I just can't hear that "God won't give you more than you can handle" nonsense when someone I love is going through something so unbelievably, ridiculously unfair. It makes me so, so mad. It will forever.

That and photos of kids blown to pieces in Gaza, and so many homes around me going vacant, and other friends in sad situations made it easy for my ordeal to become the straw that broke the camel of religion's back this time. The world just seems way too scary right now. It's hard to have faith.

Gretchen, I'm so sorry to hear that D's had such a hard time finding another job. What ended up making our decision easier was that it will definitely lead to a better life for our kids--better schools, kid friendly area, less stressed parents, more of mom, and a spaceship closet. (I'll tell you all about that later.) I hope things work out for you, but know that you can make it work wherever.

JudithAnn said...

Thank you for being brave enough to share your story.

Somehow, someway, we each find the strength to continue forward. Today, you're just one more source of strength for me.

I am losing my dad to cancer while searching for a new house. However, I feel guilty since I'm searching for a new house to take advantage of the "great" deals out there. It breaks my hear to think that I'm also trying to get a deal on someone's true forever home.

Somehow we continue forward, and I know that you will too.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your kids.

TotsEyeView said...

Gads, I cried too. And here I thought I was all cried out.
I just lost my job this past week, and have fears of the same situation.
It seems to just keep coming, and it's hitting everyone, all over.

Our best friends, who happen to be our real estate agent and our contractor are living with us until they finish building their house (month 3).
But she is a nervous wreck that they will lose the house due to lack of sufficient income, and he just fell 20 feet off a ladder. Miraculously, he didn't break or rupture anything, but he can barely move from bruised muscles and bones. Their health insurance is the equivalent of a mortgage payment every month.

On our end - My husband's work announced in December that layoffs would happen in January. My youngest stepson was in the hospital over Christmas for almost a month with major stomach surgery, followed by brain surgery. Our life was put on hold. One day of his hospital stay was $20 grand. Fortunately we have insurance and the rest is covered by the state for him. He is doing great now.

His brother's cat went missing for a week, also over Christmas, then we found out our cat had lymphoma and we had his eye removed. While my husband was in Spain, our fat furry sack of love started seizing, and almost died in my arms at 4 am. It was truly an awful experience. I just prayed that he would survive until the rest of my family could say goodbye. He rallied, and they made their peace and he seemed fine.

My husband escaped the layoffs, but then he needed shoulder surgery. Fortunately that went well. Then our cat went down hill and we had to have him put to sleep at a clinic after midnight. I was never so grateful that my husband could cry. We love our pets.

About a week later, our daughter, who is about to turn 2, and I had just gotten back from a trip to Michigan to visit my grandmother (96). That same night, my daughter developed a fever. The next day, her temperature went from normal to 105 in less than an hour. Panic hit me, and my tear ducts and we went to the ER. She got poked every which way to Sunday, and I cried more than she did. We got antibiotics to address whatever it might be, and a caveat that it might be a virus and have to run its course. After a follow up visit to the doctor's office and reassurance that we could continue with our travel plans, we drove 9 hours to Florida, where we were going to drop my daughter off with my parents 3 days later when we would fly to Italy on my husband's business and a mini honeymoon which we never had the first time around. The drive down was hell, and I was a wreck and things didn't improve. Her temp continued to spike, and sometimes it didn't even respond to advil and motrin. We ended up back in an ER in Orlando, and finally cancelled our trip. Fortunately she is better now and has no lasting effects. I know every parent has had to deal with scary childhood illnesses, some many many times. It is one of the many rites of passage raising children, but it is hell. It took my husband and I a week to recover.

We got back from Florida and I got word about my job. It was my ideal job too - Something I am passionate about and the culmination of a 20 year career, and part-time - perfect to be able to work from home and still take care of my daughter. Yes, I'm 42 and a mother of a toddler. Not exactly the fairy-tale life I imagined as a kid, but Mr. Right was hard to find.

So I've given up non-essentials for Lent, and while I don't think finances will improve significantly by Easter, at least I will be used to doing without. And I'm feeling a lot more sympathetic for those who have never known the luxuries I got used to, and took for granted.

It all seems like just too much to be real. Life has gotten a little scarier, but in doing so, has become a little sweeter.
Then I hear from friends about truly tragic stories - our good friend's boss' 30 year-old daughter died from cancer after the birth of her 3rd child, my husband's high school friend watched her 16-old daughter die from MPS. And I know, my life is blessed and I have my best friend (real estate agent) living with me - giving me hugs whenever I need them, cooking dinner when I can't handle it, eating our left-overs so I don't have to face them again, listening to my rants, and sharing her fears, and words of hope.

I know this is your space and I don't in any way mean to detract from your story. I just wanted to commiserate. Besides, no one will get down this far in the comments except for you. A friend used to tell me, God never shuts one door, but he opens another... but sometimes it's hell in the hallway. I sincerely hope your hell is over. Know that you are loved and appreciated by many many people who have never even met you. Let that carry you in the tough times, if only for a moment. Thanks for sharing. Laura

Ashley said...

Wow, Laura! I'm so sorry you've been through all of that recently. It is too much. Thank goodness you appreciate your best friend as such a blessing and you're able to help each other as you are. I'll be thinking of you guys, I hope things begin to look up soon. Thanks for sharing your story.

Stephanie said...

My family is right there with you. We bought a home, sold it for a big profit, put a lot down on a bigger home for our growing family. My husbands pay was then cut due to the economy. We cut everything possible and we are now facing foreclosure. We both had stellar credit and the past few months have been the hardest ever. I am feeling what you are feeling. All of that work seems worthless now. But, as a family, we have our health, we have each other. We will make it through it. Even if it is in a rental, we are together.

Chloe said...

Anonymous-

I am sorry that you cannot articulate your point of view without resorting to ageism and childish name calling, but if you read my brief post, the point I was making was that some of us choose not to take on more than we should in the first place, enabling us to avoid some of the financial messiness that can so easily happen to anyone, since money is so fickle. This discipline is especially exercised when there are children involved who need parents who are not consumed with work (not special tiling). This is in contrast to people who stretch themselves out so much that the only way to make ends meet is to dump their kids in daycare (because special tile is worth it). This is not "know it all, 20-something" jibberish. This is a sensible point of view that actually a lot of older age brackets will probably appreciate, because it is usually older people who come to realize that children's needs trump home decor. Yes, my situation in life is indeed different than Ashley's, good job for pointing out that obvious fact. I want financial peace and well-being for everybody, working parents and stay at home parent(s). However, I do not understand a society that has empathy for parents who choose extra money over their kids, and who then have to make some "tough" choices, compared to parents who have been making the tough choices all along.

Serious Shopaholic said...

It's funny how God sends us little signs (literally in your case!) when we need them the most. A kick in the butt of sorts! I'm so sorry that your family is going through this. However, you guys will be okay. It's obvious from the tone of your post--you're not sitting around asking why, you're doing something about it. That takes so much courage! & you are putting the needs of your family first, which is all that any of us can do. Do not feel bad at all--you're doing a great job. & as for the life plan, well, they never do turn out quite like we think they should. Consider it God's sense of humor. You will be okay. In a few years, this time will be one of those things that makes you proud because you stood tall as a family & you made it out of this mess ahead. Good luck!

Ashley said...

Chloe, life would be awesome if we were all as smart as you. Not disagreeing with that.

However, we were living a very reasonable lifestyle. Over the course of 7 years, having some tile installed that someone gave you is no great expense--friends did it. Mr. Ashley worked on the lesbians' car in trade for the backsplash. We built a cookie cutter home on the outskirts of town with a big downpayment and made it our own.

I didn't work until Big Kid got into school and little kid goes to daycare three times a week from 9-3...so your oh-so-wise assumptions aren't always right. I wasn't working to afford tile, I was working to help us recover from Mr. Ashley's lost job.

Our mortgage isn't crazy, our new income amount is.

It's not always as obvious as it seems to the narrow minded.

Chloe said...

Ashley,

I'm not necessarily as narrow-minded as you might assume, just because I am disagreeing with you. I don't think I have everything in life figured out -- but I also don't think it's warranted for working parents who have to go down to stay at home parents' lifestyle levels to receive adulation when the stay at homes, who have been living this way by choice all along, do not. C'mon, give me a break.

Anyway, I think I recall a post where you wrote, upon entering into your new job (as I mentioned I like reading your blog, I just happen to disagree on this topic), about being satisfied with "us having two jobs with steady salaries and benefits." So I think it's a little inaccurate to portray yourself as solely working to supplant your husband's lost income.

Ashley said...

Uh yeah...after having zero jobs, having two jobs with steady salaries and benefits was definitely awesome. I'm not a martyr for getting a job--I got lucky. I work from home basically being a mom and a writer.

I'm not receiving adulation for staying home now, if I am, I'm totally missing that part. Maybe it's because I'm not as smart as you and just aren't seeing it.

Sorry you don't receive adulation for your life plan working out...congrats on that.

Anonymous said...

Chloe is one of those moms whose total identity is "sacrificing" and "staying at home" and thinks she should be put up on a pedestal for suffering in some shit hole apartment while living off of one income that she'd better hope is stable. Go get your own blog and congratulate yourself all you want.

Ashley, I loved this post. You'll come through better than ever, I know it!

Monica--F&G said...

Chloe--you need to fuck off. Ashley doesn't need to give you a break. This is HER blog.

Ash--I am so sorry you are going through this. I live right up the interstate from you, and I am also in a similar situation, and can totally sympathize with you. My husband and I are divorcing--he left us 5 months ago. He is not paying our mortgage, and has let our home go into foreclosure. Just because he doesn't want to be responsible for anything anymore. It is a heart-breaking thing. I know how it feels to have everything--life as you know it, gone.

I don't believe in god, I don't believe everything happens for a reason. Shit just happens. How you rebound from that and rebuild your life is what is important, though. Hang in there, and as Dory the Fish says, "Just keep swimming"!

brown eyed girl said...

The serenity prayer has gotten me through a lot in life. I'm going to keep you guys in my thoughts - my mom just found out she's at risk for losing her job the other week as well, I don't think you're alone nor should you feel embarassed. Thank you for sharing your story, you gave a lot of hope and courage to many people.

Maggie said...

OK, enough beating up on the Ashleys!!! Hugs to you all. This sucks. Period.

Mitch said...

Oh, baby. Sorry to hear about your troubles! I'm actually going through the same thing (which is why I've kinda fallen off the planet comment and swflmom's wise). We're in foreclosure too, but I think we may be able to save ourselves with a program designed for those that have lost their jobs. Cuntrywide doesn't have the same thing?

Thinking of you!

Holly in Tampa said...

Ashley, thank you very much for your heartfelt post. You guys will get back to where you once were. You and Mr. Ashley are smart and strong willed people and you will prevail. Good people with good hearts always come out on top in the end. I am right up the interstate from you as well. I am sad to say when we bought our house a year ago, there were only 2 houses besides ours for sale. Now there are 9, 3 of which I know are in foreclosure.
Please know you are not alone, and as long as you keep in mind that living in a rental is only temporary you guys will be okay. Thinking of you guys

Anonymous said...

Chole, you ARE retarted. you should never say "dump their kids in daycare." daycare is a WONDERFUL thing that allows children to socialize with other kids and learn discipline in a group atmosphere. i can't imagine how much of a terror your child is 1)with YOU as a mother and 2) without the necessary social skills daycare gives.

your poor, poor kid.

and kudos to you for freeloading off of your husband! i bet he didn't know that was the plan when he married your lazy ass!!

ashley, you REALLY should block that girl.

Ashley said...

Now, now, I don't think Chloe is retarded, I think she has moderate to severe reading and math comprehension issues and lacks the sophistication and range of thinking that comes from working as a professional.

Let's all just hope her husband's job is secure so she can remain the sanctimonious, martyr of a mother that she is now.

In 40 years, when she's living with her now grown child because she is unable to financially support herself, she'll always have the comfort of remembering that she's smarter than us, she's a better mother than us and gosh darn it, people like her.

Well, maybe not that last part.

Mitch said...

And, Chloe, btw, I disagree with your stance as well. I'm in the same situation as Ashley, and not everyone in our situation put ourselves in it by irresponsible spending. Ashley isn't exaggerating when she says that our area is number one in unemployment. If you look it up, its also number one in foreclosures due to the unemployment situation. When we first bought our house, we made enough money to afford the mortgage, and we only own a 2000 sq. ft home which was bought in the traditional way, not one of those adjustable rate mortgages. We never could have anticipated that we would both be laid off or that my next job's salary would be $30,000 less than my previous one. My husband lost his job in June and still can't find work. Your comments are totally inaccurate, and sorry, truly are narrow-minded, even if you don't think they are.

hippy_at_heart said...

I'm so sad for The Ashley's right now. As many of your commenters have said, we've been there too. When our daughter was 3 my dh, an engineer for the gov't, was laid off. His field is so specific that it's virtually impossible to find a job to fit his qualifications. After a few months we were down to pennies & we were even denied EVERY SINGLE gov't assistance available because he "made too much money last year". It always gave me a tiny bit of peace of mind that we'd be able to have these things available to us should we ever need them but when it came down to the crunch & our lives literally depended on it then they turned us away at the door. It was such a helpless feeling.

We lost our home, cars & everything we had worked for. We had to move 800 miles away to a city we'd never been to & live in a TINY hotel room for almost a year. Talk about a shock! I have never felt so low in my life.

It was a horrible time in our lives but we look back on it now & realize that it really wasn't that bad. We made the best of our situation & we were genuinely happy. Our little family had the best experiences & laughs in that year & I wouldn't change it for the world. We eventually landed on our feet but it's 3 yrs later & we are still feeling the effects of it- especially now!

Stay strong. It will get better. Thank you for taking the courage to share this with us.

Emmy said...

I'm sorry you're going through this Ashley. I lost my job about three weeks ago and can barely even find enough to apply to to keep my unemployment coming. Things will get better though, and when they do we'll realize why we went through it to begin with.

hippy_at_heart said...

In regards to faith, I spent years trying to find it. My school years were spent at a christian school & summers at bible camp. As hard as I tried it never came. I spent so much time trying to put my faith into God, wanting him to make things better, questioning him & searching for his guidance. Then I realized I could put all of this time & energy into MYSELF & actually MAKE changes rather than looking into the sky & Bible for someone to show me what to do! I'm not saying I was sitting idly by while waiting for a higher power to make me better. I'm just saying that I never realized that *I* was the only power I needed. I didn't need someone else to answer my questions, guide my path or fulfill my dreams because I could do all of that myself & it turned out I could do a pretty fucking good job of it! Once I stopped questioning "His" motives & relying on "Him" for direction it was like this heavy wool blanket was lifted off me & I could actually see! The colors were brighter & the sun was warmer. I felt empowered. It's been 8 years since *I* became my "higher power" & words can't explain the relief & happiness that comes to me every day knowing I don't have to put ANYONE above my family (you know, the whole J-O-Y crap) & I can think for myself. *I* am in charge of my life & the path that it takes not someone else. *I* am the one who can make my life better or worse. Now that's peace of mind to me!

I'm so sorry for getting into all of this. It just really touched me to read your post today.

MzLiz said...

Ashley,
I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Making the kind of choices you have had to make is difficult and scary. But the good thing is---you obviously have a strong marriage and loving family--nothing trumps that. The house and contents, while meaningful, are just "stuff"--and at the end of the day stuff isn't so important.
Everyone I know is going through some level of difficulty with this economy--it sucks. But as long as you have your family, and your feisty attitude, you will be okay. I just hope you don't have to resort to eating your chickens.

A bit of unsolicited advice to Chloe--it's always a good idea to read over your comments before posting them. The holier than though attitude is not endearing,nor is it productive.

Anonymous said...

I don't know you but read often...I also got teary eyed reading your post. :( Im sorry you guys are hit hard in this economy, but know that you are not alone. You are right to count your blessings, not your troubles and just keep moving forward (stealing a quote from the Disney Robinson's movie!)! You can do it! :) Hang in there, it will all work out! Your family is adorable and as long as you have each other, the rest will fall into place eventually.....

Tara said...

I'm so sorry Ashley ((HUGS)).

Heidi said...

Even the best laid plans can be interrupted. We do not know what may happen to us from day to day.

To Chloe, I hope your husband doesn't lose his job. You may find yourself unable to pay your bills. Have some compassion for Ashley instead of acting holier than thou. She is sharing some personal stuff with us, let's not beat her up. Open up your mind and think about walking a mile in her shoes before you judge.

Lori said...

To Hippy at heart, Amen to that sista! The older I get the more I think the way you do. The phrases like " It's god's plan", or "Its god's will" or "why did he choose him to go rather than me?" just seem so silly...are we not responsible for anything?
Ashley, I will be thinking of you and the family. I have worked (as has my husband) for over 30 years and the security I have is so precious right now. My three grown children have total respect for our sacrifices we made for them and we were able to give them a wonderful, loving, enriching childhood.
I am in awe of how you are coping and planning, I have no doubt you and Mr. Ashley will land on your feet....but don't feel bad about being sad. Best wishes to you and hugs to the guys.

Mom Taxi Julie said...

Good luck in your new stage of life. I bet it will all be fine even though it hurts a bit.

A said...

I don't know what to say that has not been said already. I am so sorry.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I feel bad about the things I have and the little I have saved, etc. I remind myself that my parents had to sell their farm with they were 35yrs old with 3 children. They could have declared banckruptcy but didn't because they didn't want to leave their debtors high and dry. They were tons of thousands in debt and had to start over. They now live in a house they built on a lake, have put all of us through college, bought us cars, and are completely set up for retirement.
((hugs))

Preppy Pettit said...

Try to keep a positive outlook. So sorry about your home.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry! We're going though similar circumstances, and it's heart breaking. You're right about the love for your kids making it easier. As long as your kids are taken care of, everything else will fall into place.

Migraine Mom said...

Oh Ashley...big...big hugs!! It royally sucks right now....I was actually telling hubby the other night that I never imagined that we would be in the position we are in right now as well. We both went to college plus master's, saved our money, managed the funds wisely and still have to pinch to get by when two years ago that was definitley not the case! Use us to vent, yell, scream, cry and hug your boys hard because at the end of they day...family is what matters. You are a strong woman and with your family by your side you will prevail.

Angry Julie Monday said...

I've been really shitty about commenting lately.

We are having alot of the same issues here in CA. I'm working my ass off just to pay our utilities etc.

I have had alot of the same thoughts lately. We never go on vacations, do anything fun, or just enjoy life. Why? Because we have to work so much. It's getting really old.

I even told my mom. I do not want to turn into you. All they do is work and sit in their house. That was my childhood too. I want my son to have alot more experiences too.

If that means, we have to be renters. Then heck, I will embrace that. And sometimes/most times, the better school district will be worth it in the long run. Alot of people are renting now, more and more.

It's so hard for our generation. It's not like our parents, where they got really affordable housing and everything was much cheaper.

HUGS!! And I hope these damn people stop judging you!

Kara said...

Ashley, there's nothing I can say that hasn't already been said. You have a beautiful, healthy family. It's so obvious how much you all love each other. At the end of the day, that's the only thing that really matters. I'm sorry you're in such a shitty situation, but I know you'll get through it. Big hugs to all of you!

NativeMom said...

What a great perspective you have. You are going to give so much inspiration to people in the same boat. Of which there are many.

Former Fat Chick said...

It always freaks me out to see women so judgmental of other women! What is that? Why would someone like Chole thinks only her way is the good way? I have been a stay a home Mom, a full time working Mom, a teen Mom, while working and going to college full time. I NEVER judge another Mother, even if you think what BEST is, you can never know anyone situation, unless you ARE THEM. This is YOUR blog Ash, this is your outlet to express what you FEEL. I only hope these types of comments to not affect your sharing your true self with us. LOVES YA!

Rachel said...

Two months ago this week my baby died in my husband's arms while I sat beside him telling her we loved her and it was okay for her to let go. She was born too early and only lived one week. Before I had her I had two miscarriages, an ectopic pregnancy, and multiple failed fertility treatments. I wish I had your problems...

That being said, I'm sorry for what you're going thrhough but I'm very impressed that you're looking forward rather than burying your heads in the sand. You're putting your children first which says a great deal about the kind of parents you are. You'll be okay.

Jess said...

Last night, I rushed my BK off to the hospital with a dangerously high and sudden fever. I went from one minute, chatting with other moms at a PTA meeting about beautiful weather and fundraisers, to wondering if my baby was going to be okay. A month ago, I watched a dear friend's world collapse as her daughter got diagnosed with cancer. She got up one Saturday morning with the normal kind of day ahead of her, and ended the day sitting by the side of her daughter's hospital bed, wondering if she would make it until morning. I watched another person close to me go from being on the board of directors of a company, to wondering if he'd be able to provide insurance for his kids. Life is a fragile thing, and that doesn't just refer to life and death kinda stuff, but every aspect of our lives. We are all one phone call away from tragedy, and if you think your exempt from that, you are a fool. Whatever your mom-status is doesn't protect you from anything. That's just the way life is.

Ashley, you are smart, hardworking person, and I truly believe that people who are willing to work hard will eventually come out on top. I think you are smart and responsible to make the choices you are in your situation. Have faith, not just in God, but in yourself.

because I said so said...

I want to hug you and tell you it's going to be okay, cause that's what us moms do....I can say that you are living what will be my exact situation in the very near future I fear and I can't tell you how your perspective on it all has really helped and I appreciate your honesty and truth. It's good to know you aren't alone for sure, but it's good to get the advice of someone who's been there. What a sucky way to put that....sorry....I just mean that I'm sorry for the way things are for your family and I truly wish the best for you. Love your blog!

Ginger said...

Ashley, I just found your blog. I have a bit of info to share that may help you....

1) I posted some info on foreclosure that may be of help to you in this post:
http://adlibcorner.blogspot.com/2009/02/tuesday-22409.html

2) I noticed that your blog was not monetized at all. Please consider doing that. Some of us are doing ok, some are doing well and some are blowing the doors off with earnings. I'm in between the ok and doing well stage. It beats nothing.

3) Since I am new and haven't poked around your blog, be sure to check out some of the blogs for your favorite stores and get in on every known deal to man. There are many of us blogging our guts out (so to speak) to help the masses save every penny we can.

I admire you for your brutal honesty and sharing your experience. You will no doubt end up helping others make changes and transitions in their lives.

Hang close to your blogging buddies. There are hundreds of us and we are all pulling in the same direction!

Look at all of this as a huge adventure as well as a tool in teaching your kids how to withstand hard times. It may be the most valuable lesson they will ever get.

Best of luck. I hope to hear from you on my blogs in hopes of hooking you up to other ways to save and still have a life.

Ginger

MamaFidel - not logged in said...

I am so sorry to hear about the situation. Unfortunately we are escaping this by the skin of our teeth at the moment and God only knows if we will be headed down the same path or not. This type of thing is all too common right now. Our neighborhood has more than a few short sales and I've seen the sheriff's department accompanying moving trucks, too.

You guys will be ok and won't be going through this alone. We will all have some screwed up credit and not a pot to piss in!

Juggle Jane said...

Oh, Ashley - I am so sorry!! I've been following your blog since we were both on the Aug06 babycenter board and I know you are going to make it through all this with your usual humor! {hugs}

Melodie said...

Sorry I'm coming into this a bit late; I'm still sick. Anyhow, it really sucks that you're having to go through all of this right now, but I'm glad that you have been so smart and proactive about it all. A lot of people would have just stuck their heads in the sand and waited for the foreclosure. You were smart and found a great, if not ideal, situation for your family while you still have your good credit.
Change is scary, but you're handling it great so far. Your family is what's most important, and you seem to know that very well.

Elaine's Semi-Homemade Life said...

Hey, just wanted to comment (and I love your blog, btw - been reading for awhile!) Honestly, I just wanted to send you a hug. I know how much this damn recession sucks (I could blog about it every day. I try not to.) We've been going thru some similar cutbacks with the possibility of my husband losing his job altogether next wk. We have 2 kids. And a house we love. It's scary. It sucks. I'm serious when I say that it's people like you who inspire other people. I know that doesn't help you keep your house or pay the bills, but... if you're like me, it still matters. GL on everything, I'll be rootin' for ya!

Anonymous said...

We're going through the same thing. And you helped me. So thanks for the post.

And people who don't live in these markets just don't get it. They don't and they can't. I know when it happens to us, people will be judging but they don't know the whole story. I still haven't decided whether or not I'll be brave enough to share it on our blog. I'm scared of people like Chloe.

Honestly, I can't wait to find a rental, move somewhere in our same neighborhood but much bigger, and save over $1000 a month. What a crazy life.

Ashley said...

Screw people like Chloe. They need what they consider other people's faults in order to convince themselves and everyone around them that their life is perfect. Good for them--mine's been perfect quite a few times too.

And yes, moving into a better house for cheaper and not having the responsibility of the lawn or repairs makes it all hurt a lot less. I'm even getting a little bit excited about it.

Thanks to everyone again for their support and I'm sorry for everyone who is experiencing their own heartache right now.

Life, Love And Lola said...

I'm so sorry Ashley! I'm in a similar house situation...With a side of divorce! Some days I just want to scream. Stay tough sister! You are not alone! XOXO

Amy said...

Damn it anyway. I totally know how you feel about your house... you pour your heart into your "happily ever after" home and someone will buy it and never even consider all the love you've poured into making this your home. It just sucks.

Kiss those beautiful boys and know that home is where your heart is.

Amy said...

Oops... I also wanted to say... MEAN People SUCK! WTF, you know which commenter you and and you've got a stone-cold heart! Get a life!

Something In The Glass said...

You will come through this with flying colors.

No doubt about it.

Duchess said...

I am so commenting on this late however you can move in with us in Michigan:-) My husband lost his job however my job covers everything BUT the mortgage. Thank God for unemployment which ONLY covers the mortgage. Seriously we have less than 50 dollars left of unemployment after we write that check.

As for Chloe OY just OY.

Keep your head up beautiful lady.

Hugs

Blanda Amania said...

I'm so sorry. This is a great fear of ours and it's threatened a few times already. You are being proactive so I'm sure that things can only go up from here. It will be hard letting go of it all, but turn into your husband and sweet boys for comfort and you'll pull through.

Best wishes to you and yours!