So I never finished the whole foreclosure thing, did I? Obviously the kids and I are no longer in our dilapidated, crowded little crack den. That is sitting vacant back in my old neighborhood. I have a lot of guilt and shame about leaving it, we lived there for almost 15 years and the ties I had with my neighbors were strong and tight. When Big Daddy initially left, they were all very supportive and continued to be so right up until the end. Because of all that support, I feel almost shifty for just taking off like we did, but I have been back a few times and I don't think there's much resentment there. I did what I had to do...I was backed into a corner. A tiny, broken down corner.
Last fall, when I knew that the end was nigh, I started a tentative search for new digs. One thing was very important...well, actually two things. We needed to stay either in our school district or very close to it. I was not going to move my kids out of their schools. Period. Following my own parent's divorce, I was moved from one school to another, first in 5th grade, then in 6th. I'm not going to say that this geographical shift had a huge impact on me, but it did have some. Likewise, Big Daddy was moved all over during his school years. He claimed that it was great, and that he would do it again if he had to, but I wonder if something happens to your psyche when you have big changes like that in your formative years. I think there is a lot to be said for having a history with the people you sit in classrooms with year after year...some of it good, some of it not so good. But I was determined to let my kids have that one constant in their lives.
The other "must have" was that our dog would move with us. No ifs, ands or buts. I could write a whole book about that dog and how he's changed my life, but for now let's just leave it at this: Walter was coming with us.
I found out, rather quickly, that finding a home which was not only big enough for a family of five, but also allowed big dogs and was within the confines of our school district was going to be tough. Almost impossible. Add to that the fact that my credit was seriously in the crapper by this time and things did not look promising.
If money had been no object, I could have had my choice of several "executive homes". That would have been great. But of course, money with me is ALWAYS an object. A very touchy object. I had a budget figured out, and I determined that the maximum I could afford to spend on housing was approximately $1500.00 a month. Not ideal, but considering that I had been paying over $2k a month for a house that had mold on the walls and rivulets of water coming in during rainy days, it was going to be worth it.
By late winter/early spring I was starting to feel the first thready pangs of desperation. I knew that I had a window of time before we would be officially evicted, and although the window was relatively wide open it was going to close sooner rather than later.
Cut to a sunny February day. Walter and I were out for one of our daily walks (these walks are better than anti-depressants, by the way, and I highly recommend them). We were going down a street about 4 or 5 blocks away from home when I saw a "For Rent" sign in front of a house. The house was a good size, set way back from the street, high up on a sloped yard. There was a long, horseshoe shaped driveway in the front and about 30 or so big, mature trees on the huge lot.
Now, I am a huge believer in serendipity (an awesome word, and also a great Sunday afternoon flick starring John "Sigh" Cusack). I think that things do happen for a reason and I truly believe that certain things are simply meant to be. At the moment Walter and I paused in front of this house, I felt a nudge, for lack of a better term. Almost like a voice shouting in my head, "Call this dude, NOW!". I rarely, if ever, get feelings like this, but when I do I have never been wrong. So I forced the phone number into my sad little short term memory and we walked on.
When we got home, I made the call. The next two weeks were filled with tension, grief and joy...quite the goulash of emotions. I also met an angel, and one of my friendships went from good to great.
To be continued.