The Windfall

Did I ever tell you guys about my foreclosure windfall?

I got $3,000 as part of a nationwide settlement against some of the banks behind the spate of foreclosures that steamrolled a bunch of Americans between the years of 2008-2010, mine included.

Of course, since the universe has a twisted sense of humor, the check went to my ex-husband. One night I was downstairs, doing laundry, when William came prancing down and announced, "Our dad is at the front door. He wants to see you." I thought he was kidding at first, but when I trudged upstairs and warily peeked out at the front stoop, lo and behold..there he was, goatee on his face and a couple of damp pieces of paper in his hand (it was drizzling out).

"Hey!" he said, like we were old friends who hadn't seen each other for a while. "Hey! I don't know if you've heard about this settlement thing, for people who lost their homes?"

I looked at him. I wanted to say, "Oh you mean PEOPLE LIKE ME? Like your KIDS? YEAH I'VE HEARD A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT". But instead I just said, "Yeah, I have." He held up one of the pieces of paper, which was a check, and said, "For some reason this came to my house, and it's made out to both of us." I squinted in the dim porch lantern light. Yep. There we were. The both of us.

He spoke again: "I will sign it, but first I need you to sign this little note I drew up." He passed over a handwritten document that said something about how me, the undersigned, absolved he, the other guy, of any taxes or other fees that would come of this financial bounty. "You're going to have to pay taxes on this next year," he explained to me, slowly and carefully as if explaining to a feeble old lady how she's going to be placed in a nursing home but not to worry.

So of course I signed it, knowing that this was all I was ever going to see as far as losing my house was concerned. Knowing full well that this $3,000.00 was going to cost me about $1,500.00 on my taxes the next year, which left me with $1,500.00 of hush money to spend as I saw fit. Because I have a bunch of kids and money is money, you know? I guess in the end it means that in exchange for losing my home, going bankrupt and having my credit ruined I got $1,500.00. Sounds like a heckuva deal to me!

I hated him at that moment. I hated the fact that he was holding this money over my head, like you hold a treat over a dog in order to get her to sit or roll over. I hated seeing his handwriting, hated seeing the "X" he drew, pointing out where I was supposed to sign.

Hated myself because at that moment, one of the seventy bajillion things I was thinking was, "I look so fat and ugly right now".

So I took that check and put it in the bank. I spent $250 of it on a Samsung Chromebook. Because my laptop was dying.  I hate spending money, have I ever mentioned that? It kills me to do it. The whole time the guy at Best Buy was ringing me up (isn't that a quaint term now, 'ringing me up'?) I kept thinking "Oooh jeeze I shouldn't spend this. I shouldn't spend this." Being broke does a number on your mind. Makes you kind of kooky as far as money is concerned.

Now I have the Chromebook, and while it's light-years better than my old dying Dell, it leaves a lot to be desired. But it's tiny and I can now sit in bed, watch Netflix and get all writery. To quote the kind old farmer in Babe:

That'll do, pig.  That'll do.

It will do for now.

(yes this is recycled material, I'm currently picking the bones of the blog and pulling out pieces here and there to clean up/tweak for the potential essay collection...whaddya think about this one? Yay or nay???)


  1. I like it. Struck a nerve with me. I'd pay $5 and stand in line to smack your ex. (And you don't want to know what I'd do to smack mine.)

  2. It's good. You had me at 'Did I ever tell you ...'

  3. Yes! Times 1,000!

  4. Resonated with me as currently the ex is holding $27.60 over my head, his 69% of a $40 medical bill. Cause I should really have to work for it. The clear, legible, accurate receipts I provide are somehow just never quite good enough. All over $27.60.

  5. yay. and thank you for coming back to us. i like your style and missed you these last few months.

  6. If my ex has to buy socks for my son he asks for half of the $5.00!! This is the guy who left us with $25 in the checking account and took everything of value out of the house while I was at school pick up! When you write you make the rest of us feel less alone and just knowing that there are others out there who have gone through crap and come out on the other side is such a gift. Keep writing! We need to hear each others stories!

  7. I love your words. Always SO real!! :-)

  8. Yes. I get it and agree with Amy P. that it helps us, your readers, to not feel so alone. Thank you.

  9. I hate that dick head! I would have signed it with a big f you. The nerve of him. I would have used some of that money to send him a bag of dicks! Give me his address please so I can send him an entire box of dicks please. I hate him. I seriously hate him. Have I told you lately how much I hate him?

    1. Do I know you in real life? Because we need to go have a drink together :)

  10. Yes, it’s me Susan from California! Your greatest fan. I adore you and I would buy you a drink and boxes of dicks for your ex. It would be so fun.


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