My passion for yard sales and thrift stores began before it was legal for me to drink. The heady thrill of finding something someone else considered useless and giving it a new home, life or purpose was intoxicating enough to keep me sidling up to the bargain bar for the rest (so far) of my life. A semi-significant portion of my adult life has been spent either in financial hardship or at the very least, just getting by, but I was unwilling to let the condition of my wallet negatively affect the comfort of my surroundings. Everything changed earlier this year when I lost my home. Now, before you feel sorry for me, please wait. Why? Because, as with so many circumstances in our lives, what can on the surface appear to be a tragedy, is really a shiny silver lining waiting to reveal itself. In this particular instance there are many, but the one most relevant to this, MY BRAND NEW BLOG (*say in your best Rod Roddy voice. Do it. I’m waiting. Ok, that’s better, thank you.), is that after I did everything within my power to save it, after I shed many an eye-puffing tear over it, after I felt colossal shame, I realized something: I hadn’t lost my home. I had lost a house. A house that another family would buy and then it would be their home, and that part made me happy to imagine, and eased the pain. However, to paraphrase Scarlett O’Hara, a pretty resourceful gal in her own right: “Wherever was I to go? Whatever was I to do?” My challenge was to turn a rented townhouse into my new home…and to do my best not to look back. And God as my witness my sofa shall never hunger for the sweet embrace of a cozy throw ever again!
I traveled the long and winding road of loan modification only to be turned down by the bank and find myself in a humiliating town called “Foreclosureville” (Which thanks to it’s recent population explosion, might someday be able to improve the infrastructure and do something about all of these one-way, dead-end streets!)
This journey taught me a few things, these two being the most pertinent to this conversation:
- Even if one believes oneself to be compassionate, there are always lessons to be learned.
- Second, that, no matter how difficult your struggle, there are always other people who need help even more.
I consider myself a fairly strong and capable lady and I have to tell you, foreclosure is a debilitating experience. How, I asked myself, could some people ever get through this? What if one was working three jobs (my hat is off to you!), had 12 kids (heaven help you if that’s you, and if you’re reading this right now…TAKE A NAP!), was chronically ill, wasn’t a native English speaker (Please press two for La casa que fue construida por ventas de yarda), or if one flat out had NO idea how to start over? There are plenty of organizations in place set up to help you keep your home, but once all is lost, then what? I have been through a laundry list of ideas about how I could reach out to these very people. The people with whom I will forever share one of those aforementioned silver linings.
What do I know best?
Well, I know a thing or two about starting over (I’ve done it multiple times), I know a thing or twelve hundred about finding bargains and I would like to think I know at least a little about sharing. So, maybe, if I put this out there, suck up my pride and share my story, then perhaps some folks who are starting over can get a little inspiration, a little know-how and a little push to get started and build a home.
It took me a long time to openly admit the defeat known as real estate foreclosure. I had to force myself to speak openly about it. Even now, this is difficult…I’m sharing this with the Internet! Do you have any idea just how many friends the Internet has? Lots. The answer is lots. No, whatever you’re thinking, double it. Actually, triple it, then multiply it by the number of times Lindsay Lohan has crashed (literally and figuratively) multiply THAT by the number of times you’ve heard someone on “House Hunters” say: “I don’t like the color”, then add another million or two people AND YOU’RE STILL NOT EVEN CLOSE! What I am saying here, is that there are a lot of people online! Forevermore the Internet will have it on record that I said: “My name is Laura, and I lost my house.” However, if my plan is to do something valuable, then by golly, we’d better start out with all of our cards on the table. (What? This old thing? Only solid mahogany….yard sale…35 dollars. I knooooow, right?)
My mother recently called me The Queen of Making a Silk Purse out of a Sow’s Ear. It’s a long title, and the crest, I have to tell you is a little off the wall, but I’ll take it. Check me out Internet, I’m royalty!
So, let’s do this together. Whether you wish simply to be entertained by the ramblings of a yard sale addict, to check out whatever crazy finds I have unearthed, or if you want to learn the ins and outs of sow’s ear reconstructive surgery, read on. I hope that this helps some people like me. Folks who would love to live in a beautiful and special home, but don’t have the money to go about getting there in the traditional way. Maybe you have plenty of money, but you like a challenge, the satisfaction of doing it yourself or you just can’t find exactly what you want via traditional retail. That’s great too! Everyone is welcome! (except for you Chase bank…I’ve got my eye on you!)