Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Good News

This is actually a bad news, good news post. I'll tell you the bad news first, but quickly move on to the good news.

I thought long and hard about if I was going to blog about what has happened to us and finally decided to bite the bullet and just be straight with you. Okay, here goes, diving in…

I decided to put a face on foreclosure for those of you who haven't had anyone you know be put in this position. Yes, dear readers, our home is going into foreclosure. Please don't be sad for us, we're going to be just fine. Sister and I have raised our families and they are off on their own, so it's just the two of us who will be uprooting our lives and starting over.

I'm just going to give you the quick version here, who wants to dwell on what's done is done? Not me. In a nutshell, we sold our big home at the beach ten years ago and bought a smaller, modest one a couple of miles off the beach. Lower taxes, lower insurance rates, blah, blah, blah. I still lived in California, but was planning on retiring to Florida. You know what they say, best laid plans and all.

Six weeks later mom suffered a major stroke and about a year later I was injured at work. We dealt with all this and moved on — my beloved mother passed away two years later, I went back to college and earned a degree in graphic design (graduated with high honors, thank you very much). Things were back on track and as a freelance designer my little business was slowly building. We were doing good, but life happens. Hurricanes came and they more than tripled our insurance rates. Still doing okay, but then the recession came and my work plummeted. I design ads for small businesses and they were dropping like flies. Then they raised our electric rates. We are on an averaging plan, which means we pay the same thing every month all year long. Went from about a $150 to just over $300 a month. Home value drops below what we owe — too late to sell (think medical bills). We contact our lender and fill out all the paperwork they tell us will help the situation. (Never heard back from them until they served the papers a few weeks ago.) Then about six months ago, Sister gets laid off from her once, very secure job. She spends her days searching for a job, to no avail — three interviews in all this time.

I think you catch my drift here, we can't do it any more. We're worn out, stressed out and we're not spring chickens any more. So, we are surrendering our home and moving. Am I bummed? No, I realize others are far worse off than we are. I couldn't imagine going through this if my children were still living at home. So, please don't feel sorry for us, I'm not looking for sympathy, I just wanted to let you know what is going on. Florida and California have the highest foreclosure rates and every weekend I see "Everything Must Go" garage sales. We are not doing this, I love my stuff and I can make a home anywhere surrounded with my memories, my favorite things and people I love.

Enough of the tragic details, let's move on to the GOOD NEWS! Sister is staying here, moving in with her best friend until she can find work. Me? I'm moving to Georgia! In case you don't know this, I was born in Georgia, so I'm returning to my roots. I was visiting Georgia quite a bit until the recession hit. Visiting kin and meeting many I never knew. Living most of my life in California, you tend to only keep in touch with some. I have a HUGE family in Georgia, I mean hundreds and hundreds and hundreds. I started working on my family tree about four years ago and it led me to some of the most amazing people I am proud to call my family. I visit graveyards, courthouses and older relatives who are a wealth of information. First, second and third cousins, all with families of their own. My family has been in Georgia since the early 1800s and farmers tended to have BIG families of a dozen or so kids. You can see why I have so many family members now.

My family has been in this country since Jamestown, the first settlement to survive the hardships of those days. My ancestor grandmother even kept the indians at bay during the Jamestown Massacre of 1622. During the Great Depression my great-grandfather and my grandfather left their farms and moved to the Okefenokee Swamp, taking jobs in the logging industry that was going on at the time. Great-grandpa engineered the train and grandpa drove a logging truck. 

My family in the swamp in 1934
(my mom is holding her doll)

They survived and moved on with their lives. So, I figure I come from strong stock and can survive the current situation with no problems. My family has been here for almost 500 years and suffered much worse than this, I'm not going to let them down. Plus, I'll get to be with lots of family and researching my family tree will be even more exciting. I have many older relatives in their 80s and 90s with great stories and I plan to record them all. I'm also planning to make the trek from Jamestown, Virginia to South Georgia, following the path of my ancestors. This will be after the economy gets back on track, but I'll have time to really plan it well.

What about the beach you ask? This old beach gal will always have the shore in her heart. I've lived most of my life on the Pacific Ocean and many years on the Gulf of Mexico, now I'll experience the Atlantic Ocean and I'm sure I'll have many beach tales for you. I'm looking for a house as close to the beach as I can get and still be near family. This shouldn't be more than an hour or so. My cousin Jackie, who I grew up with, lives at Neptune Beach in Florida, just an hour or so away from where I'll be, I have another cousin with a beach house at Fernandina Beach in Georgia and I always have my camping equipment and you know I love beach camping. I'll only be about five hours from here, so I'l be making trips back to visit my daughter, granddaughter and sister. 

I also plan on having the beachiest house in South Georgia. When I told Sister what I was planning, she said she'd have to wear her bathing suit when she comes to visit. She's so funny, but not really that far off. I plan on mixing shabby chic and beachiness to make the place my own and I'll be blogging about my efforts right here at the Tiki Hut. I'll be looking for your advice and I've already bookmarked a few projects I've come across that will work beautifully. I'm going to get back into shell design and will be opening my own Etsy store soon after my move.

All is well, I'm excited about my move and the adventures that lie ahead. When am I leaving? April 1st, the same day I left Georgia for California many, many years ago. I'm taking this as a good omen!

Okay, a little nervous now……biting the bullet……hitting publish… 

27 Thoughtful Comments:

Kat said...

Rhonda, I'm so sorry that you are going through this. It's such an unfortunate sign of the times we live in. Most of my friends in Florida are "upside down" too, through no fault of their own. But on the upside, what a great adventure meeting and researching your family (I LOVE that photo) I have a huge extended family in Mississippi that I'm just getting back into contact with, so I know how much fun it is. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers as your start your next adventure. Hugs, Kathy

Oliver. sippycupsforoneandall. said...

I Love your blog you seem very nice.
ps love the spring

Sue said...'ve been going through so much and keeping such a happy "face" at the same time. I love your attitude. I think that what has happened in the country has made many of us talk about the "what ifs" and we have also said that now that the kids are on their own (sort of) we could go back to living in a small apartment and working at McD's if we had to. We don't want to...but we'd survive and thrive. I'm sure you will do the same.

GA is a beautiful state, great beaches and still in the south. I'm sure you will have fun making your new home your own. I'm sending good thoughts your way...hoping that this transition is a smooth one for you.


bunny, The Paris House Designs said...

Shellbelle you are truly one of the most inspirational and upbeat people I know. I am sorry you are going through this, but I know you will turn these lemons into the most delicious lemonade ever and inspire all of us along the way.
One never knows what lies ahead, but as long as you have your health and your loved ones it easier to make the journey.
After my cancer diagnosis I saw the big picture, as long as we could all be together and be happy I could live in a tent.
You truly have such a loving and honest blog and I'm so thankful for you. God Bless and You will be more than just fine, your Shellbelle after all, you will be most likely on to one of the greatest adventures yet :)

Jane said...

Hi Rhonda.
Thank you for your candid comments re: your foreclosure. Your attitude is truly inspirational and ENCOURAGING to all. So many of us here in FL (and other locations) are just steps away from foreclosure, thanks to the crazy economy. It's such a scary word. With your attitude,you will be able to "make lemonade from lemons" no matter what happens or where you will go.

South GA is wonderful...and there is so much to see and do within short distances. Neptune and Fernandina are lovely beaches, as are Tybee, Jeckyll, St. Simons, etc. Of course, my beloved St. Augustine is just a short drive south. You will LOVE the beaches...and the people. And they will LOVE you! You are such an upbeat lady...great adventures await you. And just think of the new material for you blog!

I pray that this will be a smooth move for you...
Jane (Artfully Graced)

Here's to a smooth transition...a warm and welcoming family...great new friends...and a sense of home from the very first day.

Kristen said...

well... my heart is sad about your first bit of news... but i am optimistic that this is simply an opportunity to spread your wings and try something new. i have no doubt your new home will in fact be the beachiest haven there has ever been...
you have such an amazing outlook and perspective on things... when you have a new address, make sure to let me know so i can send a little housewarming gift :)

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Dear Rhonda
I know you don't want me to go all sad sap on you!! So I'll just say.. You GO Girl!!!

You have such a great attitude and truly sometimes the universe has to push us on to the path we are meant to be on. I'm trusting this is destiny.. not fate!!

Love and great respect..
xx Julie

Anonymous said...

Rhonda, I'm so glad you let all of that out, it's very therapeutic. And your view is so positively inspiring! So Shelle Belle is transforming into a Georgia Peach?

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

It sounds like you are taking it well...I hope that everything turns out okay for you in the PEACH state. We are in the real estate business here on the gulf I can understand where you are coming from. Take care and I look forward to seeing your new place:)


Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

Rhonda, I am sooo sorry, but like you said, you can just do so much and with the economy like it is more and more are suffering the same fate.
I love your attitude, it is only stuff and family will see you through. My Brother lived in Bradenton, Fl. But things just got to expensive so he sold his home 4 yrs ago and moved back to OK. I will be waiting to see how you make the transitions and decorate your home.
Prayers are with you Dear Friend.

Anonymous said...

Rhonda, if the term Steel Magnolia EVER applied to anyone, it's you. This is the bravest post I've ever seen. I'm pulling for you!

Unknown said...

All the best in this new phase of your life.You will do well.I have no doubt.
The beach is a state of mind.As long as Jimmy Buffet records and we have Reggae,you will still have the beach.
Plus,it sounds like you won't be that far from the ocean.
Just make sure the Hut keeps going......

Lori E said...

Change is always hard but you seem to have a really good attitude. Like you said your ancestors went through so much more and survived it.
It is never easy to give up on something but I am always optimistic that something better is coming. I think you can see that too.
How interesting about your family history. You are lucky to be able to access so many records.
The best of luck to you Rhonda. I am glad you are staying put, at least in blogland.

gayle said...

I know this must be hard but you are keeping a postive attitude! I really admire you!!

Anny said...

I wish you all the best *hug*

Lillian Robinson said...

Unfortunately, you aren't the only face I can put on the current state of affairs. Sad what is happening everywhere, but especially Florida. My dad doesn't even have insurance!

You have a great attitude, so I know not to worry about you.

What a great family history! I love the picture of your mom's family.

I'm looking forward to hearing about your 'new' beach house!

Maya @ Completely Coastal said...

Wow. You are certainly my kind of girl, Rhonda! Focusing on the upside, and the good that is in a difficult and challenging situation like this. And you know, whenever you're feeling beachy, you can always come to Completely Coastal too! I hope you keep us posted on your new adventure!!!! Thanks so much for sharing this!!

Sierra said...

Rhonda, thanks for letting us know what is going on and I really admire you for your great attitude and perseverance! I know that your new home in Georgia is going to be beachy and I am glad that you figured out a way that is economical for you and your husband. :)

Low Tide High Style said...

Hitting that publish button can be both terrifying and liberating all at the same time!

By taking that risk you reap the rewards of having people from all around the country, and the world for that matter, take you under their wing for just a moment and lift you up!

I wish you all the best as you enter this new chapter of your life. And any book that only has one chapter is not only really thin and lifeless, but also incredibly boring!

Best wishes for your happily ever after in your home state of Georgia! Remember, you can take the girl out of the beach, but you can't take the beach out of the girl!

Kat :)

The Fajdich Times said...

So sorry to hear your very sad news. Wow! That is really a lot to take in. This is so sad.....I always loved to hear about your trips to the beach.....and all your shells. Hopefully you will have some new adventures to tell us all about. Take care and I will look forward to some great new adventures to read about:)

RosieJo said...

I am glad that you are able to be optomistic about your change in location. You will miss the old life, but will love Georgia. Oh, Fernandina is in Florida.

The Muse said...

as soon as you pressed that publish opened your heart to so many here who care for you. and will always be here to listen, to lift, to support.

i believe there is grander road awaiting you!

CrazyCris said...

Oh my! Rhonda I am so sorry to hear that you're having to give up your home! I thought things were getting better on that side of the Atlantic... my uncle and aunt also had to give up their home (not far from you), but they also put a bright face on things since they decided to do it sooner rather than later (hadn't sunk too much money in the mortgage yet). It took them a couple of years but they bumped back and have since been able to buy another home. I hope you have similar luck in Georgia!

At least it sounds like you'll be able to enjoy being around friends and family and re-discovering a new coast! I can't wait to see what the Georgia coast looks like through your eyes!

Hugs and best of luck!!! :o)

tqbrock11 said...

Like a few other people that have commented today, I just found you - I love what I've seen of your blog so far. My little family got foreclosed on just about two years ago, and things were sort of scarily up in the air for a while, but we're so much better off now than we were before. I hope things work out well for you, too.

Take care!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I know we have talked about this, Rhonda, and I have got to say that you have a wonderful attitude. I'm proud of you, and I wish for you only the best.

And with you being a close neighbor up the coast, you will have to come visit St. Augustine Beach and Vilano Beach. I think you would love it there. The East Coast has its own beauty.


Sheila :-)

RottenMom said...

I am really sorry that you have hit this rough patch. I have so much admiration for you and your wonderful outlook. I know that you will have the beachiest house in all of Georgia! I look forward to checking out your new Esty store!
Take care of yourself.

sealaura said...

HOla Amiga,

Just caught up with your news. thanks for your honesty. I recently had to leave my house because as you know I live in Cali, where it costs money to breathe and the little profesora salary only goes so far. i do admire your optimism and I have to tell you moving and starting fresh was a great feeling for me. I did a short sale, but it was still unfun, to say the least.

wishing you all the best from sunny socal and look forward to hearing your tales from your new peachy beachy digs!

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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