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…