"Autoimmune disorders", Christmas, Disability, Holidays, Methotrexate, Moving, Primary Mortgage Insurance, Real Estate, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Stress, Tall & Handsome

Yeah, Though I Walk Through the Valley, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Yeah, Though I Walk Through the Valley

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Struggle. Dog-paddling. Coming up for the last breath. I call it “the elephant sitting on my chest”. Some of you will know immediately what I am talking about…others will think Bev has lost her ever loving mind…and some days lately it has certainly felt like it. Others of you will think this is not a very appropriate thing to write about at this time of the year, but actually, it is. The holidays are known to be an emotionally rough time for some people to cope. At least, this will update you, fill you in, catch you up, explain some things and educate you all in one fell swoop. Never underestimate the power of the written word…

First and foremost, I have not tuned out, dropped out and forgotten everyone and everything…or my writing. It’s just been a struggle, that well, I was hoping was coming to some kind of an end. Instead it has protracted and stretched out like a big grotesque rubber band that I’m just waiting to snap back and pop. It can only stretch so far before it breaks or snaps back or I can cut that puppy and prevail! But, let me start at the beginning…

As I sit here writing, I think of all the people across the world scurrying around getting ready for the upcoming holidays. Our scurrying now days is more like dragging our weary backside behind us. Tall & Handsome and I had a bleak, non-existent Thanksgiving (we were both sick) and Christmas is shaping up that way…there is no decorating at the Burch house, no gift wrapping…we are hoping to make the day special, eventful and remember the occasion, spirit and purpose of Christmas Day and have a meal here at the house. That’s it…

So much has happened…and it won’t stop…

Yes, we did complete the move and thought things were moving along just peachy. We had a projected closing date of the end of November on both houses. But, we began to get concerned when we weren’t hearing a definite date from my tenant’s (who decided to buy my house) mortgage broker. She assured him, us and our realtor that everything was fine and that he HAD been approved for his mortgage to buy my house in Alabama. (She talked to our realtor via the phone and assured her that he HAD been approved and everything was fine.)

Then, late on Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving, he called Tall & Handsome at work and dropped the bomb that he had been denied his loan!

Ok, remember that education part? Insert first educational moment here…Come to find out, more accurate and to the point, his mortgage broker was charging him $666 a month PMI…Primary Mortgage Insurance. PMI is paid if you do not make a full minimum down payment and typically industry standards are .5 – 1% of the loan amount a year. In other words, on a $207, 000 mortgage, PMI would typically run about $86 a month.

They were charging him way too much…even our mortgage broker said something squirrelly was going on at his end with his people. What the tenant/buyer of my house in Alabama’s mortgage broker was charging was the equivalent of about 5%…way above industry standard. It was the equivalent of sneaking up the interest on his mortgage to 12%!! Well, the man couldn’t afford that…who could?! No wonder the mortgage industry is going bust with deals like that in the making…

So, with his mortgage in jeopardy, that placed T & H’s and mine in the same boat, because we were waiting on the equity out of that house for the down payment on this house. My first instinct is not to crumble, but believe there is an answer, a solution…a fix. Mentally, I went into fixing mode.

We scrambled to come up with Plan A; Plan B; Plan C…you get the idea. Our next option was to hold the note for him for 2 – 3 years, after he made a down payment, and then he would have to refinance after that 2 – 3 year period and procure his own financing. He thought about it (along with his Mom who was going to help him buy the house) and then at the last minute decided to back out and just continue to rent/lease.

Okay…flush down payment down the toilet…

Go to Plan ZZZ…whatever, for this house. Our mortgage broker is great and had some different options…we had been approved for our mortgage for ages…then something very strange happened…and here is where my optimism begins to flag and drag…or at least get weary…

Next educational moment provided by Bev U inserted here…our broker called one morning and said while he was working on one of our options; it appeared that T & H’s credit had dropped seemingly over night. WHAT?! We were flummoxed…nothing had really changed.

So we all put our collective heads together, did some digging and discovered what it was. Remember when I had to trade in that ol’ lead sled during the move? Well, I had already secured financing, but the dealership assured us they could get us a better rate. Tall & Handsome told them to go ahead and see if they could, but we had no idea they would butcher us. They pulled T & H’s credit 17 times and each time they pulled his credit it reduced his credit rating by substantially. Each hit was a reduction…

Now according to the Federal Trade Commission, what the car dealership did was wrong. There is a way they could do the rate shopping without decimating or harming someone’s credit rating. The car dealership should have pulled “soft credit checks” instead of “hard credit checks”. So, FYI, please do not allow this to happen to you. This information is available on the FTC’s website.

While all of this has gone on, the dragon-lady realtor pulled our agent out of the picture and sent her Lord knows where and said, she, the dragon-lady herself, would represent both parties, seller and buyer (us) for the remainder of the transaction. She was the sellers agent from the beginning…so you can begin to see where this road is leading. To a place called Real Estate Purgatory. Everything she has done has verged on unethical and had been purely slanted for the sellers. We’ve not had an agent representing out interest in the transaction now for weeks.

We had stopped packing because we wanted to make sure the house was going to close before we unpacked a lot more…we didn’t want to have to pack up a whole house to move else where. The realtor was already saying she had a “hot buyer” which was odd because the house was under contract with us, there was no sign in the yard, no MLS listing and we were living in the house and renting it. Was she selling it on the side? (Just today, with our closing date days away, her office calls and set up a showing for the house tomorrow. If you put the old MLS number in the system for our house the search comes back “No listing found”. Who’s feeding these agents that the house can show?)

The realtor came by the 1st Sunday of December to collect the rent for the owners, who she said had driven by and seen the boxes in the windows. She said they had a message for us, which was to start unpacking again…that we were going to work all of this out. Three days later, the realtor sent us an addendum saying if we didn’t close by the end on the month we would have to vacate and forfeit our substantial earnest money. Strictly mind games and high pressure…

(This while we were kept out of the house for a week because the sellers turned the utilities off instead of transferring them to us. The power company confirmed this to me. So we paid them rent AND a hotel room for almost a week. The rent is supposed to be prorated, but the realtor has yet to do it…and her closing agent/assistant has told me she is helping the sellers pay their double mortgages. How fair is that?!)

I had become deathly sick and when T & H went to the pharmacy to get my meds, he discovered when we moved, his company’s HR had for some inexplicable reason removed me from his insurance!!! Ok, another elephant to remove off chest and make disappear…

Then the dragon-lady realtor called a meeting at the sellers’ new home…kind of like a “go to the principal’s office type of thing” for a dressing down, shaming and intimidation session which was totally inappropriate…and I was still too ill to go…

So where are we today? Well, it does look we may be able to close before the end of the month, BUT…yes, you know there had to be one. When the house was built, it was built without a handrail and banister on the front porch. Now, that is against the code and FHA will not close the loan until a banister and hand rail is installed.

Inexplicably, get this one…the SELLERS/REALTOR seem to expect us to put the handrail up on THEIR house they have been trying to sell for months before they will close. The handrail has reared its head before. The home inspection caught it, and I insisted something be compensated for it because the inspector said it was a safety issue. At first they said they wouldn’t do anything until I said I would be glad to get the county building inspector involved. They then agreed to compensate toward a banister and hand rail. Now, the dragon-lady realtor, SR, is saying the house is sold “AS IS” and we the BUYERS have to install the handrail…of course, she’s watching out for our best interest, too, don’t you know. We are appealing to the sensibilities of all…and hope reasonable ones prevail.

We have been on the real estate hamster wheel of Hades…

Then, with these other teeny, tiny things going on, I had my annual “filling out of the papers with the disability people” and a doctor’s appointment with my specialist in Birmingham. It’s a good thing I went. He discovered I was very deficient in Vitamin D and a new “friend” has joined Club Bev.

Club Bev is now housing Rheumatoid Arthritis and is exchanging emails with her doctor about treatment. In discussion, Methotrexate, a medication usually used in chemotherapy, but also used in low doses as a disease modifying drug for RA. My aunt has taken it for years.

So, is our chin scraping the floor? Nope. Are we beat up and worn out? Yep! Would we like a break? You better believe it!

But, folks, I’ve determined that it’s not uncommon to the human condition to have these up and downs and peaks and valleys. I’m sure there are a lot of you out there that feel like I do right now and are saying, “Bev, I’ve had a big ol’ bulldozer come through and plough a city-wide valley in my life for the last several years!”

Well, my friend, that will just make it easier for that mountain-fresh air to rush down and breathe relief into your life! Relief will come…it always does in some way, some form, some fashion. It may take time…but it will come…just remember Job…

It may come in a kind word, a hug, a phone call, a new friend…or when your Tall & Handsome walks into you life and commits an act of love that is so simple and so pure and so sweet it will literally break your heart with tenderness…

In the middle of all of “this” that has been going on, my health has been a causality. One particular time I was so sick that I couldn’t sleep for days, and then I finally had to sleep and could sleep. T & H knew things were getting what he calls “critical”. I was developing that “Rocky Raccoon” look. I vaguely remember him going out and running errands.

When he came back, he had brought in some nourishing food…he knew it had been a while since I had eaten. He saw to it that I ate properly. And then, that six foot, long and lanky guy picked up a bag and sat down by me and said, “Honey, I have a little surprise for you. Let me show you. I notice how you’re always doing things with your nails.”

He pulled a new manicure set out of the bag and proceeded to set by me and give me a manicure…no, not on one finger, but, on all ten fingers! After he was finished, he gently rubbed cuticle oil into the bed of my nails. How can I not begin to see peaks after that?!

So, as Christmas Day approaches I am most grateful for that sweet, caring, loving man who supports and understands me and the promise that tomorrow brings…

King David said it well…

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow…I will fear no evil, for You are with me… Psalm 23:4 NASB

And that friends, goes a long way in removing the Fear Factor…

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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