Project Alicia : just venting.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

just venting.

This is really more for me. I generally try my best to keep a positive spin on my blog, even when I may not feel in the cheeriest of moods. However, today I have reached my limit and need to vent. Nothing positive here. If you need a pick me up, by all means- don't read.

I have had a recent series of let downs and feel like there is this storm cloud hanging over me, following my every move, and that there is absolutely nothing I can do to change it as hard as I try. I have spent half the day fighting battles. If there is one thing that gets me steamed... it's when injustices happen to me or my children. I will not go down without a fight. And if I lose, it will not be for lack of trying. They'll have to take me down kicking and screaming. That is one area where Haldan and I differ greatly. He is resigned and I am just angry.

To start, we got the letter back from Cedar Rapids Community school district denying our request for a permit to have Little Man attend Taft. This comes as quite a blow for many reasons. First and foremost, it was sent via a form letter... which instantly got me fired up. It didn't matter what we said when we filled out the forms, the decision was already made. Then why have it as an option?

Little Man is a special child in many ways. He is also a very brilliant child- and I'm not saying this to brag. It's actually a deep concern for me. I recently had his parent teacher conference. It lasted less than 5 minutes. The teacher asked me if I had any questions or concerns. I told him that the only thing I worry about is that Little Man is becoming complacent. He is bored to tears and not being challenged. A child should always be challenged, even gifted children. He is in all the PACT programs, his teacher lets him read whatever he chooses, write papers at will, and gives him 7th and 8th grade spellings words. He understands numbers like it's a second language. We've contemplated moving him up a grade, but he is already the youngest in his class (due to his August birthday), he is certainly the smallest child, and struggles socially. For these reasons we have decided that would not be the best decision for a successful academic career. Our last hope was to get him into Taft. Up until the flood, the city allowed open enrollments to schools of your choosing through permits. That ended last year. So, I set out on a mission to appeal this decision. I first talked to the personnel at Madison Elementary. They suggested I speak with the principal at Taft first. Unfortunately he was not in so we got the assistant principal who assured us it was out of his hands and that there was nothing he could do for us. Next stop was Sandy Stephens of the school district. She was also indisposed, so we spoke with her assistant who could do nothing for us but take down a name and number and give us the synopsis of Sandy's busy schedule. She might get back with us within a week.

I have done my homework and know that statistically Roosevelt is one of the worst middle schools academically in Cedar Rapids. I also know that this is a crucial time in a child's life and that socially it is probably the worst fit for him. As a parent I can't help but be concerned for his well being and feel this is a fight worth fighting. He is being held back academically. I have gone so far as to consider home schooling as an option, but know that this would not be the best thing for him or I. It would limit him socially, which is his area of greatest concern for me.

We have even considered private schools or moving, which are both out of the question right now financially in light of everything going on with our house in Utah. It is about the worst time to try to sell a house.

... so we're learning the exceptionally painful way. I spent time doing my best to talk to Aurora Loan Services today in regards to our short sale progress or lack thereof. I am embarrassed to admit that he actually had to ask me to stop yelling so he could talk to me. I told him he didn't deserve it either and I begged to speak to a supervisor, to no avail. He did give me an ever so brief glimmer of hope when he told me that the notations didn't add up and that he would send an email to his manager and try to expedite the process. I say "ever so brief" only because then he started spewing off all sorts of BS that we've already heard a hundred times over. I'm on to them, though, because the crap they spew varies from person to person and there are never any straight answers. They have been trained to thoroughly confuse you until you just stop talking out of sheer dumbfoundedness.

This process has been painful, mostly because it goes against everything I stand for. I have always tried to be a responsible upstanding citizen, paying my bills on time and worrying about my credit score- a number that decides the fate of most things in your life, yet lacks any sort of black and white guidelines. The most ironic part about the credit score is that when Haldan and I both had numbers above 800 we were denied both the refinance or the loan modification. Both seemed like the sensible, responsible thing to do. Yet, we were denied. I am left thinking only one thing: Obama's "making home affordable program" is a joke.

After trying to sell the house for 8 months with no success, I worked night and day trying to find someone to rent. It was a full time job, screening all sorts of wackos from thousands of miles away. I had to market and advertise and slept very little. We finally found some tenants, but they didn't begin to pay the mortgage. We had to supplement with savings to make the payment. When they left short of their lease, we managed to find another couple that wanted to do a lease option. Then they fell on hard times and bailed.

After spending close to $50,000 to keep the home, the value had decreased so significantly... not only would we never get that money back, but we would never be able to get close to what we owed on the home. We were very upside down. After much research, I not only gained an entirely new vocabulary, but realized that a short sale seemed to be our only option. Everything we read on Aurora's website made it sound like it was a 60 day process and when we called we received the same information. We called multiple times in November and December wondering why it was taking so long. Time and time again we were told that they didn't know why, but that they had all the information required.

January we called again and again and finally spoke with the manager of the loss and mitigation department only to learn that our investors received our short sale packet Dec 1st (3 months after it was initially sent) and that they had a special 120 day clause. What a blow. We were under the impression it would be done by the first of the year and now we were looking at end of April before they even had to make a decision.

Now 6 months in not only is it not done, we have now received word that they have cancelled our short sale because of insufficient information. (Even though they assured us they had everything every time we called.) We have sent them every single thing they have requested and then some. But according to their notations, they sent a letter in November that we never received that would have let us know that the short sale packet was out of date, specifically the hardship letter and the financial statement. Nothing has changed. How can it be out of date? And we never received a letter. Why is it that when we called all those times they never mentioned it? I honestly believe that they made that up and just added it this week. We have also learned ludicrous things, such as: they have no contact number for us (even though they call multiple times daily to ask for money), documents all automatically expire after 90 days (even though the investors have 120 days), and many other things. My mind is drawing a blank- it's fried.

After months and months of tears I thought I was all cried out, but today I was proven wrong. As I sat on the phone pleading with Steven at Aurora Loan Services, totally at his mercy, being threatened I would be hung up on... tears flowed. Nobody knows what's going on. Every story is different. How the h--- can I make my voice be heard? I only wanted to know one thing today. When will this be over? Steven could give me no answer.

If you had asked me a year ago to do a short sale it would have been entirely out of the question. What? Ruin my credit? Absolutely not. Sometime after months and months of crying myself to sleep and having horrible nightmares... I finally came to peace with the idea of a less than perfect credit score. If it makes it all go away, bring it on.

Today after several phone calls I realize that it may never be over. I've decided that if they do not have a straight answer for me next week I will threaten with foreclosure.... because at this point I really don't care anymore. I would rather hand it over than go through another 6 months of this crap.

So, if you are contemplating a short sale- DON'T. And if you work for Aurora or happen to know anyone who works for Aurora feel free to forward this on.

I guess the saying, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" is true after all. When you merely sit back trying to be nice, well mannered, responsible individuals... you get nowhere. Maybe you really do have to lie and cheat and steal to get ahead in this world.

As if that wasn't enough, I learned today that our trip might be cancelled. Haldan has 8 days off starting today and we were going to take a trip to Florida. Rena and her husband are staying in a house down there on the gulf coast for a month and I thought it would be a great, inexpensive getaway- perfect for mental and emotional healing. However, as luck would have it... there is a cold front moving through there this week and it will only be highs of 50s. The trip is now up in the air and if we do go, I'm thinking it may be a little cool for excessive sun exposure- which is what my body is craving. I need some vitamin D in the worst way, the kind that only comes from the sun.

I thought working out this morning would be a good thing for me. I had to literally drag myself there. Then the instructor and her little boy slipped on some ice in the parking lot and ended up having to go to the hospital.

Oh, and I almost forgot. As we're heading out the door for school today Little Man shouts, "I need 30 snacks around noon." Seriously?

I'm about less than an inch away from going off the deep end here. I need a break in the absolute worst way...


  1. Oh Alicia, Alicia, Alicia!!! I am feeling your pain. I feel awful for you. Although I don't know what it's like to deal with house issues, I do know what it's like to scream on the phone to "the man" and make a complete ass out of myself to no avail. I was out of commission for a whole night after yelling and crying at someone from the credit card company. It's the Alcoholics Anonymous mantra/ Serenity Prayer that I wish I could master:

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    I'm thinking of you at this time. I really feel for you and all that you are going through. I also know what it's like to live in fear of ruining my credit score. But once it's not perfect it isn't as scary anymore. lololol. To quote the best thing my mom ever says to me,

    "It's not the end of the world"

    So simple, yet has saved me many times. I hope some things start looking up for you. Btw, have you ever taken Vit D? The OBGYN I worked for sold it in 5,000 I.U.s and people LOVED it. Again, thinking of you, hoping things get better.

    Love you,


  2. Man, I'm sorry. The whole short sale thing SUCKS! When you're dealing with that day after day I'm sure it doesn't take much to put you over the edge. I thought I had a bad day today but never mind, you win! Sending positive thoughts your way that everything will work out. Love ya!

  3. Come visit me!!! :) Not that it's sunny here, but our door is always open if you guys just need to escape!! I'm sorry about EVERYTHING!! Makes me wish I could help!! In this type of world, that's what Satan wants you to believe is that cheating, lying, and stealing is the only way to move forward. I know it doesn't feel like it but eventually this will be behind you and you'll have learned a life lesson in it (not sure what that will be---but i am a firm believer there are lessons in every trial to learn from). I'm sure that's not comforting words, I'm sorry. And it's okay to have an off day/week/month. Life happens... and it's perfectly okay to vent! (I do it all the time--by the way, Alan's the same way--the calm reserved one...I'm the raging crazy person who reacts to the littlest things, I guess.) If I knew all the lingo of house selling etc, I'd call and chew them out for you... I know this is NOT helpful at all: but hang in there, keep your chin up and find something positive to hang onto, if only to keep you sane during this crazy time of your life. ******HUGS*****

  4. Hey Alicia -

    I toggled over to this post from a link from your other post because I wanted to learn more about what a short sale was. Although I can't offer any assistance regarding the short sale, I saw your concerns regarding your son's education and I can offer a couple thoughts on that.

    I'm taking a Gifted Education class right now in my graduate studies in the University of Iowa and research strongly supports acceleration and finds that kids do much better, even socially when they are in academics that are aligned with their developmental and academic needs. I realize it's your decision to make, but just wanted to share the overwhelmingly positive research done on the effects of acceleration (skipping a grade), even when considering the child's social needs.

    Also, I wanted to make sure you knew about the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa. It's a wonderful program for gifted students and they offer summer programs - perhaps something to consider including your son in. It would also be terrific for him to be surrounded by other gifted kids and I believe his fire would be rekindled! The telephone number to the Center is (319) 335-6148.

    I hope that helps!
    Becca Johnson

  5. Rebecca, I don't know how to contact you but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you taking the time to give me your advice on the subject. We will definitely look into these programs and consider the grade up option more carefully. Thanks!