Blessings to the person reading my plea,
I am a 57 year old widow who has raised and is in the process of putting three children through college.
My husband passed away 8 years ago while my children were 18, 16 and 11. Because he had Lupus, the only life insurance we had for him was secured before our third child was born and his diagnosis prevented him from getting any more. His death was not expected. It was an unfortunate case of Pneumonia that triggered a Lupus flare up in his lungs, which in turn caused Pulmonary Fibrosis (scarring of the lung tissue), which basically made his lungs unable to support life. I had the excruciating task, after 66 days and nights in the ICU to discontinue life support. The loss of my husband was obviously emotionally devastating to all of us, but because of the financial and emotional demands of two teenagers and one preteen, the loss was doubly difficult.
Thankfully, the life insurance we did have allowed me to keep my oldest son in college and still be able to stay home and raise my two youngest children for the next few years until they left for college as well.
My husband and I, devoted to the idea of having a stay at home mom, made a promise to each one of our children when they were born that one of us would ALWAYS be there when they left for school in the morning and when they came home in the afternoon. With the loss of my husband, the ability to keep that promise was strained, but with the careful management of his life insurance proceeds and a modest Social Security Survivor benefit I was able to do it.
Once my youngest turned 16, the Survivor benefits ceased and the little bit of life insurance that was left was finally depleted. So, for the first time in 18 yrs, with my promise to my children kept, I set out to earn my own way. To do so and remain in our home, pay back the Parent Plus loans I took out to help finance their education, and all of the other costs of living, I have been working two jobs, (three if you count Ubering) ever since.
Clearly, my efforts to raise my children in a secure, loving, honor filled home bore fruit. My oldest son graduated from Georgetown University and is now a 3-L Law student at UPenn, an Ivy League Law school. My daughter graduated from Belmont University in Nashville with a degree in Songwriting and is now working on her first CD. And my youngest is a senior at American University in Washington DC. He is Law and Justice major, with a concentration in Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism. He is also an ROTC Cadet and when he graduates in May, he will commission into the US Army as an Officer and serve on Active Duty for 6-8 years.
I have worked my tail off both as a mom and as a breadwinner to provide the education, home life, and character building lifestyle to assure their success. I think it is clear, based on where they are in life, that my efforts have been a success. Unfortunately, since two of them are still in school and my third is just starting out her career, they have no disposable income to help me out of this short term financial crisis.
I’m certain that one of the reasons that they have landed on their feet, despite the death of their father, is the continuity of their lives. Their home was a huge part of that continuity. I have worked hard to make sure that their home remained their keystone and now, it is all I have left.
My youngest, who over the course of the past 8 years has lost his father, his paternal grandfather, his maternal grandmother, (now with no living grandparents), his dog of 17 years and his cat who was there at this birth. In addition the family of five that he always knew, became just a family of two once his brother and sister left for college, has lost enough. Losing our home, just can’t be an option.
Now, even though he is a young adult, his decision to serve his country, has added even another layer of pressure to keep my home. When he comes home on leave from his duty stations around the world and potentially from deployments into war zones, I want him to be able to “come home”. If I lose this house, then he will not have “home” to come to. He’ll just be coming to “mom’s house” wherever that would be, and to which he would have no sentimental attachment. His grounding, his base, his foundational home will be gone. I just can’t do that to him.
So, I persevere to keep this home.
In addition to all the jobs I work, which average about 65 hours per week, I have rented out two of the bedrooms which my two oldest, who no longer live here, had as children. All of this has managed to keep things afloat quite well for the past few years.
The problem I have now, is two fold.
1. One of my jobs is as a Nanny. I am paid hourly because each weeks schedule is different based on the work hours of the parents whose children I care for. In July and August, they took two, two week vacations. As a result, my Nanny income for those 4 weeks was zero. I tried to make up that lost income at my second job, which is as a server at a fine dining restaurant, but in the summer, there is very little business and as a result we were working with a skeleton crew. No one was willing to give up their shifts to anyone so I only had a couple of shifts a week and when I did, I still didn’t make that much money.
Just prior to all of that:
2. One of my boarders, (who moved into my home to recover after her 15 year old son committed suicide) had her work hours greatly reduced and struggled month after month to pay the rent. Of course, I didn’t have the heart to kick her out and she always did manage to pay it to me even if it was late. Up until the 4 weeks of lost wages that I incurred over the summer, I was always able to float the rent with my own money and get my mortgage paid, and pay my other bills when her rent money finally came in.
But then, when my income was greatly reduced in June, I couldn’t float it anymore and just as this was happening, she lost her job completely.
She was able to cobble together June’s rent, but I didn’t get it in full until the end of June (when July’s was due). July’s rent was paid in full August 9th, almost two weeks after August’s was due and August’s rent still has not been paid, let alone September.
As a result of all of these late payments, I have been inundated with overdraft fees and return check fees which have sucked my bank account dry totaling well over $800 since June. Of course, if she doesn’t even have the rent, any hope of getting reimbursed for the overdraft fees is fancy. Needless to say, I have fallen more and more behind each month. As a result, I ended up two months behind on the rent. The last time I made a payment, it was returned 3 times and the mortgage company would no long accept my checks. Included in that letter was an ACT 91 form stating that the return of that check now put me three months behind and in default. Terrified, I called them and they said that if I can make two mortgage payments by the end of August and two mortgage payments before September 29th of this month, I’ll be back on track. Well, last month I worked over 320 hours, 7 days a week for the whole month and managed to scrape together enough to make two mortgage payments in one month. I need to do it again this month as well, but despite working 7 days a week, to the tune of over 80 hours each week, I’m still going to be about $1000 short. If I can’t make the payment in full, the mortgage company will consider that a “breaking of the repayment plan” and will move forward with the possible acceleration/foreclosure proceedings.
Since I have two ladies living here, I have to make sure the electric, gas, sewer, water and cable remain on, so they had to be paid. As an Uber driver, I have to make my car and insurance payments, so they had to be paid. I have to put gas in my car to drive to and from work and Uber as well, and I have to pay my cell phone bill in order to use the Uber app so those are bills that I have had to stay current on. All other bills, including my Parent Plus student loan payments have been deferred for two months to free as much income as I can. But, even doing that, I still am significantly short. Doubling up a mortgage payment two months in a row, when a significant portion of your income (rent from one of the boarders doesn’t come in and the subsequent overdraft fees) is a high bar to reach.
The total amount due is $2,721.48 by 9/29/18. Currently I have $1425.11 and that includes the paycheck that I will be receiving on Wednesday 9/26. I won’t be getting a paycheck from my other job until 9/3 which will be too late. That leaves a shortage of $1,296.37.
I have called the mortgage company 3 times and talked to three different people to ask if I could just delay a portion of the amount due until the 3rd (just 5 days later) and was told by each one of them, no. If I do, it’s “breaking the repayment plan”.
I earn a pretty decent income. I am a server at a fine dining restaurant on the weekends and the Nanny to a family of four children during the week. My hours as a Nanny are set so there is no opportunity for extra income. At my restaurant job, I am scraping up every shift I can, but the whole staff needs as many shifts as they can get because this time of year is still a bit slow, as long as the weather is still nice (which it is), so there aren’t many shifts to snatch up. Even if I do get a shift, only cash tips go home with us and most people pay with a credit card, so I won’t see those tips until they show up in my paycheck on September 10th. As for my Nanny job, I won’t get that paycheck until September 10th either.
I need this house not only for now, but it is the only retirement I have. My goal is to live here another 8 years until my son’s service in the Army is completed so home will always be waiting for him and then when he is ready to set off on his own life, I’ll rent it out to a family and move to a smaller place, keep it until the equity is high enough that selling it will fund my retirement.
If I can’t get this mortgage payment made, all of that will be at risk.
I never thought that I would ever find myself in a situation where I was so desperate that I would resort to asking strangers for money, but it is a testament to the humility, desperation and fear I have that I am actually doing it.
If you are thinking about making a donation, but are reluctant because you think this will continue to be a problem as long as I have a boarder who is not dependable, please note that she gave me her 45 day notice on September 12th. That is a double edged sword though. She won’t owe me a full months rent for October and that is contributing to this shortage. But the good news of that is now, after dealing with her unreliability for almost a year, I will be able to get a boarder in here who is much more gainfully employed. I won’t make that mistake again.
So as it shakes out, my calculations are that as of this writing at 4:40 pm on 9/22/18, the only way to earn the money I need is to Uber. (Uber allows its’ drivers to “cash out” immediately after a ride, thus the deposits hit my bank account immediately.) I will have to earn 169.37/day starting tonight after my server job ends at 11 pm, and continuing every night after my nanny/restaurant job ends. It took me 5 hrs to earn $99 this morning from 4:15 am until 9 am. So, it will be about another 8 hour shift each day. Total hours to work this week: 114. I’m going to give it my best shot, but it is an all or nothing proposition. ANY help you can give me would be so greatly appreciated.
All the gratitude and blessings to you,