Monday, February 14, 2011
The Michigan House
The first year, it sat empty, on the market. Never got so much as an offer. We paid for lawn mowing and leaf raking.
Then, we got renters, who paid some, not all of the mortgage. Renters who, without our permission, kept five dogs in the house. With all the stuff that five dogs can do.
At some point, after we bought our house here last October, it just made sense to get rid of the Michigan house one way or another. So, first the renters were going to buy it. But they couldn't afford it. So they moved out in July or August. It all runs together after a point.
We tried to deed it back to the bank, but they wouldn't do a deed in lieu of foreclosure unless we tried to sell it. So we got our realtor back to trying to sell it. Dirty stinky dog pee and all. In November, we got an offer that the bank would accept.
The plan was for the realtor to meet Consumers Energy at the house to switch on the power the same day the buyers were going to do a final walk-through/inspection. For some reason, I thought the power was already on. I called to have it turned on. I called to have it in my name. I got a bill and I paid the bill. But at the last minute, the offer was withdrawn. They found something they liked better. So the realtor never met Consumers Energy to turn it on. We were all just so sick about the offer being gone, nobody even thought of it.
We got the letter from the bank that they would re-submit the paperwork for a deed in lieu of foreclosure. That's a sucky letter to get, let me tell you. Even when you know it has to happen, it's a sucky letter. So I called the bank and they were sympathetic. Hoped to hear back from Freddie Mac, a federal agency, who holds the loan. That was the end of November. In January, our realtor called to ask what was happening....and we mutually decided to end the listing since we were just waiting for the approval of the deed in lieu of foreclosure from Freddie Mac. It should be a done deal.
Last week, I got an email from my realtor. A realtor representing an investor went into the house and discovered a burst pipe. We have no idea how long the pipe was broken, but a city reading of the meter tells us that 194,000 gallons of water leaked into the basement.
Because the foreclosure is not complete, it is our mess to clean up. We are still covered by home-owners insurance, but we have a $1,000 deductible.
I spent most of my snow days last week on the phone with the bank, the realtor, the insurance company, the restoration company, the city, and most frustrating of all, Consumers Energy, who takes no responsibility for the problem. When asked what I was paying for on the bill, they replied, "Having the service in your name." They agreed to turn the power on so the restoration company could do their work, but didn't get it done until Friday. By then, the restoration company had to call a weekend repairman to check the safety of the furnace before they could turn it on and finish drying everything out.
Yesterday at Vintage we talked about the value of lamenting. That grief and loss enlarge our souls and make us more detached from things that are just things, and much less demanding of God to work on our time schedule and in our way.
I do not lie when I say that I am equally weary of this house and the burdens it has created, and puzzled by God's unwillingness to take it off our shoulders. I cannot imagine what He is doing or why He is making it so damn difficult. He could, if He wanted to, have sold the house the day we put it on the market. He could sell it today. But He chooses to let it go on like this. I have wrestled and wrestled and wrestled with God over it for five years now. When this latest mess happened, I had no more fight in me. We have a good life here in Arkansas. We have a nice home and healthy kids. We have a vibrant community of faith that means the world to us. We have good jobs and we are meeting our financial goals slowly with much hard work. God doesn't owe us anything. He can do whatever He wants to do. I do not understand it. I do not enjoy it. But I know that He knows what He is doing. He gives and He takes away and I bless His name whatever He chooses to do.