Sister, Can You Spare Your Home?
What’s next as Lorna strikes out on her new life?
In March, I made an offer that was accepted on a sweet little condo, perfect for Scrappy and me. Maybe it didn’t have granite kitchen counter tops or a circular staircase, but each room had ceilings and covers on all electrical outlets. I couldn’t wait to move in into my home. As it happened, I would have to wait a long time.
I didn’t plan to apply for a mortgage after the mortgage
pirating profiteering crisis leading to the Wall Street Bail Out. A year before, bankers begged to give mortgages away if you had a pulse and could sign an “X” on the dotted line. Getting a mortgage on my modest home proved a bit significantly ominously more difficult. I had my own great credit history and, with Chuck’s monthly payments, qualified for the mortgage. I also had a credit history entangled with Chuck’s. My name was on the mortgage of a house and another property I no longer owned—one credit card with a balance, too. While the terms of our separation stated he was supposed to refinance those properties and pay off the card, he wasn’t made of money. And he couldn’t take care of these financial terms quickly enough to satisfy the Mortgage Gods who saw me on paper as a “risk.”
Chuck, being in the financial business, found a mortgage broker known for being “creative.” He assured me my mortgage would close by the beginning of May. Since another term of
endearment separation was that I had to pay Chuck rent to say in the “Broken House” until I moved out, I became a renter in the home that was mine for the past 20 years. But it was only for a month, so I sucked it up was grateful.
As April wore on, I could see Creative Mortgage Man didn’t walk on water like I was lead to believe. Closing my mortgage was pushed back to the middle of May and he needed volumes more documents from Chuck and me. Believing that he was telling me the truth (naïve dolt) and not wanting to rent my former home for another month (dignified cheap-skate), I decided to move out May 1. My younger sister and her husband own a vacation home in Keene, NY. They offered it to me for as long as I needed it (rent-free). We all thought it would only be a couple of weeks. I needed a little R&R in the peaceful Adirondacks. My older sister and her husband have a large covered trailer into which we moved all my earthly possessions, save the few things I took with me on my “vacation.” My “stuff” was hauled to their house and I hauled Scrappy and myself to Keene.
As I walked through the “Broken House” one last time, I was uncharacteristically dry-eyed. I’d said my good-byes so many times, the final farewell seemed anti-climatic. The only room in which I cried was Alex’s room. And cry, I did. I cried for Alex and the pain he locked inside. I cried for me and my irrational desire to understand Chuck’s motives for leaving me. I cried for Chuck and how hard it would be to come back to this big, empty house. Then I stopped crying.
My two-week “vacation” in Keene was great. I had good cell-phone coverage, but no Internet. TV reception was as good as it was in the 1800s. I got quite chummy with the local librarian who let me borrow more than the normal quota of videos and DVDs since they were only open three days a week. I read, wrote, took Scrappy for walks, and spent a great deal of time pestering Creative Mortgage Man.
During this time, I called Mr. Haley’s Comet (aka, Phil) to let him know I was officially single and doing fine. He was relieved and had a story of his own to tell me. His marriage had been on the skids for several years, but he was holding it together for the sake of his children (the youngest would be going off to college that fall). He knew once the kids were gone, his marriage wouldn’t last. I suggested marriage counseling (it worked so well for me both times). When we spoke again, he told me his wife wasn’t interested in counseling. He wanted to see me, just to talk. I agreed, but made clear I wasn’t the “other woman” kind of gal. We saw each other and the same sparks that ignited 30 years ago lit up the already bright day. We talked a long while and many times after that. In short order, he left his wife. Their formal separation followed.
Two weeks stretched into four weeks, which distended into six weeks. Taking care of my mail/bills, seeing my family or friends, and doctor appointments became nightmares since I had a 2-hour round trip facing me. By mid-June, my younger sister and her family needed their lodge back—summer was here and her kids were out of school. The sellers of my condo were also getting nervous. They gave me an ultimatum: “Close by June 30, or we’re pulling the contract.”
I forgot my Buddhist axiom not to worry about the future, when the universe gave me a reminder that was hard to ignore. On June 10, 2010, I was struck by lightning.