Monday, August 3, 2009

The Jig Is Up

Today marks the first day of my returning to work full time and The Girl's first full week at daycare. It has been a long time coming. I went off of work on February 20th when I was just 29 weeks pregnant. That's over 5 months that life has been in chaos. In some ways it will be good to get back into a routine. But in other ways...well, it's not so good.

I can no longer bury my head in the sand about my future where finances are concerned. It is time to really figure out if I am able to make enough money on my own to stay in my house. And in all probability, I can't. And this makes me more sad than I could ever express on this page. When we bought this house it was, of course, when we were a two-income family. That is no longer the case. It is very unlikely that, as a single woman living alone with two kids, I will be able to afford to stay where I am.

I reside in one of the most expensive places to live in the entire United States. And I don't live here because I want to be able to carry that "prestigious" title. I have lived here my whole life. It is all I have ever known. I have a TON of extended family that all lives here. Except for one of my cousin's family, every single cousin, Aunt/Uncle, Grandparent, sister, brother...EVERYONE lives within a 20 minute drive from my house. And because of that, my kids are growing up with all of their cousins and both sets of grandparents and even two sets of great grandparents that are all a part of their everyday lives. So I don't fight to stay here because of the weather, or because it is a really great place to spend your life. I fight to stay here because I am so lucky to have everyone around me. And in my situation (single mom by choice) I think it is HUGELY important for my kids to have a large extended family that they can count on. And I am so lucky to actually own a home in this area. And to live in that home and host parties and have a big backyard for my kids to run and play in...well it is one of the greatest joys of my life. And also one of my greatest accomplishments. And I am not sure how to give it up.

The difficulties don't even end there. Even if I had made the decision that I was going to move. Even if I gave up my home knowing damn well that I will never be able to afford to get back into the housing market here. Even if with all of those hard decisions I had come to the conclusion that I needed to sell. I couldn't. The housing market has TANKED in my area and my house is now worth approximately $200,000 less than it was just a year ago. I probably could not sell the house for much more than I paid for it over 5 years ago. So even if I decided to go that route, it would not work. I could not sell it enough to pay back my initial mortgage. And lest you think that I have been one of the many consumers that has used their home value to rack up some serious debt...I haven't. I have absolutely no debt except for my mortgage. I have no credit cards. I own my car. So I do not and have not led a frivolous lifestyle that has ended me in this position. What has ended me in this position is that my marriage ended. And like thousands of other couples out there, I am living proof that sometimes people simply can't afford to split up. If we had been in this financial position over a year ago when we decided to call it quits for good...I doubt we would have been able to afford to do it.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't regret our decision to split up for one second. In fact I think it might have saved my sanity. But it all comes down to the bare truth of the matter. My life in this house is not feasible as a one-income household. Or at least I don't think it is. I spent the entire morning today trying to figure out if there is any way on earth I can swing this. And it might be possible. But it comes at high costs. Like my poor son who will not be able to continue getting his speech therapy. I simply cannot afford $70 a week. I will have to make cuts everywhere. And I will have to work. A LOT. And in doing that I will miss a great deal of my kids' lives. And that makes my heart hurt.

So today is bittersweet in many ways. First of all, my baby is old enough to go to daycare. And second, I have to open my eyes and get my ass in gear and do everything I can possibly do to see if I can possibly stay here in my house. And if I can't? Well it is time to inform my parents that we are moving in and try and rent out my house for a while. Let's all pray that doesn't happen, shall we?

I have hesitated for a long time in posting the realities of my finances here on my blog. But this is the truth. It is the ugly truth of divorce and the aftermath. And it is time for me to get my head out of my ass and face it. All I know is that I will fight to the death to keep this house for my kids and for myself. But the most important thing is the happiness and health of my kids. And truthfully, as long as I come home at the end of the day to their faces, I guess it really doesn't matter what or where that home is. I mean, really...look at that face!

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