That’s Not My Golden Parachute.

Take a look at the backyard in this picture. That is what a backyard in Florida looks like if it has not been mowed since April. That is my former neighbor’s backyard. That backyard looks like a lot of yards around here these days. No one is home. No one can afford to be.

We bought our house 3 years ago, almost to the month. We bought our home when real estate was booming. At the time, we signed on to pay a mortgage for about what our house was worth. At the time. Ok, maybe we paid a couple thousand dollars extra. The owner had just put in new pergo floors after all and, as my Realtor insisted, inventory was low. We didn’t have many options out there that we could afford anyway. We did love the neighborhood, the floors were lovely, and the view was stunning. We signed on the dotted line.

And by the grace of my real estate gardian angel, we even snagged ourselves a 30 year fixed mortgage with a good interest rate. PHEW.

Sure, there were some pretty enticing ARM loan options. “Balloon” this and “loan on top of loan” that. Our mortgage could be reduced by $500 or more a month! Hey, not to worry, with how well real estate is doing, we could afford to refinance in 5 years with no problem! Think of all the equity we would have made on our home by then! You could afford something bigger, better, with a pool, a fancy gated community, oh the possibilities (I could practically see the bank folks rubbing their hands together, dollar bill signs in their eyes)!

Eh. Geez. I don’t think so. This is our first house. We really don’t want to get too complicated. Call us boring, call us conservative, I think we’ll just stick to a 30 year fixed, thanks.

And 3 years later we sit. Paying our mortgage, our expensive mortgage, right on time. Yup, a mortgage that is more than what this house is worth - probably by about $50,000. And I think I am being conservative again.

So yeah, this bail out. Sure. I do feel like this is unfair. I do feel like we were good boys and girls, we followed the rules, we were conservative, we didn’t get greedy, we bought a home within our means (kinda) and continue to pay off this house - a house worth less than what we pay.

So it certainly seems unfair that our tax dollars go to these big wig fancy banks, who were rolling in it years ago while we scraped together our home’s down payment. So so unfair. Why do I need to take care of them while I pass on a new dishwasher because I want to pay *my* expensive mortgage, so I don’t lose my home, so my backyard doesn’t look like the one in the picture above?

Here’s the insane part. Are you ready? You may not hear this often. But last night, I actually didn’t disagree with what Bush had to say. I guess his layman’s terms spelled it right out for once, simplifying it the way it needed to be. Our Prez said that if we don’t go along with this bail out, its really reeeeeally gonna hit the fan. If I don’t pay for this now, I will pay for it ten fold eventually. Gotcha W. I don’t want to pull my savings out, hide it in my mattress and guard my door with a shotgun. Ok, so I am being dramatic (I hope) but the message was loud and clear none the less. For once, I don’t think he was pulling his usual fear mongering tactics. (Although, I kind of wish he was.)

It sucks. Its not fair. It doesn’t sit well. I worry about the politicing going down. I worry about how the hell we will ever pay this back. This seems like an over-reaction. I mean, SEVEN HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS!?!?!!

(Where is Dr. Evil in all of this, pinky to the corner of his mouth. Seven hundred billion dollars? What does that even mean?? Thats like saying a million trillion billion gabillion dollars… muahahahaaa…)

But what choice do we have? None. I need to just keep on paying my mortgage, I need to remember to be grateful that I actually have a roof over my head, and I need to not be surprised that our government always has rich corporate America’s back. And yes, yes, I need to remember that if our government doesn’t have its back right now, we are SOL, in a big, scary, “depression era” kind of way.

It is what it is. As my mother always told me, life isn’t fair.

(And you know what else isn’t fair? The snakes and wildlife living in that backyard next door! Even if we were to try mowing it ourselves, I am not sure we could. Does anyone have a machete? A chain saw? A half dozen animal traps? Great googlie mooglie…)

7 comments ↓

#1 Sarah on 09.25.08 at 3:55 pm

We’re in the ARM boat – a 5 year ARM which is due to adjust in 2 years on a home that is assessing now for less than what we paid. The sad part for us is that we were approved for our current mortgage on my salary alone since Anthony was so new to the country and even though we knew we’d have his income which is more than mine, we couldn’t count it and I couldn’t qualify for a 30-year fixed. So we’re stuck and as of now can’t afford to refinance.

#2 Kacey on 09.25.08 at 6:03 pm

Life isn’t fair sometimes is it? You play conservatively and get a 30 year loan. You pay it on time. Nobody is bailing you out that you’re paying on a mortgage that’s more than the house is worth now. I hear you.

My father always drilled into us to NEVER get an ARM. Ever. I listened, thank goodness. Sometimes the “easy” “cheaper” way out isn’t really the best option. Like you said, enticing, but not always the way to go.

As for the critters in the yard next door…yuck.

#3 Holly at Tropic of Mom on 09.25.08 at 6:48 pm

Great googlie mooglie is right. This is a huge issue. My husband is in finance, and the big financial crises we’ve seen lately are all he talks about. The bailout isn’t fair on many levels. One level my husband has seen happen that doesn’t usually get talked about in the news is that when these things occur, the higher-ups walk away with a nice severance package while the underlings get fired because the company has to cut costs somewhere. So the underlings are out of a job *and* their tax money is going for the bailout — twice screwed.

And my husband also actually did mow our neighbors’ yard for two years until someone finally bought it. We also know someone who kept up his neighbor’s pool because it was green and attracting mosquitoes and smelled bad!

#4 tcmom on 09.25.08 at 7:01 pm

This is weird folks. I just watched a lawn service drive away – they mowed that lawn!! How strange it happened on the day I chose to take this picture. Does is symbolize hope? A fresh start on the same day that this bailout is signed? Or does it really just symbolize what I think it does… that my ass is grass.

Sarah – Your story is the nation’s story. Awful. I hope something happens in the next couple years. Hugs.

Kacey – Thanks for getting it.

Holly – He’s right. I’m happy to hear that there is some focus on NOT paying out those higher-ups. They should be ashamed of themselves. And we did mow the front lawn b/c we were so sick of how bad it looked next to our home. But the backyard was too much to take on. Until today. So WEIRD.

#5 ilinap on 09.25.08 at 8:22 pm

Remind to never visit you until that yard is cleared. You know I am DEATHLY terrified of snakes, right? Also, I could barely make it through the whole post after you admitted, put in writing even, that you agreed with Bush. Gulp.

And I hear what you’re saying about the bailout schmailout. It is frustrating. Perhaps this disaster will make more people learn personal fiscal responsibility. There are too many living the high life, emulating celebrities thanks to 24/7 star worship, all on credit. My mom and dad taught me to pay in cash. And if it’s too good to be true, it is. Old adages die hard.

#6 tcmom on 09.25.08 at 8:28 pm

Ilinap – Yeah, I always think of you when there are creepy crawlie stories around these parts. LOL. And yup, thanks for sticking by my side when I said I agreed with Bush. Granted, all he said is things are bad and we’re up the creek if this doesn’t work so… nothing we don’t really know and not too hard to disagree with I guess.

#7 Corina on 09.26.08 at 8:42 pm

The thing that bothers me (well, there are many, but one of them) is the fact that they say, “If we don’t do this bailout, the problem will move from Wall St. to Main St.” It is already here. I know that the problem will be potentially bigger, but it is already a gigantic mess. Small businesses are failing left and right, closing our main streets, threatening our communities. Time to really make a difference with those people. We can also help as consumers, shopping those independent retailers and businesses. Boost them up. Save communities and families.

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