We’re Still Homeless


October 16, 2011 by Leah

It’s been seven weeks since we moved into our temporary trailer home. We offered on our house the second week of September, and went to the bank the week after that (I think), full of optimism about how we might be in the house before the closing date on our paperwork (10/28 – which is, coincidentally, the day we are expecting the arrival of two sets of out-of-town guests).

Somehow, since then, things have devolved and I am a cranky basket case. I thought we were set for the mortgage process when we were pre-approved, but that was not the case. Since applying for a mortgage we have had to write and sign letters regarding: my small business, a deposit of $1900 I made into our account after closing another account, my former membership on the board of the Sitka Summer Music Festival, our current living situation, the veracity of our claim that Aaron was indeed transferred here for work, and Aaron’s lack of a 2009 W-2. I understand the bank is just doing its job, but all this scrutiny is exhausting. I don’t recall hearing about this trauma from friends or relatives who have bought homes.

The latest (and supposedly last) bank hurdle we are facing is looming large right now, and we have very little control over the timeliness of responses or outcomes. The bank is sending out VOR, or Verification of Rent, forms to our past three landlords. The manager of the RV park here turned it around in one day (she’s very nice, but I think she wants us and our 20-year-old trailer out of her swanky RV park). I assume there was some kind of adequate response from the property management company I rented from in Anchorage for five years (as long as the bank inquired with reference to my maiden name). Between those two stops, though, we rented from the VA.

As you may recall, due to an appalling level of incompetence regarding relocation bonuses and direct debits, we never paid rent while we were there. As far as we can tell, the VOR form asks questions like “did renter pay promptly when asked for rent?” which could honestly be answered with a “yes,” as we were never asked to pay any rent. But we don’t even know if this will be a problem because an employee in Long Beach is waiting for word from an HR department located somewhere about whether she’s even allowed to fill out the stupid form. As if I didn’t already have reason to be mad at the VA HR department (see: unpaid relocation bonuses and non-existent direct debit rent payments). I want to call up the central HR office and scream at the person who answers the phone about how the complete lack of professional courtesy exhibited by her office is forcing me to remain a trailer denizen for longer than I think my psyche can withstand. And yet, we rely on Aaron’s employment with the organization for a nice salary and health insurance, so that might not be a good move on my part. Plus, I try not to blame people who answer phones at offices for systemic failures.

It’s a good thing our monthly expenses as homeowners will be so much lower than they would be as renters, otherwise I’d be extremely tempted to just pull the plug on the whole process. Also I wouldn’t mind switching mortgage lenders because I’m mad, but if this is really the last step in the process then that would be dumb. I’m just so sick of this. The entire process is making me hate people and Walla Walla. (Also, the contractor who did the upgrades we requested on the house apparently bilked the sellers by doing all the outward signs of the needed work but not putting in any of the infrastructure, so more work is needed before we can move in.)

Living in temporary quarters doesn’t make one feel like part of a community no matter how many trips to the farmers’ market, or symphony, or community theater, one makes. Driving around with out-of-state license plates is the same way. Using “general delivery” as an address makes receptionists at medical offices assume I’m a Medicaid patient (and the change in their attitudes once I disclose that I actually have private insurance disgusts me). Sure, I’ve actually met people here thanks to my job, but attending the work events I’m supposedly responsible for is awkward and depressing because it reminds me I actually know no one here. I met a lady this weekend who was like, “So nice to meet you – why didn’t you wear pink?!” (to a Marilyn Monroe-themed gala) and it was hard to keep a civil smile on my face as I explained that all my belongings (including the non-existent vast pink section of my wardrobe) are in storage. I’ve entirely lost interest in activities I used to enjoy, like cooking and knitting. I’m spending way too much money on mediocre novels because I can’t get a library card without an address. Duke’s allergies are worse than ever and the nearest veterinary dermatologist is a four-hour drive away. I sat in an armchair at a doctor’s office the other day and almost cried because it was reasonably comfy. After having a chiropractic appointment cancelled on me last week, I seriously considered asking the receptionists if I could just sit in the warm, neat, calm waiting room and read magazines for the rest of the afternoon. Even the prospect of moving into our house soon (whenever “soon” might be) leaves me cold because of the amount of work involved. I’ve pretty much lost all perspective and any sense of humor I had about the way we are living right now, which is why explaining to me that 97.32% of the world’s population is in worse straits than me, or trying to make a joke about any of this, will just make me want to throttle you. So, for everyone who has been wondering where we’re at with the house, that is it. In a nutshell.


2 thoughts on “We’re Still Homeless

  1. Kathryn Easley says:

    Leah, It sounds to me like you could use a big long hug. I am sending you a mental one. You and Erin can certainly fly back to Anchorage and camp out on the futon sofa in our living room. The snow is going to fly any day now, so grass allergies for your pooch should be a non issue. There is one hazard I should warn you about. Allison’s Kitty, Juno, has decided our meager harvest of back yard potatoes (a 3 quart bowl full) is her personal stock of rolly toys. You never know when you are going to find a small potato come flying down at you from the upstairs landing…thump, thump, thump. Not to mention stepping on one in the middle of the night when you don’t want to turn on the light to go to the bathroom. If you are willing to risk the “potato” mine field, the couch is yours.
    I miss you. I love your blog. Hang in there.

  2. Brittany says:

    I second the both the “big long hug” and the “hang in there”!! My GOODNESS!! I am so sorry to hear that things are still not going right. You have so many frustrations coming from so many different sides and I wish there were some magical wand I could wave to make things better. I hope things get better sooner rather than later. You should go visit my friend Melanie at Glencorrie Winery! She is super nice and is a fellow Alaskan. I met her in high school and she rocks. If you take a trip to Portland anytime soon let me know! I do want to head to WW sometime since I’ve never been there and Melanie makes it sound lovely.

    Keep your chin up and be strong!

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