Monthly Archives: February 2015

Thrice times Hawk

I self-care for my horses on a property owned by someone else. He provides shelter, storage and a water pump but I have to do all the rest. Anyway, once a day I go out, rain or shine, snow or tornado, to feed and water my three horses – the retired Thoroughbred and the two mini-ponies (the young horse is still at the trainers and hopefully will be sold by June).

I have several options on how to get to the barn. I’ve been trying to listen to my intuition and let my impulse-of-the-moment guide me on which direction. About 50% of the time I am rewarded with an animal sighting.

Coming back last Friday, a pair of mated hawks (I think the pair who were scanning for prey low to the field), crossed my path – three times – before veering off. My impression was a message was on its way to me (not anything horrible or bad, just something).

When I was laid up Saturday in bed, Grenwinae came in to tell me that Coopers Hawk was sitting on the peak of the structure built over the back gate.

After a very long dry spell we made 6 sales in 24 hours. I’m not sure Hawk would concern himself with letting me know that all would be okay or if something else is on the horizon.

*****

As it is the horse situation continues to be unsettled and thus irritating to me who likes to make decisions and move onwards.

My Appaloosa is at the trainers. I have confidence he will do a fine job with her but I had the unpleasant shock that, after having a horse dentist examine and work on her, that her mouth was pretty fucked up – this means my long trusted vet was wrong when she told me all was fine with my horses’ mouth.

This means I will need to switch vets. It means the person who has known me for 10 years has proved to be unreliable and not to be trusted. And it has proved to me once again that horse people are so full of shit.

Where I keep my horses, the resident (who rents the house and who is supposed to do nominal work around the place) is supposedly feeding the other horse who is out there. This horse is another geriatric like my Thoroughbred gelding and I have already complained twice to the landowner that the horse is getting thin.

Now let’s get you up to speed. This resident was the one who told me last summer that he “hates people who don’t take care of their horses.” This is the guy (and his wife) who left a Bible tract on my car once we put on the Coexistence sticker. It’s the jackass who told me not to “park on the lawn” and whose wife came out and yelled at me because “she and her husband are taking care of this place!!” (Later the landowner called me and apologized – of course I’m going to park on the grass when I unload feed, such as six bags at 50# a bag, dumbass).

This is the guy who fed my horses for a long weekend (when we were gone) and who I thought lied about how much he had done. Call me suspicious but I have been at many barns so I keep a very close eye on all the lying shenanigans that is done when it comes to my horses.

This horse is getting thinner and thinner. He had one round bale put out all winter – that has been gone for a month. I am feeding him a scoop of high fat food over the fence (and sneaking to do that because I’m sure the resident asshole would report me to the landowner) and the horse is looking pretty thin.

I can’t afford to feed him any more and I’ve been hoping that his owner or the owners’ farrier would come out – or if the owner is no longer feeding the horse at all – that the landowner would call and complain to the horse owner. But nope.

So once my young horse sells, I’ll be moving the Old horse off to some other full-care retirement home until we get our own land. The ponies are pretty much once a week visit to check in as they are pretty self-care already so could remain where they are.

So now with ice on the streets I have to go over 10 miles of back country road to feed one horse because the guy who lives on the property is a total dumbass.

The whole situation is a ticking time-bomb and in my experience, if I complain any further I’m likely to be told to leave. Complaining twice was already taking a risk of being told to STFU and get off the property. I can’t afford to move the Old Guy into full care until the Young Gal sells so I’m circling the airport…waiting.

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The 24 Plan

You might be asking yourself at this stage what does any of this (the last few posts) have to do with being Pagan, living a Pagan lifestyle or communing with Hawks, Owls and Vultures? Well it has quite a bit to do with it because it is a huge turning point in our life, the axis which will align many stars and change the course of planets.

Our largest debt is on our house mortgage. The house takes up one of our two paychecks each month due to its high amount. Because I’m doing taxes, I have on hand some illuminating numbers:

Expense Item Annual 2014 Goal 2017
House mortgage $20,100 $12,000
Real Estate Taxes (included in mortgage exp) $2482 $800
Utilities (gas, electric, water, trash) $5787 $1500
TOTAL HOUSING $28,369.00 $14,300.00

To sell the house, we have to repair the house. To repair the house, we need money. Now we have money.

Starting March 1st we go to the plan we are calling 24 -24 months to get this house ready to sell and go on the real estate market. The countdown begins in two weeks!

When the house is sold, we plan on buying land and downsizing our 2700 sq. foot house to less than 1,000 small home. The ultimate goal is to get a monthly housing expense (land, utilities, mortgage) to less than $800 a month.

We have a large equity in our home, that if we can sell for what I hope, we could probably put down 1/2 on land AND build a house if it was less than $20,000. At the time this plan goes into effect, our son should be graduating college and daughter transferring to her four year college so our household will be cut in half in terms of expenses for food and utilities as well as living space (square footage) needed to keep us all sane.

Side note: other expenses will rise such as paying for college dorms, helping son get moved and established in a new job – I expect some shifting in the finances, not necessarily an across the board decrease however, living is a huge chunk of monthly, reoccurring expense and what I must cut heading into the end of our working lives before retirement.

My entire energy has to be directed towards getting this house ready! Because it fulfills a 20 year old dream of living in the country, having my horses with me, being able to see nature everyday and deeply satisfying a hunger for my own land that I have had since I was at least 8 years old.

The bankruptcy unexpectedly finishing was like the greatest gift I have been given in a very long time. Whatever, stars aligned for this happen I am deeply appreciative.

Final Realizations

Its been slowly sinking in that the bankruptcy is over. We got a small check in the mail marked “final disbursement” from the court; the online account that shows the progress of our payments indicates $22,284.21 was paid into the plan and that the account has been closed.

Another $22,000 could have been paid (extending it another two years) but those creditors never petitioned the court when they had the chance so they snooze, and they lose.

We have not had a corrected paycheck yet because it takes time for auto-drafts to be stopped. However, it should be corrected on the next paycheck and we should start seeing more income.

Does this solve all our problems? Of course not. I have a house which needs crucial repairs – we have termites, a squirrel in our attic space due to repairs needed in the roofline, a cracked window and many more things that need replacing, repairing or renovation. I also have multiple medical bills from two emergency room trips (one for Grenwinae and one for me) and a surgery for my daughter to pay for.

However, we have an option now – two years earlier than we would have gotten – to start applying income to these issues. I have a chance – an opportunity – the future has opened up suddenly as to possibilities.

Again, we filed Chapter 13, which means we were accountable on paying back creditors who would come to the court in person or with a letter stating their case. We did not file Chapter 11, which banks and companies do which can absolve them of paying anyone back.

I’ve hesitated to mention these money problems here because of the social stigmatism on filing bankruptcy. High profile bankruptcy cases have shown how it has been used as a tax dodge for some unscrupulous people. It can be seen as an option that only people who are failures choose. It is shameful.

However, there are just some instances where there are few choices and honest people get trapped into horrible situations. For example, my BFF who had $175,000 in hospital bills because her husband was in ICU for a month. Since he was ill and their main breadwinner, not only did they incur medical bill they would never be able to pay off for decades but also a huge loss of income that went on for months.

We made mistakes that put us in a place where we had few options or choices. We could continue paying predatory lenders with 40% plus interest rates or we could use a legal maneuver for protection.  We took the best way possible for resolving it and have paid our debt (literally). Now it is time to re-group and think of the near future and what we can do to stay out of debt and improve our life.

Gobsmacked

Yesterday, when Grenwinae came home I was reading a book in our bedroom. He came through the door and said, “It’s paid off.” Huh? My mind went to various thoughts on what he could mean but coming up empty I asked what he meant.

“It’s paid off. The bankruptcy is paid off.”

In the fall of 2012, we filed bankruptcy. Our financial House of Cards had been precarious for years but it just couldn’t be sustained (personally, I don’t know HOW we sustained it as long as we did). I’m not going to go into detail about how we ended up in this situation but briefly we bought too much house 17 years ago and the two times we’ve tried to sell it national events torpedoed our efforts (the first time we listed, within a week 9-11 happened; the second time we listed, we went to war, now I have a house in dire need of repairs that could never be afforded).

We made too much money to be helped by any programs; made too little money to pay off the personal debt. Obama helped people who had no income – we had income, just not enough to pull us out of the hole we had dug through our own foolishness.

We were between Scylla and Charybdis, hanging onto a small piece of board of our wrecked ship with a group of sharks circling us.

Unlike mega corporations our debt wasn’t wiped out. Instead, we would pay what we owed but the amount would no longer accrue interest (on two of the loans we were paying over 38% interest I kid you not – this is called predatory lending practices and we were very naïve in our 30’s). We made a list of everyone we owed, went to court to stand before a judge, the court authorities and our debtors.

We spent several hours being chastised like we were five years old and documents were drawn up for amounts to be withdrawn automatically from our income. Grenwinae had to be humiliated and chastised by his father. It was a dirty secret that only the closest friends and family members knew.

When December 2014 rolled around, I knew we had spent 2 years paying over $20,000 to all of our debtors except Company X (a predatory lender which we owed the largest amount too and which, through their aggressive threats had forced us to seek relief through the courts).

In bankruptcy the attorney and court decides who gets paid first and how that money is applied and Company X was last on the list. The attorney handling our case was wrapping up our end of the year (2014) payments and deciding who next to pay (which would only be Company X as everyone else had been paid now).

She discovered they never sent a letter, or representative, to the court!

While their debt appeared on OUR records submitted to be paid, since Company X never crawled out from the hell that spawned them to take our soul in front of the judge, the debt is considered OVER. After 17 years of dealing with them, struggling to pay Company X rather than buy food or clothes, they wrote us off when we wouldn’t cough up the blood money on their schedule.

Bankruptcy is OVER.

We are reeling from this news. Plans I had carefully laid out now can all be re-shuffled. Possibilities open, not only because of the income we will regain (the payments made to the court) but also selling the house (which was never in the bankruptcy) can now be moved up a year, possibility two years on my plan!

We are too stunned to really fully understand the meaning of it. It will probably take months to heal and regroup mentally from the fact that something that has dogged and haunted our footsteps for over 15 years is now over.

Mercury Retrograde  you tricky little bastard – here’s a big kiss from me!

It’s a Pagan, Full Moon in Leo, Imbolc Miracle!

PS Remember this post? I just didn’t think it was going to be this big.