Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year 2010

Too lazy to retouch: this year's tree - only spent $13 on decorations for the whole house. $6 of that was spray paint.

I can't believe that it's already the New Year. I have to say, in hindsight, 2009 was one of the worst. It was the year that my neighborhood officially died for me. Three couples on the street separated/divorced this year, and I've actually lost count on the total foreclosures/ walk-aways here as well. When we first moved here, the neighborhood was a dream: neighborhood picnics, Sunday activities and crafts for the kids, evening drinks by the pool for the grownups. All of the parents were always outside, always involved, it was an amazing neighborhood. Slowly the homes stopped selling and eventually the builder fled. They left still owing contractors for work on houses they'd sold, and the contractors were placing liens on houses so the new homeowners had to pay once more for work on homes they'd just purchased. Right now if I look at Realtytrac, it say that there are 7 houses currently in foreclosure on our street(of 23 houses). The value of our home is 46% of what we originally paid and more than $100,000 less that what we still owe. With the new perks of a stabbing in front of our clubhouse, swastikas burned into a street and sidewalks, and needles found around the south pond - who could resist living here? I keep reading that the economy is going to start to turn around in the US in 2010, but Michigan should expect an improvement in 10 years.

I know that we're still doing okay, and I should be grateful that Hubs still has a decent job, and that the kids love school; but it's been hard for me to keep being positive when the view out my living room window includes a house that's been vacant for two years and an army of for sale signs standing vigilant along a street lined with bank-owned lots. I've learned that a house is not a home, especially when it feels at times like a prison. I try not to sit with my worry for long because it is burns heavy and hot in the pit of my stomach, but I sit with it each day. I worry about us, I worry about the kids who've moved away, I worry that all of my sons' best friends are gone; one most recently when a rental truck showed up in the driveway. The kids speculated that maybe they rented the truck to get a new washer or some furniture; but I knew what it meant, and the family left in the middle of the night with no goodbyes. Boy1 mourns the loss of the friend that shared more than a temperament and name with him. He says, "Maybe they'll be back, maybe they just went to stay with their Dad for a while," almost half-convincing himself as he talks.

I remember being about the same age as him, growing up outside of Pittsburgh in a community supported by the steel mills that once dominated Western Pennsylvania when they layoffs started. Our family was lucky that my Dad worked for the newspaper, so his job was safe (ah, 1981). I remember lots of friends' parents divorcing, and friends moving away, and friends' parents being scary and weird when they were drinking - and they seemed to be drinking way more than they used to (which was already more than enough). I remember coming home from school early with a stomach-ache nearly every day in third grade. I thought it was a strange little footnote to my early years, but it's that same feeling that wells up now, I can feel it rising in my throat and between my shoulders as I'm typing this. But I'm not the type to sit on my hands and think that it will all work out in the end without a little pain and a little difficulty. We've pursued advice from friends, mentors, and professionals. We've looked at our options, and are pursuing them. We've been given an opportunity that we're going to approach with faith and optimism and a level head, and can't wait until we can let it unfold.

Here's to 2010. And looking forward.


BOSSY said...

Sorry about your neighborhood. That sounds sad, but maybe will lead to newness...?

P/F said...

There has to be a change, for so many reasons. Fingers crossed that our hard work is going to pay off in 2010!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

The US has really taken a hard hit, hasn't it? Too much optimism and overextended credit to too many people ends up meaning that even the people who WERE being careful with their spending are taking a heavy blow, too.

Here's to hoping that 2010 is better for ALL of us.

POD said...

That was a beautiful post. Really well written and filled with sadness.
2009 sucked wads.

P/F said...

Tracey I agree. We were really close to another family on the street, and I felt completely violated when I found out that they were walking away from their house last summer. I was so angry with them, and I spent lots of time in the tub crying because they were the third family on the street to do so. Just before they left, they both bought brand new cars.

Then there are people who have taken a huge hit financially and can't afford to stay in their house, but can't afford to sell it because they bought it at the peak, like us. We're struggling. Another hit before this is resolved, and we'll go under.

P/F said...

POD, thanks. 2010 has got to be better.