The House, Part 4

"I'll finish this up with Part 4. Sooner than Part 3 arrived. Really."

Did I actually say that?!? Like back in December of last year?! Hold on a moment while I get some salt & pepper for these words I'm about to eat.

I'll just blame it on colander brain. Or a lack of sleep. Or dork jeans. For anyone who wasn't around last year when I began this story, here's your chance to catch up. Go here for Part 1, here for Part 2, and here for Part 3.

After all the craziness of the previous nine years or so, we just went on with life, living somewhat contentedly (at least some of the time) in our little house. We switched rooms around, painted them, and brought all that stuff out of storage along the way.

Every year, hubby had to snake out the toilet plumbing two or three times. The pipes were clay/tile and ran somewhere underground. With numerous years of drought, the tree roots hunted for any possible moisture - including our plumbing. Not a great option when you only have one bathroom, but we managed (sometimes with the help of our sweet neighbors who let us use theirs).

Then came 2005. That spring, the back corner of our house dropped. It didn't just shift like it had in the past. Hubby also mentioned that the house was sitting down onto the duct work. While it wasn't a visible problem, how long would it be until the house dropped far enough to break the plumbing? Then we'd be responsible for raw sewage underground. To top it off, one of the main beams under the house was deteriorating and sagging. Unfortunately, the gas line coming into the house went through the center of the beam and it was pulling the gas meter in toward the house.

We called our utility company to check the line and ask if it was a danger, but since it was on our side of the meter, it wasn't something they would check or for which they'd have any responsibility.

So the List of Risks looked something like this:

  • Possible broken gas line. Blow up the neighborhood. Ourselves. Friends.

  • Crushed plumbing lines and raw sewage in the ground

  • With the house dropping, even more significant damage to it

To top it all off, we had exactly no funds to fix any of these problems. We felt that just living there was a risk we didn't want for our family. With what we owed on the house (we'd refinanced a few times over the years) and the condition, we knew we couldn't sell it and get any profit. But we decided that we were willing to walk away with nothing, start over, and go rent somewhere. We tried talking to our mortgage company to see if we could work something out, but that was a no-go. We contacted anyone and everyone we could think of to try and sell the house, like contractors, people who buy old houses and fix them. Again, no such luck.

Conditions just got worse and we felt that we were keeping our family and neighbors at risk. So we reached a decision. Not one we really wanted to make, but we didn't see any other option. We filed bankruptcy so we could dump the house. Not because we couldn't pay our bills. Not because we were over-extended. But because we had to get rid of the house. If we just bailed on the mortgage without bankruptcy, they could come after us for the difference in our loan and what it could be auctioned for. We could well have ended up owing a bunch of money on the house that we couldn't have afforded. We didn't know what else to do.

So we filed in early September, found another house to rent, and moved out. Because this story has gone on so long, I'll wrap it up here. God did a lot of amazing things through the entire process, but that's not to say it was all easy. But it ended up being a wonderful blessing. We spent three years at that house and then bought our current house a year ago.

There you go. The somewhat long, yet condensed version of that crazy old house we had. We've come a long way.

Kudos to anyone who actually read this entire saga. Sorry there are no photos. I didn't have a digital camera in those days. Maybe I'll go take a couple just because.

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