Roller Coaster Days



When life throws you lemons, learn to juggle.

My youngest recently bought her first home. In the process of helping her, it occurred to me that perhaps it’s time to move away from the loony neighbors and into a house with some space around it so we can have peace.

And so the hunt began. We started off thinking that since we’re so well acquainted with various reputable contractors, we could buy an older home at a lower price and do whatever updating and minor repairs are required.  Then if we found we really didn’t like that neighborhood, we could always re-sell the renovated house – just like the flippers do.  The beauty of the plan was that we would already be in a new home before selling our current home, thereby avoiding the stress of doing a simultaneous sale/purchase.

Makes sense, right?

The first house we looked at would have been perfect – 3 bedrooms, 1-1/2 baths, on nearly 3 acres of land. A foreclosure at a very low price.  In an area we’d enjoy.  The online pictures showed a house in livable condition needing some updating.  On inspection, there were some problems – all the utilities, including water, had been shut off for a long time; there was a bird’s nest in the front doorway; the skylight was leaking; a huge hole in the middle of the kitchen floor and an even bigger hole in one of the bedroom walls through which daylight could be seen.  No way did we have enough cash even to bring the house up to code.

We decided that maybe buying a fixer-upper wasn’t such a good idea after all, so the next house we viewed was at the top of our budget. A 3-bedroom cape on nearly 2 acres,  well separated from its neighbors. Again a foreclosure.  As we entered the neighborhood, I was quite impressed with the houses around it – very well maintained and quiet.  [sigh] “Our” house had a 2-foot-deep lake in the basement surrounded by walls of black mold.  (Apparently, the realtor missed a chance to advertise the house as having an “indoor pool” – where’s your creativity, lady?)

Meanwhile, I was working with my bank on pre-qualifying for a mortgage. We decided to suspend our house-hunting until the pre-qualification was in place so we’d know what our true budget would be.  The bank came back and said, sure you can have a mortgage for a new home – but you have to sell your current home first.  Meaning that we could sell on the same day as we purchased, so long as the sale went on record before the purchase.  Ah, the infamous simultaneous sale/purchase – exactly what I didn’t want to do.  But I’m not independently wealthy, so what other choice is there?

Despite our recent renovations, there are still a number of things that need to be done to make our current house marketable. We began pushing the schedule to complete those items, keeping in mind that any expenditures would be viewed by the lender and could impact the mortgage application.

Juggle, people, juggle.

Meanwhile, I continued to peruse the real estate listings. There were a few “possibles” but when we drove around to look at them, they were nowhere near as pictured.  For instance, the “spacious corner lot” turned out to be on a street so narrow I could barely squeeze my Ford Escape down it, and while the front of the property was open, the house itself was bracketed on three sides by the neighboring houses, usually within just a few feet.  Google Maps sure lied on that one!

Summer is approaching quickly – the Loony Tunes Season.  Balls in the yard, 24/7 screaming, naked neighbor sunbathing.  We really need to get out.

Finally, the mortgage pre-approval came through, but it wasn’t for the type of loan I want. So back to the drawing board.

In the process of assembling documentation the bank needs regarding my bankruptcy five years ago, I came across the neighbor’s open bankruptcy file. Being as it’s a matter of public record, I figured I’d see how she’s doing in the eyes of the Court, inasmuch as she never seems to leave the house to go to work.  Came to find out that she has not been making the required mortgage payments under her Chapter 13 plan, despite the fact that her lender changed her payment twice in an effort to accommodate her after she filed her bankruptcy petition.  In fact, she has not made mortgage payments in 15 months – and her lender has filed paperwork with the Bankruptcy Court for relief from the automatic stay so that they can FORECLOSE!

Maybe the neighbors will be gone soon!

And because I’m a nosy sort, I also managed to find out that she owes over $638 in water charges to the Town – although that didn’t prevent her from filling her pool again this year.

(Just a little aside, if I may be so bitchy:  I managed to not only keep my house during my bankruptcy, I also paid all the utility bills on time.  But then, I wasn’t spending all my money on take-out food and expensive toys – like air rifles, new bikes, and hoverboards – instead of paying my  bills.)


Hubby and I discussed it and agreed that we’re likely to have some peace real soon, and that peace will last until the house next door gets sold at foreclosure. That gives us a little time to fix up our own house to make it sale-ready, but since we have no idea who might move in next (and there’s still Psycho Dad across the street), we will continue to look for that house with acreage.

Sounds like a plan, right?

But then I learned that the law firm I’ve worked at for the past 17 years is about to dissolve, and I may or may not have a job in a month or two. My boss has told me that he is 99% sure that he will be able to take me along wherever he goes, and that he is not ready to retire yet.  But who knows?  Probably not a good time to make major changes.

So house hunting is on hold – again.

Meanwhile, stick with me, friends – I’m sure I’m going to have lots of interesting stories over the next few months. The posts might be somewhat sporatic, but they will be worth reading, I promise.


I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at


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40 Responses to Roller Coaster Days

  1. Wow! You live in interesting times! And I was feeling crabby cause tradesmen weren’t calling me back. So, sip lemonade and hold fast. I have a feeling your observations are correct and the neighbours may change. Sending positive thoughts your way!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Good contractors call back – and keep their promises. We’ve had our share of bad contactors over the years – particularly the first roof guy. When his roof leaked just a year later, he suddenly became unreachable, and we wound up having to have part of the roof torn off and re-done by someone else.


  2. Paul says:

    Wow,you have been busy CM. I wish you the best of luck in house hunting. It is a commentary on the fact that it is a buyers market,that your neighbor’s bank let them get more than a year behind. Best of luck!


    • The only reason the neighbor’s bank let her get a year behind is that she is currently in Chapter 13 bankruptcy and they can’t foreclose without the Court’s permission. Motions for relief from the automatic stay take time, but the hearing is in a couple of weeks (having been re-scheduled at least twice), so we’re hopeful the foreclosure will be approved. Maybe we’ll not only get rid of her and the little mini-gang her son leads, but perhaps she can take the rats with her.


  3. You want MY house. Needs cosmetic updating, but solid infrastructure. 2-1/2 acres. We’ve already built the drains, sump, pump, replaced the roof, fencing. I can’t even remember what we’ve done, but I think we bought the house at least twice. But neighbors are not a problem. It helps to really like trees. And gypsy moths.


    • I love trees. My current house is one of the few on my suburban street that has mature trees. I’m hoping that will be a selling point and not a detriment – depends on the buyer, I guess. Since I could very well wind up unemployed, keep that room open for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Vicky V says:

    I’m still laughing at your indoor pool comment! She could have added with “black flocked walls” 🙂 Hope all goes well and if you get new neighbours that they are great ones.


  5. Archon's Den says:

    Are you looking for a place with a moat and drawbridge?? 😆


  6. Take your time, CM. Hope you find the ideal home soon! ∩(︶▽︶)∩


  7. socialbridge says:

    I’m exhausted after reading this. I think I’d be investing in the best earplugs around. Maybe too many house moves over the years – enforced ones.


  8. Dan Antion says:

    You are a busy girl. I can see why you wanted the roller coaster image! Foreclosures and other fixer-uppers sound like good ideas, but only if you can afford to own two houses for a good amount of time, or if you like living in a construction zone. I would be more wary of standing water than holes in the wall. Holes can be patched, mold is hard to get rid of. I wish you luck. Maybe the bank will move one problem out of your way and life where you are will be OK for a while. Good luck.


    • I agree that holes can be fixed – lord knows, we had enough in my current house that were taken care of last year. Unfortunately, that first house had more than just the holes and other stuff I mentioned. I figured it would have taken $50,000 just to bring it up to code and probably another $30,000 to make it livable. That house should not even have been listed!

      PS: Thanks again for use of the photo. There were a lot of roller coasters pictures on Flickr, but I liked yours best.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Victo Dolore says:

    Oh, my. That is unbelievably crazy!


  10. Yep. Know where you’re coming from. Ever thought about buying a boat? 🙂
    We ended up here having been priced out of the property market and seeing so many DIRE des-res’es costing the earth. We have been keeping our eye on the market, and in all honesty, it is worse now than it was two years ago for potential buyers. Rumours are rife of a property crash (something’s gotta give) but unless it’s a plummet of more than 50%, which is doubtful as the experts are saying between 10 and 18 per cent, that’s not going to help us either.


    • Just looking at a photo of a boat makes me seasick! I did, however, briefly consider quitting my job and buying a luxurious RV (one of the ones that costs as much as a house) and then just traveling around the country, but right now I couldn’t pay for the gas or the on-the-road meals. So long as I have to work, I guess I’ll need a non-mobile abode.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We looked into that as well, but came unstuck with a lack of a permanent address. We also looked into park homes (big con), retirement complexes (even bigger con) and emigrating (possible language issues, not enough money, too old, no preferred or required qualifications for jobs). It’s not essy, whichever way you want to go.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh, my, CM. Deep breaths. You have so much going on right now. Posts like this make me question whether we want to move away in retirement or stay put ! ☺☺ We have lovely, quiet neighbors. I just can’t get over wanting to be closer to the ocean….sigh.


    • I hear you, Van. The guy on the other side of us is wonderful – as are most people on the street. But even if the next-door neighbor gets foreclosed and then someone decent moves in, we’d always be worried that the guy on the other side (who’s our age) will move to Florida or something and sell to some new losers. That always seems to be our luck.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Sending you lots of good vibes that the awful neighbours move quickly! As I learned recently even passing the inspection and “move-in ready” may not be what it sounds like. Technically I was able to move in but after two weeks the bathroom ceiling started to come down and the lovely fresh coat of paint started peeling off all surfaces. That was just beginning….


    • Ah, the joys of home ownership. My daughter is currently learning them, as well. Her house had been renovated by a flipper, so basically everything was new. But two weeks in, the basement utility tub began backing up so she needs a plumber. She also still needs siding (the only thing the flipper didn’t replace). And of course, she now has to do her own lawn mowing and snow blowing!


  13. Elyse says:

    When I move in the not too distant future (we’re fixing our house up in an effort to downsize), I’m going to spend several days sitting in the yard of the new place and seeing about the neighbors. We have a big place, with 2-2/3 acres. Behind us we have a family who have dogs (not normally a problem) but the old german shepherd didn’t think we belonged at our own house and aggressively barked as if we were breaking into our own house. I tried being nice but eventually t threatened legal action (which we would have lost). It died and they got another one who is less of a problem, but he still barks all the time and the family is oblivious. On the other side we have a man obsessed with his leaf blower and he blows leaves all day long, 7 days a week.

    So a big yard is no guarantee. In fact, we expected more quiet and got less than we’ve had in smaller places!

    Good luck. Hope your gut is up to it! I think mine went wonky as a direct result!


    • When we bought our current house, we made a point of driving through the neighborhood at odd times to see what we might be getting into, and were very pleased at what we found. But that was 20 years ago. The old man next to us died, and his estate wanted a quick sale – which was to a very noisy, arrogant family, who eventually moved away (yay!), only to be replaced by the current deadbeat. 20 years ago, the house across the street was owned by a relatively normal family, but the parents declared bankruptcy a couple of years ago and sold the house in a pre-foreclosure sale to the current psycho. There’s really nothing you can do to prevent your very nice neighborhood from changing over the years into something undesirable.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. joey says:

    This post makes me appreciate my quiet lil street with my quiet, virtually unseen neighbors. That IS quite an up and down, round and round — reminds me of Family Circus, I hope you follow.
    As for bitchy, meh, public record is public record.
    The house next to us has been abandoned for many many years. No listing, just sitting there, rotting. I hope one day it will be listed and I will buy it for the land.


    • You could try to find out who owns it (could be a bank or an estate) and make an offer. They might be glad to get rid of it. Those abandoned and foreclosed homes can really affect the market value of the other houses in the neighborhood. One more reason for us to not stick around even if the neighbor gets foreclosed – the property is in disrepair now, and I hate to think how long it might sit empty and getting even more run-down.

      Yep, my life is a circus, that’s for sure!


  15. Prior-2001 says:

    you are so funny with your wit – like the indoor pool they forgot to mention!
    and oh boy does this make me appreciate our neighbors….
    and I am sorry for folks who have to endure things – even tho in Denver we had our share of stuff -nothing bad – but in hindsight I see the neighbors to the right would have been annoying – like their teen son tinkered on cars and the new homeowners mentioned the fumes and whatnot…
    anyhow- hope things work out with the job…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Prior-2001 says:

    speaking of moving- this site is supposed to tell you what your zip code says about you (supposedly)


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