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It’s Not Me, It’s You

10 Nov Broken Heart

When I was 18 my dad took me to the bank to apply for my first credit card. Dad was a banker and, in fact, so was I (a drive-thru teller when I was 17). With dad co-signing, I was approved. The card was with Michigan National Bank, the company both dad and I worked for. Dad was very clear, this credit card was because I was driving a ’76 Impala into the heart of a not so great part of Detroit (yes, there are good parts) to attend Wayne State University each day. This card was for emergencies only. Credit was not something to be taken lightly.

Fast forward 26 years and Michigan National Bank no longer existed. Dad passed away nine years previously and my credit card was transferred a few times to various banks, the final one being Chase. I followed dad’s advice through the years and handled my credit responsibly. I saw the benefit of this in great rates for car loans and a mortgage loan.

Over the years, I tried to get dad taken off the card as, well, he was dead. I didn’t really see the need for him to be on there as, if the saying is true, ‘you can’t take it with you’ (and I don’t think heaven has a gift shop that you pass through at the end of your life like on The Pirates of the Caribbean ride). And my version of heaven has nothing in the realm of ‘buy now, pay later.’

Then the recession hit and my industry collapsed (read about all the fun in I’m From the Government and I’m Here to Help). I was late on my mortgage. I was never late on a credit card (my friends know I hate tardiness in anyone). Yet, after 26 years of never being late, I received a letter from Chase saying they were ending our relationship. What? They’re breaking up with me?Broken HeartIt’s now three years later and I recently received a letter from my ex, Chase. It seems they want to get back together. So in response, here is my answer to that letter:

Dear Chase,

I received your letter asking me to get back together. I must admit that it came as quite a surprise. You see, while I was having many challenges at the time you ended our relationship, I didn’t think you were one of them. I didn’t know we were having trouble? I mean, I tried not to be needy. I thought we communicated well. You sent me letters telling me you respected our privacy. I read every word you wrote. We traded E-mails. I thought you loved me.

The funny thing is, you still loved my dad. He continued to receive credit card offers from other companies. As you were the only one he was still associated with, I assumed you referred these people to him. He was dead and he had better credit than me.

So now, three years after you broke up with me, you write me and want to get back together. Do you have any idea how much you hurt me? I mean, I expected that behavior from Bank of America, or even American Express. But from someone who I had my longest relationship with? And you don’t even mention our history. There’s no apology, no, “I hope you’re doing well.” Your letter sounds as if you don’t even remember me.

So Chase, after very little consideration, I am tearing up your letter (or maybe I’ll burn it) and forgetting you. I am happy without you. I’ve gotten over our break-up and have moved on. I can’t do this anymore. As Taylor Swift said, “We are never, ever, ever getting back together.” The love is gone.


Everything Old is New Again

23 Jan

It’s amazing how your life can change in two-weeks.  A couple of months ago I was struggling.  Two and a half years of under-employment, working five jobs to barely keep my head above water, my house scheduled to be sold on the courthouse steps just before Christmas and yet I was still fighting (scrappy, ain’t I?).  Suddenly, two weeks in November changed my life.  I received a FedEx package from my mortgage company (check-out Yes Virginia, There is a Mortgage Modification).  “We would like to offer you a permanent mortgage modification, ” it read.  Sign me up!  The next day I received a call from a cruise line to which I had applied in October (you may recall that I have a background working on board cruise ships (read post A Pirate Looks at Forty-Something).  The following day I received a call from a tour company I had applied with and called two months ago (I’m a former Tour Manager also).  And later in the week I received a call from a hotel/casino I had applied to three months ago.  In the middle of it I received an E-mail from a friend who works on a ship on the South Pacific. His company was looking for a Finance Officer and he suggested me.  Seriously! So now my quest for reinvention has lead me back to my beginnings.

First, let me mention the mortgage modification.  After twenty months and five applications – I got it!  The real deal.  Not just a trial, but a permanent modification.  Yup, I’m the one!  And not  a minute too soon.  My house was due to be auctioned on the courthouse steps on month later.

Now, about the jobs.  I arranged a telephone interview with the HR person at the cruise line.  She called my cell phone at the designated time.  I answered and politely mentioned that I had asked that she call me on my home phone as the one place my cell doesn’t work very well is in my house (aahhh, technology).  About forty-five minutes of bragging about my accomplishments, asking appropriate questions and generally being my bad self, the line went dead!  Something I said?!  Suddenly, I had a terrible thought.  I ran outside (still in my PJ’s with my hair looking a bit like Medusa) and found the internet guy messing with the phone box (I had ordered new internet service but they said nothing about a man coming over and messing with my phone).  So there I am, in my pajamas, curls flying, holding a phone and screaming at him, “Did you cut off the phone?” His answer, “Just for a few minutes.” W*#!T%*^#!!!!!!

Thankfully, cruise line lady called me back on my cell phone.  She seemed understanding and amused by my story.  The rest of the interview goes well. Two days later I am speaking with another person at the company.  Gosh I am impressive.  The next thing I know, they have asked to fly me to Florida to interview in person.  Yay!  This means re-arranging an interview with the hotel/casino and playing a bit of phone tag with the tour company.  And on Thanksgiving I was on the phone interviewing with a woman in Tahiti.  Feast or famine.

I traveled to Florida and met with the Entertainment Director as the position would be within that department.  The position I was interviewing for was the head of the children’s activities department (wipe that look of shock off your face.  Believe it or not this is where my experience lies). Before I was even out of the parking lot my Blackberry vibrated.  It was an E-mail from the tour company asking me when I could talk.  Good thing I am the Queen of Multitasking.

The next day I headed over to the ship to meet with the Cruise Director and tour the ship all the while doing deep breathing exercises and trying to block out the flashbacks from my previous life.  The Cruise Director was wonderful to speak with and put my mind at ease.  It was a wonderful visit and very informative.  Still, much to consider.  I drove to the airport and headed straight to the bar.

Yesterday I spoke with the tour company.  Tour managing is what I love.  It was a great conversation.  Unfortunately, non-committal.  While she said she would definitely tell me if she didn’t want me, this was not the case.  She must however, look at what the upcoming season bookings look like, where they will place their existing employees and where in the world they will need people of various talents (And my talents are? Just imagine. . .).  And that won’t happen for a couple of months.  Unfortunately, decisions never come easy for me (I used to have to ask my cabin steward what shoes went best with my gown).  So, the question became the proverbial bird in the hand one.  I could have risked waiting for the tour company to be ready but I can’t really depend on my luck these days.  And the hotel/casino?  Not for me.  As for the ship in the South Pacific – I believe they are going with someone else but I also believe there may be another position there soon. Zowie!!

So, as this blog/column (yes, I am also a featured columnist for SundayNewScape) is about reinventing myself, what is to become of it now that I’ve reinvented myself for a while?  Well, perhaps just a bit of the cruise stuff.  Although I can’t risk the job by telling tales out of school.  As a news addict, I think that there might just be enough there to have a little fun with. I hope you’ll play along.

Finally, on a bit more of a serious note, I’m hoping to use my writing for good instead of snarkiness.  I plan to do some writing to help those who have no voice.  There will be more on that later.  Let’s simply say, there but for the grace of God go I.

Yes Virginia, There is a Mortgage Modification

17 Nov

In honor of the beginning of the holiday season, and recognizing what I believe is possibly a miracle – my achieving an actual permanent mortgage modification – I have structured this post in the vein of the letter to the editor of the New York Sun and the answer, which appeared in the publication on September 21, 1897 – otherwise known as, “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” With a nod to Francis P. Church, no copyright infringement is intended.

Dear Editor: I am 45 years old.

Some of my little friends say there is no Mortgage Modification.

The Government said, “If we give the banks the money, it will be so.”

Please tell me the truth; is there a Mortgage Modification?


Home Owner

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they can see in the paperwork FedExed to them. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by the bankers’ little minds. All minds, whether they be politicians’ or bankers’, are little. In this great universe of ours, it may seem as if a mortgage holder is a mere insect, an ant in his power and importance, as compared with the wealthy and powerful banks around him. But tenacity can make one capable of grasping the elusive modification.

Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Clause

The original clipping

Yes Virginia, there is a Mortgage Modification. It exists as certainly as faith, persistence and chutzpah exist, and you know that they abound and give you power and strength. Alas! How dreary home ownership could be these days if there were no possibility of Mortgage Modification. It would be as dreary as if there were no homes. There would be no American dream of home ownership, no kitchen tables for families to gather around, no backyards for children to play in, no warm fireplaces to make tolerable the winter. The eternal light with which homeowners these days keep hope would be extinguished.

Not believe in Mortgage Modification! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might sit on hold on the phone all day, but even if you never got to speak with the same person twice, or they once again, lost your paperwork, what would that prove? Very few people actually receive a modification, but that is no sign that it does not exist. The most real things in the world are those which you believe in and work hard for. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unimaginable in the world.

Only faith, persistence, tenacity, belief, whining, threats, applications, letters to the Attorney General, media coverage and accepting help can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond. Is it real? Ah, Virginia, in this moment there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Mortgage Modification! Thank God! It’s achievable and it’s achievable for you. Thirty years from now, it will continue to make glad the heart of a homeowner.

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