Friday, May 23, 2008

So Let's Talk About Roommates

So the obvious solution to the $900 a month problem is to get a couple of roommates, right? Get two roommates at $450 a piece, (a rent not entirely unheard of in my area,) and BOOM! you are done. You have the $900 and you can write a blog about the miseries of having roommates instead of your fear of being foreclosed upon. Done and done.

That's what I thought too. I have known that this June move-in date was looming on the calendar for about six months. I hoped, prayed and did naked dances around bonfires wanting the house to just sell. If it had sold all of these problems would have gone away. I was so upset about the whole thing, as well as having the emotional roller coaster of going through the divorce process, that I just stopped thinking about it. I shut down. I mean hey - June was a long ways away and who knows? The house might sell, right? Sure, its a rotten housing market and you hear every day about the lackluster home sales, but it could happen. If I did allow myself to think of it at all I would say to myself "Well, I will get two roommates and that will be that."

Except, there is a problem: I don't want roommates. No, that is vastly understating it - let me put it this way: I am recently divorced, I need time and space to myself. I have to have it. Over the last two weeks, as June loomed larger and larger, I began to panic - really panic. I had crying fit after crying fit. I thought it was all about the house and dealing with the enormity of the payments and financial burdens. But talking to my therapist* helped me realize that my huge fears were really centered around the fact I was going to have to get roommates. She asked me a simple question, "If the money wasn't such a problem, would you be this upset about moving back into the house alone?" The answer was no. Okay, I don't want to live in this house. It is after all the "marital home" and there are a lot of memories there. For another thing it is too big, too old (built in 1875) and requires a lot of maintenance. It's a beast of a house. But... I can deal with all of that. It was the thought of having to live with people and all that goes with it: making sure they paid their rent on time, that everyone gets along, finding someone new if someone leaves, eviction, privacy issues, having people be around me all the time, so on and so on - that was what was putting me in a panic.

So what my therapist said was very simple. If the idea of having roommates was what was making me miserable, then don't do it. Instead of concentrating all my energy into fear and panic - instead put the energy to use in finding a solution I did want.

Figure out a way to come up with an extra $900 a month.

At first I looked at her like she had grown a third head. How on earth was I going to come up with that kind of money??? I mean seriously!! A second job was not going to bring in that kind of coin. But as I sat there wiping the mascara from my eyes, I started thinking about it. Was it really impossible? Could I find a way? My ex is paying for June, I have enough scratch to pay for July. That gives me two months. Two months to make a run at this. To figure out ways to make this happen.

As I left the therapy office ideas were already starting to pop into my head. I got a legal pad and just started putting down all the ideas I could - the good, the bad and the in between. Maybe, just maybe, I could do this. I could make this happen. The idea built in me like a white light - a huge glow inside me. As much as I am not fond of the word, it really was empowering. I am taking my happiness out of the hands of other people and putting it back in my own. It doesn't mean that I have taken the roommates idea off the table completely - it is still on the legal pad. I would rather do that than go under, but now it is way at the bottom of my choices, right down there with borrowing money from mom.

I can do this. I can figure this out. It may not be easy, I may go broke, but I will make this happen. Watch and see!

*Someone might say "Hey, I have an idea. Stop going to therapy - that will save you money." Well actually, it won't. At the end of last year I set my Flex Plan at work to cover the cost of therapy. The money is already deducted, pretax, from my paycheck and the account is set for the year. The money is already in a pool and it is use it or lose it. So, technically I could probably change my deductions because I have a "qualifying event" (the divorce) and stop
the deductions and the therapy the financial gain would not exceed the emotional loss. Remember, my goal here is NOT to go crazy.

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