Two years ago we were living in Mountain Time Zone.  We’d followed some friends there in search of a better life.  It was, after all, touted as ‘the Best Place to Live’ and the cost of living was lower than in the state we’d left.  But it wasn’t a good fit for us.  It was the best place to live for folks who fit the existing demographics- white, married, 2.5 kids, conservative- and those folks jealously guarded their best place against any newcomers whose family didn’t resemble theirs.  An older single mom with a multi-cultural family wasn’t exactly welcomed. The spaces were wide open, the minds narrow and the hearts closed.  And the thin mountain air didn’t suit my son whose early heart issues had left his lungs somewhat compromised. 

So we turned around last year and headed west, back to the Pacific Time Zone and both a lower altitude and a more open attitude.  And in doing so we lost our home.  We, or rather I, lost our home because I was careless, disingenuous and stretched too thin.  With the housing market depressed I opted to leave our house in the hands of a renter, a pious church-going fellow, recommended by a friend.  I was frankly glad to find an easy out- I was focused on moving the family and menagerie, and settling into a new job, and the thought of dealing with realtors and staging and showing in a down market while packing and moving was daunting.  I figured the rent would pay the mortgage and my income would pay our rent in our new city and we would wait to sell until the market had recovered.

Well, this story is complicated and unpleasant to recall and recount.  Suffice it to say the renter did not pay rent, apparently never had any intention of paying rent, and managed to prolong the complicated legal process necessary to evict him to such an extent that the bank stepped in and took the house. 

Since we were now renting we lost our house without becoming homeless.  Nevertheless it was a real body blow.  My entire life’s savings had gone into that house, along with a lot of hopes and dreams.  This sort of loss can derail a life and I found it hard to bounce right back.  On top of that were work worries- my firm had gone through two rounds of lay-offs and by the start of summer it was apparent that another one was on the way.  We did support work for developments – permits and such- and too many of our jobs were being mothballed or cancelled as developers opted out of projects.   In July the boom was lowered and I was laid off.  Our landlord quickly evicted us and having spent much of my savings on legal costs and flying back and forth to deal with our house situation, we found ourselves out of a home and out of funds as well. 

We sold nearly everything and I filed for unemployment benefits. For two months we lived in a couple of tents at local state parks, with the occasional weekend break in a motel.  After 45 days I received my severance pay and purchased our travel trailer.  Due to a series of snafus and an overloaded unemployment system we haven’t actually received any benefits yet but I’m told ‘the check is in the mail’.  We’ve been relying on helpf from family and friends and selling things on eBay. Anyway, that’s the background- how we got here.