I got out of bed at 5:47 like I usually do. Incidentally, this is too late. I'm always so close to being late to work. And my boss freaks out if I clock in at 7:31. But that's another post. I then read from my scriptures, which was, as usual, an empowering experience. Then I got the kids up, got them ready, ate breakfast, got ready myself, and left the house at 6:47 or so. Which is too late. I need to be out of here by 6:30.
Then I dropped the kids off at my brother's house and headed to work. The freeway was particularly frustrating today. The speed limit is 55 due to construction, but usually in the morning people go faster by at least 5. And usually I can smoothly squeeze past the people who insist on being law abiding drivers. And then the construction ends and it's 65 and usually people speed up to 75 or so. Well, this morning, there was a huge memo written across the sky that I missed that said "Stephanie's late. EVERYONE go REALLY slow." And they all did. And they all conspired against me so I could pass no one. I mean, people were going 45 mph and grouping together in a way that I had no choice but to be at their mercy. Hmph.
Miraculously, I made it to work on time.
Well, backing up to last Friday, my Realtor and I did a walk thru at the house I'm buying to check up on all the stuff the sellers said they would fix based on the inspection. That was fun. I still love that house ever so much. So all last week I'd been trying to get a hold of my lender but he wasn't really returning my calls or emails. So Friday I told my Realtor, Abraham, about my troubles and he whipped out his cell and dialed Andy (lender) and got him on the line right away and gave me the phone. Andy told me he still needs documentation showing my child support modification. What? Really? Okay thanks for telling me.
Okay, back to today. Every week, people yell and scream at me on the phone. Sometimes they call me names. Sometimes they cuss. I take it because I know it's not about me. Ever. I'm very calm on the phone. I'm the collections agent you hope you get when you call about a late bill. I'm respectful and understanding. Even when the client is yelling. Often, they'll end up apologizing and thanking me for letting them vent. I don't mind these calls. Other agents get worked up. Not me. But today, I got one that shook me up. Actually, it made me cry. It was an old woman who had never been late but the past 2 months. Her story is this: She and her husband wanted to sell their condo. A company contacted them and told them they would help sell the condo. They called the woman one day and said they think they had a buyer, and they needed $1000 to help the sell go through. She gave them $1000 on her credit card and never heard from them again. No buyer. No company. She calls their number and it's disconnected. She totally got scammed, but since she authorized the $1000 charge, we can't do a thing about it. I suggested she call the police. I'm so worried for her. She doesn't have the money to pay it. She's supporting another family member and their income is so small. My heart broke. How unfair! How cruel! Why are people so cruel? That lady had perfect credit until this mess. NOT HER FAULT. But she's liable. Injustice infuriates me.
So today, on my first break at work, I called the courthouse because I'd been unable to locate these documents. Here's a summary of the conversation:
"Is there any way I can get a copy of my child support court documents?" I ask the lady
"Yes, what's your name?"
I tell her all the info she needs.
"Okay," she says, "I found your file, now what do you need?"
"There should be two modifications. One was for visitation and one was for child support. They're separate. I need the child support one."
"Okay, so I'm finding two--"
"Yes, there should be two. I need the one about child support."
"Okay I'll have to call you back, I'm helping someone else."
On my lunch break, I listened to her voicemail on my phone. She said she found it and it's fifteen pages long. It's a dollar a page and please call her back to let her know if I want a copy of it. First, I called my lender to get an idea of what kind of timeframe I'm looking at for move-in if I can get the child support papers to him tomorrow. No answer, so I left a message. I got off work early today and saw that Andy had left me a voicemail. "Give me a call," it said. "We need to go over some things."
I now summarize our conversation in its simplest (perhaps somewhat fictionalized) form:
"Hi, Andy, got your message, what's up?"
"Remember when you first came into my office and told me about your ex's eviction and back rent on your credit score and I said it shouldn't be a problem?"
"It's a problem. The underwriters came back with some concerns about it even though I explained the situation. They want to see it paid off."
"Either that or they want to see proof that you're not liable, that you weren't living there anymore when he stopped paying rent."
"Yeah, your life sucks. You're probably not getting this loan unless you pay this collections bill. This is why I've been avoiding you for so long. Good luck with life. I'll probably never see you again."
I don't have an extra $3000. I simply don't. And I can't pay it. It's been sitting there on my credit scores for the past 3 years. I disputed it immediately when I first got wind of it. The credit bureaus said I'm liable since I was on the lease, regardless of the fact that I did everything in my power to get off it, and understood that I was, in fact, off the lease. I can't pay it. Furthermore, it's not my fault. I won't pay it. All I can do now is gather as much information as possible to "prove" that I wasn't there and then pray for a miracle.
I figured I'd stop by the courthouse in Caldwell before heading back to Nampa. I called Tiffany back. Here's our conversation:
"I got your message. Fifteen dollars is fine. Just make sure it's the one about child support."
"Okay, now, I just want to make sure. You have two documents-
"About child support?"
"Yes. One of them- nothing's been done with it since 2007."
"Okay, I need the one that was finished in January of 2010."
"Probably. The one for child support. Not the one modifying visitation."
"Okay, it's like I said, fifteen dollars plus a dollar to certify it."
"I don't need it certified."
"What's it for?"
"I'm trying to buy a house."
"You better get it certified."
"Okay. I'm on my way there. I'm in Caldwell now. Can I pick it up?"
"Let me call you back."
So I was left to myself to cry about my misfortune, which I did. I tried not to hate my ex. I feel like he did this on purpose. I signed my name off the lease. He said he did too. Then he stopped paying rent. Then he damaged the apartment. Then he got evicted. And I'm responsible. His girlfriend was living there, sleeping on our bed, our sheets that we got at our wedding, and I'M responsible. Why did I believe him? I don't know. So then I did what any woman in my situation would do: I called my bestie and whined. Kim could do little to comfort me but at least she listened, which was what I needed. I just wanted her to say "Don't worry! You'll get your house, bestie! You can provide proof!"
Then my Realtor called me.
"Stephanie, how are things going with Andy?"
"I just got some really bad news." (I told him the news.)
"Just remember, we only have till the 31st."
Then the court lady called me back.
"Okay, I've got the January 10 documents ready."
"Okay, I'm parked outside the courthouse, I'll be right there."
"You're at the courthouse?!"
"Give me five minutes."
Figuring it would take me five minutes to find the office, I headed inside. My endless pockets in my coat tripped me up at the security station and I, embarrassed, emptied them into a bin. Mostly trash. Gum wrappers. The machine is sensitive to gum wrappers. OH Once I went into the courthouse with a switchblade in my purse! It wasn't detected! I forgot about it till I got home! I could have shanked everyone there! If I can carry a switchblade inside on accident, what can someone sneak in on purpose?
I found the office and went to the window marked "DIVORCE."
"Hi, I just talked to Tiffany. I'm here to pick up some child support documents."
"Did she say it was ready?"
"Just a minute ..................................... Okay it's $15."
I hand her my card.
"Three dollars extra on debit or credit."
"I'll write you a check."
"We don't take checks."
I pay the $18 for my documents and she hands them to me. I fail to investigate the papers till I step into the lobby. It's the wrong documents. It says CLEARLY: "Order to modify judgment and decree of divorce." NOTHING ABOUT CHILD SUPPORT! I have this one already! I know where it is! I couldn't believe the lady didn't copy my child support modification after all our conversations about it! I went back into the office.
"These are the wrong ones. This says nothing about child support. I need the one about child support modification."
"Let me get Tiffany."
"Please step over here," she says. I do. I explain again that what I actually need are the January 2010 child support modification documents. She slams my huge file down in front of her and opens it up and starts flipping through the pages. About one document in, she finds the one. "This one?" she asks. It is labeled: "Order Modifying Child Support."
"Yes," I say calmly. Serenity now. "That one."
It's five pages. She copies it and hands it to me and crinkles her face and says, "I won't even charge you for that one." If I was in a better mood, I'd have insisted on a refund. But I can't argue when I'm angry.
Twenty dollars and five pages later, I'm leaving the courthouse. While driving back to Nampa, I called the property management company from when I lived at Juniper Court with Randy, the property that's causing all this problem. (I want to note proudly that I remembered their phone number.) I asked if there is anyway I can get information about when I moved out back in 2007. I was given the corporate office number, which I called. Here's that conversation:
"Hi, I'm Stephanie Montano, I lived at Juniper Court and moved out in May of 2007. My ex husband stayed there until November. I'm wondering if I can get documentation of the notice I gave you guys when I moved out, and then of how long my ex stayed after that as well."
"Um, well, can you fax me your requests?"
"Sure, I guess."
"It's just that I want to be sure you are who you say you are."
"So you need a fax?"
"With just my signature or something?"
"Sure, just your questions, and we'll fax the answers back."
I got the fax number. I still haven't faxed anything because I don't know how sending a fax proves my identity. I think that's so weird. But I'm going to do it tomorrow anyway.
I called the landlords of the place I moved to from Juniper Court. They've already provided documentation of my move-in and move-out date. I hope that helps. I just don't know what to do. This is so unfair. It's not my fault. I'm paying the price for someone else's dishonesty, AGAIN, and that's not fair!
When has life ever been fair?
And when has God ever let me down? NEVER! And so, dear friends, I know that all will be well. I will rest peacefully tonight knowing that my Father in Heaven will take care of my family. How many times have I faced a seemingly insurmountable mountain, and climbed it? How many times has my God delivered me from devastation? I can't count the miracles I've been blessed with in life, but I think I'll soon have another one to add to the list. I think that house is mine, God willing.
But that's the thing. God is willing. Nay, He's eager. Eager to help His children. And so, I know that whatever happens will be for my good, and for the good of my family. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we are about to witness a miracle. I believe I will be moving into that house by the end of the month. I've been praying for this since November. If it doesn't work out the way I want, God will provide another route. And I'll look back and say "thank goodness it didn't work out the way I wanted it to."
But, in this case, I think the house is mine.