I would first like to address the question Lee and I have understandably been asked several times: WHY?
Why did we buy this house in that area in the first place? Well, to put it simply, it was located within Atlanta’s city limits, and incredible development was happening at the time. While the house was in no way “dirt cheap” as you might suspect, it was “clear” that in time, we would make a nice profit. I was raised to take risks, to “get your own”. My parents never really stressed the whole “go-to-college-so-you-can-get-a-good-job-with-a-great-company-and-retire-nicely” philosophy with me. It was always about being the driver and directing your own future. Bottom line, purchasing this house (like any, I guess) was a risk, much like investing in the stock market. Yes, it is in a “transitional” neighborhood, but it’s also important to keep in mind that we had absolutely no problems for the first 14 months we lived there. I imagine it was due to the fact that although it had somewhat slowed, development continued.
Enter needle stage right…to burst the housing market bubble.
Enter sledge hammer stage left…to dismantle the economy.
Despite the seemingly widely-held belief, I don’t, in any way, think the slumping economy had anything to do with the heartless thugs who broke into our house…twice (and that’s just counting the times they actually got in, not all of the attempts). These are the same thugs who were going around, making it a full-time job to steal from hard-working people even when the economy was “thriving” (in quotes, because as we’re all learning, living on credit is not thriving). These are not the desperate fathers who lost their jobs because of the economy and are resorting to extreme measures to feed their families.
I have to admit that I appreciate this economic downturn. I belief it’s forcing us all to take a good, hard look at what’s really important. Dave Ramsey posted this article via Twitter today. We’ve all seen this happening everywhere. I think it’s pretty cool. As he always says, “Debt is dumb, cash is king, and the paid-off home mortgage has taken the place of the BMW as the status symbol of choice”. I must slightly digress at this point, to give a shout-out to a good friend of ours, who recently purchased a much less expensive car than what he had been driving. He says that now when he pays the bills, he pays the car note like it’s just another utility bill! ☺I LOVE IT!!
In addition to just having more peace of mind and not jumping up every 5 minutes to look out the window, this most recent move has given me a chance to re-evaluate. We were paying an astronomical price every month, and for what? To live in fear? To have to call the police every 2 or 3 days (yep, it had gotten that bad)? To hear a police officer say that he wouldn’t live there if you paid him? To have to ask my boss if I can come in later because I knew I wouldn’t be sleeping despite the use of a sleep aid, because my husband had to work late and wasn’t home? To have a memo in my BlackBerry entitled “Suspicious Cars”, complete with license plate numbers, just to keep up with all of them? To fight with my husband constantly because I was afraid to be at home alone? AND dear, sweet Mayor Franklin just raised the millage rate, AFTER furloughing the police force? Um, no thanks. Enough is enough.
One of our former neighbors might have said it best:
See you on the Flip Side! We called the War “operation gentrification”, we won a couple of battles, lost more, took some casualties, and now the tide has turned. The residents of Pickfair have announced the official surrender to take place at the package store on Pryor. The Thugs, prostitutes, and crackheads have won! Maybe as McArthur said, “we will return,” but we have to regroup first! To the thugs: You can have your hood back! Deuces!
When we made the sudden decision to move, I posted, as my Facebook status, that I had found the reset button on life’s remote. I got responses like, “Where is it? I need it!” Everyone has their own. This is mine. Some may wince and wonder how I could be so cavalier about it, but you do what you have to do. I’m at peace, and that’s what’s important. Again, it’s not ideal, but it’s what’s right for me.
Now is my chance to make better choices, to FULLY investigate a situation, even if it is a known risk…ESPECIALLY if it is a known risk. Now is my chance to try to get it right next time. Again, I’m so grateful that I get to press the button so early in my life, at age 27, and not 47. That’s not to say that I won’t make more mistakes, but after this experience, I seriously doubt that I’ll repeat these.
Ready, RESET, Go…