Friday, September 14, 2007

Week 20: Happiness is a Warm Gun

My stepfather was a marine in WWII. My mom is a retired nurse. Overall, I feel pretty fortunate. Though my stepfather is old, he's physically and mentally much younger--apparently it runs in his family.

I bring this up for two reasons. The first is that I don't know if we can keep the house here in Lansdale. Jesus, I hate even thinking about this, but it's getting too expensive, and I'm afraid the bank will foreclose. We didn't get a crazy subprime loan, we have a tradition, fixed-rate mortgage that back in May was only 31% of our income--which is about standard. But now, with gas being more expensive, food more expensive, electricity more expensive--you get the idea. The cost of the house hasn't gone up, but everything else has. And while we've still got our jobs, I don't know how long that will last--they've started laying off some of the lower-skilled and recently hired folks at the company; they had tried just using attrition, but it wasn't working fast enough--who wants to retire now?

So one of these days, the ax is gonna fall. And what'll we do then? Foreclosure, I guess.

Unless someone blows up the bank that holds our mortgage. I don't know if that would even work, but hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

So when that happens, we really have only one alternative--move back in with my parents. God, I never though I'd have to do that again...

But that's not the only reason I mention my parents. The other is that Worcester, where they live and where I grew up, isn't much of a town--I think it's technically a "township", which means it doesn't have much infrastructure. There aren't any local cops, the firehouse is all volunteer, and there isn't a public sewer or water system--everyone's on wells. So things are really isolated, and it's typical that people have several acres to themselves.

Well, a few days ago, they got a call from my stepbrother David, who lives down the road from them. His next door neighbors had been shot and the house ransacked. Now, we're talking about a town where the worst crimes were speeding and the occasional domestic disturbance. Not a place with a lot of murder or robberies. But the Johannsons were murdered. Valuables stolen. Dave doesn't know who did it, and really, who knows? Could be local, could be someone from Philly, or one of the near-by towns. No one knows anymore.

Anyway, so now my parents--who've always been cautious, and who already owned a few guns--are pretty much in a siege mentality. Hell, I am too. And now I wonder if Den and I should be living with them just to keep everyone safe.

I don't know. I don't know what'll happen next. But damn it, I don't want to lose my house.

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