In 2008 Rick and I decided to give up the financial fight. We were drowning in debt and could see no light at the end of the tunnel. We tried debt counseling, but were unable to pay even the minimal payment that was needed to maintain the payoff of the debt we had created. After struggling for a few months we finally made the difficult decision to file for bankruptcy. I was mortified. I thought that I would never be able to rise above the guilt I felt. Our lawyer told us we could file Chapter Seven and still be able to keep our house and cars. The law firm we were using was in Tennessee and we got lost in the shuffle of the masses that were filing bankruptcy.
The process was dragged out for several months. During this long drawn out process Rick started to hear rumors that there was going to be layoffs at the company he worked for. I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was some kind of punishment for proceeding with the bankruptcy. I knew we wouldn’t be able to pay the mortgage on the house without his job. My health had affected my ability to work a full-time job and I didn’t know what we were going to do. I called Kate and cried on her shoulder. I told her that my lifelong dream of moving to Florida was slipping right through my fingers. I will never forget her next words. She said, “Tammy you can be just as broke in Florida as you are here.” She went on to say that we could surrender our house and take what we could and move to Florida to start over. I realized she was right. I started to wish for Rick to be laid off.
During this time God called me back to work with J.R. again. This time I went deep and was set free from the suicidal thoughts forever. I remember at our last session the last vision I saw was Jesus and me driving down the road in a red convertible. It gave me such peace and I knew that God was getting ready to do some great things in my life. I thought everything was going to be downhill from there. Boy was I wrong. The battle had only begun.
God reminded me of Bethany. I still had her cell phone number, so I called her up and explained to her what was going on. She said that there were plenty of jobs in the area they lived in for people in the air conditioning installation business. So I created a new resume for Rick and got online to search for jobs. I found several ads for jobs in Stuart, Florida and the surrounding areas. The next month he was laid off and I sprang into action.
I contacted our mortgage company and told them that we were filing bankruptcy; my husband had no job and I didn’t know what to do. I found out that due to the high incidence of foreclosed homes in the area that it could take the bank as long as a year to come to take the property. I couldn’t stand the thought that the bank could come lock the doors while we were away and we would have nowhere to go. Then I remembered Sallie, Asia’s second mom, and got the crazy idea to ask her if we could live with her until we could afford to move to Florida.
I called her and explained the situation and asked her if we could move into her basement bedroom. To my complete surprise she agreed. She not only agreed to allow us to live with her but also agreed that we could bring our cats with us as well. I was blessed beyond words. The only problem was we would have to move out of Asia’s school district. Sallie’s home was about a forty-five minute drive from where we lived. We wouldn’t be able to drive her to school each morning.
Rick and I discussed it and decided to talk to Asia and her father to see if she could move in with him for the last five months of school. He and Asia agreed and we started putting things in motion. I checked into the cost of moving the furniture to Florida and realized that it was more expensive to move the furniture than the value of the actual furniture. It was a no brainer for me to get rid of our furniture and start over.
We placed ads in Craigslist and sold and gave away almost everything we owned. It was so weird selling things day by day. We had some very supportive friends who bought a large portion of our belongings to help us reach our goal. We sold our water bed and started to sleep on an air mattress. Little by little everything started to sell. Every time something else sold I was excited to see that we were that much closer to reaching our dream. We sat on camp chairs in the living room after the sofa, chair and loveseat were gone. Then someone came by and bought our oven, so we started to have to eat takeout. The house was empty and I couldn’t wait to move out.