Friday, November 2, 2012

Home is where the Wal*Mart is

"This right here is where Mama and your uncle Shingo grew up! Now unbuckle the baby, Chibiusa. Candy-corn Oreo's are on sale and your daddy has a coupon!"

So on this, the eve of my 26th birthday, I got some unexpected news.

I'm sure you recall that in July of 2011, I posted this blog: long story short, my parents got snookered into a predatory lending scheme and NationStar wants to foreclose on the house.

Now after I stopped crying, I got wise and shared the blog around. I found other people going through the exact same problem, and the blog went viral.

For the record, I've never believed in the adage of "We don't air our dirty laundry" because there are other people going through what I am ~ AND WORSE. Why keep the pain bottled up when I can share it, and let a few people know that they are totally NOT alone? If my pain can result in one less person feeling alone, one less person contemplating suicide, then it's worth whatever embarrassment or "shame" this causes me. If I can make one less person feel ashamed of their situation, so be it. I'm not scared.

But I did only tell a select few. I didn't want to worry anybody, unless I knew for sure how this story was going to end.

One month later, the threats came to a screeching halt. And I had a good nine months worth of quiet.

Of course, my mom isn't stupid, so during the lull, she got a lawyer to help sort this mess out. He's also a divorce lawyer, so for one reasonable fee, we can deal with the house, and my parents long overdue divorce is almost over. I can't tell you how big of a blessing that is. >< No more refereeing fights between those two, just because my "DAD" has an obsession with cutting into my wrestling feed so he can watch Project Runway or American Idol. THANK GOD. MY PARENTS ARE 99.99% DIVORCED!!

Well two months ago, we get a call from the lawyer. The house was set to go on auction TODAY. Nothing quite says "Happy Birthday Kori" like "Get the F out" does it?

Well the lawyer managed to halt the auction for a while. I don't know how long "a while" is, but it was long enough to run a Google search.

Turns out that my whole freaking block is up for grabs. Ah... WHAT??

Here's how it's going down.

The city I live in wants more commerce. The hundreds of businesses around here just aren't enough, so they want to take out my block, and it looks like the next few blocks over, since over 100 houses are up ~ starting with fully PAID OFF houses. Yeah, I said PAID OFF. As in "the debt has done ceased to be" and stuff.

But the city doesn't want to do imminent domain ~ because that would give everybody in my block a stipend for the houses. We'd each have a little less than what the house is for real worth, which would be enough to find a new place to live and move. Perish the thought! We don't want to pay people for their own houses!

So instead, they have the banks all playing screwy with my neighborhood. So now any house under the guidance of NationStar, Citibank, Bank of America, JP Morgan and the rest of 'em are up for grabs.

Same goes for the Sub-way, Tobacco shop, fireworks stores, car dealership and even the church I vote at, which are now up for sale. (The church might be saved, but I have no data on that.)

So this morning, while my house's sale was stopped, everybody else on the block had their houses group bid on by "an anonymous investor". No, that doesn't sound shady or anything.

So I decided to look around, see what exactly they intend to do with over 100 houses and a few strip-malls.


They want to put up another Wal*Mart.

... About 2.7 miles away from the other Wal*Mart near the heart of the city.

... No really. I'm not joking. They want to build a Wal*Mart 2.7 miles away from an already established Wal*Mart.

Say, do you remember when "The American Dream" wasn't just Dusty Rhodes's nickname, but it also meant owning your own home & having a really good paying job, benefits and a vacation every year? My mom said it was a cool time to be alive in. Too bad I missed that.

This is the American NIGHTMARE, this is everything my grandparents constantly complain about, this is not the America they anticipated. What the hell happened??

So while sipping my coffee, taking this news in, I looked at my baby brother. (Okay, he's 20 and twice my size, but dammit I have five years over him.) And I placed my arm around his shoulder, and told him something quite sad.

When he was eight years old, my mom drove us to one of the places she grew up in. It's still standing and owned by a very sweet couple, who showed us around the property. She took us to her first apartment, which is now Rosa Parks Middle School. The building itself was torn down for the school, but it's one of the better schools in a very bad neighborhood, and they try to do right by the kids, so it all works out. The trailer she used to live in is also still standing, and the neighborhood hasn't changed.

I told my brother that we can never have a moment like this with our kids.


Now the first place I lived in was an apartment in Lansing. It's still standing, but the exact floor I lived on was burnt to a crisp, overrun with vermin and had drug dealers squatting in it before the fire. So it's been totally rebuilt, but aesthetically, it looks the same as it did in 1990 when I moved.

The first house my brother lived in was a teeny-weeny, Snow White cottage. It was a Sears home, one of the first ever in the area, and although it had a massive problem with creepy crawlies and mold, and was too tiny to have a thought in, it was adorable. And my ancient aged neighbors were friendly. Everybody baked and shared stories, and it was the all American home.

When I was 12, it was gutted out and "updated". Didn't even look the same. When I was 14, it was boarded up and condemned. I have no idea what happened after that, but it broke my heart to see it in shambles.

The next house was a townhouse in Virginia Beach. We lived there for a year and then abruptly had to move to New Jersey. That whole weekend I protested. I wanted to go home to Chicago. New Jersey is NOT Chicago. Why was I even moving to begin with??

Have you ever heard "there's always a reason" or "God has a plan"? This was one of those moments.

I moved on a Friday, was on a plane to Jersey Friday night.

Saturday morning there was a flood that ran through the townhouse complex we lived in. The front of the house spilled out into the street.

Sunday the rest of the house caved in on itself, taking the whole strip of houses with it.

Monday the landlord was taken into custody for fraud.

Tuesday he was on Dateline.

O_O; Okay OKAY Things happen for a reason.

The hotel I lived in in Wayne is underwater. The apartment I lived in in Wharton is part of a store.

The room I had in Reading is now an office.

The last house I lived in I HOPE has caved in, because it's not up to code, was owned by a Derpasaurus Rex, and almost caved on me when I was moving the boxes out. It also flooded like crazy, had wires from the 1930's left over, an ancient furnace and the insulation ~ I kid you not ~ was literally newspaper. Yeah, nothing quite says "ready for winter" like brown, water damaged papers that say "I Like Ike".

My current home is falling apart (see other blog) and is now in danger of becoming a Wal*Mart.

That makes me a little sad.

Someday, the place that I lay my head down and call "home" will be the men's goods section of a retail giant.  My basement will be cemented over. My kitchen and bathroom will be the baby goods and buttwipes department.

And my bedroom, currently pink and cheerful with dozens of wrestling and Sailormoon memorabilia, will be just one section of an aisle, where an obese woman with pock marks and a "mo'billity skooter" will be putt-putt-putting her way to a display. Her glassy eyes all beady with cataracts, will dart over to a display. And with a gasp, she'll lean over, grasp hold of a tenderly wrapped, mas manufactured plastic case, and yell out into the wilderness:

"HONEY BOO BOO!! They got tha candy-corn Oreo's on SALE!! Get Momma the cart!!"

And an obese child, wearing clothes much too adult for her own good, will roll down the aisle where my mom had once set my coffee cup on a little table for me, and she'll say "HOO-WEE MOMMA! An' they got the Disney Princess Leia dollies too! Can I have this one? She's got a dress on that's as sweet as honey, chil'e!" And she'll roll and tumble right past the lane that once had my bookshelf, and adjust her shorts, with the phrase "juicy" bedazzled on the back, and the two will beep on past the men's jeans display, where my TV set is now.


♫ Happy Birthday tooo meeeeeeee ~ Happy Birthday toooo meeeeeeeee ~ Happy Birthday dear Korianderrrrrrrrr ~ ... *whimpers, bites lip, cries* ~ Happy birthday to meeeEEEEeeeeee.... ♫

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