A Lease Purchase Christmas Carol ©
(with Sincere Apologies to Charles Dickens)
By Claude “What the Dickens” Diamond
Part 1- Agony
I remember when it was “the best of times” in the Lease Purchase Creative Real Estate Business, but for the last couple of years it has been “the worst of times”.
I really couldn’t afford the hot meal that I was currently eating, but I was starving. I sat down to a steaming giant bowl of Chioppino, at my favorite Seattle Pub on the water. It was full of Shrimp, Scallops, Lobster and the local catch of the day, Halibut or Sea Bass. I grabbed a chunk of the warm, freshly baked Sour Dough bread and dunked it in the rich red broth, cherishing every bite. Man, I was Hungry. I ordered another Anchor Steam Beer, my favorite.
I hadn’t eaten in 2 days, not since the visit by my Old Lease Purchase Mentor, Max. Oh yes, did I fail to mention that he passed away many years ago? Yes, this is a ghost story, but first let me give you a little more background.
Emily, my Girlfriend, she hated it when I described her by the term, Wife, she felt it was an unromantic description of our relationship. We had a great life together. We had known each other since high school, went on to college, graduate school and had a Fun $35 wedding in Vegas, which she paid for. We had two kids, a boy and a girl. I went on to Corporate America and she became a stay at home, homeschooling Mom. The Lexis and the Caddie were always new and shiny.
All was going according to plan, we were part of The American Dream. Money was good and got even better, when I began my own Real Estate Investment Company. We had the life, the vacations to Europe and Hawaii every year, no balance on the credit cards, best restaurants. Yup, we had it all and then as quickly as we had it, we lost it all. The economy, the banks and most importantly, the real estate market crashed.
I should have seen it coming, all of the signs were there. When it hit us, we lost our savings and the new McMansion lost all of its equity with crazy high payments, which we couldn’t afford. I figured that I was always a good provider and I would be able to turn things around.
It was only a month ago, that I was trying to get up the courage to tell Em that there would be no Christmas gifts this year. In fact, we were probably going to lose our home in the next 30 days if I couldn’t pay the back payments on our home. We stopped using the heating system and resorted to me chopping wood for the Franklin Stove. The Electric Company was threatening to shut off the electricity! I gave the Lexus back at the end of the 12 month lease and bought a used Volkswagen Bug with 150K miles on it.
All this was going on in my head, as I pulled into the driveway. It was already dark at 5:30 in the evening. Damn, there was nosy Lenny, my neighbor. You can imagine that this was a very embarrassing situation, even the neighbors got into the picture of our economic demise when I showed up in a Bug.
Hey Ralph, how come the house is always so dark? You starting a candle making business? His Smirk could be seen between the yards of our homes. He had the manicured home, while my domain needed a new coat of paint 3 years ago.
Just trying to create a romantic atmosphere Lenny, I replied nonchalantly.
Is that car a classic? Looks like the one I drove in high school, he laughed.
Why didn’t this jerk just mind his own business. I waved good bye as I went through the front door. The kids were busy doing homework in front of the TV; the small one with the rabbit ears antennae, as we lost cable service last month. Emily came to the door as she always did smiling and gave me her perfunctory kiss. How did it go today, Sweetie?
You know same old stuff. Everyone says “call me after the New Year” or “I have to think about it”. I was on a roll with my usual diatribe about the problems with the banks, lawyers, economy and politicians. How an honest Creative Real Estate Investor couldn’t make a living these days. She had heard this quite often.
Why don’t you relax, dinner will be ready in a half hour.
What are we having, Em?
Leftover Mac N Cheese Casserole, she replied.
Gawd, I was so sick of that stuff, but I kept my mouth shut. If it wasn’t for her part-time nursing job, we would have been living with the in-laws. Need I go on about that with you? I retreated to my office and looked over the bills. I knew that there wasn’t anything I could do about them. Heck, I didn’t even have enough money for gas.
We had a quiet dinner. All I wanted to do was shower, crawl into bed and pull the cover over my head. I hate Mac N Cheese. I think I know what depression is. All I was doing was thinking about money day and night. I had to turn things around, but how? I had to stop this crash, not so much for me, but for Emily and the kids.
I needed a Christmas Miracle like in the old movies and I needed one fast.
To be continued tomorrow
Part II – The Return Of Max
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