Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Great Pumpkin

I've always been a classic cartoon freak.

So much so, that I boycotted that bootleg piece of cinema that somewhat resembled "The Grinch That Stole Christmas."

Imagine the nerve of Hollywood sending the Grinch down the hill twice. TWICE!

For real?

So it is with that in mind that I present a text message conversation between myself and my sister during "The Great Pumpkin" broadcast on Tuesday.

(Sister) 10/27/2009 6:58:56 PM
It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is on ABC Now!

(WW) 6:59:38 PM
I know. I just tweeted that same thing!

(Sister) 7:01:19 PM
Classic! Watching with the boys. (Editor's note: My nephews)

(WW) 7:13:01 PM
Best line from Linus: "I thought little girls believed whatever they were told."

(Sister) 7:13:54 PM

(WW) 7:17:24 PM
Charlie Brown getting the rock is such a wonderful metaphor.

(WW) 7:21:46 PM
Charlie Brown in that mask looks like R. Kelly. I didn't know that R. was biting (Editor's note: Biting = copying) off of old Chuck...

(WW) 7:23:09 PM
If a dog's lips were the least of things that mine have touched...Sweet Jesus.

(Sister) 7:23:29 PM
Snoopy. Gotta love him.

(Sister) 7:24:17 PM
Whooo (Editor's note: Snoopy howling when Linus plays a sad song on the piano.)

(WW) 7:24:45 PM
How did you know I was laughing?

(Sister) 7:25:59 PM
We've watch this together forever, blockhead.

(WW) 7:26:28 PM
I love that he looked all embarrassed.

(Sister) 7:27:28 PM
Right. That's what makes it so damn funny.

(WW) 7:31:00 PM
Did I just see Chuck in a commercial and did he just say "homies?" Sweet Jesus (Editor's note: A horribly voiced "modern" Charlie Brown was in a :15 second ABC promo for some dreadful new cartoon about his new "homies.")

(WW) 7:32:10 PM
Now we stop watching---Ass. (Editor's note: The original Great Pumpkin was on followed by some bootleg Charlie Brown cartoon---I would have none of it and changed the channel.)

(WW) 7:33:20 PM
My final favorite metaphor is "I went trick or treating and all I got is this bag full of rocks."

(WW) 7:34:59 PM
I changed to "The Bob Newhart Show,"

(Sister) 7:35:01 PM
The commercial was a bit much.

(Sister) 7:35:50 PM
You're missing Joe Cool.

(WW)7:36:33 PM
Joe Cool circa 1990---Ass.

(WW) 7:37:36 PM
OMG, it's Suzanne Pleshette!

(Sister) 7:39:22 PM
Shut up!

(WW) 7:40:04 PM
I told you I'm watching "The Bob Newhart Show."

**End Conversation**

Frankly speaking it all comes back to your warm childhood memories.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


The south side is awash in people carrying really bad knock off Coach purses.

The "Logo C" has been Coach's staple for almost ten years.

But it's everywhere---I'm sure you've seen it but may not have realized (or cared) about a logo on a purse.

Nonetheless, you know a purse is really popular when you see the bootleg guys on Chicago Avenue with the knock off almost immediately.

So I've seen the "Logo C" pretty much on everything.

Or so I thought.

As I was sitting on the bus with a gaggle of high school kids, I was counting the minutes until I could exit at my stop.

I believe one of Dante's levels of hell is a packed bus with high school kids.

That's when I saw it---the ultimate ghetto fab.

Young people wearing saggy pants showing their underwear is nothing new.

A young person wearing saggy pants shows his bootleg Coach "Logo C" briefs IS something new.

Jesus keep me near the cross.

Not only did I NOT need to see that but so much was going through my mind:

Who sags AND wear printed designer underwear? Is he just that label conscious or is he a gay thug?

Why would anyone want to show their underwear to the public if they're not LaPerla?

I guess I'm truly an adult.

Monday, October 26, 2009

How Facebook Saved My Ass, Part 2 or How The Collegiate Mafia Came Through Once Again

My recent mortgage foolishness has been a thorn in my side.

And that's putting it mildly.

For those of you who have been reading for quite some time, you know the past few years haven't been paradise.

Jesus take the wheel.

But as we all know, bad things happen to good people everyday. And in some cases, really, really bad things happen to really, really good people.

So in the grand scheme of things, my issues were (are?) a cake walk.

No one was bleeding, I could stil feed myself and I had a roof over my head.

Now my mortgage servicer was trying to affect the later.

Obviously, I was upset.

One of my dear friends who is a regular reader of this blog suggested that I contact a mutual friend of ours who might be in a position to offer some advice.

She also mentioned that she recently reconnected with her on Facebook.

At this point, the situation was (is?) dire----what did I have to lose?

So I reached out to our friend after many years.

I felt a little awkward as we haven't spoken in for some time but have many friends in common from our college days.

So I took a chance.

After a round of phone tag, we spoke and I explained my situation.

It's not that I want to antagonize Select Portfolio Servicing but I failed to understand why there was such a glaring hole in the Obama plan.

But don't get me on that soap box right now.

Let's just suffice it to say, I pray you all don't lose your jobs, run through your severance and savings.

Unless you're the auto industry or banking, let's just say your bailout options are severely limited.

But I digress...

Within hours, my friend received my information via e-mail and said that she would see what she could do.

Two days later, I received a much more sympathetic phone call from my mortgage servicer.

Now they wanted to give me "options."

To quote the late great Dinah Washington, "What a difference a day makes."

I wouldn't have been given "options" without the suggestion of my friend who in turn found our other friend on Facebook.

That's when I started to think, there actually might be something to this little thing.

So I had to check it out.

While my college network may not have as much prestige at The Northwestern Mafia, I may be able to argue that they aren't any less influential.

Friday, October 23, 2009

How Facebook Saved My Ass

I relentlessly mocked Facebook and my friends who lived and died by their "status."

As much as I've revealed over the past four years on this blog, I don't believe that my life is so interesting that you really care what I'm doing every minute of every day.

Plus you can't have all of your business out in the street.

You'd hear about these foolish children posting salacious details about their activities along provocative pictures and wonder why their admission offer to their number one college was suddenly revoked.

As a small aside, I'm glad camera phones and Facebook wasn't around in the early nineties.

Let's just say, my options for running for political office would be even more limited.

Sweet Baby Jesus.

Plus I felt at 41, Facebook wasn't exactly for generation X.

Hordes of Gen Xer's constantly updating Facebook on their iphones seemed (and seems) a little silly.

So I dug my heels in and stubbornly refused to drink the Kool Aid.

That is until a close friend had a great idea.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cue The Eye Rolling

Senator Durbin got back to me via the post. This is an excerpt of his letter:

Dear Woodlawn Wonder:

Thank you for your message. I appreciate hearing from you and share your concerns about the housing crisis and its impact on our nation and communities throughout Illinois. Enclosed please find a list of HUD approved counseling agencies that may be able to help you refinance your mortgage and keep your home. Also included are phone numbers for local helplines that may be able to aid you as well.

Obviously I didn't make myself clear. So I composed another letter.

Senator Durbin,

Thank you for your October 16th response.

Unfortunately it did not address my concern that the HAMP program does not cover home owners who are ahead in their mortgages and may fall behind in their payments due to unemployment.

Even the Congressional Oversight Panel states that "HAMP was not designed to address foreclosures caused by unemployment, which now appears to be a central cause of nonpayment, further limiting the scope of the program."

While I appreciate the supporting documentation, lists of HUD approved counselors will not address my situation.

What will address my situation is the Treasury Department expanding the HAMP program to consider unemployment. I fail to understand why I'm being punished for not being underwater with my mortgage and unemployed.

It seems had I purchased more home than I could afford or mortgaged it to the hilt, I would qualify for the program.

While the automobile and banking industries are "too big to fail" apparently the American homeowner is not.

Since you chair the subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government why can't you bring this rapidly escalating issue to the attention of the Treasury Department? Senator Durbin most unemployed Americans don't have another six months for the government to act on this issue.

Where's our bailout?


The Woodlawn Wonder

Ladies and gentlemen, we are adrift and on our own. Our lawmakers are completely and utterly clueless.

By the time they "get it" we'll all be in a shelter.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Blueprint

When I got the news that I was rejected from the Home Affordable Mortgage Program I was really, really upset.

To the point of tears.

And, might I add, a little hysterical.

For those of you who are long time readers of this blog, you'll remember that it took me 11 long months to find another job after my layoff from my previous employer of 9 years.

Usually foreclosures start at or around the 90 day mark.

We've had five in our association over the years so I've been at ground zero and am somewhat familiar with the process.

While it can take over a year, once it starts you either have to have a pile of money fall out the sky to stop it or sell your home.

Right now, neither is not a viable option. Who in the good Lord's name is going to rent to someone who dosen't have a job? Even the best do gooder liberal has bills to pay in these uncertain economic times.

I know very few people who can subsidize others right now.

So I knew that I'd have to help myself.

When I calmed down, dried my tears and had a few glasses of wine, I crafted this letter:

I just received a letter from my mortgage servicer letting me know that I DIDN'T qualify for the Home Affordable Modification Program AND due to my unemployment the the principal and interest that I can pay is unacceptable to the mortgage servicer.

What does this mean?

It means that as of the end of October, my mortgage goes back up to it's original payment (I was on a modification plan for $XXX) of $X,XXX.

I bring in whopping $X,XXX a month on unemployment and whatever I make at my waitressing job (usually under $XXX a month).

My lender said that they can't work with me on another loan modification program until I get a job to provide sufficient income.

I have never heard something so ass backwards in my life. At this point, I stand a very real chance of being foreclosed on.

When you hear about the program, you're under the impression that it's set up to help.

You lose your job through no fault of your own and you want to do right and keep your house, so you report your change in situation to your lender.

Huge mistake.

At this point honesty---for me at least---has not been the best policy.

It seems that the Treasury Department didn't plan for people having problems with their mortgage due to unemployment rather than being "upside down" in their mortgages. A part of the letter reads:

"The reason you do not qualify is that you did not pass the U.S. Treasury Department's Net Present Value (NPV) Test. The NPV test determined that the amount realized by sale of your property following foreclosure exceeds the amount that would be obtained through a modification of your mortgage."

I thought the point of the program was to keep people in their homes?

Call me at (XXX) XXX-XXXX if you'd like to discuss the situation further.

I seriously don't know what I'm going to do.


The Woodlawn Wonder

I sent the letter to President Obama, Senator Richard Durbin, Congressman Bobby Rush, State Senator Kwame Raoul and State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie last Monday, October 12th.

Oh yeah, and a few members of the press.

Since it was a legal holiday I knew I wouldn't hear from anyone for a couple of days. Nonetheless, on Wednesday I went ahead and did some follow up.

I was pleasantly surprised at the progress I made and also received a game changing suggestion.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Well Shut The Front Door

You are not gonna believe the phone call I just got from Select Portfolio Servicing.


More later.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fight The Power

Battling the system can be exhausting.

My hair is a hot ass mess.

But fear not people, I think I've made some positive progress. I will update the blog in the next few days with details just in case you need to mount your own defense to save your home.

Nothing is guaranteed but at least my story may start to resonate with people who can actually help.

We'll see what happens, but rest assured I'll keep you all updated every step of the way.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not Backing Down

You know do know that I'm not going to let this Select Portfolio foolishness happen without a fight?

I have a pretty good idea of what's going to happen next but I'm in the process of getting my ducks in a row.

Let's see what one determined woman can do.

Game on.

Friday, October 09, 2009


I just received this in the mail from my lender:

Dear Borrower:

Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc. (SPS), as a servicer for your loan, has reviewed your account for the Obama Administration's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). We regret that we are unable to qualify you for HAMP based on the information you provided to us. The reason you do not qualify is that you did not pass the U.S. Treasury Department's Net Present Value (NPV) test. The NPV test determined that the amount realized by sale of your property following foreclosure exceeds the amount that would be obtained through a modification of your mortgage.

Words absolutely fail me at this time.

I very well could be looking at foreclosure in the next few months.