Archive - Mar 2008
Today, I am still fighting something, perhaps a combination of allergies, a virus, too much stress, I’m not sure. I managed to do some Drupal work, playing with various modules for a Drupal 6 installation, and have a bit of work to do no that. I’ve also had several phone calls and emails concerning the house in Stamford. Things are still very much up in the air with that.
Meanwhile, the unread emails and dirty laundry continues to pile up.
As I reflect on the foreclosure, an old feeling comes back to me. When I went through my divorce, there were times that I felt like some flotsam or jetsam carried down stream by a raging river.
riverrun, past Eve and Adams, from swerve of shore to bend of bay,
At times, I felt carried along, rapidly, jostled by torrent. At other times, I found myself going around in circles in eddies beneath large rocks. All that was left was to go with the flow and hope I ended up okay.
to wound the autumnal city.
So howled out for the world to give him a name.
The quote from the beginning of one great story leads to another, and then another.
Someone must have traduced Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning
I find it interesting that my mind has drifted to the beginning of great stories, since perhaps that relates to divorces and foreclosures. “What the caterpillar thinks is the end of the world, the butterfly knows is only the beginning”.
So, where does the butterfly head?
“Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
I have a lot to do this week, but I’ve got a splitting headache, I think from allergies acting up, compounded by stress, so, instead of working on the computer and doing a bit of writing, I will mostly rest for a little while.
After writing my last post, I showered and got in the car to drive down to Stamford for the foreclosure. As I drove down, I took mental notes for my story about the foreclosure. I’ll save those notes for a short story if I actually get around to writing it. Suffice it to say, that like my experiences at the AGPA conference, I approached this as a participant-observer, and it served me well.
When I got to Stamford, there were already people exploring the property. Merrie Hawley and her husband were there. Merrie was the attorney conducting the sale.
“It wasn’t a typical foreclosure, but how many of them really are?”
She gave me a copy of the article in the Stamford Advocate about the house sale:
Treasure to be auctioned tomorrow. It is a great article which captures a little bit about what makes Orient Lodge so special.
The interior of the bungalow displays varnished logs, and the walls were chinked with mud and horsehair, said Judy Brewton of Stamford, who is preparing a film history of Long Ridge Village.
I smiled. The article had Judy’s fingerprints all over it. Judy, like other members of the Historical Society love Orient Lodge, perhaps as much as I do. She has fought tirelessly to make sure that the house will be preserved. This article, could, perhaps, contribute to finding the next caretaker for Orient Lodge.
I spent a lot of time talking with various people about the house; its history, my own history, and how we’ve gotten to where things are. In many ways, while it was horribly sad, it also felt like a special party. There were many people there that loved the house and were committed to trying to find someone who would take it on, the way I had hoped to, fifteen years ago. Members of different Historical Societies from around the area were there. Some had gone sleepless, the night before, as had I, in hopes that someone would come to preserve the house.
Judy and some of her friends worked the crowd, passing out an eight by eleven piece of paper.
To All Bidders:
An article in yesterday’s Advocate stated that subdivsion of the Orient Lodge property is possible, but did not mention that because the house sits in the middle of the property, subdivision would not be possible without destruction of the house.
Please be advised that demolishing this house in order to subdivide the property may be against Connecticut Law.
Orient Lodge is an officially designated CT State Historic Property, as well as being situated within the Long Ridge Village Historic District, as listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Long Ridge Historic District Commission:
I would guess that there were around forty people that showed up. Some were neighbors and old friends who were circumspect. They knew me. They knew how hard it is on me to be losing Orient Lodge. Some seemed afraid to talk to me, not sure how I would react. Yet as I spoke with many friends and people, others could see that I was okay, and loosened up.
Merrie read all the legalize and announced that the auction would begin. Only six or so people had brought bank checks and could bid. She announced the initial bid by the bank, $680,948.14, approximately half the amount it had been appraised for when we got the mortgage, and well under even the appraised value as listed by the court.
She looked around the room. Would anyone bid? Time passed. She asked for bids. No one moved. A few people joked nervously. Finally, she announced, going once, going twice, bidding is closed. There was no bid, other than the banks bid.
Most of us were shocked. I went up to Merrie to listen in on the discussions. Everyone was asking what happens next. As I understand it, assuming the court approves the sale, it becomes the banks property in thirty days. I have until then to try and come up with some other solution. Others can get in touch with the bank and try to negotiate directly with them. This is the most likely course of action for most people.
I spoke with many people afterwards. Why didn’t anyone bid? Had the Historical Society people scared off the developers? Did everyone else feel they didn’t need to bid, since it looked like developers wouldn’t seek to tear down the property? Did people avoid bidding because of the crowd, out of fear that a bidding war might erupt? It is hard to say.
As I spoke with one couple, the discussion shifted to the idea of the caretaker. In many ways, I was the caretaker of Orient Lodge for fifteen years. It is now someone else’s turn. During the last years, I couldn’t do as much as I would have liked. Someone remarked that the previous two owners had lived there until they died. I was the first person to leave the house alive in over half a century.
So, what happens now? Monday, people will contact the bank. We will see what happens next. My biggest concern has been that developers would tear down the building. My second biggest concern is that somehow, someone would come along and restore the house and I would lose my connection with it. Yet I spoke with many people who hope to restore the house, and I hope that someone will restore the house and I will be able to stay in touch with the new owners and help them achieve a vision of the house that I never managed to.
As I drove down to Stamford, I wondered, if I write a story about the foreclosure, how would it turn out. Somehow, the stalemate of no bids, while it does nothing to help my current financial situation, may be the best for the rest story and for the story that I may write.
At least, it leaves the story open for the next chapter.
It is a bright and sunny day, a little bit chilly. I woke up early, tossing and turning. Today is foreclosure day. At noon, the house will be sold in an foreclosure auction.
I need to head down there soon to let the court appointed auctioneer in so that the house can be shown to any potential bidders. As I tossed and turned, I thought about how I should write about this. Blog posts here? Right now, my mind has settled on a short story. I’ve wrote parts of it in my head as I tossed and turned.
“It wasn’t a typical foreclosure, but how many of them really are?”
I check my email. Log in to Second Life to see if there are any messages there that I need to respond to. It feels like I’m trying to put this off, yet at the same time, I will be glad when it is over.
I need to get ready now. More later.