Easter Sunday, April 16, 2006
The last straw came last night. A survey by Countrywide Mortgage Company to see if we are satisfied with the way they are handling our account. What an insult!
You be the judge. Over the years, we have paid thousands of dollars in interest on our home in New Orleans to Countrywide Mortgage Company. Last July 1, 2005, I had a heart attack. At that time, our second oldest daughter negotiated a deal with Countrywide whereby the loan was put on hold until January of 2006 with no payments due.
On August 27th, I went to a local car wash in New Orleans to get our antique Cadillac ready to travel because of the impending hurricane. I had inherited the car from my Dad and Mom in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1994 and had it shipped to New Orleans. Somehow or other, the car wash place shorted out the main motor for the windows and when I got home the windows on the driver side would not go down and the windows on the passenger side would not go up.
My wife has always fought me tooth and nail about leaving town when a hurricane threatens and this time I just didn't have the stamina to argue about it. I told her that if she wanted to stay we would stay. On Saturday night, she got frightened out of her wits by the man at the hurricane center in Miami. She came to me and said she wanted to get out of town. I told her we would have to go in the antique truck that I use for hunting and fishing because the Cadillac was unusable. She despised the truck at that time and didn't like it but had no other choice if she wanted to leave.
I was all in favor of leaving so we started getting some things together to get to our oldest daughter's home in Baton Rouge. In the meantime, one of our cats went out the pet door before I could close it and we were stuck until he came back. Dundee had lived with us for ten years and we were not about to abandon him. The other cat, Buster, a black persian and Hobo the dog were inside so we waited...and waited...and waited. Finally, at 4:00 a.m. Dundee showed up at the back door. Once he was inside, both of us were exhausted and laid down to get some sleep.
We got away from the house at 8:15 a.m. without boarding up the windows because it was so late. It took us five and a half hours to go 80 miles to Baton Rouge. It was really funny later on as my wife talked about all the late model cars we passed that had broken down and we were chuggin along in our old, 1969 Ford truck with no problems at all other than it was hot. Since that happened, she has nothing bad to say about the truck which got us out of harms way.
Two days later the levees broke and thanks to the political hacks responsible for this disaster, who were all on the take as far as I could see, that was the end of our life in New Orleans (see the pictures following).
By the end of the week, our youngest daughter had persuaded us to move to Western North Carolina to be close to her, her husband, a seven year old boy and a baby on the way in March.
So we went. The saga of the trip and subsequent two trips back to New Orleans to try and salvage a few things is another story I may write some day.
Needless to say, heart attacks wipe out your stamina and make it almost impossible to live a normal life until you get through cardio rehab and start exercising regularly. I'm getting there but the mild infarction left me with one completely blocked artery and one with a stint in it. Not a good thing.
In late October and early November, because of the stress factor and my complete lack of stamina, our second oldest daughter again negotiated with Countrywide Mortgage Company to have them accept the payout for a total loss from American National Insurance Company as final payment on the loan. It took some doing but they agreed - VERBALLY. Unfortunately, she is very gullible and didn't take the time to get the agreement in writing. Can you see what's coming?? We were woefully underinsured thanks to the negligence of the insurance agent and because we had no wind and rain damage, the flood only paid us $24,500 for personal property loss which actually comes to over $300,000.00
The daughter has gone on to other things and now, Countrywide is hounding us unmercifully. They never heard of the agreement, they don't do business like that. We owe them $15,000.00 over and above the $209,000.00 the evil insurance empire finally deigned to send us. Of course, the check is made out to me AND the mortgage company. I have made it quite clear that I will tear up the check and they can have the property to do what they want with it. I have been told that they don't want the property because they know that the best offer we have had is $105,000 for a home and land that was worth $250,000.00 before Katrina but they still want us to agree to pay them an additional $15,000 in interest. What a bunch of blood suckers!
These vultures are going after an elderly couple (I'm 71, my wife is 70) who lost EVERYTHING in the flood produced by Katrina except for a few things above the five foot line that hadn't been destroyed by the black mold. We have no income because I cannot go back to work yet because I lost all the tools of my trade and my health is still poor. The only thing coming in is Social Security and a small pension from the American Federation of Musicians. FEMA is helping us out by paying half of the $1,000 rent and utilities we are spending every month. That will probably end soon. Other expenses have knocked the hell out of the little bit we got for the personal property loss and it's getting less and less by the month. Now the mortgage company is trying to gouge another $15,000 out of us? There's something wrong with this picture, don't you think?
And to top it all off, some woman called last night to find out if we were satisfied with the treatment we were getting from Countrywide. I'm surprised my wife didn't have a stroke!
That's the way the ball game has gone so far. We'll see what happens but it doesn't look too good right now.