A Story that Makes You Glad You’re In a Small House

I awoke with great relief the other morning. The big lump in my abdomen was only a dream. I compared this wash of relief to how I felt today as I read a long, sad winding story about Edmund Andrews, a New York Times business reporter, who experienced first hand almost losing his overmortgaged house. The facts were plain–he and his girlfriend who he married after she made the move cross-c0untry simply fell under the water and despite his $120,000 a year Times salary, they still expect the ax to fall soon on their big Maryland house. I kept thinking how worth it it is to be tripping over all of this stuff in our crowded house and not have problems like this guy.

Times reporters make $120K a year? No wonder the company is losing so much dough. But Edmunds story included a bedroom scene where he tossed and turned at 3 am, thinking about bills he couldn’t pay and the looming spectre of his giant mortgage payment. He wakes up his wife and she begins to hassle him; why can’t you stop fretting about the bills, even on my birthday? She loses her job and he has to borrow from his mother, but even this $15K is not enough to keep the wolves at bay. They’re now 30 days behind on their big mortgage.

He tries to call CitiBank but there are so many foreclosures, they don’t even return his call; clearly he’s just a blip among a huge pack of the unfortunate and everyone needs to take their turn to get the beleagured bank’s attention. His kids love the house and adjust well to the local schools, but looming out there is the reset that will put his mortgage payment into an unreachable place.

Edmunds wrote a book about his nightmare, but as the narrative ends, we don’t know whether the house was foreclosed, and if he and Patty are now living in a cheaper apartment. Just glad that he ain’t me.