just at that moment, i got a text message that said, i left some gluten-free brownies by your door.
i texted back, i love you! i was just thinking that i need some chocolate. i'm up at school. i'll eat some when i get home. . . . do i have to share them? haha! but seriously - it's maybe a 3-brownie kind of day . . .
she texted, if one of your neighbors steals them, let me know, and next time i'll put aquarium cleaner in them. apparently it is harmless but it will turn your pee blue. . . . you don't have to share but there are enough to. i know from experience that they are jeans-shrinking if you eat too many. :)
after i tasted the brownies, i texted, sheer awesomeness! thank you.
yes. just what i needed. for a couple reasons.
1. i have been looking for a gluten-free brownie recipe that is heavy and almost-gooey, sort of fudgy - but not fudge, and not. like. cake. at. all. this is it! oh, man! (and she shared the recipe - even though it is TOP SECRET - and i figured out why they are so awesome - three sticks of butter. yep. three.)
2. it really was a 3-brownie kind of day. and i really did eat 3.
why was it a 3-brownie day? you might be asking. or you might not be. but i'm going to tell you anyway. this part gets long, so if you are just happy that i had awesome brownies, you can stop reading now. the rest is more about the house. i understand if you're tired of hearing about it. i'm tired of it, too. but, there's stuff with it that is still hanging over our heads. and we've had to deal with some more of it this week. so, here goes.
it was a 3-brownie day because i was up till 1:30 am doing research and drafting an official answer, affirmative defense, and reservation of right to supplement defenses . . . ugh. i am so tired of all of this. and i am so tired of believing that what a lawyer or a banker tells us is true - because, you know, they know more about all this stuff than i do - they went to school for it, for crying out loud! but then finding that what they told us is not, in any way, shape, or form in our best interest whatsoever and that i darn well better do my own (words i don't say) research because i can figure out what needs to be done and just do it! i can research how to draft and answer to a claim and summons and i can find a template and i can find examples of affirmative defenses and write this all up properly. i can and i did. and ben and i did not spend money on some lawyer who is just out to make money!
so, on too little sleep and with very thin nerves, i went and made three copies and took them up to the courthouse to file. on day 20. the last day. and the clerk tells me that it will cost $322.00 to file my answer and open our case. WHAT?!?!? ummm, that's a lot of money. and i don't want to open a case. it's open, right? that's why we got a summons. i just want to answer the claim, so we don't incurr a judgement by default. well, no, the party who sued us has not filed their claim with the court yet. but we still have to file our answer. and there is another form that needs to be filled out and notarized. another form that i don't have and didn't know about. and it's day 20. and no, i don't have an attorney that i am working with. and i started to cry. my eyes welled up and started to spill and i could tell there wasn't any stopping them, so i just let them run down my face. they ran while the clerk showed me the computer where i could print out the (complementary, thank you) form, and how to fill it out. they ran so i had to take off my glasses and just let them drip on the floor while i blinked and blinked and tried to see what i was writing (i only got one tiny tear on the page). they ran and my lips trembled while i told the clerk that i just want this all to be over and i'm sorry i'm crying but i'm just so, so tired. and she said she understood. and i said, really? do you really? and she just looked at me, very kindly (finally), and went and got me some tissues - the really thick, soft kind - not the kind that are cheap and scratchy. then, she took my form and my summons and my document that i had so carefully written up and copied and was gone for a bit.
i was writing out the $322.00 check and just telling God that i don't really know how we are going to do this, because that is more than what i was going to pay the phone bill with and fill up the gas tank and all my grocery money for the next two weeks, and that He must know something i don't, and that i just want all of this with that house that isn't even in our name any more to just be over, and feeling so wrung out and still crying (so much for putting mascara on).
when the clerk came back, she told me that after looking over the claim and my answer and conferring with some others, that i didn't need to file it today, that i didn't need to pay the filing fee today, that i just needed to go mail it to the plaintiff's attorney and make sure that it was postmarked today, day 20. she told me that if we were going to keep representing ourselves (an affirmation of the document i wrote up!), that there is a website (for which she gave me the address) where i should be able to get any forms that i would need. she told me that there is a possibility that the plaintiff's attorney may look over our answer and just decide to drop the whole thing.
thank you. thank you. thank you.
i asked some more questions, and got a notarized note proving i had been in the filing office that morning, and i gathered up my things, and the one unused tissue, and headed to the post office.
i don't even know how to describe how i felt. angry at the lawyer who had told us that we didn't need to file an answer, that we just needed to declare bankruptcy (thus putting ~ $4,000.00 in his pocket). thankful that neither ben nor i felt right about not answering. pleased that i had written a response that is legitimate. frustrated that i had cried and cried in the filing office. grateful that i had not had to write out that check. hopeful that there is a possibility, no matter how slight, that they might just drop it. then all of this would really and truly be over. done. no more anything for us to do that has anything to do with the house.
i am asking, pleading, begging God that this is truly a means to the end. that all of the last weeks of pulling paper work together in anticipation of filing bankruptcy, that my long day and late night of research and writing in response to the summons, that everything we have sold and given away, that moving into our tiny apartment, that all the craziness along the way could be over now. that we are in the place God wants us to be, ready to go where He would send, with nothing holding us back, not too much to pack, nothing (big) left to sell (there's always little things to put on swap-n-shop as the kids grow). that they will read my answer and defense and decide that it's too big a can of worms to open any farther. that they just want to be done with it, too. that is my prayer.
so - any of you who have prayed for us, sent coffee or brownies our way, supported my little business ventures, left kind comments on my blog and FB, called, shared chats and coffee and dessert with us - you all have meant so much to me over these past few months. i am so very grateful. thank you.
and, if you would, please help me flood the throne of grace with requests for a truly speedy ending to this legal stuff. (i am holding on to luke 18:1-8 and mark 11:23 with luke 22:42 - and wanting His best and His glory in this situation.)