We were away from home over Thanksgiving, and when we came back we noticed there wasn't a whole lot of activity going on at the house next door, which was usually chock full of parents rushing back and forth to two jobs and ferrying two kids around. A week or so later we saw a small moving truck in the driveway, and we assumed that their skeezy-looking brother/brother-in-law was moving in. And then there was no activity at the house for weeks.
After a package had sat on their doorstep at Christmastime for more than a week and their garage door had been ajar for a few days, I finally went over and peeked in the window. The place was empty, save for some empty beer cans and miscellaneous stuff in the garage. A week later there was a guy from the bank changing the locks on their front door.
We don't live in a fancy development full of McMansions and BMWs bought on credit. We don't live in a downtrodden neighborhood full of people who can barely scrape by. We live in what for most people would be one step up from a starter house, and our neighbors had been here for three years. I guess they had an ARM that came due, or one of the balloon payment mortgages where you don't have to pay much until you have to pay the whole mess off at once. I mean, they were both working, they were sending their kids to public school, they only had one car (the husband drove a delivery truck), and they didn't have any overtly expensive habits like fancy vacations or a boat or anything. So how does this family end up getting kicked out of their house right before Christmas?
That was bad enough, but today the bank truck is back with an empty trailer that they're slowly filling with all the stuff the neighbors left behind. You know, little unimportant stuff, like a whole lot extra co-ax cables and stuff that we keep moving from house to house in hopes that someday we'll need it again, and some kid toys, and all their family room furniture. Like I said, it was a small moving truck out there back in November, and I guess if you're moving in with your parents you don't have room to take the sofa and loveseat. But it just tears me up to see the little guy - who is two months older than Liza - get his toys thrown in the junk truck.
The foreclosure crisis is a big, abstract problem ... until it happens to the kid you were planning being your kid's best friend in preschool next year. Then it gets personal.
Jason: "Look on the bright side. Maybe they're not in foreclosure, maybe they're in witness protection. That guy always struck me as the kind who might be informing on the mob."
Me: "Yeah, because I'd rather they were on the run for their lives instead of just destitute."
Jason: "At least then the kid would be getting some new toys when they got their new identities."
Me: "Good point. 'Mafia informers' it is."
Oh, god, they just loaded his sandbox.