Well, as of today my remaining mortgage is under 10 grand. It's $9,937.78 to be exact, which means, if I can keep putting an extra $500 a month into it, I'm done next August 1.
That will be a fast payoff for a guy who was losing his house three months after moving from New York to Texas. Nothing I planned came through, editors who hired me got fired before my stories went to print, magazines lost their freelance budget after I signed contracts but before my stories came out. Gosh, it was tough. I borrowed from friends, family, put my little green truck in hock to a money lending outfit. Did not think I'd make it and was terrified of the idea of having put my kids in a position where they might have to live at cousins' houses while I lived in a flophouse.
The ship got righted a bit, then better. The first three years, my $73,800 mortgage dropped about $5-$50 a month and I don't think I dipped below $70,000 for at least those three years, maybe more. But I got lucky, got some pretty good gigs like working for the Fort Worth Weekly and having a regular column in Skunk Magazine out of Canada. Then someone who's become a friend called and asked if I'd write occasional articles for a magazine he was editing. The stories were fine, the pay was a good bump twice or three times a year. The trips to Peru, while not making much money, did pay the mortgage while I was gone, so that was good. Then I published my book and that was another little stream...it got to where if I didn't buy myself anything I didn't need I was able to put an extra couple of hundred into the mortgage monthly. That grew to nearly $600 extra a month--that meant no dining in restaurants, no new sneaks until it was time for a Peru trip, no Sunday afternoon at the bar with my friend Dave. Those little things, and a million others added up.
And now, after 12 years and 9 months, I'm under $10 grand. Wow. THANKS UNIVERSE!!!! I APPRECIATE IT A LOT!!!
Thursday, October 16, 2014