Help Ann and Tony Stop Foreclosure

$14,065 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 203 people in 35 months
Ann Wendell  SEATTLE, WA

Update -

Hello all -

Tony and I haven't done an update here on our GoFundMe in about 5 months. We kept thinking that any moment now, we'd be triumphant successes rising from the ashes of defeat, with only a singed tail feather or two.  Unfortunately, that day has not yet come, although we still remain convinced there must be a pony in the towering pile of poop.

When last you heard from us, we were just about to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy to stop the foreclosure on our house...and that happened!! Yea!! And so for the last few months we have been (just barely and with help) making those payments, our first mortgage payments, and our other bills. We cut our expenses, including giving up Tony's studio space. I continued to look for a job, and we put our efforts into running Tinplate Studios as well.

Then...the darkness came...or more specifically January and...job prospects withered and died and the business tanked. I blame That Man...you know the one. And we need to make our bankruptcy payment next week, and the coffers are empty.

Now...as I said...all is not lost...not absolutely...not yet. I have two jobs circling out there that I really truly believe are close to offers *and* we have our biggest show coming up in two weeks - Emerald City Comicon. Finding enough money to buy supplies for that is, unfortunately, an issue as well.

So here we are again. On your doorstep, hats in hand, asking for help. We understand this is not a sustainable lifestyle choice...to keep doing this. We are already looking into selling the house - a tricky prospect while in bankruptcy, but must find a way to survive just a bit longer to give that a chance to succeed as well.

As you well know...we have stuff for sale!

There are many fun new things up on www.tinplatestudios.etsy.com

There are also starting to be things up on my Etsy shop - www.dejaviews.etsy.com

Nothing in our house (vintage collectibles! steamy costume bits! shop fixtures and housewares!) is safe from a priced-to-sell-tag and we'll try to get those up on Facebook first just as soon as possible.

We are humbled and grateful for your support. Your good wishes shine a light in what seems to us to be overwhelming darkness and you give us strength to go on.

 Ann and Tony

Hello friends, family, acquaintances, fans, and kind strangers –

You last heard from us through this venue about 6 months ago, when so many of you, so generously, helped us by providing funds to allow us to pay some bills, catch up on our first mortgage, and put a temporary tarp over what was left of our roof. (That's where the initial $4,885 went...and why it says we want such a big honking number - we're trying to raise $5,000 now.) I got some temporary contract work, we did a few shows for Tony’s business, Tinplate Studios, and we squeaked along until now. What we were not able to do was make a couple of past due payments on our second mortgage, and the mortgage holder, Washington State Employee’s Credit Union (WSECU), is now foreclosing on our house. The foreclosure sale is set for September 9th, in less than 2 weeks.

We’ve been working with the Urban League for the last several months to try and negotiate some sort of modification with WSECU, but they have been unwilling to do so. Because they are a credit union, they are not bound by law to do Foreclosure Mediation. Although they told us, in 2012, and again in 2015 that they had “written off” the loan, and did not seek payment from us during that time, we did start a reduced payment plan with them in late 2015, and we fell  2 -3 months behind on that. We’re current on our 1st mortgage.

WSECU now appears to be willing to possibly consider making some arrangements that could postpone or forestall the sale of the house. They want money right away for their legal fees and towards our arrears, and then perhaps they would be willing to make arrangements for the balance. They want the money tomorrow. We don’t have it. It’s possible we may be able to negotiate a few more days.

 So…what we’re hoping for is to raise enough money to buy us some time. We don’t want to lose our home – I grew up in this house. My parents bought the house in 1947, and I raised my family, the third generation of Ravenna residents, in my childhood family home. I even wrote a book about the neighborhood, with a number of pictures of the house!
(Check out my Author Page .)

Here’s a bit of background on us and our situation -

If you've found your way here, you probably know us (or at least had a passing moment of thinking who are the dashing duo in the great hats?!)
but you may not know our current situation. Myself (Ann Wendell) and my husband, Tony Hicks, are romantic/creative partners in adventure, living in our 100 year old house in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle. We met online about 13 years ago, and after falling madly, truly, deeply in love, decided we should meet. Tony came to visit me in Seattle and never left (as a native Seattleite, I was allowed to sponsor him...even though he's from California.) I'm an author, local historian, and recruiter/business researcher and Tony is an artist, creating sideshow gaffs and cryptozoological wonders, natural (and unnatural) illustrations and sequential art, disturbing jewelry, and Steampunk bodgery as Tinplate Studios .

So...here's the scoop. We've gotten ourselves into a bit of a pickle. We have woken up to smell the cat food in our bank account. We're broke...flat out busted...skint...tapped out...poor as church mice, as Job's turkey, as a cabdriver in Venice. How the heck did this happen?!?! Well, the last 2 years or so have been filled with our very own Series of Unfortunate Events (and frankly we were already in a pretty deep hole due to such fun life experiences as the aftermath of a messy divorce, unemployment, and cancer.) We were unprepared for the big blows - the unexpected loss of my job and Tony's diagnosis of Sarcoidosis, a chronic inflammatory disease. He was flat on his back for months, and I was taking care of him. Unfortunately, he is still not back to being completely healthy, and he struggles every day to have the energy and stamina to continue working. And thus began the cascading Dominos of Doom where part of your roof blows off, your 80 year old furnace needs repair (and somehow to be filled with oil before the cold hits), as does your car (which is how you get to shows where you could vend and make money...if you could...but you can't), the utilities and electricity still need to be paid,  and even though my job search is in high gear, offers are just not pouring in.

We are lucky to be covered for healthcare (Thanks Obama!!) so we still have a steady supply of antidepressants coming in. But we now face the prospect of literally having no place to live. This is how we would use the money we’re asking for now – staving off the foreclosure sale of our house. If you can help us keep a roof over our heads (even though it is now a large plastic tarp) for just a bit longer until we have steady money coming in, it would mean the world to us.

Other ways you can help -

1. Buy things from us!
Tony's Etsy shop is www.tinplatestudios.etsy.com . (It may be several weeks processing time, but he promises it'll be well worth the wait.)
Ann's Etsy shop is  www.dejaviews.etsy.com (This will soon be filled with treasures such as vintage hats, clothes, jewelry cocktail sets, tea pots and salt and pepper shakers.) You can also buy Ann’s books from her directly (Images of America: Seattle’s Ravenna Neighborhood, and Images of America: Frederick & Nelson.)

2. Let Ann know about job leads!
Here's my LinkedIn profile to get an idea of what I can do - www.linkedin.com/in/annwendell .

3. Promote Tony's work!
Etsy -  www.tinplatestudios.etsy.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Tinplate-Studios-Steampunk-Wonders-and-Bodgery
Twitter - @tinplatestudios
Instagram - Tinplatestudios
Tumblr - chattergrub

4. All the wonderful things you already do! Thank you so much for all your support!

Keep those Facebook pictures of baby hedgehogs rolling in. We need them now more than ever!

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Update 12
Posted by Ann Wendell
20 months ago
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Someone asked about the price on the house (hi Mimi) and I can't figure out how to answer her comment on here, and thought others might want to know so here's an update on that.

Our asking price is $599K. The average price for a house in the neighborhood is $850, and there were apparently 3 houses available in Bryant the last time I checked.

We would vastly prefer to sell to someone who wants to fix it up and live here happily ever after as opposed to a developer. We have an inspection report available and should have a sewer scope available as well. There is much that needs to be done on the house - probably $80-$100K.

The house will list on Wednesday the 17th and there should be an open house that day. We expect it to be on the market for about a week. Because we are in bankruptcy, the sale must be approved by the court (should not be a problem) but the sale will probably close in about a month. Our RE Agent is David Updike, Windermere Eastlake.
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Update 11
Posted by Ann Wendell
20 months ago
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I've been meaning to update our GoFundMe page...as there have been some big changes in our story. We did file for Chapter 13 in September, and have been on a 5 year plan. We didn't really have any other consumer debt, so that is basically only for our second mortgage (the credit union that held that was the one foreclosing.) We've been continuing to pay our first mortgage separate from the Chapter 13 plan. We were only able to do this because of the help we received from everyone through this GoFundMe and elsewhere. We just can't thank you all enough for all your support!

We were somehow able to sustain this for a few months...But I still didn't have a job and sales from Tony's business were way down so around March, we realized we weren't going to be able to keep paying what we had to pay each month and knew we had no other option but to sell the house. This was devastating, but at least we could have some control over the process. We are fortunate because even though the house is a wreck (we had an inspection done as there was a slight hope my kids might be able to buy it, and it would need almost $100K to get it to a point to pass an appraisal), we live in such a desirable neighborhood that our RE Agent (thankfully a good friend) says it will sell immediately, and even though we owe a ton in mortgages, and a bit in personal loans, we should still come out with something...Hopefully enough to buy something...However small and far, far away from Seattle proper it may be. (And of course then we have to find somewhere to live...And of course no one is going to give us a mortgage due to the bankruptcy, and if we rent for awhile...Well, as many of you know, rent here will be more expensive than a mortgage and we'd be spending any money that we'd hope to save for buying a house.)

So...We decided to put the house on the market but then we had to figure out a way to survive financially until closing and we had a $2,000 utility bill and other bills and the bankruptcy payments and...we just couldn't see coming here again to ask for help. So we borrowed money from a family member...and even though it was guaranteed to be paid back in a few weeks at close, being treated like we were going to spend it all on crack, and were without any redeeming value, and had brought this on ourselves through our Bad Life Choices was an experience I would not wish on anyone...except every Republican currently running our country into the ground.

And then I got a job. A great job. And it's a game changer but...We can't save the house. We just can't. It is a bit less than I've made in the past, but frankly even if it was more, it wouldn't be enough. Because in 6 months, the bankrupty payments go up and then it's $4K a month in mortgage, and the loans, and now we haven't paid the 1st mortgage in 3 months and there's the 100K of repairs still hanging over our heads. So there you go...That's our story.

So...We are embarking on a new adventure. A good friend told me recently that although we are leaving our home behind, I might think of it as the wonderful gift my parents left me that sheltered and sustained me all these years, and is even now giving its all to ensure I'll be taken care of going forward.

The house goes on the market this Wednesday, May 17th. We expect to be here for another couple of months and will soon be announcing our blow out moving sale. Again, we thank you all for your financial and emotional support and would love to hear your suggestions on where we should look for our new home.

Ann and Tony
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Update 10
Posted by Ann Wendell
23 months ago
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Hello all -

Tony and I haven't done an update here on our GoFundMe in about 5 months. We kept thinking that any moment now, we'd be triumphant successes rising from the ashes of defeat, with only a singed tail feather or two. Unfortunately, that day has not yet come, although we still remain convinced there must be a pony in the towering pile of poop.

When last you heard from us, we were just about to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy to stop the foreclosure on our house...and that happened!! Yea!! And so for the last few months we have been (just barely and with help) making those payments, our first mortgage payments, and our other bills. We cut our expenses, including giving up Tony's studio space. I continued to look for a job, and we put our efforts into running Tinplate Studios as well.

Then...the darkness came...or more specifically January and...job prospects withered and died and the business tanked. I blame That Man...you know the one. And we need to make our bankruptcy payment next week, and the coffers are empty.

Now...as I said...all is not lost...not absolutely...not yet. I have two jobs circling out there that I really truly believe are close to offers *and* we have our biggest show coming up in two weeks - Emerald City Comicon. Finding enough money to buy supplies for that is, unfortunately, an issue as well.

So here we are again. On your doorstep, hats in hand, asking for help. We understand this is not a sustainable lifestyle choice...to keep doing this. We are already looking into selling the house - a tricky prospect while in bankruptcy, but must find a way to survive just a bit longer to give that a chance to succeed as well.

As you well know...we have stuff for sale!
There are many fun new things up on www.tinplatestudios.etsy.com!
There are also starting to be things up on my Etsy shop - www.dejaviews.etsy.com!
Nothing in our house (vintage collectibles! steamy costume bits! shop fixtures and housewares!) is safe from a priced-to-sell-tag and we'll try to get those up on Facebook first just as soon as possible.

We are humbled and grateful for your support. Your good wishes shine a light in what seems to us to be overwhelming darkness and you give us strength to go on.

Ann and Tony

+ Read More
Update 9
Posted by Ann Wendell
28 months ago
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Hello all -

At the last moment, the foreclosure sale of our house was postponed...now scheduled for this coming Friday, September 23rd. The idea was the credit union was willing to negotiate with us to work out repayment arrangements. Well...their idea of a workable solution was for us to immediately pay a lump sum of 10 to 15K towards the arrears, and then we would have 6 months to pay the rest of the arrears in monthly payments, while at the same time making regular monthly payments on the principal...to the tune of 4 to 5K per month.

Let me assure you...if we had that kind of money, we wouldn't be in this situation.

So, tomorrow we meet with our attorney (having abandoned (or rather been abandoned by) the Urban League) and we're going to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We won't have to come up with a lump sum to put towards the debt...but we will need a sizeable amount for the attorney and filing fees, and while we'll hopefully be able to make payments over 5 years, instead of 6 months, we will be making substantial (we hope doable) monthly payments within a month.

I have a second interview scheduled for what could be a dream job, several agency submittals, and still applying for more...and we have a show (Steamposium) next week that should bring in money but...with the first mortgage payment this month and bills...and attorney/filing fees...we are not going to have the recommended reserve of a couple of months of Chapter 13 payments...and we still have the roof full of holes on which we at least need to do a new temporary fix.

So we're going to readjust our GoFundMe goal to add a bit more...in the hopes of giving us a better chance of success at making this work. We so appreciate all the support we've received so far! We would be eternally grateful for donations, sharing this GoFundMe campaign, orders from the Tinplate Studios Etsy shop (and now that I'm not spending every moment dealing with the credit union, I really will get things up in my Etsy shop as well - Deja Views), emotional support, and words of friendship.

Thanks!

Ann and Tony
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Read a Previous Update
Mimi Castillo
20 months ago

What's your asking price on the house? My niece and her husband are looking for a house in the neighborhood. Thanks.

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Donna Tobin
20 months ago

I was wondering how you were getting along...thought of you guys from time to time...so thanks for the updates. I love your newest thoughts about the house...and how it has sustained you all these years....for whatever reason, it is gratitude that always seems to reward us with more to be grateful for. Perhaps the time HAS come to move on to something different... and for all of your determination to stay put...maybe something even better!...It is hard to let go of the past...harder still to face the unknown...but I think you had to be faced with no alternative before you would be ready to accept the gifts that are out there waiting for you. I hope to hear that this was indeed the case...and that you are both thriving and happy and excited for the whole shiny brilliant new lifestyle you will be both enjoying and celebrating!...I don't know if you have ever considered moving beyond a "sticks and bricks" home, and doing what thousands are now doing....and that is a life on the open road. A lot of people are exploring the tiny home movement....downsizing to a postage stamp size house in order to escape debtors prison and/or the long term mortgage "trap"....and then there are "others"...who are investing in RV living....and according to the videos I have watched, absolutely LOVING the life..and the financial freedom. Many of them are entrepreneurs, quite a few are artists and craftspeople...and have online businesses....and do very well for themselves as they travel from place to place...or stay in one location...depending on their preference and circumstances. I don't know if you guys have ever investigated this alternative lifestyle choice....but with your amazing resourcefulness and hilarious outlook on life....it might be a great fit. If you want to check out some eye-opening videos and see how these folks are doing it...go to Youtube where you'll find thousands of testimonials. Bob Wells at CheapRvLiving....has a great series of how-to video's and a wealth of free information to share. It might be fun to imagine, even if you decide to stay the course in a regular sticks and bricks abode. I wish you all the success in the world.... and I hope you will continue to keep us posted as you go forward into a wonderful new adventure.

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Sarah Roark
28 months ago

I'm so happy to hear you have a bit of a respite, and with time many things are possible. ♥ Hope the new lawyer is a significant improvement!

+ Read More
Alexia J Saxon
28 months ago

Ann, check the King County website for jobs. I know they are doing a lot of hiring for transit which means they could be looking for recruiters as well. They pay well and the benefits are good.

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Mimi Castillo
29 months ago

Can't you file bankruptcy and that should stop foreclosure proceedings. Just a thought.

+ Read More

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Raised by 203 people in 35 months
Created February 25, 2016
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Mimi Castillo
20 months ago

What's your asking price on the house? My niece and her husband are looking for a house in the neighborhood. Thanks.

+ Read More
Donna Tobin
20 months ago

I was wondering how you were getting along...thought of you guys from time to time...so thanks for the updates. I love your newest thoughts about the house...and how it has sustained you all these years....for whatever reason, it is gratitude that always seems to reward us with more to be grateful for. Perhaps the time HAS come to move on to something different... and for all of your determination to stay put...maybe something even better!...It is hard to let go of the past...harder still to face the unknown...but I think you had to be faced with no alternative before you would be ready to accept the gifts that are out there waiting for you. I hope to hear that this was indeed the case...and that you are both thriving and happy and excited for the whole shiny brilliant new lifestyle you will be both enjoying and celebrating!...I don't know if you have ever considered moving beyond a "sticks and bricks" home, and doing what thousands are now doing....and that is a life on the open road. A lot of people are exploring the tiny home movement....downsizing to a postage stamp size house in order to escape debtors prison and/or the long term mortgage "trap"....and then there are "others"...who are investing in RV living....and according to the videos I have watched, absolutely LOVING the life..and the financial freedom. Many of them are entrepreneurs, quite a few are artists and craftspeople...and have online businesses....and do very well for themselves as they travel from place to place...or stay in one location...depending on their preference and circumstances. I don't know if you guys have ever investigated this alternative lifestyle choice....but with your amazing resourcefulness and hilarious outlook on life....it might be a great fit. If you want to check out some eye-opening videos and see how these folks are doing it...go to Youtube where you'll find thousands of testimonials. Bob Wells at CheapRvLiving....has a great series of how-to video's and a wealth of free information to share. It might be fun to imagine, even if you decide to stay the course in a regular sticks and bricks abode. I wish you all the success in the world.... and I hope you will continue to keep us posted as you go forward into a wonderful new adventure.

+ Read More
Sarah Roark
28 months ago

I'm so happy to hear you have a bit of a respite, and with time many things are possible. ♥ Hope the new lawyer is a significant improvement!

+ Read More
Alexia J Saxon
28 months ago

Ann, check the King County website for jobs. I know they are doing a lot of hiring for transit which means they could be looking for recruiters as well. They pay well and the benefits are good.

+ Read More
Mimi Castillo
29 months ago

Can't you file bankruptcy and that should stop foreclosure proceedings. Just a thought.

+ Read More
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