Help Ann and Tony Stop Foreclosure

$14,035 of $15k goal

Raised by 200 people in 13 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 10
Posted by Ann Wendell
1 month ago
   Share
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
6 months ago
   Share
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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Update 8
Posted by Ann Wendell
6 months ago
   Share
Hello all -

The sun has set on the 9th of September and we are not yet on the street! It's been the week from H. E. Double Toothpicks, and we were in deep despair after everything going sideways at 5:00 pm on the Friday before the long weekend.

Our Urban League rep seemed to be doing more harm than good (and only resurfaced a couple of days ago to complain some more about his interrupted vacation.) I called WSECU on my own and somehow (eventually) was transferred to someone that treated me like a human being. He got back to me on Tuesday (putting aside *his* vacation) and said there was hope of a postponement. At the same time, thanks to advice from a number of you, I contacted an attorney, and arranged to see him Thursday and file Chapter 13 bankruptcy. On our way to see him on Wednesday, the good guy at the credit union called and said they were postponing the sale until September 23.

Now...we have a tiny bit of breathing room. We will see what arrangements the CU is willing to make, although we don't hold out a lot of hope. Most likely we'll file Chapter 13. Either way we'll need immediate funds (and a long-term solution - hopefully a job for me...or at least selling on our own terms) so we're keeping the GoFundMe going for now.

Thank you all for your support!!

Ann and Tony
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Update 7
Posted by Ann Wendell
6 months ago
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Our Urban League lawyer (former lawyer, apparently) has failed us. He missed the deadline for stopping the house sale by working out an agreement with the credit union. Last Tuesday was the deadline. He contacted them on Wednesday. He. Has. Betrayed us and he has lied. He lied about having dealt with the CU in time and either the CU didn't tell him that the amount we proposed to stop the sale wasn't enough or HE just didn't tell us. Also, the CU doesn't seem to know that they are in second position and that we are current with our 1st mortgage. But for some bizzaro universe reason, the bloody sale seems to be going through. According to the CU, there is no stopping it now - all we can do is bid on our home.

He was yelling and abusive on the phone for disturbing his vacation, and lied about the CU rep being in the office today. When I called the Urban League to speak to the housing counselor (who was on the call where he was abusive) she said I should be patient with him and have faith he would work it out next week. "Don't worry...you're not going to lose your house." Really? Because that's sure how it looks to me.

So...our weekend is now tracking down new lawyers, our 1st mortgage holder, research and resources...on Labor Day Weekend. And standing outside the Attorney General's office at the crack of dawn Tuesday. And realizing the vulture on our doorstop may be our only option.
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Read a Previous Update
Sarah Roark
6 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!

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Alexia J Saxon
6 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
6 months ago

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

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$14,035 of $15k goal

Raised by 200 people in 13 months
Created February 25, 2016
ZS
$40
Zane Sporleder
28 days ago
$50
Anonymous
1 month ago
$50
Sarah Roark
1 month ago

<3

DG
$50
Dawn Gilbert
1 month ago
MW
$20
Mila Webb
1 month ago
$20
Anonymous
1 month ago
KW
$50
Katherine Washedai
1 month ago
$100
Anonymous
1 month ago
$35
Wanda Pease
1 month ago

Fingers Crossed.

$20
Heather C Gray
1 month ago
Sarah Roark
6 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
6 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
6 months ago

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

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