We need to buy some time...

I'm writing to ask for your help. We're close to missing our mortgage and running out of heating oil for our home. Please read on. We have a plan, but we need help to bridge the gap while work takes off.

I (Kate) had a seizure (hey, random) around Christmas (did not ask Santa for that) and lost my job (did not ask Santa for that, either).

The reason that I had the seizure may (or may not) affect if I'm allowed to work. I have an MRI this week, and a neurology appointment a few days later. Hopefully we'll get some answers.

Eric has a business plan and is seeking investors for a new start-up. He has a couple of clients that are paying him some. He's also gotten two great prospects this week, and he's actively seeking more. It's in the early stages, that income isn't large or regular enough to sustain us, yet. While he looks into starting his own business, he is also keeping his eye out for position at companies that may be hiring. So he can (and he is) searching for a job, while laying the ground work for creating one of his own.

I don't like the idea of asking people to give us money, so I'm thinking of this differently. I'm looking for some creative ways to raise money. I've also decided that (since we do need help) to ask for loans.

If you want to help with more or have other ideas different than what you see, give me a call or e-mail me.

TRQ (Totally Reasonable Questions):

1. Can you (Kate) go back to work?

My doctors have decided that it's not a good idea for me to be working FULL-TIME out of the house until I've gone six months without a seizure. So, that's until June. That does NOT mean that I can't work to bring in an income, though.

Things that I used to go to offices to do can be done remotely. I used to edit documents for a living. I would drive to places of business and edit copy in cubicles. I have also had people e-mail me .docs and .pdfs to edit. I can still do that from my house:

my nice, clean, safe house, in a nice, clean, safe neighborhood. Sam is at school most of the day, and I have no problem watching/playing with someone else's child during the day when I'd already be watching/playing with Arwen. Again, not a lot, and not steady, but it would be something.

2. Why is that the goal amount?

Well, that's two months of our mortgage. My thinking is that if we get two months of that covered, anything else that comes in will be enough to get us through to a place where we'll be earning enough on our own.

3. Custom children's book? Ooh! How's that going to work?

You send me a couple of photos of your kid, and a few details about your child's interests. I'll make a 20-25 page story about little Sophie fighting off an alien invasion with her pet dinosaur and to show his gratitude the president makes her Princess of ALL THE CUPCAKES or whatever floats her boat.

Step 1: You choose this. E-mail me a few photos of your kid (or even just a "She's got short, brown curly hair, green eyes and freckles") along with a list of interests and favorite things.

Step 2: In a week, I send you a few pages of sketches and a plot outline. You let me know if you like it and if you think your kid will like it. BTW: If, after step 2, you just hate it all, you get your money back.

Step 3: I write the story and finish the drawings. Then I'll get it bound in a softcover (or hardcover, depending on the reward you choose) and send it to you. Typically, these things take about five weeks from start to in your hands. They very often don't take that long, but I'd really rather give myself that extra time and have you say "Yay! We got it a week early!" than have a printing accident happen and screw everything up and disappoint you. I keep you updated weekly through this process.

4. Do those rewards includes the costs of shipping?

Yes. If you happen to live really close to me and don't want me to ship it to you, contact me separately, and we'll work on something else.

5. Why 18 months? What if stuff doesn't change?

I don't know exactly how things will be different in 18 months, but I do know that they will be different. We won't be sticking around here if they don't change. If we are nearing the end of Summer and neither of us has employment here (in New Hampshire), we're going to put our house on the market and move in with my parents in Pennsylvania. It'll be big and difficult, but it will have to be done.

It may not be easier to find work down there, but at least we won't have a mortgage payment to worry about (we've spoken to our realtor and she told us that she'd have no problem selling our house, but she really hopes it doesn't come to that).

Right now, we'd like to keep our son the school that he loves, and not move in the middle of Winter.

6. Can I get your résumé and references?

Absolutely! We'll post our professional e-mail addresses below, and links to our LinkedIn accounts. E-mail us and we can get you copies of our resumes, references, and we also have letters of recommendation from former clients/supervisors.

7. What if it's not a loan? We just want to help!

Since you don't want to be paid back, in 18 months, we're going to pay it forward. There will be people who will be where we are and we'll give whatever you are giving to them. And they'll thank us, just like we're thanking you, and then we'll tell them about you, so they'll thank you. And probably we're all going to get verklempt.
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Katharine Ellis Tapley 
Exeter, NH
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