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What to do with leftovers?

UPDATE: PLUMBING UPDATE  (please give it a look if you can)

People are already asking what will happen if we manage to collect more than the 11k necessary to save Vera's house from foreclosure.

First, yes, thanks to everyone's incredible generosity, we've collected a good chunk of it, but WE ARE NOT THERE YET. Not by a long shot. Please keep up your efforts donating, spreading the word, and participating in an auction!

If there will, indeed, be excess money, we plan to spend it in the following fashion:

1. Hire a mortgage attorney to renegotiate with the bank to get Vera a normal mortgage instead of the outrageous subprime rates she is paying now.

2. Create a safety cushion of one month for Vera so that if anything unforeseen happens she will have some "insurance".

3. Fix the sewer problem. Frankly I don't think we can raise enough for this - Vera has been quoted 2,800$ - but it is a health hazard, especially for two already sickly women.

I am quoting an insightful comment from [info]starshipcat  on those issues that I wholeheartedly agree with:

I've lived in two houses with problems that involved sewage leaking to the surface (one septic tank failure and one sewer line clogged with tree roots), and while neither resulted in an acute illness directly attributable to it, in both cases I just constantly felt sub-par and not right until the problem was resolved.

Also, these kinds of problems have a tendency to get worse over time if they're not dealt with. Getting it fixed now would go a long way to forestalling a catastrophic failure a year or two down the road.

And that makes me think that the most important thing to do with any excess money over her immediate need is to help her build a margin of safety so the next misfortune that comes down the road won't knock her straight back into the ditch of disaster. Whether it's fixing things that aren't major problems yet but apt to fail expensively soon, or knocking down her mountainous debts, or just giving her some spare money for the occasional stress-relieving treat, it'll help create some measure of stability. We may not be able to chase the wolf away from the door altogether, but at least we can persuade him to step back a few feet so his panting breath isn't constantly booming through the keyhole..

I've had my own bitter experiences with having an invisible cosmic "kick me" sign on my back, and I do know that having at least a little margin of safety to cover unanticipated misfortunes does a lot to reduce the stress level and make me feel like I can actually manage things instead of feeling helpless and overwhelmed.

However, all I am hoping and praying for is that we can raise the sum stated in the original call for donations.

If the "excess plan" above is not agreeable to you, a
nd if after the auction's end there is an excess,  email me at rose.lemberg at gmail.com and we will redirect your donation to the charity of your choice.

Many thanks,

UPDATE: PLUMBING UPDATE  (please give it a look if you can)



( 53 comments — Leave a comment )
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Dec. 7th, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC)
That plan sounds excellent to me! I had worried a bit whether we'd reach the goal, take care of the immediate problem, then leave her to deal with everything else on her own. A little bit of advice and advocacy (the attorney you spoke of) and a bit of a cushion would ease my mind. Wouldn't it be great if we could raise enough to fix the plumbing problem too?
Dec. 7th, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
Two thoughts.

1) This community goes far and wide. If the community manages to reach to a plumber in her area, that $2800 may be able to be knocked down a bit. I suspect a fair chunk of it is labor. It might be worth finding out.

2) Is someone planning to dig through the postings around 12/18 or so and post links to all the items that have no bids? That might be a good way to maximize the total amount.

(Sorry if throwing out ideas like this is problematic when I'm not deeply enmeshed in this community. I've just been involved in similar activities elsewhere so I'm thinking of other things that can be done.)
Dec. 7th, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
On the contrary, those are some great ideas. We are doing the best we can. The thing to remember is that we are a two-woman operation, and that there's a limit to what we can do. If somebody will volunteer to help with the website or outreach it would be great.

I am going to do (2) today, and post an entry asking for (1) if we manage to meet the goal and have some extra.

Thanks for the good ideas, please keep them coming.
(no subject) - rose_lemberg - Dec. 7th, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - guppiecat - Dec. 7th, 2008 06:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 7th, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
Your plans sound wonderful to me. I hope you raise far in excess of $11,000! :D
Dec. 7th, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I hope so too, but right now just hoping to raise the barebones sum :)
Dec. 7th, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC)
Great plan!

IMO, all funds should be used to address other problems Vera has.
Dec. 7th, 2008 06:39 pm (UTC)
Agree. The first goal is to get what it takes for her house to be safe - and yes, I agree, the sewage problem is definitely the next on the fix-it list.

Renegotiating the mortgage - and professional legal advice - would be an invaluable addition to this.

From what I've seen in the past two days I have hopes that at least SOME of this will come to pass.
(no subject) - rose_lemberg - Dec. 7th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - janetmiles - Dec. 7th, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rose_lemberg - Dec. 7th, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - morgan_dhu - Dec. 7th, 2008 09:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lizardling - Dec. 9th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sacchig - Dec. 7th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - agent_mimi - Dec. 7th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - threeoutside - Dec. 7th, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - threeoutside - Dec. 7th, 2008 10:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
neil - kitkabbit - Dec. 8th, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: neil - kitkabbit - Dec. 8th, 2008 03:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alaneer - Dec. 8th, 2008 01:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 7th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC)
Definitely have no problem with that. It sounds like what she needs. And that is why we are all here, isn't it?

Dec. 7th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC)
I agree that anything in excess should still go to Vera. Next year, next month it could be any of the rest of us. We help her now because that's what we would want others to do for us should we ever find ourselves in such a situation, which God forbid.

I don't know if she wants us to publicize this on other venues, such as email groups she may belong to (broadsbar, ninc, etc.). Is it okay?
Dec. 7th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
YES, PLEASE - publicize this as widely as you can.

many thanks,
(no subject) - guppiecat - Dec. 7th, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 7th, 2008 07:04 pm (UTC)
Remember that on the weekends a lot of people don't get online thanks to other committments. Donations may pick up again during the week. Let's hope so.

I posted the appeal on my own listserv. Others with a group on google or yahoo may want to do the same.

Kit Kerr
Dec. 7th, 2008 07:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! I am keeping my fingers crossed.
Dec. 7th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
Do what's best for Vera.
Dec. 7th, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC)
Two more suggestions:

1) On the helpvera home page, move the Paypal donations button UP to position #2.

2) And don't just put the button; include the email to which donations are sent via Paypal.

When you hit that button you have to sign in. When I did it, I had to go back and look for the address to which I needed to send money. You want to make that process as transparent as it can possibly be, and you don't want people to have to scroll down to find it.
Dec. 7th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)
And another comment: Again on the helpvera page, focus on how people can bid rather than how they can post auction items. If we're lucky you will have people coming in from outside LJ who are not familiar with this process. Explain that anyone can post an item for auction; that bids are collected through comments; and then HOW THE MONEY IS COLLECTED (which to tell the truth is something I'm not perfectly clear on myself!), e.g. how people will pay if they win something.

You might also consider deleting anything already sold on Buy It Now, so people don't have to scroll through a bunch of things they can't bid on.

And if anyone has an ebay account, can anything particularly juicy be posted there?
Dec. 7th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
I second that motion about making it clear how people can pay if their bid wins. Also, does the bidder or the person offering pay the postage? I'll pay postage on the items I'm offering, but others may not be able to spare the money, particularly if someone overseas wins the bid.
(no subject) - guppiecat - Dec. 7th, 2008 08:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rose_lemberg - Dec. 7th, 2008 08:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - guppiecat - Dec. 7th, 2008 09:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rose_lemberg - Dec. 7th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 7th, 2008 08:35 pm (UTC)
1. What about publicity beyond the community? Local TV stations and newspapers love a good heart-warming human interest story this time of year. Can someone in Vera's locale get the main media interested?

2. How much does PayPal deduct? Can you get them to lower or waive their fee?

3. Can Vera contact her lender next week with the news that over half the money has been raised? Making an early payment on what she owes might inspire her lender to give her a further month's extension, giving you more time to raise the rest of the cash.
Dec. 7th, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)
1. We're working on it. Somebody just volunteered to try to run a story, but we need Vera's permission to do it, first.

2. Paypal deducts 3%. To get to lower the fee we need to become a nonprofit organization. I've looked into it, and the process takes forever, moreover it is unclear whether we'd be approved. Paypal will not waive the fee, even for a nonprofit (and yes, I talked to them about it).

3. We're working on it. If you know of a good mortgage attorney in SoCal, please shoot me an email. Payment will not be made early in any case - she owes the whole sum to be paid on Dec. 1st; luckily there is a grace period of 20 days, which is why there is still hope. An attorney can help with negotiations.

thanks, Rose
(no subject) - guppiecat - Dec. 7th, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cakmpls - Dec. 7th, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 7th, 2008 08:42 pm (UTC)
How about a Facebook group or cause? I've posted a note on my facebook page and mentioned this site in facebook updates and on my LJ. Happy to do anything else.
Dec. 7th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
I've assumed all along that any monies raised in excess of the target amount would go to Vera for a safety cushion or to cover other expenses - generally, when things go wrong like this, the mortgage isn't the only bill that you need help with.

Short answer - any money from me goes to Vera's needs no matter how much comes in.

Dec. 7th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC)
Sounds good to me. Many years ago, a tree decided to eat the sewer line to my parents' house. This was... not good. Luckily for them, my father is a sanitary engineer, and he supervised the very messy, very gross, very lengthy, and very expensive process of extracting bits of said tree and replacing the ancient, broken pipes with new ones. Ugh.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - nephtis5 - Dec. 8th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nephtis5 - Dec. 8th, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rose_lemberg - Dec. 8th, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - guppiecat - Dec. 8th, 2008 04:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
good point. - rose_lemberg - Dec. 8th, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 8th, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
From Susan Shwartz
Jim Brunet is a SFWA writer in CA. He's also an experienced realtor. He might be able and willing to provide advice. He's a good guy. If you don't know him, please feel free to use my name. I've suggested the SFWA Emergency Fund and the Authors Guild fund.

I gather that Mrs. Nazarian is a cancer survivor and quite elderly, so either the American Cancer Society or the AARP might be places to look, going forward. What you are looking for is a pro bono lawyer, in that case.
Dec. 8th, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
Re: From Susan Shwartz
Hi Susan,

Thanks a lot for your comment! Do you know Jim's email? I don't know him but I'd like to write to him. Please email me at my email address in the sticky, if you can.

thanks again,
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( 53 comments — Leave a comment )

Help Vera

Vera Nazarian of Norilana books is facing foreclosure due to a series of truly unfortunate events (a fradulent lawsuit, mother's illness, father's death and sub-prime mortgage.) We hope to raise $11,229.72 to help Vera save her house. Update: We have raised this money. Any additional monies raised will be spent per this post.

Please consider donating, spreading the word, and/or participating in the charity auction.

Thanks a lot!

Mods Rose (grayrose76), Deirdre (dsmoen) - treasurer, and Josh (Guppiecat) - website and auction maintenance

Thanks to Adam Israel for banner and website help!
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