CHAPTER 16 Lock-Out Day #1

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copyright 2017 Chris Smith  All rights reserved.

The real estate agent, Larry, for Parcel A, called to let us know, unofficially we had until 12 p.m. the next day to be out of the A-Frame. At 12 p.m. the real estate agent was meeting the locksmith to change the locks to the house. Officially it's called the "Lock-Out" and it requires a law enforcement officer to be present.

Dad didn't want to deal moving a lot of stuff on Lock-Out day. So we got a jump on it and made three trips late that afternoon from the A-Frame, on Parcel A, to the Glass House, on Parcel B. I hated moving with a passion since I was a little kid. But the houses were only about a football field apart from each other which made the moving easier.

Poor Mom was just shoving things into boxes and stuffing them into any and all available vehicles. It didn't appear like there was a lot of a solid thought into what specifically she grabbed. The woman was in a panic and I played smart by not getting in her way. This was NOT the time to try and reason with her.

The biggest and most important thing we moved that afternoon was my Parent's bed. Lucky for us the Glass House didn't have much furniture in it as we'd been using it as offices. So we moved the couches out of the way and set up their bed in middle of the living room. Then we went back to the A-Frame and packed up some kitchen essentials, their toiletries, and some of their clothes and brought those over.

The next day we all got up early, and prepared to move some more of their stuff out of the A-Frame. We made three more trips that included all their fridge and freezer food, more kitchen utensils and cooking supplies, more clothes, and everything on their night stands. But the A-Frame was far from cleaned out. There was still a bunch of stuff to move.

The Cable Guy came to set up my Parent's cable in their new temporary house on Parcel B, the Glass House, mid morning. He saw the printed display posters on some U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients on the walls, from work my Dad had done on a project. He thought the posters were neat.

Dad explained our Project relating to U.S. Special Operations, that we wanted to capture the personal history of U.S. Special Operation Forces to preserve and package that history for future generations. The Cable Guy thought it was a great project and wanted to help out in any way he could.

Just before noon, Dad walked over to the A-Frame for the Official Lock-Out. He told Mom to stay at the Glass House. He didn't want the emotions of her being there. I can only imagine how heart wrenching it must have been for her to sit by with her hands tied and watch the Bank claim ownership and kick her out of her own home.

Dad met Larry, the real estate agent for Parcel A, Larry's partner, a locksmith, and the local Sheriff's Deputy who was officially posting for the Lock-Out at the house. Dad said they were all having a good laugh. Amazing that Dad could be so relaxed getting locked out of his home. Well, what used to be his home.

"Do you send patrol cars out to foreclosures?" Dad asked.

"We try to but there are so many it's hard to keep tabs on all of them," the Deputy said.

"We've been overwhelmed dealing with all the ones coming through our office. It's been difficult to keep up with it," said Larry.

I could only imagine the magnitude of foreclosures flooding the market. It made me wonder how many displaced families were left out there somewhere, wandering around trying to find stability again.

"Is there anyone in the house?" the Deputy asked.

"No," Dad said.

"Okay. Then I'm going to do a walk through and check out the whole house before I do the posting on the door," the Deputy said.

"Okay," Dad said.

The Deputy went inside the house by himself and checked every room and every closet to make sure no one was there. Then he came back outside and went to his car to get the form to fill out. Once he walked out the front door, the locksmith started to change all the locks on all the doors. The new keys would go to the real estate agents.

The Deputy walked over with the form signed and taped it to the front door. It was an official pre-printed titled "Eviction Restoration Notice". It's like having your lawsuit stapled to your front door. It shows your name/s, the address of the dwelling, Plaintiff (the Bank), Defendant (my Parents), Levying Officer (the county Sheriff Department), court case number, date, etc. and two paragraphs listing the Penal and Civil Procedure codes.

"We've never had to deal with anyone who stayed on the property," Larry told my Dad.

I guess we were an anomaly. We didn't want to lose the Farm. If we moved everything off it meant we were buying into the idea that saving the Farm would be a lost cause. It was an idea we refused to adopt.

But the game had just changed in a dramatic way. If we wanted access to the inside of the house we had to coordinate with the Bank's agents, the real estate agents for Parcel A. Larry and his partner lived and worked an hour north of us. It would be impractical for them to come down each time we wanted into the house. They'd have to hire someone closer who could come out and open the house for us.

We now lived in a world where we had to get permission and be supervised to access our own home. The hits were piling up.

"Florida has the third highest mortgage delinquency rate, the worst foreclosure inventory, and the most foreclosure starts in the nation. At the close of 2009, it is estimated there will be an inventory of approximately 456,000 pending foreclosure cases statewide. The crisis continues unabated."

Florida Supreme Court

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