The Meltdown

This is one of those vulnerable articles. It’s hoped that as I share about my/our weaknesses you too will be encouraged to own and accept your weaknesses, defeating any perfectionistic stride that tends to disrupt and even destroy relationships.Meltdown: think nuclear plant meltdown where the nuclear core is severely overheated and catastrophic damage results.We have a five-year-old, and very recently something happened that often happens at his age-and-stage. He had a meltdown. The process normally goes like this. Creative idea, build something, doesn’t work, frustration sets in, destroy the creation in anger. Not all the time, just occasionally. Dealing with pre-school children all the time, and having had another three children who are now adults, there’s nothing alarming in it. Besides, our five-year-old has witnessed us having meltdowns – and I can speak only for myself here.


There are all sorts of meltdowns, not just the angry ones, but also the teary ones, the anxious ones, the prideful ones, and the panicky ones.I want to share with you the kind of meltdown I’m capable of; this would happen occasionally in 2016 when I was thrust into an occupational world that I did not want any part of, but had to engage in just to support my family.I was very blessed to be offered work – two separate part-time positions – through friends, one of whom was my ex-wife, when pastoral ministry work went belly-up.Meltdowns occurred because of both jobs, but the case in point here centred around my job working with my ex-wife. These meltdowns never had anything to do with her – we, her and her husband and I, had a very good working relationship, always trying to outdo one another in what we gave.But it was the nature of the work that had me positioned like a fish out of water. I was packing chilled meals for home delivery, and so regularly my mind was doing backflips, that at times, my head was saying, ‘I cannot do this… it’s too hard… my brain is wired to work with people, one person at a time, not five or more tasks held in the mind at any one time, with noise, with pressure, with interruptions. (I need to say that since I burned out in 2005 my brain has some kind of permanent disability in managing many tasks simultaneously.) I was always fine when I got out on the road to do the deliveries, other than the times I had meltdowns. And this happened on a half dozen occasions.Here is the nature of that kind of meltdown. I would call my wife and say, panicked and in tears, ‘Darling, I cannot do this anymore… it’s too hard… my mind can’t keep up… I’m useless.’ After 10-minutes of hearing me out she would usually help me accept that I could get through the delivery run. I was usually fine after this. The inner meltdown in the presence of others manifested in an outward meltdown when it was safe with my wife.


There was nothing wrong with the delivery driving job, and in fact it taught me important skills, helped me master a new degree of patience, gave me empathy for those in that kind of work, and it showed me what I’m not good at. And it showed me how, all through my life, I’ve had the capacity for this kind of depressed meltdown that comes straight out of my wounded child state.We all have meltdowns, even those who seem to have perfect lives, and especially those who look like they’ve got their lives under control.I don’t know a single person who hasn’t had a meltdown. So, what do we do with this?We stop feeling ashamed of them whilst we do all we can to limit the kind of damage meltdown can bring.

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying a Mobile Home

Mobile homes have an unfair reputation for being low quality or trashy. That just isn’t true. A mobile home is a great way to get your own property, place it anywhere you choose and for less than many more stationary houses tend to cost. It is becoming an increasingly popular option, with variations such as tiny homes and mini cottages becoming a darling of the real estate world.

If you are reading this you are probably considering making a purchase yourself. Before you go shopping for the perfect little place of your own, here are some things you should know.

There Are Many Kinds of Mobile Homes

Mobile homes are not all the same single level family affair that you may be used to. There are multiple styles and types, as the couple mentioned above prove. Tiny houses are miniature homes that attempt to utilize every inch of space, all in a very small package. Mini cottages are similar, though usually one room wood houses with lofts.

There are also multi-level mobile homes. These are less portable, which makes them a mixed bag. But if you are looking to get a manufactured home and you aren’t concerned with being able to move it quite as easily it is definitely a good option.

If portability is your goal there are models that come on wheels, which can be either kept on at all times or slipped under with some tools.

The Cost of Mobile Homes Can Vary Wildly

With so many mobile home styles it probably won’t surprise you that these dwellings don’t come in a standard price range. According to Forbes, the average cost of a tiny house is around $23,000. But the average cost of a single story mobile home is around $64,000. Multi-level manufactured homes can vary, but you can assume between $50 and $100 per square foot.

The varying prices is one reason that it is important to know what it is you are looking for in a home. You should also consider other costs that are associated with your house. The land that you are building it on, for example, or the hook up costs for electricity, plumbing, gas, etc. These may not be built into the price and so require additional installation and fees.

Quality Is a Factor

Not all mobile homes are created equal. In fact, going to the wrong provider can end in some serious headaches. A major storm can topple it over or damage can be done to the exterior, pieces can fall off, etc. It is critical that you find a reputable dealer or construction crew to help you find the right mobile home.

You are looking for quality materials, designs and reputable reviews for who you work with. If you find all three you will wind up with a beautiful, sturdy home.

Manufactured or Prefabricated Homes Are Awesome

These style of houses are fantastic. Not only are they lower cost than from scratch models, but they are easier and faster to put up. A crew as small as two people can construct a manufactured or prefabricated mobile home, using pretty basic tools. Sometimes it can be done in as little as an afternoon.

That is because the pieces are already put together and ready to combine. They have been shipped from the factory with everything needed, to the location you specify. So the people putting it up just have to go through and hook all the parts, from the walls and foundation to the different compartmentalized rooms and features.

Getting a Loan Can Be Tricky

When you are getting a mortgage you go to a bank, right? Most mobile homes won’t qualify under mortgage programs. Instead you have to either go through an official mobile home company that specializes in financing, or you have to go through a credit union that has a loan specifically for this style of house.

The idea is that mobile homes are portable and many people mistake that to mean temporary. They are also lower cost, so there is less profit gained through interest rates. Many banks don’t see the point of funding them.

Thankfully, it isn’t hard to get a loan from one of these specified places. If you have an account with a credit union it is all the better, as that improves your odds of approval and they often have competitive rates.

Location Is Everything

You could have a gorgeous, well crafted, amazing mobile home. But if it is sitting on an ugly lot in the middle of a crowded area, what good it is? You want a location that is central to what you need, but still pretty, functional and offers you whatever you are looking for. Some people choose mobile parks in order to have a neighborhood feel. Others choose more isolated locations where they can enjoy a plot of land.

Whatever works for you, location is a pretty important part of buying your mobile home. It is also a good chunk of what you will be paying for. Renting land is possible, such as in mobile parks. But buying your own ensures you have greater equity in your property. It is a sound investment, even if you plan on uprooting and moving somewhere else. Land is also cheaper than you might expect, depending on the area.

Retail Cost Versus Invoice Cost

Once you know what you are looking for and where you are going, it is time to go to a reputable dealer. When dealing with closing costs make sure you ask to see the invoice cost of the property. If they resist, insist on it or possible go to someone else. This is a better representation of cost without inflation that can come from retail markups.

Don’t let them corner you into telling your budget or what you can pay monthly. Just have them give you flat invoice prices for a described model and then negotiate based off of that price.

Top 8 First Time Home Buyer Grants, Programs and Freebies

A survey by Harvard Business School found 78% of baby boomers and millennials want to buy a home. The catch? Most ‘think’ they can’t afford one.

In many cases, this may be true. But the research also discovered many can. It found many had an income, credit rating, and time on the job good enough to qualify for the many first time home buyer programs and grants I’ll mention in this article.

Note: For more details, Google all phrases in bold.

1. Federal Housing Administration Loan (F.H.A).

If you have a credit score of at least 580 you could qualify for a mortgage for as low as 3.5 percent of the price of the home.

F.H.A loans have helped more first time homeowners than any other type of loan.

2. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (H.U.D).

H.U.D offers many first time owner grants and low interest loans, depending on the state, city or area you live in.

Note: For those who now live in public or government housing you may qualify to purchase the home, condo or apartment you now live in through the HUD Public Housing Homeownership Program

3. V. A (Veterans Administration) Loans.

If you’re an active duty service person or veteran you may quality for a no down payment low interest rate loan. The VA loan is the lowest cost mortgage on the market because you’re not required to pay for mortgage insurance.

4. The Good Neighbor Next Door Program.

This program for first time home buyers offers home for up to 50% off the retail price. To qualify you must be a teacher, police officer, fire fighter, or EMT. A $100 down payment is all that’s required.

You must commit to live in the home for at least 36 months.

5. Energy Efficient (or Green) Mortgage.

The energy efficient mortgage was created to help first time homeowners add energy efficient improvements to their home. These loans are insured through VA and FHA programs.

This mortgage let you build an energy efficient home without requiring you to make a larger down payment.

6. HomeReady HomePath Mortgage.

  1. Another popular program for first time home buyers. To quality you must take a short buyer education course. After you complete the course you’ll receive 3% toward closing cost for a mortgage loan. The down payment, 3%, is lower than the lowest FHA loan.

7. HUD Dollar Home Program.

After 180 days on the market, certain unsold HUD Properties are offered exclusively to local governmental entities for $1 for 10 Days. Local city of counties then offer these properties to residents to revitalize communities or neighborhoods.

8. USDA Home Loan Program.

This program focuses on homes in mostly rural areas, if you like or can tolerate country living this loan may be for you. This program guarantees 90% of the loan, which means there may be no down payment required and the loan is fixed. Sweet!

These are the top 7 programs available for first time home buyers. As always, like ocean waves government programs come and go. But as of this writing these programs is helping thousands of first time home buyers who thought they couldn’t afford a home realize their dream. Check them out… you could be next!

First Time Home Buyer Love and Other Freebies

1. No Penalties.

A first-time homebuyer can take out up to $10,000 in contributions from the Roth IRA to pay for the home without penalties. Check with your tax advisor for the latest rules.

2. Real Estate agent. This person can be your greatest fountain of information when looking for your first home. They know your local housing market, the advantages and disadvantages of specific homes. They can help you pick the right home to fit your personal and financial needs and much more. The best part? They’re free if you’re a buyer.

3. Pre-Approvals. Another amazing freebie is pre-approvals. They help save you time and energy. How? They let you know what price range you can afford, helping you and your agent know which houses you should be looking at.

4. First-time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC): The HBTC is a non-refundable tax credit for first-time home buyers and is worth $750. The first-time home buyers’ tax credit must be claimed on an income tax form no later than one year after the home is purchased.

5. The RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP)

This program was designed to let you withdraw funds from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) before retirement for the purpose of a first home purchase. The advantage of the HBP is that the withdrawal is completely TAX FREE.

The RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan allows you to withdraw up to a maximum of $25,000. Be sure to consult your tax consultant for more details.