When Maria Pappas sends you a registered letter from the Cook County Treasurer's office, it is often in your best interest to open it right away.
'Cause she ain't sending you a thank you note.
When the notice of my delinquent taxes arrived, my financial situation was worsening every day.
There were no immediate job prospects and a feeling of true helplessness had invaded my soul. It seemed no matter what I did to try to improve my situation, nothing worked.
All of my shit was hitting the fan. I couldn't pay my basic bills. Groceries were now a challenge.
I was considering giving my cat Midas to friends who were financially able to care for him.
My self esteem and will to fight were at an all time low. I rarely left the house.
Or showered, or got dressed.
And into this giant sinkhole of a life, came the notice that my PIN (property index number) was on the Cook County tax sale list.
Now a clearer picture evolved why complete strangers were ogling the condo building where I live. Now the notes taking and the picture snapping made sense.
For those of you who aren't familiar with how property taxes work in Cook County, here's a basic primer:
Pay them or they will be sold at what's called a scavenger sale.
If your taxes are sold, you have a period of time to purchase them back; if you don't, the person who bought your taxes will own your property.
Lock, stock & two smoking barrels.
And yes, your mortgage company gets cut out of the picture as well. Why do you think they like home owners to escrow their taxes?
It was bad---really, really bad.
Yet that was the least of what happened to me during the summer of my discontent.