Sunday, September 23, 2007

Blast from the Past & Living in the Now

I have a man in one of my writing groups whose life is about to change. Seems there was a court battle over custody of his granddaughters between him and his daughter and the daughter won. Tonight, he writes they are taking the girls tonight and he doesn't want to be alone.

What a terrible thing that must be for him.

My kids and I are tight. We've been through a heluva lot of things in our past, but the thing is, I have it in myself to put the past behind me. While it's hard to forgive those things that were done to my kids and myself by some of the members of my family, it's like it doesn't even matter anymore. My life now is different. My kids' lives are different. No longer do we search for a place in this world...we have claimed it and are living in the now.

Living in the now means you have finally come to the point of your life where everything seems to be following a pattern of peacefulness, productiveness and fruitfulness. If only I knew then what I know now, it might not have taken so long to get to where I am now.

Life is freaking great.

But, it wasn't so freaking great many years ago when my kids and I had no choice but to move in with an aunt I later dubbed psycho aunt.

The ex and I had broken up and PA (Psycho Aunt) asked us if we wanted to live with her. I refused at first because I didn't want to live with anyone. I just wanted my kids and I to go on with our lives and try to pick up the pieces as best we could.

Places to find within our budget was hard. We ended up going to live with PA until we could get on our feet. That was the worse decision I could have ever made, but other alternatives just weren't there.

PA had a daughter living with her. We'll call her PAD (Psycho Aunt Daughter). PAD resented us moving in and even though I was given instructions to pay 2/3 of the bills there because I had two kids, it didn't matter. PAD was out for more than that.

She was out for blood.

My daughter remembers one night when my son, daughter and I were going to sleep on the couch in the living room which was the only place we could sleep and we were talking quietly about the day's events at school when we hear "Shuddup!" coming from PAD's room. The girl was barely out of high school, yet she felt we were nothings to her. We were lowlife, I guess, because we didn't have a place to live and she did.

There were other things, too.

We lived there for 2 months and between PA taking the toothbrush holder off the wall and putting it behind her locked door because toothpaste had dripped on the sink to turning the gas off and putting a lock on it so that we would have no hot water (she would turn it back on when she got home), I look back and see what a bad decision it was to put my kids through this. But, we had no choice.

Choices in life are like golden threads of breath. When you're stuck with one choice and that choice isn't the best one in the world, what are you going to do?

Unfortunately, or fortunately, whichever way you look at it, I came home from work one day to find a piece of paper on the table telling us we had 24 hours to get out.

I look back at this and I know the reasons were that even though the thought of giving her niece and grand-neice and grand-nephew a place to call home even for a little while sounded good at the time, it really wasn't. Some people just can't live with others no matter how good the others are.

This trip down memory lane came because of a letter I received in the mail today from PA. It went on to say that if I didn't go to a lawyer's office in town to sign away my rights to her house which my grandmother had left us when she died, she won't be able to get aid to make repairs. I'm figuring that she tried to get help to fix it and they told her she had to own the house outright before it could be fixed by the county, free, of course.

When my grandmother died, the house was left to the grandchildren from what I understood. In this note, that's not how it was legally. The house actually, because no one could find my grandmother's will, to her three children - PA, my other aunt who died a few years ago and my mother who died when I was nineteen. So, my sister and I got my mother's share of the house.

According to PA, the house is falling apart and has been eaten by termites. She said the floor is falling in and the house might be condemned, so she has to get it fixed immediately.

What a dilemma.

Oh, wait there's more. She says that she has pictures of California she can give me (a bait, a bribe, or whatever you want to call it).

My aunt is 65. I'm not sure what she does for a living, but at the time I was living there, it wasn't much. Minimum wage work. I don't know what kind of income she has now but I'm sure it's miniscule. She basically has nothing and needs to get her home fixed so that she doesn't find herself on the streets.

Funny how life imitates itself.

I needed a place to stay and she threw my kids and I out, but yet, she's looking to me to help her have a place to stay which involves signing away my rights to the house.

I'm having a funny feeling PAD has something to do with this because without PAD's advice during the time we were there, my aunt would not have done that to my kids and I. PA was only 12 years older than I was and we were so close. PAD came between us and broke that bond.

So, I ask you, should I grab the pictures of California and use that as a bargaining tool and sign away the house to her or should I remember my pride and the times when she put my kids and I through holy hell and just ignore her requests?

What a decision.

Here is her note...

"Dear Dotti,

How are you and the kids?

I need your help. I haven't talked with you in so long. Neither
of us knows about each other's lives.

Anyway, when Caroline (my other aunt) passed away - 1/3 was her share of
the house. It passed to me 1/2 (of 1/3) and you 1/4 (of 1/3) and your
sister 1/4 (of 1/3). I've told your sister I don't have any money to give
you this time...but I will ask you both to sign over your shares because...the
house is in BAD shape. The termites took their toll at the tune of over
$1,000...(four years ago). Now the floors and walls are rotting.
Especially the FLOORS! I didn't know the extent until it was too
late. Vesseg can help me - but, I need to have the house in my name.
Actually, they may condemn the house! I'm not being dramatic...it's
terrible! I need to get this done SOON. The lawyer's office is
located (and she goes on to tell me exactly where it is). Please do this
for me.

P.S. I have some photos saved for you. Can we get
together?"

Okay, what's the verdict? Sign or not?

9 comments:

  1. Hell no. Don't trust her. Thank her for the photos and ask her to sent them. Tell her you are going to talk to your sister and your family--that you'll get back to her. Then let her hold her breath.

    My grandmother arranged to have all her property split between her three daughters. When my mother died, they bullied her into taking my mother's name off the will, which meant that my brothers and myself got nothing.

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  2. What do you ultimately want more - revenge or the pictures?

    If you sign and get the pictures, you have gained that much. If you don't sign, don't get the pictures, what happens then to the house? If you have a claim to it so to speak through some type of inheritance -she needs you to sign off to get a clear deed -and if she doesn't get that, what ultimately happens to the house? If your name is somehow connected with it, could you be liable then for taxes or any other fees/charges, etc. if the place were condemned? I don't know if that could happen or not but sometimes, when we do things with a bit (or a lot) of revenge underneath our actions, things have a tendency to come around and bite us in the behind too ya know!

    Someplace, in the Bible, there is a verse that says something to the effect "Revenge is mine, thus sayth the Lord." Now that's not gonna bother you if you're not a particularly religious person but my feelings have always leaned to not going for revenge cause if it was meant to happen, it comes about much better when left to other powers than mine.

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  3. Both of you have good points. I thought about that, Jeni (re: taxes, etc.) and you're right on that. My aunt has been paying the taxes, but then she's also had a free place to stay for the last twenty-five years.

    Tir, I think I'm siding with you on this one. I think it's a con job.

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  4. Excuse my French here, but tell her to fuck off.

    Listen, what goes around comes around, and it has come around for her. Ignore the letter.

    I, too, am at 'that point' in my life, but we have to go through shit to get to this point, otherwise we don't appreciate this point. LOL, do I make sense?

    I sense PAD has something to do with this. PA is getting older, and PAD doesn't want just a small share of that house. You digging me?

    Crafty little cow.

    Hmph. Tales about people like this make me annoyed!


    :o)

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  5. P.S

    I only popped over to say hi and ended up swearing on your blog!

    Apologies!

    :o)

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  6. LOL, M.E., I've missed you! You said it like it is, sistah.

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  8. There's a space to stand in that's not about revenge and it's not about being manipulated. It's about setting boundaries and not letting others use you. The pictures are her bargaining chip - whatever you do - don't do it for her and don't do it for the pics. Just do what you really want to do - what works for you because you're under no obligation to "help" those who do not have your best interests at heart.

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  9. I tend to agree with Jeni. Figure out just what you want & move that way. Maybe a talk with the lawyer but see if you can get some sort of a note from the aunt that, even if she doesn't make any payments while she is living, will still direct at least some money from the house after she dies. That way PAD can share the proceeds with you. That might be fun to think about.

    By the way, the notebook of Katie with her photo and the stickers all came from Costco.

    ReplyDelete