Category: LIFE AS IT HAPPENS
It has been 2 years, but I ran across the post below this morning by accident and it bears repeating. THIS! This is not something we we will ever really recover from – financially (in the end he swindled us for over 65,000 dollars), health wise (my health deteriorated with multiple infections that are at times ongoing and resulted in hospitalization and surgery before it was all over) or heart wise (your heart is never supposed to break from the actions of a blood relative who claims to have your best interest at heart). It does serve as a stark reminder though of how strong I CAN be… SO I am re-posting this as a reminder of that strength and perseverance.
WARNING: THIS IS A LONG POST, BUT WAS THE FINAL WRAP-UP POST ON THIS HOUSE FROM HELL
While I was cleaning up the kitchen and dinner dishes recently I realized I’ve been posting quite a few recipes, but have been severely lacking on my actual “writing” about what is going on in our lives. For years I have worked really hard at keeping this an eternally optimistic blog full of grace for the great and wonderful blessings in my life, always trying to live by the old rule, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. BUT, there comes a time to call out the crazy acrimonious instigators and tell it like it is, if for no other reason than to get it out of my head so I can be more at peace.
Well, today is the 2 1/2 year mark (though it feels like 10 years), the house is sold and we are completely packed and CANNOT WAIT to have this horrific experience in our rear view mirror.
You all know my categories for this place, A HOUSE FROM HELL, REHABBING GRAMS & GRAMPS HOUSE, CHRONICLES OF MY MISGUIDED COUSIN BETH which fit REALLY well, but in the 2+ years since we started this project there are a few tags that could be added that now fit even better like GOLD DIGGING WITCH WITH A GOD COMPLEX, THE FOX IS LOOSE IN THE HEN HOUSE, NO BALLS COUSIN and LOONEY TUNE UNCLE.
ALL of this is so sad to admit, you never want to believe the worst about your own family. This experience has lent credence to the adage that family isn’t always blood, but those you chose to love. It still baffles me that anyone can turn their back on their family, their own flesh and blood, for money which is exactly what my uncle did when my aunt passed away and he took up with the apparent GOLD DIGGING WITCH WITH A GOD COMPLEX.
He became an even more arrogant, egotistical and abusive cheating bastard after taking up with her. Almost immediately she had his power of attorney and things took an immediate turn for the worse as they tried to swindle us beyond belief. After hiring an attorney we were able to force the sale, but are still losing a ton money on the deal. My uncle used us and our skills as well as our cash to get the work done on the house and then tried to evict us claiming we had done nothing to better the property. Fortunately, I kept a chronological progress here on the blog, every receipt to the tune of over $50,000.00 and a detailed log of hours which adds up to over $200,000.00 of labor. So, unfortunately, my blood uncle did swindle us in the end, but worse than that he abused a sacred blood relationship.
The definition of swindle is: swindle – to use unscrupulous trickery or deception to defraud others or cheat someone to obtain money or other assets.
Many of you remember how disheartened we were when we arrived here to find NOT what we were told, but the HOUSE FROM HELL full of…well just FULL and filthy! It was a rodent’s dream AND it was a hoarder’s nest. It was full to the rafters and even the rafters were full and so was the backyard and the garage.
The agreement with my uncle was that the house was ours for a discounted price if we came to help clean it out and care for my aunt. He was offering to help get us back on our feet after the cancer, surgeries, VA claim issues and health issues. Ironically, if he really loved me he would have never exposed me to this house which ultimately left me with the bacterial infections one after another that culminated in my bypass surgery. Supposedly we were going to use our abilities in the process of helping him and make some money for us too, NOT end up completely upside down and worse off than when we got here both financially and physically not to mention we never even had a chance to work on the VA red tape mess.
Here are the BEFORE and beginning AFTER pictures to refresh your memory
So on to the before and after pictures. Hubby is upset that the before pictures don’t truly show how HORRIBLY DISGUSTING this place really was. I just hope the after pictures show how truly GREAT it is now – it really is turn key now!
|THERE WAS “STUFF” EVERYWHERE. NOT ONE CABINET WAS CLEAN OR ORGANIZED .|
|THE CABINET HANDLES THAT WHERE THERE WERE GREASE AND DUST COATED. THE CABINET DOORS WERE HANGING BY A THREAD.|
|This is the pantry floor as clean as it would get! We scraped off all the linoleum and sanitized the foundation before re-flooring.|
|This 10 pound bag of sugar was spilled ALL over a pantry shelf and was one of the biggest sources for the ants, cockroaches and mice.|
|This is one of 3 sections of the living room carpet that had melted candle wax all over it. She had just arranged the furniture over it.|
|We made built in cabinets in the living room to hold things like the DVD player, WiiU, movies and games, etc…|
There was a funky built in area above the tub for linens that needed to be removed and the walls had to be re-done after the 2 layers of wall paper were removed and the wall board was peeling away.
|It took months to get to this freezer and then weeks to get into it. The key wouldn’t work! Turns out the seal had failed and there was a HUGE layer of ice sealing it shut. It then took hubby days to chip away ALL the ice and bag the food that was there. We are SO thankful for our trash guys. For a case of beer and soda twice a week and some “special” bottles at Christmas they took ALL we gave them. Way more than they were supposed to or should have. We thank them for going ABOVE and BEYOND!|
|I tried to salvage these globes covered in nicotine and dirt, but in the end it was a lost cause.|
|JUST A TYPICAL TRASH DAY. It looked like this, sometimes double this EVERY! trash day (2 times a week) for 9 months!|
Did I ever mention that the neighbor next door in a 2 story tried to buy this place because he loved the floor plan, but my uncle wouldn’t sell until the foundation work was done? In ALL honestly this house would still be sitting here in the same condition we found it if we hadn’t come long when we did. Unfortunately for us it appears my uncle does NOT appreciate any of this. He still wants more money than it was worth and said if he’d realized it’s condition, he would have just dumped it. If that is the case I have to wonder why he didn’t sell to the next door neighbor to begin with and honestly if he’s going to “DUMP” it why not do so to the people who spent the money for the parts and labor AND did the back breaking work for over a year?
Here are the FINAL AFTER pictures of an empty sold house:
I would like to say I am thankful for this experience and the lessons learned, but I just can’t. I do know grams is no longer turning in her grave over what her son and his daughter allowed her home to become because we have restored it and made it better. The girl scout in me has taken over though and we are better people for having done the right thing by family and are DEFINITELY leaving it better than we found it.
I can say I am glad it’s over and after taking some serious time to rehab at the gym and in the pool to regain my strength this summer elsewhere, we will move forward to something better FAR FAR AWAY from any influence of my caustic, toxic, back stabbing uncle who gave such a wonderful speech at our first Christmas about how lucky they all were that we came to the rescue when they were in over their heads because of my Aunt’s Alzheimers and dementia after my cousin died and left this place such a shambles. He went on and on about how he would make it worth our while because he had no real idea what an F***ing Pig his daughter was until we spent months just cleaning out the place to begin this project. Calling his daughter, my cousin an F***ing pig were his words, not mine, but then he turned around and literally swindled us out of our time, my health, our trust and our money.
My rant is done. I know Karma and God will take care of the rest.
Our old real estate agent sent us an email recently with a few ideas on indoor and outdoor projects for keeping busy during the pandemic and I thought I’d share some of those.
I hope that you and those you love are staying safe and keeping busy. Literally the world over, people are trying to find creative ways to fill their idle time and be productive at home – getting things done around the house, delving into those hobbies and activities they always think about but never have a chance to explore, and spending some good old-fashioned quality time with their family.
- Outdoor Projects
- Indoor Projects
- Begin an indoor herb garden
- Swap out old doorknobs and drawer handles with newer ones for a fresher look
- Hang new art or curtains
- Reorganize your kitchen spices with a homemade spice rack
- Catch up on routine indoor home maintenance (change home air filter, vacuum refrigerator coils, check washing machine filter, clean dryer vent, check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors)
- Attend an online class
- Take the time to meditate
- Learn a new cocktail recipe
- Hone your cooking skills
- Start a 365-day journal
- Study a new language
- Start a new workout regimen with a free workout app
- Outdoor Fun
- Play hide-and-seek
- Jump rope
- Play hopscotch
- Draw sidewalk chalk art
- Fly a kite
- Take a bike ride
- Go roller skating
- Indoor Activities
- Baking and Cooking
I’m normally a homebody, but I DO normally shop every couple days for fresh ingredients for scratch cooking in between the home projects and we like to get out for a meal or two and see friends. I especially miss my munchkins and seeing Janie! BUT, being told to stay home and NOT being able to shop for the FRESH ingredients is a whole other thing! I am NOT a can and box girl for cooking!
My ‘”STAY AT HOME” time actually began LONG before being told to at the end of February with a bad case of bronchitis. Since I was first diagnosed with Systemic Lupus and found out that my “weak” area was my respiratory tract and ANY infection which I became easily prone to, I have been a MAJOR germaphobe. I get Howie Mandel though I believe Howard Hughes was an extremist I refuse to become. It was PURE self preservation! It’s how I have stayed alive all these years. Now here we are in 2020 and I can FINALLY say, WELCOME TO MY WORLD!
SO, it occurred to me that maybe I’d feel better about all the time confined if I composed a list of everything we accomplished during that time that was not a day to day type of chore. I know I missed a few things probably, but after reading my list I’m just happy to say we didn’t just sit around and watch Netflix though there was plenty of that too! 😀
I’m sitting here watching football with hubby and there was a commercial for a “NATIONAL” pinata day and hubby was like that’s not a thing! I just laughed and pulled out the laptop to look it up. 😀 Not only was it National Pinata Day, but I found a site for National Day Calendar that will tell you what ANY given day is a “NATIONAL” thing of day.
So while the power is on and the internet is cooperating I’m going to do a quick update. Hubby had been saying how disappointed he was that snow had been on the forecast all month, but never really materialized. Well, I’m here to tell you BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!
We’re accustomed to snow, lots of it even from our time in the U.P., but unfortunately this little town wasn’t! They are used to a couple inches that melts away fairly quickly. It would have been okay and even a little bit funny if it hadn’t happened ALL at once and taken down thousands of trees and the power too! I was never this cold even during the long winters of the Upper Peninsula… Here we are a week later and still have several inches covering everything.
Hubby tried to keep the walkway cleaned off, but every time he’d finish it would start snowing again. At one point during the 3 day outage it was warmer in the refrigerator than the house and it continued to snow even more with tons of road closures all hampering the repair crews and their efforts to restore power. Even the cell towers took a beating leaving us with compromised communication. My neighbor and I resorted to throwing snowballs at each other’s window to get each other’s attention.
During daylight hours we would use the cars to charge up phones and electronics which would also help melt the snow off the cars while we sat there getting a little bit warm and charging up. I braved it and walked over to talk with my neighbor. Neighbors checked on each other and banded together as necessary. Some were kinda stupid running propane heaters in houses that had gas pilots, letting their kids go out and get cold and wet with no way to warm them back up or take their cars where they couldn’t get out without making a HUGE slushy, icy mess.
I have to tell you 2019 Snowmageddon will not be forgotten ANY time soon. Remote rural areas will NOT even be restored for weeks to come.
When we finally left the house we were so surprised by just how many trees and I mean BIG trees had fallen onto and over roadways, onto power lines, houses, cars… Clean up will take some time! The sun made an appearance on Friday for a few hours and it felt heavenly, but other than that it has usually only appeared at the end of the afternoon in time to start setting.
We had just enough snow to make a mess and slow things down. It was a wet, cold snow – the kind that sticks to everything. There was a 2 hour school delay and the roads are icy.
It is so pretty when it starts.
And then it ends up EVERYWHERE! I’m not sure what’s in the bird bath – guess we’ll have to wait for a thaw to find out.
It’s a good day for some homemade cream of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. We have more ice/snow predicted for several more days over the next 10 days so I think I’m going to be a homebody and make soups, stews and jams. 😀
I could have easily lived in Hope Valley. The sense of purpose, belonging and community was so invested in each and every person. I love this show and while it may take twists and turns we are not always happy about it does mimic real life and its uncertainties. I will continue watching for that reason.
But the exciting news is that When Calls the Heart is getting a spin off, When Hope Calls in 2019. There are no real details yet to the spin off, but it will feature Susan Lucci. That I will have to see to believe and not real sure how I feel about it yet after all her years as Erica Kane on All My Children, but we shall see.
And as always will be doing their annual Christmas movie.