This is a little long, but all encompassing including a link to the before and after pictures. If you read nothing else, the RECAP below will give you the BIG picture. The original update post with the before and after pictures also known as what did we get ourselves into is here.
We were on day 500 and still finding things to donate and un-clutter from our lives as we struggled to finally finish this horrific rehab project. Unfortunately, on day 476 as I was planning the BIG day 500 post, we received some distressing news. I was going to go ahead and do a follow up post, but was so emotionally distraught from the frustration and hurt of my uncle’s contentious betrayal with that news, not to mention that we were now about to be embroiled in a legal battle, that I felt it best to wait and not say anything until after it was over. Well, it’s pretty much over, at least legally. The very definition of those two words (contentious and betrayal) sums up who my uncle has become. Needless to say these attitudes do not go together well with good family relations.
- Betrayal is the breaking or violation of a presumptive contract, trust, or confidence which produces moral and psychological conflict within a relationship among individuals. Often betrayal is a complete break from previously decided upon or presumed norms by one party from the others. Someone who betrays others is commonly called a traitor or betrayer. In this case the betrayal actually borders on being defrauded or swindled since we were NEVER told the true depth of the situation. He glossed over ALL the important parts making them non-issues when they were HUGE issues in actuality.
- Contentious is the likelihood of an argument or vexing issue being at the root of your problem. In our case my caustic, toxic, self-centered uncle has become the actual issue complicated by what appears to be medical issues that are being NOT being diagnosed or dealt with.
I am so thankful that I have kept an active chronicle of descriptions, hourly work logs and pictures of our work (so were the lawyers), Chronicles of My Misguided Cousin Beth, Life in Remodel and Rehabbing Grams and Gramps House. No matter which category you choose, it all adds up to A House from Hell!
So, now here we are at day 606. The house is done, the legal battle is done and so are we! In the end we’re still on the hook for $70,000 more than we should be for the whole project, but at least we can sell, not even beginning to break even and move on to begin again, but know that we did the right thing to help family, even if they are unappreciative.
I do realize that his contentiousness and betrayal is probably exacerbated by some yet known factor such as his possibly having Alzheimer’s himself or some form of dementia brought on by age as well as the undue influence of the new “girlfriend” – the one he was having a virtual affair with for months before his wife of 59 years, my aunt’s death and announced he was marrying before we even had my aunt’s memorial service. The girlfriend appears to be calling all the shots now, but that does not lessen his actions or move me to forget the horrific pain and suffering he has caused us.
He is literally writing off what little family he has left to start a new one several states away. His normal cantankerous nature coupled with being an old man raised in the south (entitled and racist) and his overall caustic toxic nature is also being exacerbated by yet known factors. He believes the world and everyone in it owes him everything! He truly believes he can say “JUMP” and all those around him should do it immediately!
I am not a doctor, but have spent the past 10 years dealing with those who do have Alzheimer/Dementia (including the aunt he was married to) that I am able to recognize the potential symptoms (memory loss, constant repetition, personality changes and increased agitation by everyone and everything not to mention the delusions of grandeur and that everyone is one of his minions to control). I also am doing nothing but stating my observations here so do not believe I am violating any HIPAA regulations as I do not have access to actual medical records. Many times these symptoms go unnoticed because there is not daily contact with the person experiencing them. I personally believe if he were to be properly diagnosed by doctors they would see he needs a legal guardian (like his son & NOT the girlfriend who appears to be a gold digger) and that he really shouldn’t be making decisions for himself or anyone else.
My uncle lured us down here (from 2000 miles away) with the promise of a good deal (we had the potential of making about $45,000) if we did the work to clean out and paint my grandparents old place, to help him with my aunt and be near family. According to my uncle the flooring, appliances, fixtures and furniture were good and would get us started. He swore all it needed was lots cleaning and paint. He was supposedly helping us get back on our feet after the years of the VA pulling the rug out from under us and stringing us along while we continue to fight for what is ours, my cancer and all the multiple surgeries as well as all the life issues that came with dealing with both of those LARGER than life altering issues at the same time! We have yet to be able to start any of that with the immediate need to make this property livable as we worked day and night for over 16 months to make that happen.
We should have turned around and walked away the day we got here, but we stayed because we came to help family and obviously they needed more help even than they realized. Now that we have spent 20 months living in and cleaning out the filth and decay that his daughter created (with serious multiple bacterial infections incurred by me during that time), my aunt’s death, over 6000 hours of our blood, sweat and tears equity as well as over $50,000 of our own money to do the job, he literally wanted to steal it all away from us by forcing us out so HE could reap ALL the profit. He kept promising to get all the paperwork together so we could finalize the sale, but never quite got there.
The blood, sweat and tears equity is worth over $200,000 alone. Somewhere around the end of our first 1000 hours which ONLY dealt with getting rid of my cousin’s things and ridding the house of the vermin, transporting donations to donation centers, a TON of garbage and filth which included all the appliances, fixtures and flooring was when he realized how bad this place was with the added need for now new electrical and plumbing also, not to mention bringing EVERYTHING up to code and on December 18, 2015 he FORGAVE our $10,000 down payment and also agreed to a much reduced price from what we originally agreed to since the original price included working appliances, fixtures, flooring and furniture that didn’t exist in reality.
WORD OF WARNING: GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING – EVEN FROM FAMILY!!!! ALWAYS!!!!
The only piece of salvageable furniture was my grandparent’s headboard from their original bed in 1935 and he tried to take that too after repeatedly giving it to me again an again. I was able to salvage a few mementos that are mine now as they were shoved into forgotten corners and left untended and un-cared for. Things I will truly cherish forever, one being my grandfather’s original postal badge from when he was a special deliveries carrier many, many moons ago and the other my great grandmother’s quilt. Hubby found the badge in an old coffee can full of dead cockroaches with nuts and bolts. I found the quilt wadded up in the corner of an upper bathroom cabinet that had been built above the shower so it was exposed too often to moisture. I have been able to salvage it quite well.
Grandpa’s badge is laying on great grandma’s, his mother-in-law’s quilt. The head board is leaning against the horrible wallpaper that is now fortunately gone for good! Other than the head board, we were forced to purchase ALL new appliances, fixtures, flooring and everything in between including new furniture.
The minute he hired a lawyer to try and force us out by stating we had not done anything to contribute to the property during the time we have been here HE was the one that severed ALL family ties. You do not treat family or ANYONE like he treats people. That is for him to answer to God about and I KNOW the Karma explosion will be knocking on his door VERY soon!
I am so thankful that I have kept an active chronicle of descriptions, hourly work log and pictures of our work (so were the lawyers), Chronicles of My Misguided Cousin Beth, Life in Remodel and Rehabbing Grams and Gramps House. No matter which category you choose, it all adds up to A House from Hell! My uncle recently told my mom what a deal he gave us on this house. Evidently his idea of a deal uses his family and their money to his benefit and then he kicks them while they are down.
We had to hire a lawyer (which is adding up to more money quickly also) to deal with his lawyer to force the sale and protect ourselves and the financial investment we already have invested. So, yes he is being quite contentious and is betraying his own blood. The lawyer that sent us the letter to vacate is the same lawyer my uncle said was drawing up the contracts over a year ago. Ironically, the lawyer says he never knew that and now that he is getting the bigger picture he has advised my uncle to get this settled because he would not continue to represent him if it went to court. All telling signs in my book. Even with the lawyer it took another 4 months to settle as “THINGS” kept coming up in the title search like the unpaid bills he had against him for the foundation work and subsequent underground plumbing work from hiring the “cheaper” company and their trying to do things in places they shouldn’t. They also found that he had filed the paperwork in the wrong county when my grandparent’s died. So for those reasons and a few others we are almost glad this was not a simple sale as it would have complicated things massively when we later sell.
Just to get this settled so we can move on with our life has forced us to agree to things (like paying the down payment anyway) that were just wrong in general and especially on principle (like also paying the originally agreed upon price even though the house was not worth it), but necessary evils unfortunately to keep a roof over our heads and not lose the investment of time and money from the last 20 months. According to our lawyer going to court we would have won on principle, but spent the same amount anyway. At this point we just want to be rid of this mess and the now bad memories, but first we have to pay him off. In the end we will be completely upside down financially, emotionally and also over the moon to be rid of this mess!
RECAP: The original update post with the before and after pictures also known as what did we get ourselves into is here. Coming here was supposed to accomplish three things. The first being a place for us to settle and re-group our life after the Cancer, multiple surgeries, years of care giving for multiple people and have time to deal with the VA claim from hell. Well, that has YET to happen as we have spent every waking hour just making this place livable. The second was to be near family – the same family that now that now that we’re here can’t seem to take time to spend time together unless there’s an emergency. The third was to help out my aunt and uncle after my cousin’s death. My uncle had his hands FULL since my aunt’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. We were glad we could be here to help him especially after the fall that shattered her knee, the surgery for that shattered knee along with the hospitalization and skilled nursing for the rehabilitation and the infection that ultimately took her life. We did NOT expect him to decide two weeks later he was getting re-married and moving 5 states away.
I ask myself why did this happen this way? Repeatedly! Even our lawyer asked what was he thinking? This was supposed to be a simple transaction to help family. He held ALL the paperwork necessary to make it go smoothly. LITERALLY! He held ALL the necessary pieces for EVERYTHING to fall into place, but yet he went from toasting his wonderful niece and her husband for coming to help save him from this holy hell at a family dinner to sending me a text telling me to feel better and thanking him for providing him with some information he needed to suing us for doing nothing to aid him or the property in our time here. Obviously some undue influence (disease, new girlfriend, etc..) is affecting his ability to think clearly. In the end his wrongfully suing us brought to light his own issues that would have left us with thousands of dollars of encumbrances and ensuing legal battles done by his actions had we followed the simple plan he had originally laid out, not to mention we found out during this process that he had done the paperwork when gramps died and it was filed in the wrong county and such. This could have taken years to straighten out. Hiring a lawyer cost us A LOT, but saved us more in the long run probably.
He recently told my mom what a deal he gave us on this house. Evidently his idea of a “deal” uses his family and THEIR money to his benefit and then he kicks them while they are down.” He has even been known to be “bad mouthing” us and our actions to his girlfriend – we know this because he fails to disconnect his phone from calls before having those conversations. The mere fact that he calls my mom just to chat like he isn’t screwing her little girl takes a lot of balls! He will have to answer to God for what he has done and I KNOW Karma will be knocking on his door VERY soon. You don’t treat people like crap without it coming back to haunt you. I don’t even need to witness the KARMA EXPLOSION to know it will be HUGE.
Personally, I have NO USE for anyone, let alone family who uses ANYONE and basically steals everything from them, but especially from the family who is helping you and you are supposed to be helping too.
The house is done, the legal battle is done and so are we! In the end we’re still on the hook for $70,000 more than we should be for the whole project, but at least we can sell, not even beginning to break even and move on to begin again, but know that we did the right thing to help family, even if they are unappreciative.
For the past several months he has been jumping up and down like a child throwing a tantrum DEMANDING that we close this transaction immediately. We stuck to our guns as he had yet to satisfy the liens and such. We refused to sign anything or invest anymore monies in this property without him making things right with HIS creditors. For some reason even now he believes he has been right all along and that we have NOT done anything to better the house or HIS situation. I never even factored in all the days I worked 10-12 hours on the house, took a quick shower and then spent 4-5 hours at night sitting with my aunt so he could get out and do what he wanted. AND he will be getting a bill for the first 1050 hours that dealt only with cleaning out the property from the vermin infested mess it was.
You know how people say you’ll never use algebra after you get out of school? Well, I’m here to prove them wrong. I loved word problems and algebraic equations and find I really do use them all the time. This house is a perfect example.
Seems like a simple equation right? That was before when my uncle said all the fixtures, appliances and flooring were good. He did say the garage and backyard needed some cleanup as well as the house needing cleaned up and painted.
He did NOT say that the garage leaked like a sieve and would also need major work. So now ALSO factor in the ALL the things he DIDN’T tell us about “correctly” – like ALL fixtures, appliances, flooring, windows and doors, electrical and plumbing needing to be replaced, city and county code infractions, major drywall repair, bug and rodent infestation, as well as the fact that my cousin was a pack rat/hoarder who didn’t clean and that it would take 2 1/2 months of 12+ hour days, 7 days a week JUST to clear out ALL her trash and potential donations, not to mention the $900 or so of beer and soda to keep the trash guys happy so they would take everything each trash day (which is twice a week fortunately) and that she was a chain smoker that left everything covered in a layer of tar and nicotine.
So now the equation looks something like: