I had intended to write this post earlier in the day but decided that I should wait a bit. I rarely do that, because I find I write better with the heat of passion running through my veins.
In this case, however, I realized that if I tried to write earlier, when I first had the urge to write, I would have had to censor every other word. I am so angry I could “spit nickels”, as the saying goes. Another day I might be intrigued enough to ferret out the origin of that saying. Today, I’m just plain angry.
You need some back story here, especially if you aren’t a regular reader and you did not read the few posts I done on the subject prior to this.
My mom died in January 2008. My stepdad, in his late 80’s, “inherited” the house from her along with everything else, since things were in both names. He was not well and could certainly not keep up with the house they had built and lived in. The house has a full basement, a first floor devoted to the screen printing business they ran for over 40 years – even when they should have retired. But Social Security is not enough to live on so they kept limping the business along. Lastly, there was a second floor which included a huge open space that made entertaining a breeze. My mother thought of everything.
She also saved everything. Every card or note she received, every trinket and gift. Clothing had to be threadbare before they were thrown out. But new things were bought for style. Many things had sentimental meaning. Others were for “just in case” they were needed in the future. We cleaned out some things after she died, but since my stepdad was living there, he didn’t want us to clean it all out.
They both refused to sell the house and downsize, even though they could not keep up with the maintainance or cleaning. We suggested a reverse mortgage so they would have the funds to keep the house up, have some cleaning help and still have a better lifestyle than living solely on Social Security in a huge house brings. They refused because they didn’t want the bank to own the house. They wanted it to be free and clear for us to inherit. We told them we’d be happier if they were living comfortably than we would with a monetary inheritance. No dice.
My stepdad died in February 2010, almost a year ago. After an appropriate. period of mourning, we kept waiting for my sister, who is executrix of the will, to make some decisions and get things moving.
But nothing happened. So in late spring, my husband and I started cleaning the house (a monumental undertaking) and clearing out the things. By summer, we had barely finished the upper floor. People kept dragging their feet.
Finally, I got an auctioneer to come take a look at the “stuff” that remained. His opinion was that there wasn’t enough of value to warrant his time. I think the others involved finally got the message that the contents were good and usable but not valuable. A realtor was finally hired and a guy to clean out the house. Just as the house was cleaned out and being readied for sale, someone broke into the house. The first time. There was no forced entry that we could see. They decided to leave the few old things that could have been antiques; instead the stole the broken lawn mower, the brand new replacement lawn mower and the power snow shovel.
Since the executrix had not obtained new home insurance after the original policy was canceled because no one was living there, there was no insurance to cover the loss. So my sister chose not to call the police.
A couple of weeks later, when my husband went over to check on the house, he discovered someone had broken in and stolen all the copper water pipes in the basement and first floor. This had left the well pump running, filling the basement with several inches of water. They had also stolen the new dehumidifier we’d put in after having black mold removed from the basement in the spring.
Here it is, about a week later, and we are trying to figure out how we are going to pay for the repairs to the plumbing as well as the new septic system we’ve discovered we will need in order to be able to sell the house under Massachusetts law. The realtor, preparing for an “Open House”, went over to take some additional photos yesterday. She called my sister from the house.
“They came back.” Who came back? What? The thieves came back. They broke in through the garage this time. The greedy bastards wanted the rest of the copper pipes from the upper floor. So they ripped out the pipes under the kitchen and bathroom sinks!! They even took the metal door handle to the wood stove. My sister thinks they are going back yet again to remove the wood stove, based on what she saw. Cast iron. Sure!
I know when people suffer break ins and thefts in their own residence, they feel violated. I don’t feel violated. I feel (censored) angry!!!
I am angry at my parents for being too stubborn to listen to reason when it was discussed years ago.
I am angry that things didn’t get done for so many months.
I am angry that my mother collected so much (censored) stuff.
I am angry that these (censored) thieves are making the process SO much more difficult and expensive.
I am angry that everyone – the police, friends, strangers – have to point out that this is really common when a house is empty. I don’t care! It shouldn’t be!
I am angry that I will now have to put money out of my own pocket to have repairs done so that I can sell my inheritance for its proper price, money that I don’t have!
I am angry that this stress will likely cause my fibromyalgia to flare up.
I don’t like being angry. Anger is the one emotion that can cause me to lose control. I don’t yell and scream when I get angry like this – I think because I lose the lose the ability to think coherently when I am so angry. Instead, I tend to cry because I feel so frustrated and helpless.
Last night, my first thought was: get me a shotgun, drop me off at the house. I’ll sit there in the dark until the thieves arrive and turn on a light. Then I’ll show them how angry I am.
Fortunately, I am a pacifist at heart. I could not do something rash and violent.
But as angry as I am, it would have made me happy to scare the (censored) (censored) (censored) out of them!!