November 1, 2010

I Will Take That Coffee With a Side of Coffee

Last night was poorer quality sleep than I'm used to these days. At 12:30 there was Inexplicable Crying from Elizabeth, the kind where she isn't wailing but just low-grade crying that doesn't stop and she won't answer questions about what's wrong. I lay down with her for awhile but that didn't help either, so finally I took her up to our room. Then she stopped crying and went right to sleep, while I lay awake thinking about how my sister-in-law responded that no, she wants to jointly own the house with us AND take half the cash inheritance "for her financial stability," and she says the good news is we can get a really great deal on a home equity loan to pour money into the money pit.

You will be glad to know that Paul's comment to me was "Screw that!," but it still means continuing to deal with this. (We're going to say, "Okay, then, let's sell the house as-is, because LIKE BLELL we're going to have ANOTHER mortgage to pay off, and this one on a house SOMEONE ELSE lives in, and for repairs that will not increase the value of the house by as much as they cost.") (This will not go over well, I suspect, to someone who would even think to make such a suggestion to begin with.) (And in any case now we have to deal with real estate and Waiting For the House to Maybe Sell, and also with Prying the Sister-in-Law Out of It and so forth.) (Groan.)

So anyway I lay awake for quite awhile, thinking thoughts such as, "Oh, you'd rather do it that way, would you? Wouldn't we ALL prefer to have someone else pay half our mortgage!!" and "Don't you realize that if we decline your Awesome Plan you will need to pay RENT elsewhere, and that if you add up those years of rent payments you will get a number that EXPONENTIALLY EXCEEDS the piddling cash inheritance?" and feeling angry at the tone of her email and many of her word choices. And then I fell asleep, and at 4:30 I heard William call out. I went in, and he said he had a really bad headache, and he indicated one temple. I said "Just on one side?" and immediately started the Fret Process (have I heard Something Bad about headaches that are only on one side? or that start at night? or in children this age?). I got him up and gave him some acetaminophen, and this involved going downstairs to see if we had another box of it, but we didn't, but I was sure we did, so then I went back upstairs to root around in the upstairs bathroom some more, and then finally gave him the liquid kind and put him back to bed. And then I just stayed up, because I was wide awake and would have to get up in an hour anyway. It was a good decision: Henry called out at 5:00, saying he "NEEDA PEE!!"

36 comments:

fairydogmother said...

Sounds like you may need to follow the coffees up with a coffee chaser. I made pumpkin chocolate chip muffins this weekend. Wish I could teleport some to you!

Oh! And I went to Target this weekend and did spot a couple of good clearance deals - they had both sets of cups that matched your 48 cent bowls. Same awesome price. Made me wish we did not already have a cabinet full of way too many beverage vessels for only 2 people! I actually left the store with only the 2 items on my list, but still had fun scoping out some deals Swistle style!

Sabrina said...

Wow, I am so so so sorry to hear of her response. I suppose it is exactly what one could have expected. Dumping the house? TOOOOO easy. If it is any comfort, you are right, one million times over, she is completely and totally insane. Sometimes validation is the only thing that can be done.

Slim said...

Some days I would prefer not to deal with reality, too. Unlike certain other people, however, I do not assume that it is the responsibility of my loved ones to make this happen.
At least Paul is on board.

lifeofadoctorswife said...

Nights like that are ROUGH. I hope today is easy breezy to make up for it.

And I am having those kind of "Like BLELL you'll just live there and have your brother and wife pay for half of YOUR living expenses thoughts!" because her response is just... infuriating.

This seems like an ideal time to get a lawyer involved.

Safire said...

I agree with lifeofadoctorswife...time to get a lawyer involved. And not one that is a family friend.

wisdomandpeace said...

Sounds like SIL is completely unreasonable. It's so fantastic that you and Paul are presenting a united front. If it becomes too much of a headache, there's always the option to just let her have the house, but I would so hate to see someone get a free house as a reward for being completely unreasonable.

Marie Green said...

I'm so glad I didn't read this right before trying to sleep myself, because this whole thing is making ME ranty and restless FOR you. It's just... it's just totally sucky that you have to deal with this at all. I mean, we can make all of the wise, good choices we want in life and surround ourselves with only good, honest, normal people, but none of that helps in a situation like this, does it? I mean, no matter how... drama-free (for lack of a better phrase) you want to live your life, you've been thrown into co-home-ownership with this unreasonable person and you have no choice but to just DEAL with her.

There is nothing reasonable OR fair about what she's asking or how her thinking is working. NOTHING. I know you know this already, but I also know that being validated in these kinds of things is good. At this point I think I would want to extract myself from the whole situation as quickly as possible w/o spending any money and going the REAL ESTATE route is not a fast extraction process. So my backup plan would be to turn on the tv and scream into my pillow.

d e v a n said...

Wow - hey, do you want to pay half of MY mortgage too. Bwahahahaha.
Seriously? Who thinks like that?!

Mimi said...

My kids all slept kind of crappy last night too. I figured it was because of all the extra sugar yesterday.

Melospiza said...

Arggggh.

1. As much as it sucks to ring up the lawyer dollars for a deal in which the options clearly seem to be "losing money vs. losing even more money," I think it is time. (Unless there is an "accidentally sneak out the back door" option? No? Rats. That's the one I'd pick).

2. Whenever I'm dealing with frustrating/ annoying/ maddening relatives, esp. of the "related by blood not to me but to someone I love" variety, I find it always helps to imagine them as mentally/ sanity challenged. The annoying behavior remains, but that way it's not so compounded by the "why did they say THAT" factor. The reason they said that is because they're CRAZY. Poor little dears.

Jess said...

I am REALLY REALLY hoping that you DO have to pry the sister in law out of the house, and SOON. If she throws up more road blocks I think my head will explode.

LizScott said...

So, I was thinking last night that I wanted to comment my opinion on the house in that I think there is something to be said for family taking care of less fortunate members, and while it sucks balls that it's on you and Paul to do it, if you have the means to do so then that's it's own blessing in disguise, etc etc.

And then I read this today and blew my top. The hell? No. No no no. At this point just give her the stock and bonds and money or whatever and disentangle yourself completely. There is NOTHING good that can come of being legally tied to this women who feels the world owes her this much security without trying to help herself. It's not fair, but get out however you can.

Saly said...

Your SIL is insane. There is nothing more to be said about that.

Liv was up 4 times last night and the night before. 4 I chased my coffee with coffee this morning too.

Maggie said...

Oh hell no. That kind of thing would totally have me waking at 3:00 am and thinking about it and thinking about it and thinking about it and not getting back to sleep. At least Paul seems to be on your same page about that crap answer. No advise other than as others have said, it sounds like it's time to involve a neutral, professional, third party in telling his sister to get the F out or pay rent.

Michelle said...

That totally BLOWS and I think you should talk to a lawyer about having her pay rent to the estate. I mean seriously, she's living in the house for FREE. Plus, since you'll be getting half the cash, put it on the market for insanely cheap just to get out of it.

Kate said...

Okay, I don't have children but other than that I had the SAME NIGHT. The up! The down! The fretting! The headache! Awake at 5 AM! I personally am cramming my mouth full of extra-strong Earl Grey tea. Later I will supplement with Halloween candy.

Alice said...

SHE. IS. CRAZY. i know it doesn't help too much, seeing as it is now your job to DEAL with a crazy person, but i just wanted to reiterate that you are having completely sane reactions to all this. all this being "the thought process of a CRAZY PERSON."

Suzanne said...

UGH. BLAH. ARGH. BLERG. I'm sorry to say after reading all your previous posts about SIL I am not really surprised she didn't jump at the chance to take on all the responsibility for the house and accept your offer. Because WHY pay for repairs on a house when you can get someone else to pay half the mortgage AND the repairs??! Who CARES if that's the grown-ass-person way to do things?

I fourth? fifth? one hundredth? the suggestion to get a lawyer involved. Because if she won't accept the house as a gift you *can* make her sell and if she makes it Incredibly Difficult and A Pain In The Butt it's really just icing on the crazy cake at this point, right?

Little Evan was up three different times last night, crying sadly and inconsolably, because we are storing some furniture in his nursery temporarily and he can't handle waking up even for a moment and seeing it. But the other option is moving it down two flights of stairs. And now I am WAY too exhausted to do that.

Laura D said...

I think that legally, there is almost something to be said (in this situation) where the fact that the home was left to both of you means that if she wants to live in it, she has to buy your half, or pay half of what the rent would be on it. Lawyer up. She seems like a handful.

A'Dell said...

I like how she thinks she can bully you into this - like being mean is going to get her what she wants? Or like she has all the cards and power? Because it really looks like she has none.

And the bit about how YOU can get a loan for the roof is HYSTERICAL.

Shawna said...

In my world, this is how it works: one family member wants to live in a mutually-inherited house, that family member buys out the other heirs. If they can't, the house is sold and the estate is split between heirs. It's really that simple and I've never heard of it being handled any other way. Your SIL is nutso.

Seriously: knowing my sister would like the money right away, my mom has already made informal arrangements with me for me to buy out my sister and rent her house to my mom's boyfriend for the same rent he's paying her now (long story - my mom's boyfriend is my husband's 70-something year old father, so it's not like he's some unrelated freeloader). There will be no making my sister wait until he's ready to move - it's unthinkable.

shygirl said...

Oh, SWISTLE. I was so hoping that your next post would be "yay, she agreed!". This blows. Hugs to you, and a giant cup of coffee with your favorite flavoring. And maybe some chocolate-covered cherries on the side, too.

I have to concur with the other comments: your SIL is... well, maybe not officially crazy, but at the least EXTREMELY checked out, and in a way that is NOT helping the common good any. Not saying she's aggressively looking out for herself at your expense, but it's uncomfortably close to that. (And if it IS that, then that's even worse, and I'm so sorry.)

Taking out a home equity loan to improve the house... don't do it. The only way that would make sense these days would be for the person who's going to live in it to do it (meaning either her on her own, or you sell it as-is and let the buyer do it). But to do that in hopes of fixing it up and selling it for a profit, or even just to make your money back-- well, a dear friend of mine just tried that move recently, and is now suffering horrible money woes as a result. Those days are over, at least for the foreseeable future. Just don't do it.

You know what? She declined your plan. You can decline hers. Her plan is guaranteed to bring you pain, and won't be anything more than a temporary band-aid for her own problems. Your plan could bring her pain OR long-term financial stability, depending on how she handles it. Heaven forbid she take any responsibility, though, which is what it sounds like this is really about.

I'd be willing to bet that if you did split the cash with her, her portion would be gone in a flash, and she'd be no better off than before. Hence her need to keep you partly responsible for the house in order to keep herself afloat... that way she doesn't have to change anything about her own habits.

It's so simple, and Shawna said it perfectly above: if one family member wants to live in an inherited house, they buy out the other family members. If not, the house gets sold as-is and the money gets split. Those are the two choices. Normally it's a binary choice: pick one, and that's that.

What if you make one choice your plan, and the other choice something REALLY unappealing for her? And give her a short-term deadline by which she has to decide? Then she might suddenly find the motivation to choose your plan... Or you could talk to a lawyer. I know that sounds awful, but it really might be the best move, since you are clearly not dealing with someone who is capable of being responsible, rational, and fair.

I've gone on way too long here, because your situation so closely echoes my friend's and it's been really painful to watch her go through. Upshot: you're totally in the right, I feel for Paul about the family obligations and taking care of people but continuing this thing with the SIL is financial doom, you need to separate your affairs from hers completely. Stay strong with your boundaries and thinking, because there IS a way to get out of this with your sanity and bank account intact!

Party of 5 said...

The joys. Hope you got a nap and some kisses to make it up to you today.

L said...

Oh my, the force (of craziness) is strong in that one!

I'm so glad to hear your husband is moving much closer to your way of seeing things.

Swistle said...

I love you guys SO MUCH. It really does help to have people confirm the crazy.

g~ said...

I don't think she's crazy. I think she has totally rationalized her own ideas probably after consulting with her own friends. I think she has just totally allowed herself to believe that whatever makes the most sense for her, personally, also makes the most sense for everyone involved. I believe the term is myopic.
Or...er...if it were *me* dealing with her...batshit crazy.

Anonymous said...

You are right about this one - SIL cannot have her cake and eat it too.

Glad you & Paul are united in this.

Christina said...

This is a November Fool's joke, right? RIGHT???

A grown ass woman actually suggested to somebody that she should keep a house FOR FREE, live in it RENT FREE, and that they should take out a mortgage to help her with repairs for said house? Like - really? REALLY???

This lady is really lucky I'm not her SIL.

Sorry for all the middle of the night kid drama!

Anonymous said...

As someone with their own entitled sibling problems, I would say you have two options. One is to get out quick and take a loss. The second is to lawyer up and fight for what's your family's. Depending on the difficulty/craziness level of SIL, sometimes it's easier to just get out because if/when you do get your deserved share? You might have earned every penny of it and more. Good luck! I'm rooting for you!

Jen said...

Your sister-in-law situation makes me feel all stabby inside.

Kelsey said...

Yes yes! So CRAZY. What the hey? Although given the other family madness you've endured, perhaps this is some sort of apple/tree sitch?

I am in physical pain for you today because I know how I would feel after that kind of not-sleeping. In fact, I hope you're already in bed and that this night is much less interrupted!

kris (lower case) said...

just because someone leaves you something doesn't mean you have to accept it..does it? if you don't want 1/2 the house...just say no. i really don't think anyone can MAKE you take it.

Mama Bub said...

I am experiencing a high level of annoyed by proxy with this SIL situation. I mean, the crazy is just short of keeping ME up at night.

Kristi said...

I haven't read the comments, but has it been considered to make her pay rent to YOU? My main vote is to DUMP! DUMP! DUMP! If she won't agree to you getting cash, she getting house and if'n you don't want to deal with real estate hell (I'm a realtor, I know these things) - she will sabotage selling attempts unless you get her out PRIOR to trying to sell - then she needs to pay rent. DUH. As you said, to a person who would even THINK such a thing much less SUGGEST it is, um, COO COO. I hate this for you. TRIPLE UGH.

Whitney said...

Please get an attorney. Now.

I would comment that before any more conversations take place between you/your husband and your SIL all communications should go through an attorney. Yes, it will cost you some money, but it will definitely be worth the peace of mind.

This has the potential to get completely out of hand and an attorney should have been brought into this a while ago.

Tara said...

I am suddenly extremely grateful that my husband's family members are sane. No one in my family has anything to leave to anyone, really, so the problem won't (shouldn't) (please God no) come up on my side, even though we do have PLENTY of the crazy.

Your SIL is a piece of work, that's for sure. And if she refuses to budge from the crazy train, I add my voice to the others urging you to get a lawyer. She can't do this to you.