Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Operation De-Dungeon

After enduring the wildly sexist and ridiculous comments from my uncle, I proceeded to become an apprentice carpenter out of nowhere. We inherited a condo that no one wants and we didn't know what to do with it. While Uncle insisted that he would "work hard" to get the place in order, he never bothered to come over or offer any real help. It fell on my dad and I to do everything and if I didn't help, he would be stuck with this burden alone. Initially he wanted to sell and get rid of it as soon as possible, but naturally with any home ownership unforeseen complications arose everyday.

Problem 1: the place was in horrific condition, especially since my uncle died in there and wasn't found for days.

Problem 2: two others of the exact same condo unit were in foreclosure down the street, and were in better condition

Problem 3: a neighbor that was pre-approved was extremely interested and wanted to buy the place as is for an abysmally low price; too low for my dad

Problem 4: my mother set out a campaign to get me to move in there since at least it's paid off, and she actually believes the value will go up. I am both tempted at times and at other times think it is totally ridiculous/impossible.

Problem 5: emotions/conflicts with the family greatly increased due to this new home ownership, and everyone wanting to get their way with it despite not lifting a finger to help. Various arguments happened throughout the process on topics such as me buying it, (hell no) me moving in, (don't think so) renting it out to make money, (dad is dead set against that one) fixing it up to sell, etc. Screaming matches about money and lawyers and handling this properly, (so we don't get screwed by my dad's other brother) were a daily event. It sucked.

Problem 6: everything costs WAY more than you plan for.

It's really weird when a person's death becomes about everyone else and their desires to make money or acquire stuff. I know this happens to everyone, but this is some major horse shit to deal with. After the funeral my uncle in San Francisco called on my dad's birthday not to wish him a happy birthday, but to be sure and remember that he wanted that Waterford crystal vase.

I escaped all of this for about two months, but came back in town in last August to stand up in a wedding and help with the condo projects. Of course it was way more than I bargained for. My parents weren't dealing well with the circumstances, and by that I mean they were avoiding it, and I felt the need to step in.

In the course of a few weeks I did this: wrote and sent out all thank you cards, arranged for donation crews to come in and take the furniture, got estimates and donation info about his car and eventually got rid of the gross car, got estimates and hired a cleaning crew, (which took 6 ladies 6 hours to do the job) did major drop offs to Salvation Army, viewed the foreclosures down the street to get ideas, decided on the first leg of strategy for remodeling, and designed a new kitchen.

I did this. Me. I did this without help from a man, in fact I did this to help all the men who couldn't handle it/didn't want to. Obviously my dad was involved but I arranged all the pre-remodel events, and then we made remodeling decisions together. I may have pressured him into the remodel at first but later on I heard him say that he couldn't sell it the way it was, and he didn't feel right about showing it at all. There is therapy in this type of work and I think it helped everyone a great deal to see the place transformed.

We called it "Operation De-Dungeon."

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