Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Making Decisions

Prior to his death, James and I were trying to figure out if there was any way we could afford to buy a rental property to rent out to his mom and step-dad. We ultimately realized we just couldn't do it. Around that time, I promised James if anything ever happened to him, I would take care of his mother. Little did I know, he would die about a month or so later. His mom is not in a good situation and up until recently I was not in the right frame of mind to deal with that on top of just trying to function enough to get through everyday life. But despite not doing anything about it, I have really been struggling with the guilt of not fulfilling my promise to James.

I am now in the process of buying a house in California that she will rent. To say I am overwhelmed is an understatement. For the sake of my sanity, she is under the impression someone else is doing this for her. And while I have what I feel are valid reasons for needing it to be this way, I feel bad that another family and I are lying to the rest of the family (all 5 of them). (The other family member is a Godsend). I haven't told my family because I feel bad that I am helping my mother-in-law when my own mother lives in a trailer.

I am stressed out because there are so many things that could go wrong with this-emotionally and financially. While my gut and heart are telling me it is the right thing to do and it is not a decision I made lightly, I am still scared. I have been in tears everyday for the last two weeks, and I won't be surprised if I break out into hives again.

I feel lost and alone and like I have taken a huge leap with no net to catch me. Other than the family member helping me with this, I have no one to talk to. She is very pro-real estate, which she gets from her real estate mogul father, so to her this is really no big deal. But it is to me. And it hit me why yesterday. I am 36 years old and this is the first huge decision I have made without having someone to talk it over with.

I have had to make decisions before, obviously. When I was 18, I had to decide whether to stay somewhat close to home and go to the University of Idaho, accept a scholarship to Eastern New Mexico University, go live with my mom and attend Fresno State or do what I really wanted to do, which was go live with my grandma and attend UNLV. I ultimately chose to stay with my friends and went to the University of Idaho. And although it was my choice in the end, I had my dad to help me weigh the pros and cons.

My senior year of college, I bought my first non-junker car. Again, I made the decision I wanted the car, but I had a guy friend go with me to ask all the right questions that boys just know to ask (especially this one-he's a car enthusiast), and to test drive it with me to make sure it was okay. And again, my dad was there to make sure this is what I really wanted (and to co-sign on the loan).

For the first 30 years of my life, whenever I had to make a big decision, I had my dad to bounce it off of. And from the time I was 26 until I was 34, I never made a decision without input from James-because decisions I made no longer affected just me. They affected us-first just James and I and then James, myself and the dogs. I miss having the male point of view and I miss having someone to bounce things off of. What I miss the most is being a part of something that is bigger than myself. While I am a strong, capable, intelligent (most days) woman, this is new, foreign and scary territory to me. And this is not a minor decision-I am buying a house in another state. In addition to the emotional stress, there is the financial burden (which I can afford, but it is still a risk), and there are tax implications as I will now have rental income to contend with and will have to file a California return. (If they try to tell me my non-resident return for 2010 tells them I left the state then and I magically owe taxes for previous years, I swear I am going to go down there and bitch-slap someone). While other things I have done on my own have left me feeling empowered this is having the opposite effect on me. I feel small, withdrawn and very insecure. I feel like a little four-eyed, brace face, fat girl and I just want to run away. My instincts are telling me I am doing the right thing and this is going to work out just fine, but emotionally I'm a wreck. I just want someone who understands to talk to. But I don't have that anymore and since I am more than likely going to be just me for a very long time, I need to learn how to make decisions entirely on my own, which feels weird to say at my age.

And since I apparently wasn't stressed out enough, my mother-in-law is in the hospital with complications due to diabetes.

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