Monday, May 31, 2010

It's Official

It's official:  I'm a slumlord.  After a couple of delays, the closing on the house in California finally happened on 5/27.  It was supposed to be 5/10, but first the escrow company didn't get something to the mortgage company in time for that to happen and then everything was delayed again when I had to find an insurance agent in California to provide homeowner's insurance as my local agent couldn't do it.

It is all very surreal.  I own a house in California that I have never seen, other than in pictures, and that the keys for which were handed over to someone else on my behalf.  I am having repair work done on a piece of property I have never visited.  I have had the same conversation with our cousin so many times in the last couple of months I could scream.  I am sick of hearing about this house from our cousin.  I am sick of being told what minor repairs my mother-in-law wants to have done.  And I don't want to hear about how my stepsister-in-law found fault with pretty much everything about it.  You know what?  I didn't buy it for you.  If you don't like it, good luck finding another place for what you are going to pay me in rent.  I have no loyalty to her-the times I have met her, she couldn't even be bothered to acknowledge my existence.  I am one conversation away from a complete meltdown.  I can't seem to stress enough that I don't want to talk about it; that this isn't a fun, exciting venture for me.  It is a stressful investment I did to fulfill a promise to James.  I don't want to spend hour after hour discussing property as an investment strategy and trying to forecast the long range potential of this.  I don't want to be involved.  I just want to cash my rent checks and write checks for repairs when needed.  I don't care what color the carpet and the walls are.  I don't care if they paint the fence.  I really don't want them to cut a doggy door into the back door, but it appears I don't really have a say in that.  Since I am eventually going to have to replace the door anyway, I decided I don't care-especially since that means I don't have to spend any more time talking about it.  (There were 3 conversations about it last week).  I don't want my stepfather-in-law to start willy-nilly doing stuff around the house because he's bored.  I want it done by pros who provide receipts I can use for my taxes.  I know I am going to have to make some decisions from time to time but why can't it be the way I asked:  make a list and give them to me all at once.  I love our cousin dearly and I so desperately want to have a conversation with her about ANYTHING else.  This is all we have talked about for the last couple of months and we do not have short conversations.

I know I did the right thing by doing this.  My mother-in-law needed a place to live and now she has one.  I told James if anything happened to him, I would take care of his mother and I have made it so she won't be homeless.  Yes, she thinks our cousin is the one responsible, which is a HUGE favor to me.  As stressed out as I am about it as it is, it would be 1,000 times worse if she knew I was behind it because I can't tell her no. I know I have valid reasons for doing it this way but it does not come without guilt and not without anger at James for dying and leaving me to do this.  I am so angry in general right now, I can barely see straight.  This is what happens when I don't have someone to talk to.  I let everything build up until I just explode.  And right now, I am very much a ticking time bomb.

I thought I would feel relieved when the house closed.  But I am more stressed out about it now than I was before.  I have said several times I am only paying for what needs to be done for them to move in right now and then will reassess the rest.  Why do I have to keep repeating myself?  How is that not a clear enough statement?  I told the property management company to just pick some neutral color for the paint and carpet.  My mother-in-law was told the carpet and walls would be neutral and I guess she made a face indicating she was not happy with neutral carpets.  I know her-she won't directly speak up and ask for something else.  She'll just sigh and hint around about how nice it would be if the carpet was X color instead.  And by then, it will be too late to change it.  Why can't she just be grateful she is even getting new carpet?  Oh-and wouldn't it be nice if I chipped in and helped to pay for a new dishwasher for her as a housewarming gift?  Um, wasn't buying her a freakin' house enough?  And hey, wouldn't it be a good idea to check and make sure the plumbing can even support a dishwasher before telling me how much my share of it is, like I have asked to have done each of the 15 times this has come up?  (Okay, it's more like 5, but still).

I know there is work to be done.  Even though California doesn't require them, I had an inspection done.  I have a copy of the report.  I don't need to be told ad nauseum every little thing.  I just bought the damn house and I am really starting to wish I hadn't.  Why can't doing the right thing be easy just once?  Is that really too much to ask for?

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