Is It Betrayal?

Sit back boys, girls, gentle genders… Let me tell you a true tale of current life challenges.

Our story starts 4 years ago… A friend of 20 plus years approaches us with a deal…

“Watch for our house for us. We are moving across the country. To lands that offer great paychecks and dreams. The old home we have been trying desperately to restore needs, someone, to watch it and take care of it the best you can. Please do this for us? Maybe someday… We’ll even give it to you. There is a lean on the home… We can’t get homeowners insurance because the electrical needs replacing completely…”

The sounds drone off… My wife and I talk about the proposal. We both think it is a bad mistake to do such things with friends. Our current situation is desperate.

Isn’t it always?

“No, not always. Somehow, we seem to forget and ignore our instincts…”

The house was beautiful, at heart. In its day, it must have been the most beautiful house on the street or even the city. The victorian style, wrap-around porch. Glorious garage for a worker’s soul to explore their hand at any craft. The garage was the only thing at the moment worth anything. Though beautiful, the home needed much tender love and care and MONEY!

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

So for four years, in the beginning… Our “friend”, fumbled, randomly attacking rooms and pieces of rooms. The bipolar issues showing through…

One morning the walls in the living room came down to studs. The next day the dining room. They stayed that way for the next two years… No insulation. Nothing but wood and siding stopping the creatures and cold getting in.

The electrical never touched…

Did it need to be? Really? Oh yes, it was the worst problem. Knob and Tube wiring snaked its way around the home. It went this way and that way, you could see it in the naked walls. Plaster crumbs falling… Tearing up so many things weakened other parts of the whole and yet she continued to forge ahead making the home her dream…

Well, opportunities arise and I guess against our better instincts, we accepted to watch and take care of the home the best we could. Make repairs to what we break and maybe someday, they would “give” us the house. That turned into “selling” us the home within a year of them moving.

Year 1-4 for us:

I want to mention that, I am not including things like pipes, stoves, ovens… etc.. I repaired what I could. I am not physically capable and did my best. My lungs fought with the dust from the coal trains as my oxygen machine shoved fresh breaths into my lungs. The coal covered the tan color of the house like a dirty blanket. It never comes clean, we tried…`

okay, maybe the oven. The wire in the inner coil shorted. no matter what, power knob on or off it was a direct short to ground and it started welding and melting the inside of the oven. I had never seen anything like it before in my life. A friend I had raced to the electrical box-outside, yes I said outside- and threw the main, killing electricity… So, now we had no oven. Friend response… a shoulder shrug… Not her problem, right? I mean, we are paying off her loan/lean…

Time passes… The job becomes permanent and “we are going to sell you the house…” is still the talk.

“We need the house title in our name before we invest large sums to fix it. I can most likely get help from the city, the state… a low-interest loan at least because of my disability…” Excuses galore… The subject dropped a few months at a time.

TAX season comes along… “We need $1300.00 to pay taxes on the home!” Shows palm for $cash$.

*Blink Blink*

We don’t have money to pay the taxes on YOUR home. We say this… We also say for the 100th time.

“We can’t make large investments of our own money in a home that isn’t ours…” They proceed to pay the taxes and shame and guilt us about how amazing they are to have paid them… For us?

The back deck off the home was rotted. It was the first thing to fall away. I fell through as the rotted board couldn’t bear my weight any longer. Our new landlords and old friend(s) nodded and looked away. We had a handicapped ramp put in. It helped me greatly…

I got help! Glorious Grant from our city. They built the ramp. It looked amazing against the rundown castle. Permission was needed from the owners of the home to install it. You know the names on the title… Not our names of course…

The air conditioner stopped working.

I am barely able to walk…

I am knowledgable in many things mechanical and though my college degree in engineering rots. I knew enough about most things to get me by…

I grabbed my cane and hobbled out the door. the temperature was 90F (32C) and humid

My jaw dropped when I spied the electrical box near the AC unit. Yes, it was indeed outside. The AC unit’s wires looked like they were installed by a circus crew. Indoor wiring!!

Indoor wiring used outside, snaking its way up and down our home to the furnace in the attic and the one buried beneath, in the dirty crawlspace beneath where we sleep.

The wire sheath looked old and bare wire showed through, unprotected from the weather.

The AC was out of commission. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

The edge of the overhang of the roof had a hole in it. When it rained, water poured down over the electrical box…

I was stunned… I told my wife… We need to get the electrical fixed. The home we are falling in love with needs to be repaired asap.

!!!THEY KNOW IT IS THIS BAD!!!

I tried hard…

“The roof needs repairs, the electrical needs to be fixed…”

They were quoted 14K to 23K to fix it all…

“Fine, we can get a loan… Sell us the home for the cost of the lean, we take it off your hands… Fix it… Invest our money, get a home fix-it loan…”

She then says to us, after four years and dozens of discussions about putting our name on the title WITH hers even… We hear…

“You are going to hate me, but I am not ready to sell it yet…”

We couldn’t stay here anymore. It is NOT SAFE!!

I don’t sleep when it rains… I wait for the electrical outside to explode into flames.

If I had the means and money, we would be gone now… GONE the minute I saw the wiring.

I sit in a constant panic…

I don’t sleep when it rains…

The furnace below the house stopped working in the dead of winter. The coldest our area has had in years. The upstairs furnace was still chugging along, so my kids are warm… The downstairs became a fridge.

We watched and panicked as the temps fell and we covered up and turned on electric heaters.

How are we ever going to get the furnace fixed… “Landlord/friend, the furnace is broke, the house is freezing… Temps outside are in the single digits to below zero… No response but, “We have no money to help…”

Week one-No downstairs furnace- The electric heaters are going, the walls have no insulation… our electric bill skyrockets and I sit in a panic about the (YES, the electric bill for that month was over $800.00 FOR ONE MONTH!!) electric wires in the old house taking on so many AMPS. I become paranoid with a lack of sleep and my night terrors become horrible.

When sleep came it was not restful, or warm…

The state or city had no funds to help, the Salvation Army wasn’t going to be our salvation. Out of FUNDS!

Finally, a dear close friend and my stepmother came to our rescue. between the two of them, they loaned me the money to get it fixed. It was an insane debacle getting it fixed as well. Countless people turning us down because the furnace was literally under the house.

Finally an honest man, we had a few that were not at all honest with cost of repair, fixed it. He then said, “I am sorry, but I will never go under there again.”

Wow… I nodded as I looked at the bill…

There’s SO MUCH MORE… I’m tired and I have gotten out my anger for now. So I will wrap this story up with the End Game!

My wife has a heart attack. My strength… The woman who takes care of me and my children is down.

Panic ensues… What do we do??

How do we live??

“OH JESUS, PLEASE GOD, DON’T TAKE HER FROM ME…”

She barely survives. Starts her recovery…

We were smart for once and had an insurance policy for such a thing.

So we decided for the safety of our family to buy a new home.

We paid off old bills and repaired our credit.

We searched and was approved for a loan… We saved all our pennies, with now “good” credit on the mend for both of us… WE CAN DO IT!!! just enough money left…

The day came when our friend, who has taken great steps to destroy her own life and make things harder on herself with things I shouldn’t list. Only to say, yeah, she messed up big time. etc…

Asks us to finally make an offer on her home.

*shakes head*

We signed a commitment to pay 12 days before this. We were going to tell her soon.

Our friend goes Armegedon on us. We are monsters that didn’t trust our friendship. We agreed to pay this and fix that.

We said countless times. “SELL US THE HOUSE. PUT OUR NAMES ON THE TITLE… DO SOMETHING?” but we were told,

“NO… I’m not ready to sell it, I will fix it up for you… I will fix the roof and the electrical, I will get my new boyfriend to pay for it, etc…”

We are horrible people for leaving her with this house that WE have destroyed and let fall apart. She has emotionally whipped my wife so much I told her to stop talking to her.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing…

We are waiting for our closing date and getting out of here can’t happen fast enough. When I saw how bad the electric box was recent, I just couldn’t believe it.

For some reason, we both feel guilt…

She is mad because now she is stuck with no way to pay the lean on the house. Therefore she has to sell it. She is also mad she will not make a profit on the sale. This is all our fault of course…

I am scared for the safety of my family. She expected us to stay here… Even with the electrical deteriorating daily now.

Seriously? You would rather have us burn to death, as long as we pay off your loan?

There are always two sides to every story. Our family added to the house flaws… Ripped vinyl flooring, a hole in the drywall near washer and dryer. a gouge in the wood floor…

I leave my story ended here with so many things, other things that have happened in the home… I’ll share with you, the final pictures of the electrical box as it sits.

I can’t sleep when it rains. The wires getting wet…

To think they knew it was this bad the whole time…

I hate being disabled… I need to get my family out of here… I sit, trapped in this room.

I don’t sleep when it rains

Nowhere for us to go…

PLEASE GOD, the closing date…

I don’t sleep when it rains…

 

11 comments

  1. ohmygoodness – T, you guys have done nothing wrong here. I know your situation of course… and this is reprehensible by your “friend”. I am so happy for you though that you are moving. I have been hoping for several years now that you would be able to get a different home. One you can feel safe in, that is YOURS. Big hugs to you. Let me know if there’s anything I can do, okay?!!

  2. Wow – you guys cannot catch a break, health-wise or living-wise. Get out of there as you both are limited in your ability to escape in a hurry if a fire would erupt. Don’t be a statistic. Your “friend” was not a friend at all.

  3. I’m reminded of a house we had moved into..it wasn’t near as bad as yours, but we did make some changes before we ended up moving across the state-we were blamed and it hurt. I will never ever work with friends again. Even this house we are in, it was sold to us by a realtor who was also representing it. Odd, but it is a small town. We learned so much more after we ‘bought’ it. A circa 1900 mess.
    I am so very thankful you are getting out of there, I am so angry for you, and I am incredibly proud of you!

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