Friday, August 20, 2010

Life is Good & I'm Thankful!

When life is good, it's very good. I'm watching my big orange creamsicle cat becoming mesmerized by the rainbows my crystal projects in abundance each afternoon around this time. FYI, orange creamsicle means he's orange w/ creamy, lush white fur. I sometimes refer to him as "the Pelt," as he's blessed with a luxurious coat, but a brain that only kicks in sporadically. My little Bootsie-kitten is much smarter than her brother Bubbah.
We're in our new home, and it's a delight! It's just up the road from a lake, near my son's school, surrounded by nature. A flock of wild turkeys make a regular pilgrimage through our yard. Deer, chipmunks, skunks and other forest creatures abound. The Commonwealth has yet to produce the compensation it has been promising for more than a year for eminent-domaining our former home , property and business, but life is still good, and as always, we've survived.
Theorizing that one catches more flies with honey than with vinegar, I shall wait to complain loudly about the Department of Transportation's abysmal handling of our situation until after we receive compensation.
I suppose at this point I should explain, as simply as I possibly am able to, the events that have occurred since I landed in Pennsylvania 3 years ago..
We moved to Pennsylvania in July 2007, following my brother's death at age 49. My brother had lived with my mother from the day he was brought home as an infant, he never left her. This was not healthy, to put it mildly. Following my father's death in 1979 at age 49 (I'm not looking forward to turning 49!), my mother and brother formed a strange, financially disastrous alliance. My mother lost the really beautiful house my father left her, blew all his insurance money, blew all the money she made as a registered nurse (they make very good money) supporting my brother's many failed attempts at being a business man.
She systematically vilified either me or one of my sisters on a rotating and regular basis over the past 30 years, with my brother's encouragement. I should have left my mother far behind on many occasions, but I loved her unconditionally and blamed all of her problems on my brother.
Upon my brother's death, she cried and moaned to my sister that she needed me. I was happily in Florida at the time, having just 3 years prior survived the death of my children's father with no help or support from my mother. I begged her to come to Florida to help me emotionally support my two then-teenage daughters and my 6-year-old son. She refused. She didn't attend his funeral either. A nice message to send one's supposedly cherished daughter and grand children.
Any how, because I loved her unconditionally, I moved to Pa and tried to help save her home. She had bought the home 9 years earlier for $90,000, and mortgaged it up to $245,000, once again supporting my brother's failed attempts at maintaining a livelihood (she worked as an RN until his death, when she was 76.). She paid for a travesty of a wedding to a real slut/grifter only 9 months before he died. (My sisters and I paid for our own weddings).My brother's wife turned out to be a complete fraud. I found evidence that she may not have been divorced when she married him. I found evidence of a meth lab in their closet ( an entire bedroom converted to a closet- wow.) I found e-mails to other men that were written during their 9-month marriage. I found sexually explicit photos the wife had posted on the net.
In March 2007, my brother was told to have a cardiac catheterization as doctors suspected his arteries were blocked. Being a tried and true know-it-all, my brother refused. Now I ask you, honestly, if as an RN your beloved son was given such advice by doctors, would you not insist that he heed that advice? As a new wife, wouldn't you insist that your husband of only 6 months heed that advice? My bother was dead on a client's front lawn 3 months later. He wasn't found for more than 24 hours. The wife had been to the client's home before, but claimed ignorance of its location. Fishy, to say the least. He lay dead, only a block south of I-84, and his wife couldn't find him. Hmmmm . . .
When I arrived in Pa, less than a month after my brother's death, the wife/widow had traveled to a Mexican resort to swim with the dolphins. The mortgage on my mother's house was several payments in arrears. My brother's "step son," a young adult who totaled a car that was in my mother's name and had a job, but didn't contribute, was living in the house, treating my mother like garbage.
So, me being me, I cleaned house. Through legal channels, I banished the wife/widow and the step son. My mother hid in the back portion of the house as her daughter-in-law removed her belongings under my watchful eye. I made the undertaker who was hounding my mother to pay for my brother's funeral back off by reporting him to the state licensing board for harassment. My mother ended up in tears every time the undertaker called for his money. The only payment made on my brother's funeral was made by 2 of my cousins, if Irecall correctly, about $2,000. The wife/widow held an extravaganza that left her owing thousands to the funeral director. This was after my brother lay dead in the rain and mud for more than 24 hours.
I did not attend, but several of those who did said it was obvious he had begun to decay and that an open coffin wake was wildly inappropriate and ghoulish.
The house was disgusting. My brother had 4 or 5 unneutered male cats caged on a kitchen porch. The stench of cat waste was overwhelming. He had the parlor of what should have been a charmingly renovated 100-plus-year-old farm house jammed with tools.
Although my mother and brother had lived in the house for 9 years, and had remortgaged the house at least 3 times, the house was not insulated or ever improved by them. The downstairs toilet was falling into the basement.
I found a fraudulent appraisal that was signed by my mother, stating that the house had more bedrooms, bathrooms and other amenities than actually existed. I found evidence (listed in his own hand) that my brother was wanted in two states for road rage, reckless driving and assault-related incidences.
Somewhere along the line, my mother had turned into Ma Barker. A sociopath who created a son who was destined to fail because she always provided him with a home, money, excuses and businesses to run into the ground. I never saw what a horrible person my mother was when my brother was alive. But in the aftermath, I saw her for the narcissist she really was and is. Needless to say, my mother and I parted ways.
In truth, I decided that I could not save the dilapidated old farm house. I decided that we should move out of the house and let the bank or mortgage company have it back. It wasn't hard to decide in the dead of winter, as the main water pipe burst and flooded the living area in the freezing, uninsulated house.
We moved to a house with plenty of storage and a large attached garage (heated) in which my mother would be able to go through decades and decades of mostly junk. She was a hoarder, and it was important to her to go through everything we removed from the old farm house without pressure or stress. She never did.
Although she and I co- signed a two-year lease, my mother decided, three days after I returned from the hospital and heart surgery, that she needed to move out. She never said a word to me. She left like a thief, only telling my significant other that she was going to stay with her friend for a few weeks to give me a chance to recuperate and adjust. She never said a word to me-never. We never spoke again. I was held responsible for the balance of the two-year lease.
I fell into a deep depression that I am just emerging from.
My S.O., I and my son moved yet again to the house we just left. It was at the intersection of two rural, but well-used by would-be hot rods and high-revving hogs, highways, but it was spacious and a really nice house, a home. It didn't help my depression that another move was looming on the horizon.
We first met with DOT representatives more than a year ago. They came to our condemned-for-a-road-improvement-project home and told us not to fret, that the Commonwealth would pick up the moving charges, find a comparable house for us, and compensate us for the eventual loss of our livelihood. The house was attached to a business the S.O. was partnered in.
We were never told that we would not be compensated until after we moved, so obviously, I didn't set funds aside for moving, which is very expensive and stressful- I know. I've done it numerous times in the past 10 or so years.
The Friday before the moving date, at 3:32 p.m., a representative of the DOT e-mailed me to inform that no compensation would be made until after the move.
I almost lost my mind. Here we were, promised compensation and support for more than a year, and at the last moment, having the rug pulled out from under us.
I was distraught.
But, we sucked it up, and with some financial help from my daughter, Lauren, we survived and are thriving.
It's amazing how the human spirit endures. I'm happy, really happy. My son and my S.O. are happy, too. I'm thankful for the lessons I have learned during this odyssey that began with my brother's death. I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted. I don't have to fret about living in a condemned home any more. I am free. I can breathe easy for the first time in many, many years.
Hopefully, this wonderful state of being will hold for a few more years, and maybe longer. Stranger things have happened!
Thanks for reading. It has been very therapeutic to get all of this off of my chest. I shall never speak of the really horrible parts again!
If you have an honest , truthful, healthy relationship with one or more of the people in your life, thank God. The unhealthy relationships take a very deep toll, but even the most horrendous of experiences teaches lessons if one is willing to learn!
Blessed be all!
Be well & happy!
I'll strive to get back on a regular schedule.

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