GBE 2: Blog On Week #84
1965, I stand at attention in my nightgown, next to the large drafty front windows. Holding my report card in his hand, he looks it over. Setting the report card down onto the coffee table, he turns to me and asks, “Are you too stupid to do the work?”. My report card held four A's and a B.
It is that moment. That split second that I made up my mind. I have, at the ripe old age of ten, decided I will never do anything explicitly for anyone else ever. I will not care if anyone thinks I can or cannot. I will do as is right for me.
The park my parents live in, in Dania, Florida, is being sold to the airport. Trailer parks all over Florida are being bought up. The elderly tenants turned out to make room for condominium, the wave of the future. There are very few low income accommodations available, in sunny Florida, these days. More and more the “little” guy is being nudged out of their current digs only too late to realize, they can’t afford to live anywhere else. And what they can afford, just aren't safe neighborhoods. The transient Canadians, South Americans, and Central American people have been muscled out of their cold season havens. The deal hasn't been “signed on the dotted line” yet, so it may be a year or so before my parents actually have to move.
The current plan as told to me; sell the Michigan vacant land, add that money to what is offered by the airport, and find a nice place to buy. When my parents first moved to the park, in 1982, they decided not to buy their lot, but opted to rent it. The airport money isn’t a very large sum.
I’m a Realtor in Michigan. After three months the paperwork is finally signed and turned in to my broker for listing the two properties. First he wouldn't answer what he thought the property was worth, then he wouldn't look over the comparables I sent him, then he signed some paperwork in the wrong place, then he made copies and signed one set of copies but sent me the unsigned set, and finally with much patience spent all copies were signed and turned in.
He calls me at least once a week, sometimes once a day and often several times a day. He has four living children. He doesn't like his daughters. He had three of us and three sons. I have been told since turning 15 that I will inherit nothing, I am female therefore I contribute nothing to the “family”. Each and every phone call begins with “Are you working on selling my property yet, or just lazing around?” I know, it’s supposed to be comical, and maybe the first thirty or so times it got a smirk out of me.
For the past 35 years, I have gone to the old homestead and cleaned it before my parents came north from Florida. I got rid of the mouse droppings and the cobwebs and the dead spiders. I made sure there was toilet paper and coffee! Stocked the cupboards with a few things so they wouldn't have to go to the grocery store before they had rested.
Twenty years ago, my younger brother and I decided it was a waste to have a lake front property going to ruin and that if it were updated perhaps we would spend more time there. We (husband Bob, brother Scott, and I) dug in. I elicited help from all of my friends. I bought; furniture, dishes, lawn mowers, linens, copper accessories, camping trailers, telescopes, pots and pans, and of course silverware.
Every year, Bob and I would head north the last weekend of April. We sometimes went alone, often had a troupe of friends and family, to open the place up. We would work on some project every time we went there, some years every other weekend during the nicer months.
The vacant land across the street from the “Blue Lake Cabin” is forty-eight acres. Growing up I had been told it was number in between 50 to 65 acres. It is 48 acres. That was one month of the argument of the pre-listing.
Vacant land, over 10 acres and not waterfront or water access, is selling for between $900.00 per acre and $1150.00 per acre. My father insisted the land be priced at $2000.00 an acre. I demanded a two year listing so I wouldn't have to go through this again.
We got a fair and reasonable offer two weeks ago. (Since the property is still listed, I cannot divulge the amount) I thought this a fair and reasonable offer. Excitedly, I called him to tell him the good news. He began a tirade of belittlement, the likes I have not heard since I was sixteen. Our conversation ended with him telling me I have gotten all I’m going to get out of him and that perhaps I need a lesson in how to think.
I have made the decision not to speak with my father through the holidays. I don’t have to, they are my holidays as well as that cranky old man’s. Yep, today was his birthday. I made the phone call. I left a voice message wishing him a nice birthday. I have decided my mental health needs a holiday. I’m worth it.
Those of you who know me may ask why I would tell this story. I dearly hope and wish for this to be written down for my daughter. I dearly hope I have never treated her so poorly. I dearly hope I never do. I dearly hope if I should ever go out of my way to make her feel lower than snail slag, she will remind me of this particular Christmas Season and my decision.