take care cher

A single woman's journey as a caregiver to an elderly parent, 5 dogs, a house….and most importantly myself

The Money Pit Revisited

on September 23, 2013

I know everyone doesn’t live in the house they grew up in, but I do, and the older the house gets, the more things pop-up that have to be dealt with. Many of you out there live in older homes though, so this all applies.  I feel like I’m going to be paying for the repairs and upkeep that I’ve had to do in the last year for the rest of my life.  My situation has begun to remind me of the hilarious Tom Hanks movie “The Money Pit”, where he and his girlfriend beg, borrow and steal to buy what they think is the home of their dreams, only to find it crumbling under their feet the minute the check clears.  I don’t have contractors with “I’ve Gotta Be Me” blaring on their stereo as they tear out of my driveway with my last dollar in their pocket, but I’ve forked out quite a bit this summer alone because my aging A/C system just couldn’t seem to keep up with the 100+ degree Florida Summer heat.  The last time my air guy came out, he basically told me that I needed to be prepared for the fact that the day was coming when I was going to have to replace the whole enchilada.  When I asked him how much THIS was gonna cost, he said $5,000….and then I don’t remember a whole lot after that.  Everything sort of went into slow motion and I started thinking about selling everything and going to live on the beach and covering up with sand at night.  Then the reality that my Mom and dogs wouldn’t go for that hit and I came back to consciousness.

Now I’m sure some of you don’t think this is earth shattering, but it is if you just got a new roof nine months ago that set me back $9,000!! Actually, since the house is still in my Mom’s name till she passes away, we both had to go down to the credit union and sign both our names over and over and over again to get a home equity line of credit, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t generally have $9k laying around.  I didn’t get a huge amount because our home isn’t worth what it used to be in the good old days, but it has left me with a small cushion to fall back on when things get tight… like last weekend when the oil and lube on my car turned into a new set of tires, total alignment and balancing, etc.  That purse I had been ogling in Dillards became a pipe dream and my grocery money was wiped out.  If it weren’t for that line of credit in times of extreme poverty due to unexpected repairs of the car, house, vet bills…you name it, then I think I WOULD be living on the beach.  I know someone out there is saying “why don’t you just sell and get something newer and in better shape?”  The bottom line is, when the home owner is an elderly person on Medicaid, they cannot touch your home, BUT, they CAN insist that if you sell, you owe them every penny unless you turn around and sink everything you made into another home.  But, I am here with my Mom because I don’t want her to spend the rest of her life in assisted living or nursing.  I want her to be in an environment that hopefully she remembers despite the dementia she suffers from, because she’s lived here 55 years.  One day at a time…

If you’re in a vaguely similar situation, especially with people that depend on you to bare the brunt of the financial responsibility, TRUST ME!!!  At least investigate getting a home equity line of credit so you have something to fall back on when the repairs/disasters keep coming and you just cannot seem to get ahead!

-Cher

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