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Sjogrens Topics => Living Life In Spite of Sjogren's => Topic started by: quietdynamics on February 07, 2014, 03:41:24 AM

Title: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: quietdynamics on February 07, 2014, 03:41:24 AM
There is still so much to do, so much ahead as executrix of the estate.

I am tired, have been tired.. and it has been stress, stress and more stress (since May 2012 with hardly a break, there were more loses, medical with family, son and granddaughter here.... spoons just do not come small enough for the small doses I have to give. Even DH looks so tired, as he worries about me... and the effect the stress has had. I can see why presidents age... I always look as tired as I am. )

Anyone remember "silly putty" could press it on a comic page and it would copy the image..then you could pull the putty...distort the image...into something else.
We are finding ourselves constantly pulled by outside forces, making us unrecognizable, misshapen. We are tired, yet, tethered to responsibilities.

The unexpected and rapid decline of my mother of course was a shock in 2012, and I am blessed to have been able to care for her in her home.

The NOT finding the original will (just the original copy) was the start of the convoluted, involved legal process.
Documents and more documents, not to mention attorney fees, estate taxes, income etc. Surrogate, forms, certified letters, an INS number, setting up an escrow account.
Numbers and blurrs of masses of white papers...cant' anyone use another color! I can find the D**m paper. And speak layman language?  Yes, I bought highlighter and color code the top right side ... and still the "paper troll" co-mingles them.
Got to the point that I just pay the bills on the estate for the year in one sitting (interest rates being what they are...and interest is taxed anyway).

We are in NJ and shortly after mothers passing...Hurricane Sandy occurred.
I had received a letter that Home Owners was dropped. "as the home was vacant", scrambled on the phone and in person to find converge.

Due to Sandy I rented the home furnished to a family (photos of home before they moved in)  from the shore. Which meant 2 days to empty all closets, etc  and donate. The plus was I did not have to deal with furnishings (which are like new), got the homeowners insurance, and having the home occupied so that I would not have to travel back and forth living there and monitoring. 
Their stay for 4 months has turned into 15 months so far... with the need at one point to significantly reduce the rent during the school year. Who would rent during the school year? It is a "not for profit rental" so the estate will not have additional taxes.. we hope.

Now with the changes in the stimulus program..and even slight speculation that interest rates may rise and the scant amount of listing in the area, I want to list the home by around March 29th to catch the early buyers.  I talked to our landscaper and want to meet with him about some minor work. Mom was already getting her beautiful home ready for sale before she declined.
Painting ..there are areas where wall paint got very dry and is flaking... I do not want a buyer to think it is a 'problem'

Received an email from the tenant that their home estimate is an additional 6-8 months? Problem.

Just feeling the pressure.. and I guess the sale of "The" home.

So if anyone has any insight, ideas... I would surely appreciate them.
I did look on Trulia to check out the listings of area realtors...quality of their photos, basically marketing presentation, Then I looked at their sites for ease of use, and even where they placed in an area "google search"

Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: Joe S. on February 07, 2014, 04:26:12 AM
This is a very stressful event. Take care of yourself during this process. Allow others to help you. If you can afford it,  contract some of the work out.

l had such a flare and so much fog when I went through this process that I have little memory of it. My family had to take care of most things.
Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: quietdynamics on February 07, 2014, 04:42:28 AM
Thank you Joe... you are a Dear.

I am only talking to contractors in my parents phone book who have worked and had a relationship with them.

Even the Estate Attorney was a direct referral from a person we trust.

When I dashed to get the home tenant-ready it knock me flat for more than a month.

The good thing about reducing the rent and having the tenants stay was they caught a leak in the basement and that was taken care of ASAP.

Parents landscaper does construction, etc over the winter and the painting, etc is minor .. so I would like to give him the work. If we like what we see I let him know our home could be next. Incentive.

Spoke to a different realtor and she already sent me comps ... that are much more on target than the ones the 1st realtor gave me for estate tax purposes ( I sent them better ones )
So I will be meeting with this new realtor who just informed me that last year people could not find rentals..gave up and were delighted to find homes with furnishings.
News to me.
Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: Carolina on February 07, 2014, 05:33:44 AM
Dearest QD,

Sending you patience, persistence and acceptance....

I know you have lots of that already.........just a little more to tide you over.

I wish I could send you some spoons.  Where is the spoon store?

Meditation helps me turn off my mind, or turn it down a few notches anyway. 

Monitoring my shoulders helps: if they are up around my ears, I know it's time to 'unwind' a little.

When I find my focus "way out into the future", trying to see what might happen, I try to bring my focus back to my breathing...but all of this requires me to NOTICE, and then be WILLING to let go long enough to return to the present.

That's when acceptance comes in...accepting that I can't control everything.

So easy to say, of course.

You are doing your best, QD.  Be gentle with yourself.  Perfection is an ideal, not a reality.

Hugs,  Elaine

Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: quietdynamics on February 07, 2014, 06:35:15 AM
Thank you Elaine... just feels so frustrating, as before the Neuo symptoms this would have been easier to handle, more orderly.
Sometimes I would do something and then a few days later have to sit and re-think how I did it. So added to the frustration. And second, third guessing myself.

Just said to DH given the fees and costs. We should really just buy this beautiful home ( we simply are not shore people... although it is in wooded cul-de-sac section). Just so easy to care for ... open concept contemporary ranch. Start the vacuum and just walk from one end to the other  :) The rest is tile) .

Now DH is thinking? A year after I first suggested this?

Well I did just send an email to the tenants.
Inspection and other realtor consult needs to be done.
Hopefully, I can meet up with the Hospice Aide and take her to dinner. I would love to see her and sit and chat.

Three more things on my list for the morning.
Then a walk.
Granddaughter was home due to the storm for 2 days... so behind.
Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: cccourt1942 on February 07, 2014, 07:07:38 AM
QD:  I don't know your age...but thinking back on the various decades of my life (regarding life's responsibilities) I would STILL feel the fatigue I feel just READING your story.  Pat yourself on the back for getting through all this.  Oh--and what Carolina said.  :)
Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: slccom on February 07, 2014, 07:03:51 PM
In your shoes, I would inform the tenants that you are terminating their lease in 60 days, and offering a bonus if they are out by March 29 so you can get the place on the market. If their new place won't be ready yet, that is their problem and not yours. You can point out that leaving early will make it easier for them to find somewhere to rent until their home is ready.

I am so sorry this is such a burden for you. Hang in there, just go day to day, and time will pass and this burden will, too.

Hugs, Sharon
Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: irish on February 07, 2014, 10:10:45 PM
I can sure feel your pain and frustration---and your fatigue. I have been through this with my both hubby and my parents. It is not for wealings. I always think that parents should get the big house cleared out and sold and not dump it on the kids. With that being said, I am sitting in a 4 bedroom house with a divorced son and part time grandchild and a husband who is now on hospice. I am not doing the best and the house is a mess.

Now, I have been after hubby for 10 years to clear out stuff and sell but hubby had different plans. Now, guess who gets to do it all. Like I said, I feel your pain. There is no rest. In fact, when I think back to the 30's and 40's when I thought I was tired and overworked I must have been smoking something. Life was much easier for me then.

All I can do is keep you in my thoughts and prayers and hope that you can rest enough to keep up with the madness. It is the constant pressure that does those of us with AID in constant distress. Maybe the whole forum could take a collective 3 day weekend away from the insanity in their lives. One can only wish. Life does not get any easier and know that you are one of an elite club. A club where we are all chronically ill but don't look ill, just tired, plus we must keep on doing the everyday stuff and keep our sanity. Hang in there girl. Irish
Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: slccom on February 07, 2014, 11:16:39 PM
Oh, Irish. I'm so sorry about your husband. I hope your son will pitch in, quickly. It is the least he owes you.

Hugs, Sharon
Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: irish on February 08, 2014, 10:16:12 PM
Sharon, I have to admit that I sure sounded whiney in this post. The truth is that I have been feeling terrible and then I got a phone call from immunologist and found out that I have anemia down in the mid 10.++. No wonder I can hardly get out of my recliner. At least I have the hope that I will feel better with some iron tablets.

By the way, our son is in the process of having testing for autoimmune. He has thyroid issues and Hashimotos and his antithyroidperoxidase was 16,180 and was the highes number they had ever seen. He is in not the best of shape and has been tested for myasthenia also. So far blood work is negative but there is more testing to be done and needs a sleep study done again as he has a CPAP. He will probably have everything that I have as he has so many symptoms, etc. We are hoping for a plan of treatment for him eventually because his quality of life has really gone downhill. He helpos when he can but needs lots of naps.

Boy, the AID sure impacts our family doesn't it. Irish
Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: quietdynamics on February 09, 2014, 08:41:03 AM much to handle.

Gosh even I wish I could come over and help.

I hope the added iron helps.. so you can step outside the home and breathe, not to go to the doctor, shopping, errands.. just a "take it off your shoulders for a moment breath".

I used to stop in at the garden center, stroll around and not buy anything.. just breath..for me. 10-15 minutes. The world did not end.

This house is a mess. I learned to close the bedroom doors. My son is working though some issues.. so at least I can throw his "stuff" on his bed for him to deal with. And occasionally we literally run away from our own home for a break.

I really do hope you laid your medical cards on the table with hospice and have an aide coming in. I often went into the backyard with Max, the Labrador or even too 'him' for a car ride.. lol.

No matter how old our children are always our babies. Needing care, or guidance or evening a cheering on..
Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: quietdynamics on February 18, 2014, 07:05:08 AM

Heavy snow, even a truck with a plow sliding in the driveway. So happy he happened by.
Days off school for granddaughter.
Stuff needed to be done .. time tick..tick..tick.
Brushed my hair before a shower and got a full handful.. maybe I should save it instead of buying those clip on attachments I was considering?  LOL at least it will match.

Blew up at son.. unusual for me. So EVERYONE froze in place.

Stomach did it's thing in the night..

Sunday had co-ordinated with tenants, contractor and realtor to meet at home.
Woke at 3am.. printed out home inspection sheet and made list of points to cover.
Made folder.
Went back to bed.

Home will need painting inside.. hasn't been painted since parents moved in so.. 20 yrs. The wall are clean.. but, the paint dried and flaked. Minor repairs, I knew to cathedral. ceiling. So waiting for the price.

Realtor was great and very professional. Came in at a higher market value. So painting cost from the standpoint of what I was seeing.. is covered.
Suggested taking down some wallpaper in Kitchen. Fortunately higher quality than paper and will come off easier.

Tenants even had the carpet cleaned in anticipation of inspection.

Happy I went with my "gut' instinct .. I did not care for the original realtor. And went online to view marketing quality of their listings, photos, description, number of listings. etc. When the gave me comps I was not impressed and felt their advice to market and not paint was not in our interest.
Move in ready markets much better for families and this is not a distress sale.

We went to a great farm market afterwards and had fun in there.. way to diffuse.
Pomegranates, spaghetti squash, plums, black berries, tiny 'lady apples' for granddaugher , oranges. ginger, red and yellow peppers, small red potatoes, giant container of Sazon .. yeah, major score.

I think we were in there for an hour.. lol.
An hour to get home. Bed by 8pm


Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: quietdynamics on March 04, 2014, 06:23:26 AM
Drained here .. but, things have to still be addressed and keep on going.

Granddaughter had come home on a Thurs with a temp. kept her her back to school on Mon.
I started coughing and 'pistachio pudding' stuff.. in the AM..starting appearing.. appts were already made for contractors, inspector, then another realtor.

Realtor I thought was good, was not emailing in a timely fashion.. had "thank you for patience" in her replies and I had not signed anything yet.. so not going with her.

Hired 3rd painter. Crack in Great Room floor to ceiling so call insurance inspector. Said 'normal settling'? I said fine.. I will attached your report to the disclaimer.. so if homebuyer or inspector has any questions they can will know who to contact.

Tenants have two repairs to take care of, one before photos for listing and I hope that is taken care of before painter goes into that room.

Need to send them email, then registered letter that month-month will not be renewed after June. (they have known the home would be listed since Jan.)
And had said they would be out March -April.. Maybe I will tell they May?

Last Thru-Fri it ended up I was out of the home traveling and meeting, inspecting, etc total of 21 hr. then crash for one day.. sunday try to get read for snow storm due Mon. (yeah only an inch here.. 6" down at my mothers area. )

So Monday phone calls and emails since granddaughter had school.

DH had been away helping with medical issues with his brother.

Pudding stuff .. is subsiding.
DH is coughing.

Thank goodness for meds.. sometimes I get a lull in all this stuff and can manage will two doses of Neurontin/day. 
This is not the time.

Did run out of the home and realized in all the mad dash of collecting papers, etc.. getting off my regularly scheduled program.. I forgot to take meds and bring them along.. so I did get nervous .. esp. the Topamax.. not a good time for the old migraine.. driving alone.

But, I made it and was able to crash Saturday .. but, I do not know about you .. but, when I crash I dehydrate,, so all the other 'pop-up' stuff happens.. groan and then it is time to chug electrolytes.

Really cannot wait for this to be OVER.

But, I really DO want to spend some time in my mothers' home in peace.. before it is sold... and breath.

*The reason I am posting this experience is that many of us with SJS and other medical have older parents, and unlike 'idealistic" scenarios these things can get complicated.

I hope others will share how they coped.. because it does have you up late at night, and your brain spinning.

I never would have imagined everything would have been dumped on me.
That some people would mistake 'disabled' as she is home, thus. like early retirement.
And there are many here who have experienced this.
Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: quietdynamics on March 19, 2014, 09:16:53 AM
Pretty stressful here now. Stress is probably adding to lingering whatever I have.. plus the crash naps these past weeks. Losing my voice in the AM and PM even though I haven't spoken?  Somewhere I misplaced 5lbs of me

Sent notice that I will not renew month-month rental beyond May 2014. I can't drive back and forth, have not idea how long it will take to do the customary cleaning, windows (thankfully casement windows on a ranch home), rug cleaning, etc. New mailbox, light yardwork. Need brother to come from NYC and do some electrical.  Estate sale and such.

I hope I have made progress..  Lawyers emails are scarce now, taxes done for estate and Fed/State. Some banking consolidation.
The bulk of things that would have been par for the course.. hurdles with SJS and Fibro. Frustrating to move along at what really is a snails pace. Plan to do X,Y and Z on a certain day.. and not be able to get past X.

Dear daughter just moved back home with her little black cat...
Will be taking granddaughter, daughter and two cats with us to mothers home..
DH has a trip planned for one week in June is thinking of cancelling.. I told him NOT to.

He watches over me, and then I watch over him watching over me... so breaks from each other are good.

On the lighter side:
Son had his 25th birthday.. I was just so tired.
Birthday cake, birthday cake for a 25 year old?
Asked DH to pick up a bag full of fast food hamburger and fries.. treat as we do not buy it.
Stacked them up to form a cake shape (like pancakes) sat it on the fries, squiggly candles and red halogen curling ribbon .. lite the candles, turned off the lights and called him in.
He loved it!
Said he had never seen anything like it.. and took

Felt like the old me.. thinking outside the box. 
Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: Cassi307 on March 19, 2014, 12:27:11 PM
Very creative "birthday cake"!

It's so hard trying to close out an estate. You are better off staying there while preparing the house. The stress of all this is enough to trigger symptoms.

So you are back to being a 2 cat household? Remember to stroke away because that is great stress relief

Take good care of yourself.
Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: gemini052377 on March 19, 2014, 02:23:58 PM
I am so very sorry you are experiencing so many stressors all at one time! I pray all goes well and this never ending journey ends soon. And the birthday cake idea was fabulous.

Take care, Mary
Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: quietdynamics on March 19, 2014, 03:50:15 PM

Cassi.. what do you think a little black cat does when he sees neatly sorted and organized papers laid out??  :o

So nice to have my daughter here.. she keeps handing me "nutritious smoothies" .. hands it to me saying "what do you think of this one?"  "Want to do some yoga Mom?  Want me to drive?"

Huh?  No I want to know where my hairspray is..kiss, kiss.

gemini.. this will end all in good time.
Posting part vent to my peers here, part to tell how it goes with added stress, both mental and physical.

The average age of women when Dx'd with SJS is around 50's or so.. so older parents.
Men with SJS, younger people, older.. things happen.
So a heads up.. that even when things were laid out and planned to go smoothly by both parents .. sometimes they go array and life gets complicated with legalities, costs, sweat and time (our most precious non-renewable commodity). 

An extended family relative is in and out of hospital for decades... where are the papers I asked, where is the living will?

Life is a mode of transition.
We travel along.
So one more way of being caring, easing the journey is to have the documents of our loved ones as well as ourselves in order and checking to make sure they are there.. stuff happens.

Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: Carolina on March 20, 2014, 06:46:54 AM
Dearest QD,

Sending wishes for some peace and smooth sailing.  The ongoing stress of 'waiting for the other shoe to drop' with the renters is so tiring. 

Adding a 'guilt trip' to the journey is unfair on their part.  However, I guess life isn't fair! 

I have found that there are plenty of people who only see their own side of the story, and will use any ammunition to defend their side.  "heartless' would be funny for anyone who knows you, but is truly scattershot cruelty coming from these folks.

And no matter how we try, we feel the 'pain' and stress from the bad 'karma' coming from these folks.

Well, one day it will be over.  Easy does it.

Hugs,  Elaine
Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: quietdynamics on March 30, 2014, 06:53:56 AM
Want to share good news with you ~

We drove down to the home yesterday.

The painter has done a wonderful job. This was not a small job, by any means.

I walked in.. and the great foyer with the pop-corn ceiling removed looks so crisp and clean and modern.  The highest point is 18 feet high.
I got goose bumps and almost cried..silly.. thinking how much my mother would have love it. She hated the ceiling.
Then you take a small step down into the Great Room itself.. the ceiling is bright white now and wonderful. It would have been too costly and time consuming to have the pop-corn ceiling removed there. The painter in applying paint can only go in one direction and the ceiling alone took 7 gallons of paint.
The bathroom ceiling and upper walls had to be scraped (what a job) and again everything so clean and smooth. Bedroom and another room, everywhere I looked. Just quality and care. Meticulous clean-up.

The painter is in love with home.

I appreciated it all.

After I did a walk about outside (it was raining) to make some notes, I went back inside and as it was almost 3pm and the painter was working alone; I said "it is time to eat..where should we go?"

At the restuarant he was going to choose a hamburger meal. Hmm?
"You know it is near dinner time and you really should have a full meal, so you don't have to cook again.. what about this steak, pick something you would not cook for yourself at home?"
So the three of us had a nice early dinner.

There is a fence in the back that needs to be repaired from Hurricane Sandy.
I mentioned it. And said if you want to do it, I would rather pay you than someone else. If you are interested.

And when I put together the binder/portfolio on the home for buyers I will have his name, business and card in it.
I will invite the neighbor next door to come in a see the work he has done as well.

Turns out he works at the hospital were my mother was.
I am sure she would have liked him.

We are hoping that when we are ready to put this home on the market he will consider doing the work.
It is out of his area.

We are hopefully ending a long month of the lingering, slow moving bug that has knocked us out for a month. Taking daughter to ER and then son to Dr., he has "tonsil stones" and was running a temp. ( I was grateful it was not strep.. but, Dr. is suggesting ENT, possibly tonsillectomy).

On my end I have been back to 3-4 hrs of some energy..then nap for the same.

The listing timeline for photos is now about 2 weeks away.
I decided to pick some items from here to stage the home. Hoping to make it look at bit more appealing for 35- 50 yr. old of range (or so). 

Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: Carolina on March 30, 2014, 11:12:19 AM
Oh QD, the work goes on.  Each day is part of the journey.  Your daughter is feeling a bit better I hope, and all of you, in fact.

And the house will go on the market...and then??  Waiting and wondering.  Are you living IN the house while you're showing it?  Sunshine will be good for sales, if it ever shows up!

This has been a long cold Spring it seems.  Strange weather everywhere.

It all feels very 'transitional' somehow.  Maybe just adjusting to the time change in some ways.  And I had an IVIG on Tuesday.......and now PT.  Everything feels a bit 'temporary'.   

May April will be more 'settled'?  I guess I'll just take the day as it comes.  Perhaps a nap is a good idea!

Hugs,  Elaine
Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: quietdynamics on June 02, 2014, 05:13:21 AM

LISTED:  Whew finally.

Thank you prednisone trial.. clarity is sweet.

I have about 11 days more on the trial, and feeling confident ( there is a word I have not used even in my inner most thoughts, that I can get things done in a timely fashion vs.. dragged out because of symptoms. And I was still doing immensely better than before Nov. 2011)

Was able to work on the home outside with DH for hours, he did the heavy things.

Saw in basement water heater is leaking.. time for a new one. OK.
Few weeks ago something with well pump..                           OK.

Appt with Broker/realtor at 4PM.. bring docs, camera, and muscle.. he did AND an another agent.. YES.

There was a crack ceiling to floor I saw in March. this realtor saw damage to roofline.. Hurricane Sandy? Again?  I have photos of that area immediately at Sandy w/o the crack. Just luck.

He got up on a ladder, took photos.    YES.
I will call ins.. back out, I had called them out in March about the crack.
Realtor is going to take care of water heater and part of fence in back .. YES.

Great home, in a desirable location, and the great condition of the home as my parents kept it. They thought the front stone landing was new that is how home was maintained.
They wanted the listing.

And I was clear.
"I cannot and will not drive back and forth."  Preliminary photos taken, and we will send them the ones we took. Realtor want to do professional video. That part was not important to me.

*Stopped at garden nursery and picked up some blooming perennials instead of cut flowers for staging  Moved them around the home.. then here to plant.
Annuals..bright red geranium with orange petite marigolds on glass table on back deck.. even Realtor smiled.

Told the Realtor.. It is an emotional sale, and I do want the home presented, such that it would make my parents proud. They worked hard and this was their dream home. It is closure.

I cannot begin to describe.. the lift of burden we both feel. We did a great job.

We both slept soundly last night and I believe we actually look better than we have since this ALL started.

Thank you all for your support.

Calls later. Glad I saved the name of Insurance Adjuster in my note/log.

Title: Re: Selling My Mothers Home and Still doing The Estate...
Post by: Carolina on June 02, 2014, 06:46:50 AM
Oh QD, a big hurdle!

And thanks to Prednisone from me, too.  I know it can't last forever, but it so amazing to feel better.

Now, of course, I've rather forgotten how it was.........

You used your 'lift' to finish up this last part of a long process with the house.   

I used mine to tolerate IVIG which is keeping me infection free, AND to get started on PT to help me with walking.  We walked about two miles today from the house to lunch and back.  I'm very slow but at least I did it!

At least we have the option of occasionally getting a break from our misery.  And the rest of the time we practice patience, persistence, and acceptance.

Hugs,  Elaine 

Congratulations on a job well done!