This is a long and stupid question about an old friendship and its affect on my family. Very, very special snowflake.
posted by TomMelee to human relations (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This will be long, I'll try to keep it as short as possible.
I have a male friend, R. He is married to T. R and I have been freinds since about third grade. He's an excellent guy who has a pretty crappy family, and he's always taken a lot of responsibility for all of them. His mother raises his niece. He comes from nothing but is really a genius, and is currently a chemical engineer making a fine living---nothing like it could be if they could move, but that's another issue for another time. T comes from a very privileged family, and while she is super sweet, she's also very very spoiled. I have always worked in non-profit, and I helped her get a job in the community in about 2007 or so. She has a masters in policy evaluation or something.
Myself and another mutual friend set them up our freshman year of college, which was fall 1998. They've been together ever since. About 6 years ago, they started trying to have a baby, and have been unsuccessful. This has really led to a LOT of issues between them and their friends. I recognize this is difficult, and accept that much if this is my own doing and responsibility.
My son was born in December of 2010. T offered to do the baby shower (we didn't really WANT her to, but how do you say no?) She invited another friend K, who is flaky beyond belief but super, super sweet. T had about 2 months of notice before the shower, but waited until about 1 month before to start making plans. This is all very stupid to me, because I don't really care about baby showers---it's significant because my Fiancee's family is from far away.
Anyway, she waited until about 2 weeks before the event to mail the invites, and then didn't put postage on them. Most people wound up getting the formal invites about 6 days before the party. The only way we found out they HADN'T gotten them was when her friends started calling to ask where they were. No big deal though, we had a fine crowd. This is where it gets dumb.
T doesn't get along with a LOT of girls, and we're not friends with most of her circle. As a result, several of the invited girls are somewhat persona-non-grata to her, and she was pretty shitty to them at the party. Also, flaky K showed up almost an hour late because her dog got out. Whatever. T made a big, ugly stink at the shower in front of everyone, really calling K awful names---significant because K is her best friend. Additionally, about 5 days before the shower, K calls us and tells us after buying everything else for the shower that T stuck her with (saying she couldn't afford), she can't afford the cake, can I buy it for myself? So I buy the cake, whatever. This is only significant because 5 days later, R and T left for a Disney cruise for 2 weeks. (Irritating, but I have no claim to their money, so w/e.)
So...backing up about a week. T and I got into a pretty nasty FB argument. I made a comment saying something like "When someone wants to get a dog, everyone says 'go to the shelter and pick one out', why don't people say the same thing to people who start talkin about having babies?" The comment wasn't TO anyone, nor did it come as a result of any conversation, it's just something I feel strongly about. (adoption, that is.)
So, she really attacked me in thread, and basically said something about how some people could have accidents and get children (referring to me, we're not married) and other people shouldn't be forced to accept the castoffs, and some crap about biological imperative, you get the idea. It devolved (I didn't appreciate our son being called an accident, and I feel that if the only reason you'd consider adoption is because you can't have your own, then you shouldn't adopt). I felt bad the next morning, and I sent her an FB message basically apologizing, but saying that I felt like she did say it to be hurtful but that I understood her viewpoint. Well, in my haste, I posted to her wall and not via private message. We then went out of town for the day. When I got home, she had sent me a message saying I was an awful person and she didn't want to be my friend. I responded with a simple "ok." This all went down about 2 days before the shower, and she was apoplectic that I had the audacity to show up at the shower and made no bones about saying so.
So...we went about 19 months without talking to each other. I tried to stay in touch with R, but he said (and I think this is OK) that his allegiance had to be with her, even though he believed she was in the wrong.
So a couple months ago, I sent them each an apology email, basically saying I didn't intend to cut them out of my son's life, but I didn't know how I had expected it to go down otherwise. We all talked, they admitted lots of fault (as did I), and we agreed to move forward. Since then, things have been better. I dunno if really better, or if everyone's just trying harder. I still think she whines A LOT, and I know she still thinks I'm a jerk but she recognizes that I'm just brutally honest.
So now we're to the actual, current issue:
Before this ALL started, my mother was trying to sell a rental property she owns. It wasn't in great shape, but was OK. She held on to it too long though, and the bubble popped, and she wasn't getting any takers. One guy offered her like 40% of asking price, cash the next day, and she almost took it. I told her not to. Today my mother is 69 years old, fwiw.
About this time R, had been laid off, and was starting a construction company with his brother. He made an arrangement with my mom, where for 6 months he would assume all the bills, fix up the house, buy it from her, and flip it. Well, 6 months passed and they basically hadn't done anything, so they extended it, and then they extended it again. The most recent "year long" agreement expires either in November or December. The terms state that after the window expires, if he doesn't buy the house, he loses anything he's put into it. (He got another full time job about 8 weeks after getting laid off.)
Part of the stupidness here is that my mom is sort of hesitant to share with me the agreement because it doesn't really favor her very well. Regardless, the whole thing has put her in a rough spot financially.
I stopped by the house about a month ago, and the house is in worse shape now than it was. They've done some degree of demo in EVERY SINGLE ROOM, there is currently no electricity on the second floor (house was completely rewired 10 years ago) and no working bathroom, all doors are removed, etc. They've done some work, but finished nothing. Someone has also been partying in the house, we believe it's the brother.
So...about a year ago, R and T bought a second house and moved into it, intending to rent their original house. She rented it to an employee for the cost of utilities, and he never paid them anything and now he's run away after stealing a bunch of money. They're out maybe a thousand bucks in money owed for utilities. They're also paying a second mortgage that they can't really afford, blah blah blah.
I just found out about 2 weeks ago that he's 3 months behind paying my mom, something like $600-800. This is significant because my mom has NO MONEY, and has already stated that when this house sells, she will retire. He does not know that I know he's behind. He does know that I know the agreement expires in a month or two.
When I mentioned to him that I'd really appreciate them moving forward ASAP because my mom is looking forward to retiring, his response was "But I thought she really liked her job?" My mom works counter in a grocery store. Really?
Last week, he ate lunch with my fiancee on Wednesday, and told her (among other things) that the reason he's behind paying my mom is because dude was behind paying him, which I get totally. Then Thursday I found out that Sunday (yesterday) he was leaving for Boston for 10 days for work. I asked him if T was going, and she's flying up separately on Wednesday, then staying the week, and flying back with him when he comes home. (Apparently the flight is being paid for partially with credit-card miles.)
Again, I am frustrated, because one doesn't take a week jaunt to Boston for free, and I feel like he has an obligation to my mom who is in a seriously bad spot right now. She says that when this extension is over, it's over and there won't be another. The house is NOT sellable right now. Most likely, I will get a Lowes card in her name, buy whatever it needs, and do it myself. That doesn't bother me, BUT I know that if R and T lose the money they have in the house, they'll be freaked out. (The reason they haven't worked on it is because they started getting contracts to do flooring in subdivisions, and their margins are tiny and the timelines are slim. Fine, but not my problem.)
So, after all this, here's the question: What do I do? My mom turns 70 in a couple months, is of completely sound mind but she is extremely timid. He is seemingly willfully oblivious what her situation is (granted, she lives in a huge home she was bequeathed, but she has no liquid cash and can't even pay the gas bill normally). Do I push it with him? Do I wait for it to unfold? Do I just say that it really feels like we're getting treated poorly? (There was another incident this weekend where they made plans with us then broke them then made it so visiting friends weren't able to see us, all within the same day.) Do I let it go? It's not costing ME money, but it's affecting my mom. What would you do?