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June 26, 2005

25 Years for This?

My mom got married at 16, the same time my dad was enlisting in the Marine Corps. She was married to my dad for about 12 years. They divorced and she married my stepdad. They've now been married for 13 years. He's also a marine.

So, my mom has been a Marine Corps spouse for 25 years. That's all she knows. 25 years of moving, deployments, and living by the Corps' ways.

Before getting married, my mom lived in a small town. Her family was very poor. I've seen the house they used to live in. No indoor bathroom facilities, in the looked like a junk yard.

Since then, she has always lived in base housing or rented an apartment until they could get into base housing. She has never had the opportunity to own a house...until now.

My mom, stepdad and Sis #1 have orders to MCAS Beaufort, SC. They were very excited to get off of Recruiters Duty, get out of Chicago, and buy a house where there was a good chance they were going to retire. You see, stepdad only has 3 more years until he hits 20!

They looked online for houses, got a realtor, and went through the stresses of house hunting. I advised for them to come down for a week, take their time to look at houses and get to know the area, before making a decision. Mom is tired of traveling and making 1000 mile trips, and decided to let stepdad go on his own.

Let me explain her roll in the family. She makes all the big decisions. She pays all the bills, deals with all the finances, keeps all the records. So this was big for her to let him take care of it all.

He went down there for a weekend, looked at a lot of crappy houses, and decided on one on Lady's Island. He told my mom they would love it and it was spotless.

For the first time, they let TMO pack them up and more them. They were very excited about this move. My mom and sis left Chicago yesterday at 4pm and arrived to the new house this morning at about 5 am.

I called her this morning at about 9am and she couldn't talk. My sister had to talk to me because she was crying so much. The house is horrific! After 25 years in the Marine Corps, she has to live in a place that is worse than anything she's lived in, other than when she was a kid.

I finally got to talk to her. She was very upset. I decided to drive the 2 hours down there to try and help make the place suitable.

I arrived and I couldn't believe what I saw. They paid $188,000 for this house and it didn't look like it wasn't even worth $100,000. My mom has worked so hard to keep financial matters straight. They now have a house payment that takes up all their BAH that she absolutely hates. She's going to have to write a check for the mortgage every month that is going to make her sick.

The house is small! It is 3 bedrooms and 2 baths...but it is small! And the neighbors are close...very close. I walked in their backyard and saw their redneck neighbors through the fence on a slip n slide. The yards are not taken care of! (And my mom is big into gardening and yardwork)

Inside, the house was covered in this indoor/outdoor type carpet. The ceilings were that popcorn texture. The fireplace was cheap and had cracks all down it. The baseboards were cracked. The dining room floor had a dip toward the middle. My mom went to unplug the ADT alarm and the outlet plate just fell off. She went to pull down the blinds and they just fell. There are no dead bolts on the doors and the back doors to the backyard...I could bump my hips against it and open it if I wanted.

The paint jobs are shitty! There is dirt all over the walls. The garage is small. The toilets are stained. The tile in one room is mismatched. The cabinets in the kitchen are cheap and poorly done. The house is just very cheaply made!

I could go on. My mom is so upset and disapointed. She doesn't understand what my stepdad could have been thinking.

I tried to get her motivated to get the place fixed up. She wants nothing to do with it. She feels that working on the place still won't improve it. She has no desire to touch anything in there.

And to top it off, the town is small and there is nothing there! They are going to miserable there for the next 3 years! And then, how are they going to resell this place? They got royally screwed on this one.

I don't know what to do and I don't know how to help. I just can't imagine that disapointment right now! I tried to find benefits of the place. Things we could do to make it better. She wasn't hearing it.

The movers get their tomorrow at 8am with their stuff. Maybe she'll feel a little better then. My stepdad doesn't get here until Friday. That's probably a good thing. She needs a little time to cool off...

Posted by Sissy at June 26, 2005 08:00 PM

That just makes me sick to my stomach. To be worse than base housing or apartments is saying a lot!!!!

Posted by: Amy at June 26, 2005 10:54 PM

what about one of those extreme home makeover type shows?

Posted by: Aris_Ravencroft at June 27, 2005 12:04 AM

I agree with Aris. Log onto ABC and apply now.
Tell your Mom to just consider it a starter home, do
what needs to be done to sell it in 3 years and then help her buy the next one. And don't ever let her let your Stepdad make a real estate purchase ever again!

Posted by: Susan at June 27, 2005 09:01 AM

Silver Lining - Your only 2 hours away!

Maybe that will help her?

Posted by: Machelle at June 27, 2005 09:08 AM

Nothing positive to say. Man. That just sucks.

That's the last time he gets a major decision. I guaran-damn-tee it. He blew that one big.

Posted by: Bou at June 27, 2005 01:01 PM