Closing on the house couldn’t come soon enough. The closing date had been moved to the first of June because the county had become involved with the family and the troubled kids and insisted they remain in school until they were let out for the summer.
The sheriff’s auction was also scheduled for June 8th. The house had to close before then or I would have to start all over and wait for the redemption period to end before I could make an offer on the house again.
I couldn’t be sure that the house wouldn’t be redeemed, or that some other investor might step in and pay cash to the mortgage holder. I would have been left with nothing.
Worse yet, another nightmare in the making without my knowledge, would have been a neighbor worse than this one.
The current occupant claimed that her father had money and that he would step in and buy the house. I had no idea if this was true, or was just another fabricated story to keep me thinking and on my toes.
If it was, it worked. I worried everyday that something else would come up or go wrong.
To say the least, this was a very stressful time.
For some reason, she also thought that the ten grand we had given the Realtor for our earnest-money down payment, was to go to her immediately so she could pay off some creditors that were hounding her. A number of times, both the Realtor and I had explained to her how the house selling process worked.
However, she never seemed to understand it. Or, for whatever reasons she may have had, maybe she never wanted to.
She became very hostile over this. She took the on the victim role. It seemed like every chance she had, she would say things like, “If I wasn’t a poor single black-woman who had lost her fiancée because someone murdered him and the white cops don’t care about him or us you wouldn’t be able to take advantage of me.”
All I could do was to listen and let her rambling on and bite my tongue.
My tongue was sore for months.
I tried my best to help her with the pending move. I would ask her if she had started looking for a place. I would offer to save boxes and told her I would take over the mowing duties of her house and the vacant lot next to the house, if she liked, so she could concentrate on the move. There were three lawn mowers in the yard. All three were inoperable. Still sitting where it had hit the stand-pipe was the once new riding lawn-mover. The collision with the water pipe had damaged its main shaft causing it to stall. There it remained. Two other push mowers were left where they either died or ran out of gas.
In one sense, time was passing by slowly because I was anxious to get the house closed. But, on the other hand, I knew that there was a lot of work to be done before this happened. There was no movement towards removing the old boat and abandoned cars in the yard. Not to mention the piles of junk in the garage.
She still had not found a place for her and her kids to live. Her mother, who had moved into the basement to take care of the kids, never even knew that the house had been sold. She asked me not to tell her or her brother who had moved in along with some more children.
I think she was still mad at me for telling her brother that the house was sold.
She claimed that he was her meal ticket for both her and the kids.
I told her that if her and the kids needed food I would buy her and the kids enough to get threw closing and she could get the money left over after the mortgage and other liens were paid off.
She made some sort of comment which involved placing the food I offered in a location that was covered by my pants. In an effort to break the tension I said with a smile that it would be a physical impossibility to place all the food up there. She said she would love to try it.
Apparently she didn’t have much of a sense of humor, because she didn’t see anything funny in my comment.
Admittedly, my sense of humor was not what it had been, and my patience which was wearing thin.
Any efforts to talk to her were now met with hostility and a lot of yelling. I just stopped trying and called the Realtor and relayed my concerns.
He didn’t seem to care much. He didn’t even pretend.
The closing day arrived; not a minute too soon.
I got up that morning and looked across the street to see if they were moving. It was Friday morning. They had until Saturday noon to be out of the house.
Closing didn’t go well. Amounting to thousands of dollars, there were many liens filed against the property. She wanted to dispute all of them. She claimed it was a conspiracy to take her money. We sat through several angry outbursts, a few lectures about us being racist. Apparently, we were only out to screw her along with the rest of white society. She threatened to walk out of closing.
For the first time, her Realtor earned his money. He took her to a private room and explained what had to happen for her to get any money. He went over the possibility of her losing it all together, if it was sold at the sheriff’s sale which was scheduled to take place in seven days.
When I wrote the purchase agreement I added an addendum that allowed for escrow money for such things and having the old cars towed away and up to three twenty cubic yard dumpsters to hauled away all the junk and garbage in the house. I knew the junk was of no use to me.
After a short private meeting with her Realtor, she returned and we finished the closing on the house
She cried all the way through it.
She received a check for twenty-two thousand dollars, but she claimed it should have been forty-two thousand. Her Realtor again tried to explain how the liens and judgments worked.
She didn’t want to hear anymore and spit out a few choice words, picked up the check and headed towards the door. While leaving she said, “Now I have the money to go pay for the apartment. At least me and my kids won’t be homeless like I bet you would have liked to see us.”
We all just remained silent.
Exhausted and grateful, closing was complete.
If this is what joy felt like, it sure felt strange to me.
We left. I kept questioning myself, “What had we got into?”
We had no sooner arrived home when she walked across the street while I was still getting out of my car.
“I can’t move today because there are no moving trucks or vans available,” she said.
“Didn’t you reserve one? You knew over a month in advance you would be moving at the end of the month. We have even talked about this.” I responded.
“How the hell was I suppose to pay the deposit, screw the owner?”
I didn’t answer that.
Out of total exasperation, all I could say was,” We have a pickup and could help you move if you like.”
She smugly retorted, “Well, it’s either that, or I can’t move!”
I asked her where she was moving to.
“One block away, to that apartment on the corner,” she answered, gesturing toward the apartment building down the street.
I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. My worst nightmare was coming true.
Boy, was I ever wrong about that.
There were several, even worse ones, about to come true.