Ending 2009

year end 2009
So, 2009. Quite a year. It began in a state of flux; I was laid off of my job in late January, found out that the state of Virginia was messing up my credit by making up liens I never owed (this still has not really been resolved; they marked them as ‘Paid’ rather than removing them), my HOA alleged I owed them money for violations that were fixed years ago (also unresolved; I have to go to court for that next month)… I am very accustomed to the ‘when it rains it pours’ life, but it’s still overwhelming.
And then in March, I got a phone call that changed everything.
My stepfather had died. Now, there’s a long backstory involved here, but the oversimplified version is this: my mother & stepfather had been married for about 20 years; my mother died in 2004, which was very hard for him (my feelings were admittedly mixed; she was a mentally ill and cruel person and did everything she could to ruin my life at every turn, she was a pathological liar, and overall a bitter, nasty human being) but, her death freed both of us in many ways. In late 2005, he met a new woman, and in 2006 they decided to get married so that he could get health insurance, as she was entitled to benefits after working for the police department (as a receptionist) for five years. She was similar to my mother in certain areas; a huge chip on her shoulder, a feeling of entitlement, using guilt to manipulate people, expected to be taken care of rather than working, pretending to be nice socially but having a very bitter and nasty side in private. But even worse, she was money-hungry, and when she saw that my stepfather had more dollars than sense, she kept demanding more and more from him.
Now, when my mother had died, my uncle & his two vulture-children swooped into her house in Florida (which she bought w/my stepfather in 1989) and stole a bunch of her things; iPods, jewelry, prescription drugs, etc. It took my stepfather a few months to realize how much stuff was stolen. Those things were supposed to have been left to me per her will* and per my stepfather’s wishes, but they were gone. I really didn’t know these relatives; my mother was always lying about things and none of the family members ever spoke with/to me directly, so who knows what lies any of us have been told. (*I had no idea I was supposed to get these things; I was never given access to the will nor honestly told anything about it.) My mother had been getting a family inheritance for about 25 years, so she had a reasonable chunk of money (some of it was supposed to go towards me, my education, etc., but it didn’t).
So, moving forward. My stepfather is suddenly dead – and not only dead, but immediately cremated. No autopsy, and a gold-digging wife (Fran) who used to work for the police department – that doesn’t raise flags? When I get the call, from some stranger that bowled with him, I’m told I’ll be called back about details. I’m not. I call back the next day and find out that there’ll be a service for him in two days, so I scramble to get tickets. I’m also told, by his wife’s daughter, that they can ‘help me find a hotel.’ Yes, they honestly thought that they were more entitled to stay in my family’s home than I was. So now I’m not only in shock and grief, but I’m pissed. The airline overbooks my flight, so I missed the service (see post about that here). I get there, and it’s beyond awkward. Fran’s grandson tells me that he’s been over his will (can’t even let the ashes cool, can they?) and that I’ve been left most everything and that they want me to let Fran stay in the house. I didn’t see the will, so I left the next day (in their sucking-upness, they let me stay, but I had to share my room w/Fran’s daughter) thinking things would be fine.
Within a week, Fran used my stepfather’s truck & SUV to clean out the house. All of my family items, all of my things, my mother’s and stepfather’s things, gone. I had no idea this was happening; but I couldn’t have done anything about it if I had, because it took over nine weeks for his death certificate to be filed. All of his papers and records, his computers (which, technically, belonged to his company), gone. I couldn’t even get access to the will until the certificate was filed, and I had no idea if Fran was going to go after his money as his spouse; her grandson indicated as much, telling me only that his will was made before he was married and their lawyers were looking into it. Mind you, these are people that had known him less than three years, who made an obituary for him that was completely inaccurate (because they knew nothing about him) – but they did have the ability to get computers, trips, cars, and even a house out of him. They conveniently forget to mention that there was a prenup, but the lawyer who’d made the documents tells me this. So, now I get to see the will, and finally get to see my mother’s as well. Everything is supposed to be folded into a trust, and I’m the main benefactor, but not the sole one. Right before he died, my stepfather was planning to modify his will to take my thieving cousins out of it, and was going to transfer some land over to me, as well as give me a loan for my business. Unfortunately none of that happened, so the scum-suckers are still in it. They even contacted me right after he died – not to say that they were sorry for my loss or to ask how I was doing, but to ask about getting money!!
The trust is set up to have a bank as the executor, and so there’s really no way of controlling them/it. I get statements but don’t get any actual money from it yet (and there are age restrictions on what I can get); there’s a lot of stuff that has to be liquidated, not to mention deciding what to do about the theft (which Fran claims was ‘her stuff,’ total and obvious lies, easy to prove false. That woman and her family should be rotting in jail.). The executor tells me that my scum-cousins want to buy one of his cars; still vulturing over whatever they can get their greedy little paws on. She also tells me that me stepfather had two IRA accounts that were left solely to me, and that I’d hear from them in a few days about getting access to them. I hear nothing. So I contact them, and hear nothing. I contact them again, and eventually hear back, telling me to ‘call them.’ I don’t want to call them, I want my information documented. They send me papers; I ask them to verify that they’re the ones I need. They assure me that they are. I send them in, and hear nothing. I inquire again, and am told I need to send them other documents. Basically, they piddled so much that I didn’t have access to the accounts for over half a year. In a nutshell, everyone’s just screwing me over, and all anyone does is shrug and say it’s not worth fixing. That’s the problem we have today; when you get screwed over, you’re just supposed to passively accept it, like it’s okay. It’s not. I know it’s hard to have empathy for the situation when, realistically, I’ll still probably come out of things with a couple of commas (eventually… still less than eight years of my old salary), but what about the people who get screwed who don’t? How is it okay for someone to be cremated immediately per the directive of someone who has every motive to kill them? How is it okay for someone to have been specifically named in a will but never given access to it? How is it okay for a death certificate to take nine weeks to be filed? How is it okay for someone to removed tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars of items that aren’t theirs from a home that isn’t theirs? How is it okay for a bank to not notify someone that they inherited an account and deny them access to it for over half a year, potentially losing its assets in the process? How would you fix it, other than to dump tens of thousands into legal fees, thus losing it anyways? And now, I haven’t heard a peep from the trust executors in about half a year as well.
As I keep telling people, the moral here is ‘don’t die’ – but seriously, it’s not about the things or the money, it’s about dignity and the decency of people and of how easy it is for your legacy and wishes to be stolen. (Not to mention you yourself – his ashes were taken by those crooks & they’ve never contacted me again since the service.) Money just brings out the worst in people, especially when they have no consequences for losing it and no effort for gaining it. My father, in his usual attacking and unsympathetic fashion, basically told me I was lucky to get anything anyways and too bad about the rest. My stepmother told me that it was a good thing I got something because she sure as shit wasn’t going to leave me anything (I’m apparently not her ‘real family’ since I didn’t come out of her vagina; at least she finally admitted to feeling that way). I’m not bitching about the money. I didn’t say a word when I didn’t get left anything when my father’s mother died (eventually I did get a few pieces of costume jewelry – once my stepmother & her daughter picked over everything, I’m sure). I’m saying it’s scary as shit what people will do to you. My grandmother and my mother both specifically told me what they wanted me to have, but in neither case it happened; the greedy vultures and liars got there first, and I never asked about the wills, assuming (incorrectly) that I’d have to know if I was in them.
So, all of this drama and back-and-forth did take a toll on me; I spent most of the year too overwhelmed and traumatized by all of the insanity to function or deal with things. I started up a company and put forth some effort to give it legs, but I was so drained that it was hard to focus. Adding to the burden, several of my ‘friends’ decided to lean on me heavily without any reciprocity and use me. I’ve had to burn though my savings account, and still have to deal with lawyer’s fees and, well, nothing is resolved. But, I’ve always been incredibly resourceful and have been kicked when I was down many, many times before. And things are looking up. The business is getting a better foundation, my network is expanding, and opportunities keep emerging. I plan to expand the business, do some writing, some music, some travel (I have flier miles to use up…), and finally complete the education I’d worked so hard to do (but that my mother took away from me years ago). I’m working on some great projects now and don’t see that slowing any time soon. I’m sure that the year/s ahead will be wonderful… and hopefully much less dramatic and traumatic.