Mama finally got her check last week. The full limits of the policy on her hoarding hovel. I’ve tried to counsel her on what should be done with this windfall. See, Mama has her mobile mansion on eight acres of land that she has lived on for 30 years. She technically doesn’t own this land, it’s part of what used to be considered a life lease. My great grandparents lived on this land, when I was a kid, two of my favorite cousins lived just down the street, and when we first called it home 30 years ago, it was a cute little community of good people who took pride in their mini-farms. Times have changed. The older neighbors are all dead, replaced through the years by a variety of people who “dont work cuz of disability”. Jerry Springer could have kept his show booked for a year trolling through the neighborhood ten years ago. But, times have once again shifted. The land of my old neighborhood is valuable–hundreds of acres right in town, undeveloped. Over the past decade, what were once cow pastures are now business parks. What was once an old coal mine slate dump is now a driving range. What was once the field where my neighbor’s horses roamed is now an elementary and middle school campus. And where my great grandmother used to tend her prized roses is now a major highway. And plop in the middle of all this development is Mama. Her eight acres more often than not overgrown and untended. The only neighbors in the old ‘hood are cut off from her by the new freeway. It’s no longer a place for people to live, and it’s too much property for mom to care for.
The time is coming when Mama will get a call from the true owners of the property telling her that she has 30 days to vacate because they’re developing the property into an apartment, or a gas station, or a methadone clinic. And even though she owns her doublewide free and clear, the expenses involved in moving it elsewhere are quite out of mama’s budget.
So, my top suggestion for Mama has been to use whatever portion of her windfall to move. “I cain’t find nobody that moves trailers.” has been her mantra for weeks now. My answer has always been the same: “If you call ANYONE who sells mobile homes, they can tell you who to call.” Apparently, this is outside her skill set. So, naturally, I got online and sent her the names of three mobile home movers in the area. She’s looked at a few mobile home parks.
“They want $150 a month!” She has learned. After pressing her, this pittance includes residents water and trash pick up, so by my math, her monthly expenses would only rise about 20 dollars all told.
Mama has remained under some delusion that this money must be in someone else’s account. I want no part of this, so when I got a call from the bank she chose last week, my skin about came loose. Turns out the bank representative had informed her that she couldn’t make me co-owner on her account if I weren’t there, so he just wanted my address so that I could be her beneficiary. Fine.
My advice to mom has been to use the money first and foremost to move her home. She owns it, in reality its more space than she should need, and if she got her hoarding under control, its actually a very nice little place. It would just be the sensible thing to do. Which is why it probably won’t happen.
“I went and looked at some new trailers just to see what my options were. I need one thats got some closet space”
“Well mother, I think you could turn one of your smaller bedrooms into a proper closet with built in shelves and what not for a few hundred dollars.”
“I could do that.” I’m guessing she won’t though.
When she voiced displeasure at living in a trailer park, I told her to look for a small lot she could purchase. There are bargains to be had in this market, after all, and while I think her needs are better met by a managed park, far be it from me to begrudge her owning her own parcel.
So she picked up a Trading Times, the local classified paper. What a mistake. She called over the weekend, terribly excited. Now, I don’t mean to make fun here, it was an awfully sweet gesture, but she really needs to make some smart decisions with this money, and she just isn’t.
“I found a timeshare in the Trading Times! I was gonna get it for you all. It’s only $1000 for a week in a 5-star complex at the beach. And it’s for the week of your birthday!” I’m fairly certain, at that price, its someone just selling the use of their share for this year. “I talked to the lady already! You could take that week off couldn’t you?”
Luckily, by the time I returned the call, she had forgotten all about the timeshare. “I cain’t replace ever-thing they took.” She complained.“But I gotta get some jewelry. It’s a shame not having at least a ring I can wear. And they’s some good ones in the Trading Times that people are just desperate to sell!”
Ugh! So aggravating! I can’t get through to her that she needs to make moving a priority now, while she has the luxury of time and money to do so. I shudder to think that she will fritter away this money on timeshares and emeralds, and then she will get the call that she HAS to move, and will have no way at all to. (Though, knowing her, she will find some program that will foot the bill.)