Just another love story. Part sixteen: jobs for everyone

Portland-View-Properties-Mt.-Tabor

Oh, I forgot to mention… during all of the turmoil of delivering and bringing baby home, Blue Eyes received in the mail confirmation that he had in fact passed the bar exam. It didn’t really help with the job situation at the time, but we had a nice little celebration nonetheless. Blue Eyes’ parents came to town to meet their grandson, for the Bris celebration (postponed by two weeks due to baby’s jaundice), and to congratulate their son on passing the bar. They weren’t thrilled he didn’t have a job, and they continued to chastise our decision to move north, but they kept things mostly civil.

Although baby boy was quite the handful for me and Blue Eyes, his colic was gone by the time he was 2 1/2 months old, and at about the same time, he started sleeping through the night. When he was one month old, I realized Blue Eyes procuring a job just wasn’t going to be that easy, so I went looking. I decided I would take a job at the mall as the assistant manager of a toy store. I had been working at the same speciality toy store down in California, and I had worked retail many times in my life at that point. Even though I was college educated, I wanted something that was easy, was on nights and weekends, and that I wouldn’t feel bad walking away from at a moment’s notice.

We moved from the somewhat large rental house in the city to a 2-bedroom apartment in the suburbs just a hop, skip, and a jump from my parent’s house. Blue Eyes ended up taking a job with a Japanese company just across the river in the state of Washington. So, all of the sudden we went from jobless, to both working, and with a two month old baby. Any slack in childcare was picked up by my mom. We had one vehicle. Blue Eyes left early in the morning for his commute across the river and then he returned home just in time for me to leave to work the closing shift at the mall. I worked on weekends as well. Sometimes Blue Eyes and baby would come visit me during my shift. We started to diligently save up money for a down payment on a house close to Blue Eyes’ work. We found, however, that it was really difficult to save money even on our combined salaries. It seemed it would take us years to save up enough for a down payment on even the least expensive starter home. It was also tough living in an apartment with an infant, people partying at all hours, doors slamming during baby’s nap time, not a lot of room to spread out. We also did not see each other often. We were ships passing in the night.

About six months into our crazy work schedule, I got the brilliant {{sarcasm}} idea of approaching Blue Eyes about asking his parents for a loan for the down payment on a house. I honestly do not know what I was thinking. I was desperate to get out of our current situation and they are filthy rich. I wasn’t going to ask for a gift, just a loan, on whatever terms they liked. Blue Eyes did not like the idea AT ALL, so I dropped it. When he also grew tired of our work schedules and living arrangements, he agreed we would approach the subject with his parents. After the reality of us moving out of state sunk in, and since the birth of their first grandson, the in laws had actually been quite civil to us. Well, guess what the best way to turn crazy people crazier is? Ask them for money. While on the phone during Blue Eyes’ weekly phone call with them, he asked them if they would consider loaning us the money for the down payment on a small starter home near his job. O.M.G. You would have thought we had asked them to purchase us a mansion built out of gold. We were asking them if we could BORROW $7500. The immediate response from MIL was yelling, lots of put downs, more shouts of how irresponsible we both were, how could we ask them for anything, at all, after everything they had already done for US? Honestly, that woman never paid for anything of mine, ever. I always paid my own way, and many times paid for Blue Eyes. We were a couple. That’s the way it is done. I knew it would all work out in the end. They did pay for mine and Blue Eyes’ wedding, but I have already described how basically they paid for a big party for their friends because that is what she desperately wanted, which turned out to be a chapter from the book of hell for me and Blue Eyes. Other than that, I scoured my memory for what else they had supposedly done for US other than cause both of us a lot of grief. We dropped the idea of borrowing money from them like a hot potato.

The in-laws called back the following week and informed us that they might be willing to think about loaning us the money if we provided them with all of our financials. Basically copies of all of our bills, pay stubs, checking account statements, etc… Control freaks much??? We abandoned the whole conversation, of course. We promised each other we would never approach that subject with them again.

About a month later MIL called me to coordinate them visiting us. They wanted to see their grandson. They flew up the next month, spring 1992. We played nice. The baby didn’t want to have anything to do with them. Kids have instincts, don’t cha know. He didn’t exactly scream and cry, but we have some pretty great pictures of him staring at his grandparents like they are aliens from another planet. I like to call it planet HELL. On the second day of their three day trip, they told us that they had in fact talked about it and decided to loan us the money for the down payment on a house. We were skeptical. At that point I didn’t want to take a cent from them. MIL insisted I take them to the neighborhood of starter homes where we planned to purchase. It was about 15 minutes from Blue Eyes’ work. At this point in time, MIL had morphed from a substitute school teacher in the valley, to a full on LA real estate agent, very Beverly Hills. I think they actually have reality shows these days featuring women like her.

So, while Blue Eyes was at work, I drove the in-laws through the modest little neighborhood where we planned to purchase, small starter homes going up all around us, and then MIL insisted on speaking to the builder. We went to the sales office and as luck would have it, the builder was actually in. She grilled the hell out of the guy and this small town fella was no match for the fiery lady from hell. I thought the guy would wither under the barrage of questions flung at him by MIL. In the end, MIL didn’t like the builder, she didn’t like the neighborhood, she didn’t like the houses. Her coup de grace was to have me drive by one of his established neighborhoods to see what the houses looked like once they had been occupied for at least a year. As we drove down the little cul de sac of homes, even after just over a year from being built, they were dilapidated, unkempt, some with no discernible landscaping, many already with peeling paint and debris in the front yards, absolutely no codes, so one house was beige while the next was bright blue. This is very Pacific Northwest. Free will and all that. But MIL has been living in the land of homeowners associations (HOA), with strict enforcement of rules and regulations, boards filled with people who make decisions about what color you can paint your house, whether or not you can plant a specific tree species, or put on an addition, even down to what time of day you have to pull in your garbage can on pick up day. That little flame inside me that thought perhaps we would be moving into our own little house one day soon was quickly dying out. As much as I didn’t want to admit that MIL was right, the neighborhoods were not very nice, it was honestly all we could afford and I was resigned to that fact.

Then MIL asks me if there are any other new housing developments in the area. She wants a neighborhood where the houses are nicer, with a more reputable builder. I know of one, but it is way out of our price range. She wants to go there anyway. This neighborhood does have an HOA, which thrills MIL to no end. The houses are built around a small community park, which is absolutely lovely. We drive around the neighborhood and the established homes are very uniformly built, all painted virtually the same color, within a shade or two, and the landscaping is impeccable. We visit the model home office and speak to two pristinely groomed bleach blondes (right up MIL’s alley) and they point out a lovely lot right on the park where we could build one of their smaller patio homes, approximately 1500 square feet. The house is not under construction yet, so we will be able to pick out all our finishes. MIL is thrilled, but my stomach is in knots because these homes are WAY outside our price range. With the smallest of down payments, our house payment will be unmanageable. With a lackluster attitude, I agree to look at two homes under construction, and the lot in question.

Two hours later, MIL has plunked down $30,000 (a gift, she says) and in approximately six months, Blue Eyes and I will be the proud owners of a beautiful little patio home on a park in the great state of Washington. We both feel like we have just sold our soul to the devil.

10 thoughts on “Just another love story. Part sixteen: jobs for everyone

  1. Oh man. My stomach was starting to knot up from the moment your in laws got to town! I am certain that the “gift” of the down payment was a gift for her — something for her to lord over you for years to come, no doubt.

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    • Yeah, it’s a sickness from both ends. BE was used to being manipulated with their influence and money and of course I wanted out of that apartment and into a home, really bad. My mom still questions why we didn’t just ask to borrow the money from them. Well, they had not even offered to help pay for college, why would I think they would loan us money for a house, and we were moving farther away from them, why would they want to contribute to that? Everyone has baggage. That $30,000 gift would come up over and over and over again. Hindsight is always 20/20. Once we didn’t “need” their money anymore, MIL’s behavior escalated to a fever pitch. We really have no choice but no contact at this point.

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