I spent a wonderful five nights at the beach house a while back. A couple of the days were really lovely, weather-wise. Blue skies and 60 degrees in November is pure bliss on the Oregon Coast. Those two “balmy” days just happened to be ones where Blue Eyes was in the city. It didn’t matter though. He drove out Saturday morning after fellowship and we commiserated our horrible arbitration fate together.
I was still in bed upon his arrival to the beach house. I can be SO lazy! I heard the front door open, and the clickety clack of our mini Aussie’s toenails as he ran in to the beach house bedroom and looked at the bed suspiciously. When I popped my head up, he jumped up on the bed with me, shaking with delight, licking my face and flopping himself down beside me for some much deserved petting. He has no idea what we are going through, he just knows his job is to love us unconditionally. Dogs are great that way. For two days, Blue Eyes and I laughed, and cried, and ate a bunch of comfort food. OY! Then early Monday morning, Blue Eyes and the Aussie went back into the city.
I’m glad Blue Eyes waited to come over to the beach house. I got two days of “me time,” albeit one very sleepless night after finding out the arbitration verdict. He had the chance to attend an SA meeting, and his Saturday Fellowship meeting. His SA guys are really wonderful. They listened and commiserated and they hugged him and reassured him. News like this can send an addict reeling. And, in fact, it has sent Blue Eyes into a spiral. He’s doing the right thing though. He’s communicating and not hiding. He’s reaching out to his brothers for moral support. He’s reaching out to me so we can approach this as a team. It is still incredibly stressful though. The verdict is a huge blow and the current amount due is $806,000. Our attorney is trying to negotiate it down a bit. We shall see. We are expecting nothing but the worst at this point.
The one thing that does seem obvious… everyone thinks we have the money to just write a check to the contractor for over $800,000. We actually don’t. So we will have to figure out a way to come up with the money. It will mean re-financing or adding another mortgage, if that is even possible at this point. We’re pretty leveraged. It will probably mean borrowing against retirement accounts and life insurance accounts. It will be starting from scratch, basically where we were 10 years ago with our retirement. It might even mean borrowing from friends at an interest rate higher than they could get if they have their money in some kind of savings account.
I do think as some commenters have said, that the contractor and his attorney believed all along they could get the money out of us, regardless of fairness, or law. I believe the arbitrators think we can easily come up with the money and so no matter how legally unfair their verdict… no big deal, we have a beautiful beach house. I even think our own attorney thought it wouldn’t be a problem for us. Regardless, we will come up with the money. It won’t be easy. It will hurt, but mostly because the whole thing is terribly unfair. The beach house isn’t literally worth what we will now have poured into it… over $3M, but it’s intrinsic value to us is infinite. So there is that.
I think this whole thing has been an expensive test of how well Blue Eyes and I are doing as a couple. These kinds of life’s challenges don’t tear us apart, they bring us closer together. That beach house is still a sanctuary. I know Blue Eyes wants to climb into a hole and blame himself for everything. I know he feels like somehow this is his fault, but it isn’t. This is the lesson he has taught me. Sometimes the truth isn’t good enough. Sometimes the liars and bullies win. Sometimes good people get fucked over. And, Sometimes life just isn’t fair. But we keep getting up, and we strive to be the best people we can be, and we have a lot to be thankful for.