Thursday, March 6, 2014

In which Isabel still reaches from beyond the grave to complicate things blessherheart

First, I have to tell you guys what a nice thing my friend Marsha said - she said I was so creative with the stories I wrote here: And, you are creative, making up all those stories on your "other" blog. 

She was referring to this blog of course, which is my double secret probation blog that my mom cannot know about not because I want to keep secrets from my mother, whom I love, but because I do want to keep secrets from her about some things and because Primo asked me never to tell her about it because he is so mortified by his parents.

(Not mortified enough for me not to write about them - I think he gets some second-hand catharsis by my writing about their crazy - a confirmation that they are nuts and that he is not and that he is justifiably upset by some of the things they say and do.)

Anyhow, I had to tell Marsha that I make up nothing on this blog - that all I do is report the truth. I wish I had enough imagination to make this stuff up. But it is all true.

Now. On to the main story.

Isabel died. She didn't leave a will. She left no end of life instructions. She made no funeral plans. She did nothing.

And it gets worse.

Primo went to her memorial party last week. He helped the girls organize things. The party was held at Isabel's house. There was a ton of food and a lot of relatives and friends that Primo had not seen in years. He got to see his ex mother in law, who thinks Primo hung the moon, and his stepdaughters and their cousins and aunts and uncles, all of whom have been very nice to Primo, even since the divorce, since most of them know that Isabel had her own flaws.

We all have our flaws. Isn't the trick to find someone whose good parts balance your bad parts? Isabel was not a bad person. She did not deserve to die the way she did. But she was selfish and inconsiderate in the way she left her life, refusing to do anything to make things easier for Laura and Kate.

Laura was going through some of Isabel's papers and found information on the time share that Primo and Isabel had bought years ago. In the divorce, Isabel got the entire time share. She also got all the wine in the storage unit for which Primo had been paying. (He also bought the wine.)

Primo had the wine unit on auto-pay on his credit card and had forgotten about it. It wasn't until a year after the divorce was final that he realized he had been paying the storage fees. He had to fax a notarized statement to the storage people to get his name off the contract. He asked Isabel to take care of the wine - maybe move it out of the unit and into the new house she bought after the divorce. After all, why pay to store wine when you now have a house that is twice as big as your old one and there is room for wine? Plus wouldn't it be nice to be able to have easy access to said wine?

1. The time share. Isabel never took Primo's name off the account. She paid the monthly or quarterly or whatever fees. (Me: "She had money to pay her timeshare fees but didn't have money for her 2012 taxes and we had to help her out?" Primo: "Yes.")  She borrowed $6,000 against the value of the time share. Primo did not co-sign on the loan because you know, he is not an owner any more.

But now we have discovered that Isabel never took his name off the account and Primo is worried that the time-share people will come after him for the $6,000 plus the fees that are in arrears.

I maintain that the divorce decree trumps all and all he has to do is fax the time share people a copy of it. Undoubtedly, they already know about it as they lent money to Isabel all by herself, but Primo is all "Woooo!" about it.

2. The wine. Laura asked Primo to get some wine for the party from the storage unit. Yes, the storage unit. Isabel had never moved the wine from storage to her house. When Primo got to the unit, he discovered that she had not even taken any of the wine from it. The divorce was final in 2007. You can do the math. Isabel was paying the storage fees for years and then didn't even drink any of the wine.

Primo hopes that Laura and Kate won't mind if he ships some of the wine here. "They shouldn't," I told him. "You paid for it."

3. The cake. Primo brought home a big tupperware container with chocolate cake in it. "It was left over from the party," he said.

"It's a nice tupperware," I said. "I guess it's ours now."

"But it belonged to Isabel . I took it from her kitchen. Doesn't that bother you?"

I shrugged. "I have shared more with Isabel than tupperware," I said. "The only thing I don't like is that this tupperware cost us $189,500."


    Seriously laughing!
    Poor Bertha, she just never figured out what was important did she? I mean, imagine leaving all that wine undrunk?

    1. Bless her heart, her priorities were all wrong. They can put on my tombstone, "There was no Nutella left in her cupboard when she died."

  2. Paying for storage all that time! Augh. Primo should get all the wine. I wonder how many times over was paid for that wine.

    Yep, one expensive piece of tupperware.

    1. Gaylin, that bothers me more than the fact that she didn't drink the wine - that she wasted so much money in storage fees.

  3. I have to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I read it at work on Fridays first thing. I simply can't imagine not touching all that wine, either. I'm proud if I just have one bottle in the house with a pretty label to look at-- they just don't last. Hopefully the time share people will do the right thing. When my grandfather passed, my grandmother found out about all these credit cards she didn't know he had and tried to pay them. At some point months later, she realized she simply couldn't afford to do it and called them up and told them about it. They let it go, thankfully.

  4. Time share people can be sharks. Definitely a letter right away.

    However, with real property (which time shares are NOT) it does not work that way in most states. When Mother died I needed to sell her apartment. We got to closing and learned that she had not removed her ex-husband from the title, even tho the divorce clearly gave her full ownership, and so the state defined it as belonging to her ex - and by then late- husband. That meant that his children owned it, not me and my brother. All the money I had spent on paint and carpet and getting it ready for sale was gone, and we got nothing from the sale. I talked to her divorce lawyer about it and he claimed that she said she would take care of changing the title, rather than paying him to do it. A bad, bad, bad decision.

    Primo may need to get a lawyer and try to play some hardball on this. Most of all, don't just wait for something to happen. Be pro-active on this. I know. I know. good luck.

    1. Webb, was your mom's name not on the title? That is awful!

      The good thing with the timeshare is that Laura and Kate want it and will pay all the back fees and the debt. Otherwise, this would be a huge mess.

  5. Legally, the way the divorce divides debt obligations is not binding on the creditor. They can still go after either party. The best you can do is try to negotiate having them release you in return for payment of some part of the debt, typically half if there were two parties.

    So, did anyone try my "Death by Chocolate" brownie recipe from the brownie at the bakery thread?

    1. Richard, but this debt was incurred after the divorce, so would that matter?

      I have not made your brownies yet - we are trying to finish dessert inventory in the freezer first. But they sure look good.

    2. If Primo had no connection to the purchase of the timeshare he has no responsibility for any debt associated with it. I was assuming they bought it jointly.

      They'll have to settle it with Bertha's estate. The timeshare itself was probably collateral for the $6,000 loan, so they can sell that and keep the $6k and any associated arrears. If there's money left after that, the estate will have to try to collect it from the timeshare company.

      The brownies are killer, and very quick and simple to make. You will never make another brownie recipe after trying these.