No Lunches with Lisa

Sunday, December 7, 2014

If you've been following me for a few years now, you know I used to have a regular feature called, "Lunches with Lisa". Lisa is my older sister and we found ourselves working at the same hospital, just a few floors apart and started having lunch together regularly. It was nice because we've never been especially close but this gave us the opportunity to become closer.

Fast forward to 2014. Neither of us work at the hospital anymore and we not only don't have lunch together, but we don't even speak. My parents had the foresight to put their house in both of our names long before either one of them got sick. That was to ensure that if they needed nursing home care, we would never lose the house if funds ran out.

When Mom died three years ago, we debated about what to do with the house. Lisa wanted to sell it but I wasn't really ready to let it go and it was so outdated, that we wouldn't have gotten anywhere near what it was worth anyway. We decided that I would move into it, rent my house out and pay Lisa "rent" since I couldn't afford the chunk of change to buy her out. I would then sell my house when the market turned.

I took about a year clearing out all of my parents' clothes and possessions (with no help) while I still lived in my house, paid my mortgage on that house and paid taxes and utilities on my parents' house. Then, assuming I would be living in the house for a long time, I put on a new roof, new windows, updated the bathroom, carpeted the family room and refinished the hardwood floors. I moved in back in 2012.

My sister decided to make a career change after not working for a few years and now works for a doggy day care. She really loves it but unfortunately, they don't pay squat or benefits, so she's struggling. That's what happens when you don't work at all for two years. About 11 months ago, she demanded that I sell the house and I refused. I told her that I was paying her as we agreed and that I would sell the house in a year or so before I moved out of state.

Not good enough.

She calls me a few days before my payment is due to her to "remind" me, which I find insulting. The few times that I had to pay a few days late resulted in some insanely ugly exchanges between us and now we barely speak at all. I bought her a birthday present in April and she said that I should have given her the cash instead. I didn't even get a card for my birthday.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, she left me a message saying, "Go ahead and make plans for Thanksgiving, I'll be working." It annoyed me but when Thanksgiving got closer, it just saddened me. I didn't tell any of my friends that I had no plans because I didn't want a pity invite. I called Lisa around 3:00 to wish her a Happy Thanksgiving and what do you know? She was home. It was the first time in 48 years that I didn't spend Thanksgiving with family and it was heartbreaking.

As much as I don't want to, I've decided to sell my parents' house. My renter's lease is up in a few months so I'll just not renew it and move back in there. I really can't afford the expense of moving right now but I feel backed in a corner. I'm hoping that I get back some of the money I put in with a higher sale price but the market still isn't great so it's not likely. It's going to be difficult moving into a smaller house with an extra dog and I'm worried about Vinny trying to make his way back home to this neighborhood to hang out with all his buddies.

It's just a lot of headaches but I want my sister back.


  1. Chrissy, I know that you and I had spoken a little bit about this on the phone many months ago, but I didn't think it would result to this. God, I am so sorry to not only hear about having to sell your parents home, but more so about the estrangement with your sister. Why is it that money brings about such tension between certain family members at times?

    I know this all must be a lot of headaches right now, but just believe that it will all work out in YOUR favor because you always did the right thing.

    X ya, my friend!

    ((((((( You )))))))

    P.S. please feel free to call me if you ever want to talk, okay?

    1. And it's so funny, because she was always the first one to say how awful it was when families fought over money. You're right. I'm sure it will all work out in the end but it's overwhelming right now.

      Thanks for being a friend, Ron. xo

  2. Such a sad situation but a beautifully candid post. I hope you two work it out and become allies - but (trust me) I know how much easier that can be said than done.

    1. Thank you. It will be a long road indeed.

  3. Sorry it has come to this. Money, or lack there of, does strange things to families.
    Sounds like you have quite an investment there. Could you sell your place and buy her out or would that just be a bigger wedge?
    I spose you are eventually sell everything and move south.
    Hope you two can work his out.

    1. Thanks, it does suck. I hope we can work it out, too.

      I would lose money on my house since I bought when the market was high. It crashed the next year. Lucky me!

      And yes, I was hoping to just stay here until I moved but unless I win the lottery, that's not gonna happen.

  4. ...for a sweet girl, you get hit with a lot of crap...

    1. I must have been a bitch in my former life.

  5. that is a glib answer. we have only the one life, look at the math. i have read your writing for a time. many of us have problems. bitchiness, you do not exhibit.

  6. I know this is old and I just ran across this blog but be sure to keep track of every penny you spent out of pocket in improvements on that house. You should get reimbursed for those at the time of sale but it sounds as though you might not if your sister is like she is now so if you don't and have to split the profit of the sale 50/50 then you will be entitled to taking those expenses off of your capital gain on the sale of the house. Sometimes it's hard to know when to just walk away and realize that related or not some people are just toxic and not worth the trouble having in your life.


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