Sunday, August 24, 2014

Paralyzed with Indecision

Now that's a frightening title.  It isn't exactly true but it is kind of how I feel at this moment.  I received a very sad email from my nephew's grandmother.  Just to re-cap, I am my nephew's guardian.  He just turned 15 and last year he went to live with his paternal grandparents so that he could go to private school with his brother.  It seemed like a win-win at the time since being a single parent was very difficult for me (I was only a single parent for 6 months).  My nephew would have 2 adults looking after him and lots of family, cousins, aunts, uncles and family friends for support.  Unfortunately, his grandmother has cancer and the doctors only give her a few more weeks on this earth.  She has been the driving force behind this arrangement, cooking, cleaning, getting homework done, keeping the grades up, hosting the family get-togethers, etc....  Now, it is all uncertain again.  

My 2 nephews just can't seem to catch a break.  First, their father died when they were both very young.  Next, their mother died the following year.  Their maternal grandparents adopted them and all was well until grandpa (my dad) developed Alzheimers.  The oldest boy will be 18 years old in 5 months and the younger one has 3 years to go.  I was really hoping that their lives would not be turned upside down again, at least not until they were out of high school.  For now, both boys want to stay with their paternal grandpa.  We will just have to wait and see how it goes.  I told my nephew that he can come back here any time which is why I keep thinking about what I would need to do if he came back.  

First, I would need to change my address back to my property address because it is in a better school district and I need to be near a bus route to get him to school and back.  Then, I would need to decide if I am going to buy a replacement manufactured home, fix up the existing one, or do something else such as: 

I saw a park model home for $20k on a lot near my work.  Those are only 1 bedroom but they are finished inside.  I'm sure heating, A/C, and moving costs are extra.

A 24' x 24' garage with concrete pad costs $16k.  I would have to pay someone to finish it and do some myself.

A 12' x 16' shed costs $6k.  Concrete pad is extra and I would need to finish it.  I could get 2 and we could both have our own cottages.

The lowest priced singlewide manufactured home costs $50k.  This is the usual 2 bedroom model.  This is my least favorite option since depreciation is harsh on manufactured homes.

Additionally, I would need a used car with more seating capacity.  My preference is a Subaru Forester but anything in that style would be fine.  I need to be able to transport my nephew and his friends without stuffing someone in the tiny jump seat in my truck.  High school boys are too big for that.  Plus, we would probably be spending the weekends at my house in order to get it ready to be rented or sold and I need a car that can transport humans and dogs without anyone having to sit on each other.

And the last of the immediate needs would be the snake fence.  A 5' block wall of traditional Tucson yard size (I'm not sure what that is, maybe 20' x 40') cost $6,000.

Now, to pay for all this... I only have $15k available without borrowing from my 401k.  I would have to stop paying extra on my mortgage and switch to my "property improvement plan" which was supposed to come after the mortgage was paid off in 3 years or so.  That would mean $1500 a month for property improvements.  Maybe I should stop paying extra on the mortgage now and put it in savings just in case.  I probably won't though.  I can handle $6K shed + $6K fence + $1,500 in improvements at a moments notice.  Hmm...that just leaves the car problem.  Well, I have some more thinking to do.


Dave said...

I hate to say it, Daizy, but I don't think you are able to take your nephew back. Financially and logistically, it looks like it is t oo much for you now. You finally have your life in good shape and under control adn this would upset things a lot. Unless you can have your nephew stay with you at your current house even though you said the local schools are not as good.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to the boys. I know you will do what's best for him (them).

Daizy said...

It would disrupt my plans, Dave, but it would only delay them for a few years at the most. I'm sure I can figure something out. My nephew's expenses are covered by monthly SS checks so the initial housing and car expense would be a large blow initially but since I was planning to buy them anyway it just changes the priorities of my plan.

Daizy said...

Thanks, anonymous. They've certainly had a rough start. We will do everything we can to help.

Lizzie@her MFW Homeworld said...

Poor loves, its a miracle they are not tiotally screwed up with so much loss in their lives. If they can stay with grandpa though i think it it would probably be better for him as well as them. Or else he is suddenly losing everyone, and they lose their little bit of consistency. Also best if brothers can stay together. Maybe just vacations with Aunty Daizy to give grandpa a a break? Or maybe two straopping lads who want to build a snakeproof house from scratch :)

Petunia 100 said...

Have you looked into an inter-district transfer? Sometimes they are allowed, so no moving required.

Daizy said...

Lizzie, yes, I think it is best if they stay together although older brother will probably go off to college next year leaving younger brother alone with grandpa but still, there are plenty of other relatives that live nearby. I'm sure my nephew will still come and visit me for school breaks. He knows he gets more presents that way. :)

Daizy said...

Petunia, we did manage to get in to the preferred school district when he lived here but the bus dropped him off 7 miles from home in a not so nice neighborhood. Transportation is my problem. If we lived in the school district they would provide a bus stop he could walk to.

Anonymous said...

Hi Daizy - I'm so sorry your nephews are facing more loss in their young lives.

I don't know how close you are to their other side of the family, but have you thought about moving to where your young ward has the most support and you'd have the most help? If it were me, and I could find employment, and rent out my properties, I'd give serious consideration to moving to be close to nephew, grandpa et al. I know the positive difference having the support of near-by extended family has made for us.

It might be completely unfeasible, but I thought I'd mention it since I didn't see it offered otherwise. Whatever you chose, I know you'll have been fearless in considering all the possibilities - your nephews are blessed to have such a courageous aunt on their side!


Daizy said...

Yes, Lee, the thought occurred to me but it didn't make the top 10 list. The thought of moving to Minnesota was bad enough, brrr. My parents moved to AZ so that I could help them out and they would not move back to the snow. Plus, the job thing is a big problem. It would be easier to move the boy especially since he only has 3 years to go and then he will probably move somewhere else for college. But thanks for brainstorming! I need to consider all ideas.