May I Remind You….
I am not quite sure why my Sister seemingly appeared blind to certain things with regards to our Father’s house, but she was for a very long time following his death oblivious to those’certain’ things.
My Father’s house to all intent and purpose was one big facade. To those who visited for the first time and maybe even for the second time would have been impressed. I mean, afterall, it was like walking into a form of Aladdin’s cave or maybe just an elaborate ‘man’s cave is more precise. You could certainly tell he lived alone, as it lacked that homely touch to it, but also it definitely lacked a woman’s touch, in so far as it was very masculine.
There were thousands of hobbyist books, huge music collections, prints on the walls depicting mostly of military scenes and many trinkets from around the world. The tigers perhaps were the only slightly effeminite touch. Now that’s not being funny, but you had this big man’s cave with all these very manly things decorating the insides of his home, but in addition to a fascination with tigers, there was this over abundance of soft cuddly toys which may have been a gentle reminder to a woman having lived there somewhere in the past.
This is not sexist, it’s just an observation, because apart from their presence, you would instantly note that my Father was a man who lived very much alone. Of course once you got to know him you would soon learn of his somewhat eccentric behaviour and quirkish lifestyle, but you would also start to notice his very distinct traditional and elitist old fashioned attitudes. Pending of course on how close you were to him and whether you were simply seeing Ben or the Chameleon Ben. The former being the man l knew whilst the latter being the mask he chose to don to make people believe he was nothing even remotely like the former.
Dad’s stories take two significant path ways. To those who didn’t know of him in any of his previous life, he would display himself as a war hero, a gentle man, a man of the world, however stories that were written that may have been read by his family, there is the complete lack of fiction or fantasy and only the hard truth as he believed his version of truth to be.
He most assuredly would never admit to his new circle of friendship that he was an ex wife beater or mentally cruel to his children, mostly his Son, that he was not the devout Father figure he presented himself to be.
However, pending on the time you did know my Father, would then reflect back on the actual friend and what they would be willing to overlook, for the sake of keeping his friendship. Because if you ever challenged him on anything you were gone, you simply became dust. He didn’t like those who knew him from before, and only preferred those who were willing to agree with him that his ex-wife was a witch and his Son was retarded and ‘we don’t speak about him’. Of course to your face he was literally two faced. If you were in front of his new friends he would sing your praises,harp on about how he was so very proud of you and your achievements and so on, but once they were gone he would berate and belittle you.
But, depending how important my Father was to you, as in what were you getting out of the deal, would reflect upon what you noticed? You might have noticed that in the nooks and the crannies things were not as they first appeared. That despite him spending thousands on things he liked as in his hobbies, holidays and meals out and status symbols, he was not all he cracked himself up to be.
You might begin to notice the ‘dirt’ in the house, the damaged items, the wear and tear, the inefficiency and inadequacy of certain things. Of course if you were on the make with my Father as in you received monetary support or he gifted you things or worse, promised you things, then you might be more forgiving.
My Sister is starting to realise things, or notice certain things l should say. She now knows that Bank of Dad is closed, and she no longer has a safe withdrawl system effectively in place and this is leaving her not just a little short but horribly short. Of course she catagorically denies that she was into Dad in a big way for megabucks, she views it purely as “He owed me big time!”
It’s clearly apparent to me now, that despite her knowing l have gone through my Father’s administrative estate since 2000 with a fine tooth comb therefore knowing full well what monies she has had and exactly how their famous ‘Father/Daughter’ relationship truly was that she simply doesn’t give a monkeys about what l know! She, so very much his daughter cannot be wrong about anything and despite being proved wrong can still not see the errors of her ways.
She is an ex estate agent, and her pride and joy is selling Dad’s house, “He said l could do it, because at least l know what l am doing!” Is her most frequent jibe. She refused to listen to me that the price she initially sought for the sale of his house was set too high.
“It’s not worth £425,000 Jenny!”
“Yes it is, l should know, may l remind you that I was once an estate agent and very bloody good at it unlike some!”
“It’s worth £350,000 tops Jenny!”
“May l remind you ………..”
“Whatever! You’re clearly the expert”
“The house is worth £375,000 l have decided and may l remind you that l know what l am talking about!”
“For craps sake, it’s not worth that kind of money, are you losing the plot? Even Dad only priced it at £350,000 in 2015!! Because of your ludicrous figures we have just forked out £30,000 to the tax man for inheritance tax!”
“It’s worth this amount of money, l do know what l am talking about!!”
“Have you even looked at the state of the way Dad kept the house? His clothing was mildew bound inside his closets, his books had damp, the stamps are practically ruined. He still had stuff from our house of forty years ago. The electrics are dodgy, the bathroom and kitchen are 300 years old. He hasn’t had the carpet cleaned since he moved in. Let’s just deep clean the place, cheapest option and put it into the market at £350k for someone to pick up as a project. That way we can then submit a correction figure to the HMRC and get ourselves a reclaim refund.”
“Don’t tell me what to do, may l remind you?”
“No, you most assuredly may not!”
January 2019 [Today]
“I am going to put the house on the market at £350,000 are you ok with that?”
“Well it’s more realistic a figure, why?”
“Well his house has completely failed the electrical test, they cannot issue a certificate. This means l will not be looking to ask you and Suze for the money to paint it and we can get a reclaim refund.”
“I told you those electrics were dodgy and l told you we were NOT prepared to give you any money!”
“Well l don’t understand why he didn’t put any money into his property?”
“You have got to be kidding me? Is this you attempting humour now?”
“Well Dad for the last 7 years has been funding the Bank of Jenny, poor sod didn’t have the money to do it for starters and to boot, have you only NOW just realised that he wasn’t in the slightest bit interested in spending money on anything practical? Dad was an untidy man.”
“Well, l am just saying.”
“So am l.”
We have come to a mutual agreement to work together on the 19th/20th, she made it perfectly clear to me last night in one paragraph that she didn’t trust me and when l flipped out to volcanic proportions and Suze had to remove me from the ceiling and l challenged her on it, she backtracked and appologised [which for the record is as rare as rocking horse shit], we then agreed to work in the house boxing it up. I told her that after that weekend, l would no longer be helping her with the house as l have done more than my fair share, and that in all likelihood, l would most likely be having surgery in the next month [hopefully], and so this was my last time. So those dates had best be well spent and 100% effective.
Suze is happier with the arrangement, she is not particularly fond of my Sister because of her attitude towards the pair of us. But more so, because my energy levels are seriously depleted and l am struggling just to get up most mornings and struggling even more to get to bed at night. So l need to take it easier.
So, finally l may be able to put underfoot this stupid phrase of ‘May l remind you!’ Because if l hear it one more time from my Sister, she may well be having to get her kids to peel her off the ceiling as a result of me shouting her up there!