Chapter 10: I Must Scream

Rollercoaster Ride to Hell

That's the best way to sum up the last six months of my life. Although October saw my return to work on the house, even if only in a limited fashion, it was short-lived; work once again halted after I suffered a massive Sarcoidosis attack that nearly crippled me.

Meanwhile, the commercial property situation has been nothing less than a nightmare. It's begun to drive a wedge between me and some of my friends as they lose patience with me for not resolving the issue. "Sue them!" they'd shout. But no one has broken any laws, and I'm bound by a contract that's perfectly legitimate and totally watertight. I've consulted lawyers, realtors and other professionals, and they all agree: 1) they've never seen anything like it, and 2) they're clueless how to address it.

Although I now have the legal right to cancel the contract, the buyers also still have the legal right—and the grounds—to sue me if I did, and I've been warned they'd sue. Which is why my threats of cancelling the contract have had no effect. But even if they didn't sue me, cancelling would essentially put me back at square one—where I was almost three years ago—with the strong likelihood of making things worse instead of better.

Working with these lawyers is like playing tennis against the drapes: the ball is never returned. Substantive communication takes place about twice a month on average, and usually only after I've threatened to fire my attorney. Occasionally I've been tempted to live up to that threat, but hiring a new one requires money I don't have, and it would make things far messier than they already are—and the last thing I need is to make my quagmire any deeper.

In short, I'm roughly halfway through a one-year extension (on top of two others). Closing had been set for November 2017—a date that came and went without any communication at all. It wasn't until March 2018 when a new six-month extension was formalized. Which puts the new closing date in September 2018. Of course, there are no assurances closing will take place then, either; in fact, it's a good bet they'll want another extension.

The big problem is, by then my house will have suffered damage from the elements, and the cost of repairs may exceed my remaining budget. There are already signs that the structure is at risk: damage from the second of four nor'easters we've endured reveals the roof has begun to rot. While alarming, it comes as no surprise, since the temporary roof was only good for several months; it's now going on two years.

To quote Harlan Ellison, I have no mouth and I must scream.

Going Into Hypersleep

I've signed the paperwork. It's basically more of the same—it was either that, or be sued. Which means nothing significant can or will happen on the house until September 2018 at the earliest. There's no knowing anymore. There's also no knowing what shape the house will be in by then, which means there's no knowing if I'll ever be able to finish it. The house could be rotting by then, or I might be dead.

Deep Dives

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