And Then There’s Her Kids . . . .

OK, so we’ve seen how Eileen is my loser sister because she sponged more than a half a million dollars from my parents so she could stay in her McMansion in the desert without having to work and pay for it, while her husband failed at selling insurance and ended up going to jail for child pornography just as the bank took the house back.  But at least she was a good mother, right?  I mean, she raised three good kids who won’t be like their mom, right?

Unfortunately, no.  I can’t speak to the youngest, Jon, although I have to wonder what’s going to become of him, being a 16,17 year-old-boy and having to share a one-room casita with his mother while he finishes high school.  No, I don’t know much about the boy, but his two older sisters . . . .  Let’s just say that the apples don’t fall far from the tree.

Let’s start with Sydney, the oldest.  Okay, so what’s the problem?  Irresponsibility, mainly.  Yeah, she’s actually going to finish college, it appears, after that last summer class, but to what end?  Does she have a plan, a goal?  It was only weeks ago that it finally came to her that she’s going to need to start working full-time when her last class is finished.  That’s right, Sydney, you have to work for a living!  I know you didn’t get much in the way of role models on that subject from your mother and father, but, no, life is not using your student loan money to buy shoes and clothes and go to Coachella every year, and get tatoos and industrial piercings and pink tips on your hair (for graduation).  Yes, you may want to shoot for more than riding the bus to your job at the consignment store, where you spend your time trying to pick cool music to play on the store sound system.

And then there’s Sherri.  At least Sydney has a job.  Almost 20 years old, Sherri has never worked a day in her life.  She has, however, drunk herself into unconciousness who knows how many times.  She got picked up by the police for being drunk at a high school football game.  She lost her driver’s license before she was 18 years old for driving drunk.  All of the photos on her Facebook page feature alcohol, as do most of her postings, and her primary recreational activity at college appears to be getting drunk and passing out.  Following Sydney’s college graduation several weeks ago, when they went back to my parents’ house for the weekend, Sydney shared on Twitter an instagram photo of the two of them, their prematurely saggy asses hanging out of their ill-fitting bikini bottoms, looking out over the golf course behind my parents’ house, with beers in their hands.  I’m sure Eileen was the one who took the picture.  How proud she must have been!  Like mother, like daughters.  If this is what is in store for our country, heaven help us.

My nightmare was that they were both going to end up moving in to my parents’ house this summer, even though there is really no room for them, as they had already taken to referring to it as “home” (as in, I’m going home from college this weekend).  Fortunately, they both managed to find their way into apartments with roommates, so their California dreamin’ remains just that for now.  But with my loser sister as their role model, I can’t help but wonder how they aren’t going to end up on my parents’ doorstep one of these days.

The Money

So I’ve mentioned more than once the money.  The more than half a million dollars my mother pissed away on my loser sister.  As much as I would have liked to have half a million dollars — tax free — too, this is not really about the fact that she got money that I didn’t.  What burns me is that she got money she did not deserve, money she did nothing to earn, money that could have gone to a million better places or people.  It’s like everything that’s bad about the modern welfare state, multiplied a thousand-fold, brought home to roost.  The race is not to the swift.  The race is to the slow, lazy turd who calls mommy and says, we need to sell the house because Bill still hasn’t found a job, but we need money to finish the pool first, because we can’t sell the house without a pool.  A pool that must have been started with the money they withdrew from their retirement accounts (without paying the taxes, which led to their debt to the IRS . . .).  So mommy dutifully cuts a check, and the contractor gets paid, and the pool gets finished.  The saltwater pool with the fountain, which they proceeded to enjoy for the next, what, eight years?

But that was only the beginning of the money.  You see, they were going to sell the house, once the pool was finished, and pay my mom and dad back, but meantime, they needed money to live on.  The new plan, seeing as how Bill couldn’t find a job and the plan to be a stockbroker fell apart, was that Bill was going to go into the insurance business, but he needed some seed money.  And then there were the bills that needed to be paid every month in the meanwhile — the mortgage, the power, the phone, the utilities . . . .  So Bill would send my mother a “budget” for the upcoming month, detailing the money they needed, and my mother would cut them a check, or transfer the money directly from her account to theirs.

Of course, we didn’t know about this until years later.  I would sometimes wonder what Eileen and Bill were living on, how they were getting by.  But, fool that I was, I never imagined the fountain of money that was flowing from California to Arizona, the hundreds of thousands of dollars streaming east on Interstate 10.

And all the while, Eileen was not working, or even thinking about getting a job.  She had children.  Now, I dont’ begrudge women the choice to be stay-at-home mothers, although it was never something I was interested in.  I don’t think it’s a particularly wise choice, relying on a man to provide for you, when that man may not always be there.  But, hey, to each her own.  Except when you don’t really have any business making that choice.  When your husband loses his job and can’t find another and you’ve run up all your credit cards, and burned through your retirement savings and whatever other money you might have had, it’s time to give up on the idea of being a stay-at-home mom and get back into the workforce, to earn money to support yourself and your children.  Unless you’re my lazy, loser sister.  Then, you don’t work.  You just ask your mommy for the money.

The McMansion In The Desert

Maybe we should have known it was not going to end well years ago, when Eileen’s husband, Bill, called to ask what they could do to be sure they didn’t lose the new house they were due to close on in a week or two, now that he had lost his job.  Of course, getting fired wasn’t his fault.  He swore his supervisor told him it would be okay to work his sales territory in Texas while living in Arizona.  Sure he did.  Anyway, here they were, due to move back to Arizona, into a 4,000 square foot ranch house with 12-foot ceilings on nearly an acre in a gated neighborhood outside of Scottsdale, and nobody had a job!  In another conversation with my father at that time, I asked why they needed to live in that house, and he asked if I was jealous.  Yeah, that’s it, you got me.  I’m jealous because I can’t move into a big house in the desert without a job to pay the mortgage.  I just thought it wasn’t a particularly good idea, but, hey, what do I know?

So they packed up their three kids and headed back from Dallas to Arizona, into their McMansion, where they would manage to stay for a decade, even though they personally couldn’t have paid more than a few of the mortgage payments that came due on the house during that entire time.  Because after he lost that job, Bill couldn’t find another one, having burned most of his bridges in his chosen field, where he had worked for 20 years but in which he would never work again.  The move was so traumatic for Eileen, she had to stay at the Camelback Inn upon arrival in order to recover.

The house.  Ah yes, the house.  Separate bedrooms for each of the kids, a dual-sided fireplace in the master bedroom, a wet bar in the living room, custom wooden shutters throughout, room for a pool.  The pool.  Years later, I would learn that my mother put up most of the money for that — after Eileen and Bill burned through the money from the sale of their house in Dallas, their retirement accounts, the small nuisance settlement Bill’s former employer paid when Bill sued for wrongful termination.  They ran out of money in the middle of putting in the pool and told my mother they needed money to finish it so they could sell the house.  So they could sell the house.  That was the hook.  Just carry us until we can sell the house.  Which they never did.  The bank managed to sell it twice within the last year, once to itself, and then more recently to someone else.  But Bill and Eileen just couldn’t manage to sell it, even in the hottest housing market in the nation’s history.  What they could manage to do was convince my mother they were trying to sell it, and she would get her money back as soon as they did.  That was enough for her.  And so more than half a million dollars got pissed away on my loser sister.

Who Is Eileen?

So just who is Eileen, you may ask.  How did she come to be a loser?  Was she born that way, or was it how she was raised?  She grew up in a good home.  She wasn’t mistreated or abused.  My parents put her through a good college.  She had friends; she had pets.  My parents gave her a car.  She had boyfriends.

I was thinking of writing that she wasn’t stupid, but I’m not sure about that.  She didn’t do that well in school.  She spent a lot of time smoking pot and hanging around with the wrong crowd.  But she’s not retarded.

What she is, is lazy.  That’s really the heart of it all.  I don’t know that she ever really applied herself to much of anything.  In high school, she didn’t want to go out and get a job, so my mom drove her around to submit applications until she got a job at the ice cream parlor.  (By then, I’d already had several jobs.)  Unfortunately, that may have been one of the earlier manifestations of my mom feeling she needed to “take care of” Eileen, and Eileen taking advantage of it . . . knowing that mom would provide for her, so she didn’t really need to provide for herself.  And that is what has happened, for years, and years, and years, and years, my mother providing the eternal safety net that Eileen always knew she could rely on, fall back into.  Why do you need to work hard for anything if you can just ask mom for it, and she’ll give it to you?  Or better yet, don’t ask for it outright.  Just let her know that you want it, that you “need” it, and let her offer it to you.

So if you have to reduce it to its lowest common denominator, she’s a loser because she’s lazy, and my mother has indulged her laziness, again, and again, and again, and again, now at the cost of more than half a million dollars and counting.

It Begins . . .

It was a little over eight months ago, in August, when my husband and I were in Las Vegas for our wedding anniversary.  My cell phone rang.  (Of course, most cell phones don’t actually “ring,” and neither does mine, but you know what I mean.)  It was my father.  I knew something important was up because my father rarely calls.  He doesn’t hear well anymore, and as a result he doesn’t like to talk on the phone.  But here he was calling us in the middle of the week.  And here was what he had to say:  My mother was in a moving van with my oldest sister, Paula, and her husband, Gary, on their way to Arizona, where they were going to pack up my next oldest sister, Eileen, and her 16-year-old son, Jon, and bring them back to California, so they could move into the casita at my parents’ house.  You see, Eileen’s husband, Bill, was going to jail for six months for “attempted” possession of child pornography, and their house was in foreclosure and due to be sold by the bank in a couple of days.  The plan to have Jon live with Bill’s brother (more on that later) had suddenly fallen through, and according to my dad, so had the plan (new to me) to put Eileen and Jon up in an apartment of their own across the street from the high school Jon attended and where Eileen worked at some menial job.  So somebody’s bright idea was to have my 50-year-old sister quit her job and move her and her son in with my 80-year-old parents.

So as you might have guessed, this is the story of my loser sister, Eileen, and how she came to live with my parents, and how, before that, she managed to scam more than a half a million dollars from them and pissed it away on nothing.