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Thread: Troubles getting along after mother moved in

  1. #1
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    Troubles getting along after mother moved in

    Hello,
    I need advice on how to handle a delicate situation without causing more stress in my life.
    Background:
    My mother was financial destitute and was nearing defaulting on everything. She had been unemployed for a number of years and had nearly completely emptied her 401k at age 55. Her mother/my grandmother passes away and sends her into a deep depression.

    Myself, my wife and 2 year old son were having minor trouble making ends meet, often living paycheck to paycheck.

    In order to help alleviate both of our problems and ensure my mother was not alone my wife and I offered up our unfinished basement to my mother. She sold her home and received nearly 200k in equity and finished our basement with a little over a 1/4 of her proceeds. She paid off a fraction of her 100k debt rather than pay it all off. Fast forward 6 months and she has lost most of the remaining proceeds to interest payments on that debt. Which has caused her to need a full time job just to keep up with the payments.

    The problem:
    When my mother moved in she brought with her a severely obese Australian shepherd and an oversized yellow lab, also 3 cats. During the 5 months of construction it became apparent that my wife has grown a more severe allergy to dogs. She's always been allergic to their spilt but now being inundated with hair and dander she can barely spend 5 minutes on our main level before succumbing to hives and itchy red eyes. Add on to that we are now expecting our second child. Assuming this was temporary she pushed through. After construction was completed the dogs were unable to make the climb down the stairs. I would have to carry them both up and down. Having hurt my back this stopped or some time, and thus the dogs began to live on the main level again. My mother agreed to maintain the dogs grooming and assist with the cleaning to keep the dog hair at bay. Fast forward to last week, so about 5 months. She had only groomed dogs twice, despite the weekly recommendation to keep the pet dander at bay. She has only vacuumed once. Seeing this as a something that could not continue my wife demanded that the dogs be relegated to the basement except when outside. My wife and I spend several days deep cleaning the main level including the couches. My mother protested saying she is unable to get them to the basement at 4am when she takes them outside. I told her I would leave my phone on loud, she would just need to call me. She refuses and just leaves the dogs on the main level where they cover the floor in dog hair and dander. My wife is nearly 9 months pregnant and extremely uncomfortable even before dealing with the allergy.


    What do I do?

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    Is your wife on any antihistamines and is her doctor aware of the situation? I too have allergies and have been to the ER twice. Regarding the pets themselves this is a bit of a touchy subject. You might want to bring up the idea of adopting out those pets if they're a problem with your living situation. Your health and the health of your family should come first. I'm surprised your wife hasn't moved out or is so tolerant of the pets considering her difficulties. I wouldn't put up with it, finished or unfinished basement, especially considering mine are fairly severe. I think your priorities (you and your wife) are lost. Take care of your family and make sure no one is suffering healthwise.

    In the meantime all you can do is clean the house like a maniac and groom the dogs and cats yourself or pay someone to do it at least every other week. You can also install or bring in hepa filters. These are easy to find and you can do research online.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Andrina's Avatar
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    Helping a mother who doesn't even care that her daughter-in-law is suffering allergies on top of being pregnant? And you don't put your foot down about the dogs being on the main level? Your wife's well being needs to be the priority, even at the expense of your mother's inconvenience.

    The dogs need to go on diets for their own health and so that they can go up and down the stairs on their own. The dogs don't need to go outside at 4 a.m. Dogs can make it through the night until 7 or 8 a.m. to go outside. It's time for you to get a spine.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member j.man's Avatar
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    So she dropped 50,000 bones to finish your basement? What's the caveat there? How did that not include a private and accessible entrance? Does she get any stake in the equity in return for the investment? How permanent is this meant to be? There's a whole lot of "how" and "why" to unpack there.

    On one hand, I really don't like the chances of one of her obese dogs seriously hurting themselves on steeper steps on account of her being an irresponsible pet owner who overfed them. But the ropes are the ropes.

    I'd get in touch with someone in property law and get a feel for your options and what it might mean with regard to her rights if push ever comes to shove. If it was to be that she essentially had her floor and you guys had yours, that's how either the floor plan needed to lend itself or what the renovations needed to address. With neither party in a financial position to fix it at this point, you're at a pretty tough impasse. Assert yourself and your home, but be ready for your life not to be too much better with a spiteful resident beneath you.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    Why can't you just tell her that the pets must go if she's going to live with you. Why are you afraid to have boundaries with your mother? Why you would agree to have her move in with you without insisting she adopt out her THREE cats and TWO dogs is troubling when you know your wife is allergic to pet dander.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member smackie9's Avatar
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    Here is what you do. You sell your house and find a home that has a separate carriage house ( home above a garage) that your mother can live in. Buy something that will give you a little extra profit if possible if it means a longer commute. Next take over your mother's financial responsibilities, and be her executor of her estate. That will give you control over her spending, and make sure bills are paid, and keep some savings. Secondly, hire a financial advisor, to invest what she may have left. Basically that is what you should have done right at the sale of her home. As for the animals, they will die off, especially an obese sick dog. If it's too much, put some of these animal into better homes.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Alternative 1: work with a shelter to place the animals in good care outside of your household. If Mom won't go for that, then Alternative 2: Pay Mom the value of her improvements on your sale of the home. If your Mom is not in need of your physical care, there is no need for her to live with you. Paying her back for the unfortunate investment and downsizing to a home you can afford on your own as a couple makes the most sense.

    Give Mom both options and learn whether she will be reasonable. Your wife can't live like this.

  9. #8
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    Mom stays because she owns part of your home - she put tons of money into your basement. This was actually wrong. with 200k, your mom could have bought a smaller home outright and paid some debts. Why did you let her renovate the basement knowing she would end up with nothing? You agreed for her to move in with 2 dogs and 3 cats. it was a dumb idea unless the basement was not a walk out basement.

    I would tell your mom that the dogs needs to lose weight. Its cruel that they are so obese that they cannot get up and down your steps. She needs to, with her vet's guidance, feed them differently.

    Also, adjust their feeding schedule so they do not have to go out at 4 am. I mean, come on? If you cut off their water at 9 pm they should not have to go until mom wakes in the morning.

    What about buying your mom out of her portion - give her half the $25k out of your home equity that she put on your house, or half of what the improved home value would be on the proviso that she renegotiate her debts and it only be used on housing?

    The other idea is to talk to her about taking the dogs to doggie day care a few times a week. someone else may weigh in and encourage her to check the dog's diets and thyroids so they are not so huge and also it will get the dogs exercise and socilization and if they are out of the house a few times a week, she is more apt to take them to the groomer because she is already out.

    Also, are the dogs restricted when they are upstairs -- babygated in the kitchen, etc?

  10. #9
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    Originally Posted by smackie9
    Here is what you do. You sell your house and find a home that has a separate carriage house ( home above a garage) that your mother can live in. Buy something that will give you a little extra profit if possible if it means a longer commute. Next take over your mother's financial responsibilities, and be her executor of her estate. That will give you control over her spending, and make sure bills are paid, and keep some savings. Secondly, hire a financial advisor, to invest what she may have left. Basically that is what you should have done right at the sale of her home. As for the animals, they will die off, especially an obese sick dog. If it's too much, put some of these animal into better homes.
    Even if the basement was a walkout basement with a separate entrance = house is on a hill where the basement is the first floor in the back of the house so no stairs - carriage house would have stairs. But an in-law apartment or even a duplex.

    I don't think the pets should be rehomed since they agreed that they could all move in. I do think it was foolish to have mom move in instead of simply nearby with counseling ecouraged. She is a young woman. if mom was 85, then yeah, i get at her moving in longterm or forever


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