Before We Go to Malaysia

While we were gone we had a sort of kind of tenant in the Little House where we used to live (one bathroom, really small) and where Shasta and the Equuschick lived for a while.  The tenants didn’t pay the rent. They were supposed to do some cleaning and repairs instead of rent, and instead they trashed the place and left it in such bad condition that we can’t fix it.  We’re going to have to sell it.

We had a tenant in The Rattery and we were only breaking even on that if there were no repairs to be made.  Our property manager and the tenant tell two different stories, but the end result is that the property manager saw on facebook that we returned home in December so he quit managing it and quit collecting rent or returning the tenant’s phone calls. The tenant moved out and left a lot of furniture and a basement three feet deep in water.  It took a month to get our housekey from her.  The city sent us angry notice about the lawn and my husband called the property manager to ask what was going on and he said, “Oh, yeah.  Saw you were home in December and assumed you were taking over so I quit doing anything then.”  That was, oh, May or something when we found out. We don’t have time, energy, funds, or ability to fix everything, and we cannot be landlords while living overseas so we have to sell the Rattery, as well, both of which make me feel like a failure and a traitor to my family, including a host of long dead relatives who will likely haunt me til my death and I’m crying even as I type even as I know it’s JUST STUFF.

and then the government will take a massive chunk of that in taxes even though we’ve paid so much in taxes that we could have bought three other pieces of property with the money we gave to the government, you’re welcome.


Then there was the question of what to do with our current house, which we do not want to sell and probably couldn’t because it’s really unusual and massive and a bit odd and nobody wants a house this big and there is no way I could vacate it in time anyway.

There’s this Christian counselor in our state who happens to be friendly with a couple of our close relatives (different households), and has done some counseling with them.  He does a lot of counseling- skype counseling, personal counseling, he helps with addictions, trauma, grief anxiety, marriage counseling, and more.  He has done retreats for people to work on different things.  He was looking for a place to use for his retreats and for some midlevel temporary living for some of his addition clients- when they have reached a certain level, they would move in and spend a few more weeks working on learning some self care stuff, getting out in nature and maybe working on a garden, reading, studying, and continuing their counseling sessions in house with a group. He described what he was looking for to one of our kids and she said, “You just described my parents’ house.  You really need to talk to them.”

So his organization has come and looked and they really like it and want the furniture and books to stay.

They have a non-profit ministry providing this counseling and working on retreats, and so while they would pay us a small amount of rent and handle repairs and upkeep, they can give us a receipt so we can claim part of the gap between their rent and our house payment as a deduction on our taxes.  We still have to pay part of our house payment out of pocket but it would mean a lot to us to have the house occupied, the grounds kept up, and to be able to contribute to this ministry as well.

There is a lot of legal stuff, inspections, approvals, and so forth, that has to happen first and five months or less to do it all in.

The main downside is that in getting ready for our move to Malaysia in late December, early January, I was working on the assumption that I did not have to finish emptying out the garage and also have every one of the 8 bedrooms actually ready for a permanent occupant by December, and now I do.  Technically, btw, there are 9 bedrooms, but the 9th is barely as large as a walk-in closet and we turned it into a study.  So it’s kind of done, except there’s a desk about five feet wide and three feet deep with deep drawers full of 20 years worth of files and keepsakes and papers I also have to clean out now. Two of the upstairs bedrooms are still just basically massive store-rooms full of stuff, and all but one of them have a lot of stuff stored floor to ceiling in the closets that I was ignoring but now I have to go through and figure out what to do with it all and empty them completely.  Plus, our youngest two kids still have a few boxes of their things there that they do not yet have room for and I am not sure what has to happen with that.  So, prayers, please.

I am super excited because if it all works it would be such a blessing on both sides and I’d love to be able to help with this ministry while pursuing our passion and calling in Malaysia, and I’m nervous about the legal approvals, and about my ability to get the closets and garage emptied and our stuff packed in time…. while also keeping up with other projects and language lessons and preparation for an overseas move and life and not losing my mind, which is a fragile thing anyway.

But it’s also all very exciting, even the scary, sad parts.

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  1. Kristina Tyree
    Posted August 5, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Oh dear. Good news and kind of bad news. If I lived closer I would be over there in a heartbeat to give you a helping hand in any way I could. I will pray, and hope others will be able to help out.

  2. Lisa Beth. W.
    Posted August 5, 2019 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Can you get help from any of your kids with the sorting, or would it be the sort of help (like from my oldest daughter) where they think you should just get rid of this and get rid of that and you just keep saying noooooo…..? 🙂

    • Lisa Beth. W.
      Posted August 5, 2019 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      Oh, and that sounds like a really exciting opportunity to help out a great ministry! I really hope it works out and everything can get done on time!

    • Headmistress
      Posted August 6, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Yeah, most of their help is ‘just get rid of it.’ But also, they have such young children that it is difficult for them to help with that. JennyAnyDots is coming out to help with the craft-room stuff soon, though. And the sons in law have come a couple times to help load up things from the garage.

  3. SEM
    Posted August 6, 2019 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Blessings on the journey and I pray that all of this will come together for your family. (Our family happens to be dealing with cleaning out the family home of decades and I also am struggling with feeling like I’m failing the older generations because I simply won’t be able to keep and look after everything.)

    I keep meaning to share a link to “Our Grandfather Story,” a YouTube channel about life in Singapore.

    They have a lot of short videos about food and crafts and the older generation, but I have really enjoyed their longer videos on more challenging topics, like interviewing ex-cons and people in arranged marriages and people with Down Syndrome and people who have lost their children. Sometimes they have featured Catholics from the Philippines (a wide variety of faiths seem to be featured in the videos).

  4. Posted August 13, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Oh, that is oh-so-hard.

    The only way we’ve been able to have our property while overseas, is that it is a duplex and we have a long-term (responsible!) renter who is willing to make landlord-ish phone calls herself (to the plumber, etc.), I have a reliable housekeeper to come for the seasonal rental side (which we only rent out occassionally, to snowbirds), and my ILs live near by. It takes a whole team. . . I feel so sad that your generousity was taken advantage of and your manager flaked out. But I’m inspired by your ongoing generousity and praying that it will all come together for the nonprofit and for you.

    Moving is hard. Even when it is good.

    Moving is hard. Even when you have done it a kajillion times.

    Praying fr you.

    • Headmistress
      Posted August 16, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      Thank-you. This meant a lot to me.

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