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Purchased Filthy Family Home?

Joan JerkovichMay 19, 2014

My husband and I recently purchased my father-in-law’s home from him (I call him the anti-housekeeper) because he was moving out of town and we like the house, love the location, and have a great vision for remodeling the house that we are really excited about.

The only thing about this whole situation that really bugs me is that in the 6 years he’s lived in the home, he’s rarely if at all, cleaned the house. The basement has been the cat’s domain, and he rarely goes down there, which means she “goes” wherever she sees fit as he doesn’t ever empty out her litter box.

Two large dogs are inside the majority of the day, and hair is absolutely everywhere. I could go on, but it makes me sick just thinking about it all. We’ve already started the cleaning process, and everything looks much better, but I can’t help but feel very upset. Not only did we have to pack up his entire house and move it for him, which we are still continuing to do, but now we are forced to break our backs cleaning up his mess, without any offers of help from him at all.

Should I be upset and/or confront him? Or should I just let it go and move on?

Of course you feel like confronting him because you are upset~and who wouldn’t be? Will coming down on him change anything? Probably not. Think about this, if your father-in-law didn’t lift a finger in 6 years to empty the kitty litter box, he’s not going to jump up and help you and your husband clean up this health hazard!

While I’m not a neat-nick, it surprises me to find those people who can live in abject filth! They’re out there living amongst us and they seem immune to the smells, petrified rodents and trash heaps they navigate through on a daily basis within their homes. What also surprises me is how they can often walk out the door looking and smelling (relatively speaking) nice. It’s a mystery to me…maybe there’s an alien connection here??…mysterious…

Now, in my humble opinion, the reality is that even if you confront hubby daddy, it won’t do anything to change the situation you’re in with this mess. But, it may make you feel better. The question here is “at what cost”? What will it cost you to speak up? You have a right to feel disgusted with this mess he left for you. How do you think he will react to your judgmental comments? At this point, do you care?

What is your husbands take on this? My guess would be that he’s heard an earful…or two…or three…from you already. I don’t believe that anyone should dictate what we say or do, but taking your husbands feelings in to account are important since this is his Dad. Could your husband have a talk with his Dad for the both of you?

Here’s a more practical thought. Why didn’t you figure in to the purchase price of this house the cost of hiring an outside crew to shovel the shit out the front door? Why are you guys doing this yourselves if it’s so distressing to you? Please don’t hear that as judgment coming from me because I’ve done this very same thing, albeit years ago, with a rental I owned…ugh…it’s nauseating just to remember the filth I had to clean up!

With that in mind, if this answer comes out before the work is done, I would suggest you step back from the job. In fact, I give you permission to do so, even if your husband thinks you need to keep helping until the job is complete. It sounds to me like you’ve done more than your fair share; so let someone else put on their gas mask, hazmat suit and gloves and get shoveling. Go get a manicure my dear, you deserve it!

Joan Jerkovich, BCC Board Certified Life Coach

Joan Jerkovich, BCC
Board Certified Life Coach

The Joan Jerkovich Show
News Radio 1150 KSAL
Saturdays @ 6:00 am CST
Podcast posts to Mondays

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