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Locked Out

In 2003 our lease was coming up for renewal and having a 2 year old son and another one on the way we were being urged to save for a house. My parents proposed that we move back into my old room in the basement of their house, pay them some rent and save for a down payment. The idea seemed solid enough but we were skeptical based on past experiences with them. None the less we were young, poor and hopeful so we agreed.

We rented a truck and moved all of our belongings from Riverside to their house south of Belton. My old room was large with a full bathroom, 5 closets and we had the rest of the basement for overflow. The room was accessed down some stairs through the garage so we started the long process of hauling it in setting up the beds and stacked the other boxes along the walls. Since we would primarily be entering the house this way my parents gave us a garage door opener in leu of a key.

The cost to move set us back a few hundred dollars and I was still more than a week from payday so I proposed to my parents that I write them a check when I got paid which they begrudgingly agreed to. Andrea was not working at the time and drove up to check our mail to see if anything came before the mailman began forwarding. She not only discovered mail but our refund check from the IRS. I was working at Worldspan at the time so we connected after work to deposit the check and decided to go to dinner to celebrate.

I messaged my parents to let them know we wouldn't be home for dinner and we went about our evening enjoying our windfall. When we finally found our way south we discovered the garage door would not raise despite our best efforts. I didn't see my parents vehicles (which could have been inside the garage) so I called them to let them know we were experiencing technical difficulties.

Trish answered and explained that we needed to pay our outstanding rent before they would let us in. Frustrated I reminded them that we had negotiated a timeline for this but did concede that we recently add money to our account. I offered to write them a check from the checkbook inside our room. My father took the phone from her and told me we would need cash in hand before they would let us in. Lest I remind you at this point I am speaking to my parents not a slumlord.

As it was late we decided to go stay in a hotel room and hoped that the light of the morning would yield more rational thought. Sadly that was not the case. When we reconnected the next day they changed their mind and now wanted first and last months rent plus a security deposit. Andrea was already upset with them and that just about sent her over the edge (fair enough I was pretty pissed too). This change in plans meant that we would need more money then we had even with the IRS check and we were still ~6 days out from payday.

What the property looks like now. The barn is new and the pond is much larger otherwise it's the same.

Instead of spending money for another 6 days in a hotel we drove back North to Gladstone and opted to sign a new lease. I told my parents that we would pay them for the few days we had stayed there and we would move our stuff out. Instead of responding they went completely radio silent. We moved into our new apartment with the clothes on our back, a few bags of supplies from Walmart and a toddler mattress we got for Dave.

I tried every couple of days for awhile but they did not respond to my texts or calls. My fear of my parents (somethings are hard to shake even as an adult) kept me from pursing legal action. After a few months (4 or 5 I think) Trish told me I could come pickup our belongings. They made no further requests for money and my father was not present when we arrived.

We found the boxes had been open and a few things of value were missing (e.g. my 60s era comic books and class ring). Also it looked like there had been some flooding as the boxes on the bottom all had water damage. We loaded everything into a U-Haul and left. When Alexander was born we debated even telling them but it didn't matter they never came to visit. It was 3 years before I saw or heard from them again and things were never the same between us.


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