Riverside Realtor Blog - Alma Dizon

Alma shares her experiences and observations as a Realtor in Riverside California.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

On Love and Distrust

People have always told me that it was a good thing that my daughter was shy and clingy almost from birth. They told me no one would be able to steal her. And yes, she was better than a car alarm, wailing if someone even walked into the room. With my husband and me, she was and continues to be wonderfully affectionate. It was truly gratifying when, as a toddler, she finally learned to kiss me and proceeded to kiss me softly 18 times on the nose. But this doesn't mean that she trusts us absolutely, and it's simply her nature to question our opinions and actions.

Take last night, for example. When we got home, she told me that she hadn't been able to eat her spaghetti at kindergarten because the container slipped out of her hands when she was trying to open it, dumping her lunch on the cafeteria floor. She really likes spaghetti, so she asked me to make more for dinner. While I was making dinner, I cleaned out her lunchbox and, sure enough, found the spaghetti container. It was full and looked untouched. I opened it, examined it for signs of floor and found none. I was puzzled. I'd assumed that she would just have thrown it out. On the other hand, I've worked very hard to train her to bring everything home, so that we can recycle properly instead of just tossing it all into the trash the way they do at school. Plus, I know how much she loves spaghetti and in fact had asked for it again. So I tossed it into the green recycling (it was meatless), and started anew. When we sat at the dinner table, my daughter plunged her fork into her pasta and began to eat voraciously. Then she paused, slowly looked up at me, and asked, "These are the same noodles that fell on the floor?" "No," I told her, "those are in the laundry room, in the green bin." "Really?" she asked. "Go and look," I told her, "It's in there." She thought a moment and then continued to eat without checking the bin.

I had two reactions. One was, "I'm your mother. How could you even think that I would reheat those noodles?" My second was, "Nobody is going to con this child into buying a shoddily built house or a bad refi." Of course, one could say that she knows me well enough to have figured that I would examine her lunch and not just immediately believe that they'd fallen on the floor. She may also have picked up my tendency to question what I'm told, no matter who is talking.

But she's much more distrustful than I was at age 5. I gradually became distrustful in my teen years, after discovering with much horror that my parents weren't always right or logical. And a close relative conned me out of $100 when I was 16. I had always been an unquestioning and fairly obedient child, so learning distrust was rather traumatic. My daughter, on the other hand, seems to have it hardwired into her. Why else would she even think I would try to feed her spaghetti that had fallen on the cafeteria floor?

Then there are the cousins of mine whose mother was infamous for her inability to smell and taste rotting food. She sporadically poisoned the extended family at holiday gatherings, and we all became wary of anything she had to offer. My cousins, from a young age, began throwing their food onto the roof when their mother wasn't looking. Years later, she surprised them by leaving the same house to them all. They were estatic. It was full of rot and had unpermitted additions, but it was in Hawaii and worth a lot of money on paper. Then, these close-knit siblings, who had always supported each other against their mom, began to fight with the one who'd actually stayed home and taken care of their mother. So she took out a huge loan on this unsellable house and split the money with the others, who promptly got hit with taxes on it. Hmm, so maybe they should have continued to be suspicious of their mother despite her last act of love for them...

So beware and ask questions, even if (and especially if) family is involved. Get an appraisal that truly reflects the actual physical condition of a property and the costs to make it sellable. Seek tax information. Have agreements written down and get copies of everything, even receipts. It doesn't mean that you love them less, but it does lessen the amount of pain you'll feel, realizing later that a loved one didn't live up to your expectations.

Of course, my child didn't actually go look at the green bin. But I was ready, and I will be the next time she questions me. I hope she doesn't stop doing so.


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