The Brother-in-Law from Hell

May 10, 2009

Story #2 is about his wife’s family. About the time he was laid off, his wife’s parents became unable to care for themselves. One parent had Alzheimer’s Disease and the other had Parkinson’s and they both had to be institutionalized (initially against their will) for their own protection.

Mark’s family owned a large, run-down house on the beach. Mark started working on the house to sell it. It had potential to bring in a lot of money once it was fixed up. Mark started working on the house to fix it up to sell it. His intent was to pay himself a reasonable salary for the time he spent working on it from the sale, but the bulk of the money would go for his in-laws’ institutional care. Mark indicated that he was not trying to keep a lot of money from the sale and I believed him.

Mark’s brother-in-law (wife’s brother) is a carpenter who works on remodeling houses and he offered to help out. At first, Mark thought this would be a wonderful stroke of good luck, but as he worked with the brother-in-law, he discovered that the brother –in-law was the kind of remodeler who works on your house and does a sloppy, terrible job that leaves you angry for years. He did hit-or-miss careless work, he drank on the job, and he came and went as he pleased. It was also clear that he expected to make a wind-fall profit from the sale of the house, regardless of his parents’ needs.

So Mark was fighting two battles at the same time, trying to get the job done as his money ran out, and trying to get the job done in spite of the incompetent and predatory “help” of the brother-in-law.

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5 Responses to “The Brother-in-Law from Hell”

  1. David Says:

    Good grief. I know too many contractors like that. I think they should all be institutionalized against their will.

  2. woo Says:

    Mixing business and family is SUCH a bad idea.

    Wait, mixing ANYTHING and family (other than, possibly, gin) is a bad idea.

  3. modestypress Says:

    #1 My family and your family and woo’s family, all institionalized together?

    #2 The family that drinks together…?


  4. Yeah, “Do not hire or contract a relative for any reason” should be an llth commandment, or a constitutional amendment.

  5. modestypress Says:

    Every rule has an exception. When my wife and I owned a business (an experience that ruined our finances and almost ruined our marriage), we did business with a couple who owned a print shop and seemed to be able to work together harmoniously and effectively. I often looked at them with wonder.


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