28 April 2011

Oil Spill Remediation 201

Yes, the first part of the oil spill remediation on the house that my parent's lived in is finished. (There is still city, county and state approval to get, as well as new stairs, walk, driveway, and landscaping to do.) However, last week, the project manager let me know that they have found more oil. When he first said the words, I felt another punch in the gut, but at this point I am resigned to the never ending challenge of my mother's estate.

My mother's estate. Surely, this is NOT the legacy she would have chosen for herself. She might have wanted to nag me into becoming more mainstreamed, doing more age appropriate, socially acceptable, culturally oriented activities. She did want to change my in all sorts of ways but to become the overseer of an oil spill remediation, to torture her beloved house, destroy her front steps, her lawn, and driveway, would not have been part of her plan. Had she cursed me with her dying breath, it could not have been more effective, but had it been a curse, she would have been appalled by the means to my suffering.


So, enough with the self-pity.

The remediators think, not sure yet, that there is oil soaked soil another foot beyond the original dig. They could not dig that part of the soil out when the hole was opened because the house was not braced appropriately to go further than they had planned. The original dig plan was modified during the work. The original plan was to dig down 15 feet, but once they did that, more oil soaked limestone was found. And so, they dug another 5 feet down. (I was a bit disappointed that the pictures which my project manager so generously sent to me did not really capture the 20 foot hole in front of my parent's house.)

The new plan is to take new borings inside and outside the house and then do another dig. My plans to have the house on the market this summer are flying out the window. I am resolved not to make any more of those plans; however, I have contacted the insurer to see if I can renew insurance for yet another year, and I am applauding my own foresight in keeping money in the estate account far beyond what I originally thought I would need.

The additional fly in the bitter ointment (what 'bout those mixed metaphors and crazy cliches) is the neighbors from hell. Yes, those uncooperative, litigious, totally unneighborly neighbors, who have kept the work from happening for more than a year, are opposing any further work. They have a new lawyer. They inspire many curse words. And mainly because there is nothing that they can really do -- not ultimately -- except cost us more money.

OR, there is plenty that they can do. They have stretched out the work for more than a year longer than it would have taken, they can delay the additional work for at least another six months if they work hard. They can threatened to sue someone and make it hell for my insurance company and the remediator. They can be rude to my project manager who is a hell of a nice guy. They can make my property and their own look its worst for a longer amount of time.
Actually, living where they are might be their best punishment.

I could be angry with them, but why? Those feeling are over and far behind me. We maybe working at this for another year -- no kidding, a year -- but in the end it will all get done. We are digging because of state regulations not whim. There is nothing, in the long run, that they can do to stop it.

I must say that I still hope that I sell the house to the worst neighbors on the face of the earth. I know, that is not generosity of spirit, but . . . they have made this so much more difficult than it could have been. And it will cost us money -- the estate is still paying Jersey property taxes, utilities, and keeping the estate open and filing taxes and paying a lawyer. All this is just too bad, but it is what it is.

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