My free pass

Going back… Before my dad remarried, he owned a huge parcel of land in Foley, AL. After my parent’s divorced, he decided to start a partnership with me and my sisters and include this land in the partnership. In the beginning, his plan was to hold on to the land until it increased in value then sell it off and possibly buy more under the name of the partnership.

In the late 90’s, the idea came about to build an expressway through Foley. This would include a toll bridge for access to the beach roads. When all the plans were drawn up, the expressway would go through part of the land owned by the partnership. My dad negotiated with the city of Foley on a price and sold part of the land to them with the agreement that he would receive a lifetime pass for the bridge. Not only did he get one pass, but he got a total of 5 passes. At the time, this covered his three cars and his two new step children that lived with him.  Nothing was ever mentioned nor given to the three daughters who were in the partnership. I always had resentment about that because I would have given my pass to my mother (an Orange Beach resident) so she wouldn’t have to pay the $3.50 to go through each time.

After my father died….if you’ve read up to now you know his children and grandchildren were left NOTHING in his will…I started thinking about those passes because now, I had inherited my mother’s condo in Orange Beach and could really use one of those passes. One day, I decided to call the Orange Beach Express office and inquire. I got the nicest man on the phone. His name was Chris Musgrove. I started to explain my situation about my father, the partnership, him getting remarried and he stopped me. He said he understood completely. I wasn’t sure if he really did but I told him I would fax in the copies of the deeds that were available on the City of Foley website. While I was speaking to him, he pulled up the passes in the computer and said they were all 5 being used constantly. Strange. Norma had sold all three cars and only had one now. Her two kids were living in Mobile. But yet, 5 passes were being “burned up” as Chris said. So I faxed in the deeds to him and he said he needed to talk to someone and would get back in touch with me.

When he called back, he said he planned to send a letter to Norma requesting a current update on all pass holders. I stopped him and said that if she knew I was involved, it would be detrimental to my family.  He said he knew that and it would in no way indicate that I was involved. In his opinion and the owner’s the passes were given to my father for a lifetime but not meant to be inherited. The plan was to have her confess that my father was deceased and at that point, he would revoke all 5 passes. I was a nervous wreck, but for some reason, I trusted this man. He seemed to get the big picture.

Within two weeks, he called me. He said he’d received her forms back stating my father was deceased and had issued a letter stating all her passes had been revoked. He would be issuing a pass for me and each of my sisters to be mailed to us immediately. I got mine within 2 days.

About three months later, I happened to be in Orange Beach with the kids. Norma had her mother visiting from North Carolina. She invited me to go shopping with them at the outlet mall. On our way there as she approached the bridge, she began a story about getting the letter. I listened intently through the whole thing as she was so irate that they had revoked her passes.  But you know what? I didn’t feel bad because it’s the only thing I got from my dad’s estate.



The nightmare that never ends

If you’ve read the entire blog, you know my dad was remarried at the time he died and to a woman that is my oldest sister’s age. When my dad was sick and after he died, his wife professed over and over how she could not imagine life without her best friend (my dad).  The first few months, she would call and talk to me about being so depressed that she just could not function.

Well, in April Norma mentioned she was spending lots of time with “her friend”. She would never give a name or many details. I assumed it was a man based on those facts but she never gave any details. When I hung up the phone with her after the first mention, I felt strange. I wasn’t sure if I was upset, jealous, hurt, or what. I had to think about it for a while. So, I mentioned this to Luke and he said she’d been alone for about a year and deserved to be happy. I still somehow felt robbed and upset.

She had her house listed to sell at the time and within two weeks, it sold. She began talking about houses she was looking at and the things they didn’t have that she needed and that sort of thing. Finally, in May when it was time for her to vacate, she told me she was moving into her “new friend’s” house. She confessed she’d been seeing this man for a while and was going to save money by moving into his house temporarily. Apparently, he is from Alaska and spends his winters in Orange Beach and his summers back home in Alaska.  The house he has in Orange Beach was left to him by his parents.  The end of May, she moved in. In early June, she left for a 2+ week trip to Alaska to visit him.

We took our usual month long vacation (me and the kids) down to my mother’s condo (now ours) in Orange Beach in late June. Norma loves spending time with the kids and asked to see them upon her return after the 4th of July.  The first time I dropped them off to her, she invited us into her house. Fresh paint smell. She began to tell me of all the renovations she’d done to the house since moving in. Ok. Well, apparently this wasn’t temporary.

Nothing has been mentioned since. Her regular phone calls to us have become sparse. It’s not that I expected her to stay single forever but I don’t get why it all has to be so secretive.

And speaking of the secretive part, her daughter who regularly keeps in touch with me on Facebook is getting married soon. She met a guy about a year ago and moved in with him a few months later. I can’t really speak on that since I met Luke and married him within 8 months. But, she has registered at Macy’s, Pottery Barn and Tiffany & Co. Ok. Kinda pricey. Am I being shallow? Maybe.  When we were down in Orange Beach after Christmas, she had already shown me my daughter’s dress for the wedding…before she had a ring, a proposal, a dress. Ok.

Yesterday she posted that she would be in Birmingham for the week training for work. Not sure what kind of work that is for. She started her own event planning business about a year ago and works as a bartender and other odd jobs in between to supplement her income. I haven’t heard a word. Wouldn’t you think she would want to come and see the kids? She ships them gifts for every little holiday like Halloween, Valentines, birthdays, etc.  Haven’t heard a word and she arrived here today.

Why don’t I just walk away? Because I can’t. My kids love Norma and ask to see her all the time. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she loves them too. It is wrong of me to rob them of their time with her. It is the same conundrum I went through when Cole was a baby and my father wanted to cut off my mother’s alimony. Do I cut myself off from him and risk having my children hate me for never knowing their grandfather?!? I didn’t want that hanging over my head. And now that nightmare continues.