Sunday, July 25, 2010

Week with our Thomas friends

We were privileged to have our friends, Greg & his daughter Sera visit us this past week. We all wanted to save money while they were here, but still wanted to visit some local fun spots. I think overall we did pretty well & a great time was had by all!! Although the best parts of the week were all the laughs we had just spending time together, here are some of the highlights of our activities:

We visited an extinct volcano about 15 miles out of town. The boys still love to collect lava rocks each time we visit. We also took them to see the outside of the St. George temple & visitors center. Always such a beautiful, peaceful place. Annie got to see the Christus statue for the first time & was in awe.
Rather than spending the money for tickets to Tuacahn, we attended the Music of the Night pre-show. There were 7 performers who sang & danced to songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The talent was amazing! Annie even smiled a bunch...especially when they were dancing. For those who don't know, Tuacahn is an outdoor amphitheater where broadway shows are performed among many other events. People come from all over to see these shows. It is only a few miles from my house & to get there you either have to pass within 1/2 block of my house or 1/2 mile on another road. So if you're ever headed to Tuacahn, drop on by to say hi. We'd love to see you!

After our visit to Tuacahn, we went hiking around Dixie Rock and another area nearby referred to by some as "Fat Man's Misery" or the narrows (but they are not the actual narrows of Zion's Park). I am still amazed by the incredible scenery we are surrounded by.
The last night of their trip we stayed home to celebrate Utah's Pioneer Day. How Pioneer Day also became a day for fireworks is still beyond me, but I like it! Good food, friends, & a fireworks show was the perfect ending to a fun-filled week with friends. Thanks Thomas family for coming to visit us. We love you guys!!

Which came first?

At dinner tonight, Mike started up the discussion of "Which came first...the chicken or the egg?" Of course the boys had to debate this back and forth for a bit. Finally, Tyler declared, "Dad, God put the chicken on the earth!" Can't argue with that one!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Housing Crisis Continued

At the risk of sounding redundant, here is a more detailed explanation for those wondering of some of the reasons we want out of this place. These again are just the beginning of the tremendous list. Some are ridiculous and annoying to us while others are illegal, and yet no one has been able to stop these actions.

Park will approve a potential buyer for a park-owned home after denying them for a resident owned home listed for the exact same price on the same street.

Park will approve a buyer, previous resident will then purchase another home, and then buyer will then be denied, only to have previous resident in a financial mess, frequently losing at least one home to the bank, then being turned over to the park for their profit. This has happened to many families!

Manager has yelled at children living outside the park coming into the park, telling them they will be sent to juvenile detention if they are seen here again. (doing NOTHING wrong)

Manager has yelled at children for riding their bikes on the street. Note, we don't have sidewalks and are only allowed to have rocks/gravel in front yards (many surrounded by bricks to keep tidy). Where are they supposed to ride?

Residents are not allowed to add fences to their yards, but park owned homes can do this to theirs.

Residents are not allowed to rent/lease homes to others, but park owned homes are being rented out.

We have received eviction notices for having only a few weeds and also for having a few of our small rocks spill over into the gutter (easily happening when children all over the neighborhood come through the yard). Apparently I am supposed to watch this 24/7!

Manager has attempted to get a pet deposit from residents who own pets more than once after it has been already paid ($200), some only for having pets, some per pet, and not being returned when pet dies.

Neighborhood children have been ordered off the yards of other residents by the manager when they have had permission to be there by the home owner.

I gave written permission for my neighbor to park in my driveway when we were not here, but the manager put spikes in the driveway to not allow this.

Manager has offered to approve sales for resident owned homes if they will pay her several thousands, but they are again approved for park owned homes at same cost.

Previous park maintenance has damaged resident owned homes and refused to pay for repairs, but demands the residents repair them (not Shawn!!)

Management has spies in park. Manager has forbidden certain residents from speaking to me or my family. When they are seen with my family in the park, the manager is contacted.

Parks that are supposed to be for children to play on are never fully installed, leaving nowhere for children to play.

The ends of the streets are chained off, forcing fire dept. to cut through chains each time they need to get through in an emergency. This is not illegal, just quite annoying. However, if residents want to get around the corner to a nearby house still located in this neighborhood and have to go over or around chains, they will get reprimanded if caught.

Some residents are allowed to park in empty lots while others are towed or their guests' cars are towed. Our guests are expected to park at least a block away and walk to our house...which I don't feel right about when it is 105+ degrees outside! And my guests can't park on one of the next streets in the extra parking spaces and walk around because they would have to go around the chains and get in trouble for that.

As stated before, cash offers have been turned away supposedly due to "credit worthiness", but they refuse to make credit requirements known.

I was told to remove my realtor's sign, but the park was allowed to put their for sale signs up all over.

Our children are afraid to go outside to play during the hours that the manager is here. If any neighborhood kids see her car coming down the street, they all run inside the house out of fear.

I have had potential buyers request an application be faxed to them for park residency, but have been told that they are now required to apply in person so the manager knows they are the actual person with that social security # (although I can't see why they couldn't still lie in person if they really wanted to). I however was able to apply via fax. Hmm...wonder when that one changed. Other residents have admitted to not even filling out an application.

Various state licenses are required to be fulfilling the job duties they have legally. These licenses have expired, which are all public record. No one will do a thing about these either. What good is a license if no one enforces it...especially when over hundreds of families?

...and the list goes on. This doesn't even properly convey the feelings of anger, frustration, etc. felt by so many involved with this neighborhood. If you have any suggestions on how to get results, please contact me. Thank you.

If you missed the beginning of this story, you may find it by clicking HERE

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Housing Crisis

**Disclosure: If you are here to read one of my happy little blog posts and want nothing else, please stop reading now. I feel the need to vent & rant today.**

Many of you know of our current housing situation and the 8-year battle we have been fighting. Here's a quick re-cap. We listed our mobile home for sale approximately 8 years ago. The market wasn't so good at the location it was, so we shipped it South after several years to a location where we were told they were selling great! Apparently that was a complete lie by the park manager where we moved it to, just to get us there. We left it vacant for a couple years (still on the market the entire time) and then ended up moving back into it after losing a job. We have since then been doing lots of fix-ups and improvements. Frankly, I think it looks pretty darn good...especially for a mobile home!! Unfortunately, the park managers have denied nearly every buyer we have had for various excuses, none very clear to us. They have done this with many other families as well. This among a mountain of other things has made us want OUT!! We are currently involved in a lawsuit against the park owners & managers with other families to try to resolve these situations. It has even come to the point that many realtors in town refuse to even show homes for sale in the park because of not wanting to deal with the manager. Thankfully, I have an awesome agent who has bent over backward doing everything she can.

After working with an attorney for over a year now, pretty much nothing has happened. We have had promise after promise that a settlement offer & results would arrive within a few days. A year we sit...same manager, same owners, no sale, etc., etc. To top it off, the attorney's office is next to impossible to get a hold of so we can't ever figure out what is happening. OK, so we are essentially suing with no consequences if they decide to flat out ignore it??? I DON'T THINK SO!!

So, I again called the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Real Estate, today seeking answers. In the Utah codes of law, it specifically states that it is illegal to unreasonably limit the sale of a home. That is OBVIOUSLY happening here. They should have answers, right? NOPE!! At least this time instead of just telling me that mobile laws are hard to understand, they said, "No state agency oversees mobile home parks." Oh, so we OWN homes but we have no rights in the state? EXCUSE ME??? I am SOOOOO DONE putting up with this crap & being denied any rights, especially when I have a stinking mortgage!!

So today I took the next step in hopes of something decent happening. I have done this in the past, but I am doing it again with the inclusion that the state is basically refusing to help. Hopefully it will matter now. I have written to Bill Gephardt, an investigative reporter at channel 2 news. If we don't hear anything from them, I will contact another news media and another until someone can help get me some answers and results. We own mobile homes for crying out loud. We don't have the money to hire another attorney just because ours isn't doing his job!! I'm sure the state would be protecting standard home owners in this case, we MUST have rights too. Please pray for results soon. Thank you.

By the way, if you would like to see the latest look of the house, Click Here

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"Mark"ing our blessings

We have many friends who we consider blessings in our life, but one particularly special blessing to my family goes by the name of Mark. He lives in Pennsylvania. We were so excited that Mark was in town last night for a job interview and was able to come visit for a bit.

Mark was Mike's college roommate. For many, that alone can forge a lifelong friendship, but this one goes beyond that. I believe Mark changed more than just Mike's life...he also changed mine before I even met him. He planted the seed that gave me the husband I will be blessed with for eternity. When Mark introduces people to Mike, he says, "Mike converted me back to the gospel." To which Mike responds, "And then Mark baptized me."

Almost 13 years ago, Mike was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know this may always be a controversial issue for Mike's family being catholic, but it has been such a blessing in our lives, following our beliefs together, and having the gospel in our family's life. Two years after his baptism, Mike and I were married in the Salt Lake Temple and sealed for eternity. This was only the beginning of many more blessed events. For these, I will be forever grateful to Mark.

Thank you, Mark. We love you and your beautiful family (and hope to see them again soon)