A Fool's Errand - Part 4

AdiosFor reasons understood only by parents of wayward sons and daughters, Ralph had allowed Katrina to convince him—with the help of a realtor who was in cahoots with his daughter—that once the house had been brought up to minimum standards it would easily sell for half a million dollars. This was a formidable sum, especially in light of the price he had originally paid for the place; it represented an 825% appreciation, in which Jimmy and Katrina hoped to participate.

But as days became weeks and weeks turned to months, the project became an impossible drain on Ralph's wallet, and on his health. He and his wife had already retired, mostly, and the cumulative stresses of the undertaking began to take their toll. In an attempt to maintain the condition of the main level—they had already installed new appliances, among other things—they were living on the second floor, which had no kitchen. Cooking on a hotplate can be done, but it isn't a positive experience, and when colder weather began to nudge monthly utility bills toward the $800 mark, they decided to quit before they were down to their last dime. So they closed the place up, hoping to return when warmer weather—and a better real estate market—might result in a more positive outlook.


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