Saturday, November 21, 2015

In which I remember there is a companion cat to the Ceramic Cat of Many Colors

Primo and I are going on vacation, the vacation we thought we would have to cancel. I am sad for Primo that he has lost both parents in such a short time, but am relieved that perhaps the main reason Primo and I fight is now non existent. Literally.

I remembered that when I was at Sly and Doris' for Doris' funeral, I noticed this on the mantel (and who has a fireplace IN FLORIDA?).

It is the companion Cat of Many Colors to Primo's Cat of Many Colors, the present we got for Christmas last year.

Primo also informed me that Sly and Doris bought themselves a companion Cast-Iron Cat. So those of you out there who have said you want a Cast-Iron Cat of your own, maybe we should have some kind of contest for the one at Sly and Doris'. What do you think?

Friday, November 20, 2015

In which the English major teaches the engineer how to read between the lines

Primo: Even Carol (our hairdresser) told me it was lucky that I was unemployed while my parents were sick.

Me: Yes, but the difference between Carol saying that and Ted's Wife saying it is that Carol meant that your unemployment might have made this ordeal easier for you. TW meant that your unemployment made this ordeal easier for her and Ted.

Primo: Oh. OH! Yes! I understand.

Me: You usually don't figure this kind of thing out.

Primo: No. I am not good at that.

Me: Just like when Ted told your dad that it was unfair to you that so much money was going to the grandkids because you don't have any children, what he really meant it was unfair to Ted because Jack has three times as many children as Ted does.

Primo: Oh! You're right!

Me: Of course I am. I was an English major. This is what we do.

In which Sam counsels Primo not to be the trustee for the trust because it is a huge pain in the neck, everyone will hate him, and he doesn't get paid for it, and tells him that no, he should not make Ted and Jack partial beneficiaries of Sly's IRA (which would mean I would get less money if Primo dies before I do)

Sam called to advise Primo about the will and the IRA.

"They cannot break the IRA," he said. "In the legal field, you never say zero, but it is as close to zero as you can get when you talk about breaking a beneficiary designation on an IRA."

I told him that Primo had suggested that he make Ted and Jack beneficiaries with me on the IRA once it is transferred to him.

"Screw them!" Sam said. "Your dad had ten years - ten years - to change his will and the beneficiary designations. He didn't do it. Why not?"

"Because he had already given a lot of money to Ted and to Jack and he was worried they would waste it," Primo answered.

"That's what I thought," Sam said. "That was your dad's decision. You don't owe them anything."

And more discussion about how Primo thinks Ted is getting screwed a little in this, which he is, but on the other hand, Ted still has his mother to inherit from and Ted has not bothered to have a real job in years because, as he told Primo, he decided he would rather "do good than make money," which is a really nice thing to want to do and is easy to do if you can get someone else to pay your bills, but most of us don't have a rich mother or a wife who is willing to be the main breadwinner.

(I am right now the wife who is the main breadwinner and I do not like it.)

(However, inheriting Sly's IRA could go a long way to taking the sting out of this.)

(I hope Primo takes Sam's advice and does not designate Ted and Jack as partial beneficiaries. I do think there is a somewhat reasonable argument that money from their dad should not go to me, but there is also the reasonable argument that

1. Sly knew he hated me yet did not set up a structure where Primo got the money only until he died and then it reverted to some vehicle for Ted and Jack
2. Primo is inheriting from both his mother and his father, so when you take the total estate, he should get half because that would be from his mother and then he should get one third of his dad's estate. Right now, with the values of the trust and the IRA, Primo is getting slightly less than half.
3. It is not unreasonable for a wife to inherit her husband's estate and I am pretty sure that if Sly had left the IRA to Ted, Ted would not have made his wife only a partial beneficiary and Jack and Primo the other beneficiaries.)

Then Sam advised Primo to resign as trustee on the trust for the grandchildren. The documents state that the money will be held in trust for them until they are 30, with the trustee allowed to disburse funds for education and maintenance expenses.

"Any degree of subjectivity - anything where you have to exercise discretion - and you are going to tick people off. I had to do it for my aunt's trust and it was the biggest hassle ever. You do not want to do this. Turn it over to a lawyer. Plus, you're responsible for making the investment decisions. Do not do this."

"Listen to your friend," I say. "He knows what he is talking about."

And then.

Me: Primo found another porn stash.

Sam: Another one?

Primo: This was not the first one.

Me: He found photos.

Primo: Of them.

Sam: Photos?

Me: Naked.

Primo: I was looking for financial documents and they were stuck in the drawer.

Sam: I hope of them when they were younger.

Primo: Oh yes.

Sam: What did you do with them?

Primo: I put them back.

Julie (Sam's wife): You didn't burn them?

Primo: No!

Me: Because doing something about them was out of scope?

Primo: Yes! The mission was to find the financial documents, not to throw stuff away.

Sam: So you just put them back?

Primo: Of course.

Me: Good grief.

Sam: I can't imagine. The worst thing our kids can think of is to think about us having sex.

Me: Were the photos - did they have - did they show - any equipment?

Sam: Equipment?

Me: The first thing was when Sly reminisced with Primo about - about certain intimate practices he shared with Doris.

Sam: And?

Me: Ummm. Involving equipment.

Sam: ??

Primo: Dildos.

Me: More than that. Strap ons.

Julie: NONONONONONO! My ears! My ears!

Sam: What?

Me: I can't say it again.

Julie [laughing]: How do I unhear that?

Sam: What!

Me: I told you. I cannot say it again.

Sam: Oh. OH! Oh man. That - that is an image I wish had never entered my mind.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

In which Sly is not dead even a week and Ted has already threatened to sue about the will

Primo wrote an email to Ted and to Jack and explained that Sly had left his estate to a trust to be established for the four grandchildren, with Primo as the trustee.

He also told them that he was the beneficiary on Sly's IRA.

It took Ted not very long to reply

1. Please inform as to the value of the items in the trust and the retirement assets.  
2. I’d like to call your attention to the attached letter, dated July 30, 2005, one of which was presumably sent to Jack and possible a copy to you, Primo. [The letter said something about Primo funding the trust from other assets to get each grandkid's piece to a certain amount and also said that Sly would be leaving a small bequest to both Ted and Jack.]
3. I’m disappointed that you failed to follow through on our father’s specific instructions, delivered verbally to you on Monday, June 8, 2015 in front of the lawyer and me, to “modify the trust language,” especially as Dad and Doris' Joint Living Trust, dated June 1, 1005 (of which I have a copy) was drafted prior to your second marriage and Jacks' restaurant business. I look forward to discussing this with the two of you and I shall reserve my right to contest the will in court.

Did you see that?

Ted is already threatening to take Primo to court and he is ticked off that even though Sly mentioned something about the will, PRIMO DID NOT DO ANYTHING.

My response:

1. Screw you, Ted. See you in court.

2. The letter does not matter. It was from ten years ago. If Sly had really wanted to make these changes, he should have put them in the will. Surely the Smartest Man in the World (TM) would know that all that matters is what is written in the will.

3. Again, screw you, Ted. First, Primo was not in the room when that happened. Second, even if he had been, he was busy taking care of his very ill father and planning his mother's funeral. And again, see the part about, "It is not in the will if it is not written in the will."

And then Jack wanted to know what happens to Sly's IRA when Primo dies. As in, does it go to me?

To that, I would say, "Jack. Sly and Doris lost $250,000 in your restaurant and have left $300,000 to your children. So basically, you have gotten over half a million dollars from them because money to your children is sort of money to you. You don't think that is enough?"

This might be a very unpleasant funeral weekend.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

In which Primo finds even more stuff that makes you go "Ewww"

I just picked Primo up from the airport. We are home.

Primo: I found porn stash number two.

Me: Oh no. What - what was it? Books?

Primo: Some books.

Me: That's not so bad. Erotica.

Primo: And photos.

Me: Photos?

Primo: Of them.

Me: What?

Primo: Nude photos. Of my parents.

Me: Stop.


Me: Wait.


Me: Please tell me at least they were old photos of them a long time ago.

Primo: They were from the 60s.

Me: So they had to send them out for processing?

Primo: Polaroid.

In which Ted directs Primo to inventory and value the contents of Sly and Doris' house

Let me set the scene for you.

Sly and Doris' house is not a house full of expensive antiques, valuable art, and expensive electronics.

It is a house full of used furniture, some of it with urine stains. The guest room bed has cigarette burns. The carpets are stained. The dishes and cookware are almost 50 years old. Nothing wrong with it - it works, but it is not new. The linens are old.

It is a house of furniture that has been used for decades. It is not bad furniture, but it is used and was not that high quality to begin with. It was what Sly and Doris could afford and that's fine.

Primo's idea is that on the funeral weekend, everyone will take what they want from the house. The rest will be sold and the money will go to the estate, or so we imagine.

Ted has a different idea. Primo spent Saturday at the hospital collecting his dad's stuff. He has arranged the funeral. He is meeting with the lawyer today and on Wednesday, he is flying home. He has things to do, even if some of those things are to rest.

The emails in question.

Note also that Ted's "wife and brothers" are inventorying a house of someone who is not even dead. That is, Ted'sWife's mother is sick but is not dying at this second, but Ted'sWife is going to be ready.

Subject: S and D stuff
From: Ted
Date: Tuesday
To: Primo, Jack

Why not do a quick inventory of TVs furniture, etc.and make a list, with their approximate value, then see who has interest in what? That's what my wife and her brothers have successfully done already.

Subject: RE: S and D stuff
From: Primo
Date: Tuesday
To: Ted, Jack

The inventory is a good idea, but I hope that you weren't suggesting it as a task for today. I'm fully booked for the day (reviewing bills/statements, meeting with the lawyer, picking out photos for Dad's service) and leaving first thing tomorrow. Whatever we don't distribute during the weekend of the funeral should be inventoried, and I will get to that after the funeral. Regarding approximate values, only professionals (or software such as TurboTax) can assign meaningful values to things like used furniture. I could only guess at values for things like recently-purchased electronics (e.g., the TV in the bedroom).

FYI, picking out photos for Dad's service may not seem more important than the obituary, but it is a higher priority for now because I am here, the photos are here, and the photos need to be chosen before I return on July 31. That leaves only today for me to go through the boxes of photos. (I'll be expecting some digital photos from you as well.)


In which Primo and Ted argue about Sly's obituary and Ted asks what happened in the meeting with the lawyer about the will and Ted, as usual, is a big jerk

So Primo and I are on vacation, something he deserves greatly. It is possible to be off the grid - we are renting a cottage on an island - but Primo learned that the cottage owner, who also has a house across the street, does have wireless and he got the password, so so much for a complete disconnect.

Honestly - Sly and Doris are both dead. What kind of emergency could there be?

Primo asked Ted to leave him alone while he is on vacation.

Ted, as usual, because Ted's needs and wants are more important than Primo's,

Oh! Wait! I think this event happened before we went to the cottage.

But still. Ted is a jerk and he has done nothing in the time that I have known him ever to change that opinion.

So there was this exchange - weeks before the funeral. Ted wanted to get the obit done RIGHT AWAY and Primo said, Dude, can we just wait a week or two? The funeral isn't for a while and right now, I just need to rest because you know BOTH OF MY PARENTS JUST DIED and I am exhausted and emotionally wrung out.

But Ted just has to forge ahead because hey, he hasn't spent the past several months dealing full time with parent medical issues and drama that could have been prevented if drunk 260-lb Sly had not fallen on drunk 110-lb Doris and broken her knees.

Note the gratuitous insult:  "Perfunctory, chronological storytelling is the bastion of beginners."

I am not going to say that I hate Ted, because 1. he is not worthy of it and 2. my parents taught me that we do not hate anyone but we do hate evil and Ted, although a jerk, is not evil.

However, if there is a heaven and if I get to go, it will not be heaven for me if Ted is there.

Emails here.

at 6:41 PM, Primo wrote:


I have reached the point where I am able to provide some feedback, but it consists mostly of suggested changes to sentence structure and punctuation. You've done a fantastic job on the content.

Most of these changes are optional, although at least a couple of them should definitely be made (e.g., a comma should never be used before the suffix "III" and the word "rewrite" should not contain a hyphen). Everyone has preferences regarding commas; I've added some that you didn't use and taken out a few of yours.

The attachment is a Word document with changes tracked.

I have one comment on the structure of the entire document: I might want to rearrange it, especially the first half, to put things in chronological order. Have you intentionally ordered things as "most important first" or did the document evolve without thinking about this? I think it might flow better if the narrative started with high school and then moved on to college, the Navy, and his academic career. I didn't want to make that sort of major change in this round of edits.

Finally, I have two possible issues with content:

1. Was Dad actually stationed at the Presidio in S.F.? I don't remember hearing him say that he was stationed there (although he may have mentioned visiting there). The Presidio was an Army base, not a Navy base, so was it even possible for him to be stationed there?

2. We may want to consider whether the Sierra Club is the right charity to designate. Dad had a document on his Mac that mentioned a few environmental charities (one of which was the Sierra Club). He was also a huge fan of the ACLU, while Mom was not.


Subject: Re: Suggested changes to obit draft #6 (attached)

Thanks for your input. 

I’ll make appropriate edits. Structure fully intentional and I disagree strongly with your assertion about better narrative flow. Perfunctory, chronological storytelling is the bastion of beginners. 

1. Yes stationed at Presidio. My mother and I lived in a Quonset Hut for many months while he was onboard the USS Buck, harbored in SF. Jack was born in Coronado the following year when DD-761 returned south.

2. I would defer to you on charity designation. When The Lawyer was in the room with him and me on June 8, Dad noted that he wanted to revise his will a bit, including designating environmental charities.

What, by the way, was the outcome of your meeting with The Lawyer?

I received emails from 3 friends today asking me about Dad’s obit, which reinforces my determination to get it published this Friday. This gives us about 20 hours to finalize.

Version 7—which will be close to final—will be emailed shortly.’

love ted

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In which I see the emails Ted and Stephanie exchanged

1. Ted has mocked Stephanie many times.

2. Ted sent an email to his friends and relatives (I guess I am not a relative, but that is fine with me) announcing his father's death. It was a nice email. I am not going to copy it here because I don't want to mock something nice. I will, however, copy the emails that followed.

3. I will, however, mock baldfaced lies.

  • Sly and Doris were not nice to Stephanie. They said mean things about her behind her back and were rude to her face. One time, before Stephanie and Jack divorced, they were visiting Sly and Doris with their kids. Sly started picking at Jack about Jack's master's degree, saying it was a waste of money (an MBA, compared to Sly's oh so marketable PhD in English). He was so mean that Jack and Stephanie packed their bags, took the kids, and checked in to a hotel rather than stay with Sly.
  • Nobody should have to "earn" love. 
  • I don't get it - Ted can be so nice and charming at times. Maybe he is just trying to be nice here. Maybe he doesn't think Stephanie knows what Sly said about her. I don't know. Maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt. OK. I have decided that Ted is trying to be nice and that's a good thing. He gets points for this one. But Stephanie and I still howled at the line, "He loved you quite a bit." And I want to know what Stephanie did to "earn" that love.

On (date), at 1:36 PM, Stehanie  wrote:
Ted, a beautiful tribute to your dad. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

On (date) 2:40 PM, "Ted" > wrote:He loved you quite a bit. Because you earned it!
love backatcha

On (date), at 1:36 PM, Stehanie  wrote:
Thank you Ted.  I too loved both Sly and Doris as if they were my own parents. I will truly miss them dearly, but find comfort in all the wonderful memories I have of them.
Much love......Stephanie 

On (date) 2:40 PM, "Ted" > wrote:
all feelings mutual. I look forward to making many more memories with you and your great 3 kids, as I know my wife and kid do too
love etc

In which Sly really does disinherit his kids

You guys, I can't even.

I can't.

Do you remember how I had read the copy of Sly's will that he gave to Primo years ago? And I had said, "But neither you nor your brothers are in here. All the money goes to the grandkids?"

And Primo talked to Sly and Sly said yeah, yeah, yeah, your mother and I need to finish that?

I cannot find that post but I did write it - Sly and Doris' will, all the money to the grandkids.

Which is fine.

They are allowed to give their money to whomever they want.

But isn't it a little bit mean not to give your children even a little bit?

Primo met with the lawyer today.

The lawyer showed the will to Primo.

It was the same one I had seen.

The grandkids split everything four ways. Neither Ted, Jack, nor Primo get anything in the will.


The only saving grace for Primo is that he was the contingency beneficiary of Sly's IRA. Doris was the primary beneficiary. If not for that, Primo would not get a penny. (Again, usual disclaimers about how parents do not owe their children an inheritance.)

But what kind of father does not name his own sons in his will?

Oh - and yes, Primo is the one who has to tell Ted and Jack that they get nothing.

It's going to be an interesting funeral.

Monday, November 16, 2015

In which Ted sends an email to Stephanie telling her that Sly "adored" her, which is a big fat joke, because even on his deathbed, Sly was mocking Stephanie

Ha. I thought I would have no more material once Sly and Doris died, but in the past 24 hours, I have gotten

1. Ted spent two hours and one minute on the phone with Primo, talking about the will, which I am pretty sure was about making sure Ted got what he thought he deserved

2. I spoke to Stephanie for half an hour. Ted had sent everyone but me a tribute to Sly. Stephanie, being a gracious soul and mindful that Ted is her children's uncle, emailed back that that was a nice tribute.

Ted responded, saying how much Sly had loved Stephanie and how Stephanie had earned that love.

Which was the point that both Stephanie and I burst into loud laughter.

"He hated you! He hated me!" I said.

"I know!" she laughed. "But what do you say to that? I just wrote back and said that Sly and Doris were like another father and mother to me."

"You are so full of it," I told her.

"I know," she said.

"Send me those emails."

"I will."

As soon as she does, I will share them with you.

Also - is it necessary to "earn" love? Is it even possible? How is it done? I would like to know.

3. Ted wants to publish Sly's obituary before the end of the week.

Today is Monday. Primo is leaving Florida on Wednesday. He and I are going on vacation on Saturday. The funeral is not for almost three weeks.

What on earth is the rush, Ted?

It is causing stress for Primo. I reminded him that he does not have to accept Ted's phone calls.

There is a part of me - a big part of me - that is very happy that Primo is fiercely loyal and caretaking of the people he loves. It makes me pretty sure he would not abandon me if I got sick. However - I wish he would show just a little less tolerance for people who frustrate. Just don't deal with them is my motto. It's not like he needs Ted any more.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

In which the blog will go on

You guys, I thought that once Sly and Doris were dead, there would be nothing for me to write about.

But now it looks like there will be drama about the will. Stay tuned. I can't wait. Can you?

In which Primo discovers Sly may never have updated his will and that over half the estate goes to the grandkids

Talking to Primo. Ted called him and they spoke for two hours about the will and the estate.

Turns out that Sly had put a clause in the will that each of the grandkids would get $150,000 for college.

That's four grandchildren, none of whom are ours.

Sly mean to update the will, but of course he probably never did.

Primo had already planned to give each grandkid about $60,000 for college. Michael and Maria have already graduated and Michael has $60,000 in school loans, Maria has about $35,000.

I am getting beyond sick. I know it was Sly's money, etc, etc., but even Ted pointed out to Sly that writing the will that way was not fair to Primo.

$600,000 is more than half the estate. After all of Primo's time spent with Sly and Doris, after all the help he has given them, that he would not get very much money from the estate?

Sick to my stomach.

Oh. By the way. I noticed this clause in the will over seven years ago. I also noted the will was not complete.

Primo had mentioned to Sly and Doris several times that they might want to complete their will, but they never did.

Too busy watching porn, I expect.

Primo will meet with the lawyer tomorrow. More news then.