Friday, December 25, 2015

And Christmas stuff with a glaring cat who wants the dot NOW

Primo: Oh! I am invited to a party tonight!

Me: Who has a party on Christmas?

Primo: Political people.

Me: OK. Better said - who goes to a party on Christmas day? It's a day to spend with the people you like! With your family!

Primo: Maybe for when people finish with the family stuff?

Me: Oh! Right! It's for people who don't want to be with their families.

Primo: Maybe.

Me: If we had been invited to a party when we were at your mom and dad's for Christmas, I would totally have gone, just to get away from your mom and dad.

Primo: Me, too.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Cat stuff

I thought you guys might like to see a photo of a cat in a basket today.

In which I admit that I, too, could be a Very Greedy Person, but only for Nice Things

I want to comment further on something I mentioned. I talked about how greedy Ted and Ted's Wife were being about taking stuff from Sly and Doris' house and how the only things Primo and I want are the Good Knives, the Scrabble game, a nutcracker, the big ziplocks, and the silver.

This is not because I am morally superior and have lost the craving for Nice Things.

I want Nice Things. I want this bag in every color. I want most of these shoes. I want this bag, only with longer handles, although if I had this bag, I would have People to do the things in my life that need hands, like carrying groceries or opening car doors.

I did not walk out of that house empty handed because I am A Better Person.

I walked out empty handed because Sly and Doris had horrible taste and bought cheap stuff.

My main beef with Ted and Ted's Wife is their rude, greedy behavior but my second beef with them is why they would want any of that stuff in the first place. Honestly. Greedy AND bad taste?

In which Primo admits that he doesn't want help because he will be forced to make decisions

[Stephanie's friend] is coming over in about an hour and a half. I really don't want to work with her, but she's nice and I should accept her help.
I will ask her to help in the kitchen today and cut things down to a minimal set of stuff for me to use while I'm here.
Good idea
Why don't you want to work with her?
She is really aggressive about getting rid of stuff (like you) and works quickly. And it's not fun to work on that kind of stuff with anyone but a few people (like you or Sam, for example).
I see
That makes sense
you are emotionally attached
She's nice, but I'd rather be by myself. But it will help me get more done.

In which Primo lets C1 sleep with him and she head butts him and purrs all night long

  • 8/20, 9:49am

    I let C1 sleep with me, but she didn't let me sleep. She was SO happy that she kept walking around, sitting on me, licking my face, and purring loudly. I finally had to put her out around 6:00, and then I went back to bed and slept until 10 (because I'd slept so poorly with her there).
  • 8/20, 9:49am

    But she was 'appy!

    The last straw was when she bit my nose (not hard) after licking my face.
  • 8/20, 9:57am

    A little love nip
  • 8/20, 10:11am

    She loves me.
  • 8/20, 10:11am

    She does

    she is ronery
  • 8/20, 10:12am

    She has become much sweeter.
  • 8/20, 10:12am

    she thinks she has driven her other people away

    and she saw what happened to C2

    she thinks that she better be nice or else
  • 8/20, 10:12am


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

In which Primo decides to let C1, who is lonely, sleep with him

Primo: Poor C1. She is lonely. Her people are gone. C2 is gone. She is lonely. Every time I sit down, she sits in my lap.

Me: Poor kitty.

Primo: At night, I don't have to barricade the door any more because C2 is gone, but poor C1 sits outside the door and is lonely all night.

Me: Why don't you let her sleep with you?

Primo: Because the cats aren't allowed in the guest room.

Me: Why not?

Primo: Because.

Me: But your mom and dad are dead. It's not like there will be overnight guests. And C1 doesn't shed much that I can tell, so it's not like she'll get cat hair all over.

Primo: I guess.

Me: You should let her sleep with you.

Primo: I know. I feel sorry for her. She misses her people and she misses C2. She is last thing I have of my sister - we picked her out together. I'll do it.

In which someone asks, "Is that for cigarettes?"

Primo: I got a lot done today. Stephanie's friend, Madge, came over to help.

Me: Oh right! She used to own a thrift store, right?

Primo: Yes. And she used to put on estate sales, too.

Me: How much is she charging?

Primo: Nothing! She won't let me pay her! She is doing this just because she is Stephanie's friend.

Me: Wow. A nice gift card, I think. Stephanie can tell you where Madge likes.

Primo: She told me what to charge for some of the furniture. I didn't know. One of the neighbors wants some stuff for her son's new apartment.

Me: Good.

Primo: And she wants to have a garage sale.

Me: Oh you'll love that.

Primo: She said that even if you put in the ad that it starts at 9 a.m., people will show up at 5:30! And they wear those miners' lights!

Me: People are crazy.

Primo: I don't want to be up at 5:30! I asked her why you can't tell people just to go away and she said because you want their money.

Me: This is not for you!

Primo: She found an ashtray. I was going to throw it away and she said to keep it. "Someday, it will be a collectors' item," she said.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

In which Primo is sad because he is the only one alive from his immediate family

Primo: I am so tired. I did a lot of work today, but there is still so much to be done.

Me: I know, sweetie. It is a  huge burden.

Primo: And I'm not like you - I can't just throw things away.

Me: No, that is not your forte.

Primo: I have to throw away boxes of my mom's stuff about Nancy and mental health. She wanted to write a book.

Me: That's a lot.

Primo: I feel guilty about it - all her work - but that's not my work. I am not going to carry on her work.

Me: It's OK. I truly do not think your mom would expect you to do that. I just wish she had lived longer than your dad so she could have had some peace.

Primo: I get so distracted doing this. I start reading the papers and notes and books and looking at the photos. But it's my family and they are all dead. I am the only one now. It makes me sad.

In which Ted calls Primo and screams at him because he is so angry that he will not be making money off going to his own father's funeral

The day Primo sends the email to Ted explaining how much he will reimburse Ted for TED TO ATTEND HIS OWN FATHER'S FUNERAL, Ted calls Primo and screams at him.

  • 8/18, 4:46pm
    I am getting a lot done, but it is not a lot of fun. frown emoticon
  • 8/18, 4:51pm
    frown emoticon
  • 8/18, 5:19pm
    Ted called and screamed at me. He hadn't even read the email. All he knew is that [Ted's Wife] had called him. He tried to sound threatening ("You've never seen me really pissed off").
  • 8/18, 5:34pm
    You don't want a blood pressure cuff, do you?
  • 8/18, 6:55pm
    Sounds like Ted needs it
  • 8/18, 6:59pm
    I read the email again. I think it was very reasonable.
  • 8/18, 7:09pm
    It was
    He is a jerk
  • 8/18, 7:15pm
    Does he think his anger should have an impact on you?
  • 8/18, 7:24pm
    If he gets really nasty, I can say some things that will make him completely blow his top. For example, as the trustee I want to work with him and [Ted's Wife] so that the money in trust for [Ted's son] benefits their whole family, but if he's going to be a jerk I can say that my position as trustee means that he needs to kiss my ass until his son turns 30. smile emoticon

In which Primo gives Ted a super calm, reasoned explanation of why $875 cash reimbursement for a 25,000 frequent flier miles ticket that the airline charges about one cent apiece for is a bad idea

This is super long, but I want you to read for yourself and realize that Primo is being reasonable, calm, and non-confrontational in his explanation to Ted that he will not be reimbursing Ted $875 for a frequent flier miles ticket that costs $300 on the open market.


Regarding your request for a timetable: I called [the financial advisor's] office to check on the status of the trust accounts and spoke to one of his assistants within the past hour. Last week, I filled out multiple forms to open a new account over which I will have control as Trustee and to authorize the transfer of assets from the original trust account into the new account. The new account has been opened, the transfer should occur within the next couple of days, and I should have checks for the new account by the end of next week. It is good that I called today because the checks had not been ordered; they must be sent to my home address and should arrive within a day or two of my arrival there (next Wednesday evening).

You mentioned my "fiduciary duty to our father’s estate regarding his will, his wishes, and [any] codicils he entered into." As specified in the trust document, my fiduciary duty is to the beneficiaries of the trust: your son, Michael, Maria, and Pia. Dad's will exists primarily to sweep any residue of his estate into the trust. You are not mentioned in the will or in the trust document. Jack is not mentioned in the will or in the trust document. I am mentioned in the will only as the Successor Personal Representative, and I am mentioned in the trust document only as the Successor Trustee (and as the contingent beneficiary only if all four grandchildren were to predecease me, which did not occur).

As far as I know, Dad's will had no codicils (and my mother's will also had none). Dad did mention a desire to make some changes to the trust document, but no changes were made. As we know, his demise was sudden and unexpected; we had every reason to believe that his remaining time would be measured in months or (a small number of) years. It is unfortunate that he did not make the changes he had been contemplating, but the documents are what they are.

I am aware that Dad informally expressed some wishes that were not included in his will or in the trust document. His statements expressing those wishes-- regardless of whether they were made verbally or written down in personal letters, emails, or other documents on a computer -- do not have the force of law, but as Personal Representative and Trustee I have been granted sufficient discretion to attempt to satisfy those wishes; for example, I am going to do my best to locate the bracelet that Dad wanted [your wife] to have. 

Regarding your request for reimbursement of your travel costs: Dad mentioned (when I was in the room) that he did not want you to pay for your travel out-of-pocket. Because he reimbursed me for some of my travel costs and expressed a willingness to cover your costs, I assume that his wish applied to your entire family, and as Trustee I am willing to reimburse you for reasonable costs.

I will reimburse you as requested for the car rental, gasoline, parking, and food. Although the amounts for a couple of those dinners seem a bit high (I've eaten only one $50+/person dinner during all of the time I've spent in Florida since Dad's knee surgery, and that was our big family dinner at Dad's funeral), it was certainly reasonable to buy dinner for Jack and for [your friends], who housed you for several nights and were exceptionally nice and helpful to Dad.

Your request for "reimbursement" of more than $3,000 for five one-way domestic coach flights, only one of which was (or should have been) booked at the last minute, is not reasonable.

First, this is not really reimbursement. To reimburse, according to Merriam-Webster, is "to pay someone an amount of money equal to an amount that person has spent." You used 87,500 frequent-flyer miles and spent $114.79 in airline fees, but you are asking for "reimbursement" of $3045 (which should actually have been $3062.50 at 3.5 cents/mile; your number must have been calculated from 87,000 miles instead of 87,500) in addition to the cost of the airline fees.

Second, the price of miles when buying them from the airlines without traveling (3.5 cents/mile) is greatly inflated and is much higher than their actual value, which is generally acknowledged to be in the range of 1 to 2 cents per mile. It is possible for the value of miles to be as high as 2.3 to 2.5 cents each when they are used for international business-class or first-class travel, but for domestic coach travel a reasonable estimate of the value of the miles is 1.5 cents each. It is easy to confirm this on the Internet. Here are two good sets of estimates:

I am willing to "reimburse" you for the flights in one of two ways:
    (1) At 1.5 cents per FF mile plus the fees: 87,500 * 0.015 = $1312.50 + $114.79 = $1427.29
    (2) Based on a reasonable estimate of the costs to purchase the same tickets (i.e., what you would have or should have paid to purchase the same tickets using money instead of miles), as explained below.

Segment 1: [Ted's house to Sly's house] nonstop on United on a Saturday, booked the night before. Last Friday (because we were already discussing this), I checked United's website and found that a coach seat on the same flight you took to see Dad could have been purchased for the next day for $376.10. The price of the same flight for this coming Saturday is quite a bit higher: $521.10, although another nonstop flight on the same day is available for $166.10. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on this segment (because you booked it the night before and thought it was important to arrive in the afternoon, not in the evening) and assign a value of $521.10, which is not far from United's highest price for a coach seat on that route. 

Note that your statement "I used FF miles, which cost approximately 1/2 of last-minute airfares" is not true, at least not according to the value you've tried to assign to your miles (3.5 cents each). You spent 25,000 miles on that one-way flight and requested "reimbursement" of $875 (plus fees) for that segment, suggesting that the last-minute price for that ticket might have been more than $1700! (Even the first-class price is $670.10, which is still not anywhere near $875.)

Segment 2:  [Ted's house to Sly's house] on Delta, booked several days in advance (after you and I agreed that you would depart and I would arrive on that date). For next Tuesday, this routing is available on Delta for $144.60. For the following Tuesday, it's available for $81.60. Even for later today, it's available for $161.60. I cannot reasonably assign a value greater than $161.60 to this segment.

Segment 3: Again, [Ted's house to Sly's house] nonstop on United on a Saturday (for my mother's funeral), but this time you booked at least a few days in advance. As mentioned previously, I found prices for this route ranging from $166.10 to $521.10. I'll once again give you the benefit of the doubt on this segment and assign a value of $376.10, which is for a ticket in one of the higher fare classes I mentioned above.

Segment 4: [Ted's house to Sly's house] (two tickets, for you and for your son) on Delta on a Friday. We agreed on the date for Dad's service three weeks beforehand, so this was or at least should have been booked well in advance. (I booked the flights for GD and me three weeks in advance.) For a week from Friday, multiple flights with this routing are available on Delta for $161.60 per ticket. For Friday,  multiple flights with this routing are available for $211.60 per ticket.  I can reasonably assign this segment a value of $211.60 per ticket.

Using this method, the amount to pay you will be the estimated cost of purchasing the flights using the values assigned above. In each case, I have assigned values that are greater than the lowest prices I found.
Segment 1: $521.10
Segment 2: $161.60
Segment 3: $376.10
Segment 4: $211.60 x 2 tickets = $423.20
Total: $1482.00

Note that:
  • The fees you paid ($114.79) are not included when using this second method, because the ticket prices above include all taxes and fees. (You still come out slightly better with $1482.00 than with $1427.29.)
  • My analysis is consistent with the rule of thumb that FF miles are worth approximately 1.5 cents each, especially because I used relatively high prices for each of your nonstop flights.

Therefore, when I am able to send you a check, it will be for $2492.60. I should be able to send the check approximately ten days from now, so you should expect to have it about two weeks from now.
  • Air travel: $1482.00
  • Car rental and gasoline: $463.69
  • Parking: $130.00
  • Dinners: $416.91

I've made good progress at the house since arriving here on Sunday night. The biggest news is that C2 was adopted yesterday (thanks to Nadine, the neighbor, who worked with a local animal rescue organization that found him a new home).


P.S. I use my name at the end of an email to honor the tradition of signing one's name at the end of a letter.

In which Primo and I take C1 to get her claws trimmed and the vet gives up because C1 DOES NOT LIKE THAT

Which is why it was such a miracle that Nadine was able to trim C1's claws.

Note the leather gauntlets on the vet tech. Completely necessary.

Added: Our cat in the mask our vet had to snap onto her. She, too, does not like to be at the vet, although she will let Primo cut her nails.

Monday, December 21, 2015

In which Cat #2 is adopted and we are happy but we are also sad because we love our pets more than we love our people sometimes

Primo messaged me this morning to tell me that the cat adoption lady came by to pick up Cat #2 this morning. C2 is going to a retired, widowed Lutheran minister whose cat died. He (the minister) is lonely and used to having a cat and I guess doesn't mind having a mature (13 years old) cat instead of a kitten.

Heck, I don't have the energy for a kitten and I am not a retired widow. Kittens are lovely (have you seen but they are work.

Sly and Doris' neighbor, whom we shall call Nadine, has been taking care of the cats. Nadine shall be her name, no matter if I have already mentioned or named her. I cannot remember and I am too lazy to search previous posts.

Nadine is lovely. LOVELY. She came to the funeral and spoke and said she felt bad that she had not been a better neighbor and Primo and I were all, "What IS she talking about? She is married with a little kid and a full-time job. As long as she brings in her trash cans, cuts her grass, and doesn't spit on her neighbors, she is a good neighbor."

But Primo had told Nadine that Sly and Doris thought they had offended Nadine somehow because she didn't - she didn't - I don't know! Maybe she didn't talk to them as much once her baby was born because she had a baby? Maybe rather than wondering why Nadine and her husband were not as friendly as they had been, Sly and Doris could have said, "Oh! You just had a baby? Could we make you dinner? Would you like us to come over for an hour in the morning so we can watch the baby while you take a shower?"

It is my most positive guess that words like that never crossed Sly and Doris' lips, but you know - don't speak ill of the dead, etc, etc.

Poor Nadine feels guilty because Sly and Doris thought they had done something and they never asked Nadine if everything was OK. You know - the way a normal person would.

Where was I?

Well, Nadine has been an angel and has been taking care of the cats and has lent her gardening tools to Primo and had been busting her butt to get C1 and C2 adopted. Seriously. She took the cats to a cat adoption event and got them featured on some cat radio broadcast and, along with a vet tech friend of hers, she even cut C1's nails.

Nadine truly is an angel.

Primo needs to get her a really nice bottle of wine or a Starbucks gift card or a restaurant certificate or all three.

Yesterday, Nadine found someone to adopt C2. C2 is an older boy, a Maine Coon. He is sweet and gentle and has a tiny little voice that belies his big fluffy Maine Coon-ness. He is a lovebug and just wants to be brushed and petted.

Unfortunately, he also wants to be with Primo at night and will hurl himself at the  bedroom door like a battering ram, so Primo has to drag a bookcase across the archway and then put a folding table on top of the bookcase to keep C2 from jumping onto the bookcase.

A few nights ago, C2 knocked down the folding table and made such a clatter.

Primo will not miss that part of C2.

But here is the sad part and this probably should have been the lede. It made me sad to think of C2 going to his new home. Everything is all different and wrong for him. For 13 years, he lived with Sly and Doris. As mean as Sly could be, I never saw him or heard of him being mean to his pets. He loved his kitties. That might be the only nice thing I can say about him, but it is something. Sly loved his pets.

Now C2 is being taken away to a new place. I am sure the retired Lutheran minister will be wonderful, but C2 wants his place. He doesn't understand what's going on. He just knows that everything has changed. The hand has changed. The steps have changed. And that makes me sad because there might be things about certain people we won't miss, we never want our pets to suffer. They have never done anything to deserve it. Goodbye, C2.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

In which Primo and I wonder what to do about the porn, the - equipment, and the naked photos of Sly and Doris

Primo: What do I do with those photos of my parents?

Me: The naked ones?

Primo: Yes.

Me: Don't bring them into this house.

Primo: No.

Me: I mean, whatever consenting adults want to do, I don't care. But I don't even want to  see naked photos of people I like.

Primo: What do I do with them?

Me: You don't want to put them in the trash. I wouldn't want someone else to find them. Not because I think they would be offended, but this is personal and private about your parents. Although I get the idea your dad would be happy to have them in the public eye.

Primo: I don't know.

Me: You could burn them.

Primo: I could.

Me: You would get to play with fire.

Primo: Oh! There is a shredder in my dad's office. I can just shred them.

Me: OK. And put the rest of that stuff in the trash.