Saturday, January 30, 2016

In which Primo and I come to an agreement about his job plans

The other day, Primo and I had that fight about his going back to work or not and I was pretty cranky and I also thought I am not a very nice person because I put something that personal online - in an interview with the Washington Post, The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson, said, "I never write about something I’m still fighting with my husband about."

I am not as nice as Jenny Lawson because I write about fights Primo and I are still having.

You guys all understand that although I vent about these fights here, I am not looking for anyone to pile on Primo, right? I do love him and even though we fight (sometimes I wonder if we are the only ones because other relationships I read about online are all sweetness and light), we still like each other and love each other.

And I do think he has a point that he did not get the advantage of a year off. Sly and Doris took that year from him and then kind of screwed him by disinheriting him. The only reason I am not livid about that - the disinheriting - is that Primo did get Sly's IRA. It was only because Sly did not have his act together in the end and didn't change the secondary beneficiary, but it worked out to Primo's benefit. I am glad the grandkids are getting money - being able to start your working life without school loan debt is a huge advantage.

(When I got out of the Peace Corps and was looking for a job in Washington, DC - I wanted to stay in international development, I could not figure out how organizations could get someone with a master's degree, a foreign language, and international experience and pay that person only $20,000 a year. That had been my starting salary more than a decade before that - my starting salary with only a BA and only one language.

Then I figured it out - DC and those jobs are designed for the children of rich parents who are willing to give money to their adult children. It's not for the likes of us, who have to earn our own living and whose parents had to earn a living and did not have much left over. So yeah - I am happy that my nieces and nephews will have some freedom as they figure out what they want to do with their lives.)

Anyway, we had that fight and I was stewing about it a bit and also feeling bad because Primo really didn't get a year off to relax but then feeling angry because I was going to have to make all the sacrifices here.

But the issue needed to be resolved and resolved without acrimony because divorcing would be a real pain in the neck, so as we walked to the farmers market, I brought it up. I won't re-create the conversation because honestly, I don't remember the whole thing, but what we decided was

1. Primo would start looking for a job in January.
2. He would start telling his political friends now that he would be looking for political work in January and if they heard of anything to please let him know.
3. A political job that pays only $20,000 a year would not be acceptable. It would have to be a somewhat decent salary, although we both know he would not get what he was making as an engineer.
4. If there is nothing promising happening after three months of looking for a political job, he will expand his search to include looking for engineering work.
5. He will use the "I quit my job to run for public office" line for political interviews, but believes me that such a line would be toxic in the private sector. For engineering jobs, it will be that he quit to take care of his dying parents. Which is actually true - it's what happened, even if that was not his intention.

I can live with that.

In which Primo is totally validated

Primo and I were walking to the farmers market to get our grits with tasso gravy and pulled pork - if you have not tried this breakfast, I strongly recommend it - when a woman driving by stopped her car in the middle of the street and yelled, "Where did you get that t-shirt?"

He was wearing a t-shirt promoting one of the presidential candidates.

Of course, Primo being Primo could not give a short answer, even to a woman in a car stopped in the middle of the street - he told he had gotten it at a political event in the capital city but that she could probably get it on the website, which was

He was in heaven.

Friday, January 29, 2016

In which I want Primo to tell Ted and Ted'sWife to go to heck, not for the first time, and we think we have found a way to get them to Shut. Up.

Me: I cannot believe you went all the way to [Big City Near Us By Train] and did not bring me a treat!

Primo: I'm not doing it right!

Me: It was our anniversary! You could have gotten me some chocolate!

Primo: But you always say we have enough chocolate in the house already!

Me: Are you human?

Primo: I'm sorry. It was right before I left that I got that email from Ted'sWife.

Me: And?

Primo: It's starting again. They want to drain the trust. They want to get all the money for themselves!

Me: That's what it seems like.

Primo: They are going to be like they were with the plane tickets.

Me: If only there were a way to deal with them.

Primo: What do you mean?

Me: I mean you do not have to let Ted bully you. You don't have to talk to him. You have the power. He doesn't.

Primo: Yeah, you're right.

Me: What did Sam say? [Sam had come to BCNUBT unexpectedly yesterday, which is why Primo took the train to see him.]

Primo: He and Sly's lawyer agree that the money should not be used to reimburse past expenses.

Me: Nope. So what are you going to do?

Primo: Well I can't just resign! I want to make sure Michael and Maria and their student loans. I can't be sure Sly's lawyer would do it right.

[You can take the man out of engineering, but you cannot take the control freak engineer out of the man.]

Me: But -- you could tell Ted that you have not even set up the trusts yet and are not ready to discuss anything and to leave you the hell alone.

Primo: I could. But they are being polite so far.

Me: OK. So you say all that politely and when - not if - they get nasty again, you tell them you are not going to discuss it and that you are going to block their phone calls and their emails.

Primo: I could.

Me: Plus there is the issue of Ted'sSon's social security money. [He has a disability that qualifies him for social security.] You are not a lawyer. You do not know how to disburse that money and ensure he still gets his social security benefits.

Primo: You're right!

Me: So you could say - calmly - that it is in Ted'sSon's best interests that a lawyer be his trustee and that you will resign as trustee as soon as you have set the trust up. That you do not have the legal qualifications to do it properly and you don't want there to be any legal problems.

Primo: They can't argue with that.

Me: Nope.

In which Ted'sWife brings up the bracelet again

Tell me. Does this sound like someone who wanted the bracelet - the one Primo has turned the house upside down to find and even went to the jeweler to ask what the jeweler had sold to Sly and what it looked like because all Primo knew was "bracelet" - as a memento?

The things I have from my grandmother - her strudel cloth, her Door County Cherries tins - and the things I want from my mom - the yellow mixing bowl that she used for making cookies and everything else - are things that remind me of them and the times we spent together, the times they spent teaching me to do the things they loved to do.

I did not ask for my grandmother's strudel cloth so I could sell it. (Not that I think there is a secondary market for strudel cloths. But even if there were - that would not be why I wanted it.)(Unless I could sell it for $100,000. Then I would totally sell it and I know I would have my grandmother's blessing.)

I asked for it because when I use it or even when I see it, I remember making apple strudel with my grandmother and how much I loved her. It brings back happy memories and I see her beautiful hands, veined and spotted with age, pulling that dough so thin you could read a newspaper through it.

I want these mementos because they make me happy. They remind me of the people I love.

But this - this is not the prose of someone who wanted a totem. In the email that included the spreadsheet asking for $156K, Ted'sWife also wrote,

Also, I’m grateful to receive Doris' jewelry as a keepsake; I love(d) her very much and shall especially treasure her possessions. So far, our jewelers have determined that everything is costume jewelry—not that it lessens its value to me and us.

What is up with that? Is that a passive-aggressive note that Primo needs to keep looking because THE GOOD BRACELET still isn't in Ted'sWife's hands?

(I think she thinks that Primo is saving the Good Jewelry for me. I would tell her that the last thing I want on my body is anything that Doris owned. I do not want a daily reminder of her. But I can't say that because Ted'sWife gets all "I worshiped the ground that saint walked on!" and what do you say to that? Besides, I don't care if I convince Ted'sWife about anything. It doesn't matter. She had her own Doris experience and that's fine.)

Who takes gift jewelry to a jeweler? Why would you do that? I think we can be pretty sure that Sly was not buying Doris any jewelry so expensive that it would need to be insured, i.e., need an appraisal.

1. They never went anywhere! Who buys expensive jewelry to leave in the house?
2. I can't imagine Sly doing anything nice for Doris. He wouldn't even drive her to book club.
3. Doris was not a dressing-up kind of lady. She was an old t-shirt without a bra kind of lady. No judging - I am the unbathed person who wears (the same) gym clothes all weekend while I lie on the basement sofa watching season 4 of "Scandal" on one click of the FF button. Right now, I am wearing makeup - eye shadow and mascara - only because I wore it to work today. I am wearing no jewelry. None. Which only strengthens my argument. I actually do have expensive jewelry that I used to insure. (Now I just hide it.) And I never wear it. I cannot see Doris ever asking for something fancy.

Now that we have all agreed that Doris probably wouldn't have super expensive jewelry, why would Ted'sWife - who had said Doris WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED A MANICURE because she wasn't that kind of person (she implied that Doris was above such petty thinking as personal grooming and glamour) - be thinking there was a diamond tennis bracelet hidden somewhere that Primo is keeping from her?

  • 10:16am

    I just checked my email - again with the jewelry!

    If you want a memento of someone because you loved her

    why would you take her jewelry to a jeweler?

    Honestly - those people
  • 10:22am

    I sent her a bracelet that was marked 14K. It is not appropriate to call any piece of solid-gold jewelry "costume" jewelry.
  • 10:29am

    not only that - BUT LET IT GO

    does she want to sell it?

    or have it as a memento of your mom?

    And you are correct - 14K is not "costume"

In which the assault continues against Ted'sSon's trust for amounts beyond what the trust contains

Ted'sWife sent a tally - a spreadsheet - of Ted'sSon's school expenses, noting amounts that Sly and Doris paid and amounts that Ted'sMother paid over the past ten years.

Private school is not cheap. Ted'sWife suggests, in her spreadsheet, that she and Ted would welcome a reimbursement of $156K.

Wouldn't. We. All?

I would love to be reimbursed for anything.


As Sam, Primo's best friend and also a lawyer, and as Sly's lawyer have advised, the purpose of the trust is not to reimburse for past expenses.

The exception is would be helping the grandkids pay their student loans, as giving them money now reduces their current expenses.

Primo wrote to Sly's lawyer,

As (I think) you and I have discussed, I do plan to make some of the trust assets available to repay student loans for my nephew Michael and niece Maria, but those are actual debts that they owe and such payments would directly benefit them, not their parents. In this case, Ted and Ted'sWife simply want reimbursement for educational expenses that they have paid in the past. I might view this differently if they had taken out loans and had bills to pay for those expenses, but I think they are just trying to get their hands on the money. 

Primo (and I, although my opinion on this is not relevant, as I am neither a trustee nor a lawyer - however, I am an English major and am pretty good at reading between the lines to discern why someone is really doing what he is doing - that is all English majors do is read lines and figure out what is going on behind them - and the lines that Ted is giving are clearly revealing that all he wants to do is to get his hands on that cash) would be more inclined to consider Ted's request if Ted were funding something current for his son and if Ted has not already shown himself to be such a greedy pig.

Have any of you told anyone the story about Ted wanting to be reimbursed more than twice the ticket price for his frequent flier miles TO ATTEND HIS OWN FATHER'S funeral?

I have yet to find someone who is not completely appalled by that.

In which Primo tries to get me to do stuff for his political people and I say NO WAY

What the conversation reduced to:

Primo: Would you do a lot of work - take time from your Friday night or your Saturday morning - for the benefit of my political people, the very people you strongly disagree with and whom you think have contributed to the decline in your quality of life?

Me: Are you out of your mind? Do you not know me at all?

  • 8:42am

    Do you have so many pears* that you want reasons to get rid of them?
  • 8:44am

    not any more

    now we have pears in the freezer so we can have tarts and pies
  • 8:46am

    OK. I thought that if you really want more reasons to use some, I could take a pear crisp to the [my party's] picnic tomorrow. (Attendees are asked to take a dish to pass.)

    But if you want to keep them for ourselves, that's fine.
  • 8:47am

    I am not interested in baking tonight or tomorrow smile emoticon

* We have a pear tree in our back yard. I have been baking pies. And strudels. And crisps. And tarts.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

In which Ted continues his assault against his son's trust

You guys knew this was coming, right?

  • 9/24, 3:07pm

    I got an email from Ted and Ted'sWife listing all of Ted'sSon's school expenses since 2007 (with amounts paid by my parents and Ted'sMother subtracted, but I think they understated those amounts). They want to drain his trust right away.
  • 9/24, 5:42pm
    - do you really care? I mean, either he gets all the money now or it comes out in dribs and drabs. If you give it to him now, he might shut up
  • 9/24, 5:55pm
    Ted is a jerk
  • 9/24, 6:04pm
    the only reason not to let them drain the trust is the risk that they blow all the money on themselves and you get sued for not acting properly as trustee
    which is why I think you should turn it all over to the lawyer
  • 9/24, 7:19pm

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

In which Ted is plotting to drain his son's trust for probably his own nefarious ends

Ted is back.

You thought he was gone, didn't you? You thought that Primo sending him some of the money Ted wanted - not the $875 a ticket for the frequent flier tickets - but some of it - would be enough to get Ted to shut. up.

You would think that being reimbursed to attend his own father's funeral would be enough for Ted.

Oh but you would be wrong.

Ted informed Primo that he would send him a "tally" (Ted loves that word) of Ted'sSon's school expenses.

We are talking junior high and high school. Not college.

In Ted's defense, he and his wife had to send their son to a private school because he had educational needs that could not be addressed by the public schools. So there is that.


The function of the trust is for current and future expenses. The trust lasts until the grandkids turn 30. Ted'sSon is 19, I think. Is it possible that there might be future expenses that Ted'sSon might want to incur in the next 30 years? Shouldn't Ted'sSon get a chance to ask for money from the trust?

Monday, January 25, 2016

In which Primo and I fight about his going back to work - I am for it, he is against it

Primo got home - when? recently. I am writing this about a week after it happened.

And we returned to the ritual of fighting, only this time, we waited until I had been at work all day.

I got home from work, wanting to do nothing more than eat something, change my clothes, and watch TV, but Primo wanted to talk about The Future, which would have been fine with me, but he wanted to talk about The Future with No Plan.

He maintained that he should get another year off without working because he has spent most of the past year dealing with Sly and Doris. (Taking the year off is The Plan. Not in The Plan is 1. When he would start to look for a job or 2. What that job might be.)

I think that is BS. Sure, an extra few months, but an entire year?

He argues that he inherited some money.

I argue that he has no idea what it's like to look for a job these days. The last time he got a new job was more than 16 years ago.

Oh, he said confidently, I will just tell them that I quit to run for Congress.

Which was when I did not scream but wanted to scream, "ARE YOU NUTS? You cannot tell recruiters you quit your job to run for public office! You tell them you quit because your parents were both seriously ill and you knew it was going to take more time than FLMA would allow. That is the only acceptable answer!"

"Not for a political job," he said.

Which left me speechless because you know what? I liked being married to an engineer who made engineer money.

I have no respect for and have no wish to be married to a community organizer.

That is the job for a 20something with a trust fund, not for a middle-aged man with an expensive education and a highly-specialized background for which employers are willing to pay.

Community organizing is for people who did not have the sense to major in something that would lead to dental and a 401k.

I do not care about saving the world. I care about being able to retire some day.

Primo wants to leave a legacy. Is that normal? Does everyone care about that? I care a little bit, but on a more personal level. I want my legacy to show now. As in, Primo and I are going to our college reunion soon. I am a little stressed about it because

1. I have no children
2. I am pretty much a failure at my career, despite my educational pedigree, which makes me wonder if I have not met my potential - depressing - if I have - even more depressing.

Given that I have nothing to brag about - my classmates have written NY Times bestsellers, are tenured profs at Princeton, are CFOs of major organizations, are healing the sick and defending the poor, my current concern is losing ten pounds. If I cannot be accomplished, at least maybe I can be thin.

(Which is not working, BTW. I like eating more than I like not eating.)

Where was I?

So we were arguing and I was getting ticked off because I am the person who is really not gaining anything here. Primo wants another year off. This year has been not very nice because even though Primo has not been making any money, he has not been home to do any of the chores he said he would do instead of making money. I have had to be the person making money AND the person cleaning the bathroom and scooping the cat box and washing the clothes and changing the sheets. I have had to do all the housework, which he was supposed to take over.

And now he wants to take another year off.

He has a valid point about the money he inherited. It's more than two  years' salary, but my main concern is that a middle-aged man who has been out of work for two years is not going to be appealing to anyone.

We are at a stalemate.