Friday, October 27, 2017

In which I realize I should have been greedier about Sly and Doris' estate because there actually were some worthwhile, expensive things, but I didn't want Their Stuff in My House

Have you guys read this story about Swedish Death Cleaning?

Lord have mercy I cannot believe how many people defend those who leave their estates (I use the word "estate" loosely, as in, "All the crap you leave behind when you die that someone else has to clean up") in total disarray.

The only conclusion I can draw is that those people either

1. Have never had to clean up a messy estate after someone has died (my mother's house will take time, but everything is organized and labeled and I am on her safe-deposit box and her accounts and she has all of her financial records in order, so there will be No Drama) or

2. Are planning to leave a huge mess for their children AND THEY DON'T CARE.

Sly and Doris were not even serious hoarders - they were like the Brownies of hoarders, or maybe the Cub Scouts. They never reached Eagle Scout Hoarder status.

But even with their not so awful level of hoarding, it was a pain in the neck for Primo to clean out their house. He couldn't find their financial records, he didn't know if they had a safe deposit box (they had made a list referencing one), and he was worried about throwing away something important, which was not an impossibility as they had, in just one desk drawer, tax receipts for the past eight years, Medicare EOBs, and the letters I had written them.

I don't think they were keeping the letters for sentimental reasons.

I think they were just too lazy to throw them away.

Did I mention that there was not one single photo of me in that entire house?

Honestly. The energy I expended - at the beginning - trying to get them to accept me. It was never going to happen. Never. I am so glad that I realized that and stopped beating myself up.

Anyhow. Primo would call me every night when he was there and ask if I wanted this thing or that thing.

Nope. I did not want his parents stuff.

1. It would remind me of his parents.
2. Their stuff was not high quality.


He tried to talk me into keeping the Pyrex and the Corning Ware.

I might have considered it - might have - if it had not been avocado green. And if we had needed more storage.

But I said no.

What I did not consider was that we could have sold it and made a ton of money.

See that photo at the top?

Those bowls - my mom has one of those yellow bowls on the bottom and that is the only thing of hers I want when she dies, not because it is worth money but because I have so many happy memories of making cookies with her using that bowl - cost NINETY FIVE DOLLARS for the set!

And this was at a thrift shop in a tiny, no stoplight town near Lake Superior!

Dang. Ted and Ted'sWife were demanding the wrong memento. They should have stopped whining about Doris' bracelet - the one that turned out to be costume jewelry - and asked for all the Pyrex.

I blew it.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

In which Primo is a Bad Muffin Eater

That is what my lovely aunt Pat presented to us when Primo and I stopped in to see her and my uncle Hank. (Hank is my dad's brother.)

Aunt Pat, if you will remember, is the angel who made a pitcher of Old Fashioneds for my dad's going-away party when he was in the hospice. He was less than a week from dying. We have everyone who could come - he was in the hospital 35 miles from the town where he and my mom grew up and where much of my family still lives today - join us in his room at the hospice.

We had a bottle of champagne and Pat's Old Fashioneds - because my dad had said she always did make the best Old Fashioneds - and we talked about everyone he would see in heaven, including his father, his best friend, who had died in a ship's fire in 1967, and our cat. (That's my sister feeding O'Malley in the photo below.)

I don't think the death of a 62 year old man who was loved pretty much universally is a good thing, but if you can have a good death, my dad's death was OK. He was surrounded by people who loved him and whom he loved and he knew he was loved.

Aside - my uncle John, who is in his mid 50s, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma a year ago. He is doing well after his bone marrow transplant next month and we are full of hope. But last year, he told my mom, his sister, that if he died, he wouldn't feel cheated. He said he had had a good life with good people and felt as if he had been lucky.

Back to my aunt Pat.

Primo and I went to see her and my uncle. They are a hoot. My uncle used to drive the beer delivery truck to Milwaukee when they were dating and they would go to Milwaukee to visit relatives and go out. I asked if they had read the book, Dirty Helen, a memoir by a madam who had a bar in Milwaukee.

Oh honey. They had been to her bar!

One cannot visit one of my relatives without having food offered to you immediately. You walk in the door and are offered food and drink. You are fussed over and great attention is paid to your comfort.

(Which is one of the reasons I was so confused the first time I met Sly and Doris. I was a guest in their home and they offered me nothing! That was not The Song of My People. We feed guests. It is what we do.)

Pat brought us water and a plate of muffins - blueberry and bran.

Primo, as you all know, doesn't like anything that ends with "-erry," although he will eat tendon and tripe.

He is weird.

Primo started eating his muffin - and discovered raisins.

So he carefully picked them all out and left them on his plate. (Which is photo #1.) You can see the raisins stacked neatly on the right side of the plate.

Like I said. Weird.

"What are you doing?" asked Pat.

I rolled my eyes.

"I don't like raisins," Primo said guiltily.

"Oh," she said.

"He is a Bad Muffin Eater," I explained.

"What is a Bad Muffin Eater?" 

So we told her the story of how Sly was upset about how I eat my bacon.

She almost fell to the floor laughing.

When we left, she gave us six muffins and two jars of homemade pickles.

Because that's how My People are.

Dang. No wonder Primo was depressed thinking about his parents and the crummy family hand he was dealt.

Below is the sausage my cousin gave us. Yes, that entire cooler is filled with venison summer sausage, breakfast sausage, and bratwurst. I think those are some of their hot dogs as well and of course there is venison bacon.

I won the Family Lottery. Not because they give me stuff, but because they are kind, thoughtful people whose presence enriches my life.

(The cousin who gave us the sausage? She is the one who drove 70 miles round trip to the hospice when we were staying there with my dad in the last few days to bring us supper. That's the kind of people I have in my family. Man. I am so, so lucky.)

Image may contain: food and indoor

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

In which I discover how easy it is to drive an engineer crazy

OK. I lied. I didn't just discover this.

I have known it for years.

It bothers me, but not as much as it bothers Primo.

So yeah - I do it on purpose. 

Is that wrong? :)

Monday, October 23, 2017

In which Primo admits I AM RIGHT

Primo: You were right about the white space.

Me: I know.*

Primo: It takes me a lot to admit that!

Me: It shouldn't.

Primo: But I am my father's son. Other people can't be right. Only a [Sly's last name] can.

Me: I am not a [Sly's last name].

Primo: I am.

* Primo, in true engineer fashion, wanted to bunch everything up in the center. I am not a graphic artist, but I do have a better sense for these things than Primo does. He spaced things out a little more, but still not enough for my taste. I take my victories where I can, though.

** It's for a political event that happens in two hours. That he has known about for three months. For which he bought the posterboard and the frame last night. And started assembling two hours ago. At least he didn't leave it to the last minute.