Saturday, December 12, 2015

In which some of Sly and Doris' possessions come home with Primo in the big pink Lands End suitcase he used to mock but it's not so funny now, is it, now that we have extra tinfoil and big ziplocks?

What Primo brought home with him today, most of which I wanted and all of which we determined that our nieces and nephew did not want. OK, we didn't ask them, but if you could have a stand mixer or the rest of a roll of parchment paper, which would you pick? We already have a stand mixer and I want my nieces and nephews to have that stuff anyhow, but going to the store for tinfoil, etc, is a pain in the neck.

  • The knives we gave Sly and Doris that Sly didn't want to use
  • The leftover roll of parchment paper
  • The humongous ziplock bags
  • The remainder of the Craisins
  • A roll of wax paper
  • A roll of tin foil
  • A pie tin
  • A Scrabble game (try finding adult Scrabble at Goodwill - you won't)
  • Not the cheap, nasty, doesn't work plastic wrap that Doris bought
  • The turpentine mango I bought at the farmers market last week but was too heavy to bring home in my purse because I already had my work computer with me
  • Leftover basil from the trip Stephanie and I made to the Vietnamese grocery for basil, ginger, and baby bok choy - I wanted Primo to have some vegetables this week so I bought him the bok choy and made a soy-ginger sauce. I also got tomatoes at the farmers market so he could have tomato-basil salad.

Friday, December 11, 2015

In which Ted informs Primo that he will be submitting an expense report for his travel expenses to the funeral

Primo: Ted called last night to talk about politics. And then he emailed me today to give me his expenses.

Me: What expenses?

Primo: His travel expenses that he wants the trust to reimburse.

Me: For what travel?

Primo: To the funeral. He also wants the trust to reimburse [his son's] travel expenses.

Me: Wait! What? He wants the trust to pay his expenses to attend his own father's funeral?

Primo: He says he helped get the estate in order.

Me: He spent two hours helping clean the house and then they wouldn't leave when you and I needed to shower.

Primo: He says that Ted'sWife's mom's estate pays her travel expenses right now because TW's mom is sick.

Me: But - that's not TW's mom's estate. That's just her money. She's not dead.

Primo: I know.

Me: It's not an estate paying if the person is still alive! And people don't usually ask for reimbursement to attend their own father's funeral. If the trust is paying for this stuff, I did a lot more work on your parents' house than he did. Give me some money.

Stupid ads!

Hi everyone - if you are having problems with being redirected to ads when you are on this blog, may I suggest installing an ad blocker?

The Cosmic Avenger advised me that I might have a virus on this blog. I had been having problems with, but thought had changed their business model. I had IT look at my work computer (huge fear - I somehow through my personal stuff bring horrible viruses into the work system) and they could find nothing. IT advised installing an ad blocker and it has been working so far.

I apologize for any problems you might be having. I use to watch the blog stats. Sitemeter has awful ads and I don't know how it all got connected,  but -- an ad blocker is seeming to do the trick.

Thanks, Cosmic Avenger, for advising me that the problem was bigger than just me.

A lagniappe from work. Being married to Primo has prepared me for working with engineers. (I love engineers. No. Drama.)

Engineer conversation at lunch:
E1, showing photo of odometer taken at 100,000: Look!
E2: You should have waited until 100,001.
E1: Why?
E2: Because then it would have been symmetrical.
E1: I have a photo at 99,999, too.
E2: You need to wait until it has your initials in binary code.
E1: There are not enough spaces for that.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

In which Primo goes to the funeral of his ex-wife's mother, whom he loved dearly, and is booed

OK. He was not booed.

But he stood to speak at Isabel's mother's funeral. Mrs D died last week after having a stroke two weeks ago. She was in her late 80s and lived on her own and, presumably, did not suffer much after the stroke, but it is still a great loss. By all accounts, she was a lovely lady. She loved Primo to the end. Primo divorced his ex wife, not his stepdaughters or his mother in law.

But it's a lot of death in a short time.

"There's nobody left to die," he said, and I hope he's right.

He left Florida with me Monday morning and turned left in Atlanta when I went straight. At the funeral, he stood to speak and one of his ex's cousins said, very loudly, "What's HE doing here? She wouldn't want it! This is for FAMILY."

Primo's older stepdaughter, the one whom his ex bullied into not inviting him to her wedding, where she had wanted him to walk her down the aisle, stood and said, "He IS my family and Grandma loved him!"

I love that girl.

Isabel's first husband, the girls' bio dad, also gave the cousin a piece of his mind, telling her that Primo was very much a part of the family and that he is grateful to Primo for all he did raising the girls. Then he found Primo and told him the same thing.

I got so lucky when I married Primo. Not lucky with his parents, but with his two stepdaughters and their husbands and their children and with Stephanie and her children, whom I also adore. I love my Stephanie and my nieces and nephews. They are the greatest kids in the world.

Monday, December 7, 2015

In which we worry about the cats

Primo and I are worried about Sly and Doris' cats. They are elderly and elderly cats don't get adopted. The cats are sad and lonely - their people are gone.

Cat in an Empty Apartment

Wisława Szymborska, translated from the Polish byStanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh
Die—you can’t do that to a cat.
Since what can a cat do
in an empty apartment?
Climb the walls?
Rub up against the furniture?
Nothing seems different here
but nothing is the same.
Nothing’s been moved
but there’s more space.
And at nighttime no lamps are lit.

Footsteps on the staircase,
but they’re new ones.
The hand that puts fish on the saucer
has changed, too.

Something doesn’t start
at its usual time.
Something doesn’t happen
as it should.
Someone was always, always here,
then suddenly disappeared
and stubbornly stays disappeared.

Every closet’s been examined.
Every shelf has been explored.
Excavations under the carpet turned up nothing.
A commandment was even broken:
papers scattered everywhere.
What remains to be done.
Just sleep and wait.

Just wait till he turns up,
just let him show his face.
Will he ever get a lesson
on what not to do to a cat.
Sidle toward him
as if unwilling
and ever so slow
on visibly offended paws,
and no leaps or squeals at least to start.

In which Primo returns to engineer type

Me: We are going to be late and I am going to miss the plane and I will be stuck here.

Primo: No we won't.

Me: Yes. And it will be your fault.

Primo: Why?

Me: Because - what are you doing?

Primo: Trimming the boarding passes so the edges are nice and neat.

Me: That is why.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

In which Primo departs from the engineer stereotype

Primo: You wore this t-shirt the last time you were here - at my mom's funeral.

Me: Oh yeah. I think I needed something to sleep in.

Primo: It smelled like you so I wore it after you left.

Me: Wow. You said something mushy!

In which Primo and I discuss the importance of books and of bookshelves

Me: Please let Ted have the bookcase.

Primo: But I want it!

Me: It will cost an arm and a leg to ship and it will take up all the space in the living room. It will loom.

Primo: It would be a nice place to put our books.

NB. There is almost no "our" to the books in this house. I travel light. I borrow books. I cannot afford to buy all that I read and I have no interest in owning books. Primo has a ton of books he has not read.

Me: We do not need all those books.

Primo: But what if civilization starts to collapse? And there are no books? Don't you want to have some?

Me: If civilization is collapsing, the last thing I will be worrying about is something to read. I will be trying to find someone who can hunt and I will be learning how to purify water.

In which we gather to bury Sly, not to praise him, but no blood is shed so that's a good thing

The funeral is over.

Ted mostly behaved himself.

This time, I did not act like an idiot to Ted's best friend, who lives near Sly and Doris, and say, "I could NEVER live down here!"

That's what I said to him at Doris' funeral. What I meant was, "I could never live near Sly and Doris," but I did not say that and instead, I insulted someone who did live here. I did not do it right.

My nieces and nephew were amazing. Michael, Maria, and Pia knock it out of the park. They each spoke. They each started their speeches with some variation of, "Sly could be very difficult." Then they also said, "And he would hate that I am reading notes from my phone."

I am so proud of them and I am not even related to them. For a grandparent not to have spent all of his time beaming with pride at these amazing kids - well, I don't know. They are smart and sweet and work hard. Sure, there have been the normal bumps in the road, but they are nice, nice kids and a credit to their parents.

Primo spoke and spoke beautifully. He, too, said, "Sly could be very difficult."

Ted had to speak last. He wanted to close. The 100-hour eulogy, you know.

I gotta give the guy credit - he is funny and he speaks very very well.

However. Being excited (as in, commenting on it later) that he was able to work the word "shit" into his eulogy for his father?


He told the story that Sly said he was admitted to Yale with a full scholarship but a high school teacher to whom Sly had said, "Go shit in your hat" had gotten the offer rescinded.

I did not believe the story because

1. If Sly had indeed been admitted to Yale, Primo and I never would have heard the end of it and
2. Do Ivy League schools rescind full scholarships just because a student's high school teacher complains? I truly do not know but that does not make a lot of sense to me.

Primo and I spent the morning before the funeral working in the yard, which had not been tended to, other than mowing, for years. The shrubbery was completely overgrown and the trees needed pruning. We worked and worked and then showered and went to the funeral. I begged Primo not to let Ted and TW come to the house after the funeral. "I cannot deal with them," I said. "I have got to have some down time with only you."

Fortunately, Ted and TW did not want to come to the house - which I found odd, as surely there was more stuff* that they, middle-aged and established, needed to take.

Primo and I went back to work on the yard. It is actually very satisfying to cut stuff down. We ended up with a stack of waste about five feet high, three feet deep, and 12 feet long. (Yes, I measured. Wouldn't you?)

I think this might be the last time I ever have to see Ted again. Sure, he was telling Primo that Primo and I need to visit them, but I am thinking that this will not be a priority for us.

* Ted says, "We've already shipped 2,000 pounds of stuff from TW's mom's estate!" Primo and I do not have room nor do we want 2,000 pounds more of stuff in our house.

In which I discover how Sly had to undermine Maria, too, my beautiful, sweet, smart niece - he just couldn't stand for someone else to be smart

I made sure to sit next my niece, Maria, who just graduated from college with a BA in psychology, at Sly's funeral dinner.

1. I didn't want to be anywhere near Ted
2. I like my niece. She is cool.

We drank our trashy sweet fruity drinks out of the plastic cups that leaked all over the table and talked about her ambitions and plans. What was she going to do now?

She didn't know. "I started as a biology major because I wanted to be a vet," she said.

"So why did you change your major?" I asked.

She hesitated. "Grandpop said he didn't think I could handle the curriculum in vet school," she admitted.

Whoa. First, this young woman was a Bright Futures scholarship winner. She got good grades, she worked hard, she was more than capable.

Second - all I ever got from my grandparents was support and enthusiasm and praise for how wonderful I was.

Except after college when my grandma J worried I would never get married and wrote letters to me suggesting that I marry a "widower who needs help raising his young children."

But school wise? Nothing but excitement. I was the first one of the grandkids to go to college and my grandparents did not go past eighth grade, so perhaps, unlike Sly, who had a PhD, they were not qualified to judge, but ---

Sly's PhD was in English and he had spent his career at a school that was more or less a community college. He was not teaching kids like Maria who wanted to be vets. I don't know that he was qualified to comment on her ability to handle vet school.

Let's remember, this is the man who maintained that five times negative five was zero.

Sly might have known the deal about about minor English poets, but he was not a math and science guy.

Maria changed her major because her own grandfather destroyed her confidence.

Have I mentioned that if Sly were buried (he was cremated) that I would want to dig him up just to slap him?

Then Maria made the mistake of telling Sly that maybe she would like to be a teacher. Maria would be a fabulous teacher. She was interested in elementary school. She is smart and she is nice and she smiles and little kids like nice people who smile. She is super patient - I have not ever seen her lose her temper with Ted'sSon, who is disabled and can be a handful. Instead, Maria is sweet and patient and kind to Ted'sSon.

She would be an excellent teacher.

Sly told her she would be wasting her potential as a teacher.

1. Sly was a teacher!
2. Sly didn't think Maria was smart enough to be a vet - but he thought she was too smart to be a teacher?
3. Since when is it a waste of being smart to be a teacher? Who wants their kids to have dumb teachers? I don't even have children and I want smart teachers!

I am getting angry all over again at Sly and he has been dead for months now. What kind of jerk treats his own grandchildren like that?