Thursday, December 31, 2015

In which Primo is back home for a couple of weeks and he, not I, throws away the potted Meyer lemon tree that Doris gave us

Remember the potted lemon tree that Doris sent to us?

The tropical plant?

That needs eight hours of sun a day and can't have the temperature be lower than 70?

The plant that needs to live someplace like Florida? And not in the frozen north where Primo and I live? The place Doris knew that we lived because she had been here?

In the winter, there is not one single spot in our house that gets eight hours of sun. I think there is not even a spot outside of the house that gets eight hours of sun. We are in a place where winter is long, cold, and very, very dark.

Lucky us.

(Primo and I were talking about retirement, something that we both hope can happen someday and for which we will eventually need to plan. He asked where I wanted to be when we are 70 and I said, Not here. I don't even want to be here now. I want to be someplace where I can go outside year round and not have to be cold. I want to go someplace where that darn plant would have thrived.)

Doris blessherheart maysherestinpeace sent us a tropical plant for our house.

1. You guys, I feel bad speaking ill of the dead, but Doris does hold a lot of the blame here - she is the one who wrote a letter to me telling me I would have to suck it up and earn her love and approval. All she had to do was to be nice to me and I would have bent over backwards for her, especially considering how mean Sly was to her, but I guess she wanted someone she could beat up on - someone lower in the hierarchy than she was.

2. There was not one single houseplant in our house when they came for our wedding. Maybe instead of thinking, Hmm. Here is a person who hates houseplants, Doris thought, No houseplants? I can fix that! In which case I have to say that was a generous impulse.

3. Tropical, high-maintenance plant. For a non-tropical environment. Really?

For what - six? five? years I have watered that darn plant and put it outside in the summer and tried to keep it warm in the winter. We do not keep our house at 70 degrees in the winter because we are not made of money. Our house stays a lot colder than that (have I mentioned I was tricked into moving here?) and we wear a lot of clothes at once and I keep a nice layer of fat on me for warmth.

I have coddled that darn plant - which I never wanted - and have wished it dead.

Primo came home from his trip. He looked at the straggly, almost-leafless lemon tree.

"Now that my mother is dead," he said, "I think it is safe to throw this plant away."

Which shocked the heck out of me and to quote my friend Ray Daniel, the author, "and the devil put on a sweater."

I had the sense to keep my mouth shut. (For once.)

And now the tree is gone. As it should be. Rest in peace, potted Meyer lemon tree that never should have been here.

In which I think about the things I wish I had done differently with my father, whom I loved so, so much and who died way before he should have and who should have lived until 81 instead of Sly living until that age

It is exactly 18 years since my dad died. Here are the things I wish I could have done differently:

1. Tried tomatoes with salt and pepper instead of sugar when he told me they tasted good that way.

2. Believed him when he said tomatoes taste different depending on how you slice them. Of course he was absolutely right - the ratios of skin to pulp change and necessarily affect flavor.

3. Gone down to his workshop to listen to the radio with him when he asked. Why didn't I spend time with him when I could have? Why?

4. Not rolled my eyes at the idea of my mom and his buying an RV to travel around the country.

5. Not been ashamed my sophomore year of college after he had retired from the Air Force at the age of 49 and gone back to school to get his teacher certification and had gotten a job at Wal-Mart for extra cash. My college friends' dads were VPs at F100 companies and my dad was working at Wal-Mart. I am ashamed of being ashamed. Honest work is honest work.

6. Gotten up early to hit the Rochester Minnesota thrift shops with him. I lived with my mom and dad for a few months after I got back from the Peace Corps. This was when they were in Minnesota. My dad would get up early - like 5 a.m. - to swim laps at the gym, then come home and want to hang out with me. I would get cranky and tell him I wanted to sleep. I wish I could go back to my 30 year old self and warn myself that my dad would be dead within two years and to take all the time I possibly could with him.

7. Sat next to him to watch Hill Street Blues, which he really liked.

8. I think he liked Law and Order, too, although I might be remembering wrong - was that on 18 years ago?

9. Gone bike riding with him.

10. Told him how much I loved him and how lucky I was to have such a great dad. I hope he knew that's how I felt. I think I told him that. I hope I did. I knew even then how lucky I was and I for sure know now, now that I have seen what a bad father looks like.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

In which Primo brings home more junk and we fight on the way home from the airport but then we realize how much Ted is ticking both of us off so we recover

Things that Primo has brought home on this trip

  • Alleve
  • Two lobster cracking utensils. In the almost ten years I have known Primo, we have never cooked lobster (Primo: No! That's not true! I only brought one lobster cracker! You brought the other one earlier! - which is true - I brought it home as a nutcracker.)
  • An old Emily Post book from 1965
  • A glass cat
  • A brass cat
  • A pull thingy with a glass pig on the end
  • A cheese grater
  • An All-Clad pan (in Primo's defense, I did say yes to that one)
  • A potato masher
  • A cheese grater (I also said yes to that)
  • Cat refrigerator magnets
  • A photo of his nice grandparents
  • Photos of the cats he had when he was a kid
  • A pair of wooden shoes he got when he was a kid and they went to Holland, MI
  • One of two hip flasks from the house
  • A bunch of legal papers, including things like the title to the house, that were not in Sly's office, not in the file cabinet (that's for naked photos of Sly and Doris), but in the spare room, where the potty chair, the craft equipment, some old board games, and an empty bookcase were stored

What he did not bring home
  • A lot more cat and pig junk
  • An old crocheted shawl of Doris' that he thought I might like because I am always cold and that I would not have liked even if it had not belonged to Doris because it is an old, frayed, dingy shawl. But mostly because it belonged to Doris. Yes, I know I am a b*tch.

What we fought about:

On the way home from the airport, Primo detoured downtown to the downtown post office. Why? Because he wanted to get some bills in the mail. 

These are payments for his father's bills.

That he wants in the mail one day early.

For someone whose credit rating no longer matters.

I went straight from work to the airport and left earlier than I had planned because his flight was supposed to be early, which it was, only he didn't get off the plane until much later because the plane had to wait for a gate. So I waited 27 minutes in the cellphone waiting area and I had had water before I left work so I HAD TO PEE and I wanted to get home and he was detouring to go to the darn post office?

So we fought.

But then we bonded over how Ted is still being a jerk.

The two emails Ted sent this week, referring to Primo's email that he would not reimburse him $875 for a frequent flier ticket.

Subject: Re: Reimbursable FL travel costs
From: ted
Date: Wed
CC:  tedswife
To: primo

As noted, I’ll address this later.

Primo, your behavior is the OPPOSITE of what [Ted's other half brother from his mom] is as the Trustee of my mother’s estate and the OPPOSITE of what [TedsWifesSister] is as the Trustee of [TedsWifesMom, who is not dead] estate. Unfortunately, it’s revealing a lot about you that I don’t care to know.

As the Custodian of [TedsSon], a Named Beneficiary, I have full legal rights to know everything about how our father’s trust is being handled.

You are succeeding in rapidly losing my trust.

Subject: Re: Reimbursable FL travel costs
From: ted
Date: Wed
CC: tedswife
To: primo

Just opening this email now. Primo, I feel sorry for you. I shall re-read this later and act upon it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

In which Primo thinks about how a kingdom was lost for the want of a nail

Primo: If my mom had died the day before my dad's surgery, he never would have had the surgery and he would be alive to deal with all this stuff.

Me: Hmmmmm.

Primo: He would.

Me: Except I expect you would still be doing everything you are doing now because your dad just wouldn't do what needed to be done, plus you would be taking care of your dad.

Me: And if your dad had not fallen on your mom and broken her knees, then she might still be alive.

Primo: I know.

Me: I would never let you lie in pain for four days.

Primo: Sweetie, my dad is old. And the ER said nothing was wrong with her.

Me: Since when did your father ever accept someone else's authority? He was the smartest man in the world.

Primo: What was he supposed to do?

Me: Call 911! I swear, if you were in horrible pain and couldn't move and I had to bring a trash can for you to pee in, I would not stop until I had answers. I would not watch someone I loved in pain without trying to do something. Your dad is directly responsible for most of your mother's suffering.

Primo: I know.

Monday, December 28, 2015

In which Stephanie's friend who is helping Primo says she might take Cat 1

Stephanie's friend has been helping Primo plan the garage sale and advising him on what can be sold and maybe for how much and she has been an angel and won't let Primo pay her (but we are going to get her a gift card to a really nice restaurant) has said she might take Cat #1 because her dog is old and sick.

Primo has been really worried about the cats. It is not easy to place older cats. Even kittens can have a hard time. Stephanie and I saw a cage full of kittens at the farmers market the weekend of Sly's funeral. Kittens are little and cute and fun and if you can't give a kitten away, good luck with an older cat.

So this is good news.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

In which I have the sinking feeling that we are about to have another cat in our house

  • 8/23, 4:50pm

    I'm worn out.

    And I can't sleep well at night because C1 loves me so much. smile emoticon
  • 4:51pm

    you have been going so hard since last October!

    no -before!
  • 8/23, 4:51pm

    Every time I move, she gets up and gets in my face and finds something to lick.
  • 4:51pm

    with the campaign

    she loves you
  • 8/23, 4:51pm

    I can't put her in some sanctuary where she'd never be adopted.

    Nadine still wants to take care of her when I leave.

    (She wants to; it's not something she is doing reluctantly.)
  • 4:52pm


    Nadine has already worked one miracle

    maybe she has another one up her sleeve
  • 8/23, 4:53pm

    I've been going through the mental health papers. Lots of bills, reports, and letters from my parents to providers. Their lives were really hard. It is also hard to dump this stuff.
  • 4:53pm

    It was such a big part of their lives
  • 8/23, 4:55pm

    C1 was Nancy's kitty (and I picked her out with Nancy). I love C1. I can't just get rid of her in the easiest possible way.
  • 4:55pm

    [our kitty #1] is sharpening her claws

    she is sitting behind the computer

    I know, Sweetie

    Let's hope Nadine can find someone
  • 4:56pm

In which Primo finds Sly's sex diary while he is looking for information about a safe deposit box that may or may not exist

Primo: I found a sex diary on my dad's desk, mixed in with all kinds of other papers.


Primo: I looked at long enough to make sure he was writing about sex with my mom and not with anyone else, then I put it in drawer with nude pictures.

Me: Oh man.

Primo: I did read one gross part. Nancy had a waterbed when she lived with them. He wrote about having sex with my mom on the waterbed when Nancy wasn't at home.

Me: How did you find it?

Primo: I was looking for information about a safe deposit box. There are documents and lists about a safe deposit box - a list that says passports, car title, and things like that, but I have found those documents, so I don't even know if there is a safe deposit box.

Me: You laugh at how much I think about worst-case scenarios, but this kind of stuff would never happen with me. Or with my mom. I have my mom's safe-deposit box key! I have her papers! I have her will!

Primo: I don't even know if there is one. My dad never mentioned one.

Me: But why? Why didn't he tell you these things?

Primo: My dad didn't think he was going to die

Me: He thought he was immortal? Did he think he was Jesus Christ?

Primo: I don't know. Shouldn't we have a sex diary? I wonder if my mom knew about the diary. Did they do it together?