Saturday, March 26, 2016

In which Primo and I have a cheese-throwing fight only he is at his mom and dad's house and there is no cheese to throw

Primo and I had a huge fight last night. He finally arrived in Florida and discovered that even though the house is under offer, realtors have still been showing it. One realtor left the A/C running, which he was not supposed to do, and another left the back door open.

Primo was freaked out and angry and then he discovered things were missing from the house, like a bottle of laundry detergent and a knife. (Although he had a garage sale and sold most of the furniture, there are still a few items there that Stephanie will take once Primo is gone - Primo stays in the house rather than have the estate pay for a hotel, so he needs things.)

Anyhow, he thinks Jack might have taken the laundry detergent.

I pointed out that when thieves break in, it usually is not for small household goods.

But he was super cranky and so we had a fight - our first major one since the Cheese-Throwing Incident of 2015.

I guess we were due.

The big difference between Primo and me is that when Primo is having a rough time, he wants to talk to me about it.

When I am having a rough time, I don't want to talk to anyone about it. I just want to write about it.

And I am not crazy about listening to someone else talk about his rough time but I guess that is part of being married.

Anyhow, we had a huge fight and now it's over and we have come up with a plan in principle of how the next few months will go.

Before we came up with the plan, I suggested to him that perhaps he might be happier not married to me and he was shocked that I would even consider that. "But then I would really be alone!" he said.

I shrugged. "You would get to do things your way all the time. It seems to frustrate you that I do not share a lot of your habits."

He was shocked that I would even bring it up. But two of my friends are divorcing after 30 year marriages. Not their choices - their husbands walked out. There are some divorces where I could have said, "Yeah, I saw that one coming," but not these two. I think men get to a certain age and realize there are paths forever closed to them and think that the solution is not to count their blessings but to change their wives. I hate this for my friends and I think the men will be sorry.

I think Primo is not happy with his life right now but I guess he doesn't think I am the big problem.

We agreed to a plan.

1. He will consider resigning as trustee and will talk to the lawyer about a possible plan and the lawyer's recommendation. He is reluctant to hand it over to the lawyer because

  • the lawyer charges money ("And you should work for free? It is not unreasonable for someone to be paid for this work")
  • Jack had a last-minute urgent issue - Stephanie found out with one day's notice she could add the kids to her insurance at work (they are out of college) and Jack called Primo to ask if the trust could pay. Of course the trust could pay. But Primo said that the lawyer would not have been able to handle it at the last minute and I said even if he couldn't, shouldn't Jack's first thought be to get his kids decent insurance? He could have told Stephanie yes, put them on and I will pay for this month and then we will talk to the lawyer about getting the trust to pay
2. He will take three months off without doing anything.
3. We will discuss at the end of three months.
4. In the meantime, we will take off Thanksgiving weekend, even though he is bringing boxes of papers back with him. Starting next week, we will spend 30 minutes a day working on stuff.

This is a photo of our guest room. This is a photo of our guest room without the extra boxes Primo is going to bring home (and without a view of the stacks of paper on the desk, the file cabinet, and the chair). The guest room is already full of Sly and Doris' junk.

I beg of you. Please do not leave all your junk for your children to deal with.

If you love your children, please make sure your affairs are in order so your children do not have to spend months and months settling your affairs.

I told him that I just want a plan and I want the plan not to be "Primo never works again." He said that is not his plan but he can't go into politics now because it is so so dirty and he can't stand it.

I don't know why it has taken him so long to realize this.

Then I said I would talk to him tomorrow and he said maybe tonight and I said, "Right! You and Jack and the kids are scattering the ashes tonight."

"Yes," he said, "and I might be sad after that. I will want to talk to you."

In which Subaru of Jacksonville responds to my email that they remove Sly from their mailing list because he is DEAD with an email about buying a new car

I told you I have been having to contact all these companies to tell them that Sly and Doris are DEAD and take them off your darn list.

Three months ago, Primo put their names on some national deceased do not mail registry. He called a bunch of the organizations that were sending mail to take Sly and Doris off the lists.

Then he put in a forwarding notice at the Post Office because he still needs to get Sly and Doris' bills, etc.

Apparently, the PO sells those lists.

And we have been getting seven to ten pieces of junk mail a day.

Subaru of Jacksonville sent a promotional piece.

I emailed them, asking them to take Sly off their list.

They emailed back.

Dear Sly, Thank you for giving Subaru of Jacksonville the opportunity to earn your business. We have received your inquiry for a new [blank]. We strive to provide you a 'different' car buying experience.

I answered.

Dear Subaru of Jacksonville: I can assure you that if Sly, whom I asked you to remove from your list because he died in July, does buy a car from you, it will indeed be a "different" car buying experience.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

In which the water is almost cut off at Sly and Doris' house because the City of St Augustine utilities division is the only place in the world that does not allow their mail to be forwarded

On the phone with Primo as he drives from Nashville to Chattanooga. On the phone again after two hours because we were fighting on the last call and I thought, "What if he dies in a car crash tonight? I cannot have that be our last conversation."

I called and asked if he was better and he said he was and then he said he was cranky because Jack has been texting him with questions about Doris' computer, which Primo had prepared for Jack ("What's the password?" "Where's the information about the savings bonds that Doris gave to the kids?"), questions Primo really could not answer while he is driving AND NOT LOOKING AT THE COMPUTER.

And then Jack was totally oversharing about his kids and some problems they are facing - things I won't talk about here because they have always been great to me and have done nothing to deserve having their dirty laundry washed in public, but it was very stressful stuff and things Primo could not do a darn thing about now or ever because you cannot fix someone else's kids. But it was still hard to hear and now he is very worried and so am I.

He apologized for being cranky and I asked if he wanted to Throw The Cheese and he laughed and we were done fighting.

He is on a journey to Florida to retrieve boxes of what may be important papers but may not be important. We. Don't. Know. We will have to go through all the papers to make sure. Maybe there is a safe deposit box. Maybe not. If there is, the papers and the key could be in one of the boxes.

Maybe the Good Bracelet is in one of the boxes.

If it is, I am keeping it. Just because.

Four more catalogs and two random solicitations came today for Sly and Doris. Six more places I had to tell to STOP.

Primo put Sly and Doris on the Deceased Do Not Call list in August, well before he put in a change of address at the Post Office.

I read someplace that the way around getting the junk mail for dead people is to put in a temporary change of address. I hope this information is useful to you. I wish we had known.

So we are getting all of Sly and Doris' junk mail. All kinds of catalogs for trashy cheap made in China crap that we do not want.

That is the only sort of gift Doris ever gave us. Not a renewal of the Cooks Illustrated magazine. But junk. And a potted lemon tree that needed a tropical environment, which most definitely is not what we have to offer.

The only piece of mail that Primo has not gotten is the water, sewer, and trash bill. For the past two months. Which he did not know about because he is in the middle of all this drama and not thinking, "Wait! Have I gotten a bill for the water, sewer, and trash?"

Also, where we are, all the utilities come on one bill and it comes only once a quarter.

Primo did not realize this until he got a letter from the water company threatening to cut off the water if the bill was not paid.

Turns out the water company does not allow bills to be forwarded.

So if you are forwarding the mail for your dead father's house so you can pay the bills - not so you can get their junk mail - you will not get all the bills.

You will get the junk mail, but you will not get the bills.

Primo is cranky about that and so am I.

In which Primo freaks out because I ask him where the stamps are and I tell him I dusted his dresser

Primo and I are fighting over the phone because he is being kind of jerky (I hesitate before writing that because he really is a good guy and I don't want people to think he is a jerk, but sometimes, he is cranky and crabby and jerky and I think it's fair to call him on it.)

We are fighting because all I did was ask him where the stamps were and he got all, "Oh noooooo!" with me - his usual dramatic reaction -- and I got pissy, saying, "Do not get all drama-y with me! I asked a SIMPLE question!" and then he got even more pissy when I OPENED HIS DESK DRAWER - I had to MOVE THE CHAIR! - and then I did not CLOSE THE DRAWER PROPERLY! AND WHAT IF I MESSED THINGS UP IN THE DRAWER?

Good grief.

Then he got pissy again because I had taken things off his dresser to dust it because there were baby kittens growing behind some things that I had not noticed but as soon as I noticed, I could not leave it. He had the sympathy cards from my mom from May and July and the birthday card I gave him in May stacked on top of a cartoon I had cut out for him a year ago.

It is November.

I put those things on the stairs next to his mail. I cleaned all the dust from the dresser and from the wooden penguin puzzle I had bought him so we could look at it and say, "Funny the penguin being there!" and the framed photo of us from after our wedding that I washed out into black and white so I look better than I really look. I also dusted the photo of him with one of the cats on his shoulder and the photo he brought from Sly and Doris' of the cat they had when he was ten.

I put those things upright on the dresser and then messaged a photo of the dust to him.

It was disgusting.

He got all "Wooo!" and "But you MOVED MY STUFF! WHAT ABOUT MY STUFF?" and I had to say, "Relax, SHELDON!"

Then he said, "But I never move your stuff!"


Honestly. That man.

In which a man whom I did not treat nicely when we were college freshmen lets me apologize to him, which I have wanted to do for decades

Primo dropped me off at the door for the reunion dinner and then left to park the car. I walked in alone. Picked up my name tag and tried to figure out where to attach it. Gave up when I saw Nancy and Aarthi and trotted over to them instead.

My friends.

We were not good friends in college, but the magic of Facebook has allowed me to be a part of peoples' lives and become friends with people I wish I had been friends with all along. All these wonderful people who surrounded me in the past and now I get a second chance. I love Facebook.

We were chatting when a tallish, handsome man came up to us.

I looked at his name tag.

It was - let's call him Liam - it was Liam.

Whom I had not seen in over 30 years.

And to whom I was mean, even though he did not deserve it.

It all came back to me in a second.

My freshman year of college, as I was leaving class one day, it was raining, which of course is not unusual for Houston. I, being me, had an umbrella with me. I also had a sweatshirt and socks because even though it was hot outdoors in Houston, the air conditioning in the classrooms at Rice was crazy cold. I would walk into the physics lab and start getting dressed.

I walked out into the rain, protected by my umbrella.

I saw a guy walking in the rain.

This would have been the perfect Meet Cute.

I asked him if he wanted to share my umbrella. I wasn't hitting on him because I was only 17 or barely 18 and I sure didn't roll like that. I didn't know how. I would have loved to know how, but I did not. I. Was. Clueless.

I asked him to share only because I felt sorry for him.

We walked to his dorm and I thought that was it.

But then he asked me out on an actual date.

Let me position this better:

I attended a college of misfits. We were the smart kids who had been at the bottom of the social ladder in high school. We were the kids who had never been invited to or had not invited anyone to a high school dance. We were used to being the odd ducks.

And then we got to college - and we were all that was there. There were no cheerleaders, no star athletes, no cool kids. There were smart kids and there were smarter kids and there were smart kids who did cool things like paint or play baseball or sing or act or write or become the White House spokesman. The base currency was smart and what made you cool was what other people - the people in high school - had thought was weird about you and IT WAS FABULOUS.

It was a school full of people who had not dated much. And who didn't know how to date. Who might not even have ever kissed a boy. Or a girl. Or a boy. Whatever.

Liam asked me out on a date. He didn't ask if I was going to the movie at the Chemistry Lecture Hall on Friday and then get a seat near me. He didn't ask me if I was going to the party at Sid on Saturday and then bump into me. He didn't ask if I was going to the football game and suggest he might sit on the same bench with me.

He asked if he could take me out on a date. He took a risk.

I was impressed.

And he was cute!

He had a car so we could actually go off campus. We went to Gilly's, which was super popular because of the movie Urban Cowboy. It was about half an hour from campus. We got there and it was smoky and crowded and neither of us knew how to dance. We left.

At the time, Gilly's was in the middle of nowhere.

There were no cellphones, at least not for civilians. My best friend's dad had to carry The Brick sometimes, but he was the base commander.

Liam's car broke down. It was an old clunker - the kind of car a kid who makes money delivering papers buys for himself before he goes to college. It was not the car of a rich kid. It was the car of a hardworking kid.

It died in the middle of nowhere.

We started walking - finally found a phone booth - IT WAS DARK! IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE! THERE COULD BE AX MURDERERS! - and called information to get the number for a taxi - and the taxi refused to come for us because we did not know where we were and could not give an address.

He called his roommate, who showed up almost an hour later and was cranky about having to come get us.

He dropped me off at my room.

I never talked to him again.

He called and left messages.

I didn't return the calls.

He may even have left a message on the little message board hanging on my dorm room door.

I ignored him.

The calls stopped.

Two years later, I walked into my 19th century American fiction class taught by Professor Gillman and he was sitting in the front row. I veered past him, looking at the back wall, and sat in the back.


He was a nice kid who had had the guts to ask me out and then had tried to apologize for something that could have happened to anyhow - indeed, my car has broken down more than once - AND I WAS MEAN TO HIM.

It has bothered me ever since. Years ago, when I discovered the google and googlestalking, I looked Liam up online. (Along with every other boy/man I have ever kissed - yes, Liam had kissed me, but it was in the parking lot of Gilly's before the car broke down.)

(Even now, I am googlestalking. Holy smoke. NICE HOUSE! And a wife. But Liam - Liam turned out very, very nicely. Great professional success. Very handsome. Good. I am happy for him.)

I wondered what had happened to him. I wanted to apologize. I found an address and sent a letter, but never heard back from him. I don't know if he even got it.

And then he appeared in front of me, unbidden.

I have been to every five year reunion since I graduated. I had never seen him there before.

He was there.

I saw his name tag and remembered immediately.

I might not have recognized him if I had passed him in the street - he was a little taller, I think, and had matured quite nicely into a very handsome man.

"I was so mean to you!" I blurted out. "I am so sorry! You did not deserve it!"

He smiled and said nothing. I continued to babble nervously and happily. At last - I had a chance to apologize.

As my wonderful not native-English-speaker boss said when I told him this story: "You got to get it out of your chest!"

"Kind of like in Alien," Primo said.

We chatted for a few minutes. I don't even remember what we said. I just kept thinking what a great gift he had given me - a chance to apologize. If our positions had been reversed, I probably would have ignored him. He is the far bigger person of the two of us. I am grateful. Thank you, Liam.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

More catalogs

Now I know why Doris sent us such junky presents.

  • Harry and David (she never sent us anything from here - I would have liked that)
  • Bits and Pieces (no idea what this is)
  • Sharper Image
  • Ashley-Sleep
  • Lenox

Monday, March 21, 2016

In which Primo and I reminisce about being together for ten years almost to the day (because we met at our 20 year reunion and just had our 30th)

Primo: Ten years.

Me: Yep.

Primo: Ten years since we met.

Me: Yes.

Primo: I made you a really good grilled cheese sandwich the first time you came to visit.

Me: That was ten years ago.

Primo: It was when we took a break from [wxyz].

Me: That was ten years ago.

Primo: And you met me at the airport wearing nothing but a coat.

Me: That was ten years ago. AND a much warmer climate.

In which Primo has to decide what he loves more - politics or getting busy

Primo: Will you be up when I get back from the county [political party] meeting?

Me: Probably not.

Primo: But we need to change the kitty litter before I leave tomorrow!*

Me: We can do it now.

Primo: But - I thought we were going to get busy!

Me: OK.

Primo: But the kitty litter!

Me: Either now or you do it by yourself when you get home.

Primo: I can't do it by myself!

Me: Then we have to do it now.

Primo: I thought we were going to get busy!

Me: You have to choose.

Primo: No! You need to stay up!

Me: You could skip the meeting.

Primo: I have to go!

Me: No you don't.

Primo: You mean - I could not go to it?

Me: Which would you rather do? Get busy or hang out with political people?

* Driving to Florida to get the remaining boxes of papers that will take us days to review and to get Sly and Doris' ashes and, I hope, get rid of them before he returns home.

In which I am so, so tempted but it would be "wrong" for me to complete the survey the DNC sent to Sly at my address. Wouldn't it?

In which I can promise Subaru that if Sly does buy a car from them, it will indeed be a "different" car-buying experience

I sent an email to Subaru of Jacksonville, asking them to take Sly off their mailing list.

They wrote back.

Dear Sly,

Thank you for giving Subaru of Jacksonville the opportunity to earn your business. We have received your inquiry for a new *. We strive to provide you a "different" car buying experience, by putting YOU first. We are the #1 Subaru Dealer in the state of Florida when it comes to customer service, as awarded by dealer rater (please visit dealerrater DOT com and review our report card for yourself).

* Yeah, there was nothing after "inquiry for a new.

In which there are more catalogs and advertising lists to advise that the persons they are soliciting are dead

On the list today. Each one requires looking up the website and sending an email complete with Sly and Doris' name and address, which is now our address. I spend months getting us off all the junk mail lists and now I have to do it again.

  • National Wildlife Federation
  • Heifer International
  • Front Gate
  • Potpourri
  • Country Store
  • Grandinroad