Thursday, April 14, 2016

In which Primo picks one of the boxes from the basement to sort through instead of one of his parents' boxes and I don't care because I just want a net reduction of stuff in our house

Bless his heart.

He says it is taking him a lot longer than he thought it would to finish this box. We spent 30 minutes on it the other night and got rid of half of it, but he has been working for over an hour and is still not through.

I observed his work behavior.

I pointed out to him that it might be faster if he would quit putting the mail back in the envelope after he pulls it out to examine it.

In which Doris insults Ted in an old email I found

I am working on The Book so am going through old emails to get the data to prove what I am writing.

Wait. This is not a legal case?

Well. Anyway.

Found this email from Doris to Primo in 2011. He told her not to send it to me, which was the right thing to do, but then he forwarded it to me with an eyeroll, which was also the right thing to do. I marched upstairs and said, "It was NOT about 'these ones!' He corrected her about lemon extract but she had not made a mistake!"

And now, I am rolling my eyes at the passive-aggressive insult to Ted. Not that he doesn't deserve it, but honestly, this pitting of brother against brother is quite unseemly. My mom has never done that. (And my dad never did it.)

Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2011 18:39:47 -0700
From: Doris
Subject: Re: fridge etc
To: Primo

Dear Primo,
I decided not to send this message to Goldie without your clearance.  Let me know what  you think.  Ted called and talked at length,  He seemed relatively sincere.  I am going to phone Dad and then hit the bed.

Dear Goldie,
I hope that someday you will welcome my wish to say, Love,Ma.  It has hurt so much not to be able to narrow our ideological gaps.  You and my son love each another.  I want to love you as well. 

Enough said tonight, I'm not all together.  You might want to tell Primo that throughout his day not one health care worker, including docs, RNs, and subordinate personnel knew enough to say "lie" vs. lay. 

When we saw Maria for a brief time with Jack on Sunday, we asked how things were going at FAU, and she enthusiastically responded  "good," instead of well.  We didn't correct her. I remember how you chided us at the dinner table at Stephanie's house when Dad mentioned/corrected Maria about "these ones."  One is either fur or agin maintaining English usage standards.  The most egregious example I ran into recently was a quotation by billionaire, Mayor Michael Bloomburg of NYC wherein he talked about young people "graduating college."

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

And in which my dad's two brothers and my dad's cousin, all of whom disagree strongly with Primo about politics, refuse to talk to him or to make eye contact but instead pull me aside to tell me what bad taste I have in husbands

OH WAIT! That didn't happen at all!

Instead, my uncles and cousin asked Primo if he was going to run for office again. They talked amicably about what a moron Donald Trump is and my ultra-conservative uncle said that yeah, he doesn't agree with Bernie Sanders about everything but he likes the guy.

My dad's cousin said he would campaign for Primo if Primo ran again.

I said, "But you completely disagree with him!"

Cousin said, "I vote for the man, not the party, and I like Primo."

"That's what my dad always said!" I said. "He got into a fight with my seventh grade social studies teacher with me as their go-between about it because my teacher maintained you stick with the party and my dad said nope, you look at the man."

(Or the woman, as the case may be, but I am using "man" in the "humankind" sense here, not in the "It's a man's world and women are just here to wash the dishes" sense.)

And then dad's cousin and dad's other cousin - the two sons of my late great uncle - both started laughing and telling stories about my dad.

And we all had a good time, even though we were gathered by death. You are sad when a person who is 95 years old dies, but you are not sad in the way you are sad when someone who is 60 or 50 or 40 dies. Ninety five is a pretty good run.

In which Primo might inherit half of the house because the trust might not have been set up properly and in which we go to my great-uncle's funeral (he was 95) and not one person prefaces her eulogy with "Although he could be difficult"

My dad's mother's sister's husband died last week. Funeral was today.

I think I have told you that Primo moved here instead of Pittsburgh because he did not want to live near his mom and dad but wanted to be away from California. He had no ties to this place, which I would prefer to be unnamed because I am paranoid, but moved here anyhow.

My dad's side is actually from this city, but we never lived here because my dad was in the air force and we were all over the place. But any time we were in the US and came to see relatives, we stopped here to see my dad's aunt and uncle. My uncle Fritz, who was a pilot in WWII and then a cop, was my dad's favorite. I remember fishing off the pier in front of their house after uncle Fritz retired from the force and they moved to a family cottage on the lake, a place that there is no way a cop could afford today.

So - coincidence that I am living here, but I am in this city and my great uncle died and I knew him and my dad's two brothers and their wives would be driving in for the funeral and I always like to see them, so a half day off it was.

Primo said he would come with me, even though he said that he did not want to sit through a funeral Mass and I said, "Dude nobody does but it is what you do - it is part of the mourning ritual and that is how it is done."

On the way to the funeral, Primo's phone rang. It was the title company handling the sale of Sly and Doris' house. There is some issue with how the ownership of the house was set up with respect to the trust - do not ask me for details - as soon as Primo started going into them (which he loves to do because he is an engineer and there is no detail too small for an engineer), I said, "This is something to let the lawyer deal with because there is no way you can figure this out."

But what it came down to was Primo might actually own half of the house (which is not that much money after the mortgage and home equity loans are paid), which would be nice because he has already spent a year dealing with Sly and Doris' issues and although he did not take a year off with the intention that he would take care of them and that he would be reimbursed for it, I DO NOT WORK AS A HOBBY. And as Sly disinherited Primo and went out of his way to specify that Primo could not be paid for being trustee, I don't have a single problem with Primo getting some cash.

Now. Back to the funeral. My aunts and uncles were there and my 2nd cousin or whatever my dad's cousin is to me. I saw people I usually only get to see once a year and I saw my great-aunt Helen, who is 92 years old and still rocking.

I talked to my aunt Pat, who is 81. She broke her foot this summer but played golf with her boot. She and my aunt Aggie are always elegant and well groomed and they get up at 5:30 a.m. to go to aerobics and then sometimes they will hit 8 a.m. Mass, sometimes they don't. My aunt Pat is still on the board of health for the county. All of these aunts and uncles keep very active.

I thought, "I am so, so lucky to have these genes! This is who I want to be when I am 81! This is part of why I work out!" (The main reason is because I am vain.)

And then I talked to my great aunt Helen, my great-uncle's wife. She is 92. (She is my grandma Sylvia's younger sister - you remember Sylvia - my friend Ilene put red lipstick on Sylvia when she was in her coffin because nobody recognized her in the soft pink the undertaker had used.)

Helen is elegant, with it, and standing tall. She is who I want to be when I am in my 90s. I got really lucky with my genes.

Not one single eulogy contained the phrase, "Although he could be difficult." Instead, they were about uncle Fritz teaching his sons to hunt, fish, repair cars, repair a house, repair anything. They were about uncle Fritz teaching his grandchildren to fish and hanging out with them and telling them stories and just being a good grandpa in general. No, "Although he could be difficult."

I am lucky in so many ways.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

In which we spend 30 minutes on a box from the many boxes in the basement instead of on Sly and Doris' stuff because Primo does not want to get rid of family photos or the turntable he brought from Florida

Among the items discarded:

1. Primo's stepdaughter's credit card bill from 2001
2. Six AAA magazines from 2000
3. A San Francisco magazine from 2000 with the best SF restaurants
4. Charity solicitations from 2000 and 2001
5. Frequent flyer mile statements from 2000

Etc, etc, etc.

We got rid of half of the box and will finish tomorrow.

And then it's on to the remaining boxes in the basement.

In which Primo would rather go running than deal with Sly and Doris' papers, he asks what we have to eat for the rest of the week, and he says he wants to run for office again - WHAT???

These are Sly's calendars for the past 20 years or so. Primo has to make a decision about them. If Primo is hit by a car tonight and dies, all of this will go straight into the trash. I am not interested in preserving Sly's legacy and accounting of his exercise, grocery shopping, and - other stuff.

Me: Let's do our 30 minutes.

Primo: I don't want to!

Me: Neither do I.

Primo: I have to go running.

Me: Let's do it before you go running.

Primo: I would rather go running than work on this.

Me: I hate running so much.

Primo: Me, too.

Me: And you would rather go running than spend 30 minutes sorting through junk?

Primo: Yes.

Primo: We are going to run out of food* before the end of the week.

Me: Uh huh.

Primo: What are we going to eat?

Me: There is stuff in the freezer. We will not starve.

Primo: I have a political potluck tomorrow.

Me: Uh huh.

Primo: I'm not expecting you to cook something for me to take.

Me: It had not even crossed my mind that I would be doing that.

* We are going to run out of the rosemary pork stew and the Persian okra stew that I made on Sunday.

3. Oh yes. He wants to run again.

Monday, April 11, 2016

In which Primo and I spend 30 minutes working on the papers (using a timer) and I want to punch Sly and Doris in the nose

We spent 30 minutes on Saturday and then 30 minutes tonight working on one box of papers from Sly and Doris' house.

We threw a stack five inches high into the recycling.

We have a stack nine inches high that will need to go to a shredder.

At first, I thought I would take the papers to work and feed them into the shredder in the mailroom, but as the stack grew taller and taller, I thought, Nope, I don't think so. Primo had taken a bunch of stuff to Mailboxes USA in Florida and paid to have it shredded. The estate can pay for this, too.

People. I know everyone who is reading this is responsible and cares about not being a burden on the people they love, so I am preaching to the choir.

However, you may not have thought of making sure that you do not have seven years of bills all thrown together in one file.

Or all of the previous year's medical EOBs.

Every year, in January, I sit down with my files - and yes, I have separate files for separate things - I do not mix everything in one folder - and throw away all the previous year's bills except for the most recent copy. All I need is proof that I am current with the phone company and with my mortgage and with the electricity company.

I do keep annual investment statements, but get rid of the quarterly ones once the annual statement arrives.

Medical bills and EOBs - again, everything from the previous year goes.

I have all of my tax returns since forever, but that is because I am paranoid. But only about taxes. The phone company can't come after me for something from two years ago.

Sly and Doris did not practice this type of document management.

That means that Primo and I now have to go through all of these papers because they are all mixed up and we don't know what's current and what's not.

That knee surgery that Sly had in February 2015? That surgery that you and I paid for via our Medicare taxes (for US citizens)? Sixty six thousand dollars for knee replacement for a man who used that knee for walking only (Feb, Mar, Apr, May) four months. That's $16,500 a month.

We are still not done with that one box and there are many boxes.

This is going to be a long winter.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

In which Primo realizes I mean business about the boxes in the living room, the guest room, and the basement

Primo: I don't want to do this!

Me: Me neither.

Primo: Can't we just do it some other time? There is no urgency - there is nothing forcing us to do this.

Me: Oh I can create urgency.

Primo: You will get cranky?

Me: Have you ever heard of the play Lysistrata?

Primo: Oh!