Saturday, May 19, 2007

1257 Proud of Me

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I am very proud of myself. Today, for the first Saturday morning in almost two months, I actually made it to the recycle center.

I took 11 large paper grocery bags - 8 were "slick" paper (office paper, glossy newspaper inserts, junk mail, magazines), and 3 were "dull" (newspaper, non-corrugated cardboard, phonebooks). I also took a 30-gallon bag of glass and plastic (#1 and 2 only, thank you). That stuff had been taking over my kitchen floor. It's so nice to be able to walk around in there again, and to be able to get into the lower cabinets without having to move heavy bags out of the way.

I didn't take corrugated cardboard. There's quite a lot of it (I don't know where it comes from! It just appears!), but that will have to wait for the next trip.

Driving back from the center, I noticed that the Elks had the huge drum barbecues set up in their parking lot. All summer long, on certain Saturdays, they grill chicken. You can get half a chicken and a delicious baked potato for $5! Today was the first of the season, I think. I bought two. For $10 I got a whole chicken and two huge potatoes. And butter.

Today's looking good so far, even if it is drizzling.

1256 What Do YOU Mean by "Support"?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Scott Adams, in today's Dilbert.Blog post (
), explains what he means when he claims that he "supports the troops more than you do." I agree with him 100%.

Friday, May 18, 2007

1255 Roman Holiday

Friday, May 18, 2007

Until last night, I hadn't seen Roman in a few weeks, and during those few weeks I'd been thinking about some things he'd said, and what they'd meant.

May of last year we were sitting on a bench on the grounds of the Roosevelt mansion, "talking deep", and he said that even if the other woman didn't exist, he and I probably wouldn't work long term, but he wouldn't or couldn't say why.

I sort of agreed with him, but I was thinking about trust issues, and trust problems can be overcome if you're willing to work on them, but I didn't see that happening, so I agreed.

Well, in recent phone conversations, he has said a few things, quite innocent things, that suddenly cast a bright light on the divide between us.

I told him about a house Daughter and Hercules liked, and how the layout wouldn't allow space between them, and how sometimes they need space apart. Roman said, "Well, the rooms have doors, don't they?"

Closing a door hadn't occurred to me, or to Daughter, or to Hercules, and I like that it didn't. Being in two different rooms, at different ends of the house even, is ok, but somehow going into a room and closing the door, shutting the other person out, is unacceptable to us. It's the difference between expecting your partner to respect your space, and shutting your partner out of that space.

I tried to explain it to Roman, and he didn't see a problem. That is a problem. It encapsulates one of the biggest communication problems he and I had -- that he shuts people out, and sees nothing wrong with that.

Last week we were having an ordinary phone conversation when he said something about how when someone he's close to repeatedly does something that annoys him, he just ignores it.

Pow! Realization. He doesn't just ignore it. Some few people can ignore, but not him.

I suddenly realized that he enjoys anger. He likes it. He likes to hold it, and look at it, and tuck it deep inside, so he can take it out again later and fondle it, and taste it, feel it again, and tuck it away again. If he were to address problems in his relationships when they occur, to attempt to understand them and reach some accomodation, he'd have to give up the anger, and he can't.

Knowing a little bit about his life, I sort of understand why it's necessary for him to hold on to anger. He never learned any other outlet, any other way, and that's one of the things he should be most angry about. Anger is his justification, his way to accept himself and his feelings. It's not something he can simply let go of.

And that's the showstopper.

There are so many nice, wonderful, sweet things about him. He's so easy to be with when he's happy. He does try hard to do the right thing. He is a good guy deep down. He is confused about a lot, doesn't know what he wants. Or why. I see that, and that's part of what I love about him.

When he's NOT around, I see the showstopper, and I know that although we can be lifelong friends, I simply cannot deal with or contribute to his anger stockpile, I can't allow him to ignore irritations between us when I know where they're going, what he's doing with them, I will push and prod him until he explodes, and that won't work at all, so friends is all we can be.

Unfortunately, every time I see him, I melt, and I want more.
This is a problem.

1254 Fried Day

Friday, May 18, 2007

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights I got to bed before midnight, and was up about 8 am. Said "oh what a good girl am I" and decided to do that some more.

Last night I went to the Third Thursday Mensa dinner (Zig, Bets, Roman, and me), got home about 9 pm, and then lost track of time. I crawled into bed about 1:45 am, worked on some crossword puzzles, and didn't fall asleep until after 5 am. I don't know why. I wasn't thinking about anything in particular, just couldn't get to sleep. I woke up a few minutes before noon.

I had taken a rather powerful antihistamine before leaving for dinner last night, and maybe that's what kept me awake, but I don't really think so because the dose was supposed to be repeated every 4 hours, so I don't see how it could have lasted for 12. I dunno.

Piper called before I'd even had my morning yogurt, and we decided to meet for late lunch and conversation. I had a screwdriver. For breakfast. Bad girl.

Then I stayed in his office for a few hours to use the WiFi to peruse a backlog of videos people had recommended or had sent me. At one point a client came in, so I wandered off for a bit to the antique shop around the corner, where I found a beautiful ring. It's a rectangular red stone set crosswise on the finger, in a sterling silver antique-looking setting, with marquisite (sp?) on the sides - for $20. It looks like a ruby! It can't be at that price, in silver rather than gold, but it is a beautiful ring.

You know, I'm always finding very beautiful rings in antique shops, yard sales, and at auctions, and what's amazing is that they always fit me perfectly. Then one day I realized that I wear an unusually small size (4.5 to 5.5), and the reason that these beautiful rings that fit me perfectly are sitting there waiting for me, not already bought, is that they fit hardly anyone else who might have been tempted. Cool.

Got home about 5 pm and got an almost immediate call from Russ at the museum. He wanted to know exactly what the problem was with the membership data base, so he could work on it. I described what was happening, and he said yeah, he'd seen that before, which felt good because that means I probably didn't cause it.

Then FirstWoman called. It had been a while since we had talked (I had assumed she'd be at last night's dinner, and was disappointed when she wasn't - especially since I had finally remembered to bring some disks I owe her), so we were on the phone for a while.

Then Russ called back - he was able to display the correct labels, and wanted to know if I could come in next Tuesday so I could try it while he was there. Oops, next Tuesday I'll be at Habitat. He'll be away for two weeks starting Wednesday. Sigh. So he's going to print the labels I need this evening, and they'll be in my mailbox for whenever I can get in next week.

I forgot to tell him that I hadn't tried printing the membership cards. I hope there's no problem with them. Oh, bleck.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

1253 Rakkasah Spring Caravan Videos

Some Caravan videos are up on YouTube.

Willow with Djinn:

For more, go to and search on "spring caravan".

1252 Hospitals

Thursday, May 17, 2007

[Later edit: See for more info on why the urge to merge.]

The previous post is unnumbered because it's not "me" (me! me! me! what this blog's about!) and I figured I'd delete it before the end of the month, when I copy the month's posts to posterity.

I found Irwin's piece interesting, because, yeah, most of us civilians don't really understand why Kingston Hospital and Benedictine (and Northern Dutchess across the river) insist they have to combine to survive.

(Keep in mind that I know only the tiniest bit about this subject, at the highest level. I represent the average Joe-on-the-street. Joe and I are confused.)

The problem with them combining is that Benedictine is Catholic, and Kingston and Northern Dutchess are not. This is a critical distinction when it comes to women's health choices and end-of-life decisions, among other issues. Benedictine won't back down. If the three combine, even if a separate women's health clinic is set up as proposed, decisions on many levels will be taken from the individual, and given over to the Catholic Church. All three hospitals will be Catholic.

Ten or so years ago, the three hospitals claimed they were on the verge of bankruptcy, and they only way to save them was combining. The public outcry was so loud it didn't happen.

Kingston is a very small city, and quite frankly, two large hospitals only a few blocks apart does seem excessive. I think most people figured Benedictine would go under, and then Northern Dutchess and Kingston could combine and remain secular. We civilians waited to see what would happen.

Over the past ten years, all three hospitals built and bought. Northern Dutchess has doubled in size, and has formed some kind of "financial-and-services-only" agreement with a Poughkeepsie hospital, which takes them out of the Kingston/Benedictine equation. Kingston built a huge parking garage, and expanded. Benedictine is very proud of their new cancer center(s) and other new buildings. All three have upgraded to cutting-edge major equipment and services.

They've been looking pretty prosperous for businesses on the verge of bankruptcy.

We civilians don't understand.

So now this state report comes out, recommending that either Kingston gives up to Benedictine, or gets closed (Kingston Hospital being the public hospital, and therefore the one most easily threatened by the state).

Why can't they combine with the "financial-and-services" sharing type of deal Northern Dutchess struck? Why does Benedictine insist on dictating philosophy? How can they be in so much trouble when they've been spending so much money lately?

We civilians just don't understand.

Irwin's editorial adds considerations, but doesn't clear up the confusion.


Mensa dinner tonight.

Guest Opinion

The following opinion was written by a friend, and published in the Poughkeepsie Journal newspaper.


HMOs, THE BERGER COMMISSION, AND GOVERNOR SPITZER: How the Corporate Bulldozer Buried the Reformist Steamroller

Irwin Sperber

The actual conditions behind the crisis forcing Kingston hospital to merge with Benedictine, a Catholic hospital, have not been reported. The key to understanding the red ink in which local hospitals are drowning is that the same pattern is unfolding all across New York State and because of the very same conditions.

Over the past seven years, hospitals in New York State have piled up losses of $2.3 billion due to underpayments from Medicare, Medicaid, and health maintenance organizations. Alongside the bankruptcies facing many hospitals is the financial engorgement enjoyed by HMOs. With dedication to profit maintenance rather than health maintenance, HMOs have accumulated $3.7 billion in profits during the past six years alone. These trends are inextricably related.

For Medicaid patients, a hospital loses 76 cents for each dollar it spends. For Medicare outpatients, a hospital regularly loses 18 cents for every dollar it spends. Viewed over the span of a decade, costs for in-patient care borne by hospitals in New York have gone up by 32.4%. During this same period, Medicare reimbursement rates to them have been increased by just 14.2%. If your own household expenses and income were matched up at these incongruous levels, how long would it take you to face ruin?

Insufficient and slow reimbursement by HMOs to hospitals that have already incurred major expenses for patient care is only one means by which these companies make so much profit while hospitals are put to ruin. These companies further cut their expenses by authorizing coverage only for a short stay when patients require extended treatment and supervised convalescence in a hospital. They also deny coverage to a substantial percentage of patients in need of its medical specialists. The restrictive and cumbersome “appeal process” is heavily stacked in favor of the HMOs. These trends lead to a striking paradox. On the one hand, more people than ever before are seriously ill and in need of hospitalization; on the other hand, there are a great many “empty beds” and “underutilized facilities” going bankrupt in the mid-Hudson region and throughout New York State.

Although the Commission on Health Facilities for the 21st Century (the “Berger Commission”) is well known for its recommendations to merge or close these “inefficient” hospitals and privatize many others, the identity of Mr. Berger himself has eluded public scrutiny. Who is Stephen Berger? Whose interests does he represent? As executive vice president of GE Capital from 1990 to 1993, Berger guided his company into still another lucrative industry: he expanded General Electric’s annuity business, culminating in the 1994 acquisition of Harcourt General Insurance -- a behemoth in its own right offering health, life, and accident policies. The strategy of privatizing supposedly “mismanaged” public hospitals, which can then be purchased at fire sale prices by the HMOs themselves, flows directly from Mr. Berger’s corporate-oriented career path. HMOs appreciate this agenda, and they heartily endorse the recommendations.

Much more could and should be said about the role of Eliot Spitzer in embracing the Berger Commission’s ill-conceived recommendations. The role of HMOs in twisting and mutilating the health care priorities in the state legislature through campaign contributions and relentless lobbying also cries out for investigation. And the failure of the news media to inform the public about the forces responsible for the impending blows to New York’s already hobbled healthcare system calls for critical analysis in its own right. I hope the present letter might encourage those groups now challenging the Commission’s recommendations to expose and confront the corporate interests responsible for them in the first place.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

1251 Cilantro Again

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I'm getting dozens of search hits on the cilantro post. Why? What's going on that so many people all over the world are suddenly searching for cilantro soap?


I hadn't turned the TV on at all today. Instead, I had radios in the kitchen, bedroom, living room, and den all tuned to NPR. Very commendable, but the disadvantage is that I didn't notice time passing. I've got BBC news on the TV now, and I think I'll leave the television on. Gotta get some stuff done this evening.


I had hoped to see The Man this evening, but he's in a far southern state on business. He's trying to tie up all loose ends before the Maryland Mensa gathering at the end of the month. He had warned me that his work schedule had been a problem in relationships in the past. Between his work and travel, and his social, sports, and other commitments, yeah, I see a potential problem. He lives too far away for impromptu visits in free moments.

I guess that will eventually be the test. Can I be patient? Will he arrange more time for me? We'll see. Maybe it will get to the point where I become important enough to schedule into his life. Maybe not. Too soon to tell. I don't know him well enough yet to know how driven he is.

He IS trying to ensure that the gathering weekend is without conflict or stress, so accept, Silk. Don't fuss.


It's just as well that I have more time to kick this cold. There's nothing left but clear sinus drainage, but that's more than enough. It's not neat or pretty, and when it settles in the glottis/epiglottis/whatever, it sends me into paroxysms of coughing that pretty much flatten me. Throat, chest, and nose are fine.

1250 Overpriced?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Ok, this I don't understand:

Why would anyone pay $675 for a bicycle with an aluminum frame, no gears, and no brakes?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

1249 Mind and Morality

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

At, you can take a test on moral choices. Be careful not to add possibilities to the descriptions, like "Well, I could call 911." You have to go with the situation exactly as described.

Taking that first test opens the portal to a flock of other tests you can choose.

My taking the tests and examining the results helped to explain to me why I find most other people to be too judgemental, too ready to punish mere thoughts, and too ready to ascribe "bad" thoughts and motives to others.

Because they mostly do.

Have fun. (You probably will not get the same questions I did.)


Not really related to the above, a separate thought engendered by the court case on TV at the moment:

I am always amazed when someone is accused of something heinous, and friends and relatives respond to the charges with, "Oh, that's impossible. I know her, and she couldn't possibly do anything like that! She's such a nice person!" And they rally 'round, and defend, and raise money for defense, and spit vitriol and throw rocks at the accusers, and accuse them of lying - all based on their belief that the accusation doesn't fit with what they know of the person.

"I know she didn't do it because I know her and I know she couldn't have done it."


Unless they witnessed the actual act, and saw someone else do it, they don't really know! Everyone has parts to them that no one knows. It always pisses me off when people act like they know another that well, because they don't. We mostly don't even know ourselves that well. It bugs me when people ignore facts in favor of loyalty.

It works the other way, too - when someone suggests that someone else could have done something nasty, and another says, "Oh, yes, I know her and she's quite capable of it", and next thing you know, she did do it, regardless of the lack of any evidence that anything of the kind had ever actually happened!

I don't understand either bunch. I don't understand why it's so difficult to reserve judgement until the facts are in. I'll decide something is likely or unlikely, but not with the passionate sureness of those others.


This has personal application. An old friend was recently accused of a serious crime. The friend and I had only shortly before reestablished contact - I hadn't seen or heard from him in 40 years. I knew him as a nice and thoughtful guy, and in the forty years since we had been acquainted he had established himself as a pillar of his church and community. The accusation almost destroyed his life, costing him his job just before retirement. (The charges have since been dropped, but his record has not been expunged. This will hang over him for the rest of his life.)

I reserved judgement. I actually felt guilty doing so. He's an old friend. I should stand by him, right? I should have written letters to the court praising him, shouldn't I? That's what everyone expected me to do, wanted me to do. Along with everyone else who wrote letters saying he couldn't possibly have done it because they know him as ... blah blah ... and therefore he couldn't have.

But I really truly don't know him now. I have no basis for judgement whatsoever. I was given some of the facts in the case, which seem to absolve him, but I am too aware that I don't have all the facts.

I don't know what happened, and I have no basis on which to form an opinion or take a stance, and for that, I feel guilty.


Perhaps this all goes back to our frustration when we kids tried to tell teachers, councilors, doctors, policemen, neighbors about our father and what he did to us, and we got laughed at and pushed away and ignored, because "I know your father, and he's a nice guy. He wouldn't do that. You must have just made him mad."

Anger had nothing to do with it. And he wasn't a nice guy. Not really. He was insane.

1248 Highway Signs / Habitat

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New York has a law that loose loads in a truck or trailer must be covered, with a tarp or otherwise, so that bits don't blow out on the road. Driving to Rochester, I saw several several of those highway department mini-lightbulb signs along the Thruway, saying:
Panel 1: "Uncovered loads"
Panel 2: "Will be enforced"


I don't think what it says is what was meant.

But I guess it's still better than one of the signs, that said:
Panel 1: "Untarped loads"
Panel 2: "Will be enforced"

Untarped? "Tarp" is now a verb?

I guess any word can be verbed.


One small town along the northern reach of the Thruway has a public relations problem. Just before the exit was a large "Attractions at next exit" sign. Below the header, the sign was a vast expanse of blank space.


I got up in good time this morning, groomed and dressed in grungies, located my work gloves, and headed for the Habitat for Humanity project. Only problem was that I couldn't stop coughing. I feel fine, don't feel sick, but as usual at the end of a cold my sinuses are in major flush mode. The least little bit of gluck down the back of my throat will make me cough, and this gluck is the consistency of rubber cement, so there's nose blowing, schnuffing, choking and coughing. I had taken a cough suppressant, but I don't think it affects this kind of cough.

Anyway, I walked into the old house where they're tearing out walls, and within minutes started coughing so furiously I couldn't even stand. I had anticipated a problem and had taken some dust masks along, but they didn't help. Choked out my apologies and left.

I'm unhappy about that. The work schedule goes until the end of the month, so I hope I'll still have an opportunity.

Monday, May 14, 2007

1247 Dancing with the nudes?

Monday, May 14, 2007

There's some kind of dance competition on TV now, maybe Dancing With the Stars? Not going to look it up. But the women's "dresses" are embarrassing. They may as well be naked. What happened to "classy"? Doesn't that get you respect any more?

1246 Tired

Monday, May 14, 2007

Home. Tired. Have to join Habitat workparty at 9 am tomorrow. I'm going to bed now.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

1245 Sigh of Relief

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I survived the weekend.

I'm still at the hotel. I had reserved two nights because I wasn't sure how tired I'd be, what with the cold and all. Glad I did. I got back to the hotel about 6 pm, and promptly passed out for an hour and a half. I'd have been off the road if I'd attempted to drive home.

Dad's birthday reception/luncheon at the church was nice. Lots of people were there, many from out of town. I was surprised that he had difficulty walking. He takes tiny steps and needed to lean on my arm for balance.

So many of the people who came up to wish him a happy birthday said things like, "Congratulations on making ninety! My aunt was 92 when she died." Or father was 94, or whatever. I dunno, but if I were hearing that said to me, I'd think "Gee, are you telling me I haven't got much longer to go?" Like they were stressing that he's into the single digits left. Yeah, probably true, but he didn't need to be reminded over and over. And over.

After the reception, MS and YS and their families left for home, so I went back to Dad's house with Dad, his aide, ES, and ESH. ES tapped into my auction experience to go through the attic and basement to see how much of the junk was worth saving. There were like seven large steamer trunks and some old suitcases that would go well at auction, some wonderful old multi-tier card-file cabinets, an old child's rocking chair, a wicker perambulator, and a few other things. But most of the stuff either wasn't old enough, in good enough condition, or high enough quality to bother saving. ES says they have to clear out at least the attic this summer, because it must be insulated. Heating costs are going through the roof.

Daughter had arrived at the hotel late last night, after an eight hour drive alone (Hercules had to stay home to care for their cat who'd made a Friday night emergency vet visit with an intestinal blockage - she's ok now), and she actually took advantage of the hotel pool before bed. She was a comfort to me during the reception today. She's very social, and I'm proud of her ability to fit in so easily. She got into conversation with one of her step-cousins (MS's daughter), and got some insight into what the problem is with YS. Apparently it's not just me. There's tension between YS and ES as well.

Daughter left for home after the reception. Seems like a long drive for such a short visit, but she's young.

Oh, well. I'm tired, but I'm alive. I'll be able to sleep tonight. That's more than I thought I'd have after yesterday.

1244 Just Like? Not Quite.

Somewhere in the middle of the night...Saturday into Sunday, May 13, 2007

In the previous entry, speaking of Jay's elder sister, I said, "She's very like her father - figures that once she's thought something out, she's obviously right and any additional information is superfluous. She'll ride right over objections. "

Perhaps that was an overstatement. The father was often very difficult to take. He would very often listen impatiently to what one had to say, and then respond "Well, that's the stupidest thing I ever heard."

"Stupid" was his favorite word. He used it often.

Anything popular was stupid. All television was stupid. Purchasing any car other than a Volvo was stupid. Anything outside his habit was stupid. He showed up unexpectedly on our doorstep at lunchtime one day (we understood he'd be arriving the next day), and the only thing I had to offer him for lunch was leftover chicken vegetable stirfry from the night before. His response? "That's not a proper lunch." Duh? I had to make a deli run to get him a turkey sandwich. And it couldn't be ready-made. I had to have the deli package the ingredients all separately and then assemble it at home. Deli-made sandwiches were "stupid".

When we went to France, he had every minute, and that's not an exaggeration, mapped out.
7:00 am - wake up
7:30 am - breakfast
8:12 am - check out of hotel
8:22 am - start drive to Arles
11:40 am - purchase bread and cheese in xxx village
11:55 am - eat lunch in park in yyy village
12:25 pm - resume drive
2:30 pm - arrive Arles, check into hotel
2:50 pm - go see ruins
... and so on. I have an actual itinerary from one of our trips, and it really does look like that, for three weeks worth!

I had never seen the Mediterranean, and I have this thing about wanting to touch water - I have touched the Atlantic, and the Pacific, and the Caribbean, and the Mississippi, and the Missouri, and the Red River, and so on, and when we were passing very close to the Mediterranean Sea, I could catch glimpses through the buildings, I wanted to stop for just a moment so I could run down to the water and touch it, and he said no, because it would put us off schedule.

He was very difficult to deal with. It's no wonder YSH disliked him.

We butted heads a lot at first, but I persevered and actually won a few disagreements with him, and he gradually grew to respect my opinion. It eventually got to where he'd say "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard", and I'd lash back "No it's not!", and he'd laugh, and then he'd listen.

He's what Jay grew up with. Every once in a while, Jay would get frustrated with something he was trying to do, and he would suddenly flip out and beat himself really hard on his temples with his fists, shouting "Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!" He wasn't himself then. I'd have to grab his head in my arms and calm him. I used to wonder how much "Stupid!" he got in his childhood. I suspect that precious little of what he ever did was good enough.

Well, now the father is old. A succession of caregivers rules his every moment. They've taken control away from him. I feel sorry for him. I seem to be the only person he can express his frustration to. When he tries to tell his daughters he wants to be able to set his own schedules or whatever, they respond, "Oh, Dad. That's stupid. They're just doing what's best for you...."

He's just a bewildered old man now.

And suddenly YSH can stand him?

Yeah, sure. Ok.

1243 SOS - Please, Someone, Save Me!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Rochester, NY, suffering an optical migraine, and wishing I could be anywhere else.

I arrived about 7 pm and went directly to the father-in-law's house. Jay's father. I guess he's technically not my FIL any more, I don't know, I sure can't call him my late FIL, and "my late husband's father" is so awkward. Well, anyway, most of the first and second level blood clan was there. Youngest sister (YS) and her husband (YSH) and two daughters, middle sister (MS) and her husband (MSH) and two daughters, and eldest sister (ES) and her husband (ESH).

Of them all, I like ESH best. He's smart and reasonable. ES is also nice, except when she gets insistent, and usually any unpleasantness blows over quickly. She's very like her father - figures that once she's thought something out, she's obviously right and any additional information is superfluous. She'll ride right over objections. Other than that we get along ok. She appreciates all I did for her little brother.

MS I don't know at all. Oddly, Jay didn't seem to know her well, either. It seems like they would have been close in age (ES and I are the same age), but I get the impression there may have been some odd family dynamics. MSH is nice, but I have had very rare opportunity to talk with him - I don't push in, and he's reticent in mixed male/female company. MS completely ignores me.

YS and YSH and their daughters seem to dislike me strongly. I do hold some very small animosity toward her from back when Jay was ill. They live only 30 minutes down the road from us, and several times when Jay fell during the night and I couldn't get him up, I called them to ask for help, and not only did they not answer the phone, but they didn't return the call. (That was before I invented my version of the fireman's lift and could get his 6'3" 245 pounds off the floor and onto the bed myself.)

Before Jay and I were married, when Jay's father came down our way to visit, he always stayed with them. After we were married I suggested that he could stay with us half the times. Pow! We got him 100%! YSH didn't like him, and grabbed the opportunity to pass him off entirely on us.

When I took Jay to the hospice wing when he was in the final stages, I called YS and said that if she wanted to see him before he died (she didn't visit him at home the whole last year) she should come now. Her response was "Oh, well, we've heard that before", and she didn't come.

Jay always said YS seemed to have no opinions of her own. She is in thrall to her husband, and likes or dislikes as he dictates. Jay and I found the two of them incredibly boring. Their only topics of conversation are their girls and not-so-amusing stories abut their animals - an iguana, somewhere between five and seven cats, and three greyhounds - and the three greyhounds go with them everywhere, regardless of their host's preferences.

I wonder if they've ever had an original idea between them.

Anyway, they weren't as polite in their ignoring of me as MS. MS simply didn't see me. YS and YSH, and their daughters, actively shut me out. They didn't look at me, literally turned their backs, ignored any comments I tried to contribute to conversation. It was a very obvious shunning.

Ok, I can see where there might be some old wounds that haven't healed. Jay and I did not initiate contact, back when, as much as maybe we should have (but good grief, they're so BORING!), and there were a few incidents. But nothing that should earn me this animosity.

There's only one thing I can think of, and it bothers me that I even think it, but it's there. I am in the old man's will to inherit Jay's share of his estate. I have not seen the will, so I don't know whether the estate is distributed among the four siblings (three sisters and me), or whether it's shared among the grandchildren, too, and I have no idea how much is involved (although I suspect it is considerable). Worse, ES and I are named as the executors.

I know enough about YSH to know that this galls him to the core. That I am in the will, set to inherit as much as his wife.

I really think that's it.

Happy 90th birthday, Dad. Please have many more.