Friday, June 06, 2008

1838 Jay's Stuff

Friday, June 6, 2008

While I was in Rochester, the eldest sister kept asking me if there was anything in the house that I wanted.

There wasn't a lot left except large pieces of furniture, and trash, and most of the furniture had pieces of tape on it with the names of the younger sisters and their daughters. The younger sisters and their husbands had gone through the house earlier, filled several dumpsters, and took home a few truckloads of the more portable good stuff. (Legal note - all of it is part of the estate, I'm entitled to a portion of that estate or the value thereof, and I'm thoroughly pissed that none of it had been appraised.)

There were only a few things that I wanted. One is a beautiful genuine Irish blackthorn walking stick I had given to the FIL a few years ago. The other was a few things that Jay had mentioned before he died: projects he had worked on, experimental photographs he had taken, his scouting badges, a carved wooden French Revolution chess set, stuff like that. He would have picked them up during an earlier visit to Rochester, but the FIL was a pack rat, and had no idea where any of Jay's stuff might be. I thought that perhaps the sisters would set Jay's things aside for me. But I didn't realize they were purging the house so soon, and I didn't get my word in before they filled the dumpsters.

The caregiver said she had seen the blackthorn before the FIL died. Now, of course, it's nowhere to be found, and everyone claims they didn't see it. Either someone has it and won't admit it, or several hundred dollars of blackthorn went into the dumpster. The caregiver brought me a box she spotted that had my name and "Jay's stuff" written on it. It contained a battered felt cowboy hat that would have been too small for him (I already have his good hats), a cheap chess set, and a six-inch stack of paper. That's all.

So Wednesday night in the hotel room I spent about three hours reading through the papers. It looks like they just found a file labeled "Jay" and threw the contents into a box without looking at it. It was all materials having to do with Jay's application for math summer enrichment programs when he was in high school. That's all.

He had to write essays for the applications. I read all of the typed essays, and thought, "This isn't Jay. He didn't write these." The style was his father's, not his, including the overuse of exclamation points! Like on sentences like this! That habit of his father used to drive Jay crazy!

And then I found one of the typed essays written in longhand. His father's longhand. Jay had always said that nothing he ever did was good enough for his father, that his father had always taken over on everything. This was almost like a haunting. I was reminded of when my daughter was writing essays for college applications. She would not allow me to so much as suggest anything. In fact, I never saw any of the essays she wrote. I have to contrast that with Jay's father's controlling everything. It was one of the reasons Jay had so much difficulty making decisions.

The stack happened to include a few letters Jay had written home from Paris (in longhand), when he had college summer internships there. Those I kept. All the rest of the contents of the box I threw out.

On Thursday I happened to notice a file cabinet in one of the upstairs bedrooms. I opened a drawer, and it was still full of paper. One file was labeled "Jay". I pulled the contents, and found all the letters I had written to his father during Jay's illness, detailing the diagnosis, the treatments, what was happening with Jay, right up to the end, when I had to warn his father about things he should avoid mentioning in phone calls, since Jay had no short term memory and it would just upset him.

I took those letters downstairs and put them in my tote bag, and didn't mention them to anyone.

1837 Not Sure Why

Friday, June 6, 2008

I've spent the past few days in Rochester, helping Jay's eldest sister to get the late FIL's house ready to show.

I couldn't believe what they're asking for the house. It's about 1.75 times the size of my house, five bedrooms (the two upstairs are huge, and share a bathroom with double sinks, etc.), 2.5 bathrooms, 40-some windows (I know, 'cause I personally washed about a third of them), two fireplaces (one with an old marble Victorian surround) a huge basement, about an acre or more of land, huge very old trees, in a beautiful old neighborhood where every house is different and all use professional landscapers.

Even in the current depressed market, with what my house would fetch, I could buy his house and another equal to it, and still have $50,000 left over to remodel or decorate. It's crazy. Rochester must be terribly depressed. We did some shopping for decorating touches that took us all over the city, and it seemed like there were a lot of closed and boarded up businesses, and a lot of parking lots of open businesses looked uncared for. Grass growing in the cracks and so on. It seemed like the things we were looking at in the stores (patio furniture, 9x12 "oriental" rugs, towels, silk plants at Michaels, etc.) were a LOT cheaper than down here.

Conclusion, if you don't mind snow, and would like being near excellent medical centers and elder-care facilities, Rochester, NY, might be a good place to retire.


The "crew" consisted of one of Dad's caregivers, her two late-teen/early 20s sons, her father, me, and Jay's eldest sister (who happens to be exactly the same age as I am). The boys mostly did outside work, washing the outsides of the windows, power washing the siding and the patio. The father installed several window air conditioners. The caregiver and I cleaned the inside of windows on Wednesday, and washed 40 years of soot and grime off every flat surface. Thursday we scoured bathrooms. I spent three hours on the half bath alone. Every inch had to be scrubbed. The cabinets had to be cleaned out, and --- I'm not kidding --- I had to whack things stuck to the shelves with a hammer to loosen them.

Eldest sister, in the meantime, wandered around rearranging furniture, talking on the phone, making lists of touches to arrange and things to buy, hanging pictures, and otherwise decorating. She didn't even get her hands dirty. She issued orders to the rest of us whenever she noticed something that needed cleaning.

By 7 pm last evening, I'd had it. I was lying on the floor with my head and shoulders stuck in the under-sink cabinet in the master bath, and suddenly I wondered what the heck I was doing, and why. I hadn't had anything to eat all day, and I was being treated like a hired hand. The caregiver and her family were being paid for their time. I was a volunteer. And I wasn't sure why.

At that point eldest sister said she was going shopping for more stuff, and invited me along, and I made a snap decision. I was tired, and I was going back to the hotel. And I did.

(I had been invited to stay at the house, but I knew if I did, I'd be worked into the ground, 7 am to 11 pm, so instead I spent $360 on a hotel. I'm wondering now if I can bill the estate for the hotel and the $60 in gas.)

So, I went to an Appleby's near the hotel, got a takeout dinner, and fell asleep lying across the bed, fully dressed, before I could finish my ribs. I slept 13 hours, straight through.

I went back this morning and cleaned off and dusted some shelves, and then headed home at noon. I sneezed and coughed all the way home, from the house dust. I've been digging black oily dust out of my nose for the past two days.

The realtor is bringing some people to see the house this evening. I hope they buy it!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

1836 Lesson

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Even if you do need to get out the door quickly, do not just grab a handful of shirts you haven't worn since last summer and throw them in your bag without trying them on, or you'll find yourself in another city with a handful of shirts that won't button over your chest.

Better yet, don't date a guy who doesn't mind that you gained 10 lbs over the winter. Makes things too easy. Disaster.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

1835 On the Road Again

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I'm in a hotel in Rochester, NY, tonight. I'm meeting Jay's eldest sister at the late FIL's house tomorrow. We'll see what remains of the other siblings' depredations.

Monday, June 02, 2008

1834 Shakeup

Monday, June 2, 2008

Today has been an up down all around shake it up day. I'm completely worn out.

I mentioned that Jay's father died a few weeks ago. Turns out there were some very sneaky and even illegal things done concerning his estate. It's turning into a real snakepit.

Piper predicted that stuff like this would happen, he sees it all the time, and I naively said no, not with these folks. He shook his head, and said that the larger the estate, the nastier the people.

Well, it's even worse than he figured.

No details, but let's postulate, just for sake of argument, that a second will has appeared, postdating the "known" one, and the second one was signed after someone was declared incompetent, without the knowledge of certain of the siblings, and threats have been made that if anyone fights it, the entire estate will be spent defending it and there won't be anything left for anyone, so shut up, and so on. Oh, and the house was cleaned out by some siblings without the knowledge of the others. Without any appraisals. And of course no one has any idea where the Academy Award went.

If there happened to be someone concerned who has been damaged by the new will, which she believes does not reflect his expressed wishes, and that particular someone would not have minded if she got nothing in the will if that was his desire, since she is only the widow of a deceased son, but had been told that she would get the deceased son's share in appreciation of what she had done for him, and that's what was in the first will, but she has been thrown a sop in the new will apparently on the theory that she's as greedy as the rest and will accept a pittance rather than the nothing she might get if she blew the whistle, well, if there happened to be someone like that,


Sunday, June 01, 2008

1833 Sex and the Country Girl

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The post about Rape and Stuff has generated a few comments and a few private confessional emails, enough to convince me even further that 1 in 4 is too low. And I wasn't even counting simple physical harassment.

When I married Ex#1, and again when I married Ex#2, they each had a best friend, a buddy they'd known for years, best man at the wedding.

Ex#1 and I had a week together before he left for military duty in Germany, and then I was alone. One day, about a month after Ex#1 left, there was a knock on the door, and I found the buddy standing there. He said he'd had a fight with his wife, and wanted to talk. Naturally, I let him in, and within seconds he was all over me. At one point he grabbed me from behind, and I jumped up and came down with a high heel on his sneakered foot. I broke two toes. That convinced him I was serious, and he left, and as soon as he was out the door I called his wife, told her he'd been there, and that I was sending him home with a broken foot. She said "Thank you." I never told Ex#1, but he was angry with me after that because I never wanted to visit them.

Ex#2 and I had been married about two weeks when he had some second shift testing slots, and sure enough, one evening the best buddy came to visit. Again, he came on strong immediately, and couldn't seem to understand when I told him to get out. I literally had to swing a lamp to get him out. I called Ex#2 at work and told him what had happened. I don't know what was said between them, but the two remained friends. I just didn't have to see him ever again.

What really got me was the attitude of both buddies. They really truly seemed to feel that their friendship with my husband conferred a right to my sexual favors. They acted like it was some kind of social contract that I didn't seem to understand, that they had permission. That my husband would be willing to share, and I had no say in the matter.

Is there something I don't know? Some kind of male code?


I saw the Sex and the City movie. I'm not going to say much about it, except that it was pretty much like the series, ties it all up neatly. If you liked the show, you'll like the movie, if you don't know the show, you probably won't "get" the movie.

I want to talk about the audience.

It's a small multiplex in the village, the kind with about 100 seats in each theater, and audio spillage from the movies on either side. Ironman and Indiana Jones happened to be showing on either side. Bleck. You have to practice selective hearing.

Anyway, with those two also showing, I couldn't understand why there were ANY men in S&tC. About 1/4 of the seats were filled for the 5 o'clock showing. It was mostly groups of women, but there were a few men with women. I guess there are still women out there who won't go to a movie alone, and men who will humor their women. (I know that The Man would absolutely refuse to escort me to something like S&tC!)

I was amused to see one man there alone, and more amused to see four all-male couples, couples who leaned into each other.

One man/woman couple behind me reminded me why there are several men in my history in whom I had lost interest immediately after attending a movie with them.

The guy had to comment constantly, in a normal volume voice, on what was going to happen. Obvious stuff. Like Big says he's going to build Carrie a larger closet. Later, he leads her to a closed door, and says, "Open it." The genius behind me says, "It's a closet." Carrie opens the closet door. Samantha sees a dog for sale, and looks at it with raised eyebrows. Genius says, "She's gonna buy the dog." Samantha buys the dog.

This was like every 30 seconds!

I have to wonder.
Does he always verbalize every thought that drifts through his pea brain?
Is he trying to illustrate how perceptive he is?
Does he really think his date is too stupid to interpret what she's seeing?

I was very tempted to turn around and ask the woman that last question - "Excuse me, but does he always assume you're too stupid to figure things out for yourself?"

Next time, I sit in the last row.

1832 Springtime Squirrels

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I couldn't resist putting this one in for The Queen, who greatly appreciates pictures of squirrels.

1831 Thud

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Grueling winter sports competition on TV. Man shown climbing a steep snow-covered 40 degree slope on skis. Wow. Looks tough.

...then I notice that all the scattered pine trees in the background are growing at about a 30 degree angle off perpendicular.

Oh, come on. Did they really think we're that gullible?