mellicious: pink manicure (UT tower)
I am kind of groggy but I am bored and not yet sleepy enough for bed. We'll see what I can get out before I crash.

I am spending the night at my aunt's house, but I am primarily here to go to the bank in Normangee tomorrow and turn in the bank stock certificates with my mother's name on them, and get new ones with my name and Paula's instead. It required coming up here a day ahead of time, since the bank has the amazingly old-fashioned hours of 8-2 - isn't that where the term 'bankers hours' came from? Since there is no way in hell I'm liable to start out from Houston and be able to get there by 2:00, I am here in Bryan in order to get a head start on things in the morning. At least I'm closer, and hopefully my aunt will wake me up at a reasonable hour. She usually does.

I went to a bead shop on the way up (Antiques, Beads, & Crafty People, in Pearland), and signed up for two more classes - wire wrapping and peyote stitch. I doubt that I will ever really do any major projects with peyote stitch (which involves seed beads) but I wanted to know the theory. And then tomorrow on the way home I am going to swing by another bead store on the far side of town just to check them out.

I am also going to go visit my mother's grave, since her headstone has been installed since I was last there. Hm, should I take flowers, do you think?
mellicious: pink manicure (Christmas tree)
As expected (see entry above), I spent most of the day running around madly and then we drove to Bryan (and ate way too much Mexican food upon arrival, if it matters). The problem of the long to-do list was exacerbated by lack of sleep - I went to bed around two and woke up around six, I think. I don't function well on four hours of sleep, which I certainly hope was the reason I had to stop running around mid-morning in order to have a crying jag. In any case, I did start feeling better and I got most of the to-do list taken care of - Chase asked for paperwork I didn't have, which is par for the course for them, in my experience. I didn't go by the lawyer's, either, but I talked to her and all is under control as much as it can be, I guess. (We were trying to distribute some estate money before the end of the year but we do still have some time to work on that next week.)

We got here with tons of beads, it looks like - and as far as I can tell, with everything else we needed as well. (Knock on wood.) Everything on the list, anyway - although frankly, as long as I have ambien I don't so much care about the rest, right now. I'm going to be going to bed really shortly.

Oh, and Linda's dog pissed on the bed (Rob's bed, actually) while we were making it up. He's a rather princess-y Jack Russell and I think we upset his routine and failed to make up for it by giving him sufficient attention. I hope this isn't a bad sign for the next couple of days!


(One more thing - my sister e-mailed me and she and the bf are meeting us in Vegas. This should be interesting.) (But she is, of course, flaking out on Christmas again. That one I expected.)
mellicious: pink manicure (brain leaking)
I have no results for the "How Texas are you?" quiz, because I am apparently not Texas enough to check a box that says "Forget driving a Porsche, you'd rather have a brand new truck." Aargh. I got annoyed by the stereotyping and didn't answer at all. (Not annoyed enough to refuse to link to it, though, you notice.) However, for some reason, the one about how the only spices you know are salt, pepper, ketchup, bbq sauce, and Ranch dressing amused me instead of annoying me, even though I've heard variations on it before. It's still very Texas. Nevermind that I loathe ranch dressing and am not really all that big on BBQ sauce, the stuff is inescapable around here. So are pickups, actually - although everybody that doesn't actually own a ranch or something is suddenly scrambling to get rid of theirs. Anyway, the silly quiz as a whole was mildly amusing, I just didn't think you could really get anything resembling meaningful results out of the thing. (Although I suppose expecting meaningful results out of a Blogthing is probably ridiculous, in any case!) (And besides, if you think about it too hard, the part about ranch dressing being a spice will break your brain.)

Well, anyway. What else? I have been shopping on Etsy again - this time I bought these lampwork earrings, which I have been eyeing for a couple of days. In semi-related news, you may have noticed that I have mostly stopped babbling about jewelry lately - I think there's a definite connection between the lack of bead-talk and the increase in WoW talk. If I spend all my time on the latter, there's no time to make jewelry. However, there are still beads and findings all over my dining room table and I have no doubt that I will pick it up again eventually. As a matter of fact, just yesterday I was thinking about the carmine glass beads I bought a while back and wishing I had a bracelet made of them to wear - unfortunately I didn't think about it early enough to be able to actually do anything about that. Mostly I have been staying away from the beads and the shopping online, which is probably a good thing, on the whole.

I had the afternoon off yesterday because I was supposed to do financial-type things because this afternoon I have my long-delayed appointment with Mom's accountant and I was supposed to be preparing. And I actually did do some financial-type things, and an awful lot of sorting through papers and things like that, but unfortunately I am still not prepared. I just decided that I am going to have to do that annoying thing that people do (annoying if you're an accountant, anyway) where you take all the papers and dump them on the accountant's desk and let him sort it out. Or let him help me sort it out, at least, or something like that. Because otherwise it's clearly never going to get done. I seem to only be able to deal with one piece of the estate business at a time - lately it's been the house, and everything else has been on hold. The good news, of course, is that with the house selling (knock on wood - I have this fear that something will still go horribly wrong with it), there is light at the end of the tunnel there, and we can look at getting everything all closed out and done before too too long.
mellicious: pink manicure (not all who wander are lost)
Does anybody else think of the world as a big anthill, and us as the ants? I'm just wondering. It doesn't seem to be an especially original image. (And re[personal profile] columbina's post from yesterday, are we the mean ants like in Indiana Jones, or are we nice ants like, I dunno, A Bug's Life?)

Actually this did come up yesterday when I was talking to Col, because I said it's hard to tell whether you have any influence from the middle of the anthill. (Or maybe I used a different metaphor at the time, I forget.) We were talking about people feeling powerless and whether the individual can change things, and Big Issues like that, and I really believe you can - but it's really hard (or in fact, impossible) to really know what influence you have.

But it's too early for Big Issues. I am still having coffee. Oh, and also? I kept waiting yesterday for somebody to blame Col's crabbiness on too much WoW. So thank you, O collective friends of Columbine, for not doing that, because as his partner in WoW crimes - or something - that would make it partly my fault too. (Although last night we were both crabby, I have to admit. But I don't think that had anything to do with WoW, either.)

You can infer most of the weekend report from the above. I played too much WoW. We went to the Indy movie like everybody else in America. Also, as announced in a separate post, we bought a washer and dryer, which will be delivered this coming weekend. Also, the townhouse is supposed to close in less than a week, which seems awfully fast to me, but if they can get everything together, it's certainly fine with me! We had a little scare yesterday where the title company tried to tell the realtor that I couldn't sell the house if it was "still in probate" - which the estate lawyer assures me is baloney. We are putting the title company directly in touch with my lawyer so that hopefully they can iron all that out in the meantime. (Isn't that the whole point of being the executor, that I can do things like sell the house?)
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas tree lights)
Huh. An Austin doctor and his wife gave 55 million dollars to the UT School of Music, and the whole school is being renamed in their honor.  (I assume somebody did the math about how much it costs to rename a school - seems like that would be a substantial amount, right there.) I have to admit that the "Butler School of Music" (technically it's the "Hisfirstname and Herfirstname Butler School of Music", but you know that's not actually what it'll get called in normal usage) does sound fancier than just the plain ol' UT School of Music, though. And such things probably have an impact in recruiting and so on. Maybe they've just been waiting for the right donor to come along to give them a chance to do it.

There has been an ongoing discussion in my department about the phrase "herding cats" - most of my co-workers weren't familiar with it, which is a bit odd because it seems like I've been hearing it for years. It's an interesting concept to try to explain - "Well, cats aren't herd animals, right? So what happens when you try to herd them?" I forgot all about the Super Bowl ad from a few years back but one of my co-workers came across it. I'm putting the link here because it's still a funny ad. (And it worked for me so hopefully you won't get rickrolled.)

Oh, I'm about to find out for myself about the health of the Houston real estate market - the townhouse is going on the market in the next few days. If they post pictures online I'll put up a link. It's just a little two-bedroom townhouse but it looks pretty good. ([profile] mslilly- who I think is the only person on my friendslist who lives in that area - you know anybody who's looking for a townhouse in Clear Lake?)
mellicious: pink manicure (buffy - patrol)
I'm going to try to write an entry but my internet is being kind of wonky this morning so let's hope LJ doesn't eat it or something. (I started to say "eat it for breakfast" but it's already getting to be a litlle late for breakfast!)

I have just been looking at the calendar - we are going to Ohio in three two weeks. And taxes are due the day we get back. Yike. I am running very behind on the taxes - it's not mine I'm worried about so much, but we have to do that last tax return for my mother for 2007, and then, I dunno, do we have to do one for the estate, also? I didn't even think about that one until yesterday. Well, I am clearly going to be filing some extensions, anyway. I'll probably just do mine online like I always do, but I'm not confident enough about what I'm doing to do my mom's that way. (But damn, I probably have to do mine before I leave, then, because my in-laws do not do the online thing, unless I go over to my sister-in-law's house or something... which I guess I could do if worse came to worst!)

Let's see, what did we do this weekend? Not a whole helluva lot, actually. Saturday we went to the mainland, and Sunday Col and I played GuildWars almost all day, and squabbled a lot but managed not to kill each other. Rob went off to see some horror movie but I don't even remember which one it was. -- Oh, we did watch some DVDs over the course of the weekend - we watched Labyrinth, which amazingly, neither of us had ever seen. I liked it but I can't say I really adored it, it was too much of a kids' movie for that. (Not that that always stops me, really, but I dunno, it did somewhat with this one.) And we finished the Torchwood disc that we had, which was season 1, episodes 3-5 - Cyberwoman, and the fairies one and... I forget what the ep we had already watched before that was. Oh, Ghosts, I think it's called. The one with the alien cell phone thingamajig. I really like Torchwood generally - much more than I expected to. More than I like Dr Who, to tell you the truth. I like Dr Who but I have never been a huge, huge fan. Torchwood - well, we'll see how I feel when I get through the rest of series 1. But I like it a lot, in any case. I think I like that it's darker.


mellicious: pink manicure (no icon)
Bah. I am back at work today and I am grouchy. I have no real concrete reason why I'm grouchy, I just am. So be warned, I guess!

I had the day off yesterday because I was supposed to go to the accountant about doing a tax return for my mother for last year, but I didn't go. I just didn't have my shit together. And then the accountants' office pissed me off, because apparently by attempting to reschedule I "lose my preferred status" or some such crap. It's my mother's preferred status and I won't be needing it any more, so whatever. (The accountant is 40 miles away in my home town, so traipsing all the way over there to the accountant every year for the rest of my life seems sort of silly.* I'll go once more for my mother's stuff, but after that, no thanks.) So anyway, I stayed home and went through papers and sorted and shredded and so forth, which is what needed doing before I would be ready to deal with taxes. I thought I could get this done Sunday and be ready to go on Monday, but it just wasn't happening. I was not in the mood and was being balky about it, for one thing, but I also just think it was more than a one-day  project. So hopefully this (both missing the appointment, and even more, getting mad!) was the kick in the pants I needed to get me going on it.

My dad's birthday was Saturday, and I was off doing the quilt thing and he decided that they would come see us that day and didn't tell me. Luckily they didn't start for Galveston without checking to see if I was home first! They are now going to come visit next Saturday instead. (That's an extra motivator on the shredding/getting rid of extra crap thing, because the house is kind of a mess. I have several boxes of Mom's junk that I still need to go through.)

I'm glad I went to the "quilt thing" (i.e., retreat) for the day Saturday, even if I didn't really have time to go, because I got one of the things on my quilt to-do list done, which was putting the binding on that quilt that my mom made for my sister. I'm pretty good about doing the handwork part of the binding once the machine part is done, so we can practically consider that quilt finished! I think I'm going to enter it and maybe one or two more of Mom's quilts in the guild quilt show at the end of April. I can't enter anything of mine because I haven't finished anything in the last two years - with the exception of one small quilt that's gone far, far away - so I'll enter her stuff instead. Maybe in another two years I'll have something finished. (That or I'll be buried alive in a pile of jewelry by then, which also seems possible at this point.)


As far as the primaries go - I was really, really evenly balanced between our favorite two Democrats, but I think what tipped the scales in the end was the negative tack the Clinton people inevitably let fly with at the last minute. I was home all day yesterday and I got the full blast of CNN (hey, it's better than Oprah and soap operas) and ad upon ad upon ad. And at the end of the day, I tilted toward Obama.


*Actually my dad is still going to that same accounting office and he lives more like 75(+) miles from there, all the way on the other side of Houston. I wonder if he'll start to rethink that now that diesel is $3.50 and up?

Plans

Aug. 16th, 2007 09:53 pm
mellicious: pink manicure (umbrellas)
Inspired by that scary-looking track for Dean that came out this afternoon, we went and spent a godawful amount on groceries - we were going anyway, but we bought extra canned stuff and so forth - and we came up with a tentative plan for what we'll do if we have to evacuate. There's no question of staying here if it really comes right at us - it wouldn't take much of a hurricane to flood this place - but we do have Mom's place, which is also in a flood zone, if it came to anything major, but which is 25 miles or so inland, at least. So that would be the first stage, going there. Yeah, it's half empty, but it does have a bed and some furniture, and electricity and water. No cable, no phone, so it's not exactly a long-term plan, but it'd do for somewhere to sleep. And we might repair further inland, to my aunt's, if it becomes anything big. (Also, as I said to Rob, if we end up getting several days off, we might want to go there just for something to do. It will get boring fast with no internet and no cable.)

Yeah, I know this is early. Dean is still a long way off, but it never hurts to have a plan.

Come to think of it, not everybody knows where I live, so let me explain exactly why it's so much of a concern. After the 1900 hurricane (aka Isaac's Storm, if you've read that), they built a seawall in Galveston, right? It's 12 feet high, and they basically jacked up the whole town to match - and I mean that literally. They put everything up on stilts, and filled in underneath it. All of the east half of Galveston starts out 12 feet above sea level on the Gulf side and then slopes back towards the bay. However, where we live wasn't in town at that time, it was out in the country, and the Seawall didn't come down this far, originally. And later, when they did extend it down here, they didn't do the filling-in part, it just slopes right back down on the back side. And that's where we live, right behind the Seawall, a couple of hundred feet from the Gulf. And I don't know how far we are above sea-level, exactly, but it's not far. Five feet, maybe, at a guess. (Maybe. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find out it was two or three.) And we live in a first-floor apartment. Galveston doesn't normally flood in any major way, because of that sloping-back-to-the bay business, but there's still storm surge. So this is not somewhere you want to be in anything but the tiniest hurricane.

(We were discussing something today that I'd practically forgotten, though. We came to a hurricane party at these very apartments, long before we lived here. Well, it was more of a tropical-storm party, really. We sat in somebody's third-floor apartment till about 4am and got drunk and played Jeopardy! as I recall. And I remember looking down at the pool, and they had taken all the poolside furniture and sunk it in the pool. Wonder if they still do that. Seems like getting it out would be a bitch.)
mellicious: pink manicure (mermaid)
So, after all this time I finally have an estate account. A rather largish estate account, actually, since the money from one of my mom's big CD's got put into it as well as what she had in checking and savings. A good portion of it is going to get spent right off the bat, though - the estate owes me several thousand dollars to begin with, since besides the funeral costs, I've been paying a number of her bills (like the management fee on the townhouse) myself for, what, three months now - and there's several thousand more in unpaid bills for her care the last few months of her life that are still floating around. And then there are the lawyer fees. Then we are probably going to turn around and spend a goodly amount - several more thousand, at least - to renovate the townhouse before we sell it. Everybody keeps telling me it will be worth the money, so I am taking their word for it, I guess.

I spent the entire day yesterday doing all this stuff, pretty much. I went to the bank and the other bank and the lawyer's office and the local water authority, because the water bills were drafting out of an account that no longer exists. And I need to do the same for the electric bill, but I can't find the damn bill. Aargh. Maybe I'll go home for lunch and look for it.
mellicious: pink manicure (Calvin - not fair)
1. We watched Shawn of the Dead tonight. And a commentary that I dont think we had listened to before.

2. I have an optometrist appointment in the morning. I also have to call the lawyer and find out about the tax ID business. And we have a candidate coming for lunch with the group, and I am normally included in those lunches. So I will be busy. I'm probably going to have to take a day or part of a day off to deal with the estate stuff, but I think tomorrow is too soon, anyway. Wednesday or Thursday would be better. I need to do it this week, though, because next week the big budget push is starting at work, and it'd be much harder to get the time off.

Grrr

May. 24th, 2007 09:10 am
mellicious: pink manicure (Calvin - not fair)
I am grouchy. My Letters Testamentary turned up (although I haven't actually seen them yet, I am assured by the lawyer's office that they do actually exist) and now that means I have 10 zillion extra things to do. I hate being an executor.
mellicious: pink manicure (Dr Who - giant robot)
I think I have a court date - May 1. (Remember that this is probate court we're talking about, so in this case a court date is a good thing.) It still has to be confirmed, but from what the lawyer was saying, it sounded like the confirmation had more to do with exactly what time we would be there than with what date. So yay! I might not have to pay next month's townhouse maintenance fee out of my own money!

As you may or may not have noticed, I haven't had a lot to say lately. I've been pretty busy at work, and that's where I tend to post the most. And as long as I keep playing AutoAssault all obsessively, don't expect to see me posting much from home. (I have been playing AA so much that I have 3 characters over level 20 now - my human is at 30, my mutant is right behind at 29, and my biomek is at 21 or so.) Also I have commitments two of the next four weekends, which is unusual for me. Next weekend I am going to a quilt retreat, and two weeks after that I am going to see my aunt - which may also involve quilting. I haven't done much quilting in a long time - not since my mom got really sick last fall - so it should be good to get going on that again.
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas tree lights)
I might actually have a court date in a couple of weeks. Hooray!
mellicious: pink manicure (buffy -bored now)
Well, I'm back at work again. I can't say I'm totally thrilled to be here, but at least it's quiet and there's not a ton of work piled up on my desk like I was afraid there might be. My back's hurting a little bit but not too bad.

Rob & I went Friday and met with the credit union's investment guru - we couldn't do anything concrete since we don't have the damn Letters Testamentary, still, but it made me feel better just to talk it over. The credit union guy said the same thing that the lawyer did, which is that we'll probably come out better in the end if we leave the bulk of the money in the trust. They can set up the trusts at the credit union, which will work well for Paula, too, since the credit union we belong to is the UT-affiliated one and so they have branches all over Austin, anyway. She can either leave her part of the money in the trust fund or take it out, as she desires, but at least it'll be convenient for both of us to get to.

Saturday we went over to Mom's and I started putting labels on things that I wanted or various people have told me they wanted. I think next week I'm actually going to have to start putting things into boxes that I want to keep, since Art's daughter/daughter-in-law are still on the garage sale kick -- and I don't really want to stop them since it's making things easier for me, in the end. We went to the grocery store after that, and I was totally exhausted by the time I got home, so I decided I'd better stay home and rest yesterday. And I did. (Assuming playing Auto Assault half the day counts as resting.)


(Almost baseball season! yay!)

Tired

Feb. 28th, 2007 10:42 pm
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas tree lights)
I was really going to put all this in the same entry as the list, below, but I hit enter by accident so I'm going with the flow.

The estate lawyer was nice, and not just because he didn't make me put any cash down. I liked him. We only have to go to court once, apparently, which will be in a couple of weeks, to get me appointed executrix. After that you just file the papers. (And actually, I don't have to go to court in person at all, but they said if I don't, it holds up the paperwork. If I go, I can get the Letters Testamentary - is that the right phrase? - the same day, but if I'm not there they mail them and it can take up to a couple of weeks. So I'm definitely going.)

(Translation for non-lawyers: as I understand it, Letters Testamentary are the documents - or possibly actually only one document - that say that you are officially the executor/executrix and can open a bank account for the estate and stuff like that.) (The things I'm learning these days.)


The other big lesson from today is that a person's ashes weigh more than you think. Seriously, they're heavy.

Lists

Feb. 28th, 2007 10:33 pm
mellicious: pink manicure (Torchwood - 1899)
contents of Mom's wallet:


(What, did I just call you anal? Totally joking. I promise.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Narnia polar bear)
I paid no money down on the car, partly because I apparently am going to have to pay something to the estate lawyer on Wednesday.  (Or maybe not, but he said something about a check in the letter he sent, and I want to have enough money to pay him if I actually need to!) In any case, we are about to start moving forward on this and that's something I definitely want to do. I want to get this mess over with as soon as possible.

Wednesday is shaping up to be a fabulous day. Before I go to the meeting with the lawyer, I have to go get the original will out of the safety deposit box and get some papers from Art. (Which I'm going to have to call him tomorrow and ask him to gather up, 'cause I won't have time to do it myself. Anyway, he knows where everything is and I don't.) Then possibly a TWO-HOUR meeting with the lawyer. Oh joy. Then after that I get to go up to the funeral home (which is way up in Houston) and retrieve my mother's ashes. THEN after that I go back by Carmax and sign more papers. And then I'll probably have to go to the lawyer's on the way back and take them copies of the death certificate, I'm sure. Like I've been saying, the fun never ends.
mellicious: pink manicure (HP - Phoenix)
[profile] chanfaina, or anybody else who has any idea about this - what's a reasonable amount to pay for an estate lawyer? This should be a relatively simple thing - everything is divided equally between my sister and me. There is a townhouse, and a reasonable (but not huge) amount of money that I believe is mostly in CDs. (To tell you the truth, I haven't even gotten as far as having a good idea how much money there is. I'm planning to get into that this weekend.) I'm just looking for a ballpark figure about what I can expect to pay. I am more or less intending to use the lawyer who drew up my mother's will - it's a firm that specializes in this stuff - but I would like to have some clue so I can know if they are overcharging me!


Well, the funeral is over. It wasn't as wrenching as I thought it might be. Attendance was quite good, although nobody did a headcount that I know of. I'd say there were at least a hundred people there, maybe more. A whole lot of teachers from Alvin showed up, including some people I hadn't seen in years and years, and one well into her 90s. A lot of the quilt guild showed up, as expected, and a couple of car-loads from her hometown, which is considerably further away. The service was very nice. We draped several of her quilts over the altar-rail, and people really seemed to like that. I teared up a couple of times, but never completely broke down, and neither did my sister. (We both tend to cry pretty easily, so we were both fairly surprised about this.)

The "coffee and pastries" which the church provided after the service turned out to be a pretty substantial spread. We brought more food home than we can ever possibly eat. We also brought home a number of nice plants. We jammed a couple of the big flower arrangements into the car, and took them by the nursing home on the way out. Somebody also sent a gorgeous heart-shaped wreath of yellow flowers - sunflowers and roses and other stuff - that we left at the church because we couldn't figure out what else to do with it. (We couldn't even get it off of the stand so we couldn't see how we could put it into a car at all!)

We pulled all the cards off of the flowers, of course, but now I can't figure out how to word the thank-you notes if I don't know who sent which one. Can I say "thank you for the lovely arrangement" if it was a plant? Some of you smart people, help me out here.


Overall, it was really a pretty overwhelming day. It was almost like being the bride, in the sense that I was the person everybody wanted to talk to. Y'all remember that feeling? You can't sit down because you keep having to stop to talk to people? My sister came in for a lot of it, too, of course - but I got more because I knew more people than she did. Everybody loved my mother, they really did - and it was wonderful hearing all that, but ultimately also really, really exhausting. I told my boss (who was there, as were several of my coworkers and ex-coworkers) that I would probably come in tomorrow, but maybe not until after lunch. I need a rest.

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