mellicious: pink manicure (agnostic)
I've had an ambien and I am hoping I will be able to go to sleep in a while, and then conceivably get my sleep back on schedule. Cross your fingers.

This may well be a sort of "bits and pieces" entry, since my mind is going off in a bunch of different directions, as usual.

I want to record something actually useful that I heard somebody say on CNN today. It was some expert talking about the evacuations in California because of the wildfires, but it would apply just as well to our kind of evacuations - it was what to grab if you have to evacuate in a hurry. They called it the "six P's" although there were really more than six. Luckily they said it a couple of times so I was able to get it all scribbled down:
-- people and pets
-- pills or prescriptions
-- papers, the important kind
-- plastic, as in credit cards, or money
-- your PC - I don't think they meant the whole thing, really, but your data burned to a disc
-- pictures

Also, I am watching "The Dresden Files" which I sort of like, although I don't quite understand why. It's not great, but it's oddly watchable. (I'm told that everybody does not agree with this opinion.)

Oh, and when I read back over what I wrote in the last entry, it reminded me that my 6-year-old cousin Laci really did not know what to make of the box of ashes yesterday. She has presumably been indoctrinated into some varation on evangelical christianity, and I know at least some of those types think that you have to preserve your body after death, because you'll get your same earthly body back when you go to heaven. (Which personally I think is a really appalling idea. Yuck.) Anyway, from the questions Laci was asking, it sounded like maybe she had been told some version of this story. Her mother had to explain to her that Aunt Billie Dell wasn't in that body anyway, she was in heaven and she had a whole new body which wasn't sick any more. Stephanie (the mom) also said later that she figured that my mom and my grandmother were up in heaven watching us and laughing. All I know is, if they were watching, she would be right. They would totally be laughing. Both my mother and grandmother had a fine sense of the ridiculous.

I don't want to go to work tomorrow. I want a day to recover from the weekend, dammit. But I guess I'd better go to bed, since I'm not getting it.


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.
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.
mellicious: Retro Houston Astros logo (Astros - retro)
I'm getting dressed for the funeral. I haven't gotten any frantic phone calls, so I'm  hoping that that means that my sister & nephew got here ok (my aunt was supposed to have picked them up at the airport an hour or so ago) and that nothing else major has gone awry. I also hope I don't cry TOO too much. Y'all think good thoughts for us!
mellicious: pink manicure (HP - Phoenix)

new outfit
Originally uploaded by Mellicious.

I don't know if you can tell anything from this picture - as a matter of fact, this picture makes me nervous because I don't think this shirt is as blinding as it looks in the picture - but I found an outfit I really like, and which satisfies the "bright colors" thing as well as being relatively dignified, and dressy enough that I don't have to feel underdressed (even though it's not a dress). There are also black knit pants to go with it, and little black vintage-y earrings, and a pair of very, very expensive black leather flats. I don't know what got into me about the shoes, actually - I am not generally a shoe person. But oh well.

mellicious: pink manicure (HP - Phoenix)
Strangely, I am better today. Well, I suppose there could hardly be a worse day than yesterday (short of, y'know, a chance meeting with Ted Bundy or something), so it almost had to get somewhat better. Still, I seem to be ok. I may go back to being a basket case later, but for now, I am not too bad.

Even better, I don't have to do anything at all tomorrow. This is a luxury I never imagined having this weekend. (I'm really tempted to turn off both phones, too.)

The funeral is not till Wednesday. Some sort of problem with the church. I didn't realize until we were on the way home that that's Valentine's Day, but oh well (as I seem to be fond of saying lately). Luckily, V-Day was never my favorite holiday anyway. I am just a bit worried about the big flower arrangement I was going to get, given the timing, but I have put off thinking about it until Monday. By the time we got it all straightened out it was too late to do anything today. I was not intending to do red roses in any case, so surely they can find me something decent-looking.

Thanks everybody for the good wishes. I haven't made any attempt to reply, for the most part, but I read every one of them, and I really do appreciate it.

Oh, did I say that my mother apparently wanted to ban black from her funeral? (So my sister says, anyway.) This amuses me no end. I have a new black shirt I was intending to wear, but now I am really tempted to wear red. Or bright pink. We will see if I have the nerve.


Feb. 8th, 2007 10:23 pm
mellicious: pink manicure (HP - Phoenix)
My mother died this afternoon. I got there with about an hour to spare. Nobody had called me to say she was worse, and so I was "dawdling" around (i.e., eating lunch, calling the lawyer, etc.) and I would have felt terrible if I hadn't gotten there in time. It wasn't a pretty thing to watch, though.

I am exhausted. The funeral home guys (who turned out to be girls, as a matter of fact) got caught in an especially horrid traffic jam and took a couple of hours to get there. In the meantime I talked to everybody in the world on the phone - at least it seemed like it. Let's see, it was: Rob, my aunt, my sister (both of those two were loong conversations, too), my dad, my dad again, my nephew and my ex-brother-in-law. Oh, and the funeral negotiator and the lady from the church. And then at least two people came in to see my mom, not having heard yet that she was dead. That was sort of traumatic. I spent the afternoon veering wildly between calm, weeping, and cracking bad jokes. But oh well.

I'm going to be interested to see how I manage tomorrow. Right now I just feel tired and sort of numb. I just hope I don't have nightmares about watching my mother struggle to breathe. Tomorrow: more phone calls, meeting with the pastor about the funeral, etc. Rob took off work, for which I am profoundly grateful. He can be my chauffeur; I don't really trust my driving right now.

I guess somebody probably ought to post something on the two forums - TOG and TUS - and explain what's happened. Col or Falaria, can one of you take care of TOG? And I asked Anth to post something at TUS because she had PMd me today, but if she hasn't in the morning, will somebody take over that duty? I have been playing GW in a desultory way since I got home - I had to do something! - but I haven't spoken to a soul. I didn't have the heart.

I don't think that many people who read this are close enough to consider coming, but the services are tentatively set for Tuesday, at the Lutheran church in Nassau Bay, Texas. I will know more tomorrow.
mellicious: pink manicure (HP - Phoenix)
Wow. Wow, wow, wow. Apparently Merck has been spreading its money around really wisely, because our ultraconservative governor just signed an order requiring girls to have the HPV vaccine before they can start 6th grade. Wonder how much of a shitstorm this is going to stir up.

There has been no further bad Mom news today, at least so far. Oh, I don't guess I told you guys yesterday's bad news, which was that she wasn't eating. The hospice nurse says unless she starts again, that means we have about 10 days. I probably should have gone up there this afternoon, because I have been having to restrain myself from calling to find out how she's doing. (Which would probably be fairly useless, because Art wouldn't be home and never keeps his cell phone on.) I am going tomorrow, anyway.

So (deep breath) we are now dipping our toes into the wonderful world of funeral planning. We have gotten as far as deciding on the basics: cremation, memorial service at her church, etc. She has a plot next to my grandparents, if we decide to bury her ashes, but it seems like something of a waste to me. We are going to see what options the cemetery will give us. (Apparently my grandfather gave very generously to the cemetery association, so hopefully they'll be appropriately grateful to his family.) I was thinking that planting a rosebush or something by my grandparents' grave and putting her ashes under it would be rather nice. Also, the hospice nurse gave us a phone number for a guy who negotiates with the funeral home for you, and I haven't called him yet, but I think I'm going to on Monday, because I sure don't want to be dealing with those people by myself. I told my boss that I was going to try to work half-time next week, depending on how things develop. I don't think I can just sit at Mom's bedside all day, anyway.

I think I (unwittingly) was very mean to my sister earlier - I had called and left a message, because I wanted to make sure she wasn't going to pitch a fit about the cremation thing, and when she called back I said what was on my mind about the funeral planning, and I forgot that she didn't know anything about the 10-day business or that we had started talking about funeral arrangements at all. She took it fairly well, but I think she's kind of quietly going crazy up there by herself. (And she was fine with the cremation. She said the same thing I always say, which is that embalming is gross. It's funny, now that she's been away from her superconservative ex-husband for a while, she's changed her tune about all kinds of things. I was afraid she would have some sort of objection of religious grounds or something.)


mellicious: pink manicure (Default)

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