Friday, August 31, 2012

More Calls, More Mystery...

Just so you can keep the cast of characters straight for this latest saga:
Velma – W’s ex-wife whom we recently learned died a while back
Fred – W’s eldest son who lives in the same area as Velma did and was kind of main caretaker for her in terms of financial affairs and such
Shaggy – W’s other son from family #1 who lives a rather eclectic life out in the wilds of Montana
Daphne – wonderfully helpful woman at the local (where Velma lived) office of the federal agency involved
Anytime I say “local” in this story it refers to the area where Velma lived and where Fred still lives.
(Remember that names, locations, etc. may not be accurate so nobody runs across this story by accident, but the essence of the story is absolute truth.)

When last we left, W had learned of Velma’s demise through an innocent third party. Fred had a hissy fit over W learning of the death, and W couldn’t figure out why.

After Thursday’s odd happenings, Friday came as Friday often does after Thursday. W and I both set out to find an obituary, or at least a death notice, for Velma. Strangely enough, we could not in spite of a thorough internet search using her full name, maiden name, middle name, no middle name. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. We even checked websites of every funeral home in the area and couldn’t find her death reported anywhere at all.

We thought this rather odd and speculate that somehow Fred and/or Shaggy specifically requested that the information not be made public. Then again, maybe Velma isn’t really dead. Either of these options leaves plenty of questions. Why would you not want her death made public? Just to keep W from finding out? Why would a federal agency believe her dead if she isn’t? Ok, well we still don’t have answers to these questions, but we’re still researching. I’m starting to believe we may have to scour cemeteries for a recently dug grave with her name on it.

Fred called when no one was home and left a message for W to call him. W returned Fred’s call shortly thereafter only to find they were playing a lovely game of phone tag.

W called the federal agency back. Because he gets monthly payments from them, when he divorced Velma she put a garnishment on the payments. He wanted to make sure that with her death the garnishment would end, and he would begin receiving full payments. Daphne told him that the only way to release the garnishment is with a court order. Apparently, the money will no longer be sent to Velma, but it also won’t be sent to W. It will hang out in legal limbo until/unless the court releases the garnishment.

Fred called back to talk to W. Their conversation was not much more productive than the one the day before. According to Fred, because the feds know that he had power of attorney for Velma they should not have ever contacted W. Somehow, apparently, this was W’s fault. We still aren’t sure how, but apparently that’s how it works in Fred’s mind. W asked Fred if he would send W a copy of the death certificate since he figured he would need one to give to the attorney that he intended to hire to accomplish the garnishment release. Fred said he’d have to think about it, that he couldn’t see any reason W should need one. W tried to explain. Fred flew off the handle and hung up on W.

After calming down a bit, W contacted a local attorney. Now, don’t you just know that once you get an attorney involved, that’s when the real fun begins? Oh yeah.

To be continued…

Thursday, August 30, 2012

One Little Call

(Certain details have been changed in the following post to mask it so it won't be found easily if someone happens to Google it, but the story remains substantially true.)

It is amazing how things can change in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, all it takes is one little phone to set a whole set of dominoes falling. Right now we're in the middle of the dominoes. They continue to fall, and who knows when they will finally all be down. We just can't see the end just yet.

Last week, I was at work just doing my job, minding my own business, without too many cares on my mind except the section of roof that was being replaced that day at home. I had no idea that what would soon be on my mind would have nothing to do with my job, workplace, house, roof, or even N. Nope. What I was about to learn left me gobsmacked... a blow from out of the blue... and a mystery to boot. Somebody fire up the Mystery Machine. We've got some sleuthing to do.

Thursday morning W answered his cell phone. He didn't recognize the #, but the area code was one where his eldest son lives as well as a few other relatives. When he answered, it turned out to be the local office of a federal agency calling. The woman on the phone asked if he could confirm that "Velma Wise" had died on a certain day about a month ago. Velma was W's ex-wife. W had heard nothing prior to this about her death, much less that it had happened a month ago. He told the woman on the phone this, and she apologized profusely before hanging up. W wondered why none of his grown children or grandchildren had let him know.

He called the son who lives in Velma's town to ask why he hadn't been notified. When he reached his son, his son was furious that W found out. W was bewildered as to why his son felt this way. His son started ranting about not wanting W involved in Velma's financial affairs and how the gov't agency had no right to notify him. W couldn't make heads or tails about what his son was saying or why he thought W would want to be involved in Velma's financial affairs at all. W asked if assistance was needed with final expenses to be told no that was all taken care of. The call ended with W more bewildered than ever.

Although they were divorced for many years W did grieve her death which I don't find surprising although apparently his children do. Thursday night was spent with me alternately comforting W over the loss and listening to his speculations about what on earth was up with his children from family #1.

To be continued...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sunday Stealing: Our Players' Meme

Barely before the next one is available, I am finally posting last week's Sunday Stealing entry.  They combined two different memes for this one so you'll see a little note where the first ends and second begins, though you'd probably figure it out anyway.

1. You have been awarded the time off from work and an all-expenses paid week anywhere in the United States. The catch is that it must be somewhere you have not been before. Where do you choose to visit?
Oh goodie! I can take a week and knock down more of those states I haven’t been to yet. Let’s see. I do believe I’ll hit the Dakotas, North and South. I have a friend who is originally from there and would probably be happy to take a week’s vacation and show me the good stuff there.

2. Name three of your guilty pleasures.
Watching Big Brother
Eating fast food, the greasier the better
Going off by myself without telling anyone where I’ll be

3. The best kind of Girl Scout Cookie is:
The peanut butter patties. Not the sandwich ones, the ones with the chocolate coating on them.

4. What do you value most in other people?
The ability and willingness to shut up.

5. Be honest. Do you sneak some raw cookie dough when you’re baking cookies?
No. I used to, but raw egg paranoia cured that.

6. Have you ever looked back at your life and realized that something you thought was a bad thing was actually a blessing in disguise?!
Many times…

7. What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever visited?
San Juan, Puerto Rico

8. Are you more of a thinker or a feeler?
Actually, more of a thinker… sometimes to my detriment.

9. Name three things you are thankful for right now.
My kid
My job
My friends

10. Have you ever participated in a three-legged race?
When I was a kid. Being a klutz I never ever won one.

11. When you are at an event that plays the National Anthem, do you place your hand over your heart?
No. I was raised that hand over heart is for the pledge of allegiance but not for the anthem.

Second meme:

12. What kind of work do you do?
Number puzzles all day long.

13. During the course of your lifetime, which job or career has been your favorite or most fulfilling?
By far the manager job I held a lifetime ago on the West Coast.

14. Do you think it’s necessary in your life to have a day-to-day “career” that is meaningful and service-oriented or do you function better in “just a job” with a steady paycheck?
Meaningful and service-oriented is absolutely essential in the long term.

15. Was there ever a time in your life when you wanted to stay home with your children instead of working, even if it meant less money in the household?
If W had ever had a job after N was born, you bet.

16. Tell us your worst boss story.
The worst boss I ever had was the CEO of a not-for-profit organization. She was being unethical with the organizations finances, and I figured it out within a couple of months of taking the Accounting Director position there. I took things to board members who chose to believe her lies instead of my proof. It was terribly uncomfortable until I got another job and got out of there. A couple of years, and a couple of more Accounting Directors, down the road she was asked to retire, and the organization has since made a wonderful turnaround.

17. Have you ever been the boss?

18. What is your dream occupation?
CFO of a local not-for-profit organization serving the community in some meaningful way.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Unconscious Mutterings

I say, and you think:
  1. Course :: of Action
  2. Delusion :: Most of my thoughts
  3. Silly :: Putty
  4. Intrepid :: USS
  5. Candle :: in the Wind
  6. Entrance :: Exit
  7. Voracious :: Appetite
  8. Taste :: Savor
  9. Bobble :: Head
  10. Horror :: Nightmare

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sunday Stealing: The Authentic Meme

1. How long have you been blogging?
Since 2006.  I started my other blog in January 2006, and this one came a few months later when midlife crisis shit really hit the fan.

2. Did you go to college?
Of course

3. Where have you traveled?
Most of the continental US;
Also several islands:  Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas
The western coast of Mexico

4. Which celebrity do you get mistaken for?
Alas, I am never mistaken for a celebrity, a whale sometimes, but no celebrities.

5. What are your three biggest pet peeves?
1 – Bad grammar,
2 – Lack of punctuality,
3 – Strict adherence to rules that do not make sense

6. What is your favorite movie?
My answer always depends on when you ask. I have several favorites, but if I had to pick just one movie to watch today I’d pick It Happened One Night.

7. What is your drink of choice; wine, beer, or liquor. Or Water, Soda, Tea?
Not a huge fan of beer except when paired with certain foods. Wine is good, but again I think of it as a drink with certain meals not a go to drink. Liquor is the go to drink, particularly Jack & Coke.

8. What is something you enjoy to do when you have me time?
Play the piano.

9. What is your biggest phobia?
Social interaction. I crave it and yet am terrified of it.

10. Share with us an embarrassing moment of your past?
How about the one when I was in seventh grade and had to play an oboe solo from memory at our school concert? I forgot the piece about halfway through and just about died of embarrassment. (I had told the band teacher that I didn’t think I could do it from memory and begged him to let me use the music. But no, he insisted I must do it from memory.)

11. What day would you love to relive again? Why?
One of the many days that I spent with my Grandma in the kitchen of the old farmhouse helping her with whatever the activities of the day were. I particularly remember the day when I got to help her churn butter. It was great fun but really hard work, more than I, as a little 6-year-old, could handle. I adored Grandma and would just love to relive any day I ever spent with her. Damn it. Now I’ve teared up. Excuse me while I go find a tissue.

12. If your life was turned into a movie… what actor would your best friend think should play you?
I have no idea. Perhaps that actress that plays Molly on the TV show Mike and Molly. Is that the name of it? I’ve never seen anything but the commercials. It’s on CBS, not sure what night.

13. What are the jobs you had in high school/college/the early years?
In high school, I babysat a lot. In college, I worked for a while in the student health center and then went to work at the Assembly Hall.

14. Show us a picture from high school or college.
Thanks for asking, but I’ll pass.

15. If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?
England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland. I would love to spend a month just roaming from one place to another there.

16. Where do you see your life 6 and 1/2 years from now?
Interesting time frame… hmm… let’s see, that’ll be February 2019. I’ll be finishing up my 12th year at my current job and hopefully ready to move into my new career as an ordained minister. N will be a couple years out of high school and hopefully either in college, trade school, or gainfully employed. If he’s still living, W will be well into his 80’s. I can’t even imagine what that will be like. Hopefully, by that point, I can spend a bit more of my money and time on things that please me rather than others.

17. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be and why?
49, young enough to still have fun old enough to be smart about it.

18. What 5 songs are included on the soundtrack to your life? (You can pick "Middle School", "High School", "College", "Post College" or any format you like.)
Elementary – A Horse With No Name.  The bus driver kept the radio tuned to WLS, and I can remember hearing that song many times on the way to or from school.
Junior High – The Lion Sleeps Tonight.  I won a talent contest at a slumber party singing that song.
High School – When the Lights Go Down on the City.  The theme from the one official school dance I went to in high school.
College – anything Dan Fogelberg did in the ‘70s or early ‘80s.  I was all about Fogelberg then.  Oh wait.  I still am...
Post College – Don’t You (Forget About Me).  Just brings back memories of all those great Brat Pack movies of the '80s.

19. Romney picked Paul Ryan to run as his veep. Any thoughts?
I find anyone who would vote for this pair to be highly suspect.  And that's all I'm going to say about that.

20. Your chance: Pick a meme you've done for us to steal. Bud and Judd will visit EVERY post today. Feel free to say, "Bugger off", or anything like that.
Mostly the memes I’ve done have come from Sunday Stealing so I really don’t know that I have any for them to steal.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Just a Bit of Good News

Good News #1
I've been so good about taking my meds lately that I can't remember the last time I didn't take them.

Good News #2
Perhaps due to #1 I am feeling ever so much more on an even keel these days as I mentioned a few posts back.

Good News #3
I am finally starting to feel like I have some real friendships blossoming close to home. There are actually people in town I can call and hang out with and talk to and do all those friend kind of things.

Good News #4
I have reconnected with an old high school friend of mine that I have missed like crazy for years and years. She is just the best of the best, and I'm so glad to have her back in my life.

Good News #5
I don't dread coming into work everyday. I finally feel like my boss understands me, and I understand him. This makes for a much more pleasant day to day existence.

God is good.
All the time.

All the time.
God is good.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Unconscious Mutterings: Week 498

I say, and you think:
  1. View :: Point of
  2. Yoga :: Pants
  3. Giggle :: Laugh
  4. Raider :: Lost Ark
  5. Summer :: Fun
  6. Debt :: Bad
  7. Cleaning :: Detergent
  8. Sneakers :: Converse
  9. Thwarted :: Stopped
  10. Recipes :: Try new

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sunday Stealing: The Useless Questions Meme

1. Have you ever written a song? No, not an entire song, but I’ve written lyrics.
2. Have you ever been in the opposite sex's public toilet? Yes, just a couple of weeks ago as a matter of fact.
3. Are you superstitious? Less so the older I get.
4. What's the most daring thing you've done? As a rule I don't do daring things, although I don't mind public speaking which many find intimidating so maybe public speaking is my most daring feat.
5. Did you have a baby blanket? Do you still sleep with it? Yes. No.
6. Have you ever tried to cut your own hair? If yes, how’d it work out? Yes. It was okay. I was in college and had hair halfway down my back. I chopped it off to just below shoulder length. It didn’t look great, but it was free.
7. Have you ever sleepwalked? No
8. If you could be any age, what age would you be? Physically 23, mentally 45, and emotionally 50.
9. What is your dream car? Any hybrid SUV
10. What is your favorite cartoon of all time? Deputy Dawg
11. If you were in a car sinking in a lake, what would you do first? Unbuckle my seatbelt
12. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance? More times than I care to
13. How many foreign countries have you visited? Two
14. If you fell into quicksand, would you try to swim or try to float? Float
15. Do you talk in your sleep? Rarely, but it does happen
16. Have you ever slipped in the bathtub? Not that I remember
17. If you could invite any movie star to your home for dinner, who would it be? George Clooney because he has both looks and brains.
18. Have you ever re-gifted? Of course!
19. If you could attend an Olympic Event, what would it be? If I could only attend one, it would have to be basketball.
20. If you could participate in an Olympic Event, what would it be? Binge eating… wait, what do you mean that isn’t an Olympic event?
21. If you won a $5,000 shopping spree to any store, which store would you pick? (Interesting that this is the question I got stuck on longest and had to come back to in order to try and figure out an answer. Somehow $5,000 in one store is just hard for me to wrap my head around.) Menards. Then I could replace my oven that doesn’t work plus do some other household repairs and upgrades.
22. What do you think is your best feature? My nose
23. If you were to win an Oscar, what kind of movie would it be for? A poignant tragic romance
24. Which of the five senses is most important to you? Sight
25. Would you be a more successful painter or singer? Singer without a doubt.
26. How many years will/did you end up going to college? Four and a half to get bachelors plus masters.  Tried to do it in four but just couldn't quite cram that much in that quickly.  Not to mention I got a little sidetracked at one point by a (you guessed it) boy.
27. Have you ever had surgery? Yes
28. What do you like to collect? Not really a collector of anything
29. How many collectibles do you have? Too many, which is strange given my answer to #28, but while I don’t specifically collect any particular thing I do seem to have a way of picking up a little of this and a little of that.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Unconscious Mutterings: Week 497

I say, and you think:
  1. Rude :: Polite
  2. Leather :: Lace
  3. Headquarters :: Military
  4. Good guys :: Bad guys
  5. Blowing :: Wind
  6. Doddering :: Old
  7. Instructional :: School
  8. Standards :: Testing
  9. Eatery :: Café
  10. Vampire :: Bloodsucker

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Unconscious Mutterings: Week 496

I say and you think:
  1. Alcohol :: Drunk
  2. Pocket :: Protector
  3. Squeeze:: Box
  4. Football :: Stadium
  5. Fourth :: of July
  6. Snake :: Skin
  7. Reduced :: Fat
  8. Polka :: Dance
  9. Intrepid :: Astute
  10. Paula :: Poundstone

Thursday Therapy: Who is This???

Yesterday I had my first visit with Freud in a month. Usually I go every two weeks but between my schedule and his in July we just didn’t have time for each other. Normally, this would have bothered me. I would have felt a loss and some neediness. Not this time. This time I took things in stride and can’t recall ever having the thought of wishing I could talk to Freud about this or that or whatnot.

Yesterday, Freud said something that floored me. He finds that my depression is well under control, and perhaps even gone. “Really?!?” I thought. Then I thought some more and decided that he very well could be right. I do seem to have a much better attitude lately. I seem to be coping with things in a more positive way.

So I asked W about it last night. Did he see me as having come up out of the black hole? Yes, he has noticed it for some time but hesitated to mention it for fear of jinxing it.

Apparently with the right combination of meds and therapy I have emerged on the other side of the black hole of depression and found the light at the end of the tunnel to be not a headlight from an oncoming train, but sunshine, beautiful warm welcoming sunshine. My problems and challenges have not gone away, but my attitude in dealing with them has. I find myself much more willing to approach things in a sound and reasonable way rather than with negativity and a defeatist attitude.

Life really is good, in the main. I’m not happy with W, but on the other hand, neither am I miserable. I am my own person and can live my own life with him at the periphery. I don’t need a man, whether W, BJ, J or any others, to make my life complete. My life is complete because I am complete. I am a whole person, rather than the broken mass of parts I was before. I no longer go to therapy to bitch and moan and complain about how life is just not fair and what a victim I am. I now go to therapy to work on specific issues, to find better ways to react in certain circumstances, to learn how to take care of me without stepping on others, to just plain work on being a better person.

What a major shift all this is. I feel so very good most of the time now. Why complain? It just is what it is. Things that have already happened are in the past. No amount of worry or reflection can change the past. Therefore, I remind myself to let the past go and hold on only to the lesson learned that can be applied now and in the future.

I know that reading this, it doesn’t sound like the same person who used to write here. I don’t feel like the same person either. And it feels really very good.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Top Ten Things I Learned on the Mission Trip

10. Mud is very slippery in the rain.
9. It is more fun to work on projects for appreciative people than for people who feel entitled.
8. West Virginia is not suffering from drought conditions like we are.
7. The bunks we slept in on the trip used to be prison bunks and were every bit as comfortable as one would expect a prison bunk to be.
6. Lots of really icky critters, such as slugs, wasps, huge spiders, and snakes, call West Virginia home.
5. I was the only one from my group who could really relate to the people we served and their home conditions because I was the only one with relatives as poor as the people we served.
4. Lots of people in West Virginia smoke, and many don’t think twice before blowing smoke in your face.
3. Skip Bo is a really fun game.
2. If you’re tired enough, it really doesn’t matter how comfortable the bed is or isn’t.
1. Using a circular saw is one of the most fun jobs ever.