So Close and Yet So Far

parrotWe were so excited. After seven long years, we were doing it. We were finally going back to Key West for the Parrot Head convention.  We used to go every year, but that was B.C. (Before Children.) I used to go even Before Husband. I’ve been six times and my husband had gone three times.

The convention, called “Meeting of the Minds,” is a four-day music fest for Jimmy Buffett fans – the hard-core ones that join the Parrot Head Clubs. It’s one big-long party, and for most, it’s like a family reunion. We’d meet people from all over the country and every year we’d reconnect in Key West. We’d see friends who’d moved away from our home clubs, make new friends and broaden our Parrot Head family.

Jimmy Buffett’s band, The Coral Reefers, plays every year, and Jimmy himself shows up about every other year. The year we met, my future husband came down to the convention but he decided on it last minute so he couldn’t officially register. Jimmy came that year, the same day as my husband, and without convention credentials my husband couldn’t get into the concert. I didn’t want him to feel bad, so we spent Jimmy’s concert sitting in a bar by ourselves while the rest of the island saw the show. read more

Dad’s pride and joy

old_man-2When it’s about Dad, you know nothing comes easy. For a guy who spent a portion of every visit showing me where the keys to the safe were – in the baseboard heater, the old vacuum cleaner bag, tucked under the ironing board cover – he sure didn’t do anything to ease the transfer of his estate. When I asked him to just give me a key to the safe, he refused. Didn’t want it falling into the wrong hands. I live 3,000 miles away. Which wrong hands were going to steal the key, fly to New York, find his house, and break into his safe? read more

In Dad We Trust

old_man-2After my dad’s funeral, we began the first monumental task: wrapping up his financial affairs. Dad’s money was his favorite thing. We thought he would’ve treated it better.

My Dad got his will from legalforms.com or whoever else peddles legal forms to unsuspecting octogenarians on the web. For a man who always claimed his browser was “broken,” he found a way to buy and print a will. Then, in all caps — he couldn’t work the shift key — he typed his name, my name, signed it and had it witnessed and notarized. If he’d stopped right there, it would have been easy to transfer his stuff to my name. But nothing is easy with my dad. He downloaded another form to establish a trust. The trust is another way to pass on money, and totally unnecessary. To use a trust, you must set your money up in trust accounts. Loosely translated, a trust is an account that requires your beneficiary to jump through more hoops than Shamu trying to get a fish. My father did all of this jockeying to avoid paying a lawyer to write his will and to eliminate the need for a lawyer when he died. read more

His favorite things

old_man-2After my dad’s funeral, we spent a week working on financial matters and loose ends. After that, we dropped the kids off with their Yiaya in order to start the epic and nightmarish task of cleaning out my father’s house.

My husband took the basement and garage and I took the upstairs. In the garage, my dad had strung a board from the wall at ground level that groaned from the weight of all the crap he’d stored behind it. My husband found tools, pipes, brooms and every wooden handle to every shovel or rake my dad had ever owned. In addition to that, he found three lawnmowers and a nook with charcoal stored next to gas, next to brake fluid, next to matches, oil, cans of compressed gas, cleaning solvents, and old rags. “I can’t believe this place didn’t go up in flames,” he told me. I wished we were that lucky. read more

Dad’s latest accident — fifth in a series: I shall not be charged

We continue the saga of Dad’s latest accident. Let’s tune in. 

old_man-2Friday was the third day I spent at Dad’s and it brought a huge snowstorm, well, huge for someone used to Seattle, but the 24-hour aide took a cab to Dad’s house in the morning, thank God. He asked what my dad needed and I told him about Dad’s state of health – couldn’t walk, coughing and in and out of reality — and that Dad was nocturnal.  The night before, Dad woke at 11 p.m. and wanted me to take him to another room. I said no, because I was exhausted, had to go to bed and couldn’t help him back and forth for two hours. I couldn’t lift him by myself, either. He’s skinny, but he’s solid. I told him to call me if he needed me. read more