Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fall

Woke up yesterday about 7:10 a.m. Saturday. Slept in. It was very, very dark for daytime, and the sky was dark grey with solid cloud-cover. Or, it seemed more than cloud cover, there were no holes to look through to see real sky. The air was moist and heavy, and not quite cool (mid-sixties, I would guess). I opened a couple of windows, but nothing was moving. For once my nose was not stuffy—I imagine any pollen in the area would have already fallen to the ground, soaked and swollen with the moisture, unable to threaten anybody’s membranes at this point. This is how you have 100% humidity without actual rain.

I love it this way. This is my Washington. Rain forest atmosphere. The colors though—the leaves! It’s hard to understand that fall signifies a death of sorts, as the trees lose their leaves and become skeletons until spring. Because until the leaves fall, the colors are exaggerated and appear full of LIFE. If I’d taken all the pictures that I was tempted to, it would have taken days to get to my mother’s house. I only took one. I would like to walk down this wide, grassy path because it looks like only gentle love and sweet content would be in such a place.

At times like this, it seems like the world is gift enough.

Later in the day when we were safe inside, there were several short but powerful rainstorms. And in one day, most of the spectacular leaves were on the ground. Covered the entrance steps, and the little gardens on each side. We’ll leave most of them there until after real winter is over—they protect vulnerable plants from freezing.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

waiting for the explosion

There has been no reaction from the sisters yet. It’s like waiting for a bomb to go off. I don’t handle this kind of stress well.

My mother’s attorney asked me not to help her answer his questions, and he had her tell him what her assets are and what she wanted. She said, of course, she did not want to sell her home and the ESs were trying to do that against her will. And some other things that reassured him she was capable of making the decision of removing them from the POA. Then, when it was typed up and ready to sign, he again conversed with her in front of the witnesses. He asked her about her grandchildren, and she described each of our children who are all gorgeous (I agree with that). Thank goodness he didn’t ask her to name them all. So the witnesses and the attorney were all convinced that she could make this choice. Since it has to be filed at the court house, it will be a while before we get the new one, naming only me and my daughter as alternate should I choose not to do it (or get hit by a bus or something) (a bus driven by my sisters). She forgot to mention that they had hijacked the bank account, but he was convinced without that.

He asked us if we wanted him to notify the ESs and we said yes. He said well he could write them a mean letter or a nice one and we agreed that it should be a nice one saying thanks for your help so far, but your mother has decided she wants to handle her assets in a different way. And he threw in “your mother loves you very much and would enjoy seeing you more often.”

I like that because I think it will confuse the hell out of them. But I don’t know if that letter has gone out yet.

I did go to the other branch of the bank and remove the property papers from the safe deposit box that they still have access to. I was hugely relieved that everything was still there.

I am not afraid of anything they might say to me or try to do to me (I think we’re all too old for physical stuff but I believe I can whup ‘em if necessary). But it would not be pretty—not the kind of girl fight most people enjoy.

But still, I feel horrible and full of dread. When anyone at work gives me something complicated to do, I’m tempted to hug them, just for the distraction from my awful thoughts and feelings. I keep telling myself it’s all okay now, it’s over, the bank account is safely changed, etc., and if bills come in before I get the new checks, I can pay them myself and pay myself back later. And yet I’m not comforted by that. I can’t get past my anger that they would do such a thing—use the POA to do things against my mother’s wishes, and trying to hijack the bank account. And once I get worked up about things, I can’t calm back down even when the problem is over. I took a vicodin last night and nothing hurt except my racing mind, but I couldn’t stand feeling that way.

Anyway, didn’t want to leave this hanging, but I guess I’ve got no choice. If something does happen and they don’t kill me, you know I’ll put it out here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

SQUASH

I have a long-standing history of hating anything squash-like, yellow or orange. However, I love stir-fry stuff and have come to love zucchini (in stir-fry and also I love zucchini bread but not enough to make it). Zucchini IS squash, but it is green so I can stand it. It’s best when just barely cooked. So a while back I had only zucchini in the house and nothing else much interesting to stir and fry but I was hungry for a veggie so I thought I was just going to sauté it but suddenly found myself slicing it into half-inch coins, dipping it in egg, and then seasoned flour and frying it. It is delicious—even though it’s one of those things you must stand there and pay attention to, turning it continuously, until brown and tender (about five minutes). So nummy! Almost worth having to stand there long enough to get it prepared, eat it, and then wash all the floury plates, bowls, and forks and countertops and unbelievable mess that you have also created. Try it!

And now, back to my life. I have just one warning for you all--PICK YOUR SIBLINGS VERY CAREFULLY!!!!

The other day I was reconciling my mother’s bank statement (I take care of her bills and stuff since her stroke two years ago). I had postponed it a couple of days until I was in the right mood, and finished it and was about to file it when I noticed something that had never been on the statement before—it showed CO-OWNERS: EVIL SISTER #1 AND EVIL SISTER #2. My heart stopped.

The Durable Power-of-Attorney that names all three of us (but I’m the only one who does any work)—they took that document to her bank and added themselves to her account (signing for my mom as the POA allows them to do). Well, I hadn’t planned to go there that day but of course then I had to. The POA becomes invalid at the time of my mother’s death. We knew that would be a problem but didn’t know what to do about it, and I at least just figured we’d have to wait until after probate to pay her debtors, if any. I had learned that problem could be avoided if we were co-owners, but it didn’t occur to me to do that, partly because the thought of being in any approximation to my sisters is just so icky and I’m so busy at work it’s hard to get time off.

Anyhoo, I walked into the bank and told them I needed to be added also as a co-owner. They said sure, but you’ll have to fill out this card, then the bank would have to mail it to each sister in turn for her signature. I couldn’t understand that since we supposedly have equal power under the POA, but now that they were co-owners and I was not, all three (ESs and my mother) would have to approve adding me as a co-owner. As a co-owner, you CAN access the account even after my mom’s death. Well since they will not communicate with me, they weren’t likely to sign that card, and anyway HOW DARE THEY!!!!!!!!!

So, I did the only thing I could do. I went and got my mommy. I think the bank knew they’d done something bad—they should have contacted me or required all of us to be there (assuming they thought my mother was totally incapable of understanding anything). Well, she’s not incapable in that way, and she’s plenty mad, and she made it clear she did not want them to have access to her bank account. So they opened a new account where I am joint owner and moved the money out of the old one. And told us they will not honor that POA anymore.

We have an appointment with her attorney tomorrow where we will create a new POA with only my name on it. At least that’s our plan. Maybe there’s a better way to do it—we’ll see what he says.

A ton of work must be done now—I need to get her pension companies to send their payment to the new account, and update all the automatic pays made to utility companies and such—I figure no more than a million phone calls and three or four days will do the trick. I’m always so fearful of contacting those pension sources in case something will happen to interfere with her payments, but there’s no choice now. I’m not happy about it but when I think of how the ESs will feel when they realize that account is no longer open, that almost makes me smile.

I also have to sneak back to the bank and remove the important property papers from the safe deposit box they bullied me into opening a few months ago—unless the ESs have already removed them. I do have copies that I made of everything before I put it in there but one never knows how effective copies will be if needed to prove anything. The box is in a different branch of the bank, and besides I just didn’t think of it until after the visit to the bank.

The ESs want to sell the house now, and I kept telling them you must talk to our mom about this. They never did, although as I said before they went to the house once several months ago with a realtor for a looksee. About three weeks ago they did show up at my mother’s apartment, and told her to move everything she loved out so they could clean it up and sell it. She said nothing in response (I could have strangled her myself when she told me that later). She is so disappointed and hurt that they so rarely visit her, that she doesn't know what to say when she does see them. They weren’t there longer than 15 minutes or so. However, my mom did write them a letter a week or so later that said she did not want to sell her house or property now and that she’d do anything she could to keep that from happening. That elicited no response from my sisters.

Anyway, what for me was supposed to be a four-day holiday has turned in to a very busy time.

I need candy.

The fun continues.