Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Why I'm Glad That I was Born in 1953

No one is able to pick when and where they are going to be born. I’ve lived a good life and many reasons are because of the time period in which I was born.

I was born in the “high” after World War Two. “Baby-Boomer” is too simplistic. I was born at a time when there was optimism for the next generation, and young people were eager to have families. I know that I was wanted and my brother (born in 1955) was wanted.

In 1955, when I was turning two and my mother was expecting, my 25-year-old father designed and built the home we were going to live in. It was an ideal neighborhood for children, where they could run free and ride their bikes up to a mile away. At an early age, I was taught respect for other people’s property, which meant I didn’t cross just anyone’s lawn—but I was able to discern as a youngster where it was “OK” to do so.  We really had freedom, and our parents were free of worry. The other neighborhood parents looked out for everyone. I don’t ever remember a time when my folks were concerned about correcting another child, or vice versa.

Although certainly there were differences of opinions in politics, it was a stable time. Maybe we just didn’t know the differences because there was only one newspaper and two television stations at the time and journalism wasn’t yellow.

I remember the election of 1960. I didn’t fully understand how Kennedy impressed the populace by his appearance on TV until later in life. But I DO remember it. I remember class elections, which were only a way for elementary teachers to figure out what their pupils' parents were thinking! My home, like many others, was split, so I went with what my mother was doing. That’s usually what 6-year-olds do.

The Cold War brought many fears, as we lived about one mile as the crow flies from the Strategic Air Command. I remember coming home from school with these fears, when my mother said very matter-a-factly that if the USSR decided to bomb us, we wouldn’t even have time to think about it. She didn’t explain the particulars, but said enough for me to understand that there would be no pain. From then, I didn’t worry about it, because I didn’t see my parents worrying about it.

1959-when I was six!
It was a time when our family was well-provided-for; enough that my father decided (with two other partners) to go into business and build a bowling alley that still stands today. I don’t know the official name of it, because I still call it by the old name. Those were fun years, practically living at the bowling alley. My father’s responsibility was the restaurant-lounge, so I imagined it affected our grocery budget somewhat, but I only got hot dogs. I did get free 45 records when they changed out the juke-box.

When I was 9, my mother became pregnant with the oops baby. I hate calling people “oops babies” because I believe every human being is determined by a Sovereign God to be born at a certain time. My youngest brother was a blessing to our entire family; but at the time, Dad needed a better earning potential than the bowling alley, so he went back to his previous sales occupation. During that time, the choice my parents made was to either raise the kids out in the country, where someone would have to be driving them to every activity they might be involved in, or move to a neighboring town—not affecting my Dad’s sales area—where we kids would have more opportunities, and we could WALK to those, not affecting baby’s naptime. I was 11 and Ben was 9 at this time.

(I find it interesting that when my children were 9 and 4, we made the exact opposite decision, moving from town to the country so that they could be in more activities.)

The move to town was one of the biggest changes, if not THE biggest change of my young life. I went from living in a rural area where everyone knew everyone (!) and their parents and grandparents to a 30,000 population town, where I ended up in a graduating class of approximately 650, the height of the Baby Boom. Later in life, that change put me in the path of my husband. 

It was now 1964. Things were changing rapidly in America, and I was old enough to understand. I remember when the town we moved to repealed an ordinance which prohibited black people from residing there. I clearly remember the summer of 1968, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy and the riots. I was still young, with confidence that things would work themselves out by the time I grew up.

I had friends and acquaintances that served in Vietnam. It was always on our minds, even if we didn’t talk about it all the time. I had no understanding of strategy but I was aware that my generation opposed the war. Looking back, I remember the Domino Theory and I have never seen that actually happen, not only with communism, nor with any other issue.

It was a turbulent time. You probably wonder why I’m glad that I was born in 1953. Part of this is the AGE I was at these historic times and when I came of age to deal with the other issues that would surely come later.

I got to see the first man walk on the moon when I was old enough to understand it’s importance. I was 16 and watched the moon landing in the living room of a boyfriend—and his entire family (and extra friends). We were all glued to the television.

I am glad I went to college from 1971-1974. My father could afford to pay for the state university that is nearby and I lived at home. He just wrote out checks. We were on the quarter system at that time, and when I started it was $160 and when I ended it was $240. I always took as much as I could because that price was for 12-18 hours. I might as well get the most for my money.

My first job interview was on the day Nixon resigned. Even though his official speech wasn't until evening, it came over the radio during the day. The man I was talking to and I just stopped our conversation, mid-sentence, and listened to the radio. He was a young man too, and we were both aware of the importance of that day.

Even though the early years of marriage were a time of EXTREME inflation, we didn’t feel it because we postponed having children. I remember thinking every time I heard on TV, read in the newspaper, or hearing someone else talk about it, that I wasn’t feeling this. However, I remember that in 1977 we bought a house with interest rate of 6.75% and a couple of years later my cousin bought a house at an interest rate of 11%. I worked in banking and that blew me away!

By the time we had children, it was easier to live on one income. It was what it was, but we could still do it. People born later really didn’t have the choice to do that. My income at a bank was simply not enough to make sense to pay for child care.

I loved being at home with my kids. I took a job at their preschool and was totally involved with the in-school and out-of-school education. My part-time jobs were flexible until my son turned 10 and my daughter turned 15, when I went to work full-time in banking. I won’t say that there was no flexibility there, because one month after I started that job, I needed to leave to handle an issue at school that involved my son. (It wasn’t disobedience!) The following year, I was able to take off to attend the funeral of the superintendent of my husband’s school system. That is not exactly on the “list,” but my boss had a teacher-wife and he understood where I needed to be.

The only regret that I have is not developing a “career” and sticking with it long enough to have my own retirement. My Social Security is grocery, gas and running around money. But unless I had been in education, I wouldn’t have had the time I had with my kids and those were the best times of my life.

Another reason I’m glad I was born in 1953, was that medical advances have come to the place where my cancer could be found and treated at an early stage. How that will end is anyone’s guess, but I know people who died very young because there was nothing to be done for them.

It’s been a good life. I’ve seen many inventions become commonplace, and while there are times that I would like to return to the simplicity of the mid-century, I also know that some of that is within my own reach; but I am not giving up my computer, iPad or phone for anything! As far as household appliances, the last thing I would give up is my automatic clothes washer! I remember wringer washers!

I wish that I didn’t live in such a divided country in so many ways. We have left the time period when issues can be discussed rationally.

I wish I could do some of the things that I did when I was young (physically).

I regret not having traveled more—now that I have the time (and some money) I don’t do well in a foreign bed.

But:

I like being just a text away, but I also like a phone call!

I like being able to look things up—when we are having a “discussion.”

I REALLY like Google Maps. How often they have helped me get back on course. (I don’t want a GPS. The first time I used one, I was going to my friend’s house in northern Georgia and it took me on dirt roads and I was listening for banjos!)

If I live into my 80s that will be the 2030s. It seems amazing. I wonder what I will see.

I’ve seen the first color TV.

I’ve seen the first push button telephone and first cordless telephone and first cell phones.

I've seen the first answering machine.

I’ve seen HDTV and new methods of sending television signals. Does anyone know what the words “boob tube” mean?

I’ve witnessed the changes in computers over the last 20 years. I now have a laptop, tablet and smart phone.

I’ve gone from radio to eight track cassette, audio cassette, CD and now plug in iPod for my listening in the car. I chose not to use Sirius radio.

I've gone from a brownie flashfun camera to several degrees of film cameras, to digital photography and finally, taking most of my pictures from my phone. What did we do when we had to wait a week for pictures to develop?

I’ve gone from no seat belts, to seat belts and air bags; children’s car seats that look like command modules for space flight.

I’ve also seen horrible things live on TV:
  • The murder of Lee Harvey Oswald.
  • The Challenger Explosion.
  • The Twin Towers.

There are the times we get bad news “instantly” on our news feeds. Sometimes, I long for the days when the story was more “complete” when reported on, and we didn’t have to see the same story for days on end.

Is it good or bad that we get political news immediately? I just don’t know.

I feel a sense that things are going to get worse before better, and I don’t know how my time on this earth will end, but I still think I’ve lived at an interesting time in history. I wouldn’t change it.









Monday, June 13, 2016

How Could it Be Forty Five Years?

How could it be 45 years?

How did this happen? When we were 18, people that age were 63 were old. Many folks didn’t live that long! How did life go by so fast?

Well, you go to college, trade school, get a job or get married, and sometimes a combination of these. Children come along—sometimes least expected, but we love them anyway. I’ve always said that the unplanned children ended up the biggest blessings. (And yes, my mother always loved him best!)

We work and have some sort of deadline, regardless of what we are doing. We have a deluge of obligations to feed, clothe and perhaps entertain our children.

We meet new friends. We have neighbors, members of church or community organizations, that we become involved with. Sometimes they become very close friends, even like family.

The children grow and we want to know their friends and the families of their friends. The activities mount.

Perhaps we find a push into getting involved with a cause, which takes up some of our time.

Let’s not forget the families we were born into; they are still important too. Geography and health and other issues may keep us apart, but do as you are able to keep in contact with them. (No one knows you like your cousins.)

The kids are teens before we know it and we are talking to them about their own futures. What will be best for the type of individual they are? And they ARE individuals.

And we are still doing “all of the above,” work, community service, church, and caring for our families.

High school graduations come, and everyone has to have a BIG party! We send them off to college or military service, or perhaps they learn a special trade, or attend the local community college. And sometimes, they do more than one of these too!

And, it starts the cycle all over again.

The speed of life is directly in proportion to the length of your life. What I mean by that is that from one Christmas to another is 1/63rd of my life. To my granddaughter, it is 1/5. It’s a snowball rolling down a hill and we are helpless to stop it.

As we prepare for a 45th Reunion, we think of all these things. We’ve done some things right and we’ve made mistakes. All of our experiences come together to make us who we are today. Because we know that life has flown by like a jet plane, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, it’s time to take stock of what we want to do next.

For myself, I’d like to travel, but I really am a homebody. I don’t sleep well in other beds. Somehow, we’ve got to come to a compromise. I’m not alone in that I put relationships first. I loved Alaska, and I felt I could live in southern Alaska, but you are NOT getting me away from these grandchildren! In that, life does slow down. They are growing fast, but because I don’t see them every day, it’s a slower fast! Two-year-olds notice things we need to notice! Three-year-olds need to know “why?” Grandparents are an enrichment to their lives and vice versa.

Many are retiring and relocating (I strongly suspect the locations have to do with grandchildren!) during this time. I feel and hope we will all be more settled by the 50th Reunion. However, we will be older and all that entails too. Please take care of yourself!

Enjoy every day. Cherish the people in your life. Relish your hobbies and work that must be done. Eat properly and MOVE. Just MOVE. I know that means different things to different people, but do as you are able.

And we expect to SEE you in five years!


P.S. I realize that many are already or soon to become great-grandparents! I probably won’t see them, but again, it’s a circle of life, the life that keeps moving on.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Settling Estates Part Three

I don’t think there are many people who can say that they are the executrix of two estates at once, but I can!

We still hadn’t settled up Alice’s estate when my brother Ben passed away. It was sudden; he was found in his apartment on Sunday, April 15, 2007.

My mother drove two days straight to get here to make arrangements. I took Wednesday morning off and we went to the same funeral home that I had been to four months previously. We planned a nice funeral for Ben; but I didn’t have my hands on his money yet. In fact, I didn’t even know that I was executrix at that moment. Mom wrote a check out of her checking account. We went shopping for a nice shirt and slacks and tie for him at Penney’s. I wasn’t going to fool around with going to his apartment and “hoping” there would be something appropriate. He wore a lot of white with stripes, which wouldn’t work, so we got a deep blue which was perfect.

The following Saturday, April 21, we had a nice visitation, funeral service and buried him in our family plot. I don’t think anything prepared me for the moment that my mother, my other brother and I (only) were shown in to view my “little” brother. The only word that comes to me is sickening, nauseous, or something like that. He was only two years younger, and I suppose had we been in our 80’s this would be different, but he was only 51 and I was 53. 

Overall, it was a lovely 70 degree day and great to get the whole family together. As we buried him, we sang a song that he and my other brother had played on their guitars, Neil Young’s “Long May You Run.” It was beautiful and one of my fondest memories of life--that of three generations singing this song.

Sometime during the week before the funeral, my Mom and aunt found a metal box with a bunch of his stuff in it, along with a written will naming me executrix. Hand.written.will. Oh, boy. What does this mean?

After the funeral, I made an appointment with an attorney in his county. He wasn’t worried about the will itself, but there was a “list” of things, that he wanted to leave people. This list was outdated—he hadn’t driven in years and the vehicle listed was long gone—but we had to go to Probate Court to get it thrown out before I could be appointed executrix. Fortunately, he had all his bills coming and going from his checking account. I wasn’t appointed until August, when I could pay Mom back for his funeral.

The coroner was involved with this death, and they take their own sweet time so we didn’t have a death certificate for four weeks. I think I called them every day.

About 1958 
The day after the funeral, my mother, aunt, myself and two cousins cleaned out his apartment. It was an efficiency and there wasn’t any furniture that wasn’t carried out to the dumpster. The bed he died in had been removed. We had to find papers, take his two guitars (one was a Martin) and my one cousin took the record collection with our blessing. There were other tapes and things that Mom wanted. I took all the papers that I “might” need, and thanked God that he had JUST filed his taxes! We cleaned up the place the best we could—we didn’t expect a refund on the deposit—and packed up his clothes to go to Goodwill, or, did we just throw them out, they were so smoke-filled? I honestly don’t remember.

I turned off the utilities and phone. I called PERS about his death. That next week I went to turn in his keys, and had a good conversation with the apartment manager. Everyone knew him, and there was a substitute handy man that week. If the normal guy had been there, he might have seen something and called 911. We’ll never know.

By the end of April, all the first things were done. I was still not appointed executrix, but all I could do was sit and wait. We went to Probate Court and got the “list” thrown out so now we could deal with the “rest and residue” of his estate.

Mom and I went to order a headstone, but that wouldn’t be done until I had the money. It is beautiful.

I had all the notes that psychiatrists had written about him from their appointments. Apparently my brother had asked for all of them, his legal right. I think this was the most difficult part, reading what the professionals had written about him. The doctors had pretty much given up on him. He was left alone with his meds and his illness. Notes from back in the day also had social security numbers at the top of the page. I must have been quite a picture, sitting in my living room in late spring reading the notes and then burning many of them in the fireplace. It was hard!

Although I was appointed in August, it took until the middle of November to close the estate. We were moving into a new home in a few weeks and it was such a busy time, but the settling itself was easy.

However, no one wants to settle the estate of his/her younger brother. It was hard.
So, out of the three estates—the first two were “paper-pushing” and learning a little law in the process; but the last one tore at my heart.

You expect to have to do this for your parents, you have a 50/50 chance of doing this for your spouse, but I never expected to do this for a sibling at such a young age.

So, in order to help my children deal with as little as possible, I am cleaning some things out of my house. This doesn’t mean I am getting rid of everything; but the things that are left are either marked as “look at,” or they are clothes (Goodwill or something) and just furniture (auction). Three antique pieces need to go to my husband’s side of the family, but other than that, it’s just stuff.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Settling Estates Part Two

The second estate that I settled was just plain weird, as was the deceased, in my opinion. This was my mother’s first cousin; who had no children and no one to see to her affairs (any kind, health, money, you name it). One of her neighbors got involved and she was recompensed and everyone loved her, she was kind and caring. Her family became the family of Mom’s cousin, Alice.

Alice had asked me to administrate her estate. I looked at her will and I said I wouldn’t under the conditions. She was leaving “rest and residue” to my mother and her sister. There was nothing about my deceased aunt and her children. It was as if she hadn’t lived. I couldn’t do that, so I asked Alice to put in bequeaths to my cousins and she did. I don’t think she “got it,” because she was an only child without children.

Now, she was leaving her house to her caregiver, and we were ALL in agreement with that, for as much as she had done for her.

Here’s where it gets tricky. The caregiver died of cancer in September of 2006. Alice made her caregiver's partner her POA. Then she changed her mind, and made the caregiver’s son POA. Alice had to change her will and eventually she made me and the son co-executors. He lived in Texas.

So, he manages her affairs and brings in caregivers who are not background checked and everything a regular caregiving organization like Komfort Keepers© would do. To be honest, they seemed nice, but I didn’t know what was going on! Interestingly, at that time, I was employed by an art museum which was but a few miles away, so I could “stop in” at any time of the day. And I did.

She was failing and I never found any type of malfeasance of any kind, other than I thought they were actively trying to keep her alive so that the caregivers could continue to earn an income from her estate. That’s my opinion and that’s all it is. An educated opinion.

On Sunday, December 17th of 2006, I got a call from the caregiver. It was time to slip into my role. I went over there and the caregiver’s belongings were on the couch (she brought over pots and pans that were hers and she was more comfortable using them, but I had told her that when Alice passed to get everything out of the house, because I knew the appraisal would come and I wanted her to have her stuff).

I took her jewelry off (witnessed by Hospice worker) and watched the funeral director remove her body, and we turned the heat down and I locked up. I did what you would expect, left some lights on and the shades left at various states, which I would change as I came back later. I spent the evening calling the phone and cable companies to cancel service and to write an obituary.

The following day I met with the funeral director, and she had “partially” arranged for the funeral, but I didn’t have to pay for it. We made some decisions, mostly based on what she had done for her mother nine years previously.

On the day of the funeral, the caregiver's son was late from Texas, but his luggage had been lost and he went to Penney’s and bought a suit. At least he honored the occasion by doing that.

The house and its contents were to be given to her caregiver’s son. I would not have to fool with it. He and I went through her house, mainly to find pictures and other family mementos, and he was very kind to me. I was to have her doll collection so I removed those after the appraisal (promptly sold the lot to a collector at my church!) and also pictures and albums.

He went home, and I would be with the appraiser when he came. Even though we didn’t have to sell the house, it had to be appraised for the estate.  BUT, since I/we didn’t have to sell it, it did NOT figure into the amount that determined the executors’ fee—one fee which we split. He got the house and I got screwed!

I did all the running around. The following weekend, after a big snow, I shoveled the city walk—naturally she lived on a corner—and a path to her front door so people would think someone was there. I met the neighbor and she was watching too.

The attorney and his paralegal were great. The “caregiver’s” estate was still a mess and we wanted to get this done promptly. We were all on the same page there. I insisted that no one enter the house until the appraisal had been done, and after that the paralegal called me and told me to get everything out of the house that I wanted. This meant the dolls and anything else I had coming to me. I believed that I had the only set of keys. However, the neighbor told me that twenty minutes after I left, the “son’s” mother-in-law and her family backed a truck up and started carrying things out. I couldn’t believe it.

My work was done except for signing a few papers and collecting my reduced executor’s fee. It was the most bizarre thing I have ever been a part of. Some of this I cannot write, and of course, there are no names mentioned.

Later, the son found other letters and things he thought we might like to have, and called me to pick up the box. Some of it I mailed to Alice's husband’s family (he died in 1980) and others were shuffled to members of the family. He never tried to keep the family pictures or letters. However, he had an estate sale and sold many antiques and other things that some family members would have liked.

It was bizarre, but I could keep my emotions out of it.

Not so with my next installment……



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Settling Estates

One of my Facebook friends is struggling to go through her parents’ lifelong belongings as her mother has moved to an assisted living facility. Another friend commiserates as she and her husband are doing the same thing. The parents are not involved in the process, and it makes it particularly difficult; but the reality is that stuff has got to go.

How do we do that? Well, there are estate sales (where the auctioneer does it all!) and garage sales, after family members take what they want to keep, and then there is the deciding what TO keep for history’s sake.

My aunt and uncle in
the prime of their life.
I made the comment that I had executed three estates and that I was the expert (!), and one of these ladies asked me to write about it. Each one of these was a different situation and had a different method of doing so. None of them can be compared, except for the legal part of it.

The first example was my father’s brother, who died without children. The backstory of this relationship can be found HERE. I was his POA also, lived in the same county as he did, and for 11 days after his death, including Labor Day, I was NOTHING—until I could be appointed by Probate Court as executrix. During that time, we had the funeral that he had arranged and had prepaid, so I had none of that to do.

My aunt had preceded him in death and her relatives stayed on after the funeral. They stayed in his home and this was not right! Family members can make off with things that are part of the estate. They were kind to me; took me out to eat before we did a visual sweep of the house for family heirlooms that should stay in the family. My aunt’s sister told me that I had a full plate with two young children (three and eight) and to hire as much as I needed to do. That comforted me, as I knew there would be lots of WORK to do.

After approved, the lawyer met me at the bank to empty the deposit box. Dual control has been a part of my life since working in banking. My aunt’s brother and sister waited in the lobby of the bank, watching us. The lawyer said something like, “Oh brother, this is going to be a fun (estate to settle)!” There was nothing in the lock box of any big value, but we had some important documents. We set up an estate checking account for me to work through.

The family went home and the next job was the appraisal of the estate itself. Because of the situation we were in, all of it going to relatives of both sides of their families, we had a very thorough appraisal. This involved the house and its contents, the car, jewelry belonging to my aunt, stocks, CDs and other paper. 

Now, I had already as POA sold his cabin cruiser. This was difficult for me because what if he got better? Cancer is a funny disease like that. I called his PCP doctor and he called me back about 5:30 pm, after business hours and I explained my conundrum. Doctors do not like playing God and setting time limits on their patient’s lives, but he said, “SELL THE BOAT!” That has been a saying in our lives ever since. When things are at the end of their course (not just lives, anything), we say “Sell the boat!”

From August to November, we had to maintain the house, rake leaves, mow the lawn, until the house was sold (quickly!) and an auction was held. I must admit, I worked hard going through everything in the house so we didn’t miss anything important, but it went fast. Because this was before cell phones, I left the phone connected. There were AC and electric and maybe eventually heat, before the closing. This was the time I threw out receipts and checks from the ENTIRE time they lived there, from 1957 until 1992. That was the difficult part, making sure the junk was gone, but nothing of importance was pitched. Also, clothes were boxed up and taken to appropriate organizations.

Distribution wasn’t all that easy. The lawyer, standing behind me, told the sister that if she wanted any of her sister’s jewelry, she would have to buy it. (My uncle should have gifted it to her during his life). Of course, that ruffled feathers, but she purchased at the appraised value. Then there was the car. It wasn’t worth THAT much, maybe $8,000 at the time, but the lawyer and I decided to give it to the man (friend) who took my uncle to all of his chemo treatments, and was a true friend to him up until the end. He wasn’t mentioned in the will, but he deserved something. (As an aside, it was not lost on me that this friend put fresh mums on the sides of the headstone, as the regular flowers were pretty much dried out by late August). This was just a decision that the lawyer and I made.

The auction was held in early October and household goods were sold. It went well and was easy. The house itself had sold and we closed soon after. My aunt’s family criticized me for pricing it so low; but it was priced right and you wouldn’t have been able to sell a one-bathroom house for much more. I had a good realtor and a good auctioneer that did their jobs.

A certain amount of time (I think four months) has to go by in order for an estate to be contested. I held my breath. I was going to do well here and I didn’t want any problems.

One of my aunt’s siblings was already deceased and her share would have gone to her four daughters, per stirpes. They were interested in some property in Florida that my uncle owned. My husband and I actually went to Florida that Christmas and we looked at the property. It was landlocked and when someone says, “I have some swampland to sell you in Florida,” well, we were almost there! There were neighbors in a trailer but virtually no road to get to the property. I reported to the attorney and he said, “We’ll deed it to the women for $1.00.” About a year later, one of them got a look at the property and attempted to sue us, but we had done everything right. (We had planned to let it go back for taxes. This property was not even worth a discussion)

By May all the stocks had been sold, bills were paid, special bequests were made, and the lawyer and I were ready to settle up. We came within a dollar and (my banking again) I was upset that it wasn’t goose eggs (00.00). He was ecstatic! We wrote out a BUNCH of checks, because it was me and my brothers getting my father’s share and all the brothers and sisters of my aunt getting their share. As I mentioned, the one sister’s share was divided into four children.

In the state of Ohio at that time, the first $100,000 of appraised value gives the executor $4,000, the second $100,000 gives the executor $3,000 and the rest $2,000. I ended up with just under $14,000 of earned income (YOU BET IT WAS EARNED!), so you can do the math.

In wrapping all of this up, I ended up with enough income to buy my family a larger home in the country where the kids could roam and be bigger fish in a pond in the smaller school system. If I could see my aunt and uncle one more time, I would thank them for changing our lives. That decision, enabled by my inheritance, allowed us to make the single best decision as parents.

When my daughter was little, before my son was born, my aunt and uncle would babysit and they were surrogate grandparents to her. They had a dish on the buffet that always had pennies in it and she would count the pennies. He would count them with her. Eventually she called him “Uncle Money.”

How prophetic would that be!!!!

OK, so that’s enough for one day. The two other estates were far less complicated, so we can talk about them tomorrow!


Thursday, June 2, 2016

When the Gym Isn't Working for You Anymore

It's been four years and a few months. I weigh the same if not more than I did than when I started. That is not to say I have regrets. I was much stronger when I entered my cancer journey than I would have been. I believe that it matters.

I miss my pals there, but I can't keep up with them. My back just won't take it, and the medicine I take to keep the cancer from returning weakens my back by the month. I just have to be careful. That medicine, along with cortisone shots, also does affect weight loss.

So what is left?

Our pool just opened. I walk the pool every
My girls in the pool!
opportunity I have. On the weekends we have more kids and maybe I can't, but the pressure of walking and yet the absence of pain is just amazing. This is something that could be addictive.

We do have a workout room at the condo that has a recumbent bike and I've almost always been able to ride that. We have free weights and I have increased my weight there--which means my reps are fewer right now.

Jerry walks the neighborhood, but I can't keep up with him. Both of my knees hurt almost all of the time. Sometimes they keep me up at night. I hope and pray that knee replacement will help. Meanwhile, walk the pool and ride the recumbent bike.

As always, I know what to eat and what not to eat. I'm not perfect, but most of the time there are good choices to be made. So that part of this effort is in my court!

I may leave the Fitness Center behind, but I've learned what to do. I will continue. I will follow my buddies on Facebook to keep up with their lives. I think there will always be a sisterhood of sorts there.