Thoughts on being in PA – 1- 14-2010

Hi,

I have been in PA for almost a week.  Normally it goes pretty fast up here but this has been a very long week in which very little has gotten done.  A gal I went to high school with but knew very little – she has reached out to me on several occassions and called the house tonight.  She said it is so hard to concentrate on anything else when you are doing the estate work. She is so correct on that and yet I worry so much about my business and how little work I have and how few people answer my emails.  I am also scared that they people that I do have in my life that I am going to wear them down. Bottom line I need to start going easier on myself and have the confidence that it is going to be ok.  I have learned a lot since I have started working on the estate – that all of this is indeed a journey. No other way around. Starting with Emily handing me dad’s ring on the day we flew to PA and her sweetly telling me that she found it.  I also wrote Carol’s family a letter today expressing my disappointment in them as well as my sorrow for how things turned out.  I can now walk away knowing that dad is ok with all of this on some level.  I have also learned always keep an insurance policy even if it is only $50,000 because you need bridge money.  The most important things I have learned is no matter how much you think you know someone you don’t. You never really know someone until you go through their things.  Plus I keep finding these sweet letters that dad and mom have written through their lives.  Mom is still funnier than ever – she is so funny and dad you can feel his need for wanting to raise a happy healthy family.  Uge wrote so many incredible letters to his parents and it was great fun to read about his love for his parents.

I have spent too much time thus far going through all these letters. It has been a treat to spend this time with mom and dad that none of the other kids will ever get to experience.  I sit in the chair in the living room and envision dad sitting there and talking with him.  I don’t think he is to happy about how things ended with Carol.  Pam and Holly both told me not to worry about it because he lightly told the both of them that he knew something like this would happen. Carol definitely has an evil side to even have him go there.

Taking on this task is very overwhelming and I can see how someone gets bitter with having to go through this job while everyone else goes about their lives. Bruce can’t stand the idea of being involved and putting himself out. Steve has gone radio silent and Lois is coming up to help clean out the house this weekend. I have had a million people ask me why I am not taking over the house and I tell them because it is time for a new family to come make their own memories.

Jan 21, 2010

I have learned that this journey is a very intimate one when going through someone’s things are the subject matter.  Every day is a new adventure of what “hidden” morsel one will find.  And it comes in the simplest form of a letter of a card – definitely not financial.  I looked up this old typewritter on line last night and saw that this company manufactured them in Kittanning, they invented front type keys of a typewriter and this was important because now individual keys could be changed and not the entire alphabet.  The typewriter is wroth $250.00 but I won’t sell it especially since it originated in Kittanning. 

The last couple of weeks have been a real adventure.  I found Skippy’s phone number and had to call and talk to him. I was pissed at dad for purposely or he must have totally forgotten that he had his phone number. He had it there no problem.  I think out of everyone in the group dad was the least closest to Skippy. His best friend was definitely Itchy and then Bobby and then Skippy even though he did work for Skippy’s company later in life.  I am going to see if Skippy can help me locate Itchy’s family because I would like for them to have pictures of Itchy if they don’t have any.  I think dad would like this very much.

Tonight I am going to have dinner with Carole Murphy.  She is anxious to see me and oddly enough I her. Dad would want me to connect with her since Carol wouldn’t allow it. I am having to schlep down to Oakmont which I really don’t want to do late at night when I am so tired  but it is what it is.  Russ John and I are also moving the office back up stairs so the office will be back in its place.  I will feel better about working upstairs. I am not comfortable working downstairs.  Then I can get the house back in shape.

Found yesterday in a bin downtairs – tons of pictures that were put in baggies that dad had written the dates on them.  I don’t know when he started working on that project. There are definitely a couple hundred pictures that he has taken through the years. It is all very organized. I have started going through it. In there was a bag of cards that he saved that he and mom wrote back and forth to one another.  He really had a sentimental side to him by saving these letters.  I think for the most part I have opened every box there was to open and have gone through the majority of it. I now have a better understanding of where I get my love of photography at – as well as Steve.

Jan 24 – Sunday

Yesterday was a busy day – Pam’s boyfriend came over and bought the refridge in the garage. This is something that all 4 of us bought dad a couple of years ago for Hanuakah.  I only sold it for $100.00 I should have upped it to $150.00 as it is fairly new but that is ok, Pam has been invaluable to me.  She starts school in about month and after that none of us are ever going to see her as she goes from work to school for about 2 years straight. Plus she will make a lot of her school friends…I hope I don’t loose her friendship.  She might even be able to study a bit at the bank during her lunch break.  It is going to be a hectic 2 years for her balancing everything and she has to work on Saturday but if and when it is something that is in your heart you hve a way of blowing right through it.

Yesterday was a bit busy my friend Jane came down from Erie to visit over night. It was good seeing her but she has gotten a bit goofy through the years that is for sure.  Still a sweet kind person. Both of her parents have died as well so we definitely have that in common still – with the exception that are millions of dollars in between.  It was good seeing her.  She left at 12 noon and then they refridge went and then Brian Muir came over to get the Sony tv set that was in the bedroom.  They desparately needed a new TV for their living room and this one is perfect in size.  Brian said it fits well and works very good. I think they are going to be very happy with it.  Then the cable guy came and took the DVR boxes which is going to lower our cable bill by about $30.00 a month which is a good thing. I should take it down to basic cable but there are TV shows that I like to watch on the expanded although I might talk to Pam about taking it down as that would save us even more money.  I am thinking about eventually shutting off the house phone too. The only people who call are the flying guys and that would be an additiaonl $30.00 amonth on bills.  L

Last night I went out to dinner with Kenny and Brenda.  Since they are both single and very nice people I thought it would be nice if they met. Kenny’s divorace was just finalized and so he wanted to take us out to celebrate.  We had a good time – Kenny talked about his X a bit and I told him to stop because no one wants to hear about it. Brenda agreed and he just laughed and thanked me for the advise.  We went to Red Lobster which is always decent. After that I came home and went downtown to the Marinier to have drinks with Brenda and a couple of her girlfriends. They are all nice and it is a pleasure to hang out with them.

Sunday I got up  – feeling very tired. I started in dad’s bedroom packing the top of the dressers – I have to tell you his books seemed to multiply like rabbits. I have given away about 14 crate fulls and there are still another 10 easily and then they will be given all away.  I filled a couple of boxes and cleaned out drawers in the bedroom. I haven’t even begun to start on his clothes. Not because that makes me sad but I am not ready to tackle that project it isn’t a priority.  I also packed some boxes in the kitchen and wen into the basement to work on a particular corner that needed cleaning. It was there that I found in a bin that was all waterdamaged when the basement flooded  a bunch of papers. Normally you would look at the top and just throw them out. I decided to go digging through each folder just to see what there was to see. I am glad that I did.  Dad had a bunch of past tax folders there but towards the bottom he had some morsels of finds. One had stamps that was pretty much trashed; then I found a folder that his divorace information from Sarah, then one that had papers from Marion and George and last a big folder that had a bunch of clippings from all of us. It was so sweet and in there was a poem that grandpa Bennie wrote 2 weeks after grandma died.

Here is the poem.

Eulogy
From time in the twenties
to this  recent date,
Cindy’s in love
with Bennie her mate.

With aid of nutrition
diet with YITE
she made life a pleasure
home a delight

Bennie in turn
to show his regard
has always loved Cindy
in mind and in heart

And life could be wholesome
were fate less unkind
more generous in goodness
and leftt illness behind

But be this as it may
tis not our to ask why!
for the power up above
having plan all His own
has called in my Cindy
and left us alone.

 By Ben Gould
I cried when I read it Bennie also wrote another poem about being on wallstreet. It is fun and very tongue in cheek of his observations of the people who work in the street.  Plus I was crying because while Lois was going to a puppy party; Bruce doing what is in the best interest of Bruce and Steve spending time with his family I am here in PA to feel sorry for myself. I was invited to a friends house to watch football but have so much to do here couldn’t bring myself to go do it.  I did get some boxes and things put away in the basement. I am in the mood this week to haul through a lot of stuff and get things packed and thrown out.  I think it would be hard otherwise for the man coming to go through the house to do his job if I have crap all over the place.  I did lay down for about 2 hours and thought I would go to Brenda’s but just best I stay at home and get some stuff done.  It is all so emotionally exhausting going through everyone’s stuff and reading about what people have to say for themselves.  I am going to go back through everyone’s boxes and save the letters from mom and dad and have them scanned and made into books for all of us to enjoy. That is going to take some time but I would love to do this. I might pay someone to do that if I put the letters in order.
Tonight I have to send thank you notes out to people plus send anot so nice note to Bill Toy. He couldn’t wait to charge us fast enough for some things dad had made. My last goal of tonight is to get through the financial stuff.  I need to start getting this stuff in the mail.  Today was a tough day spending intimiate time with everyone.
Jan 25 – 12:20 am on 26th
Just took Pam home an hour ago – she came out and helped me pack up the kitchen tonight.  First we went to the grocery as I don’t have any food in the house.  Today is one of the first day’s I didn’t cry. I finally managed to get an annuity off which is going to be helpful. I have to get another one tomorrow.  It is now snowing and I wanted to sit downstairs and look at the snow while I wrote this but none of my darn laptops are working.  It is so weird you definitely don’t feel dad in the house at all. He is gone which is hard for me because I do miss him so much and it is so serieal being here cleaning out the house and going through his things. Last night I talked with Karen with send out cards and we were both crying on the phone.  We had a nice conversation. She talked about how much dad told her the family meant to him and that he could share his love of all of us through Allie with the cards. Corny but very dad.  Tonight Joe Cousins called. He wanted to talk and was wondering if he could have the fishing pole that dad took on their trip together. I got the feeling that he misses him very much. Mr. Muir stopped by today and is going to buy the Sony big screen tv from us for $800.00. I wish I could give it to  him now but I told him I couldn’t until the fall if the house didn’t sell.  I started packing another box of stuff for Carol. This is going to be the last box that I send to her. I have been a good person where she is concerned and haven’t got any acknowledgement back from her family. In the end I guess that is what is best. I laughed to Pam tonight as I can only imagine what she is telling her therapist about my siblings. 
Starting going through the VIP closet again last night. I want it all orderly before I go back. I don’t know what th ehell we are going to do with all those stams that aren’t really worth anything. 
Bill Toy dad’s friend who he started SailCare with called Jack Steiner and told him dad owed him $468.00 from some work he did back in October when dad got very sick.  I was fucking furious that he called the lawyer on dad. I sent Bill a check along with a ton of pictures of he and dad and the deed to the SailCare building and read him for filth.  I never called anyone so many names in a letter.  I know dad isn’t proud of my behavior but I dont like that at all.  Dad has been very good to him through the years you don’t treat someone like that and I let him know it.
Talked to Steve today about Bruce – it is a shame that Bruce is acting like the shelfish horses ass that he is. The therapist said Bruce is missing out on the biggest part of the grieving period by shutting us all out and not wanting to become involved. I feel bad for dad even though he isn’t with as I know he is sad that his oldest son the “golden” child is acting and being so very disinterested in the well being of the rest of us. And yet when he needs us we are all expected to snap to attention.
Weather  – is windy and snowy – if dad was alive we would be sitting downstairs in the living room looking at the window shooting the breeze about anything and everything. I miss those times with him.
Jan 28, 2010
Working on the NBA All Star Game – it is very hard to do work and estate stuff at the same time. I am having a hard time concentrating when all’s I want to do is go through dad’s stuff.  Brenda dad’s old housekeeper who he was very close with came out last night along with Pam and we started on the basement. I have decided that there is too much stuff of Carol’s still here – I am going to have Russ take it to her when I come back up in March.  I did an hour long session with the therapist yesterday.  It was a good session – I talked too much and didn’t feel I got my monies worth but what it did do was remind me that I don’t want anything to do with Bruce. I can’t deal with people that are as selfish as him. Lois talked to him a couple of nights ago and she said he was eager for information about the house – but she had to call him it wasn’t as if he called her.
When Pam Brenda and I were going through the basement. Dad had a bunch of old magazines we found some aviation manuals from the 40’s and one of his schoolbooks.  Then the icing on the cake is we found his old headset from the 40’s. He had it in good condition. He must have treasured it – it was all nice and neat in a plastic bag.  I thought it was weird that he didn’t label it as I have learned one thing from him and this experience – label things so people know and more importantly you don’t forget.  That was a real treat today to find that.
Today – i didn’t sleep well last night so I got up early.  working on NBA all day – john came over for a bit and did some work. We need to get a new toilet for the downstairs bathroom. He is going to put it in for me – like how lucky am I? Plus I gave him a couple pairs of dad’s shoes. Oddly enough they have the same foot size. Dad has some new pairs of shoes so I am going to try to sell them on Ebay – one never knows as they are a good brand.  Today I had Russ for the hell of it pull out everything from the cubby holes in my bedroom.  There was this box all carefully wrapped and he said he wrapped it up for dad  3 years ago and dad told him it had sentimental value and that was about it.  Russ didn’t know anything more than that – it turned out it was a camera from the late 1800’s.  Russ didn’t know anything more about the story behind the camera.  This is the stuff that makes me nuts as Benny most certainly didn’t bring it from Russia? Where did it come from. It is amazing that just when I think I have everything cleaned out I still find more hidden morsels.  I am tired tonight and going to be early early early.
Friday Jan 28,
It is about 10:15 pm and I just got home from going to the Marinier. Jack Bauer invited me to join he and Sue for a drink which turned into dinner at the restaurant.  It was the first time I have been out for a couple of days. Not that time has been flying in my month in PA because it hasn’t – I just am not in the mood to leave the house.  I sold dad’s big TV set to Bob Muir = Brenda’s dad. i was scared that I had the price too high so I went ahead and lowered it by $100.00 and told him he could get it sooner than later. He was so excited he and Brian came up at 4:30 to get the TV. Luckily Russ was here and he was able to help them get it apart and carry it out.  I decided that I didn’t want to go without a TV in the living room so he and I went to Walmart and got a much smaller TV. I hated spending the money but  it isn’t fair to have Pam stay here with no TV in the living room. Plus the space looks sort of stupid sitting empty. I was scared if I wanted till the house sold to be rid of the TV that it wouldn’t really have the value.  So now I have another $295.00 to add to the pot for the bills. Tomorrow I have to pay his car insurance and house insurance bill before heading back to Atlanta on Sunday. 
Tonight when Russ and I were coming home from Walmart I commented on the moon being so big and beuatiful when it was still light out.  I now read on line that there is some special science thing that this is the biggest moon ever and i tlooks it tonight.  When the clouds are not covering it – it is very light outside. 
Tonight at the Marinier Dr. Codova was a little drunk and sat with us – he had dinner at the Japenese restaurant with Dr. Frederick, Jay Paul and Freddy last week. He said they spent an entire hour talking about dad. Interesting enough none of these gentlemen have ever thought to reach out and call to say hello.  I guess that is just the way they are.  They have no idea how hard this job is of going through his things and being with him in spirit.  It is the most incredible experience ever and I don’t mind being at the house alone. I prefer it – don’t get me wrong I like having company but I don’t mind being here. It is like I look around at the house for the first time. I probably do what dad did and take a room and just look at it and wonder how he came up with the design elements that he has…especially in the playroom. Everyone looks at that room in awe and yet I never really have looked at it “hard” until now.  Carol is very wrong the house is amazing and has lots of texture and dimension. It is an amazing house.  I sometimes just go into a room and sit there for 20 minutes looking around and wanting to memorize every bit of it. I am leaving here on Sunday and coming back up beginning of March. At that time I will go ahead and put the house on the market. The day we close on it – and move out it will be a sad day.
Claire
Feb 22nd – 12nn
Not much to report being back in Atlanta has been good but emotionally I have had my days that is for sure. We hit the anniversary date of mom passing on the 17 of Feb. I don’t know why but I cried all day on that day.  I went to the therapist and was very angry at Bruce for being disengaged.  I feel I haven’t really grieved dad although I miss him but that is the part I get the most.  I think I am grieving more the loss of the house although I miss him terribly and all his sage advise.  It is weird to fly into Pittsburgh and not have him there or see that Au Bain Pan is no longer at his favorite spot.
All the siblings with the exception of Bruce have been great supportive and protective every step of the way. All these annuitites getting direct deposited into the account has been a pain. A couple of the companies will not allow it so we are all going to have to mail in the checks every month until the house getst sold.  Then Steiner ended up being a jerk with me and wanted to charge us a % of what the estate was worth. I found this out by accident and he got very defensive when I asked him specifically. We wanted someone who was going to charge an hourly rate because we don’t think a lot of work is going to need to be done with a will and we are all in agreeemnt to the task at hand.  Steiner didn’t want to do that and made a cheap crack at never questioning dad’s services.  My friends told me I should report him to the bar association as he did work without my knowing his fee structure.
Went and worked the NBA All Star Game in Dallas with Paula Wise. We were understaffed but we made it work. I came back last week and spent the entire day in bed sleeping. I was exhausted. Now I have a bunch of little things I am working on and the biggest thing being FInal 4.
I have also decided to renovate the downstairs bathroom.  John L. is going to do that for me and has started already. Tomorrow the wall is going to come down and the rest is actually going to fall into place.
Today I called Lauren Hall to ask about doing dad’s taxes.  He has been very hot and cold – primarily cold to me on the phone. I actually think he has been a bit of a prick as dad was a customer of his for many years. It bothered me a lot that he didn’t go to dad’s funeral or even send a card.  So today I called him to set up an appointment to bring him what I have etc.  We talked for a couple of minutes and I wanted to let him know – that I know he didn’t come to the funeral home that was a couple of blocks away. I made a point of telling him that Jack Steiner is no longer ou lawyer. Those guys are really part of a good ole’ boys club and if I was going to get resistance I wanted to know it straight away. He just stifly said ok when I told him.  Then I said you have worked with dad his entire career. I said when I was going through things and dad kept every card that people sent when mother died – I said I saw the one from you and your wife.  I thought was a nice way of saying – jerk why weren’t you at the funeral.  He finally softened up and said yeah when I think your father was one of my first clients.  When I was a young man I went to him to get my eyes examined. I think since I was just starting on my own that he wanted to give me a try. Push some business my way as a young business owner.  I said that was my dad. He then said he sent a lot of people to me over the years and he ended up being a really good friend to me.  What I really wanted to say was why wouldn’t you come to the funeral..but in the end I think I accomplished my goal of letting him know that I know he wasn’t there which was wrong of him. And maybe just once I caught more flies with honey.
Feb 4 
My sister n – law took Emily and Olivia for Mexican last week. They gave Emily a helium balloon when she left the restaurant. Carol told me when they got home that Emily asked Carol for a sharpie marker – and Carol went and got a marker – then Emily asked Carol to write “I love you” on the balloon. Carol did it not knowing where Emily was going with that – so once that was written Emily took the balloon outside and let it go – she told Carol that she was sending the balloon up to heaven for grandpa. 
march 6, 2010
I am sitting here writing this on Bruce’s computer. He and Lois came home to work on packing the house this weekend. Overall I have to say it went very well.  We got a lot of “stuff” done this weekend.  I insisted that we pack the jeep up with Carol’s stuff and when we picked Bruce up from the airport we went to their place of business to drop it off. Lois and Bruce went into to drop it off and Michael her son who is very nice normally walked out with them. He looked pissed and he looked into the jeep and said he didn’t want any of it and stormed off.  The 3 of us stood there just stunned.  Bruce regained his composure the quickest and got back into the car and then Lois and I and we drove off.  They did say he looked like he wasn’t having a good day when they walked in. We all said that we thought the possibility existed that they wouldn’t want the stuff but we thought he would be cordial about it.  The last thing is we are going to need to invite her to dad’s unveiling. We also took bets on whether Carol would come up to Kittanning to get her money.  When we got home Bruce and I went and talked to Loren Hall dad’s accountant.  He luckily got all the taxes done by the next day and we got them shipped off. We had to pay $1400 + for his 2009 tax return.  Then on Friday we went to Lowes because we expanded the downstairs bathroom.  The vanity /sink/ etc are all in and we packed up about 75% of dad’s clothes and took them to clothing shop on the campus of the VA hospital.  They were so nice Lois and I started crying when it was all unpacked.  It was hard leaving his clothes behind.  We got home and Brian came over and we went to see the new lawyer.  THANK G- O – D we got a a new laywer. The new one is much better and we are getting the advise that we need. Plus he is working by the hour.  I think Brian is very impressed with this as well as he grabbed a couple of cards.  He spelled out everything we need to do or should I say I need to do.  But at least we have a direction. If we would have stayed with Jack Steiner we would have ended up spending about anohter $10,000 in taxes as I think that is how bad his advise is to us.  I have 9 months to get inheritance taxes together which for us is going to be around $25,000.00   Dad had a bank account that has $8100.00 and I am using that for the start of our inheritance tax fund.  The bathroom project is probably going to cost us around $6000.00 and I have a couple of other projects to do around here so hopefully with our monthly monies will cover the difference. If not it is what it is. I can only do so much.  Then I think I am going to make $25,000 on my fees as executor. 
 
 
 

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