Details Unlimited

No, you read it right:  not Ducks Unlimited.  Details Unlimited.

No one really prepares you for these details after a death.  You think you know — and even with some experience, I thought I was prepared.  But the details just keep cropping up and surprising me.

And keep me making notes about calls to make, things to follow up on.

Juggling the details following Dad’s death with my own struggles to get my life in Lake Charles going again (especially getting work done on the house that I’ve put off) just leaves me/keeps me exhausted.

I guess that a large portion of the exhaustion is my body reacting to the fact that Dad is dead and that I don’t have to be “on duty” all the time.  Yet I still am waking up during the night, just as I did before.  When I (finally) had my annual sleep center appointment (only 1 year and 5 months after the last one), and I was asked how I rated my sleepiness on a 1-10 scale.  I told her a 12.  I yawned while I talked to her.  I could have fallen asleep at any given moment.  When the nurse asked me about my sleep patterns, I just started laughing.  I used to have one, as I told her, but that pretty much disappeared over a year ago.  Sleep through the night?  Not in a long time.  After I explained my situation, she totally understood.  We talked about how it would take a while for me to re-establish a sleeping-through-the-night pattern again.  Even with the lovely CPAP machine (I call it my Franken-mask), I wake up probably every two hours now, checking on Dad.  Only I don’t need to check, not now, but my body doesn’t really know that yet.  I have hopes that it will re-learn.  Soon.

But the other details . . . . Finding out how to get the house appraised, how to find an appraiser to come, how to get it ready for the market.  At first I had this crazy notion that I could get it cleared out and sold by June 12, when I head to Greece for nearly 3 months.  Reality hit me on Monday this week, though when I realized that while there isn’t much furniture to deal with, I have books to pack and move and clothes to deal with.  Not to mention the double garage that is filled with tools.  Dad’s tools.  My late brother Phil’s tools.  My Grampa Charlie’s tools (he’s been dead since 1962).  My Poppa’s tools (he died in 1972).  I don’t really know what is waiting for me there.  And the repairs to make that the appraiser suggested.  Now I just have to wait for the appraiser’s report.  I don’t know how long that will take.

Once I figured out it wasn’t possible to get it all sorted and cleared by June 12, I could feel myself relax.  That was one burden eased.  I can take more time, and Kay can do some work while I’m gone.

Other details are just on hold — until the certified death certificates are ready.  While the bank returned Dad’s Social Security and pension checks and notified those two entities that Dad had died, nothing else can be done without those certificates.  I hope I can turn off the telephone and the dish television services.  I’ll find out soon, when I try to manage those two things next week.

Then there’s insurance, or the annuity – I can fill out paperwork, but can’t submit anything without the certificates.

The bank account?  That was easier.  I was already on it.  Kay and I opened a joint account in the same bank.  I transferred money into it so that she can write checks if needed while I’m gone this summer.  Most of the bills are drafted out of Dad’s account, so there probably won’t be any other items to pay.  I’m already working on more repair work and should get that done in the next couple of weeks and paid for before I leave.

Plus there’s the safety deposit box.  My signature is on the card, so I can get into the box.  But somehow I’ve misplaced the key, on the keyring I can’t find.  I can get it drilled, for $180, if I need to.  I may well do that.  Just because I can, and I won’t be crazy trying to find the keyring.  If I find it, great.  If not, it’s only $180.

At this point, I feel as though I’m stuck on “wait” and the Musak music for some game show is playing in my head.

In the meantime, I go through Dad’s mail.  I have a couple of bills to pay.  But I can’t use the checks from our joint account now — that’s over.  I have to use the joint account that Kay and I opened.  I moved boxes of paperwork to my house yesterday.

Oh — that’s the other factor.  My own house, which I’ve really not lived in much for a year.  I’ve visited it periodically.  I’ve put repairs on hold for too long.  In January I managed to get rewiring done.  But now I’m waiting to hear from a carpenter to get some brickwork taken down and replaced with decorative fencing.  I hate waiting.  I want to see things happen.  I want ACTION.

But that’s not realistic.  I just have to adjust my expectations.  I can’t get it all done at once, even though I want to.  Not reasonable.

So today I went to look for three ceiling fans for three rooms in my house.  I have to go back for those, to be sure I get the right ones.  But while I was shopping, I managed to pick up some things for my garden — I want to have an inviting garden area.  I got started on that, but it stopped too, along with other house projects.

I bought two lights for inside — a floor lamp for my workspace and a table lamp for the living room.  I bought some solar things for the garden, including a sitting Buddha with a solar-powered tea light.  Buddha will join the St. Francis statue I put in the garden last summer.

For too long my own house was just a place to sleep, and I neglected it.  A couple of years ago, I started working on clearing things out, on organizing and clearing.  That’s still an on-going process, and I’m back on it with more steam now.  My house is once more a joy for me, and I appreciate it more than I have in years.  I want it to be a place of light and color, cleared of clutter (well, mostly), but filled with my books and art.  I have my mother’s dining room set — and am making a real dining room area in my living room.  I want to have dinner parties.  I want to have friends over.

So the details keep me spinning now.  I’m learning that I can’t make the details clear up faster, or disappear.  I just have to be patient.

Who knew that a veteran was entitled to a marker from the military?  I ordered a granite foot marker for Dad’s grave.  I knew about the flag, which I still have to buy a case for.  And there are the thank-you cards to write.  I’ve got that bag waiting for me (and for Kay).

It’s time for lunch now.  In Lake Charles, with my friend Martha.  I just had coffee with my friend Brenda.  Remnants of the life I had are knitting back together to help me create my new life.

Details await me.  From the past.  But also from the future I’m now creating.

Details unlimited indeed.

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