Looking Prepared

Sparky and I have finally finalized our financial folio. We have prepared for that permanent passage to paradise. We have completed our last will and testament. I know it seems like something we should have done a long time ago but it isn’t as easy as the movies make it out to be. To ensure that he courts will honor your wishes, the document has to be more than a scribbled note on a restaurant napkin with an “X” as a signature. You are required to use the services of a lawyer and preferably one who specializes in wills.

To be perfectly honest, we put it off because we didn’t want to think about death. We didn’t want to consider what would happen if one of us died and left the other behind. But it was inevitable that we would have to. Thus the will. We wanted it to be fair. Our biggest fear was that if we both died our estate would go to the boys as a lump sum and cause them financial troubles (taxes, reckless spending, financial temptation/ruin). I mean, “too much of a good thing” is a real problem. So we wanted them to have the money not so much as an assist/crutch but as a nest egg for their retirement! And not at the age of 40!

So we drew up a will that has a trust attached for each of the boys. It has been designed to avoid a tax burden for them, it has provisions for emergency disbursements, and it has burial instructions too. We signed on the dotted line and have delivered a copy to the safety deposit box, the trustees, and to the boys. I think we have covered all the bases. Now I don’t have to think about death for a long time!

Looking at Liberty

What is liberty? According to multiple dictionaries, the definition of this noun is:
1. The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.
2. The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.
3. A right or privilege, especially a statutory one.
Although the definitions are all similar, there are nuances that separate them. The first one is what most people think of when they are asked to describe the “American way of life” as we puff up and thump our patriotic breasts.
As a woman (of a certain age), I can recall instances in my life where I didn’t enjoy the same liberty as some of my fellow (male) citizens. For example: as I was choosing a career in veterinary medicine the admission requirements were written specifically to screen out any women. Namely you had to be able to bench press your body weight and carry (not just lift) 50 pounds. As a petite girl with limited upper body strength it was obvious to me that I couldn’t apply because I didn’t meet the “physical requirements” as outlined in the admissions application. I never had a word for all the times that I was skipped over when I knew the answer or called out when I didn’t (can you say micro-aggression) but I didn’t dwell on it because THAT WAS JUST THE WAY IT WAS.

I was lucky that I was not born a minority or in a foreign country. I was not born or raised in poverty. My parents were married and stayed that way my whole life. I never experienced want, or hunger, or lack of shelter, or fear for my safety as a child. I have never been a victim of violence (domestic or otherwise). I’ve never been raped or molested. I have for the most part lived with liberty as a reality. Which brings me to this day, Independence Day.

For so many Americans, liberty is an illusion. It is a concept that they can see but only from a distance. I work with several individuals who identify as Gay. They are “out” to their coworkers but not to the public at large. This is a self-defense mechanism since they are very careful not to invite discrimination. They fear that they may not get the apartment. They are concerned that they will have poor service at restaurants. The list goes on but there are enough examples to convince me that if you shout from the roof tops that you are different from the accepted “normal” you can expect to be treated differently and that means poorly. Today is the commemoration of the formation of our country and the announcement that we support Liberty for our citizens. The current political climate makes liberty that much further out of reach for so many more people.

While I’m thankful for the liberty I experience, I am going to sign every petition to let my government know that I condemn the separation of children from parents at the border. I’m going to write my Representative and my Senator expressing my opposition to the decision for my government to withdraw from the Human Rights Commission. I’m going to donate to the local food pantry. I’m going to donate to the Women’s Shelter for abused women. I’m supporting Hannah’s House for unwed mothers who have been left homeless by boyfriends or worse – family. And finally after all that I’m going to pray. What are you going to DO?

Looking Busy

I have the first part of this week off as vacation. I was working furiously to get all the last minute things at work finished and all the end of the month items squared away so that I could relax. “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry ” as they say and it is so very true. I had grand plans to clean and organize and cook some scrumptious meals. I figured I’d attempt some new recipes and even try my hand at some baking (I have a flan pan I’ve never used that has been languishing since my wedding shower). Here is my list of what went wrong:
1. The more I got done the more was asked of me to do. I suppose that is par for the course but it seemed like a conspiracy to prevent me from being able to leave.
2. I have some work tasks that can’t wait until I get back from vacation (see #1 above) so on the 4th I’ll be taking care of those items.
3. My spinal stenosis treatment with the physical therapist has been making me so sore that the thought of cleaning makes me cringe in anticipation of discomfort. It is usually this way – it is worse before it gets better.
4. My ceramics class that I signed up for had only 4 students. The instructor was saying that if she doesn’t have at least 8 in the class it won’t be worth her time and the class will be cancelled. This has made me extremely irate as I was planning on using my vacation time to get into the studio! Now it looks like that won’t happen. Plus I still haven’t been credited my class fee!!
5. The yard work uncovered some unwanted guests Рants. That lead to an intense killing session in the backyard. I suspect the brown stuff in the basement is ant frass or possibly termite poop. Needless to say the basement took up my time so none of the upstairs was touched.
6. With the invasion (which I personally think requires a professional intervention) Sparky has deployed his ant poison. Which means I do not want to have any food in any cupboard that isn’t sealed in metal cans or glass jars. If it can’t be frozen or refrigerated I’m suspicious about its integrity. That means that flan pan will continue to gather dust as there will be no baking of goodies.
7. The basement storage is being reorganized. I had to combine some gift wrapping storage since I bought a huge bin of gift wrap, bows and gift bags at a garage sale for $2.00. I got a really good deal but now needs to be integrated into the existing stock. It is a time consuming proposition as I consider tossing heirloom bows and nostalgia infused gift bags (like the one that son#1 and son#2 drew beards and mustaches on all the beautiful people on the bag from the Gap). We have reused that particular bag for at least 10 years and it makes me laugh to see it under the tree…
8. I had originally planned to have the bathroom renovation begun. The contractor is MIA and I have all sorts of supplies sitting in my guest room taking up space. I mean other than the bead board and the bathtub and the paint, I have everything else – just not a guy to rip out the old tub/shower and install the new one. I think I could probably do the sink and toilet. Sparky replaced the toilet downstairs when we put in the new floor. I know how to paint. I can tack up the paneling and the molding. I can hang a mirror. I might need help removing the medicine cabinet and patching the hole in the wall but I could do it. I just can’t put in the new tub and tile the enclosure. Essentially I need a professional!

So there you have it. My vacation is not going as planned. However I have visited with friends, and am going to celebrate the 3rd of July AND the 4th of July with the same and different friends. Maybe I’ll even forget for a little while that I have other commitments.