Succulent Ramblings

I like to ramble on about my plants... and other things! My hope is to log the progress of plants and talk about my frustrations with others. So, tune in, turn on, or drop out (if you find it boring!)

Monday, July 31, 2006

July is finally over! It was a hell-month at work. Four (FOUR) double weekends!!!! I'm still not sure how I survived it! Nine weddings in 30 days is hard, hard work. It was exhausting, but I'm still here so I guess my body can take an awful lot! Worked for basically good people, though. Had one "mom-zilla" who was a NICE lady, but a real pain in the ass. She had a crew of people that spent 4 hours (4 hours!!!) decorating. I thought I was going to scream! And then this last Saturday night, we had what I thought was a sweetheart of a couple. They had a band (the groom is in the band, apparently...) and added two hours to their time. Everything went well until the end, when the groom came up and told me I'd been a bitch to his friends (NOT!!) and gave me a bunch of shit. He seemed like a completely different person than the one I'd dealt with before. I have to believe he was whacked out on something - they did seem like a bunch of stoners, but this couldn't have been a pot-induced rage. Must've been something else. He didn't seem drunk - no slurring, eyes seemed clear... I don't know what the heck it was about... Maybe it was just a matter of they'd over-spent their budget (one comment: "I spent $5000 fu**ing dollars...blah-blah-blah") and he was not taking it out on me... Well, barring those two jobs, all else went well and I'm not any worse for wear.

Yesterday was the two year anniversary since Dad died. If it wasn't going to be 103 degrees out, I'd be tempted to drive down to the farm for a "drive-by" to see if Jon got the house rubble removed. I doubt anyone will ever be interested in reading this, but I'll tell the story... Dad spent his life working on his parent's farm for peanuts with a promise of inheriting a good portion of the land. (I never quite understood the logic of letting your son and his wife and children live in utter poverty because someday, you'll give him the land when you die...nice people...) Grandma died in 1988, and in 1989, my grandfather (a real prick who treated my Dad like dirt) was declared incompetent and my cousin (Jon) was appointed his guardian. Well, apparently Jon got Grandpa to sign over a bunch of the land to him, which we found out only because one of Jon's brothers saw a land transfer in the public record and called my brother to let him know. We petitioned the court to grant me conservatorship over my grandfather to try to stop it, and tried to fight the land transfers (after all - he WAS incompetent!!) We ran out of money and had to give up the fight... So my cousin got all but one 160 acre plot he couldn't touch because of a will four generations back that prohibited any land being sold or transferred except by death to the very next living blood relative(s). When my grandfather died in 1993, those 160 acres went to my Dad and his sister. Now, both my Dad and his sister are mentally ill - his sister was long, long ago diagnosed with schizophrenia and has always been a pretty severe head-case. My Dad, on the other hand, has never been diagnosed (he would NEVER go to THAT kind of doc!!), but I suspect he, too, was probably suffering from a much milder form of schizophrenia. He was relatively functional - worked his whole life, didn't have any severe symptoms of paranoia (though he went through phases where I would say he was mildly paranoid...) He was pretty anti-social - not at all comfortable around people, preferred to be alone, and talked to himself a lot. (Not to say that makes anyone crazy - I do that a lot myself!!) He lived in utter squaller (imagine the worst squallor you can and then take that times 100!! - it was HORRIBLE...) Anyway, in his slightly askew world, he didn't stay mad at Jon, and rented his part of the land to him. Then, in early July 2004, he sold his 80 acres to Jon for about 60% of it's value!!!! Yikes! He died at the end of July, and was found about a week later on his kitchen floor by one of Jon's brothers who lives close by. He had no A/C, mind you, so there was nothing much left to autopsy, so we have no idea what he died from. He was 68 and in relatively good health (though the squallor could have gotten him...) In executing his estate, we found he had about $45,000 in credit card debt and had started paying it off with the funds he'd gotten on the sale of his land. Mind you - there was NOTHING in his house of any value whatsoever, and this was apparently very old debt. It was probably the stress of living on $568/month Social Security plus about another $14,000 a year in rent, trying to pay $45,000 in credit card debt. He'd been making minimum payments on all the cards for as long as I could get history on them. How stressful that must have been for him... But my Dad was way too proud to declare bankruptcy or ask for help. It was so sad to think about how stressful it must have been live like that for who-knows-how-long... I hadn't seen my Dad in probably 8 years... I sent him cards with letters now and then, but I left him alone because I just always got the feeling he preferred it that way... Anyway, I believe he's in a better place now, and I now have long conversations with him! (Don't tell - I don't want the cookie wagon coming for me!) So here's a link to my Dad's obit...
And one of the things we had to deal with following his death was his 5 dogs! We brought all but one (an old black lab my cousin Larry took) up to the humane society. One, a wolf-mix, we brought to a shelter in Council Bluffs (the H.S. wouldn't take her...) and I know there was a happy ending with her. Here's a pic of the pretty girl, who's name is now Chloe (I'm having to provide a link since, for some reason, I've been unable to post pics and I can't figure out why...)
Chloe's a sweetheart - I would have loved to take her myself, but she needed a good farm home. She'd been raised in all the space on my Dad's farm, and being confined to being a "house dog" with a tiny back yard would have probably been cruel... Anyway, my Dad also had a collie/shepherd mix, two little rat terriers, and the black lab. My Dad was one of those people who always adopted the strays people dump in the country.

Well, hopefully the pic posting works better next time!