Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Winds of Change

They're blowing. I can feel it in my soul.

Of course, life is never static, but I've lived long enough to recognize the signs. I have my private meditation/prayer time every day and "unexpected" things are happening.

My elderly friend near Ionia, MI. called and confessed she thinks her time to leave this world is approaching. She really needs new legs or a wheelchair and like she says, "the first option is too expensive and the second is too depressing." She then said she feels depressed - a startling admission from a woman who's been the backbone of her family.

It so happens my father wants to make another trip to Mt. Pleasant to spend a week with his professor friend. I'm dropping him off in about a week and continuing on to Ionia. I called my friend to confirm my visit and she said, "you'll never believe this but my old place is up for sale."

She's right. I thought her current home was for sale and she'd decided to move in with a family member or go to the nursing home. I hate the thought of either and so does she.

Now she's dreaming of her old place and half-jokingly tried to talk us into buying it. "And if you can't move here right away maybe I could stay there until you get here."

Strange how my night time dreams at least partially come true. Sweetie, who's adverse to moving downstate but will move to Florida, was actually interested in reviewing the realtor's photos online. He asked a few questions and has been quiet ever since - a sign his gray matter is processing a few things.

In the meantime, we continue to work on things here and plan for the trip. Sweetie thus far says he's not joining us - unless he has a funeral to attend or a fat check to pick up from the sale of his mom's home.

So, like everything else in life, time will tell.

Today, I'm cleaning closets, donating to Goodwill and picking up the supplies for International Coastal Cleanup Day. I have a four mile stretch of beach to clean between now and October 2. Anyone want to join me?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Yesterday we celebrated Sweetie's 67th birthday - which I have been celebrating for awhile now as I've been saying for months that he's 67! Ah well, he's taken it in stride.

Dad took us to dinner at our favorite place and two of us enjoyed eating beef! Prime rib for Sweetie, rib eye for me and fish for Dad. Later we stopped at the grocery and picked up a pecan pie and strawberry cheesecake. Sweetie had stayed up til 5 a.m. yesterday so he slept in until 12:30 p.m. as did Dad. I got plenty of things done while they slept and occasionally checked to see if they were still breathing!

This morning I fixed the guys fried ham and eggs, toast, juice and coffee and now Dad has gone back to bed. Sweetie's playing Freecell and thinking, I'm sure. Once again the land contract payment is overdue and once again we're both holding our breath and hoping and praying it will arrive soon. If the buyers can manage to make payments for nine more years then we're free of the place downstate. If not, well, I really don't want to imagine that scenario. Like our banker here says: "Receiving payments from them, even if they're late, is better than them walking away. Look at them as though they're renters..."

Would be a great thing to do if we had several thousand in reserve.

In other news my Dad was the victim of a bank scam. We would never have known about it if I hadn't questioned him for the third time about a "book they're publishing" that he wanted to send a photo in to. Two days ago he said, "the nice man who called me already had my bank account number and wanted to record what he told me and my answers so it was okay to take money out."

This "nice man" called him about two weeks ago while we were either outside or not at home. The strange thing is he reached my Dad by calling OUR phone number. Few people know our number or that Dad's here and our phone seldom ever rings!

Two hours later a friend of his called. "We wondered if your Dad mailed his contribution to our ministry because we haven't received it," he said. By then it was too late to contact the bank but we stopped there yesterday. We surmise someone lifted his donation from our mailbox, or elsewhere in the process, then used the account info to access money. Dad's missing check has NOT been cashed but two ACH debits have gone through: the first for a small amount from one phony company; the second a large amount from another company. According to the bank, this is a common practice. The first is a "test run" and then the real damage is done.

Add to this pressure the fact that Dad gets confused and we have a real challenge on our hands. He also steadfastly refused to add my name to his account as an authorized signature because he claims my dearly beloved brother "handles everything!" My brother is his executor but is nearly always playing mercenary overseas. I emailed his long-suffering wife about the bank scam and she forwarded it to my brother. HE responded by saying I'm the one raiding Dad's account and that set off a round of fighting between the unhappily married couple.

My brother, who cheats on his wife and was fired from his assignment in Jordan, is now holed up with a "friend" over there while he tries to find an assignment in Kabul! Like his wife says, "Maybe a sniper will hit his target."

So, closer monitoring of my Dad's financial affairs is in order.

We also learned that local banks in this little corner of the world are not exempt from fraud. The bank's security person said attempts to steal account information happen daily and much of it ends up being unrecoverable. The scams happen quickly and the jerks change accounts, locations, etc. HOURLY.

Another reason to keep cash at home guarded by a loaded gun.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's Been Awhile

It's been awhile since I've posted because...

I've been way layed by another MS episode. It's passed for now but not before I've accumulated more broken dishes, a gashed elbow and some bruised arms and legs.

When I've had energy I've helped Sweetie get a few projects completed. We're about seven weeks away from our first snowfall. It seldom stays longer than a few days until the season really gets going in mid November. In the meantime we've had low temps, high winds and lots of rain. The gravel road we live on is in sore need of a grader and a week of sunshine.

We've had some luck selling a few things along the roadside in our front yard. Sure has helped the bottom line as we've had plenty of expenses. Before one can sell land it has to be resurveyed ($250), an attorney hired ($300), and two new deeds prepared. Add insurance and plates due on two vehicles because of Sweetie's birthday and the piggy bank is looking sickly.

Dad's taking us out to dinner Tuesday and on the way home we're picking up another load of firewood. Despite any claims of the Farmer's Almanac, people here are prepping for a hard winter. We still need to get the pole barn roof extended over the firewood stacked along its west wall. Though we have most of the materials for this project we need some lumber and clear skies. Three times today we started outside to work and all three times we never got beyond the front steps.

I did a large grocery/prep restocking yesterday. As usual prices had increased: 80 cents more for butter, 98 cents more for a dozen eggs, 18 cent increase for ground check (didn't buy any). Chicken or pork in a zillion different varieties will be on the menu for the next few months. $3.89 for round steak or $4.49 for beef roast just ain't happening in this house.

May have some great pictures to post next week - if the weather clears. Have a great week everyone. Treesong