Post 380: In life there are some weeds.

The past few days haven’t been particularly pleasant for me for reasons I prefer not to go into in such a public place. Generally speaking, though, they have to do with getting through the issues of my mother’s small estate.

This brings me back to the theme of this post: weeds.

DSCN0677

This fellow stole burrito money from his boss, was hunted down by vigilantes, shot in the throat, and died the next day in Alliance, Nebraska. That marble Celtic cross marks his grave. A weed in life. Someone’s son. A stranger in these parts from Dallas, Texas, who stole a little money. The vigilantes (hoping to capitalize on their brand of capital punishment) self-styled themselves as the “Silver Dollar Boys”.

True story, folks. It happened in the early 20th Century in a sparsely settled part of Western Nebraska. I discovered it in the historic microfilm files of the local newspaper in the library. Silver Dollar Boys. Sound kind of weedy themselves.

Louie's fine tail.

Louie’s fine tail.

The interest of the photo is the dandelion, a weed in the grass. Of course, it also shows my late cat Louie’s fine tail, nicely adding to the color composition and interest (I think!) of the photo. A bunch of dandelions makes a fine little kid’s bouquet of flowers for Mom. Grass. Dad has to spend his rare spare time from earning a living to water, fertilize, weed, and mow the dang stuff. Or maybe Mom does. Or maybe it becomes the dandelion bouquet-giving kid’s job once he or she can safely operate the power mower. Some question in my mind which is the weed here. Dandelion? Grass?

flowers of pretty weed....

No idea what this weed’s name is, but it’s common along roadsides in disturbed soil or yards where grass hasn’t taken hold after an excavation for a broken water line (in this instance). Not much to it. It has this tiny lavender blossom, is kind of sprawly and wild-looking. Yet, from a distance, millions of them in bloom make a lovely lavender wash over the coming green of spring. Spectacular! A harbinger of good things to come. Hardly a weedy thing when viewed from afar. Or very close up.

I’m largely convinced we need the weeds to appreciate the full bounty of life. I’m just not happy with the current crop sprouting in the affairs of my Mom’s estate. Sometimes I just don’t feel like dealing with the weeds in life. I’m tired of it, and look forward to the day everything is complete so I can get on with happier things.

My last words of wisdom: Never name one of your children to be personal representative for your estate unless that child is a lawyer or CPA!

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6 thoughts on “Post 380: In life there are some weeds.

  1. Doug, my family is going through the same thing with my mother’s estate. She named a lawyer as a PR, but two of my bothers wanted permission to serve as PR. I was the only one of six kids to object, and I was called every name in the book. (I wanted her last wishes to be carried out exactly as specified in her will. She could have picked them, but didn’t.) This is a case where you may be darned if you do and darned if you don’t. At least I have the slim satisfaction of knowing her wishes were carried out, and everything was kept on the up-and-up. I hope that your family will be able to move forward together when this is over.

    • Fortunately, all four of us agree of one thing: We don’t want the money, it’s not the issue. I think the others recognize this is a burden on me that I am doing, but am not comfortable doing. Mom’s will was straight forward: equally divide what’;s left among the four. Of course, getting there is the battle. I’m thinking I’d like to turn the whole thing over to the attorney if the others agree to it. Less money to be distributed, but less complication. (I think… of course, they will have to agree to it.)

  2. Oh man I have to remember that because my oldest son is the personal rep of mine, or what little there will be of it.
    I have found some of the most interesting shots I get with my camera are weeds growing along the riverbank.
    Queen Annes lace is my fav weed, along with morning glory growing thick on the old fences of abandoned homesteads in mid summer.
    If we never have weeds on this path called life we will never know what to appreciate and value.
    You and the boys have a good week.

    • Ruth –

      I’d recommend the two of you get together with your attorney and pre-plan what he has to do step by step, if possible, and with whom, when the time comes. Have it written down, and include such things as where wills are, checkbooks, assets of any kind and value, just anything that have monetary value, debts outstanding, trusts (like funeral trusts to pay for funeral expenses) and so on. This is especially important since you aren’t in a care center or incapacitated, and can answer questions that invariably come up about things like assets you might not think about or where you keep important documents like insurance policies or safety deposit keys, pre-purchased cemetery plot records, and the like.

      After that, I suggest you both sit down on a regularly basis to review the list for any changes in assets or preferences for funeral services, that kind of thing.

      My mother started out with a plan to have a standard funeral with a casket and the works. With that in mind, a funeral trust large enough to pay for that was set up. (Talked with a funeral director about it years before her passing!) Later, maybe a year or so before her death when we talked about details for her funeral, like music, church vs. funeral home service, and the like, I learned she’d changed her mind to be cremated, like my Dad. Her rationale was to make it easier on the out of town family to get her for her service.

      SInce two of my siblings live on the West Coast, they in particular would have had a difficult time getting here in three days after her death, and would have paid dearly for the tickets.

      We’d planned a 99th birthday celebration on her birthday February 24th. When she died on January 5th, we decided to continue with the February 24th plan since tickets were arranged already (I believe), and that’d give everyone and everything to settle down a bit by the time it happened. I couldn’t have done the arrangements in the time you usually get.

      I suppose a lay person could handle this task with relatively few glitches, but it would be good to have a roadmap of sorts to assure the major steps were dealt with in the correct order, and that potential pitfalls are known so there are fewer surprises. Keep in mind he will be grieving when he does these things, too.

      Laws vary by states, of course, so I can’t really go beyond that, nor do I want to, since I’m a dunce at this in this jurisdiction!

      My biggest issues came of thinking I was on the right path, then learning of others in between. It seems every time I need to be at the bank working on details, I should have been at the lawyer’s or CPA’s, and so on.

      Those in between steps that are self-evident to those who do estate work, are new to me. One doesn’t like surprises, especially for a small estate where lawyer fees and such will take most of it anyway.

      Yeah, Queen Anne’s lace is one of mine, too! I once let carrots (a relative) self-seed in my yard, and they were lovely as a yard flower the next, with an odd scent like bubblegum crossed with carrot! The butterflies loved them, much like dill is appealing to them and pollinators.

      Yucca flowers are lovely, too, and that plant is common around here.

      The best, though, are any of the cactus flowers. Prickly pear is a favorite, though any cactus flower I’ve seen is lovely!

      I hadn’t planned on writing a book, but, with all you have on your plate now, I wanted to give you some thoughts on what you and your son can do to reduce the stress of knowing about my complications by preparing both yourself and your son for the kinds of things I knew about or – worst of all! – learned about after the fact and had to retrace my footsteps to correct to undo.

      While no one really wants to deal with death in a family, we all know it will have to be done. I appreciate the fact both my Mom and Dad were very frank about things, so we had helpful conversations about it, even if there was (and is) much more I learned after the fact and am still learning that would have made the tasks of the representative less burdensome.

      Doug

    • When I was able to have a large garden, I saw the weeds as vital to holding the soil, adding to the biomass I dug back in at the end of the season, and sometimes tastier to insects than my vegetables. I always had nice output from my gardens once I took this approach.

      Once I moved to this apartment, the gardening philosophy is dead soil with no weeds. Flowers and approved bushes allowed. So…they came through with a weedwhacker and wiped out my herb garden, a mint patch, and rhubarb, something I’d never imagine anyone would treat as weed!

      I considered doing a raised garden this year, but the expense at the time and my general health issues made it seem a bad plan. Maybe next year. (Or not!) I have a nagging feeling an obvious raised garden plot would be treated exactly the same way, and I’d handle it very poorly.

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