Saturday, July 4, 2020

Here it is, July 4th already! After the days being the same for so long, time is really moving along now, or so it seems. In my neighborhood last night, you would think that it was the 4th. A nd, people don't know how to shoot fireworks! They are buying the aerial ones and putting them in the middle of the street. Those did make it into the air. Then, I suspect with alcohol giving a helping hand, they just started lighting them and throwing cars and houses and in neighboring yards. They were far enough from me that I was safe, but a couple of them came pretty close. After that barrage stopped, a car took off quickly from there and I suspect they were after more fireworks. But, I went to sleep and don't remember hearing anymore. So, tonight should be interesting. Mouse did not like the sounds. He didn't mind the thunder we had, but he did not like the fireworks. 

I finally have my door hung! Ryan, Joe and Kayden came yesterday and got it hung. They are going to come back next week, it may just be Joe and Kayden, and start to get the siding back on. I didn't want them working today because I know that Joe and Mistie are having a cookout and Ryan and Amanda are packing to move closer to his farm job. Kiyann helped me in the house yesterday and is coming back this coming week to make sure everything is ready for next week-end. I imagine people are going to all be arriving on Friday, with a couple coming on Thursday. It seems like my to-do list of things that must be done before next week-end just keeps getting longer and longer.

I went to the dr. this week. I had an area of welts come up, on my upper chest. I thought that maybe a spider had gotten into bed with me, or a skeeter and had a nice meal. But, after 4 days of intense itching, and then smaller spots appearing on the backs of my hands, I decided I'd better get it checked out. What we do know is we don't know what it is. It isn't shingles as it crossed the midline. They only appear on one side or the other. The nurse practitioner thinks it might be poison ivy, but there are no pustules. And the ones on my hands only go to just past my wrist bone and have started to migrate to the underside of my arm and the pad of my thumb. I've also noticed that the knuckle on my right index finger at my hand is swollen and sore, as is my right big toe, which hadn't hurt for months, and my right hip, not down my leg, just my hip. After doing some research online, and I know, that can be very dangerous, I do believe it is a flare of psoriasis brought on by a flare of psoriatic arthritis. Now, I've not been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, but I have brought it up to the dr. several times and just get poo-pooed. But, I have every symptom listed for it. It has probably been brought on by the stress of getting things ready for the memorial next week. I would think that the stress of the 6 months Bill was in the hospital would have brought on the stress hives, but I didn't have a single spot. I haven't felt especially stressed but Bill's daughter suggested that it was subconsiously acknowledging that this was one of the last things I could do for Bill. And maybe that's true. Anyway, I got some hydrocortisone cream and some hydroxyzine pills since I'm not supposed to take prednisone. (It gives me a rash). But the hydroxyzine made the itching more intense so I stopped taking that. And I'm being bad. Bill had some low-dose prednisone left that I kept and I've been taking 1 a day along with Benadryl every 4-6 hours. If I could still get Zantac I would take that too. That combination works wonders on hives. It is a little better this morning so maybe I'm getting a handle on it.

Bill has spent the last couple of days back at the crematory. To switch urns, it has to be done there as the urns have to be sealed. She also picked up the little bag of fine ash to put into my bracelet. She thought she would be able to get them back to me yesterday, but didn't. I told Kiyann he was having a sleep-over!

I need to go through my jewelry today and see if I have a plain gold chain that I can put his wedding bands on. I've had them on my key chain and I'm afraid they're going to get beat up or come off and get lost. So, that's on my list of things to do now too. Like I said, it just keeps getting longer and longer.

That's it, I think. The memorial service has been set and some family members are opting to wait to come until the graveside service. They are thinking that it is the actual funeral since it will have the military rites with it. And that's OK for them to think of it like that. There still isn't any time for it set yet, as they are still closed.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday. Celebrate this great country of ours, with all of it's ugly past, along with the good. I still wouldn't want to live anywhere else!

Saturday, June 27, 2020

I got some answers this week, and you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men...Where the mice comes in for that saying is a mystery, but you get the idea.

Monday I finally got a person at the cemetery! And, one of the reasons I hadn't heard anything, even though it is really more of a copout than anything is that all national cemeteries are closed as far as having committal ceremonies and burials. They are not closed to visits, which is why I could drive through, but due to the virus, they are no burials or any kind being done. I did read where a family did a drive through burial where they all had to stay in their cars, but there were no military honors provided. I understand that, but why couldn't they have updated their website with that information, or better yet, answered my email, or fax! The same with the veteran's advocate here. Why, especially in this day and age, is the phone number not forwarded to a personal cell phone, or a home phone for that matter? Anyway, we can't hold the graveside service at this time and I can't have an honor guard for the memorial service at the church. But, that's OK. I told Emily I'll just get to keep Bill home with me for a little longer. There is no timeline for the cemeteries to open as far as the man I spoke to knew, he said they were told maybe the end of August.

I've talked to the church and the pastor I want to perform the memorial service and we've set a date for it. It's going to be July 11. I had mailed a letter to all the family that I knew was coming to the services right before I heard from the cemetery. So, I had to text everyone to let them know to disregard the part of the letter about the graveside service being held on the 10th. 

After talking to the church about the service, I figured I'd better bite the bullet and go to church Sunday. I did make it, there were only 12 of us there, and no-one made a big deal out of me being there, which is a good thing. I don't know if I could have handled that. Just hugs from everyone. I don't know if it will be an every week thing or not yet, I'll just play it by ear.

The programs and bookmarks have come in and they are very nice. I'll post a picture of them later. The guest book has also come in and there is an error on it, but it's my mistake. I typed a date wrong, so it shows that Bill was nearly 1000 years old! I typed 1043 instead of 1943! But, the company had my phone number so they could have called to double check it, or just used their brains to figure out what it should have been. Anyway, I think that it can be fixed. It won't look as nice, but the book will be open anyway.

The video camera also came in and it didn't have the bigger microphone that I thought was supposed to be included. What I thought was the mic from the picture was a table top tripod. So, back to Amazon to order a microphone. It should be here Tuesday.

I also ordered another urn for Bill's ashes. I hadn't planned on a different one, but the cemetery suggests a metal or wooden urn and his is just a temporary heavy cardboard one. And since he's now going to be at the memorial service, it will look nice on the table with his medals.

After thinking I had all of the paperwork done, I got a big packet of forms from one of the investment accounts. The account has been switched to my name, but now I have to apply for an IRA. I just want to leave everything like it is for now. I'm probably going to consolidate everything with a local firm, but that's something that I thought could wait a bit. I read through the paperwork, skimmed it actually, and I think I have 5 years before I have to do anything with it since it is inherited by a spouse. So, on another day, where I think I want to really use my brain, I'll go through them. Right now they are in the accordian file folder with everything else.

It's a cloudy, rainy morning and I would like to be sitting on our little screened in patio in Florida with my coffee. But, when I went out to feed the cats it's so muggy I could hardly breathe. Nearly 80 already at 6 am! So, I'll stay in and listen to the thunder. I've been busy getting things done in the house so that people won't be totally horrified when they come, not that I'm planning on being the gracious hostess. But, remember, nothing was done in the house for the 6 months Bill was in the hospital and it really needed attention.

My friend Phillis wanted the old cat tree for her cat Troubles, so I took it to her on Tuesday. I had told her the day Bill died that when I was ready I would come and see her. We sat on her back porch...for 4 hours! We talked, we laughed, we cried and just had a good visit. We may go to Dyersburg soon. She wants to go to the health food store in the mall and I want to go to Joann Fabrics. So, that should be fun.

One thing I'm finding this week is my thoughts on his ashes is changing. I had never felt the need, or thought I felt the need, to have his ashes sitting on the mantel. But, I've found a little comfort having them in the bedroom on the dresser. And, silly as it may sound, I do talk to him, mainly to tell him goodnight, but I ask him if I'm doing things right. And, I didn't think I wanted a keepsake of his ashes, but I found a website that sells bracelets that are also for a cause. There were several different ones, saving the rainforest and gorillas, elephants, the arctic and the coral reefs and sea turtles. These bracelets have 2 glass tubes. One of the tubes is filled with something depicting the cause. The sea turtle one has ground up pieces of the netting that turtles are getting caught in. The other one is empty and can be filled with whatever the wearer wants. I did get the sea turtle one as his niece Karen worked with rehabbing sea turtles in Florida for awhile and I'm going to put the small bag of ashes in the other tube. I do have to have the crematory do it, as well as move the other ashes to the new urn, as they have to be sealed. I did look at his ashes the other day. The top of the box he's in now opens. They looked nothing like what I thought they would. They are very coarse while the ones for the bracelet looks like fine sand. It didn't bother me to look at them, and Kiyann wanted to see them too and she wasn't bothered by them. She held the urn in her lap for a long time.

I did tell Kiyann that we wouldn't be able to have the birthday picnic at the cemetery, but maybe we'll carry his ashes outside to the patio and have our picnic there. I haven't talked to McKenna about it yet. I don't really want to carry them into a restaurant, so we won't do that, but we'll come up with something.

I think that's all. I still don't have my door installed. Emily asked me this week what Heath had said and I told her I hadn't heard anything from him. She just said "Hmm". Maybe she'll talk to him at church tomorrow. I would really like to have this little project done and the dumpster gone before people start getting here. I'm going to need the parking space! It's getting darker and darker now with a little thunder. Good thing I've got a couple of new books to read. The weather is making me ache all over today, so I don't think I'll be doing much. Have a good week-end.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

The first month is in the books, and all in all it hasn't been that bad. Yes, I got used to living alone while Bill was in the hospital for so long, which made it easier. And, yes there are still days when the tears come, but I expect that will also get easier yet never go away. And it's little things that bring them. Bill's oldest daughter told me she got her daughter a new dress for the funeral that's soft and cuddly and Petra asked her if she thought that Grandpa would like it and give her a big hug in it. They haven't told the kids yet, they're waiting until they come for the memorial service. But, it's little things like that .

I FINALLY found Bill's ribbons! They were in a small box at the bottom of a bigger box full of useless computer components and cables! His name tags, metal stripes, other insignia and his dog tags all together. I KNEW they were there, but he had moved them from where I had seen them before in the room. Who knows what he was thinking! Anyway, I made a trip to Hobby Lobby and got a shadow box and a couple of display stands and I have an idea for a display for the memorial service since we won't have his ashes or a body. When it's put together I'll post a picture, but I think it's going to work nicely.

All of the paperwork has been done and sent off, including the ones for the Veteran's Cemetery. I still have heard absolutely nothing from them. Everything was faxed, all 14 pages this past week. They wanted a copy of every DD214 Bill had. That's the form you get when you separate from the service. He had one from the Marine Corps that was barely legible, then the Air Force, then the Air National Guard, and then the Air Force again. Luckily Bill had all of those...and I knew where they were and they were where they were supposed to be! Emily told me if we don't hear anything from them soon, she will get our state senator involved. He's a veteran and fights for veterans and can get things done.

The insurance money has come and I now know how much my Social Security will be. In addition to my regular check, I will also get the Widow's Benefit. I thought I was only going to get whichever was larger, but according to the letter I got, and the deposits in my account, I will get both. I still don't know what the VA benefit will be and I'm waiting for Bill's final SS deposit and the pro-rated military retirement. I haven't been notified that the investment accounts have been switched to my name, but since I'm not doing anything with those it's OK. The insurance company did send a check refunding the last premium that was taken out of his military retirement, but they made it out to Bill. So I had to see what to do about that. I had to send it back and they will re-issue it in my name. I do still have some things to cancel or change to my name, but nothing pressing.

I STILL don't have the door! Well, I have the door but it's sitting in the apartment. After getting the new contract signed and more money paid, they called late Saturday evening with the install date....August 17th! I told them that was unacceptable since that part of the house is wrapped in plastic. The siding can't be finished until the door is hung. So, Monday morning I headed back to Lowe's and cancelled the install part of the contract, which they did with no argument at all, and then Emily, Bryan and I picked up the components Monday evening when Bryan got off work. They have a friend that is hoping to get it installed this coming week. He is a contractor so he knows how to do it and then the siding can be finished! But, since all of this I have seen posted on Facebook several complaints about Lowe's. One friend ordered a cooktop in April and still hasn't gotten it delivered. Another one ordered some things that showed in stock in her store and 2 days later she finally gets the email they were ready to be picked up, but 1 item was out of stock. She cancelled that order, ordered the same items from Home Depot and 2 hours later was on her way to the store.

Anyway, Bill's sister and her husband have decided not to try to come for the services. His health is not good and they would have to fly and they just aren't comfortable doing that right now. I totally understand and told Shirley that I knew what she was dealing with. So, last night I ordered a new video camera and we are going to record the services for them, and my mother if she wants to see it. We already have a tripod so I just need to recruit someone there to monitor it.

I've also designed the memorial program, purchased the guest book and bought a new cat tree. They both wanted to be on the top shelf of the old one, so I got a super duper one that has 3 high shelves and 3 hidey holes. It's 72" tall and goes to the top of the picture window. I was pretty proud of myself for getting it put halfway together...until I put the wrong numbered post in one place and then couldn't get it off! So, I called Mistie and Joe and Joe had it finished in 30 minutes, after I had worked on it for 2 hours. But the instructions were easy to follow, my hands just don't have enough strength in them. I was surprised he didn't have to go back and tighten all of the screws I had done! And, they love it! They are both sleeping on it now. But, my hands are so sore I can hardly type and my entire body aches from moving the boxes around (Fedex did set them inside the house for me) and lugging 22 pounds of cat food to the kitchen. But, the Aleve will kick in before long...I hope.

I've spent many hours on the phone this week with my sister. That's not something new, but what is new is 2-3 times a day. That wouldn't sound odd if we lived in the same area, but she's in Illinois! We've been talking about the lunacy going on with changing the names of products and all of that. The last one that I saw was that it's no longer acceptable to say "Master Bath" or Master Bedroom" when selling a house! So that got us on to what are they going to do about the "Masters" golf tournament and what is a "Master Craftsman" now going to be called. What is next?

So, there you have my week. It's gotten hot and dry now, although we have rain coming this coming week. The leaves on one of my trees are turning brown and it's not the only one on the block, so the rain will be welcome. Summer has definitely arrived (and it will be official this evening). Have a good week!

I almost forgot! Melvin Franklin Wagner IV made his appearance on the 17th! If that isn't a presidential name! Mom and baby are doing fine and he is a definite keeper!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Another week that seems like it just sped by. But, it was a decent week for the most part.

McKenna and I went to the cemetery Saturday morning. We did take a back road that will be much easier when there is a line of cars travelling together. It took about the same amount of time but lots less traffic. She approved of the cemetery and we both had a teary moment when we decided that "Pa" would like it there. Coming home I went even a different way and we ended up coming in through Jonesboro, which added another hour to the trip. But, we didn't have anything else to do. She and Logan were going to the races that evening, but we had plenty of time.

I think I got everything filled out for the VA paperwork. It's been sent back anyway. The only thing now is the one from the military, and I got it yesterday. It has to be witnessed, so I told Emily if they were coming in to town today to come by.

The cats came home Monday afternoon and I don't know if they were glad to see me, but I was sure glad to see them! They've settled in again now. They aren't sleeping in the bed with me. Mouse did for the first night and then he decided he wanted to sleep on the bedside commode! He even managed to pull a blanket from the stack next to it to lay on. They are also doing some strange things, like lay next to each other! They never did that before but they've done it a couple of times now, and both will even get in my lap together which is another first.

I still don't have my door. I called Lowe's yesterday since it had been 10 days and when they looked at the contract, the door itself hadn't been added to the contract! So, after checking with two different supervisors, they are voided that contract and refunding that money, all but what I paid for some extra stuff, and then this morning I'm going in and redoing the contract. He said he will have everything pulled and set aside for the installer and he was going to beg to get the earliest install date. So, maybe by this time next week I will have a door, and the siding can be finished and the dumpster can go away.

Not that I've been in seclusion, but I did see some people this week outside of family. My best friend from work and I video chatted for more than an hour Sunday morning. She's the one who invited me to the sleep-over earlier that I just wasn't ready for. Then, later in the week another former co-worker stopped by. She was in the area and saw my car in the driveway. We had a good visit and for the entire 2 hours, not 1 tear was shed. Then I ran into another former co-worker in Walmart. There were a couple of tears that time, but not many. So, it's getting easier to see people.

I realized one morning this week that I have a lot of time on my hands early in the morning now. And it comes from not updating this every day. My routine had been to check email, update this and, if there was time scroll through Facebook. Then, dressed and out the door. Now, it seems strange not to do this every day. Just more of the new normal. And speaking of the new normal, I saw an ad for a book on Facebook on dealing with the new normal from His Heart ministries, I think. Anyway, the comments on it were terrible! People saying they refused to live the "new normal" and if others didn't like it too bad. Comment after comment after comment like that. So, I finally couldn't help myself and asked if they thought that there were all kinds of new normals and that mine started 3 weeks ago when Bill died. Would I like it to go back to the way it was before? Of course I would, but it's not going to happen, so I'm forced to live a new normal. The only response I got was a condolence post from the ministry, but maybe it made some people stop and think. A new normal due to the pandemic is just an inconvenience for a while. A new normal for someone who has lost a family member of any relationship is lasting. But, I don't need to tell y'all that!

I've been working on the memorial service some this week still. I've narrowed down the dates and I've decided that if people can't come, that will be a decision they have to make. The only one I'm really concerned about is Bill's sister and her husband. They will have to fly from Florida and they are still a little apprehensive about that which is understandable. But, they don't have anyone who could drive them. But, they've said they just hope they can be here for it. So, in the next few days I will nail down the dates for sure and then let everyone know. I say dates because it's going to have to be broken into 2 days. The burial itself will be just for family and since it takes 3 hours round trip driving, plus the 30 minutes we are allotted for the service, that's already a long day. So the public memorial service will be the next day.

That's about it. We had some lovely wind from the tropical storm and not much rain. I spent a lot of time sitting outside. But, now that it has passed it's hot and still and getting muggier every day. Summer in the south is arriving!

Saturday, June 6, 2020

This week seemed to go pretty fast, but some things did get accomplished. It was also another learning week in the world of widowhood.

Monday has been bill paying day since Bill retired and all of the income came at that time. So, Monday morning I got online and looked at the bank...and there was a deposit from the VA. They had told me that I would get a one-time payment for the full amount he had been getting and I thought that was what it was. But, just to be sure, I called the VA. And, it was not my payment (which will come in the mail) but a regular one for Bill. I was told to call the bank and have them send it back. So, I called the bank and just happened to get the person who is in charge of sending back transactions. She was able to verify that it had indeed come under Bill's SSN and would need to go back. As we chatted, she looked through the deposits and, even though he is entitled to receive the money, the SS deposit that was made the week before also had to be sent back. See, Social Security has a little rule that, even though that payment was for April, because Bill died before the deposit was made, it had to be taken back and it will be reissued under my SSN at a later date. So, in just a few keystrokes, my bank account was smaller by $5300...and I hadn't paid a single bill! Luckily we've always been able to keep a cushion and I can pay the bills, but I wasn't expecting this. I just kept thinking about people who don't have that cushion to fall back on and that are barely getting by month to month anyway.

Tuesday there was a letter from SS informing me that MY monthly benefit was dropping by about $200 a month! Part of mine was based on Bill's benefit and since he wasn't getting his anymore...well, you get the picture. Trouble is now, it's an amount that can't be lived on. But, the surprises just kept coming!

Wednesday I get another letter from SS telling my that my new Widow's Benefit will be almost $1400 a month beginning in May, but they can't make the May deposit because I qualify under another account and they need more information. (I do qualify under another account. I can draw the benefit from either Bill or Gene, depending on which is larger). So, since the letter didn't specify what information was needed, I called them. When I told the man I had gotten that letter his exact words were "So, what do you want me to do"? What do I want him to do? I want him to tell me what information they need to get it settled! He told me just to call my local office, which of course is closed due to the pandemic! But, he said there is a special number, which was at the bottom of the letter and I would get the local office. So, another phone call and she doesn't say much and then tells me to give her my email address so she can send me the form I need. She doesn't tell me who I will be drawing from and I was sure it would be Bill because he worked much longer than Gene did with being older. I get the form and it's to apply for the permanently reduced widow's benefit, but it doesn't say which name I should put down. So, another phone call, and I was to put the name of the one who recently passed. So, got that done and mailed back to the local office. They could email it to me, but I couldn't fill it out, scan it in, and email it back.

For some reason, Wednesday I decided to start working on the memorial service details. We still haven't set a date, so it was just a start. Since we aren't using a funeral home, I started looking through CDs and found one that is all just simple piano hymns. I'll need to do some editing and burn a new mix, plus add some from another CD. But, listening to those brought tears at times and I ended up crying all morning. I was still productive and ordered the other music that I want, but it was a tough morning.

The mail came late Thursday and it had the packet of information from the VA. I opened it and looked at it and decided I was too tired to tackle it, so it waited until yesterday. And, just as I was getting ready to settle in with it, I got a phone call from the insurance agent who took over when our agent retired about the annuity Bill had. He had just gotten the information about Bill's passing. I told him he was on my list to call because I was confused on some of the paperwork, so he told me just what he needed and gave me his email address. He is also retiring and travels between here and Fayetteville on the other side of the state. So, I got that filled out, called Joe my neighbor to see if he would witness one page and got it scanned and emailed back. And then it was time for the VA. Oh my goodness! They want so much stuff! I was going back through all of Bill's military papers pulling more records. I still don't have them finished, but I'm up to requesting the burial in a national/state veterans cemetery and what should go on his headstone. And then, next week I'm going to track down a VA service officer and have them go over it with me before sending it in. I was a little apprehensive about the part for the Survivor's Benefit because they changed the rules on it. When Bill started getting the VA benefit, it was based on being married and the only criteria was that we had to stay married for 8 years from the date of the award. They changed it at some point to 10 years, but since his award is dated from 2008, we made those dates. (I always joked that I had to keep him alive so that I would keep getting the money!) Anyway, now it depends on assets. So, that was kind of worrying me. But, you don't count house or cars or property needed for normal living like furniture and stuff. And, since nothing has been switched to my name yet as far as the investment accounts go, the only asset I have right now is my little $600 social security benefit. So, I will qualify for the survivor benefit. I have no idea how much that will be.

Ryan and I did get the door purchased Tuesday, but it still hasn't been installed. And then he started working on a farm Wednesday. So, I will call my back-up workers, once the door is in place.

The cats are still at the vet. I thought they were going to get to come home yesterday but he wants to keep them through the week-end. I have gone through the house really cleaning floors and trying to find what they may have gotten into to make them so sick. I've treated all the furniture and rugs for fleas and got new litter boxes, just waiting for litter. So, hopefully Monday afternoon they can come home. They probably think that I've abandoned them!

Today McKenna and I are going to ride down to the cemetery to see if she approves. She will be the one who will want to visit the most. We're also going to try to find a different way to go that might be a little faster than the way my navigator wants to go.

There you have it. I had always thought those books about "Now That I'm Dead" and "What My Family Needs to Know" were kind of useless if you had common sense. But, if nothing else I'm learning that things need to be at least listed as far was where records are located. Luckily I knew where most of Bill's military paperwork was located and we didn't have many investment accounts. So, if you have the time. at least take a notebook and write down these things! And...just live forever! That way no-one has to deal with it!

Friday, May 29, 2020

This was a week of ups and downs, but more ups than downs. I actually made it almost 3 days without crying.

Didn't do much for the holiday week-end. The guys got all the wood and insulation put up and covered with plastic right before the rains came. And that's been the last work done. As with most projects, there have been some glitches. Lowe's didn't come to measure for the door until Wednesday and I can't order the door until I get the specs on what size to order. And, the siding can't be finished until the door is hung. So, we've been at a standstill all week. I was able to keep the dumpster so that helped. Maybe I'll get an email about the quote tomorrow.

I did go to Emily's for dinner on Monday. Bryan smoked meatloaf and it was really good. Didn't stay a long time. I find that I still get nervous around people, even though it is family. So, I ate and ran, didn't even stay for dessert. But dinner was good anyway.

I went through some things Tuesday and did normal things, like all the laundry. It had been so long since I did it all instead of just what I needed for 3 or 4 days. I looked all over for the flag that Bill got when he retired from the Air Force and finally found it in a back corner shelf of the coat closet. Now if I could only find his mounting of ribbons and his box of medals. I still have a few more places to look for those. I also checked on the kitties and they are better, but not ready to come home.

Tuesday evening the crematory called and said that everything was ready and if I was going to be home she would bring everything by. That was tough. It wasn't hard to read the death certificate, but it was extremely hard to open that box with the container of ashes. But, I did it. I was surprised at how heavy it was! I was also given a small Ziploc bag of very fine ash that could be used in jewelry or decoration. I have decided that I'm not going to divide his ashes. They are all going to be buried.

Wednesday I called the district Veteran's Office and there was no answer, or voicemail. I can understand if the office is closed, but there should be, at the very least a voicemail, and possibly have the calls forwarded to a cellphone. So, instead of waiting any longer, I gathered my list of places that needed notified since I had the death certificates and called them all myself. Surprisingly, it was all very easy to do. The customer service reps with all of the different places were very polite and not overly solicitous with condolences. Everyone was contacted and paperwork is starting to come in. I'm still waiting on the biggies, the VA, SS, and the military. 

Yesterday I was feeling a little restless, so I left early in the morning and drove to the Arkansas State Veteran's Cemetary. It's about an hour and a half away and I wanted to check it out in person before making a decision of using it. It is a very lovely, serene setting. There are several sections and since it is only about 2 years old, there are a lot of available plots. I wasn't able to talk to anyone as the door was locked, at least on the end of the visitor center I was at. But, I drove through it. There's a flag plaza and further down is a committal pavilion where services can be held that overlooks a pond. From what I read today, they will not open a grave while the family it present. So, the ceremony will be held in the pavilion and after we leave, they will bury his ashes. I think Bill would appreciate the fact that it's out in the country. He knew I liked driving on country roads instead of highways. So, once I get the packet from the VA I can make those arrangements. 

Today I hadn't planned on doing any "business", but when I went to the grocery store, the debit card was declined. So, I went home and got my packet of everything and headed to the bank. The lobby is open by appointment only, so I sat in the parking lot and called them. I hadn't thought that the debit card was just in Bill's name (I always had the checkbook) and that was why it was declined. Social Security doesn't waste any time. When they are notified of a death, they don't sit on it! I  was able to get a new debit card in my name, and until I know that all automatic deposits have been made, I don't have to do anything with the account. Once everything has come in his name, I can have his name taken off the account. I will be able to keep the same account. We've had it for 30 years and I really didn't want to learn a new account number. They made a copy of the death certificate and just told me to call when I was ready to redo the account. The girl was nice enough to bring everything to me in the parking lot. While I was sitting there I called the Credit Union and talked to a friend who works there. They were also aware he had died and that the military deposit was going to be deposited and then immediately reversed. Bobbie told me she had just mailed me a letter about it. I told her I knew they were going to do it. And the same applies, when everything in Bill's name has been processed, it will be changed over to just my name.

I figured after that I may as well contact the utility companies and was able to transfer all of those to my name with no trouble at all. I was afraid I was going to have to pay deposits again, but I was on all of the accounts as a responsible party so it was just a name change. I did have to get a new account number for the gas company, but no deposits.

I've felt like I didn't do anything today, but I did. I told Emily the strange thing was that my eyes hurt like I had been crying for hours, and I hadn't shed a tear! So, I don't know what that was about.

I checked on the cats again yesterday afternoon and they are much better. Margaret said that yesterday (Thursday) was the first day that Cat had not thrown up. And they've been there a week! She said Mouse is still sneezing, but not as much. But, he doesn't want to release them yet since they had to come back so soon after the last time.

I'm going shopping with Emily and the girls tomorrow. I need some new shoes and there's a Skechers store at the Tanger Outlet Mall in Mississippi, just south of Memphis. I told her I don't know how long I'll hold up. I'm not the best shopper to begin with and she is a marathon shopper. But, she said there are only a few places they need to go. So, we'll see what happens.

That's about it. I've had a couple of sleepless nights this week. I'm not sure why as I've gone right to sleep. But, when I wake up about an hour later, which is normal, I can't go back to sleep, even with Benadryl. But, I don't have to get up at any special time, so I've gotten up and played computer games in the dark until I can't see straight. We'll see what happens tonight. I don't want to get in the habit of taking something to help me sleep. I take enough pills as it is.

It doesn't seem possible that May is almost over already. It already feels like summer and the forecast for us is 90s next week already. I hate to see what July and August will be like!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

It has been one week now since Bill has passed away and many are wondering how I'm doing. I think I'm doing OK. Granted I still have moments when a hug from a grandson, who is now bigger than me, makes me tear up, or the tears that come with sympathy cards or messages start a marathon session of tears. But, for the most part, I think I'm doing OK.

It helps that is has been a busy week with the destruction/reconstruction of the storage area. As most projects go, there have been some unexpected things pop up, but as of yesterday afternoon, when the storm hit, the new insulation and plywood was all finished and covered in plastic sheeting. I was hoping the siding could start going on today, but we've got a nasty storm headed our way right now, so I don't think any work will get done today. But, that's OK, too. The area is protected.

I haven't been able to accomplish too much with the business part of death because I still don't have any death certificates! I don't know if the COVID-19 deaths are slowing things down at the crime lab in Tennessee, but as far as I know, the crematory has not received them. And, anything official has to have a certified death certificate. I've managed a few things such as cancelling his phone line and his DirecTv account. They couldn't just transfer it to my name, according to AT&T. I had to set up a new account. But, my bill is going to be half of what we were paying for a full year before going up to full price and then I can always bargain with them. Yet, when I called DirecTV, they said I could just transfer the old one to my name. So, his has been cancelled, my new dish and receivers were installed yesterday, and I'm not getting all the channels I'm supposed to, and I keep getting the screensaver during the middle of a program. It keeps telling me there's no signal, yet, I still get sound from the program and I can just hit the exit button and the screensaver goes away and the program is back. It's going to take a little getting used to. But, the installer only lives a block away so he said to call him directly if there is any problem. Of course with the rain today the cloud cover will make it hard.

People have been asking when Bill's service will be and of course the answer is still "I don't know, I haven't received his ashes yet". I think I have it narrowed down to the end of June. And while that seems like a long time to wait, it's not like most people think a funeral should be, as in being held soon after death. So, we wait.

I did finish his obituary yesterday and am uploading it to the crematory this morning. I found out from the newspaper that I can't submit it directly to them, it has to come from a funeral home. I guess that makes it "official". I guess they will bill be for it since the crematory has already been paid. It is not "the story of his life" like they suggested. I don't like those myself, so the one that I wrote is what I wanted. And since I used to be the obituary desk when I worked at the newspaper, I knew how to do it. I did find it a little harder to do when it's your husband, but I think it is tasteful. I'll upload it here in another post.

I had an unusual encounter a couple of days ago. Bryan and I went to Lowe's to buy the insulation and wood and we looked at security doors for the new access. I found one I liked online and of course they didn't have it in the store. I'm going to let Lowe's install it and when I was setting it up and chatting with the associate about why we needed it, he stopped and asked if I lived on Holly St in about the 1600 block. I told him yes, but he had the wrong block and when I told him the address, he said he thought it was his parent's house. Sure enough, when I asked his name, it was his parent's house! He remembered the storage area well and said that yes, it always stayed wet with them too. He also said that he and his wife lived in the apartment for a few months when he returned from the army. Talk about a small world!

We got a new great-grandson Monday. Bill would have loved to have seen his picture, especially with his big sisters holding him. Maybe they will tell him stories of his great-grandpa.

That's all I've got for today. I still have to decide what to do with this blog. I miss writing it. It's been suggested by more than one person that I turn it into a book. I'll have to really think on that.

Have a good holiday week-end! Remember the fallen who gave their lives for the freedoms we have. But, please, don't thank current members, their day is in November. So many people get them all lumped together. Let this day remain for the fallen.