Stolen Quote: Great Things

We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love. ~ Mother Theresa


Rats! That’s not likely to make me rich and famous.

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Stolen Quote: Peaceful Cessation

Those who have the strength and the love to sit with a dying patient in the silence that goes beyond words will know that this moment is neither frightening nor painful, but a peaceful cessation of the functioning of the body. ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


My father-in-law, Jake, passed away at home one month ago. But the night before he passed was anything but peaceful. He grew restive, and kept calling on my wife and me to help him with trivial things. Then he began hallucinating. His pain increased, and the pain medication from hospice was not helping. He was a strong man, even up to his death. He kept trying to crawl out of his hospice-provided hospital bed, and it was all I could do to keep him in place.

At about midnight we felt desperate and called hospice. They sent out a nurse who lived an hour-and-a-half away. That hour-and-a-half of waiting for her arrival seemed like a year-and-a-half. Jake would not sit still. He writhed about in pain. Sometimes he seemed to imagine that he was cooking and eating, based upon the way he moved his hands. He bit hard into his hand several times, and drew blood, thinking he was eating.

Finally the nurse arrived. She gave him a strong dose of morphine. But still Jake struggled, cried out in pain, hallucinated, and kept biting his hand. It took about an hour for the morphine to ease his pain and calm him down. At about 2:30 am he fell asleep. The nurse went home, and my wife and I managed to catch a few hours of sleep, ourselves.

Jake never woke up. Thank God! No, thank morphine!! He peacefully ceased breathing the next afternoon. This “peaceful cessation” must be what Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was referring to.

Kubler-Ross fails to mention the vital role of morphine in achieving a peaceful death. Some people just have to have it. Death is not always as easy as sometimes portrayed. When the miracle of modern medicine manages to keep us alive into our eighties and nineties, we may need another medical miracle to achieve a peaceful death. Morphine seems to be the answer.

I hope Jake truly is in a better place. He was a flawed man, but overall a good man. It was an honor to be by his side during his last hours, and to help ease his pain and his transition to whatever lies beyond. If you find yourself in a position to do the same for somebody you love, do not hesitate. You will never regret being there for that person.

Just don’t forget the morphine.

Does Not Work Well With Others

This vehicle, at the outdoor museum in Goff’s, California, does not work well with others.

I usually got good grades in school. But there was one grade I never scored well at. I never achieved an “O” for “Outstanding” at working well with others. In fact, some of my teachers criticized me for this lack of social skills. Damn you Miss Durklemeyer!

But now that I’m much older I realize that it isn’t just me. Nobody works well with others. Not even Miss Durklemeyer.

This has been very evident to me while dealing with some recent challenges. Early this month my father-in-law, Jake, passed away. And he passed away at an inconvenient time. Damn you Jake! Had Jake been more cooperative, he would have stuck around to deal with the aftermath of an uncooperative tenant.

This tenant had been evicted from one of Jake’s rentals just a week before Jake died. You can read more on her by clicking this link. She was evicted because she wasn’t being cooperative with paying the rent. And she was a hoarder, and she left behind a house and yard full of junk. Damn her!

My wife and I are in the middle of dealing with Jake’s estate. And on top of that we must clean up the property that the evicted hoarder left full of junk. Thus far we have spent nearly $3,000 of estate money on this cleanup, and have hauled away four 30 cubic-yard dumpsters full of rubbish.

But we’ve had help. Help from workers whom we’ve hired. Or are they tortoises? Help from workers who’ve required rides to and from the cleanup site. And help from workers who said they were coming back to help more, and never showed up.

We pay well, but money doesn’t always overcome the human condition. That condition of not working well with others. Damn you condition, and damn you, workers!

We need Jake’s death certificate to handle a number of paperwork issues for the estate. But we’re going on a month since Jake’s uncooperative demise, yet still no certificate. I understand this is normal for our underfunded county. Apparently nobody is allowed to die here, because the county can’t afford it. Damn you, taxpayers, and damn you bureaucrats!

Property appraisers get the value all wrong. Relatives get angry about being left out of the will. And doctor’s offices continue to call, to remind us of upcoming appointments for Jake, even though we’ve told them he’s dead.

Tenants don’t pay the rent. Handymen gouge us when charging for repairs on rentals. And visitors stop by when we’re busy, then stay too long. Damn you all!

Nobody works well with others. This is not my own jeremiad; everyone has this problem. There is no such thing as teamwork. We humans will never cooperate fully with each other.

But maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe this keeps us independent, unique, and interesting. Otherwise maybe we’d be a bunch of robots, slaves to conformity, and dull as dishwater.

I’ve learned that if I want to work with others I must have patience and a sense of humor. Meditating on my omphalos also helps. It calms me down, and prevents me from throttling my uncooperative compatriots.

And as I relax and settle down I reflect that I, too, can be a pain in the ass. I’m not so easy to work with, myself. I demand much from others, and get pissed off when they don’t cooperate. I try to hide my anger, but apparently my red face and creased forehead give me away. Damn my face!

Sometimes I give up and just do the job myself. Yeah, that’s teamwork, right?

I realize I’ve been this way since grade school. At least according to Miss Durklemeyer. And still, I have not learned my lesson.

I’m like everyone else. I do not, and will never, work well with others.

Three-Day Notice

Note: This is a follow-up to Jake, Lisa, & the IRS, my post of April 25, 2017.

Lisa has rented a house from my father-in-law, Jake, for nearly 25 years. And Lisa hasn’t paid rent for over 20 of those years. Jake won’t admit that, but my wife and I know. We’ve been looking at his financial records.

Lisa hasn’t paid rent, because she was Jake’s mistress. Her free rent was pussy-pay.

This was an affair that Jake hid from my mother-in-law until she died last December. The affair ended years ago, but not the need for continuing the cover-up, in the form of continuous free rent. Hush money.

But after my mother-in-law died, Jake decided he’d had enough of Lisa’s freeloading. He told her she had to move or start paying her monthly dues.

Lisa did neither.

Finally after much gut-wrenching irresolution, Jake decided to evict her. On a hot summer day, Lisa was served a three-day notice to get the hell out.

But the pussy-purveyor wouldn’t leave.

And so she was served with a lawsuit for unlawful detainer.

That didn’t faze her. She stayed put, and made nary an effort to move out of her cathouse. She was a tenant and she knew her rights. Which are much stronger than a landlord’s rights.

This led to a notice from the sheriff’s department, officially instructing her to vacate the premises within five days.

Instead, she filed an “ex parte stay of execution unlawful detainer” motion. This mouthful of words allowed her an emergency court hearing, where she could request an additional 40 days to move.

Jake hired an attorney.

On a Wednesday, her motion was summarily denied. On Thursday morning the sheriff showed up at Lisa’s door. Lisa was already gone. It had taken 43 days and over $1,000 in legal fees from the date she was served with the initial three-day notice to get out, before she actually got out.

But at last, the pussy-pusher was vanquished.

However she left behind her crazy sister. Her sister wept hysterically, and angrily threatened lawsuits, and called the deputies “assholes”. But she finally complied and left the property, only to stand one foot off the property line, while haranguing my wife and me with all kinds of invectives, pleadings, and crazy nonsense.

We ignored the crazy lady as best as possible while changing the locks. Meanwhile, Jake stayed at home. He’s an invalid so he couldn’t change the locks, himself. And besides, this is a scene he wanted to stay as far away from as possible.

Even so, it got to him. Jake fell ill later that day and took an ambulance ride to the hospital. Now he is lying on what could very well be his deathbed.

Lisa also left behind her nephew, who was living in the backyard in a motor home. He was very pleasant and left peacefully. But he complained that he had been paying rent to Lisa, and that she didn’t tell him about the eviction until the day before. He claimed Lisa owed some of that rent money back to him.

The crazy sister claimed the same thing.

And Lisa left behind one cat, three dogs, two full-grown pigs (big, hog-sized pigs, not those little potbellies), and four chickens.

Lisa also left behind piles and piles of junk in her front yard, backyard, garage, and within the house itself. Lisa is a hoarder.

A small example of the mess Lisa left behind.

It will take months of work and thousands of dollars to restore this house into rentable condition. Karma is a sneaky son-of-a-bitch. Jake has been wanting out of this world for a long time. But he hasn’t been able to escape before this mountain fell upon him.

As Jake lies on what is likely his deathbed, he has to deal with the consequences of his cheating past. And so do my wife and me, in our efforts to clean up the mess Lisa and Jake left behind.

So I’m gonna be busy for a while. It may affect my posting regularity on this blog, and my reading and commenting on other blogs. Be advised.

This is your three-day notice.

The Mysterious Old Place

MRI of an old fogey’s brain. Mysterious looking old place, ain’t it?

When I was young my grandparents did many strange things. But they were much older than me. Their minds lived in a mysterious old place, packed with esoteric wisdom gathered from decades of experience.

To be old was a mystery that I could not question. I would see them engage in unusual behavior and conclude, “They must know things that I cannot know, because I am so young.”

I remember asking my grandfather why he put his pants on backward. He looked down, then sputtered a bit as if at a loss for words. He began by explaining all the things arthritis does to you, and tried to convince me that wearing backward pants was therapeutic to the hip joints. But when he noticed my creased forehead he gave up and blurted, “Wait’ll you get to my age, then you’ll understand!”

That was all he needed to say. I was convinced he wore his pants that way for a very good reason that one day, many many years down the road, would become clear to me.

And now, here I am, many many years down that road. I now live in the mysterious old place my grandparents once occupied. And I notice how often young people defer to me. They seem to regard me as an oracle of occult knowledge. A possessor of gnosis and ancient arcana. A black box aerated by wafting unseeable winds of wisdom.

And I have come to the same ageless realization that I’m sure my forebears came to. And that is, my grandparents were full of bullshit. And more importantly, I realized that my youth made me blind to the ignorance of my elders.

“Wait‘ll you get to my age,” is a magic bullet explanation that has stood the test of time for countless generations.

Are your grandkids harassing you because you voted for Donald Trump? Just wink at them, give them a wise look, and say something like, “You know, when you’re my age you’ve learned some things that just can’t be explained to young folks like you. But you’ll understand one day, and be glad I voted for him.”

Maybe some youngsters in your family are getting on your case for gambling away your pension at the casino. It won’t work to tell them that you want to win a big pile of money so that just once in your life you can act like a bigshot and do lots of bigshot things before you up and croak. They’ll just tell you that you’re old and going to die soon, and you don’t need anything more than that pension check to carry you creaking along until it’s time for that final ride in the coffin.

Instead you have to play the mystery card. You have to give them a whiff of your black box. Your bullshit box. So just say something like, “I’ve been going to casinos all my life. I don’t make the kind of gambling mistakes that young people make. At my age I’ve learned the right way to gamble. Just wait and see. I’m going to win a big jackpot one day, and you’ll inherit it.”

That should suffice. Young folks are in constant awe of our mysterious old place. We can parlay it into excuses for all kinds of outrageous and foolish behavior. But we do have to be careful. We do have our kryptonite. We have one weakness that can get us into a world of trouble.

And that is when young people suspect us of being senile. Be on the alert when they ask you questions like, “Hi Grandpa, do you remember me?” Or, “Grandpa, what year is it?” Or, “Grandpa, why do you wear velcro shoes?”

They’re trying to gauge your memory skills. So carry crib notes on you at all times. Learn how to fake it. There might even be a book for sale on Amazon on how to cover up dementia. Hell, if there isn’t, write one. If you can remember how to write.

The last thing you need is to be dragged away from the comfort of your own house, to spend the rest of your life in some pissy, stinky nursing home. There’s too many old people at those places, and you might even have to share a room with one of them.

Never forget: It’s far better to live in the mysterious old place, than the crappy old place. So be wise, and keep the mystery alive!