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More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-12-2006, 07:28 PM   #1
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More Strange In Law Stuff

For those that don't remember or are new, my FIL and MIL were recently put in an assisted living/nursing facility.* DW, SIL and I are cleaning out the "personal" stuff before we can do an estate sale.

He's a retired AF brigadier/steel company VP and here's a few strange items I've come across.


Over a dozen gift packages of liquor (I assume from the VP days) so I'm covered for booze for a year -- ok, ok maybe a month.

A 1943 copy of the Navy Bluejackets Manual for enlisted men.

His service .45 automatic (he was a pilot) and original WWII boxes of ammo.

An ammo box half full of WWII M1 ammo clips -- ready to use if I had the gun.


I don't know if any of you are interested but I thought these were interesting.


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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-12-2006, 10:21 PM   #2
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

I watch the Clean Sweep show on Discovery occasionally. It's eye opening to hear the emotilnal power of stuff and what it means to people. It would be interesting to know what meaning these things had to your FIL,

Judy
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-13-2006, 04:52 AM   #3
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

I'm not sure anything specific has a meaning to him. At 85 he is emotional about everything and with Alzheimer's he gets to relive things repeatedly. Basically, he and my MIL were pack rats. They have draws full of greeting cards, closets stuffed with old bank statements and cancelled checks and old stuff crammed in everywhere. Cleaning this out is a major effort. The estate sale people told us to get out the "personal" things. It is taking us forever.
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-13-2006, 07:21 AM   #4
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

I am dreading the day I have to go through the folks' stuff. They have an entire two story garage full of crap that they mostly have not looked at in years to decades. Plus the attic. Plus the mammoth safe. Plus who knows how many safe deposit boxes. Mom has CDs strewn about the country in different banks. And what the hell am I going to do with the contraband I will surely find (unregistered psitols, hunting rifles, large sums of folding money, Gawd knows what else).

Assuming they ever update their estate plan as I have been asking for years (I am the executor of a will that hasn't been updated in 10+ years, gulp), I will have to start pushing them to at least get all the money in one place.
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-13-2006, 07:57 AM   #5
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

Brewer start doing it now, it will be easier in the long run if you push them a little at a time instead of the "oh crap gotta do it NOW" pushing.

When I inherited/bought my grandmothers house I found all kinds of interesting things. She was from the depression era so under the counter in the kitchen were all kinds of "things", balls of string, used steel wool, a whole box of flattened cans, another box with soap bar slivers and the most interesting thing of all was her bottom plate which she never used.
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-13-2006, 08:35 AM   #6
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

Hmmm

I believe we all have our stories - circa 1993, selling the old Vic in the PacNW(time for Mom to come live with us in N.O.) she would sneak stuff we had outside for the moving sale back into the house - wanted to know what it would cost to ship a few of the alley cats she'd been feeding for years - of course she'd long ago named them.

Now an executor for step daughter in spare room - referee - ing spats over items of zilch monetary value.

Sigh - don't know what happened to Dad's 1943 Bluejacket's Manual - kept it for decades.

STUFF!!!! - do you own it or does it own you? Worth pondering from time to time.

heh heh heh heh heh
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-13-2006, 08:37 AM   #7
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

I just bought my plane ticket for phase I of "the big cleanout".. Mom alone in a 5-bedroom house with attic, cellar, 2-car garage AND a giant shed (must be 12' x 14' at least). All full of (mostly) junk. For years she has been saying.. "well, I don't want to get rid of things because I don't know what you might want.. You have to come and go through it."

So we go through it, take a few things and say, OK now you can start clearing out stuff..
but then she says "I wish you would go through it..."

Sigh.

She eats out all the time so on the last visit I tried to help her clean out the fridge and the cupboards of all the "antiques" like 10-year-old boxes of Rice-A-Roni.. Some "tough love" is in order.. *

I'm not sure if it is crueler or kinder to let her wallow in her collections of broken Polaroid cameras and CB radios my father left behind, horrible dried flowers and gift candles that someone gave her (the ladies in her group are always 'gifting' each other little things), toys that she buys at yard sales for my sister's kids (but that she never wants my sister to take away with her..). I think these things make her feel 'secure', even though to me (also a pack rat) it just looks like a mountain of crap that makes it impossible to move around the house.

Thanks, brewer, for reminding me to make her give us a list of all her accounts as well as her 'stashes'.. I know at one point she had a diamond bracelet that she would bury in different places in the backyard if we ever left on vacation..(!) *I wouldn't want to inadvertently leave someone else a buried treasure..
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-13-2006, 08:40 AM   #8
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

My mother has mentioned on a few occasions about what a major undertaking it's going to be to sort through everything when my grandmother passes away. Grandmom has lived in the same house since 1950, and, basically, I come from a family of packrats!

I'm trying to take a different outlook on it though. First off, the house is long since paid in full, so it's not like it would have to be sold immediately. And my uncle, who lives there now with Grandma, will most likely still be there. So I'd like to think we could just take our time and go through stuff at our leisure.

Now one thing I can see that will really be overwhelming, is once everybody else has passed on. I'm an only child, and on that side of the family an only grandchild. So unless stuff gets sold off and downsized along the way, I'd ultimately end up with Grandma's house, my Mom's place in Southern MD, and my Mom's new place in Florida that she plans on moving to when she retires in 2 1/2 years. That's going to be a lot of junk to go through!

I am dreading the day I have to go through the folks' stuff. They have an entire two story garage full of crap that they mostly have not looked at in years to decades. Plus the attic.

When I had my 24x40 garage built last year, originally I had planned for a gambrel barn-style second story. The county told me no, so I had to settle for a 1-story building. Probably for the best, too, because having 960 square feet of second story would just give me too much of a temptation to pack stuff away and forget about it, as opposed to forcing me to go through it and get rid of stuff.

My next-door neighbor, who's also related (her father and my Granddad's father were brothers), has been in her place since 1971, and she inherited it from her mother. Back in May they rented a 20+ foot long dumpster to clear stuff out. They filled that sucker up to the brim, but it doesn't seem to have made a dent in their total pile. They have a 2-car garage that you can't even get a riding lawn mower in. Plus a full basement packed with stuff. She's going to be 82 soon. I'm sure her family is going to have a time going through everything after she passes on.
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-13-2006, 08:57 AM   #9
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

ARG! I've talked about this here before, but done nothing yet!

My mom died over two years ago, and we STILL have a house-full of stuff sitting there. My brother and I are completely avoiding it because the house is in Ohio, we are in WA and VA. Neither of us wants to spend a precious vacation on it...

Mom repeatedly said, "I don't want you to be stuck with a houseful of crap like I was" [when HER mom died] so she tried to clean out, but there is still a houseful of crap.

She saved all the best antiques, etc. from grandma's and now that my SO has moved in I have Zero room for it, but hate to get rid of the family heirlooms... sigh. Like Andre, the house is paid for, but we are still paying taxes and insurance. It's just so hard to sell your childhood home... we will finally feel like there is no "home" to go home to.

If real estate in Ohio was worth more, I might be more eager to get the house sold, but it seems I was lucky enough to inherit in the only place that hasn't appreciated in 10 years. Maybe I can sell it to TheFed!
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-13-2006, 09:40 AM   #10
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

i now have stacks of love letters my parents wrote each other as well as other paperwork including very personal materials from when they were involved with transactional analysis in the 70s, marriage encounter programs, etc.

these materials are rather extensive as my parents were determined to live an examined life. i always admired them, being of that pre-mushroom generation, to live with such courage as to be able to explore themselves.

alzheimer's, or any other similarly effecting disease, makes it especially difficult to rummage through your parent's things before they are dead. beyond just an invasion of privacy, it feels a bit ghoulish.
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-13-2006, 10:02 AM   #11
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

I remember about 12 years ago, my Mom gave me a box of stuff that she had been keeping, which had letters and stuff my Dad had written to her after they split up. I still have it packed away somewhere. My Dad's pretty much the anti-social, un-emotional, silent type, and can get a bit cranky in his old age (he's 60 but sometimes acts "older"). But it was kind of a tear jerker to see him spill his guts like he did in some of his letters, and see all that emotion pour out.

Sometimes, I think some things are better left unread.
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-13-2006, 10:12 AM   #12
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

One of the things I got my mom to do is a 'death book'... I do not remember if I had heard about it here or somewhere else...

It is a book that is a specific color (her's is orange) so I can find it easily... she put in ALL of her accounts, all of her safety deposit boxes.. all of her CDs etc. etc. etc..

She also has information on what she wants on her headstone, where her plot is located (I do not know!!!), what she wants to 'give' away to whomever outside the will (small stuff like dishes, etc. nothing that would be controversial)...

I have told her I will not look at it until she dies or wants to show me something in it...

Now, for the people who have parents etc. who think they will live forever and not do anything to help you out... sorry, they will not do this at all...
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-13-2006, 10:30 AM   #13
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

texas, that's an excellent idea. we didn't have to do that because we were so aware and open about mom's alzheimer's that we discussed everything as she deteriorated so i now know pretty much everything she wanted done.

on a similar line of thinking (& i apologize for the threadjack), i would add to what you've said by suggesting that while your parents or grandparents are still alive it is not too late to pump these living repositories for all sorts of information.

before my great aunt died at 94, at my mother's suggestion, we got a tape recorder and a few of the cousins of my generation interviewed our aunt/grandmother (i always called her "aunt grandma" because once i got confused as a kid). we got all sorts of stuff about that side of the family that we didn't know before. aunt grandma was really happy to tell us about our ancestors.

as we've done a bit of fact checking since then, seems aunt grandma was a bit of a wise guy (apparently it runs in the family). turns out greatgrandfather really wasn't a horse thief afterall.
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-13-2006, 10:38 AM   #14
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

It is a book that is a specific color (her's is orange) so I can find it easily... she put in ALL of her accounts, all of her safety deposit boxes.. all of her CDs etc. etc. etc..

One of my roommates, who is also one of my best friends, has been in the hospital for about 4 weeks now. His kidneys failed, and he had other complications on top of that...more than any 30 year old should ever have to go through! Bills are the least of his worries right now, as he was literally fighting for his life for awhile, but bills also aren't going to just sit on the sidelines and wait for you to get better. Fortunately he only had three things to worry about...his car payment, the internet bill, and his Netflix account. So between his mother and me, we were able to make sure that everything's getting paid.

It really did make me think though...what would happen if it were me in the hospital instead? I have a mortgage, and if I fell behind in that sucker, we could lose the house! And since it's co-owned with my uncle and my grandma, I'm sure they would not be amused. And then there's the electric bill, water bill, property taxes, homeowner's insurance, credit card bills, etc. I'm thinking about making up a folder with important info on what to do if something ever happened to me and I became incapacitated for a long time. Basically instructions on how to transfer money to pay the mortgage and other bills, what gets paid from where, etc. And then just leave it with my uncle, mother, or someone else trustworthy, just in case.

I'm only 36, but this crisis with my friend just drives home the point that anything can happen at any time, and there are no guarantees in life.
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-13-2006, 11:02 AM   #15
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

Having set up automatic payments via your credit card would be an advantage here.
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-13-2006, 12:09 PM   #16
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

We found a pill bottle full of small fish hooks in my grandma's medicine cabinet. But she enjoyed fishing and used to make her own jigs so it isn't surprising that she'd have fish hooks around. Mixed in with the medicine was an odd place to find them.

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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-13-2006, 05:13 PM   #17
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud
One of the things I got my mom to do is a 'death book'...* *I do not remember if I had heard about it here or somewhere else...

Now, for the people who have parents etc. who think they will live forever and not do anything to help you out... sorry, they will not do this at all...
My father had it all together and I think we cleaned his place out to the bare walls in about a day.

My in-laws didn't see any need to have a will, durable POA or medical POA. DW didn't want to "push" them. I was a pain in the butt until they finally got all of those in 2002. Yes! They were 81 at the time. They really didn't think they needed the yet! I truly think he figured on living forever.
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-13-2006, 07:36 PM   #18
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

* *When my aunt passed several years ago, I got the task of cleaning the house out (no children, I was the closest ot the nieces and nephews.) *
* *Found jewerly and some $$ under the kitchen sink mixed in with garbage. The spare room was piled with boxes --* it appeared to be every christmas present she'd been given for several years. (sadly, some of those things, like the gift certificates to the local grocery, could have helped her out). Plus cabinets full of lotions, soaps and other goods --* many of them expired by decades.*
* * I donated a lot,* kept what I could. Some of the still-usable gift certificates I returned to the givers (who seemed rather peeved, tho at me or DA I wasn't sure.)
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-16-2006, 10:41 AM   #19
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

My mother is hyper-organized and proactive (verging on clinical OCD, I suspect). She has only 2 filing drawers (and they aren't full) of paperwork. She has a will and all that jazz, a list of assets and their locations and beneficiaries, and no accumulated junk (but a LOT of clothing). In fact, she's so with-it, in response to my request that she leave a little milk and juice in the fridge for our return from italy, we found expired milk and eggs (the juice was still OK)--she must've bought them shortly after we left South Carolina. She cannot abide having any task hanging over her--it becomes a stressor that must be relieved. It took me decades to train her to stop asking "Is everything under control?" as her first question when I lived in another state and called every week! That's a question this INTP can hardly make sense of, much less answer
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff
Old 07-16-2006, 05:50 PM   #20
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Re: More Strange In Law Stuff

Wait til they are gone out of their house (one way or another) then have an open house for relatives to take whatever they want, then get an auction house in to take everything else on consignment, then call the 1-800-GOT-JUNK people (or equivalent) to take the rest.

It is the only way. Don't keep anything that can be replaced (i.e. family pictures are OK but heirlooms can be replaced). Been there done that three times, and #4 is pending. If you are trying to sell the house, get the auction house to leave a sparce sampling of furniture behind until the place has sold. If the executor agrees, maybe hire a home packaging consultant before the auction house.

If you want to share the family photo albums, get them scanned and copied. We now have JPEGs as well as newer albums (not yellow)

I was no more able to do this than anyone else so outsourcing was the only way. In one, we did a contents/garage sale but it was not really worth the effort. Probably got an extra $1500 but put in 10 days work.
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