Day 128, unit walk-thru, more history

Tuesday, 4/9/2019

First item today was to meet with Angela Lamothe, the “upgrade manager” at C.H. We viewed my

unit #621

in detail and talked about what they would do standard, and what they would do that would cost me extra (but no numbers yet).

We decided that the kitchenette area will be remodeled with a new microwave, new fridge (both the extra-cost stainless steel instead of the standard white) and changed cabinetry. The existing cabinetry is not exactly crude, but not elegant and the paint is somewhat worn and chipped.

I decided to have the bathroom vanity redone. This isn’t part of the standard move-in upgrade. However I thought the present cabinetry was ugly and outdated, and it will be well worth some money to make it nice.

In both cases there will be several choices to be made of finishes and materials. I said I want to have my decorator along for that conference. Later we settled on Monday afternoon, and I talked to Amy on the phone and that works for her. So next Monday I will finally get a decorator really involved. (By the way, last I heard from Chris’s niece Tyra was a vague, “not sure this will work with my schedule” and no follow-up since, so I’ve basically written her off.)

There will be more work done, specifically new floor covering and paint on all surfaces. I elected to postpone that work until after the major sixth-floor remodel that will happen beginning in August. They would normally re-do the floor covering then because they pull out the floor-mounted heating/cooling units, replacing them with ducts in the ceiling. That leaves holes in the floor covering. I decided that I would have a hard floor (faux wood) in the living half of the unit, and new carpet in the bedroom half. In the meantime I will live with the beige carpet that exists. They will do a thorough clean of it hoping to get out a few of the dents and stains from the prior tenant’s furniture.

Paint is also re-done after the big remodel, so I will also live with the existing beige paint until then. However, I will have Amy select the colors to be used now, along with the flooring choices.

So, home to start doing more

memorabilia triage.

I’m trying to empty the bottom two shelves of the last cabinet. First up was a box of Marian’s memorabilia from her school years. I swear she never looked in this box all the years we were married. (Maybe she went out and looked in it when I wasn’t around? But I doubt it.) There was the Oakland High School annual from her graduation year, and mementos of proms, and a whole pack of report cards from middle school. (Somewhat to my surprise, she didn’t get all-As. There was a fair sprinkling of B and B+ grades as well.) I winnowed out documents showing her high school and college graduations and saved them. There was the 1952 Cal Blue and Gold in which she appears as a postage-stamp sized headshot in the hundreds of graduates in the school of Arts and Letters, but there was only that one tiny picture in a volume an inch and a half thick, so I didn’t keep it.

A box labeled “Work Misc” had assorted memos and–I cannot fathom the reason for this–desk calendar pages. Marian had a calendar with month-pages on her desk where she noted all her meetings and to-dos; and she saved them. Here were the 12 months of each of several years from 1990 through 1996, her final work year. If anyone had ever wanted to know, they could learn when we went to Chris for haircuts or she had meetings or work deadlines. To the recycle.

Also in this box, though, was perhaps the only extant copy of the manual she wrote, Introduction to IBM Direct Access Storage Devices. She wrote it while working for IBM in Honolulu in 1965-8. She was running customer training classes for the new IBM 360 line, and many customer programmers had never been exposed to disk drives, so she wrote this manual explaining their principles and how to write code to use them. It was widely praised, and here were letters to Marian from IBM managers and from customers praising the manual, saying how clear and helpful it had been. I kept the manual and tucked the letters inside it.

Next up, a stack of fat three-ring binders that contain software manuals she contributed to. Hundreds of pages of detailed software reference and usage info for systems that nobody uses or even remembers now, like OSI/CS or the EDX Communication Facility. Oh, and APL for VSPC, a product we both worked on for several years here and in England. All computer industry veterans suffer from this irony, looking back on the hard, diligent work they poured into brilliant projects that after only a decade or two are completely forgotten and irrelevant. All these pages go in the recycle. The three-ring binders I can take to FOPAL where they have a special spot for binders that people can take free.

But there was another binder, with a nice padded cover. Not containing manuals, but containing all the letters she had received from various IBM managers and co-workers on the occasion of her 30th anniversary, in 1991, and on her retirement in 1996. I’m pulling the letters out of the clear plastic sheet protectors. I’ll put them in a single envelope and keep them.

Delving further, I found two boxes containing all our credit card statements from about 1987 to some recent year. In the desk I keep the statements for the past 12 months. Each time I pay a credit card bill, I put it on the top of the stack, and throw away the matching one from the bottom of the stack. I suppose I knew we had these historic records. I think I recall once in the late 90s I got out a year’s worth and did a summary of our annual spending, just to reassure myself. After that, nobody touched them. They would have nicely filled the gap between the end of the hundreds of cancelled checks I threw away last week, and the present day. Keep? Nope nope nope. Out.

Final box on the bottom shelf: old tax records! The bundles of tax-related documents for each year from about 1979 through 2013. In the closet in the house is a small box where we have kept the most recent five years’ returns. I’m writing to my financial advisor now to ask, how much of this is really necessary. I’m guessing, none of it, but we’ll see what he says. Later: the advice is to keep the last 7 years complete, i.e. the return and the fat envelope of 1099s, supporting receipts etc.; but keep just  the actual return document for prior years. On examination of the box, it appears that Marian was doing that; the returns up to 2010 had been stripped of the supporting docs.

I managed to get all the tax returns from now back, into the one banker’s box. Next year may overflow. Or next year I will accidentally lose (“oopsie!”) say 1970-1980. While working on that, got an email saying this year’s tax return is ready. I’ll have to go pick it up and pay the preparer tomorrow or Friday. Then came


and this day is getting crazy long. Deborah is the woman I tried to contact to run an estate sale, and hadn’t returned my message. Now she did, and came over at 3pm to look the house over. Like every other person who sees the house for the first time, she loved it. She was complimentary on how far I had gotten at de-cluttering and organizing. She looked the goods over, opined that the sale might generate $3000, and we would do a 50-50 split. She’s going to come around Monday afternoon to start pricing. Which means I’ve got to move on with finishing the garage triage and as much as possible, get the things I mean to keep sequestered into one marked-off area.




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