Day 169, blood, bed, realty

Monday, 5/20/2019

Cannabis report: a soft-gel containing 10mg CBD, 2.5mg THC, had no effect. An hour after taking it I might have felt just a tiny bit buzzed, about ½ glass of ale buzzed, but it could just as well have been imagination. And there was no difference in my sleep, either in duration or frequency of waking. So tonight I will try the 3:1 gummies. Each gummy contains 6mg CBD, 1.8mg THC, so I will take two, for a total of 12mg:3.6mg. That will be 20% step-up in CBD, 50% in THC. Effects to be reported tomorrow.

After my run, I decided to try giving blood again. Back on Day 66 I tried to donate blood and was turned away for low hemoglobin, 11.9. Following that I talked to my doctor, who wasn’t much concerned, and have been taking an iron supplement. For a month I took one daily; for the last few weeks only two per week. Stanford blood center has been sending out emails, critical shortage of type O (my type), so I’ll give it a try.

My hemoglobin came in at 15.9, four points higher than the last time. So I was allowed to donate.

Following that I drove to IKEA again. As noted a few days ago, I selected a bed frame there. But later, reading customer reviews on the IKEA website, there were a number of people complaining. The headboard of this “Trysil” frame has gaps between the cross-boards. People complain that their pillows slip out between the mattress and the lower cross-board. In the picture on the product page, it doesn’t look like that would happen. However, when I look at it in the store it is clear there is a gap of an inch or two between the bottom of the board and the top of the mattress. Why?

I figured it out. Some of the IKEA mattresses are 9-10 inches thick, and some are 11-12 inches thick. At the store, the Trysil frame is displayed with a “Morgedal” mattress, which by coincidence is the one that I had selected on a previous visit to the store. The Morgedal is only 10 inches thick. On today’s visit I tried other mattresses, and settled on the “Haugesund” model, which is 12 inches thick. When placed on the Trysil frame, the Haugesund mattress will be flush with the bottom of the lower board in the head.

In a bunch of texts Saturday, I agreed with Debora the sale manager that her buyer would pick up the dining table and chairs on Friday the 31st. After that time, the dining room here will be empty. I will move all the boxed furniture that I’ve collected (flat-packs of a desk, a file cabinet, a chair, a table) into the dining room. To them will be added a media console, two more chairs, and a love seat, all scheduled for delivery from West Elm in the first week of June. During that week of June I will also go to IKEA and order the bed frame and mattress to be delivered here. All to be stacked in the dining room.

Then on the 15th, the movers can just move all that into the truck first, followed by a few boxes of my possessions, art work, television and computers, for the move. I will also have scheduled a TaskRabbit contractor to come to CH that afternoon to help me assemble at least the bed, if not all the other things. Hopefully by sundown on that Saturday I will be fully moved in. We’ll see how that plan works out.

Later Chuck came by with realty news. The Woman who Works at Apple has dropped out. It’s odd; according to her realtor, the woman and her mother both love the house, but when the realtor asked them, it was the father who told her, he didn’t think the house was right for his daughter. Hmph. Butt out, dad.

The realtor for the Lawyer Lady is pretty sure she won’t go above $2.5M. That’s not enough, in my opinion and Chuck’s. Although it is not too far off my target. Chuck thinks she could afford to go higher, just wait and see.

Meanwhile he’s not getting a lot of calls from the ad. He got one call today, a buyer in Santa Clara who is looking for a fixer-upper. I suggested, and he agreed, that he’ll call her back and make the pitch that although this house is not in need of fixer-upper type maintenance and repairs, like you see on the TV shows, it definitely would benefit from, and increase in value from, serious remodeling. She can have all kinds of fun renovating the kitchen or adding a second story.

We also signed a bunch of disclosure and advisory forms. One relates to the need for smoke and CO detectors. So that’s a to-do item for me, which I can easily handle: get those installed. I have a smoke detector in the bedroom, but haven’t tested it in a long time. Its battery is probably dead. I had one in the living room and took it down, I don’t remember why. And have never had a CO detector. Well, we had a CO detector in the RV we used to have, and had to disable it because it constantly went off in the night, I guess from the CO of our breath while sleeping.




Day 148, first missed post

Monday, 4/29/2019

This is the first post where I didn’t write the post until late the next day. I’ve done some in the morning of the next day, but this is the first where I just forgot entirely. So sorry, Dere Diary.

There’s nothing in the Google Calendar for the day, either. I recall I went for a run, and afterward… oh, right! Afterward I sat down to begin the process of changing my address with various organizations, the credit card, the DMV, and so on.

I also finished cleaning out all the drawers of “the red chest”. This is an old, six-drawer, school file cabinet, sturdily built in fumed oak. My sister Joyce acquired it at some point. Then it went to my Mother who, in her inimitable fashion, brush-painted it in a deep red enamel. When my parents closed up their home to move to an elder facility, the red chest came to us. I recall that Marian and I spent quite a bit of time stripping the red paint off it to reveal the old finish. Then we stuck it in the garage where it has been used for miscellaneous storage ever since. Sunday and this day I spent time going through all the stuff in it, throwing stuff into the garbage, or setting it aside for the sale.

Some things in it might be use to a future owner of the house. There’s a plastic tub with miscellaneous hardware bits, the unique brass door hardware off a couple of the original doors, matching glass knobs for cabinets, etc.

After a couple of hours of that I realized that, owing to the planned visit to The Lawyer on Wednesday I wouldn’t be able to do the usual sorting at FOPAL, so instead I went down there for the afternoon. Priced and shelved some books in the Computer section, and did some sorting.

Chuck texted me to ask if it would be alright to bring a client to view the house at noon. Sure!


Day 142, dentist, lunch, floor meeting, dinner

Tuesday, 4/23/2019

Began the day by walking to a mile-plus to my appointment for dental hygiene, and walking the return, stopping at C.H. en route to check my mailbox. Disappointed that with all that walking, the phone shows only 7,000 steps.

Spent some time organizing penda-flexes. (No, auto-correct, it is not panda flexes!) I like making sense of all these old files, discarding outdated and irrelevant stuff, organizing the remainder into simpler categories that will be easier to remember.

Then it was time to meet Scott for lunch. Pleasant meeting, I’d say just-ok food at Dan Gordon’s, who, Scott pointed out, was presumably half of the former Gorden-Biersch Brewery, whose restaurant was once in that same space.

On the way to lunch I stopped at MaxiMart Pharmacy to get a refill of the antibiotic pills I take before any dental procedure (to protect my replaced aortic valve). Oops, prescription expired. Leave it, we’ll apply for a renewal, check back tomorrow. They know me by sight, partly because I’ve gotten meds there for 20 years at least, but more because I was in there what feels in retrospect like every other day all last fall, picking up one or another med for Marian. It was probably only once a week, really, but I had some bad emotions walking up to the door, from all the associations with her long illness. But now, this is for me, and I’m not ill, just getting a preventative med. So it was alright.

On the way back I stopped for a few groceries, including the indispensable peanut butter. Should I get a big jar? I’ll be on a full meal plan in a few weeks. Oh hell yes, I can have peanut butter in my room, to eat at my own bistro table in my kitchenette.

Soon it was time to leave again for the Sixth Floor Meeting. Craig was in the chair and did a good job. There were 30 or so people there; I learned the names of about five, and was pleasantly greeted by all. The topic of the meeting was the upcoming move off the sixth floor so the great rolling renovation can have it. Here’s the time-line:

  • August 12-23, the seventh floor people move out of temporary units and back to their renovated permanent units.
  • Temporary units are cleaned.
  • August 26-September 6, sixth floor people move into temporary units.
  • Around January 2020, sixth floor moves back, fifth moves out.

Angela, who I met with a week ago to choose decor options for my unit, is in charge of this. So far they have done the in/out swap for the tenth, ninth, and eighth floors and have it down to a science.  She explained the process in detail and pretty well satisfied everyone.

From there I went to supper with Craig and Diane, and damn it four other women whose names I didn’t get. Wait, one was Eva. I also met Jerry and his wife (name?) and saw their apartment, on which they did an extreme renovation when they moved in two years ago. It’s very attractive, extremely “modern” with gray and black cubes and track lighting. Jerry is very technical and has a complex computer setup with multiple large monitors. I’m going to like him, I think; I certainly intend to call on him as a resource getting my various devices working with the CH systems.

I excused myself after one cup of coffee to go to a Stanford Baseball game. Got there at the bottom of the second, Stanford behind 4-1. The next two innings Stanford hit three or it may have been four homers and went ahead 9-4. I left after two hours and it was only the sixth inning.


Day 139, planting Marian’s tree

Saturday, 4/20/2019

For some reason I’ve been anxious about this day for days, and woke up repeatedly in the night before. Well, part of that was that I expected to need to “say something” and had been working up a cute little 3- or 4-minute eulogy, practicing it as I walked various places (and while tossing in the night), trying to get where I wouldn’t completely break down while delivering it. Part of the anxiety was being a host, feeling responsible for the success of an event or the pleasure of the attendees. Marian used to suffer that feeling to an extreme degree, so maybe I was channeling her (joke).

In the end (and of course) it all went off fine, and I didn’t have to say a thing. Catherine Martineau, head of Canopy, did a nice, and brief, talk about the three people who were having memorial trees planted today. Then we set to work.

Denise, Scott, June, me, Jean, Darlene, Dennis, Liz, and the tree

The site was alongside a very popular bike path, one I’ve ridden many times. The tree is out in the clear but somewhat sheltered from wind, and should grow well. I look forward to checking it over the years.

We adjourned to brunch and then everyone scattered, satisfied with a job well done. My only “host” role in the end was to have chosen a restaurant that was easy to get to and had good parking, yay me.

In the afternoon I did a bit of sorting of folders. One job is to collect pend-a-flex folders from a couple of different drawers, get rid of unneeded stuff, and organize the remainder into folders that I can remember. The present folder tabs have evolved over a long time (like every other damn thing I have) and are redundant and contradictory.

One folder had various documents about the purchase of the house, the original mortgage (long paid-off), etc. I moved those to the “brown binder”, the estate documents binder that is kept in a fireproof box. One folder was “Appliances” and contained the user manuals, and receipts, for pretty much every major purchase: stove, bedroom set, washer/dryer, etc. etc. And some things we don’t have any more.

I’ll keep working on this task tomorrow and Monday. I have ordered a small file cabinet to use at C.H.  and it has shipped, so I’ll put the newly-organized folders into that, their future home.

Spent an hour finishing a book I’ve enjoyed reading. It’s a treat to find fiction that I can actually get into and enjoy reading, in this case the works of Becky Chambers. There’s a sub-genre of Mystery called “cozy mystery” (“in which sex and violence are downplayed … and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community” — Wikipedia). Chamber writes what I can only call “cozy sci-fi” and I love it.

Day 135, History SJ, FOPAL

Tuesday, 4/16/2019

First order of business was to transport our San Jose Lasers relics to History San Jose. Long story here. Back on Day 38 I mentioned sorting our memorabilia of the San Jose Lasers, a professional women’s team in the short-lived American Basketball League. The ABL folded in its second year. On day 60 I mentioned being astonished to find that, besides the team shirts and framed pictures, Marian had carefully curated two fat binders of paper items. One was from the first two seasons: ticket stubs, trading cards, press clippings and more. The other was from the last months, when the fans came together on the internet (in 1998!) to organize a final game, called HoopSalute.

I twice used the donation page on the History San Jose website to offer these items and received no reply of any kind. Fortuitously, last Thursday Dan, one of the curators at HSJ, stopped by the Shustek center for an unrelated matter. I accosted him with my tale and he said “email me your list”. Long story short, they did want the items, we set up a time, and today is the day to take the stuff to them. I drove to the HSJ office on Senter Road in the south end of San Jose, and went over everything with them. They were happy to get everything and thanked me. I’m delighted that these things are out of the house and into safe hands.

Back home I killed time laundering the bed linens until the cleaning lady arrived. I told her that I hoped she’d come just twice more. Also I gave her a little gold chain and medallion from Marian’s collection. She’d said last time she wished she had something to remember Marian by, so there.

Then I headed down to FOPAL to do post-sale-day cleanup of the Computer section. I got some advice from a couple of ladies who were doing the same for their sections. You can tell from the way we write prices, how many months, or sales, a book has been on the shelf. If it has been on the shelf unsold for two months, mark it down by half, and if that takes it below $2, send it to the Bargain Room.

I sent four boxes of books to the Bargain Room, and also found myself reorganizing the categories on the shelves. I didn’t finished, but left after 2 and a half hours. I’ll finish tomorrow.

After a short rest at home I went out to an early supper at Hobee’s. I talked to them about brunch for eight or so, around 11:30 Saturday, but they don’t do reservations. “Call a little while ahead and we can probably fit you in.” Well, I really didn’t like the atmosphere that well anyway. So, where? I want someplace close to Bol Park and easy to get to from there, i.e. no left turns across El Camino without a signal, or U-turns. I tried Cibo, a would-be upscale place in a good location, but it felt too upscale. I don’t want to host a fine meal, I just want a casual place for friends to stop by if they feel like it.

I finally settled on the decidedly down-scale Corner Bakery. It’s just a chain but it has plenty of space and parking and is dead easy to get to from the park.

During the evening, Deb the sale lady texted to see if she could come take pictures tomorrow at 1:30. Later, Chuck called to say he and Vasilly and Amy would come around tomorrow at 10:30 if that was OK. Sure.

Day 134, planning the unit

Monday, 4/15/2019

Started with a run, very comfortable. On return, showered and dressed, I spent time on the phone with Via Benefits. For the third month in a row they had ignored my information on direct deposit and had sent me a check. The phone rep said she would send me a paper form that I could return to request direct deposit. Hopefully that will be more effective than repeatedly putting the  bank numbers into their web site and clicking “submit”; that hasn’t achieved anything.

Then spent an hour doing stuff–triage of the “shop”, the enclosed room in the garage building. That’s where the brown steel cabinets are that I emptied over the last two weeks. Now I worked on the cabinets up the right side, primarily paint and related chemicals (paint stripper, thinner…) and plant pots. Lots of plant pots. Those I left for the sale manager to price.

I spent some time with decorative pebbles. Back last summer, with Marian in the hospital, I tidied the three big “porch pots” of bedding plants by pulling the dying plants and, rather than replant, I put in rounds of green netting and covered them with the shiny decorative pebbles Marian used to discourage squirrels. In the winter, I moved the pots to the garage.

Now, cleaning out the shop cabinet, I found a half-bag of shiny pebbles and remembered the others, so I gathered all the pebbles together, and then noticed they were dirty and had leaves mixed in, so put them in a plastic tub and washed them.

Well, such fussing brought me to noon and shortly Amy the Decorator appeared right on time. We walked around the house and I pointed out the few bits of furniture I meant to take, or that we could take. She took pictures and noted dimension on her iPad.

Then we went to Channing House for a scheduled meeting with Angela the Upgrade Manager. She and Amy got along great and we all spent nearly two hours in unit 621. Much of the time was spent choosing materials from Angela’s stock of carpet and counter-top samples, paint chips, and photos of cabinetry and sinks.

One problem emerged: Angela just lost her in-house cabinet maker, and is not sure whether the bathroom cabinetry that I want can be done in the next few weeks. Possibly it will have to be delayed until the 6th-floor upgrade late this year. To be determined.

Amy dropped me off at home. After she left, I drove up to Bol Park where the tree planting for Marian is to happen Saturday. On the map it had looked unfamiliar, but in person it was “Doh! of course!”. I had ridden my bike along the edge of this park many many times; it’s the bike-path from Oregon Expressway over to Arastradero.

It was easy to identify the place for the tree planting; I could see the clear signs of Canopy having prepared the ground for one of their community plantings. It’s just in front of the pen where for years a donkey lived that everyone treated as a Palo Alto mascot.

From there I drove less than a mile to Hobee’s, where I am thinking people can have brunch after the planting. Unfortunately they close early on Mondays so I couldn’t get in. I’ll have supper there tomorrow and make a reservation if I can.


Day 132, cleanup, docent, FOPAL sale

Saturday, 4/12/2019

Today I continued to decimate the long merged to-do list I put together a couple days back. One item was just “clean camera”. I had noticed that the Nikon was really grubby and in fact, I’m shamed to admit, it still had traces of an unfortunate event back in spring 2017 when, in Italy, I had a small incident with a cappuccino and some foam got on the camera. So I cleaned it up and put a bit of armor-all on the rubber bits and looks good again. “Photo stuff” was another checklist item, and that was easy to deal with. One old camera was already in the sale box. The Nikon manual, battery charger, and extra battery, and the tripod, were the only remaining items, so I put those in an appropriate “keep” location.

Eventually I went off to the CHM to lead a tour. On the way back I stopped first at Summerwinds Nursery on Middlefield. On this first warm weekend of spring it was bustling with people buying plants and fertilizer etc. Marian would have been there I’m sure, picking out bedding plants for the “porch pots”, three large bowl-shaped pots that stood on our front porch. She would plant them with blooming things every spring. I retired those pots to the garage last fall when the then-current crop of bedding plants were dying down. I thought very briefly of bringing them back and planting them, but… no.

I was only at the nursery to buy plant supports for the two big dragon-wing begonias that live in pots on the porch. I do intend to keep them for my deck at C.H., and for that they have to have saucers, so water doesn’t drip down to the next floor’s deck. I thought they’d be better off with casters as well, so I got little wheeled supports for them that incorporate saucers. That was another to-do item.

From the nursery it was just a few blocks to FOPAL where the monthly sale was going on. I went in to see how the Computer shelf was doing. Quite a few gaps in the shelving showed that some books had been bought. I was disappointed though, because I had set up a short section labeled “classics and nostalgia” and stocked it with blasts from the past, like “Using your TRS-80 in the home” and a book by Larry Yourdon on “Structured COBOL”. Maybe people had gotten a kick out of it, but nobody had bought anything. I also took a look around the Bargain Room, which is quite remarkable, really three large rooms where all books are $1 and the high stacks are just stuffed with thousands of volumes.

At home I sat down to do something about the file of “letters to us” that Marian had carefully collated, and which had sat in the closet unexamined for over thirty years. Going through it I found that almost all the letters were from the period 1975-1979, around the time we were living in London. We wrote regular letters describing our adventures, duplicated them and sent them to half a dozen friends and relations. Said friends and relations often replied, and these replies are the bulk of the file. It’s nice to know that we had people who were complimenting us on our travel narratives.

One particularly good correspondent was Marian’s sister Jean. I set the thick packet of letters from her aside and emailed her to see if she wants them. The rest I put in the recycle.

One last item: two dresser drawers of Christmas wrapping material. Rolls of paper, boxes  of tags, a shoebox of ribbon spools. Bagged the complete rolls in a big white garbage bag to be sold (maybe). Plain paper and plain boxes into the recycle. Scraps of foil and shiny stuff into the trash. Two more empty drawers!

And that is bloody well that for the weekend. Sunday is a day of rest from downsizing.


Day 131, more tidy, Chabot

Friday, 4/12/2019

Should have gone for a run but decided instead to do more — I need a word for, sorting through possessions, deciding what to keep, putting those bits in one place, the other bits in the trash or a different place — downsizing. I went through the sewing bits, collected a little kit that would handle buttons and simple repairs; put the rest in a nice basket to go in the sale. Stayed busy until 10am, time to leave for Oakland where I had a date with Darlene and Jessea. They’d invited me to go with them to Chabot space and science center, up top of the ridge above Oakland, for the planetarium show, and then lunch.

Chabot was rather busy with several busloads of kids. We checked out the exhibits, then watched the show, which was not a planetarium display but an iMax-style movie about the search for dark matter. Watching the kids boisterously bouncing around the displays, and watching the filmmakers trying to get across a fairly difficult concept, reminded me of how hard museum people work to produce relevant displays, and how often they fail, in my opinion. The software exhibit at the Computer History Museum is like that. They tried really hard, but it ended up more about the things people do with software, and conveys almost nothing about what it is, or the process, difficulty, fascination of trying to make it.

Nice lunch with two cheerful people. Got to talk about myself and my adventures, which is always enjoyable, so grateful for that.

Back at home I spent a couple of hours getting one our better images to print properly, and made something of a breakthrough controlling the printer. I think following images will be much easier to print with good color.

And only now I realize, I had a baseball game I could have gone to. Oh well.

Day 129, cleanup, forms, FOPAL

Wednesday, 4/10/2019

I woke up with a lot of anxiety, based I think in the general level of upheaval going on. Going through all the memorabilia yesterday, and scheduling the estate sale with Deborah, left me feeling that I’ve got a big, vague, mass of things to do in order to get my possessions in order, and the “keeps” separated from the “sells”.

Then there was the realization that Deborah had suggested a sale the weekend of 12 May, while my (still tentative) move-in date for C.H. is 18 May. Where will I be in the meantime?

Then, in the middle of the night, I woke up and fussed for half an hour about how both the entry price and the monthly fee that I’ve been quoted to enter C.H. is around 20% higher than I’d anticipated. I eventually worked out that, even without the sale of the house, I have enough assets to pay that monthly fee for… about 40 years. But still it was a worry.

So I was fussed. I deliberately went to bed early, and got up early, so I could get a jump on … something. I pulled together two or three to-do lists and made a merged one that encompassed all the shit I need to get done. Then I went for a run, which improved my mood.

Back home I tackled the number one item: to set up a clear “sequester area” in the back of the garage where I can store boxes and objects that I am definitely taking to C.H. I moved some things into it; and moved sellable things (garden tools, etc.) out of it.  This alone, getting some definite physical sorting done, had a calming effect on my mood. In the rear of the garage is a big shelf where I’ve always stored the original boxes for products we bought. Most are now irrelevant, and I spent an hour breaking them down and putting them in the recycle. Boxes for things I’m keeping, like the scanner and the iMac, I dusted off and set aside.

While doing all this, Richard the gardener was working, and I gave him the update, the news that his services will be needed through May but probably no longer. In the course of this it emerged that he wasn’t aware that Marian had died! I’m embarrassed that I hadn’t thought to tell him. Anyway, we agreed he would be adding a new layer of bark mulch, as he has in years past.

I boxed up the scanner (don’t plan to do any scanning for a while, but I mean to keep it) and put it in the sequester area. Now I really felt like I was getting on top of stuff, so I took a break. Shortly after, Chuck arrived with lots of realtor documents for me to sign. There’s an amazing number of disclosure statements that realtors use for legal CYA. We talked further about possible dates for staging and selling the house. It will probably get pushed into June.

While we were chatting, Deborah called. She was worried about the sale date she’d set. “I’m thinking, I’m going to sell your bed, where are you gonna sleep?” I said I’d been having the same thoughts, and we agreed to push the sale date to a week after 18 May, the 25th. This took another load off my mind!

The most interesting thing Chuck had to say was a very intriguing fact: he has had a casual discussion with a woman who’s getting divorced. She and her soon-to-be-ex live in a 5-bedroom house about seven blocks away from mine, which they’ll sell. The woman wants to find somewhere smaller to live, but would like to stay in Palo Alto. Helloooo! He let her know he might have something that would suit. It would be fabulous to have a private sale, possibly with minimum remodeling. But this is still just a vague chance, not least because the divorce proceeding complicates the financing.

After Chuck left I took a box full of empty three-ring binders (from yesterday’s memorabilia triage) to FOPAL and did two hours of sorting.

Back home I worked a while on a more fun project. I have a stack of nice color prints I’d made over the years from our best photos. On impulse I ordered a pack of simple frames from Amazon and they came today. I had in mind making a matched set of nice pictures to decorate a wall at C.H. I quickly found that I’d have to reprint them to get them to look right in these frames. Or buy different, smaller, frames. Easier to reprint the pictures — or is it? Because as usual, it’s a struggle to get Photoshop and the printer to agree on color values. But a fun challenge. I got one picture printed the right size and good color, in a frame by supper time.

And now, in the evening, I feel remarkably less anxious, more comfortable, than in the morning.

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.