Day 60, programming, museum, cleanout

Overnight I thought of some ways my living cost estimate could have gone so wrong. One, I had the taxes at 1/2, forgetting there’s another $1K payment to make (tomorrow!). I had not included TV and internet in the utilities, another $2K+ per year. Also it had not occurred to me to think about how our monthly bill on the main credit card is always over $1K, so we pay out at least $12K-$15K per year just via that route. Of course that includes almost all food, but it does not include the gardener, taxes, or utilities, which are paid directly via the bank bill-pay app. But the simplest approach was just to realize that our expenses had matched our income for years and years, so our income was a very good ballpark estimate of our cost of living. And that number is in the same ballpark as the monthly fee at many ILFs.

Tuesday, 1/29/2019

Walked to the Y, did my round, walked back. Did computer work: running virtual Windows and Linux machines to package my game for Windows 7, Ubuntu, and Mac. Here are the executables. The source is here. Tomorrow I’ll think of where to post to invite people to try it.

Decided to go visit the Hiller Aviation Museum. Spent a couple of hours there. I was nearly the only visitor so could play with a couple of simulators freely. In one, you are supposed to land a Boeing 737 at SFO. I was disappointed to find if I increased throttle and raised the nose, I couldn’t just fly around the Bay Area ad lib; the simulator got funny and stopped.

Two days ago on impulse I stopped at an “estate sale” sign on my way home. Browsed around a house where, I learned, nine siblings were trying to clear out the house their late mother had lived in and they’d all grown up in. There was stuff, stuff, stuff. Someday in the not too distant future I will have to clear this house out, and I won’t have the help of any siblings.

So on arrival back home, with this in mind I stepped into what we called the APR closet. (Because it is the closet that opens off the APR, i.e. the room whose purpose we could never settle on, so it was the all-purpose room or APR.) This is a closet I’ve been dreading because there is so much stuff there I need to decide what to do with. There are family memorabilia that I’m sure other relatives would want (heck, things I want: high school annual?) (On the other hand, Seriously? What is the possible point of keeping a high school annual that is fifty-fucking-nine years old? A good fraction of the Bethel High School graduating class of 1960 are dead, and the rest wouldn’t remember my name, nor I theirs without a program.) Memorabilia aside, there is a lot of stuff that is trash and needs to go.

Nerds that we were, we kept reference material — maps, brochures, guides — from every trip we took. After the trip, we’d used the material to organize the 35mm slide show for a trip. Then Marian would neatly (of course) organize it in folders by region. Here’s about 2/3 of them:


The only justification for this was that we might go back there someday, and we wouldn’t have to scrounge for maps and info. The only folders that ever got used that way were the first four. We often went back to Washington or Oregon, and could go into the APR closet and dig out a useful map before each trip.

Of course all of this is just so 1990s. Paper maps? Really? Beyond that, most of them are literally from the 1990s or earlier, and hence out of date. It took half an hour to sort all this out, pull the bear clips and paper clips out and put the paper in the recycling bin, and the plastic folders ditto. In a few of the folders I found real nostalgia-inducers. The Germany folder, for instance (about five folders off the right edge of the picture) had my complete trip plan, 20+ pages of detailed info on the stops we would make, with notes. The New Zealand folder had Marian’s trip plan, ditto. But we documented those trips with pictures and with blogs and I have all the images stored on the bigger Mac. None of this paper had been looked at since a week after the relevant trip ended, at least ten years ago and in some cases, twenty. Out! Just the same, it hurt.

I was astounded by one find: two fat binders in which Marian had collected a ton of memorabilia about the San Jose Lasers, the professional women’s basketball team that lasted only two years. I had no idea she’d done this: game programs, media guides, and pages and pages of news clippings, all organized by date. I don’t think she ever referred to the material after 1998; she certainly never mentioned it or shared it with me. It’s a potentially valuable historical collection and I set it with the other Lasers memorabilia that I already knew about. Which reminds me, that I’d submitted a donation form to History San Jose offering that material a week ago, and have had no reply. I need to follow up on that, even more now.

Also in the APR closet were some garments of mine I rarely wear. (The APR closet was to us what an attic might be to others.) Two pairs of Expedition-brand trousers, light, no-iron, can be washed out in a hotel sink and be dry the next morning. Last worn on the trip to Italy in 1999. I tried them on. They fit, but frankly look as unstylish as shit. I’m embarrassed I toured Italy in them. Put them in a pile for Goodwill.

Next up, my one sport coat. It’s OK, it fits, but it’s kind of tweedy and bulky. Probably a real fashionista could identify the decade I bought it. (I wouldn’t doubt it was the 80s.) Anyway, I am not throwing it out but have made a mental note to replace it.

Finally, my one suit. Quite a nice one, a Borcelino, but… it doesn’t fit me! I currently find a 38 waist a little bit loose, and I’ve been wondering if I couldn’t fit in 36 jeans. But this suit: no way, I could not possibly fasten that waistband. The jacket has a rather nipped waist and although I could button it, it was clear in the mirror that it wasn’t happy being buttoned. I’ve been my present weight and heavier for a long time. When did I buy this suit, that I fit a 36 or 34 waist? When might I possibly have worn it last? It’s a mystery. Well, it is possible that my body has changed shape, thickening at the waist with age. Maybe I could have worn it twenty years ago, weighing as much as I do now or more, but having younger, springier abs to hold it in?

I looked carefully at the pants and jacket, wondering if a seamstress could let it out. Looking at the pants seam, it might yield another half-inch maybe, no more. As for the jacket, you’d have to open up the lining and fiddle with curved seams. So, never mind; the suit has to go.


Day 44, SFMOMAdventure

Referring to yesterday, on consideration $30/day for food is not “generous”; given a restaurant meal for one in this area is always going to push $30, and I expect to eat out at least twice a week, $50/day would be a better average allowance. So that makes the default stay-at-home cost around $32K/year — still $20K less than a typical ILF and up to $50K less than the most expensive.

Monday, 1/14/2019

Over the weekend I’d seen some reference to SFMOMA, San Francisco’s modern art museum, and that reminded me that I hadn’t had a museum or urban experience since Day 11 when I used my brand new Clipper Card and Lyft to go to the deYoung Museum. This day I didn’t want to run because of a leg condition (long story, later), so why not go to MOMA? The weather was threatening but heck, I’ve got an umbrella.

I walked to the CalTrain station in a light sprinkle but it was dry the rest of the day. Took a Lyft the short distance to the museum. Actually got out a block early because traffic on 3rd street was not moving — riding in a Lyft in downtown SF is powerfully reminiscent of riding Lyft in Manhattan a year ago. (And not a pleasant reminiscence.)

I and Marian went to MOMA just once, ohhhh… at least ten years ago I imagine. I was surprised at how very large it is, 6 floors of stuff. I walked the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 4th floors this time. I’ll have to go back to see the rest. Two major galleries were of photography, which tempted me to start taking pictures with the phone. Here’s a wee gallery.

SFMOMA from Yerba Buena Center


Internal staircase
The interior is dramatic
"Student" by Wayne Thibeaud
There were many grade- and middle-school classes around
"Student" by Wayne Thibeaud
I’ve seen Ruth Asawa’s hangings in several museums
"Student" by Wayne Thibeaud
This is “Fire” by Teresita Fernández
"Student" by Wayne Thiebaud
I like Wayne Thiebaud’s works. This is “Student”.
Spiders by Louise Bourgeois
MOMA in Manhattan has only one of Louise Bourgeois’s spiders. Here’s a whole family!
Sorry, didn’t get the artist. I liked the way the words DEATH, MATTERS, PAIN, DOESNT, KNOWS, CARE flipped on and off at random.
Vertical format selfie in front of a horizontal format painting. Oh well.
Yerba Buena Center
Ran up the saturation here.
David Attenborough whisper: “In the early spring, the cranes begin to gather, the younger blue ones respectfully following the mature orange ones…”
Why am I hearing the Macarena in my mind?


Day 41, flashback sad

Friday, 1/11/2019

Here’s a new syndrome: while I was filling my pill-cases and dressing this morning I had a mild feeling somewhere between disassociation and imposter syndrome: a vague sense that I was faking this independent adult life, that I was somehow putting on an act, a pretense, of being competent and capable. I hadn’t had that before, and it passed off quickly as I thought about it.

Later in the morning I set about doing a task I’d been putting off: taking a picture of my car registration and proof-of-insurance card. This because I’d seen the advice to do this, and to remove the printed cards from the car, multiple times. It seems that the registration slip and the insurance card provide good info for an identity thief; and police will accept a photo of registration on your phone.

So I got the two cards out of the car and was about to take the pictures when I realized that the photos app had over 1400 images. “That’s stupid,” I said, and started deleting pictures. Scroll scroll scroll to the top and start selecting groups and deleting them. Of course this takes me back to 2014 and on and pretty soon I am hitting blocks of pictures taken on various trips and outings. Italy, two years ago; New York City, 18 months ago; the WBB post-season trips only 9 months ago. Things I had done with Marian just last spring. A wave of grief just washed over me. So much intelligence, so much talent, so much good humor and courage and competence, ground down and extinguished by sickness. That it was all gone and over with seemed unutterably sad.

Yes, I know: Marian was just one of 154,000 people who died on that day of December.  Probably most of them left survivors who feel as I do. It doesn’t help.

I did a couple of other things of a practical nature, then walked to the Stanford campus to meet up with Scott to see an exhibit and have lunch. The exhibit was We shot the war, photos from the archive of Overseas Weekly, an unauthorized alternative newspaper for servicemen. Lots of photos and stories of military life, fighting in ‘Nam. Scott has read a lot more than I of that war and filled in background. Afterward we had lunch at the Cantor museum café.

Home for a nap and a quiet evening.

Day 11, city adventure

Losing a TV show

Last night I scrolled through the DVR list and sort of automatically started playing the latest episode of the cooking show, Cook’s Country. And quickly realized that I didn’t care about how Basque fried chicken is made!

Oh, this is so sad! Cook’s Country and its sister show America’s Test Kitchen were two shows that Marian and I could watch together and talk about. “We could make that.” “Nah, too many ingredients.” But now: I don’t expect to cook an actual entrée ever again. I don’t care about easy ways to make suppers. And there’s nobody to exchange snarky comments with about over-elaborate recipes. So this is the first TV show that I’m dropping because its main interest for me, was sharing it with Marian. Went through the DVR subscription list and dropped one other, Dancing with the Stars. The rest of them I have enough interest in to keep watching — even Top Chef , which is a whole different kind of cooking, a performance art, that I can admire without needing the personal connection.

Anyway, that was last night. Today (12/12/18) I went on

A City Adventure

The plan was to take Caltrain to the City, Lyft to the DeYoung museum, see an exhibit of works by Gaugin, and return the same way. But walking to the Caltrain station I was hit by lots of


I found myself again beset with formless anxiety—that feeling you might get when you realize there’s something undone, or overdue, or mistaken, but with no specific object or reason. I knew I was doing what I planned to do; knew it was a viable plan; knew I was ahead of schedule. Whence the fretting?

And realized that what was missing was Marian’s agreement in the plan! Here’s how it is with partners: One says “I think I’ll do thus-and-so Wednesday.” And the other, “We were going to such-and-such that day.” “Oh, well, maybe in the afternoon…” “When will you be back, I need the car by…” and so forth. Every activity gets cross-checked and tweaked to be sensible and efficient. Before, if I were to set off for the city for a day, it would be with the comfortable assurance that I’d shared the plan with Marian and her practical mind—the mind that had so often caught me in simple oversights—agreed that my plan made sense.

Don’t have that now! Rechecking all my intentions, I carried on with

the Adventure

Which all worked smoothly enough. I’d actually spent five minutes reading up on Gaugin before I left and learned more from the very nicely arranged and documented exhibit. But, meh. Not a fan of his paintings, except for one or two of the later ones, like Reclining Tahitian Women. But I kept wandering through the other galleries and quite enjoyed the room full of big landscapes, California and Hudson River School, and was quite amazed by some of the huge carvings in the collection from New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Had a nice lunch in the café and started back. On the train home, Maria from the Neptune Society called to say that the death certificates will be ready tomorrow. So tomorrow I need to get them, then visit the Social Security office and make that notification official. According to Jean, when she reported Bill’s death, she was given the option of choosing which payment to continue receiving, his or hers, and obviously you pick the larger, which in my case, would be Marian’s.

I have also uncovered an ancient IBM Life Insurance policy that might or might not mean I have $5000 coming from them. Not clear, but I will also be notifying them tomorrow or Friday, once I have the certs. in hand.