Friday, 25 March 2011

The little things

At Casa P there is still much to do. One thing leads to another. Having disposed of many books, I have been reorganising the whole book collection. This takes time and much thought, and as it is not possible to carry many books in an armful, there has been much going up and down the stairs. Books can be sorted according to subject, and also according to size, and it was not possible to get it right straight away. It is nearly all done now.

The biographies are mostly together, but about half are upstairs, and the rest downstairs. The art, gardening and music books have all been moved around, and the children's books are now in what used to be Dr P's study. It does not sound very logical, but I think the grandchildren will get used to it. Fiction is here, there and everywhere. Somehow fiction seems to need to be organised by size of book, as well as by author. Much arrangement is determined by the height of the shelves.

Years ago I had shelves made which are quite deep. This was to accommodate the fabric, sewing and craft collection, which all live in plastic boxes. Some of these have been moved to the hall cupboards, thus tacitly acknowledging that they will be infrequently used. The occasional peep, and the wistful thought that I really should do something about all of these things...Then there is all the wool, but it seems that using the wool is more likely that using up all the fabric. Now that Stomper is sewing, perhaps more fabric can go her way.

Anyway, the point about the deep shelves is that a lot of the fiction is shelved therein. Actually it is shelved three rows deep, which means finding anything is far from easy.

Sometimes I get waylaid by looking at the books. One such book is a volume of English constitutional documents, which was Dr P's, not mine. I have kept it, as it has some very fundamental documents. One such was the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829. George IV had fits about assenting to this, thinking it breached his Coronation Oath. I'd always thought it rectified a most unjust and discriminatory legal situation, but when I flicked through it quickly, I found that it contained all sorts of qualifications, and required various oaths to be sworn for this, that, or the other thing. The attainment of equal rights in our societies has been a long and arduous process, and we should hang on to them fiercely and proudly.

(There is a state election tomorrow, at which the government is certain to be almost totally defeated and is likely to lose practically all its seats. Dr P and I used to watch the TV all night as the results came in, being election junkies from way back. We watched the British election all day, and then our own federal election in August. We watched with a friend who was staying overnight.  Dr P, who was very good with election statistics, stayed on the ball all night, while we watched this absolute cliffhanger. An election night all by myself will be difficult.)

Reorganising the books led to the tidying of the CD collection. This meant going out and buying more plastic boxes. Somehow I came home with a box for DVDs and had to go back today to change it. More hassle. I have also been going through all my own documents, so that they are better organised, and this, I fervently hope, will enable me to find things and not to get disorganised EVER AGAIN.

But as I remarked at the start, it is the little things that can get to you. I sent all the unpaid bills across to the solicitor/executors, and have not so far heard about the payment of the bills. Yesterday a reminder notice for the electricity bill arrived, and my BIL recommended I pay it, so as to ensure that the power stayed connected. I telephoned this morning to pay the bill and to try to get the account transferred to my name, for whatever period remains to me in this house. I have no legal standing to change the account, and the executors must do it - but of course no one has contacted me to organise anything like this. Then I tried to pay the bill and it would not accept my credit card. I wound up in floods of tears. I then telephoned to see whether there was a problem with the credit card. There was no problem, so I walked up to the post office and paid it there by cheque. Fortunately, I found my chequebook, which was with Dr P's credit card. I need to know whether Dr P's credit card has been cancelled and what will happen to the bills he paid by direct debit. It seems that banks will release money to pay the funeral parlour, but not money for the other bills incurred before death.

My computer went off line yesterday and I spent a lot of time trying to work out why. Apple told me my settings were fine, and told me to check with the ISP. It took four transfers before I got to the appropriate  part of the company. More tears. At least telling them you have recently been widowed softens their attitudes somewhat. Evidently you have to make the system work for you. Finally I was told there was a lot of interference on the telephone line. I went and unplugged a few of the telephones, and this apparently fixed it - or perhaps a miracle was worked from On High. If so, intervention could have occurred slightly earlier, so as to spare me this particular stress. Whatever. Perhaps someone needs to come and check all the telephone connections.

On the positive side, the first payment of my spouse's pension was made.

Let me recommend to the world in general that joint bank accounts make life much easier for the surviving spouse.


molly said...

Glad to hear you're getting things organized to your liking. Your fabric might push Stomper into becoming a quilter! Organizing books is dangerous territory! I usually find myself hours later, immersed in one of them, with hours elapsed and nothing accomplished!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you'll find it easier to eschew election coverage altogether this time. It's certainly not going to be an entertaining evening, I don't think! But I hope you manage on your own, and that these small annoyances are resolved quickly so that you may get on with your own affairs.

Friko said...

First of all, thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

Next, I would like to say how very sorry I am about you losing your husband. There is the pain of bereavement, the readjustment of everyday life and the endless struggle with bureaucracy. Although nothing will happen very quickly, I hope you will have the time to mourn and remember without fighting the authorities at the same time.

There is so little anyone can say or do at this time, certainly from so far away, but my best wishes are with you.

As for books and such, it might be an idea to do some sorting before it becomes a necessity. I wouldn't have the first idea where to start. I know of other widows here who have simply given most of their books, cds etc. to charity when they needed to down-size. Horrific thought.

SoulDragon said...

So sorry to hear about your husband. It must be very difficult for you. I imagine, though, that the organising and clearing will serve as some sort of therapy for you.
You are very brave and you are in my thoughts. I have not blogged for some time as I have had some not good weeks with my cancer treatment, but hope to get back to it soon. For now, I take strength in reading blogs like yours!

Frances said...

Persiflage: Perhaps you are one of those who find comfort in busyness: if so, you are doing the right thing by yourself.
But, please be aware that a life-changing event such as this will effect you subliminally, physically, as well. So, take care.

Obviously you have the right to stay in your husband's house, if that is your wish. The DILs seem to have been shameless, treating you as if you were an employee whose job has been terminated.

"The greed deep in the hearts of men, " wrote R D Fitzgerald. Not so deep nowadays, it seems.

Pam said...

How very unfair that your computer was misbehaving as well as everything else. Poor IP. I'm so sorry that you're sad. I do hope that things improve a bit soon. And please look after yourself. Drink tea, eat chocolate, listen to Bach. (Or something.) Your life sounds exhausting at the moment and exhaustion and grief together are not a good combination.

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