Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipsed

Well, we have only received one additional attempt to get a credit card in Mike's name but we got it stopped.  Someone tried to get an HSN credit card.  They could have done some damage with that one.  We haven't seen anything else in the past couple of weeks.

Ron and I attended our 50th high school reunion a week ago.  Had a lot of fun and a really good turnout.  Ron was disappointed it shut down at 10:00 pm but I reminded him that we are all at an age when we want to go to bed by 9:00.  Out of a graduating class of 400 we have lot 69 class members.  I'm afraid that number could increase significantly by the time we have our 60th reunion.

I babysat my daughter's little niece last Friday.  Piper is almost 2 and I was exhausted at the end of the day.  It's been a long time since I kept a two year old.  James, my ex-husband's son and his wife, put an offer on a house and found a daycare.  They will be moving here permanently in about a week.  It looks like I am going to get to play grandma to Piper.  I never thought I'd get to be a grandmother this way but I'll take it.   Piper came up with her own name for me, it's "D D".  She couldn't quite say Dani so it came out "D D".  She's just the cutest thing.  She weighs about 26 pounds and I was lifting her all day.  Now I have a pinched nerve in my back.

This Thursday I see the lung specialist.  I guess I'll be taking a pulmonary function test and possibly a CT scan to see what is going on with me.  It's been a year of coughing and wheezing so it's time to see what's up.

Mike was scared of the eclipse today.  He was just sure he was going to go blind if he went outside.  We took him to the doctor so we took an umbrella  and put it over his head.  He still closed his eyes and we had to lead him everywhere.  When he gets paranoid there is no talking him out of it.   Last week he got it in his head that a man in his health club was going to come to his condo and cut his head off.  We had to increase one of his meds. temporarily until we could get him settled down.  Sometimes I wish I could get inside his head.

 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Identity Theft

As if our lives weren't busy enough taking care of my disabled brother we find out that his identity has been stolen.  Someone has obtained his social security number and has either opened or attempted to open accounts in his name.  We filed a police report locally and notified all other agencies such as credit bureaus, government agencies etc.  

What surprised me was I thought he was pretty safe from identity theft since he doesn't use the internet or use credit cards but what the officer told us is that disabled people are particularly vulnerable.  He said that usually caregivers are not as vigilant about checking the mail or watching for suspicious financial activity.  He said that Mike is just the kind of person thieves want and that there are unfortunately a million ways to obtain someones personal information.

What alerted us was when we received a bill from T-Mobile stating that $140.00 was billed to a credit card in Mike's name in order to open a T-Mobile account.  Then the "thief" ordered 7 I-phones and had them shipped to my brother's old address.  The house was still vacant at the time.  I guess the thief just watched the house and picked up the phones after they were delivered. 

According to the police this is a common occurrence  with T-Mobile because they will open an account over the phone or on the internet not requiring proof of identity.

Anyway, we are knee deep in trying to control the damage.  Of course we don't want Mike to know anything about this because it would just set of his paranoia.  

We put a freeze on his credit to stop any further attempts to obtain credit in his name.  We have closed any accounts that were open.  The police dept. assured us that he would not be responsible for any fraudulent charges as long as we report it and provide them a case #. 

The positive side (if there is any) is that Mike's credit rating is not a concern.  He will not be using credit to purchase anything.  In fact he doesn't need credit at all.  What does worry me is that someone could use his information to receive medical care etc.  That kind of fraud maybe harder to correct and I don't want Mike's Medicare or SS payments compromised.

So, I guess you need to stay vigilant.  Open all your mail.  I would often just tear up anything from a Credit Card Company because I knew Mike wasn't using any credit cards.  I assumed they were all those applications they send offering 0% if you open an account.  You can't assume anything.    Read everything!   If I had assumed that the T-Mobile letter was just another advertisement we wouldn't have learned what happened.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Remembrance of my sister-in-law

Yesterday was my sister-in-law's memorial service and my niece asked me to give the eulogy.  This is the third time I've given one and it never gets any easier.  One of the stories that came to mind about Dottie was when she and my brother lived in Ventura, California with their two children.  The kids were about 5 and 7 at the time.  Well, they had a beautiful orange tree in their backyard but the kids wouldn't eat the oranges because they didn't have any writing on them.  So my sister-in-law took a flashlight and a ladder to the back yard one night and with a magic marker she wrote Sunkist on every orange she could reach!  

She was inventive!

The thing about funerals is they are often a reunion of old friends.  Yesterday was no exception.  I saw old neighbors I haven't seen in probably 15 years.  I saw relatives I haven't seen in years as well.  People always say, "We shouldn't wait until someone dies to get together."  But we seem to do just that.

When you write a eulogy for someone you sit down and really try to think about how to describe them in a way that friends and family will recognize.  When I thought about Dottie the first thing that came to mind was that she was probably the happiest person you could ever meet.  This was in spite of the fact that her mother was a severe alcoholic and when she was born her mother didn't know who the father was so when she saw a street sign she decided to use it as her child's last name.  So Culver Street became part of Dorothy Lee's legacy. 

A few years later her mother had two more girls by a different father.  But those little girls went with their father when he decided to leave their mother.  Dottie told me once that she remembered wondering why he didn't take her as well.  But her mother placed her in an orphanage instead.  It was probably unfortunate that her mother returned for her about a year later.


After the orphanage she was shuffled around from couch-to-couch and home-to-home.  She never had anything of her own and when she was older and did get money from working somewhere her mother would take it from her to buy alcohol.   

That was pretty much the theme of  Dorothy Lee Culver's life until she graduated from high school.  

When she was twenty she married my brother.  I was six years old.  I'd like to say that she then lived happily ever after but that wasn't the case.  Infidelity plagued her marriage and they divorced about 10 years later.  She could have become a bitter and angry person.  It would certainly have been justified.  But instead she made a conscious decision to be happy and happy she was!  She was one of those rare individuals that could find joy in the simplest of things.  I guess when you grow up with absolutely nothing but the clothes on your back you learn to appreciate even the smallest of things. 

When she married her second husband he built her a new house in a small town on an acreage.   She had already retired by that time and life was looking good.  It was the first new home she had ever had and it was completely furnished with brand new furniture.  She loved it.  But unfortunately it was again short lived. One summer a huge Oklahoma grass fire spread across the state burning thousands of acres of land and hundreds of homes.  Hers was one of the casualties.  She lost everything she owned.   

I called her the day after the fire and the first thing she said with a laugh was, "Well, I'm glad it burned before I washed the windows!"  

She always found the bright side!

Eventually they replaced the house with a single wide mobile home.  Her husband built a wrap around porch for her and even when it snowed he would shovel a path to her chair and  she would sit outside and look at the sky while taking cloud pictures with her Kindle. 

It really didn't take much to make her happy! 

Since her life was often hard it was with God's grace that her 
her passing was a peaceful whisper.  Though we will miss her dearly I know her memory and laughter will ring on.