Red Tape

Dearest Rachel –

Last night was the Bible study on Zoom, as per usual for the last year and a half. One of the regulars generally start things off with a joke. To give you an idea of the level of humor, here was this week’s offering:

Question: How do bureaucrats wrap their Christmas presents?

Answer (and this was solved by another member of the study group): With lots of red tape.

The irony is, that was one of the main things that was going on for me today.

Well, not completely. Jan was over again today, and we began working on more of the minutia of organizing at this point. We’d swept stuff out of rooms and into bins during the first phase of the process; now we had to go through everything that I had determined to keep, and actually sort through it. School memorabilia in one bin, anime paraphernalia in another bin, greeting cards sorted by who they were sent to, that sort of thing. The work is a little more tedious, and the results aren’t nearly as dramatic, but we get a little bit closer to having things… actually organized. I mean, this is part of the whole point of the process, isn’t it?

It’s certainly not as physically exhausting as hauling things out of the crawlspace might be, but it does take its toll in its own way. I thought I’d gotten used to going through everything, and then I would see an anniversary or Valentines card, and I would just kind of break down for a moment or two. I don’t know if I’m disappointed in myself for not being able to move on, or relieved that I’m not a total monster.

In any event, Jan could sense what was going on, and called a halt to things a little early. So we are effectively done for the week.

Just as well (and here is where I connect to the first part of this letter), as I had at least one errand to take care of today. Thanks to our lawyers efforts, we’ve finally wrapped up the situation with the last of your dad’s insurance policies. After four and a half years of back and forth, they have finally sent the last check.

To be sure, you are well aware of this, and when you were still around, we kind of agreed to leave it where it was, as it was earning interest at a rate that well, let’s just say the banks couldn’t match. But with your passing, the connections to those funds get more and more tenuous; bad enough you didn’t still have your maiden name to connect you to you dad or mom, now I’m completely out of the bloodline. Best to initiate the liquidation process, and get everything in pretty much one or two easily accessible places for Daniel to deal with when that time comes.

And like with going through every card or other scrap of paper like we did today, that process is long, involved and tedious. Which is why I left it to a lawyer to take care of. And now, after almost seven months, the check has arrived.

There’s just one problem: it’s made out to your estate, not to either of us. Oh, it lists me as executor (which I’m not sure is technically accurate, as you didn’t have a will – I think my role is actually as administrator in this situation), but I can’t simply cash it by saying my name, and I can’t deposit to any existing account, according to our broker. They would have to set up an account for the estate itself in order to accept it. And as my broker wasn’t in the office today, his secretary was not in a position to be able to do that herself. However, she suggested I try to deposit it in my bank account, and then write a check to deposit it with them. The assumption was that certain banks would have less restrictive policies regarding such a check.

So once Jan headed out for the day, I did just that. Well, I went to the bank. As it turns out, that was all I could do. It seems that they were no more lenient about it then the brokerage firm.

So here I am, in pretty much the same situation with regard to this instrument as I was before I received it. If I can’t deposit it, it’s kind of useless to me. Now, to be sure, I’m hoping that by next week I can get such an account set up in your estate’s name. Indeed, most of the stuff you left behind probably will need to end up in such an account, whereupon it can be divided up between Daniel and myself once everything has gone through probate; and let me tell you, I’m not looking forward to having that conversation with the lawyers.

Still, these are the necessary hoops you have to jump through in order to untangle things. I’d say something along the lines of how I wish I didn’t have to do this alone, but if you were still with me, I wouldn’t be leaving to do this in the first place so… yeah.

Anyway, I’m sorry this doesn’t have the humor or snark I’d intended for this letter to have; it’s probably more a detour than an actual roadblock, so I really don’t find myself having to complain too much. At this point, what’s one more week? But I’ll admit, getting as close to having everything resolved and having to stop due to what appears to me to be a minor technicality is a bit irritating. But what are you gonna do?

Lord, grant me patience. And as always, honey, wish me luck.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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