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September 3, 2012

Some Advice, Part Two

This really isn't advice.

Instead these fall under the "Who Knew?" category:

- If your loved one dies in a state they're not being buried in - call the funeral home who is in charge of the arrangements. They in turn contact a local funeral home to collect the body and transport it across state lines. Apparently it's less expensive this way. (We shelled out around $1300 for the transport. Can't imagine how much it would have been otherwise.)
Make sure those instructions and phone numbers are in the file if your parent is in a skilled nursing facility or the like.

- Death Certificates - Some institutions (banks) want a "sanitized" (no cause of death listed) version; order
copies of both sanitized and non-sanitized.  Durham County only issues non-sanitized. Nothing you can do about it.

- Death certificates cost money. (It makes sense when you think about it, so do birth certificates.) I think they were $10 each. It's one more expense tacked on to the funeral cost (the funeral home orders them). (And can I interject right here what a rip off I think the whole funeral business is?)
So when the cable company (!!) wants one to turn off the account - they don't get one - unless they want to pay for it. Some places will record  it and return it if you include a self addressed stamped envelope.

Some Advice, Part One

Many of my friends are now orphans, Some are not.

One friend has both parents who are still able to live independently for the most part and who are willing to accept more help - but the visit to the lawyer's office hasn't been made.

Another friend has a mother who will not relinquish her grip on her affairs, so her children are left in the lurch, unable to do what they long to do - take care of their mother.

When my mother put me on her bank account years ago, I thought it was silly. Later I was thankful for her foresight. Being a signer on the account meant I could enable auto bill pay for her accounts when she started to forget to pay things and I could keep an eye on the account to make sure the evil boyfriend was not taking financial advantage.

Mom also wasn't afraid to talk about things that some people might find "morbid" - tombstones, caskets, and living wills. One of the first things we did after I moved back to Florida was to drive to Valdosta, GA where she picked out their headstone. She made and paid for her funeral arrangements. (We have a family cemetery, so the burial plot was taken care of.)

The year after my father died, Mom and I watched the PBS series On Our Own Terms with Bill Moyers; we would discuss each episode afterward over the phone. The series opened up dialogue and gave me insight into what she wanted for her end of life care. I highly recommend watching it or at the very least, reading the discussion guide here (requires Adobe Reader):

So, my advice?

  1. Do. It. Now. Especially if your parents are on board
  2. If they're not on board - download the discussion guide above, put on your big girl/boy Underoos and have a talk
  3. Get on the bank account
  4. Draw up a will; should include a living will  
  5. Know what their wishes are regarding medical procedures (see above) AND
  6. Have a DNR (do not resuscitate) and a Do Not Treat (they are NOT the same thing) order, if that's what has been agreed upon. All healthcare providers should have copies. If your parent(s) is in an assisted living facility, make sure they have a copy. Some post the DNR over the bed. 
  7. Power of attorney (can talk to doctors; make medical/financial decisions): If you're the POA, you'll need a copy of the will (which includes the POA) because you'll be sending it all over creation.
  8. Do. It. Now.

I Can Haz Chicken?

While scarfing down some rotisserie chicken from Sam's Club, I looked over and saw this face:

It's blurry because I was laughing so hard. In case you can't tell, that's his tongue sticking out.

Food Truck Rodeo

Yesterday several of us went to the Food Truck Rodeo at Durham's Central Park. Many of the trucks were under the pavilion, a nice alternative to the sweltering sidewalk on a hot sticky day. Wonder if that's why the longest lines were for those trucks...hmmmmm.

Food Truck Rodeo, Foster Street, Durham
We did a preliminary stroll, looking for the Duckfat Tater Tot truck, because those tots are some major goodness (the buffalo chicken slider is damn good too). Alas, our search was in vain.

So good!
We decided on The Sausage Wagon and Chirba Chirba. Chirba Chirba's line was loooooong, so we split up to stand in both lines. I decided on the spicy Italian sausage; they very nicely deleted the peppers from the onions! (green peppers are gross). The mustard was not as spicy as I remember, but still good. We climbed the hill to the park behind the pavilion, just in time for a butterfly bench by Vega Metals to become available, and stuffed our faces with dumplings and sausage while plotting our dessert. 

When Atkins becomes a lifestyle, you blow off certain carbs in exchange for others. As I didn't eat the bun with my sausage, my eye was on the mauve truck containing Sweet Stacey Cakes. Those of us in the relatively short cupcake line were happy we weren't in line for the crepe truck - that line was crazy. 

I choose a Lemon Lavender and a Cheerwine Velvet (their take on red velvet). While I liked the Cheerwine Velvet (ate all of it), I preferred the Lemon Lavender. I am not a big fan of frosting and didn't eat most of it. 
The others headed off to the ice cream line at The Parlour. I wasn't going to get anything, but when I saw the flavours... a scoop each of Salted Caramel and Brown Sugar Peach topped with salted caramel whipped cream. The peach was the best, fresh and just lightly sweet. 

Afterward I felt shaky from all the sugar and too full. If I do it again, I'll get the Lemon cupcake (take off the frosting) and one scoop of the peach ice cream. (in my defense I offered to share both cupcakes and someone else ate 1/2 the lemon - so there.)

Recently I read an article on the food truck movement in Durham; the writer felt it was too trendy, expensive, and a little precious. 

It is hard (and messy) to stand and eat, but it's also a fun way to sample a lot of food, as long as you have time to stand in line - a group is great if you're willing to split up for a bit. (Observation: the only people in line at the Raw Food truck, were young thin white females. Just sayin...) 

Several of the trucks now have store fronts - Only  Burger and Daisy Cakes to name two. I overheard that The Parlour is next, thanks to KickStarter

Some rodeo tips: start early, wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and bring cash - some of the trucks don't take credit cards.