Friday, December 23, 2011

Taking Care of Family Business

Well first, there’s the MediCal application process which is like a Kafka story but without the light humorous touches or big bugs.  Although I understand DHS regulations that say proving residency is best accomplished by showing a paycheck stub, the fact is that this particular 93 year old dementia patient doesn’t work as a greeter at Wal*Mart and hence doesn’t get paychecks. So, sending copies of old driver’s licenses, photo IDs, and even handicapped placards from another official state agency (DMV) which, no irony intended here, has a lot in common with the state Department of Human Services, in that both are apparently staffed by chimpanzees, is so non-compliant that it doesn’t even bear mentioning by the DHS when they tell me to verify residency again and again.

Then, there’s the screwup with my own pension check that has been wired to my soulless mega bank run by Greed Inc. In September, I opened a new account with a credit union. In October, I informed my retirement system to wire the pension to the new credit union account. In November, I closed the old account. In December, my paycheck vanished. While waiting for my credit card bills be become overdue, I learned that Bank of Greed, aka Chase (as in “we have your money now see if you can chase us and catch up with it before we spend it on fees”) had not only received the pension and deposited it into the “closed” account, they had failed to advise me of this, and even made a programmed automatic payment that I’d already paid from savings. Meanwhile, my credit cards became more overdue, I had to take money out of my TSA to cover bills and pay my share of household expense late, resulting in a lovely cascading effect that the Regan boys used to call trickle down, only with poverty not with wealth.

But this is a story about DOBs vast wealth: her measly life insurance. She’s been paying on a $5k face value whole life policy for over 20 years. You can do the math yourself to see what the ROI is on a $30/month payment. When I finally researched it a few years ago, the value was about $12k and I advised her to stop sending them money, and just let it sit there and wait because it was fully paid up. She continued to send them money, of course, because she’s dumber than a sack of doorknobs, and what do I know with my law degree and all.

So, when I had to revisit this life insurance “liquid asset” in the course of applying for MediCal, I discovered she still listed her estate as beneficiary, which is something only an old sack of doorknobs would think made sense. So, following more free legal advice, she decided to change that, and name her three adult children as beneficiaries. And by decided to change I mean decided to expect me to change that without so much as telling me, to let alone thanking me either for the free legal advice or the services.  Here’s how that went down:

Senior Deadbeat Daughter:   (Calling me on her cell while TCG is taking one of his six or so couch naps so I have to answer the fucking phone even though I’d rather turn into a cockroach than converse with SDD) I was just talking to Mother about her life insurance policy and she said she can’t find the paper saying the beneficiaries are now her three kids instead of her estate.

WISIMH:  What is this paper of which you speak? Perhaps when DOB gave me such clear written instructions (hilarious) the insurance fairy appeared and said: this is not the insurance paper you are looking for.

UCC:   Ahhh, paper. Let me explain. Mother couldn’t find a paper with both hands and a flashlight. She can’t find her own ass to change her own diapers. Cutting to the chase, could you be telling me that I should change the beneficiaries?

WISIMH:  Because nothing is done directly around here, like communicate, when indirection and passive aggression are so much easier and more fun. Fortunately for all of us, the unpaid legal consultant slash laundress had registered online and I can change the beneficiaries online. What a nice convenience for me! Thank me very much. I’m welcome.

SDD:   Ok, I guess that’s what Mother meant.

WISIMH:  Which – guessing what Mother means – is one of my all-time favorite pastimes especially when I’m high and it becomes a game of who can repeat the same four or five words over the most and see if they make more sense by repetition than they did when you just repeated them once or twice. Sometimes it’s more fun to just fill in the blanks myself with words that make even less sense. But I digress.

UCC:  So, I guess that’s what you want me to do?

WISIMH:  Is there any other free service I can provide for you while I’m at it? Want an itemized and indexed list of the other shit I do for your lazy ass family?

SDD:  Yeah, that.

But this story doesn’t end here. It gets better. If by better, you mean more Kafkaesque and redolent of the Stygian Stables after a three-day weekend and beans, beans, beans.  It turns out that in order to change beneficiaries online, you need their names, addresses and social security numbers. What an unexpected surprise - for anybody with less than a 4th grade education and/or an attention span longer than it takes for bread to toast.

TCG texts Junior Deadbeat Daughter (because she’s even more fun to converse with than SDD) to get her social security number and mailing address, so I can make the online change of beneficiary which will result in her getting money for nothing. The following conversation took place via text messages, punctuated by my own profanity-laced spoken comments as TCG read it aloud.

TCG: Need your SSN and address to add you as beneficiary in DOB’s life insurance policy.

JDD:  I won’t give that information out without first receiving a written accounting of current cash value and other policy information. I'll need an annual accounting of the cash value too.

TCG:  Really? You don’t want in on the potential free money?

JDD:  Wait! Is Mommy dead? How much money do I get?

WISIMH:  You irresponsible, deadbeat, neglectful, oblivious, bottle blond, trailer trash, vulgar, greedy, lazy piece of crap, second-guessing my care for your unwashed demented mother and demanding that I perform more free services for your convenience, you idiot piece of worthless shit. I’ll send you a brick in a blanket with my best wishes that you swing it at your own empty greedy head, you cretin, you douchebag, you narcissistic waste of air. (I could go on, but let’s acknowledge that I can’t be almost endlessly creative with profanity when directed at these selfish, clueless, worthless idiot offspring of DOB who have an arguably greater obligation to care for their dear mother than I do and yet somehow feel as much obligation to do so as they have to change the oil in my car.)

UCC:  Tell her I’ll send her an annual accounting all right. It will itemize the free services I provide to her fucking mother and thank her for all her fucking helpful advice about how I could be doing a better fucking job caring for her fucking mother, and just how much my share of the fucking insurance would be if I charged fifty cents an hour for my time for these past fucking 25 years, the fucking overweight, unwashed, fucking tramp.

TCG:  No, Mommy is still kicking and being a general pain, and the payout could be in the millions for all I know.

JDD:  Well, get me the information and I’ll get back to you.

I think it’s a good idea for me to stop here because by the time the texting was over there was blood coming out of my eyes and my ears were filled with the thunder of high blood pressure and rage and there was smoke billowing out of my mouth and possibly flames.

The next day, TCG relayed an edited account of his discussion with JDD, and DOB said then just put the two of you older children on as beneficiaries. So I did, thank me very much. 

But let me just say, it’s typical of this family that nobody bothered to tell JDD about this decision, so unless she discovers this when she sends me a notice that my annual account report is overdo, it should be fun, if I’m still alive and sane when DOB dies, and JDD finds out she doesn’t come into millions of free dollars after all. 

1 comment:

Martha in Michigan said...

I know that none of this was funny for you, but it made me laugh out loud, for which I thank you. JDD talking herself out of an inheritance, even if small, is Karma with a capital K. It should be deliciously enjoyable to inform her why, when the time comes.
I am off to join my opposite-of-deadbeat offspring at L's. So sorry you could not spend part of this season with yours. I'd be praying for her if I could. Sending love....