Ellen (ennienyc) wrote,

Packing it up

My mother was a pack rat and often said we'd hate her after she was gone when we had to go through all her things. We don't hate her, but she sure did have a lot of things (e.g., a drawer filled with feminine supplies that she hadn't needed since the '70s). My sister and I agreed we'd rather take it slowly than try to pack up the apartment all at once. This meant continuing to pay maintenance and other fees on her condo (we did disconnect the phone), but the expense is negligible compared to what her care would have cost had she lived. I've gone to Florida several times, and after another trip last week the end is in sight.

We found many coins, wrapped and unwrapped, and brought them to a nearby bank with a Penny Arcade machine. We had to unwrap them all for the machine, and spent quite a while dumping coins in the tray. The total came to over $154 (!) (including over 6000 pennies), split between my sister and me - the Mommy ATM!
The Mommy ATM continued when we found cash in the underwear drawer and in a locked metal box we correctly guessed the combination to (my father's favorite numbers). After the stroke, Mommy's purse went missing. I contacted EMT, the hospital, and her building staff and no one found it or remembered seeing it. Months later, we found it in an obscure corner of a closet with everything intact (we had figured it was lost rather than stolen, since there were no suspicious credit card charges), including some cash. Mommy ATM! Maybe the EMTs stashed it there, since she usually kept it in plainer sight. Hoping for more hidden treasure, we shook out all the books and looked in every nook and cranny, but found nothing further.

A box of books shipped Media Mail just arrived. I'd previously sent some items via UPS (the UPS Store can be expensive, but it's convenient and had no lines) and as checked baggage. This trip I filled and checked a large, wheeled TravelPro suitcase. It came to 60 pounds, and I didn't know the limit was 50. The guy said there would be a $100 charge unless I could lighten it, so I frantically took out "Ripstein: The Game" (custom-made board game) and some framed diplomas to get it to 50. Now, though, I had to fit the removed items in my carry-on duffel bag which already had my laptop and was very heavy.

Lugging the duffel onto the plane (with my other bag, a tote with reading material and pocketbook inside to keep the carry-ons at 2), I was happy to see one remaining space in the overhead bin across from my seat but could not hoist the bag. A good samaritan intervened, and also had to take it down when we landed. Our flight was supposed to use baggage claim B (according to both the announcement and electronic board), which took quite a while to start. I noticed people at claim C, and went over there but saw tags with a different flight number. After B had gone around several times without my suitcase, I again went to C (now deserted) and saw my bag. Oh well, at least I found it.

My credit card has a "blink" feature which failed to work last week at a Duane Reade (it did swipe) and in the cab from the Fort Lauderdale airport to my mother's place (it did work on the cab from home to LaGuardia). The Florida driver tried typing the number in manually and it still didn't work, so I paid cash. I immediately called the bank, who said they saw the attempted charge (which did not go through), and the driver's machine must have been faulty and he probably typed the number wrong. I was skeptical (was the Duane Reade machine also broken?) and hoped the final cab from LaGuardia back to home would accept the card. Thankfully, it did. Jiggety Jig.

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