Monday, March 25, 2013

Business as Usual

For the past two years, I've been monitoring my Dad's finances.  My mother was the brains of the financials at their domicile, even with brain cancer.

Yes, you read that right.  My father is so skeeved out by bills that he let a woman with thirteen mini-masses on her brain handle the checkbook.  She was quite happy to do it, and it allowed her some sense of control at a time when she had anything but.

Anyway, about a year ago, I noticed some weird debits/checks written against his account.  So, I've gradually just straight-up taken over my Dad's finances.  Not to the extent where he gets allowances or anything like that.  He still has a checkbook, ATM card, and all that jazz.  I mean, the man worked for sixty-five years. He can spend his money how he likes.  (Well, except for those sweepstakes things that he didn't realize were scammy situations, which is what precipitated my more aggressive role in all of this.)

On Friday, I deposited some checks for him.  He and my mother had a bunch of investments (which he still currently has, obvi), and bitty checks roll in on a continual basis. My mother's name is still on some of them, though, which is something I suspect will be left to me to deal with because my Dad's just not motivated to close loops like that.  I don't blame him.

The teller called out, "May I help the next person in line?"

I stepped forward and announced, "I have a deposit to make for my father."

I like to state this kind of thing up front because my father has one of those names that could be a man's or a woman's name, and people (frequently) make assumptions that I am he, and it weirds me out.  Anyway, I slid the stack of checks and deposit slip toward the teller.

"Thank you," the teller picked up the stack and quickly flipped through them. "Oh," she pulled two from the stack, "[My mother's name] will need to sign these since she's also listed on the check."

"She's passed away," I said quietly, without further information. I have found that some people require further information.  Like, "She's passed away so there is no way she will be able to sign a $2.75 check from AT&T."

"Oh," the teller said, her gaze lingering on me for just a shade longer than normal for this transaction. I knew she was putting it together...  If I am depositing checks for my father, and if the woman co-listed on the check was his spouse, ipso facto, it's probably my mother who has passed away.

Behold deductive reasoning!

"Karen," she said, quietly, discreetly. "I need to ask you a question." Karen, a bespectacled, trim woman with Breck hair despite being well into her fifties, stood up and conferred.  I heard her say, "It's what I would do..."

The teller cashed the checks, handed me the receipt, and I was on my way. I was grateful that we didn't get all personal up in there, with the "I'm sorry for your losses" and such. I mean, I don't get mad when people say that, but it triggers an emotional response in me when someone expresses sympathy. And it's perfectly OK to show my soft underbelly to friends and family, but the bank teller at noon on Friday? Not really on my list of confidantes.

This marks, I think, the first time that I have shared the news of my mother's passing without getting weepy. Caught me by surprise, it did.

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