I think it's a bit of serendipity that I'm sitting here at home with a case of the stomach flu on the day that my grandfather's property passes out of my hands forever. As I write this, the settlement is being completed out in Bedford, PA on the place I lovingly called Big Rock.
Today would not have been a good day for me to be at school, dealing with 110 teenagers and various adults. If I felt well I would be irritable and snappish, likely to do or say something out of character. Perhaps the bored gods saw that eventuality and stuck me in bed for two days.
Funny thing is, the sale of this land is almost exactly the same situation in that movie, "The Descendants," except that in the movie there are a lot more cousins in the mix. I just have an uncle, a sister, and three cousins. And no George Clooney on hand to save the day.
My sister sent me an email. She and her husband and their newly-adopted 8-year-old are going to the settlement, so they can sign the papers and get their check today. Sis was angry when I held up the sale for irregularities, back in January. Apparently she is desperate for the money.
Sis took custody of two boys back in May of 2011, wards of a private Christian adoption agency from which they were bought (something like $30,000). This agency did not require any parenting classes and did not contact next-of-kin for references. Nor did they disclose that the boys being adopted were born to a mother who was abusing alcohol and crack cocaine while they were in utero. Sis has already "returned to sender" the younger of the two, a boy who has all the symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, a boy who was shuttled between indifferent Christian foster families and orphanages and a crazy grandmother for the first years of his life. He was in Sis's home for about four months.
In her email, Sis said she was taking the remaining boy up to the property settlement "so he can meet at least a little bit of his family."
From where I'm sitting I think it would be better if the kid had the stomach flu himself today.
I dunno ... I just don't see a property settlement table as an optimal place for a troubled adoptee to meet and greet the last remaining member of my dad's generation. Two hours in the car one way, a lawyer's office, maybe lunch at a diner in the little county seat, maybe a long back-roads drive down to the house that is being cleaned out ... Long drive home with a vague memory of some tall old man with an odd stare and a white beard. Who may himself be crying today, given that he's signing the papers on the place he has called home since 1978.
This is just another example of Sis's inability to engage the reality portion of life.
I wonder what she will do with the $23,000-and-change portion of the farm that is her due? She says that she and her husband have exhausted their retirement savings. To hear someone admit this at age 47 -- having just adopted an eight-year-old -- is rather frightening.
So. I get $23,000-and-change too. Which is either two years' state and local taxes in Snobville or a year of college tuition for The Spare.
Now, now, readers ... Don't tempt me to blow the dough on a fancy new car or a couple trips to some island. I don't roll that way. Maybe, four years or so from now, I'll buy a couple of acres of land. Or maybe not. It would be better to hear America singing right where I am, close by the ghost of Walt Whitman.
Oh ... one piece of big good news! The East Coast Vulture Festival gave the a-okay sign to the buzzard costume rental! I may be the only vulture at the fair!
I hope you don't get this stomach bug. It's a ripper.