2009-03-23

Powers of Attorney

Powers of Attorney are tricky things. Your generic Power of Attorney, at least as the various software packages present it, grants tremendous power over property. If durable, it lasts until revoked by the granter.

But say you want to grant authority in a narrow area, such as authority to talk with specific firms on specific subjects? Or firms in a given field of endeavor? Your generic Power of Attorney is far too broad, you need a Specific Power of Attorney.

In our case we needed a Power of Attorney for my mother, authorizing my sister to act on her behalf in conversations with her Long-Term Care Insurance Companies, and to enter into conversations and contracts with In-Home Care Providers and Long-Term Care Facilities; having an existing Trust instrument a generic Power of Attorney would overturn all the already established structures and be a right bloody pain. Working with the legal software we had kicking around, well, nothing suitable could be created, or so it initially seemed...

But...

By creating a Specific Power of Attorney, and selecting to not grant power over anything the software suggested, it was possible to create a document that had all the proper phrasing minus the actual area of authority, and then export the document to a text file, an .rtf file in this case. Opening the file in the word processor of our choice, we then went in and specified that the authority granted was to negotiate and enter into contracts with 1) Mom's Long-Term Care Insurance Companies, and 2) prospective In-Home Care Providers and Long-Term Care Facilities. Save the file with changes, print it out and double check, then print it out as a two-sided document, and we were ready to get it notarized and see if this meets the needs of the various entities who had been reluctant to talk with my sister.

This should work; it is a Durable Specific Power of Attorney with 2 clearly specified closely related task specific areas of authority, and I don't think they'd have a leg to stand on to claim it doesn't cover what we want my sister to deal with.

We do need to revise the existing Trust instrument, because dad created it and mom wants to change how things get distributed after she dies, seeing how dad died back in 2001 and his wishes are decidedly irrelevant at this time; mom wants to do things differently, that is her right. And we need to do this while there is no question about her competence. But until that is done we don't want to create anything which invalidates the Trust instrument, which a General Durable Power of Attorney would have done.

So, being a minor computer geek came in handy, being able to figure out how to tweak things around using different software packages to get the document desired.

And that's what we did yesterday and today, yesterday the tweakage, today the notarizing.

Woof!

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2009-03-20

Sharp garden tools

Something I've discovered is that when you stick things into dirt, they get dull. Case in point being shovels, trowels, and root cutting knives. Sharp shovels cut through matted grass roots far better than dull shovels. Sharpened root cutting knives cut through blackberry roots far better than dull root cutting knives; sure, it has jaggy edges, but they dull down, get blunt, round off a bit, and there you are wearing yourself down hacking away at a root that's no where near as tough as the one you cut through previously like a hot knife through butter.

Now, the question may come up, just what do you use to sharpen these things? I don't know about others, but I've come to rely upon a nifty carbide sharpener from my old stand-by, Garrett Wade.

Perfect for putting an edge on steel or iron tools, small enough you can tuck it in your back pocket while working in the yard, or purchase the optional sheath with belt loop, or, perhaps, add a belt loop to the sheath it comes with. Not for use on anything requiring exact angles, don't try to sharpen woodworking tools with this, but fine for shovels, trowels, and knives, including all those dull ones in the kitchen [which reminds me that mom's knives are dangerously dull]. Actually, there are woodworking tools you could sharpen with this, spokeshaves come to mind as well as marking knives, scopes, and other hand tools which don't require precise angles, just a reasonable sharposity.

And given I'm making up words again, it's clearly time for me to

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2009-03-18

Smile, smile, smile

Something which requires a good set of teeth, as does eating certain foods, and clear enunciation.

Saw the folks at Oregon Health Sciences University School of Dentistry [OHSU] this morning, and the prognosis was as I'd thought it would be: a) do nothing at this time, b) major reconstructive surgery at around $50,000.00, or c) yank them all and go for full dentures at around $4,000.00.

Do nothing at this time is not an acceptable option to me, my teeth are majorly decayed and more and more various foodstuffs are ceasing to be amenable for mastication. Major reconstructive surgery is to laugh, for far too many of my teeth there's nothing to attach fake teeth parts to, and the rest of the teeth would require 50% to 75% rebuild, not really worth doing just to falsely claim I still have my own teeth, with no guarantee that the teeth will hold up, eh, NOT!

So I'll spend the next nine to twelve months, depending upon how things get scheduled with the Dental School Clinics, having teeth extracted, jaws healing, and dentures being made, at the end of which I'll have a removable smile I'll really need to take care of, but I'll also be able to do things like chewing my lip again, and taking bites out of food like an adult and have something to grind with as well. And I'll speak more clearly, which mom will appreciate.

And some dentistry student will have had a real learning experience, working on my mouth. Which is why it will take so long, something about the work having to be scheduled around classes, vacations, etc., but also why it will cost so little.

And thanks to my Disability claim being approved, with a two year retroactive payout, I have the money for this.

Well, that's the latest news from the Brooklyn neighborhood of SE Portland, so I guess I'll just

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2009-03-11

Got seeds!

Yeppers, went and bought vegytable seeds, to plant so that we'll have veggies for the table... too late, I already quit my day job.

Anyway, got some bush peas, stringless string beans which wants poles, carrots, lettuce, Butternut squash and zucchini; I realize that even though the packet has many seeds, one only plants one zucchini seed, any more and it'll feed the precinct. Especially since I don't happen to like zucchini, but mom likes it, so I got some.

I know what I'm going to use with the string beans, gonna use a bunch of them apple tree branches I pruned last year for them to climb up, knew there was a reason I was saving them!

It'll still be a while until I plant, we're still getting below freezing weather at night, but I figure this way I've got the seeds, and once it gets safe to plant I can plant.

It seems very strange, my preparing to plant a garden. I've never voluntarily been involved with a garden before, it's always been something I've been made to do as part of my "family obligation", you know the thing, parents not being up front and saying "because I told you to" but instead trying to lay a guilt trip on you so you'll feel guilty about not working on it even though you can't conceive of any rational reason they should expect you to care about a garden, or whatever their laying the guilt trip about. "Because I told you to" is a lot more honest, and had much less negative feeling on my part; don't try no Jedi mind tricks on me, be up front about it, and the most twisty you need to be is to mention that there's a lot done for you by your parents and maybe, just maybe, some help from you when possible might be nice, and give it the thought that they might have a better idea of what you can do to help than you do; not that parents are all knowing and infallible, far from it, they're making this up as they go along, but humour them, OK?

Anyway, got stuff for planting, did just realize that I'll still need to get tomaters and potaters, but those'll wait until closer to planting, too chill for tomaters just yet, and need to read up on potaters as well as the other plants.

Like I'm lacking in reference materials, no sirry bob, got lots of gardening books I've picked up over the years, self-defense 'cause mom would ask me gardening questions and my response would be a quite truthful "How the *bleep* should I know" followed by purchasing books to answer the questions, this is a patron-driven collection development policy, no high-falutin ideals, no sir, we get what the patrons are asking us for; to some in libraryland a strange concept, to me it makes sense, especially for my own library!

2009-03-09

Snow, again?!?!?

Come on, it's March 9th already!

Don't tell me about Global Warming, so far this winter is more of an advert for "Enter Ice Age Four" as it were, in a mild Pacific Northwest kinda way.

No accumulation at this elevation, but it was coming down fast and furious for a bit an hour ago.

Definitely not planting vegetables anytime soon, the ground is too cold and we keep having snow.

But in regard to veggies, thinking along the line of peas, beans, lettuce, spinach, squash, carrots, taters, tomaters, you know, the staples, stuff that can be put up for the winter if in excess of current needs.

Quick! Alert the media! John's talking about vegetable gardening in a favorable manner! Sure sign that the apocalypse is upon us!

Or maybe it's that I feel a need to justify the huge yard by doing something productive with it? As well as truck gardens make economic sense. Yeah, that's it, the Scot's parsimonious nature, something never before seen in me, finally breeding true?

Dunno. Whatever. Just hope it keeps going, and sparks my interest enough to set up proper soaker hose watering and such like so that economical watering of said garden occurs.

Well, off to find something of interest to do. Wish me luck!

2009-03-08

Hibernating Bumble Bees

Bumble Bees are solitary critters, don't live in swarms or hives, hang out all on their lonesome, and when the weather gets cold and their food goes away they creep down through the upper layers of soil and settle down to hibernate, staying below the roots of the grass until it warms up enough that plants start to flower when they perk up and crawl back out and merrily buzz around gathering pollen and nectar to build up their reserves for the next winter. I've no idea how long they can live, how many turns of the season they can have.

So, like, I know this about Bumble Bees partially through reading, but also partially through personal experience, to wit: No *bleep*, there I was, merrily pealing away the top layer of soil, that which the grass had put down roots in, and what do I come across in the cold, damp soil, underneath the roots, but a Bumble Bee! And the shine doth sun, um, the Sun doth Shine upon said Bumble, warming it slightly, and it doth look up, say "no way Jose!", and burrow down through the soil some more until it can return to hibernating, for indeed, it is still far too chill for a Bumble Bee to be a-bumbling about.

Also came across a big old grub, several worms, and the knowledge that grass does surface roots, and various other plants come up from under the grass and stay behind if you are pealing away the grass. Like onions. Of which we have a-many, descendants of onions planted five plus years agone and never harvested, and some other plants which I'm not sure what they are, not aware of having seen them afore, but which are popping up all over in the wake of the unlamented Clematis and Blackberries, said viney types having held done and sorely oppressed many other plant species who are now putting forth greens and announcing to the world, "We are here!" and daring me to name them Weed, daring me to identify them as useful or non, being full healthy already and even bringing forth flowers, some of them. And the onions grow forth, quitely sending up their green tubes in some areas, and slightly different, more leeklike growths in other parts of the yard where I peeled back grass last fall whilst hunting out the Ivy which had snuck in under cover of the Clematis.

And no, I have seen no Clematis, for truly it seems to be gone, vanished, iradicated like the vile verminous viney vamp that it is, not root nor branch to be seen these several months agone. It, and the Blackberries and Ivy are gone, to appear no longer in this yard, slain by "clearcut" Mead himself, removed, banished, repudiated, evicted and exterminated, no more to annoy me with their ne'er ceasing shouts of "neener neener neener" as they creep out from yet another hiding place, gone they art!

[following a quick expedition to the back yard] Yep, still gone.

So, last fall was getting rid of stuff, this year may actually see vegetable gardening occur.

Well, enough, the focus it goeth and the writing thus becomes blurry of topic, hmm?