Monday, September 21, 2009

Where There's a Will, There's a Dead Person

There are few things that can bring a person face-to-face with his or her own mortality with gripping reality.

A major illness… a near-fatal accident… a 30-year-old waiter who calls you “ma’am… ”

Or drafting your will.

Last week Dave and I finally got around to updating our wills. Since the last update over a decade ago, we have had two more children, lived in two more cities, and added one dog.

Mysteriously, however, my head remains free of gray hairs.

We sat with our fearless and patient attorney for nearly two hours adding up our assets (our mortgage, our minivan, and one unused waffle iron) and assigning our children to the care of my sister in the event of our deaths (bringing her total to seven kids and one dog) (sucka!).

I left Patient Attorney’s office feeling vulnerable and half-dead. But I did feel as though my affairs were in order, should Dave and I simultaneously and spontaneously succumb to Swine Flu.

Since that appointment, however, it has occurred to me that I may have a few more affairs to put in order before I take my one-way ticket to the endless chocolate fountain in the sky (at least, I hope there’s one).

In lieu of paying (another visit to) Patient Attorney for an addendum to my will, I have decided to leave my final, final wishes here on, and am naming you all as co-executors of this addendum.

First, should I die before I get around to it, I would appreciate it if someone would be so kind as to dust off the exercise equipment in my house so my mourners will believe I had used it, right up to my dying day.

I would also ask that same person to fold the laundry I will have undoubtedly left in the dryer and pull all of the old condiments out of my fridge.

I will also need someone to pull out all the loose photos in the photo drawer(s) and put them into the scrapbooks you will find still wrapped in cellophane.

You will also need to remove memory cards from my camera and from the desk drawer and a few used up disposable cameras and a roll of film in the fridge, and get all those shots developed. I am counting on you to immediately and permanently discard those that make my butt look big, my hair look frizzy, and my face look pale.

And any photos that feature me sporting the Perm of ’86.

Also, I don’t have any plastic food storage containers with matching lids; I would ask you to toss them all and stock my cabinet with a fresh set from Williams Sonoma. Preferably before my mother gets there.

There are no less than 17 cookbooks in my kitchen, none of which have so much as a crease in the spine and will need someone to open, beat up, and sprinkle flour on them to make them look used.

On a related note, please destroy all take-out menus (located in on top of the cookbooks).

Actually, keep the one from the Thai place, they can cater the post-funeral meal. You will eat so well you will forget I am dead.

In my closet, I have a ball cap that belongs to a friend in Texas that I’ve been meaning to mail to her for 13 years; please return it to her.

And the “Gossip Girls” DVD back to Blockbuster.

And the 12-count mini-muffin tin back to my neighbor. From our last house.

I also have old pairs of giant cotton maternity underwear that I kept in case of a water shortage that would lead to a rationing of laundry. Please burn them.

And my bike tires need pumping, my shower needs re-caulking, my car needs vacuuming, my CD collection needs to be re-alphabetized, three blouses need buttons sewn back on, the dog needs a bath, and I have 11 bags of old clothes and shoes that are all ready to go to Goodwill.

My Facebook page, however, will most certainly be up-to-date.


The Jules said...

Great idea. If you now fake your death you'll be sorted out for your triumphant return as your long-lost identical twin sister!

Also, did you read about that service who, in the event of your death, will quickly come round to your house and clean it up, get rid of dodgy sites from your computer and make it look like you were a model son/daughter/citizen for your grieving family?


la aventurista said...

This is hysterical! You and I have a lot in common...Facebook is always much more up to date than anything else that I should be doing ;)

Chris@Maugeritaville said...

Jules, this is absolutely fantastic. For my money, this is far and away your best post since I've been following you. Magnificent.

Obviously, this puts you in the early lead for next week's "Post of the Week".

Great, great work.

JenJen said...

Jules...You are too too clever. You are inspiring me to see the sense in nonsensical crap that happens throughout the day.

Leah Rubin said...

This is just wonderful!

My friends and I have a deal. When one of us dies, the others get into the house and remove her stash of fabrics (we're avid-- but very cool-- quilters) before the husband finds out how much she had. We get more fabric, the deceased is spared the 'shame', and the husband is not upset. He also gains valuable closet and drawer space. Hey Joan, if you go first, dibs on your purples and greens!

Liz in Hawktown said...

Once again, Jules, very funny! This reminds me that I had a professor who said his Iowa mom was always concerned about leaving her house what she called "dying clean" - i.e.,if you died while on vacation, you wouldn't be embarrassed (postmortum!!)when you survivors came to clear away your belongings. (Kind of like always wearing your best underwear in case you're in an car accident and don't want to be embarrassed in front of the ER staff. Nevermind that the first thing they'll do is cut off your fine unmentionables!)

Auishtha said...

LOL is all I could say. Really. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Entertainment at it's finest!

As I'm moving house soon, your post reminded me that I urgently need to "cull" before the Removalists come in to pack everything up!

la_vie_en_shoes said...

Girl, I've got your back on all of these. And I know I'm not the only one.

Kelly H-Y said...

Oh, this is good! Awesome and hilarious post!

kk said...

Ugh, the will. isn't it the worst? It's like, "if i wasn't having a bad day before i came in here, i am now." then? what do we do with it? safekeeping?

aside from the morbidness of writing up the will, what a great post! it had reminded me that i did not allocate my college mix tapes (yes TAPES) to the appropriate friends!

Cathy C. Hall said...

So funny, but the older I get, the more I worry about crazy stuff like that! (I have to clean my shower before I go out of town, just in case a giant meteorite falls on me, and then the neighbors somehow get in my house. Why I think they'll look in my shower, I don't know...)

Jules said...

Thanks, guys! I appreciate the comments...
Jules I & Leah- Everyone needs a friend to provide such a service, mine lives in Chicago and has some very specific instructions!
LA - Sadly, my FB page is always the most up-to-date part of my life
CDM - I am beyond honored and bequeath my entire collection of birthday cards I meant to send if it will get me any higher in the ranks!
JJ, Liz, A, E, Shoegirl, KHY, kk, Cathy - I do hope the person going through our belongings has the courtesy to cut us a little post-mortem slack!!

surveygirl46 said...

What's that old adage,die young and leave a great looking corpse? Yeah there's nothiing as sobering as knowing that one day, you too shall pass. That's why there's humor, to laugh at the monsters and make them ridiculous...I think you should leave sarcastic notes for all your loved ones, or better yet - Indicate thru a long letter written partially in latin that you are leaving a map to secret buried treasures - then have a bunch of unpaid bills left in a promising looking treasure chest LOL

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Ain't that always the way. You realize you forgot one thing to put in your will and the next thing you know, there's like a hundred things you forgot to put in there.

Awesome post. Also...can I have those shoes? When you're done with them, I mean.

Candice said...

Great post. Reminds me that me and my husband really need to get our affairs in order before I kill him. ;)

Sassy Britches said...

If I am left in charge, your "Gossip Girl" DVD's will never make it back to Blockbuster. And not because I am irresponsible either. :)

I'm just saying.