Monday, November 22, 2010

Banking Emergency

Emergency and banks don't really seem like things that go in the same sentence--unless your accounts have been pillaged. Or unless your parents both have Alzheimer's. My mom's is progressing relatively slowly, but Daddy's seems to be going downhill more quickly these days.

One evening last week, Mama was paying a bill when she realized she didn't know what the bill was for. Or rather, it was for a line-of-credit loan she didn't know had been taken out. Because Daddy was asleep, she took it next door to my sister, who called me, and we got online to see what was going on. And nobody knew, except that nearly $10 grand had been used from their line of credit, and who knew what the money was used for. When I called the parents to tell them I was coming down the next day, I asked Daddy if he knew anything about it, and he thought somebody must have got into his banking and messed with it. Mama had a morning doctor appointment, so I got up in the way-too-early hours of the morning and made the trek through Houston and beyond to their little town, only to learn that Mama had gone to the emergency room with chest pains only that Monday, and yet again had failed to tell the sister--who lives Next Door--and yet again had allowed Daddy to drive her there, when he's not supposed to be driving at all. (This is now the perennial fight when I go visit. He has to bring it up at least once while I'm there.) Sigh.

So. Baby Sister got a substitute for her high school English classes and we all trekked to the county seat, where the bank is, and we discovered that the money had just been transferred into their savings account. Of course, this was still a problem, since the loan was at 10% interest, and savings is at--what? 0.25%? Terrible interest. So we paid back the loan--at a cost of $150 or so--got Baby Sister and me added to the accounts, and changed the password on the online banking to keep it from happening again.

That day, Daddy accepted that he had probably done it. Next morning? He had decided that I had gone into his bank accounts and messed them up, because he certainly hadn't done it. We'd convinced him to take the bills next door to Baby Sis so she could make sure everything got paid, but the next day, he was all gritchy again, because he'd paid the bills all his life and didn't see why he couldn't keep on doing it. So I just took care of it without telling him.

By the time I headed home, he'd accepted again that he'd done it himself, and had decided that he would be in the "nuthouse" before I came back, because when I said I'd see him when I came back again, he said "Probably not."

It's time to get a guardianship set up, though. We need to protect them from themselves, but that's going to take a little while. Pray for us. We need all we can get.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

At last!

Yes, at long last, I have finished this book I've been working on.

Well, mostly. Except for a necessary epilogue. But that will be easy, once I decide what, exactly, happens. All the emotional turmoil is done, the angst is de-angsted, the decisions are made. (The characters' decisions, I mean. Mine aren't quite finished.) The last little bit is just the happy ending part. And yes, it has a happy ending. I'm a romance reader, and a romance writer. I insist upon the happy ending. Happy. Not perfection. 'Cause, you know, you don't get perfection this side of glory. But you do get happy.

I also still have to type the rest of the book into the computer in the first edit. And then I have to print the sucker out and go through for revisions. I already know some stuff I'm going to cut out. And there's more I probably need to punch up. But I like it. And it's done. Mostly.

Go Me.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Niagara & beyond

Yes, for the very first time ever in my whole life, I got to go to Niagara Falls. You will notice that there are no pictures of the falls, or of the beautifal fall leaves in Canada (we stayed on the Canadian side of the river, because after 3 days in Niagara Falls, we went to Toronto for 4 more days). This is because I left the camera in the rental car when we got back to Buffalo to fly back home. We took lots and lots of pictures, but... I am sick about it, but what can you do?

Anyway, we had a wonderful experience. You can see Niagara Falls in movies and on TV, and it looks really amazing and impressive, but honey, believe me when I say that it still doesn't prepare you for how much MORE impressive and amazing and everything it looks when you see it in person. We went on the Maid of the Mist boat ride. We went in the tunnels behind the falls (not much to see, really, but white water & mist). We drove up the river to Fort Erie, Ont. to look at the fort, but it was closed. Still, it was a really nice drive down the river. When we left Niagara Falls, we drove north, down the river (it really felt weird to be going downriver, and north at the same time), to Niagara-on-the-Lake and stopped at one of the ice wine wineries, then on around Lake Ontario to Toronto.

At Toronto, I wrote a little bit, but it's a very interesting city, and we were right in the middle of it--across the street from city hall. I did not realize that Hudson's Bay Company was still in existence. It is now the largest department store in Canada. I went. Didn't buy anything, except breakfast one morning. I went to the Bata Shoe Museum, and while it did have some gorgeous and glamorous designer shoes, I found the "history of shoes" exhibit and the rotating exhibit on native American moccasins the most fascinating. Flip-flops have a Loooooooong history. ;) (Egyptians wore flipflops)

We did Chinatown, and rode across to Toronto Island, which creates the harborfront in Toronto. Their seawall, along the island, was a LOT chillier than our seawall... We just had a good time, and ate at a lot of good places. I had rabbit pasta--first time I ever ate rabbit... I just hate that I lost the dadgum camera. Sigh. (I also lost an earring. One of my new black ones. Grr.)

Okay, I can't do it. I have to put at least one picture in. Yes, the water really is that green. And there's a lot more city around the falls than I thought. I had this mental image of the falls being isolated way out in the country, somewhere you had to drive to for hours and hours, but it's not. You fly into the Buffalo, NY, airport, and 20 minutes later, you're there. Niagara Falls. With city on both sides of the river. Though the US side has a state park. We stayed in a hotel next to a casino with a fabulous view of the falls. I just loved it.

And now I am back home in sunny Galveston, where the cold front takes the temperatures down to a balmy 72F/22C instead of the 50F/10C it was while we were in Toronto (which was the coldest it got--really, it was lovely most of the time. They still had roses blooming at the botanical gardens!). I admit it--I have lost all my antifreeze. I am a wimp when it comes to cold weather. But really--we had a great time in Canada.