The Appendix Issue

I have a nice couple of weeks ahead with no serious plans until Bunthorne Boy and the Viking arrive a couple of Fridays away. Which is good, because this past week was hopping.

Monday was just standard, but Tuesday, I went into the office. Had some lunchtime errands – wanted to see if a couple of bank ATM cards that I never use still worked (they do) and also go back to Tiffany’s for the clock. It turns out the only clock I liked that was in my price range was the discontinued one, and the only one left was in Korea. Oh, well. But Tiffany’s just got bought by some other company and they’re in the midst of redesigning a lot of stuff and it sounds like, come fall, there will be a whole array of new clocks and other stuff to consider. No rush.

After work, I joined dear friends Carol and Lesley at Seamore’s on the Upper East Side. They were taking me out for a condolence dinner and to get caught up, and it was lovely. Two of our other mutual friends in the same theater group had lost husbands in the last few weeks too, a lot going on, and then the usual gossip about the upcoming shows. The food was excellent – they had fish and chips, but I had one of the day’s market specials (swordfish) with various sides and it was yummy. We got churro ice cream sandwiches for dessert (they shared one, I unashamedly plowed through my own). That was awesome. Cab home.

Wednesday, my brother was arriving for a visit, so I pulled all the knitting stuff out of the guest bedroom and put in fresh towels and such, and bought some groceries. Sam arrived late afternoon – we got caught up (he’d been there for the funeral too, so it had only been a few weeks) and went out to dinner at the Queensboro. We also got in the habit over these nights of watching the news, then RuPaul’s Drag Race together. He’d already seen them all, is very familiar with the continuing careers of all the queens, fun to have the commentary.

Thursday, I’d made a vat of oatmeal, so that was breakfast. We both worked (he had a big presentation on Saturday, of all things, to get ready for). I took him on a walk at lunchtime around the Bulova Center.

Then I took him to my favorite Greek restaurant for my favorite lunch there – a prasini salad (romaine with feta) and gyro meat on top. Both great, but we didn’t finish them, so packed them up for later.

Dinner was a hodgepodge of leftovers – the rest of the salad, the leftover shishito peppers from The Queensboro, and leftover steak from my dinner with Tessa. And more news and Drag Race.

Friday I had off. He did some of my ‘hand off to other people’ home organization things while I did my own tasks, then had a podcast episode to record in the morning, but after that we went into Manhattan to get lunch (Lenwich) and see Everything Everywhere All at Once. This is only the second time we’ve done this, but I declare it’s now a tradition that we go see some sort of odd movie that not everyone wants to see (the last time, it was “Midsommar”). Neither of us had seen a movie in a theater since before COVID. Luckily the theater was mostly empty. The movie was wonderful. Very trippy, great performances from everyone, including an unrecognizable Jamie Lee Curtis. I was delighted that the sardonic Stephanie Hsu from “Mrs. Maisal” has a huge role. It’s a tough film to describe, but it’s very much worth the watch. Of course, being twelve, my favorite part was the unusual use of JLC’s tax preparer awards. *snerk*

Grabbed some ice cream on the way home, and then ended up just having nibbles for dinner, although I had a sandwich. More TV. Nice brotherly bonding.

Saturday was an “organization party”. I knew by evening there’d be several of us, but they’d be arriving one by one. Renee showed up at eleven as planned, bearing pita chips and a bag of elephant ears, yum. After some munching and chatting, we got to work on the ‘I need other hands to help me with this’ stuff. First, find out why the king-sized bed was so wobbly, which involved taking the huge mattress off, and the little box springs. (and also vacuuming underneath while it was easy to do so) Turns out – I knew about this, but had forgotten since until recently household maintenance was Not My Problem – that the y-axis brace under the bed was actually broken – it had been duct-taped together as a temporary fix. So we did what we could to realign it, and the bed is slightly less wobbly, but I’ll need a handyman to actually fix it. OK, well, now I know and at least we got the rug vacuumed.

Then Renee and I moved furniture in the living room to rearrange it so we could bring out a bookcase from the office and put it near the piano, and that wasn’t hard at all. Meanwhile, I put Sam on a huge task. On Friday, I’d pulled all of the hanging stuff out of the big closet (formerly C’s), sorted it all into size order, and rehung it in the small closet (formerly mine), while moving my hanging stuff to the big closet. Saturday, Sam had to pull all the closet shelf stuff out from both closets. (I set up a folding table in there so he could put clothes on the bed and ‘not clothes’ on the table for easier evaluation.) The big closet is really big, so C had a fuckton of clothes, he never needed to get rid of anything.

Meanwhile, Susan showed up midafternoon, so after greeting her and feeding everyone some more, I set her finishing the tool organization project and some other little stuff, while Renee did an inventory of the kitchen cabinets (pots and pans and stuff). Susan had also fixed one of our bedroom lamps (thank you!) and brought that back, and evaluated two sad metal music stands to see if they were still any good (one was, one wasn’t).

Eventually we got to a place where everyone was done except for me, and they all hung out in the living room until Sam had to go do his work presentation (which ended early because no one showed up, can you believe it?). But I had to deal with all the clothes on the bed (huge heaps of them). Again, I sorted them by type of garment and size, then put them into vacuum-sealed bags, then put them in the small closet. The plan for the next year or whatever is anytime someone comes over, I’ll show them the small closet and say ‘do you want any of this?’ (It’s also possible that if I lose weight, some of it will become mine.) I also will have other ‘please take me’ shelves elsewhere of tchotchkes and stuff for a while.

And my shelf stuff went into the big closet and I got changed and we went out to dinner at The Queensboro and had a fantastic time. Susan and Renee went home, Sam and I watched a Drag Race and went to bed.

Sunday, Sam had a very early flight, so I saw him off then had to ‘reset’ the apartment. I’d already decided to just do minimal laundry and hand off sheets and big stuff to the laundromat. But I had to put the tools back in the dumbwaiter and, most importantly, deal with the ‘not clothes’ table in the bedroom from the day before. All sorts of interesting stuff – a coin collection, some of his mother’s jewelry, various little bags and fanny packs, some gag gifts, two pocket watches. Sam had found a pair of binoculars which he asked for and I gave him. So, stuff in various boxes (or garbage). By the end of the day, the garbage had been emptied and everything was in a ‘stable place’ and the apartment wasn’t a disaster any more.

So, what’s the ‘appendix issue’, you ask? OK, so about two days before the funeral, Tessa turned to me and said, ‘well, what about his appendix and so on’? “WUT”, I cleverly replied. Well, I vaguely remembered this, but Tessa thought that C was one of those people that believes that you need to hang on to all your body parts if they get removed (like an appendix), because they need to be buried with you so you are ‘complete’ at the resurrection. And I’m like, ‘holy crap, do I need to quickly empty out his closet to see if he has baby teeth in a jar or something’. And was half like ‘oh, maybe I should do that’ and half, ‘that’s ridiculous, I just can’t right now’.

But the idea was in my head, and I had not found C’s funeral instructions that he claimed he left (and still haven’t), and ever since then, I’ve been wondering about the tippy top shelf of his closet and what gruesome things he had stored up there. I decided not to worry about it yet, but the first time I went to the cemetery to visit C, I’d had it in my head that the plaque with his name would be up – but it wasn’t yet (it takes time, and that hadn’t occurred to me) and all that was there was a sheet of plywood. And I’m like, “oHO, maybe I do still have time to find the appendix so they can pop that stuff in before the plaque is put on”. (If you’re picturing opening the casket up again, no no no. I’d put them in an urn or such.)

So I sent an email to Cesar the cemetery guy, saying ‘this is going to sound insane…” but maybe to hold off on putting the plaque up until I had a chance to go through his closet? And then he called me that week and said, ‘well, actually, even though it’s just plywood you see, the crypt has already been sealed so we’d have to break into it again…’ which would be money and basically unnecessary. So we agreed on Plan B, which is that if I find the appendix or whatever, I will get that all ready and make it part of my ‘encryption’ instructions that they include that extra urn when they put mine in. (and if the rapture happens before then, well, hey, the extra bits are still just a couple of miles away from the rest of the body, right? Is that good enough? Sorry, this is silly and morbid.)

Anyway, bottom line, Sam and I found no appendix or baby teeth in the closet, hallelujah (although I did find a couple of teeth in another box, and I guess I should hang on to them). I guess it’s possible that when I go through his papers, I’ll find out about a bank box, or maybe they’ll turn up in a box by the Christmas china or such. So Plan B still applies. But boy, am I glad that this seems to be Not an Issue. One less thing to flip out about.

Enjoy the week!

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