Sunday, June 26, 2011

Putting my Affairs in Order

Here's how I'd like to put my affairs - in order:

Ah, even a cancerous girl can dream.

They should make an adult version of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, don't you think?  I'll bet Disney wouldn't even make the top ten.

So, I've been thinking about all I need to do.   I am going to want to finally scrapbook all those baby photos of my 24 year old son that have been sitting under my bed for 17 years.  Over the years, I bought $10,000 worth of good-intention scrapbooking supplies; I should probably start using them.

I purchased The Story of a Lifetime and have begun filling it out for my children.   This is a book of questions that you respond to so your family can posthumously get to know you.  

It's full of queries such as, "Have you ever saved someone's life?  Tell the story."  And, I totally haven't, but my kids don't know that so I'm going to have a lot of fun making up stories about my heroism.  They'll get a better mom dead than I ever was alive - I'll be Saint Ann by the time I'm done.

I'll start making end-of-life medical arrangements, so my family knows my wishes, although I'm not even sure I know them.    And, you all know damn well that I'll write my own obituary.   Eventually I will probably start cleaning out a bunch of stuff that means something to me but will be junk to others, like that skirt I wore when I was 18 that is hanging in the back of the closet and that I could still fit into until the bloating started a few months ago.

I realize I have years left to live - maybe even a decade,  perhaps even two.  Hell, maybe even a normal lifespan -  I'm not giving up hope at all.  But, there are no guarantees with this disease - I've seen it take people swiftly.  If When I live for decades,  than no harm done, these are things most people should do anyway.

I just work much better under a deadline.

Getting your affairs in order, in the traditional sense, means financially.  This is where being poor for a lifetime pays off - there isn't that much for me to do.

I do have insurance.  I work for a school district, and as most big companies do, they offer life insurance as a benefit with employment.  When I first started, I took the minimum because, you know, I was never going to die;  life insurance is for other people.    A year or so ago, they changed carriers and offered everybody the chance to up their insurance, no questions asked.  Although at the time I thought I'd survive breast cancer, I still jumped and bought the max.  

That turned out to be a pretty good decision.  Now my family will get $125,000 upon my death.

(I didn't like the way my husband's eyes lit up when I told him that.)

I called my benefits department to find out how to manage it and they sent me a slew of paperwork to keep for when I needed it.  I received it Friday, glanced at it and put it on the coffee table.   Then my family and I went out for an enjoyable and hilarious evening of Defending the Caveman.

When we walked in the house, look what I found.

Simple Dog struck again.  She ate my insurance paperwork.

She loves me.

I can't wait to call the district and explain why I need the paperwork again.  I bet it's first time they truthfully heard "My dog ate my homework."

I'm taking that as a sign I won't need it for a long, long time.


  1. Yes! A good sign! Hope you're enjoying the weekend. Oh yeah, summer is just one long weekend!

  2. Koryn, I got your package on Saturday. THANK YOU!!! Your little treats are very meaningful to me. I am going to do a blog post and point to your webstore because your items are beautiful and others should buy them. More privately.

  3. Anthony Bourdain! Isn't he just the sexiest, foul-mouthed gourmet chef and world traveller EVER??!?

    I'll share him with you.

    I like you THAT much.


    Lots of stuff to think about, Ann. I'd never heard of The Story of a Lifetime.. might have to pick that up for myself.

    And they'll never buy your dog vs. homework story. You might try something more believable, like you forgot where you put them...


  4. Haha! Oh you crack me up!
    You're a very smart woman, and your family will be so grateful, despite being a hard thing to think about. Its astounding how many people don't even think about having their affairs in order, despite health or illness. Dying is something we can't predict and to be sorted is worth so much. When my husband tried to broach the topic with his mum after a series of mini strokes last year she was super offended and still hasn't done anything about putting her affairs in order. And her affairs are rather messy and we anticipate a large long drawn out clean up one day!
    Sorry for digressing but you've once again touched on a very good subject which not many people like to think about but which we all should, regardless of our health status.

  5. I've got my memorial service pretty well planned - well the catering part anyway. Its not because of cancer but because I went to two this spring and made notes.

    Anthony Bourdain is HOT!

  6. Ann,
    This post is serious, but at the same time hilarious! You are not alone in this aspect of cancer either. At the last funeral I was at, I sat there thinking about my own. The dog eating your homework is pretty funny and I think it is definitely a good sign! Reading that you are a bit of a procrastinator in the scrapbooking thing made me laugh because I have my twenty year old son's baby book stuff still in boxes in my closet, hmmm, I should probably get at that soon too! Great post!

  7. Ann, thank you for posting about a subject that's not often tackled with such open-ness and honesty.

  8. Wow. This is so awesome I hardly know where to start. Your writing, your unflinching facing of a pretty nasty deadline (and let's all hope like heck for a deadline extension), your writing--did I say that already? You are a great writer.

    P.S. I am so with you on the first three items on your list. Especially Bourdain. Woof.

  9. I DEFINITELY think that there should be a Make-A-Wish for adults. Especially for us ladies. And I would not waste my wish on Disneyland either, that's for damn sure. Anthony, George...and mmmm who's the guy at the bottom?? Love your post!

  10. Thank you, Ann, for expressing so candidly and humourously what many of us going through this icky and maddening breast cancer business are thinking. I, too, have been busy putting my affairs in order ... hoping that I'll have many, many more years to leave a more complete legacy. But, like you, I've seen how these things can go while I take heart from the many women who continue to live on beyond breast cancer and even with breast cancer.

    You are, as always Ann, a treasured inspiration.

  11. Ann, you make the toughest topics hilarious. "Putting My Affairs in Order" has a whole new meaning now!! Love your humor and your blog!!

  12. Ann,

    Have you seen this website, ?? A well-meaning friend posted this on her facebook for those with cancer, MS, etc. Supposed to be low(er)cost "cures" and the authors are legitimate and highly educated. I know there is a plethora of "cures" out there but would value your opinion. And thanks for the nudge on "baby" is turning 15 so I need to get cracking! This is actually on my list of "things to do while I fight cancer" until I have to go back to work. Still keep putting this one off, ha!

    Maria V

  13. Oh my laughing so hard here.
    Tho I dont have THAT book. I do have books for my kids and grand-kids I have been meaning to fill out for years..
    Kinda like the scrap booking
    Love your sense of humor ..following you
    Had to laugh at the chewed up paper too...way to many dogs in this house that do the same thing.
    Debbi at

  14. I completely identify with that urge to finish the scrapbooking project. The supplies can end up costing an arm and a leg.

    I'm so glad you have good insurance. My hubby's eyes would probably light up, too, if he saw that amount, lol.

    And I love the dog ate my homework excuse. This time, no lying.

    Keep up your feisty spirit, Ann! It encourages us all!

  15. i agree... Dogs have clever instincts x

  16. Love it! You have great taste in men! A word of caution, however. All my friends think my former "boy friend from hell" is a dead ringer for Anthony Bourdain.


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