A Day in the Life of an Errand Girl………… Court Ordered
I’ve written about Ms. Z before. See this to get some background: http://wp.me/p22j3r-2v. The divorce took a year to finally get agreed upon. In the divorce decree it was stated that “Sue Blumenfeld, The Errand Girl will act as Mr. Z’s shipping agent”. This meant I had to go to the house they once shared and gather together the items listed on 3 pages in the court order, pack and ship them to Mr. Z. I know why they did this. It was much easier on both of them to not have to see each other much less be in the same house trying to pick up belongings. Mr. Z. was a military man so many of the items were military related along with a lot of large works of art.
I had been inside the house many times so I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to find the things listed. Two of us set out early one Saturday morning on one of those 100+ degree days. Ms. Z. had told me that she had ‘all of the stuff gathered together’. I really had no idea how much stuff we were going to be dealing with. Yes, we had a 3 page list but without seeing any of it ahead of time I had no idea how many boxes were needed or if all of the stuff would fit into one van load, etc. The first thing Ms. Z. says to us when we arrived was, “I’m sorry I don’t have any fans for you to use in the garage”. It just seemed a bit strange that it was the first thing that she said when we hadn’t even asked about a fan. She walked us to the garage and showed us the ‘stuff’ she had gotten together. We started by going through this stuff and checking it off the 3 page list. It sounds much simpler than it was. He listed some books he wanted but they weren’t by title, just by subject. I found 8 books on ‘fighter planes’. I didn’t know which book he was referring to or wanted. I didn’t think he wanted to pay for shipping on all 8 books (because this was only 1 item on the 3 page list of things to ship!). We only got a few things checked off that list from the ‘stuff’ she had gathered. I think she was hoping we would just pack it up and not inventory it and we would be satisfied. Now, the real search begins…. We started in the attic.
Because Ms. Z. had been my client for the previous year, I had been in her home many times and was fairly well acquainted with the entire house and its contents. It was quite obvious that she had ‘cleaned house’! Drawer after drawer were empty. We were supposed to be looking for the ‘guest pass’ to get into the military cemetery where Mr. Z’s son (from a previous marriage) had been buried. The filing cabinets were empty. Drawers that had once been overflowing with papers were empty. Ahh, Ms. Z was going to make this as difficult as possible. Another item on the list was the American Flag placed over his son’s casket at burial. Ms. Z said she had no recollection of ever seeing that flag in their house. It went on like this for hours. Most everything we tried to find she said she had never seen before. We dug through more stuff in the garage looking. Granted this was another 100+ degree day in Arkansas, so the garage was much hotter by now!
I called Mr. Z often throughout this process. I emailed pictures to him so he could see exactly what we were talking about. Technology made this much easier, especially when it came to artwork. He mentioned the paintings by name but the names weren’t written on the paintings so it was sometimes hard to determine which was which. We did end up finding all of the artwork except for one large one. Mr. Z is afraid she just threw some things in the trash just to spite him.
When Mr. Z left a year ago he had no intention of not coming back. He was just going to his daughter’s house to recover from a hospitalization. He took a suitcase with him but not much more. Clothing was included on the list. Not much. He just wanted me to pick out 5 long-sleeved shirts, all of his black socks but none of his white ones, and a few pairs of slacks. Ms. Z had put ‘all’ of his clothes in a box in the garage. Amazingly he had no black socks or even underwear! She included a few pairs of blue jeans but he didn’t want those. It seemed as if all the clothes he wanted were nowhere to be found, but the clothes that were available were the ones that he did not want.
It is sad to see people in their 80’s to be so bitter and vindictive towards one another.
At the end of the day we were satisfied that we had found everything that we were going to find. Mr. Z. agreed and told us to go ahead and ship what we had. I had gone to FedEx Kinko’s the day before to let them know that I would be coming late the next day with a large shipment. After taking a full van load to the Goodwill, we filled the van again with everything that needed to be shipped. FedEx Kinko’s was absolutely wonderful! It took 3 hours to get it all packed and boxed but they did it as quickly and safely as they could. 20 boxes were shipped in all.
Mr. Z. said all 20 boxes arrived over a period of a few days time in perfect condition. He was pleased with our work.
A week later, Ms. Z. calls me and says she ‘found’ some more of Mr. Z’s things that he ‘might’ want. Somehow his navy dress hat turned up, the flag from his son’s funeral, and a bunch more of Mr. Z’s personal clothing. I am not sure where this stuff had been hiding as we did a complete search of the house but I am just glad she ‘found’ it. Mr. Z. was thrilled too.