Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Fred Wise

Eight years ago my father-in-law passed away. His widow, after waiting a year, remarried. She was 80 and her new husband, Fred Wise, was 87.
Fred died Monday morning after a series of strokes. He was 94.
Fred was one of the kindest men you could meet. He was a geologist as a young man who prospected for oil, gold, and other ores from Alaska to South America. He taught junior high science for 17 years (and wore a tie every day of his life afterwards out of habit), and had a large boat for a few years. He belonged to the Tacoma Yacht Club.
I don't think I ever heard Fred say an unkind word about anyone, and while his memory was pretty much kaput for his last few years, he still worked on his memiors and played Scrabble all the time.
Adios, Fred. It was nice knowing you.

Fred's passing got me to thinking about how finite our time can be in this life. I've been urging my mother to get a computer for years, but her reluctance to learn something new and the related costs have kept her from making the move. So, since her birthday is coming up later this month I decided to get her a basic Dell system. No printer or scanner, but it has enough muscle to get on line and surf the Net.

I love tax time. The IRS apparently has this idea that if they make filing taxes difficult enough we'll give up and not take all the exemptions to which we're entitled. Case in point: The Child Tax Credit. They direct you to follow the instructions in Form 927 or somesuch. I dare you to find that form. I did a search in the IRS site and got 500 hits, none of which were for that form. Case in point: Deducting state sales taxes. This is something new for this year, but try to find the table that tells you how much you can deduct. I dare you.
Usually the basic tax forms can be found at the Post Office, but they aren't supplying the PO this year. Try the library, I was told. I did, and they had next to nothing. The library people taped a sign up saying "This is all the IRS sent us."
Conspiracy theorists arise!

I asked Kristine's guitar teacher if he played Chuck Berry and he replied "No!" as though I'd asked if he got Michael Jackson's castoffs--and I don't mean clothes. So I'm still looking for someone to teach me rock leads. I just can't bring myself to pony up $40-per-hour for the privilege. I'll be going to Portland on the 18th, where rocker Brian Trainer will give me some pointers, but that isn't the same as regular lessons.

Last week I stayed home with a nice case of the flu. I'm still coughing like Doc Holliday and my sleep schedule is a mess, but I'm at least fit enough to go to work and function in a more-or-less normal fashion.