Thursday, April 27, 2006

Answer to All the Questions About My Plans

Since I quit my job at Louise ISD in May of 2004, my life has taken a few unexpected turns. Mom had a series of strokes, starting on Labor Day weekend of 2004, and culminating with her death on February 24, 2005. The year following her passing was consumed with estate and Trust responsibilities. The business of death and the process of probate and the distribution of her effects determined my daily activities. Add to that necessity of learning to manage the Leigh Family Trust, and suddenly I am engaged in finance on an unprecedented level which requires hours of time, phone calls, travel, decision making, and accounting.

Hopefully, the tempest of the last year and a half is not a pattern for my future. I am still quite busy with the Trust, but it is beginning to settle down into familiarity. With the help of a dynamic accounting, investment, and legal team, the Trust’s holdings have been streamlined. The paperwork load remains high, but as I develop and work a system, it’s becoming manageable.

I laugh every time someone asks if I’m enjoying my retirement. Due to the convergence of events, I feel busier now managing the Trust, the rental properties, and doing Dan’s corporate office work than I ever was as a public school teacher. Not to mention that the emotional stakes are higher as I administer the enterprise created almost seventy years ago by my grandfather.

My intention is to settle back into a life pattern similar to what it was before Mom’s illness. The last few summers during my teaching career were spent commuting from Texas to Missouri for several weeks, home a week or two, then back. That worked well, and I hope to do that again as I work on the Cabin in the Woods and the Trust’s 100 Acre Woods timber project. The best time to be in Missouri is the summer season, when you can garden, pick blackberries, listen to the turkey calls in the early morning, and canoe the river. I enjoy the serenity of being truly remote from towns, traffic, and crowds.

I’ll spend the cool months of fall, winter, and early spring in Ganado, catching up on filing, working on the rental houses, and tinkering with my landscaping. When I get the “Office of Multiplicity” finished there, the business home for the Trust will be centralized and orderly, provide a place to work, and be a safe repository for the Trust archives.

Of course, one of the lessons learned since May of 2004 is that you can’t predict or plan with any certainty at all. When I resigned the teaching position that I had held for fifteen years, I had no way to predict or expect the unsettling events that followed. Likewise, I cannot predict the next few years. I simply have intentions and adjust as events require.

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