A few years back, my Dad called me. He asked me to be his executor. Actually the executor for his and Mum's wills. The first executor. Not the only one. My sister lives in the UK, and he thought it prudent to have me sorted out as the first line of defence should he happen to pop his clogs. Sis would be second.
I was 34 when he told me this. I was touched and honoured. Felt a bit chuffed. Yeah, look at me ... all grown up. Executor. Fuck yeah.
At work, we were all worried about the Y2K bug. I was mainly concerned at the time because my Mum and Dad's dog Becky had died 3 years ago, the night that the Hale Bopp Comet was visible to the naked eye. I wanted them to have another dog, and they were dragging their heels. But it wasn't my business.
Wills? Pffft. Got that. No problem.
I promised him that I would take care of everything, and that he could count on me.
My Dad told me that he and Mum had rock solid wills. He told me that he had bought a safe, and the password would be easy to remember: It was the phone number of our old home in England (a four digit number) with an additional number added, because the safe's digital keypad required 5-numbers for a pin.
Thirteen years later, the night I arrived, after I got Mum to bed and I was vibrating around the house, looking for a clue as to how I was going to figure out what the fuck to do next, I went to the fridge. I opened a shitty Sleeman's beer, hateful swill that my father felt was real-ale, and went down to the dank pump room in the basement. That's where the safe was. I pulled a wine-making bucket over, flipped it upside down, and sat on it in front of the safe. There was a 40 watt bulb in the trouble-light hanging over my head. It smelled like mold and death down there. It was 9 degrees celsius.
I knew the wills were in there, in that safe. It was locked solid. It had a digital readout. I stared at it.
It took me 5 minutes to figure out the pin pad. I just had to figure out if Dad had added a number before the four digit phone number, or after, and which number it was. Figured it out fast: He added a "1" after the phone number. Sorted.
I had a massive adrenalin rush when the digital keypad turned green, and it beeped positively.
I pulled and wiggled on the handle.
I had a massive and 10-second silent tantrum when I realized that the safe needed both the PIN and a key. A barrel key.
Yeah, a key.
It took me two hours to find where the key was kept (in one of their many "anything" drawers.) It was under a small baggie filled with stale antacid tablets.
I went to bed that night with a sheaf of papers to read. Wills are great sleep aids, in case you are wondering.