procure |prəˈkyoŏr; prō-| |prəˌkju(ə)r| |proʊˌkjʊ(ə)r| |prəˌkjʊə|
verb [ trans. ]1. obtain (something), esp. with care or effort : food procured for the rebels | [with two objs. ] he persuaded a friend to procure him a ticket. See note at get.
I’ve been beavering through my files this morning looking for some lost papers, and wonder how it is that I got put in charge of the procuring portion of this marriage of mine.
I agreed to some responsibilities many years ago when presented with the options. A bit like hunter-gathers, my husband and I, in a brief fling at fairness, decided to divide up the labor of the marriage. He asked nonchalantly which I would rather be in charge of, secretarial or procurement. Well procuring sounded like a lot of heavy lifting so I said, blithely, secretarial please. I had no idea how many things would come to fall under that label over the years.
Grocery shopping, which seems to me to fall squarely in the procuring column, has instead fallen to me because, well, there must be a list of the items made out and, obviously, that is secretarial. And, besides, he says, he wouldn’t get the right things at the store anyway, so I should just do that part too. He does have a point there. And I have to admit that he carries them for me without complaint.
But that is only the beginning of my current tasks. I find I now, like an office all-in-one machine: file, copy, print, fax, scan, translate, navigate, phone, shop, search the internet, purchase, as well as cook, do dishes, clean, do laundry, and oh, about a hundred other things.
A month or so ago I found myself in charge of finding all of his papers to complete his retirement with Social Security. This sounds like procuring, doesn’t it? And personal procuring at that.
I got the birth certificate and the military DD 214– the famed discharge form. Those hardly presented a challenge. But when we entered into the realm of the personal my world took a turn for the worse. The Social Security Administration wants to know about all previous marriages and divorces. This is, presumably, to avoid more than one spouse from claiming benefits from them.
And I suppose this can be a fairly easy task for those who remember where and when these events took place. This was not the case. It took weeks of searching the databases of various state agencies. It turns out that, although public records are exactly that, you have to know where to look for them or they are as hidden as gold dust in the Sierra Nevada.
Oregon public records, for instance, are only available up to about 1950. All others– newer files–must be searched for at the local level. Deschutes county records are all on computer disc back to 1986, but all older files are still on microfiche. For those people who fear that the government is spying on their records, rest assured, they will never find them.
I finally got it done, but not without calling an ex-wife, begging for dates and places. She didn’t know the date either but did know the place. Bless the file clerks who searched those records down. I bet they are all women.
So today I was looking for his passport, which he gave to me the minute he debarked the plane ten days ago. I finally found it but not without sweating considerably over where I had misfiled it.
Our lawyer is coming next week to talk about this endless land deal we have been embroiled in, and I have been trying to straighten those files so I can locate certain plot maps and contracts if she asks for them (see Noticias de Punta Uva Blog).
So, I’m thinking, I have ended up in the same place as some friends of my parents.
When asked, the husband said that he and his wife divided the decisions of the household into major and minor decisions. He made the major decisions, she the minor. It’s as simple as that. Did that mean he decided if they were selling the house, for instance? No, that, it turned out, was a minor decision. How about paying the bills, or buying and selling stocks? No, those too were minor decisions.
So what exactly were the major decisions he was responsible for? Well, it seems those were more on the order of whether or not to invade Iran or admit Cuba to the UN.
I have to go now. I have some secretarial duties that await me in the form of making lunch…