April 1st, 2014

Kevin and Lisa

Oil's Well That...

As you may recall, Lisa's father passed away last year. We've been dealing with the settlement of the estate with her siblings for the past year (that's one of the reasons on our drive to Worldcon we detoured through Santa Fe; there were papers needing signing there and it was convenient to get it done in person rather than have the papers shuttle back and forth). Different parts of the estate went in different ways, of course; two siblings split the property in Mehama between them, for instance, while Lisa primarily got a share of her father's investments and some of the physical stuff (like old radios) her siblings did not want.

Lisa's grandfather worked in the Texas oilfields early in the last century, and because the drillers were short on cash, the workers received stock in these speculative start-up oil companies, and while most workers sold the stock quickly for what they could get, Lisa's grandfather held on to his. Apparently Lisa's father (who inherited his father's stock) never actually paid attention to how that little Texas oil-field venture was purchased by another company, which was bought by a bigger one, and so on and so forth, and how the various splits and whatnot affected the holdings. Complicating things was that the original records and stock certificates were apparently stored in the World Trade Center, and were obviously destroyed on 9/11. But things finally got cleared up last week, and to our astonishment it appears that Lisa now owns about 37.5% of ExxonMobil.

This of course changes everything. We're not likely to move (we like it here), but now we can afford to buy things (starting with the rest of the block on which Fernley House sits) we never though we could buy. But I'm not sure we want to stay invested in Big Oil. We're thinking maybe buying a large block of Union Pacific would be good. (We'd go after BNSF, but Warren Buffet took it private.) Maybe if we bought a seat on the UP Board they'd consider restoring Fernley's passenger station across the street from our house. Surely Amtrak wouldn't object to establishing a flag stop here if we paid them enough.