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We have achieved 'conditional approval' of our loan on the Tacoma house

I say this with some emphasis as it implies at least one solid thing.  That one being that we are 'probably' not supplying funds to terrorist organizations which want to overthrown the cornerstone of democracy - unless the money we pay into the IRS is counted.  (I confess to having pluralized it as 'cornerstones'; the editor insists there can only be one.) 

Among other beauracracies Homeland Security, an ill-sorted umbrella  made up of myriad  separate agencies working too-woolily along with no obvious coordination therebetween, is its huge self a domestic terrorist organ.  When many generally ordinary people live in fear of the reach of an organization how can it not be relying on terrorism in its effort to keep us secure?   But then we should not question the organs of the State as what they do is for our own good; we are terrorized, or at least vastly annoyed, for our own edification.  Should we forget this and mutter the  evil WTF! questions we will be reminded that there are severe  penalties that have floated off the golden tongues of our beloved Congressfolk.  Pleading a constitutional right to loose and humorous talk is no defense.  These winged messages of patriotism will come at us from D.C. like crows and take our eyes before we are truly dead and leave us in some great darkness of a 'better world', a safer place to be.  What you cannot see won't hurt you. 

This might all sound somewhat bitter, but what I feel is troubled.  We have just jumped over barrels and thru the torn-off hoops to show a paper trail that proves we have a right to possess two nickels to rub together.  Multiple docs and forms from both brokerage and bank had to be sent to the 'underwriter' to prove the origin of our funds, the color of the wires they have traveled across, and the sanctity and cleanliness of our dollars.  Deposits that have nothing to do with our down payment had to be explained, lest we have a sideline in laundering for Mexican cartels or shopping at Hungarian Rocket Factories, Inc..  How does any business get done in this country???  I mean the question seriously.  No one is obviously supposed to have the price of a loaf of bread to his name, and if he can afford a quart of milk to go with it suspicions will thicken into gelid frowns on the faces of armed men - who may well have shopped at Hungarian R. F., Inc., but did so legally at its annex in Uncle Sam's Club. 

Having bought and sold several houses prior to this I must say I have not seen the likes of such senseless scrutiny heretofore:  we are all certain to strangle on regulations that rip the last of our privacy from us.  The death of a thousand paper cuts.  Crucified at Kinkos.  Am I a cynic to imagine perhaps this information is shared with Ponzi Banksters so that they might better strip mine the citizenry?  I will give off on the rant here.  It is so easy to go on, but ......

The house inspection showed that the roof was a disaster - the original 1928 shingles, plus two layers of composition threatened to bow the walls.  Other things, repointing some of the chimney and electrical questions came up, but none so concerning as the roof.  We countered to the seller to put a new roof on the house and fix some water-damaged floors around the toilets.  He countered back that he would lower the price by $10k and leave the repairs to us.  We accepted.  So, we are paying essentially $230k and no closing costs to take the house as-is.  The papers have gone to escrow and money, really, reallly, realllly legal money can start to change hands.  An estimate on a new roof  came in for $8k. 

The house was listed 7 months ago for $325k and now sells down $105k; this is at the heart of an improving real estate market?   The busy bees of commerce are still hard at it as the appraisal, for loan purposes, came in at $248k.  When you run into people with shit-eating grins on their faces it may be that they have just recently pulled their heads out of their asses and are not yet adjusted to the new face of America.  There are a lot of them out there.  I do realize that this house may go down in value another 30%, but for all the reasons listed in previous letters it is what we want. 

Still don't know what we will do here.  Have started packing boxes, slowly, and still figure on beginning the move when the melt comes, March or April.  Anyone want to come to Maine and get a good deal on rent, or rent-to-own?  Lots of amenities and our winters do seem to be getting more benign.  Last year the oddities of the jet stream sent our winter to Virginia, and this year it appears to be going to Britain.  We have finally had enough snow to bring out the plows, about 5", and a white solstice has been our own.  Hell, I'd even throw in a snow shovel in good condition, a roof rake,  and snow shoes to an applicant with a good credit score.

Will stop here for the moment.  House is quiet and all asleep.  I will wander about and look at them all for a bit. 

The editor has conditionally approved the above; the rant did get edited some for hyperbole and 'carrying on'.  I am amenable:  today is two minutes longer than yesterday.  She fears I will be seen as one of 'those' - not even a them, those crazed, belligerent old fools sprouting strange ideas much like mushrooms from a manure pile. I grow old, I grow old, I carry a sandwich board across my shoulders and rant 'the end is nigh.'

It isn't that I don't care what people think of me.  I think I do care, but maybe sometimes I forget to care enough.  The real problem with caring is that I have to think enough of the people who disapprove to consider their opinions.  Guess I usually don't.  Then again I do not want to be incarcerated or burnt.  Would have been a fine enough line to walk a few years ago, but now the other side has infrared tracking drones and you are safe not even in your dreams. You will be stalked by the heat of the words you speak in your sleep.  You will be found if your heart still ejects turbulent blood at 98.6 through the flapping lips of its valves toward your disordered brain.  I look at the improvements in our lives and realize I am a relic, and I will enjoy walking down the street to pub or coffee shop behind my dogs.  There is an Irish pub down the block; I have never run a tab at a pub before.  I might like it.

Chas. writes to ask if we got the house.  He is a bright guy.  He says he will enjoy getting 'letters from Oregon.'  I like that.  Even bright guys much younger than me are showing signs of brain deterioration.  I don't demand that any of you show much, not enough to matter, but that you show just a bit comforts me.  Feel free.

Not much goes on here.  A notary, sent by left coast banksters, will be at the house on Monday to observe us signing very official docs.  We will give someone lots of money.  They will give us keys to a house I have seen once, Pat never, yet it constitutes the geographical part of our plan for aging gracefully.  I don't like change, or accept it, the way I used to, but then I was crazy for a long period of time and didn't expect to last to year's end on any given year.  Those years rolled by.  Here we are.  I think this will be fun. 

The neighbors have agreed to take LBJ and the hens.  I will miss him.  How can I be attached to a rooster?  I find I am.  He is a courtly and imperious fellow who knows his own ground and stands it.  That may be more than most of us manage.  Animals, I think of dogs in particular, do not assign blame.  What befalls them is always an act of the gods; another dog didn't make them do it.  They live far more gracefully than we do with our reasons-why and excuses.  They truly accept that shit happens. 


Sometimes, out of the blue, I fall over, or at least begin to.  I might have mentioned this before...  It's awkward.  A few years back I fell into a box of smalls at an auction and lost my glasses; cost me a hundred-plus to replace them. Getting back to my feet caused me to lose my focus.  Was hastily done.

Now and again the drift starts and I am soon simply leaning against a wall, or refrigerator, when formerly I was not.  Then I also might find myself stumbling sideways across the floor seeking that point of balance that allows me to rejoin the upright-hominids; it doesn't always come, and I crash then.  At such junctures  I have to pretend to be having a heart attack, or a seizure, nothing very serious, to explain this ungainly lurching about;  at that point anything seems preferable to the truth.  These are not carefree moments.  Embarrassment does not coincide with good-living or the genteel lifestyle.  There are still people I must care for.  I cannot falter, or appear to.  I will be blamed.

I asked my doctor about all this; it had been, lightly but diligently, on my mind and I was in for my semi-annual annual physical anyway.  Free question-time; the co-pay had been tendered, and I was rife with queries.

"How long has it been going on?"  He asks. 

"Oh, a few years," I say. 

"Hmmmm...."  He says.  I can see he is cogitating.  "How often does it happen?" 

"Oh, 2 or 3 times a month, I guess."  I tell him. 

He squints at me:  "Does it happen when you are sitting down?" 

Now there is medical effrontery at its baldest.  "Never!  Only when I am standing up, standing still.  I just sort of start to lean and there I go."  It is difficult to explain something that is more like not- happening than taking place.  Falling over without discernible cause is rather dreamlike.  You can initially imagine it is happening to someone else; that changes quickly if the fridge doesn't ride to the rescue.

He breathes a sigh of relief.  "Good."  He says, obviously not thinking the condition important unless it occurs while seated.

I try to imagine the sort of person who falls out of chairs, specifically 'me' as that sort of person, especially when I have not been imbibing.  What a dreadful thing - to simply fall out of chairs while sitting there.  I can't imagine.  This is a ghastly possibility that hadn't even yet occured to me, but I know it would have, sooner or later.  Time seems to understand both addition and subtraction; the utter evil of math in the aging process.  I know now that this is why I failed 8th grade algebra;  I saw all this coming.  A prescient lad, if nothing.

He brings me back from my reverie;  "Your brain remembers when you shot it. A traumatic insult."

"I was 16," I reply. 

"It remembers," he advises me.  "It remembers the hurt and is now off-balance."

This is beginning to sound like a zen diagnosis. Fifty-some years is a long time to hold a grudge, I am thinking, but then my brain and I have not always been of the same mind.  My brains goes north, I go south, the resulting divergent pulls loosen boundaries.  I am sure I am not alone in experiencing such events.  You do understand, don't you?  I am falling all over myself to tell you about it - weak grin of ill-gotten humor here.

He has me stand on my toes and follow fingers with my eye(s).  I balance feebly on one foot or the other and look for my nose with my somewhat misguided fingers.  And we are done.  He has nodded a lot.  I am consoled.

And now I have told you all, and we are off to the dogpark to run the bejesus out of puppy Rose, depredator-dog.

where other tongues have trod

I first became aware the Chinese were making stuff when I got instructions with the kid's put-it-together-yourself bicycle that stated:  Heavenly thoughts and a mind of still water will ensure good fortune in all applications.  (I believe it was Confucius who said 'As the clock turns likewise thus does the screw tighten.')

Now we have automatic translation programs that really rip your socks off; I offer a couple of paragraphs from the results of googling wainscoting

   -The ideal ablution is one which has a marble asphalt attic with wainscot of the aforementioned material, at atomic four anxiety in height. Such a ablution is thoroughly germ-free in every respect. Spots or aqueous baptize and clay can be wiped off ...

(Could an ablution be a device into which one has what was once called a 'normal function'?  Just guessing here; I fear the atomic four anxiety bodes ill regardless.  I believe 'spots and aqueous baptize' might occur when a man forgets to raise the seat before considerately lowering it again, or he is simply a vigorous shaker.  But 'clay'?  Hmmmm.... For heaven's sake, man, sit down first!')

   -Never install wainscoting or a armchair abuse absolutely center up a wall, or you'll visually cut the allowance in two. For sources, amuse see the Products & Services Directory.

   -It has additionally been apparent that bodies adulation the wainscoting's durability. Normally it cleans up forth with a clammy bolt and aural few account it can attending acceptable aloof like the day of installation. It can additionally assure the walls from accepting clammy ...  (Do I detect a mention of it, whatever it is, looking as good as the day you put it in, if you just wash it?)

   -Wainscot Solutions creates custom broiler mantels and broiler surrounds that will accomplish the absolute area to put your constant memories on display. What's on your broiler mantel?

   - We accept a abounding ambit of accepted styles and trims, or let your acuteness go agrarian and we'll actualize a architecture.  Generally you see white wainscoting with a bolder blush acrylic or wallpaper above. So, this allowance absolutely bent us by abruptness with its admirable abysmal purple

All the above would appear to be translated from Nigerian.

With the above sort of advice and counsel how can I fail to prosper in Tacoma?  But, I am still refusing to send them my bank account number for more elite accomodation of infotech.

We should close on the morrow. The house will be winterized so no burst pipes will welcome us. The packing has begun at this end; boxes and boxes of books.  Many of these go to the Goodwill, but a ton or two go west with us.  Z has been helping Pat cull the culinary end.  How many cupcake pans does a granny need?  Not as many as she possessed.  I close and wish you all well in the new year.  don and pat and all.

Filthy lucre has crossed palms.
This page was last updated: January 9, 2011
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