It's all a matter of perspective.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

I am somewhere in the air above the Pacific Ocean between Seattle and Juneau. A lot has happened in the last two days. A lot has happened in the last week. A lot is going to happen in the near future.

About six months ago Miss J. and I decided to take advantage of the friendly interest rates and try to find a bigger house. As someone who is paid to have good taste for a living, my sweet wife has a well-defined idea of what she wants in a home. I support her whole-heartedly in this, because she knows what she is doing, and I want her to be happy so she will be nice to me. There is only one drawback; she had to go through hundreds of places before finding something that was suitable. But find it she did, and boy was it nice. Located in the Park Hill neighborhood of North Little Rock, only five minutes from my job, this 1700 square foot dream house was built in 1945 and has everything you need to raise a family. We decided to sell our place before we made an offer, so that we would have a little more bargaining power. So we stuck a sign in our front yard and the dern thing sold in two weeks. Over these two weeks, the advertised price of our North Little Rock dream house came down fifteen thousand dollars. We were convinced that it was going to sell before we had a chance to make our move. Then, a few days before we got the offer on our house, we drove by the Park Hill place and the for sale sign was gone.

Of course, this raised a panic. After a few phone calls, we were able to discover that a couple of offers had been made on the house, but the offers had been contingent on the seller making a lot of repairs. That is why the price kept coming down. The seller wanted to unload it as-is and was not willing to fix anything. Well, this was no problem to us. I am a handy guy. I don’t mind a fixer-upper at all.

This story is growing quite tiresome. I have more to get to.

In short, we made a generous offer on the Park Hill house. The seller rejected it totally and did not counter-offer. We came back and offered what his asking price had been before he took it off of the market. I was willing to take the house as is, I just wanted a termite contract and to have it appraised. This asshole told me that the only offer he would be willing to accept was: asking price, absolutely no conditions, and $750 in non-refundable earnest money. Well, obviously, anyone who has ever been involved in any sort of real estate transaction would recognize that there are at least one of two things going on here: either there is something really bad wrong with the house that he is not willing to disclose, or he just plain-old does not want to sell it. Either way, screw him. I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night.

But I am on my way to Alaska for a week. I made the offer on the house last night and did not find out that the deal was not going to happen until about noon today when I called our real estate agent from the Seattle airport. When I get back from my trip I will have two weeks to get out of my current house and nowhere to go.

No sense in fretting about it right now. We will just box everything up, put it into a storage unit, and bum around with relatives until we can find a suitable place. Judging from or previous record of finding houses, this should take about six months. Anybody out there live in the Little Rock area and willing to take on houseguests?

Really, I am not going to obsess about all of this right now. In my nearly twenty-seven years of existence I have flown on exactly one other occasion, and that was when Miss J. and I went to New Orleans on our honeymoon. That is about a two-hour flight from Little Rock on a puddle-jumping Southwest tin can. All of my various other travels have only once taken me to a state that does not touch Arkansas – last year on vacation we drove down to Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Today I have been on various airplanes and in various airports all over the country. I Have seen my first snow capped mountains. I have my sweet wife with me and I will see the home of her youth. I flew into Seattle and had a coffee. The weather there was exactly like it was supposed to be, cloudy. I have seen sights from my window seat (I will have the window seat. If you travel with me, you can get over it) that I have only read about or seen pictures of. Right now there is a real live Connecticut Jew sitting next to Miss J. He is wearing a yarmulke and reading The Atlantic magazine. When the Flight Attendant came around with lunch, he requested a kosher meal and then did not eat a single bite of it.

Did you know that if you keep flying west and keep changing planes, you get to eat lunch over and over? How cool is that?

The most encouraging thing about the trip: so far I have seen no suspicious Arabs.

Miss J says that Juneau is a nice little hippie town, and the people we are staying with live right downtown. I look forward to a week of wandering around an exotic new place, enjoying the sites, reading books that I bought last spring and did not have time to delve into, and writing pithy blog posts for you all from overstuffed chairs in cozy internet cafes.

But the thing I most look forward to doing this week is acting like a backwards redneck and exaggerating my accent for the northwester hippies. By the time I leave I want the good people of Juneau to think that everyone in Arkansas rides their hog to work every morning at the chicken-plucking plant.

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