Sunday, August 30

A monkey could do that

Always loved the concept that if you locked a bunch of monkeys in a room with typewriters, eventually they would write the works of Shakespeare. Not sure why they had to be locked in.

Along similar lines, I will try this year to prove that Fantasy Football is a pointless sham.

Each Sunday, my football adoring wife looks like the keyboard player out of a 70s prog-rock band. Multiple TVs, computers and charts going on. Even multiple fantasy teams. She has hands everywhere, which sounds like a Dutch pervert.

It's this type of fanaticism that leads to her cheering when a 3rd quarter fumble occurs in an otherwise pointless game in mid October between 2 teams with losing records.

My team are the Spunky Monkeys, and I'm going head to head against the missus and what appear to be 8 trade/draft crazy dudes.

Like Napoleon said, "Fuck it's going to be a long winter". Except he said it in French.

The dawn of a new chapter

I love writing this blog ... if only for myself. It's essentially a journal of my rants and raves and screw ups.

Let me say that I have many gifts (including modesty), but one I do NOT have is the ability to fix, construct or assemble.

Less than one hour after owning a house I found myself in Home Depot. I purchased a mail box.

Yesterday (3 days later), I was in Lowes ... purchasing another mail box. The first one is still standing, but it looks ridiculous and is in the wrong place. It also slants.

My new German-built high-performance car is going to become little more than a repository for hardware store returns. Yesterday I managed to squeeze a 45 Gallon garbage pail through the door onto the leather seats. My objective being "Screw the car, I've shelled out $59 for this damned trash can. No way am I returning it within 5 minutes of purchase."

Of course I do have some skills and taste. Which is why I will be purchasing these trash bags for the aforementioned garbage can.

Saturday, August 29

Thanks

So we bought our dream house last Wednesday. And here's a small roll of honor.

First Republic Bank
It's tough because I understand why there are new rules in place to limit loans being handed out to anyone. That's why the economic landscape is what it is today.

But come on!

First Republic were one of a select few private lenders that said "Yes, we'll give you a mortgage". We chose them because the woman who called proved that you need to be both thoroughly professional yet engagingly personal in your approach.

And they seem like a real cool bank to be with. Adios Citizens.

Ligris & Associates
Our lawyers extraordinaire! Dazzling with the paperwork, but also the guys with the lender contacts. They worked miracles last Monday when the shit hit the fan with the loan. Plus when we arrived at their offices we were greeted by a cool decor and a well designed corporate identity. Lawyers with taste. Cue the apocalypse!

The Sellers
Ann-Charlotte, the wonderful Swedish real estate broker/part owner of the house. I can vividly recall the first time I saw the house with Ann-Charlotte standing in the kitchen. On closing she said to me "It was always your house. I could tell the moment you came through the door." Maybe the real estate part of her is programmed to say that, but I'd like to think it was the Seller portion of her that delivered the line, because I smiled when she said it.

Sam, the genius contractor who built and spec'd our amazing new home. Each subsequent professional who has seen the house has complimented the quality of the materials and build. Thanks Sam for creating the space where we live.

Anne-o-rama
The best thing in my life who patiently waited 15 years until I was ready to buy real estate. When we had finished signing the papers she cried. Mostly tears of joy, but with a few tears of relief mixed in!

The crazy lady
Maybe not so crazy. As I parked my car to go to the closing, she asked me for spare change. Difficult to deny when you're feeding the meter with a canister full of quarters. She got all of my change and piqued my conscience too. A homeless charity will get a check as big as we can afford later this year.

Friends & Family
Firstly for not bugging us too much over the past 2 months. You can only answer the "Did you buy the house yet" question so many times before you wig out. But now the deed is done (and signed and insured) you are all welcome to swing by anytime.

No Thanks

We have new neighbors. But this is not a post about the new house.

I'm talking about the place we've called home for the past 4 years, and the place that remains home for the next 2 weeks.

4 MIT grads have moved in upstairs.

Let's hit pause on this intro.

Last night as Hurricane Danny blew into town it tore down a big branch on the tree outside the house and with it the power line.

Couldn't tell you what time it happened (the alarm clock went out), and I was enjoying a strangely deep sleep. But I did wake up at 7am when I heard the NStar truck backing down our cul-de-sac.

With no power for a shower or a coffee, there was no option but to throw on the sweats and walk down to Starbucks.

Let's go back to the new neighbor part of the story.

Stood on our front porch watching the NStar guys was one of the new grad student neighbors. A young attractive woman in (and I really couldn't tell) either a very flimsy summer dress, or perhaps expensive bedtime lingerie.

Also close by was our middle aged neighbor of 4 years. Our house directly faces his. They are probably 20ft apart.

Anne and I made our introductions to the new neighbor. You can add perky to the list of adjectives I used earlier.

And then our neighbor of 4 years introduced himself. To us.

4 fucking years we have lived here, during which time we have acknowledged each other every trash day, each time your kids hit the side of our house on their tree swing (which as I write makes me wonder if they contributed to the branch weakness!), and every time your bitch wife leaves a passive aggressive note on a windshield because someone (including us), parked at an angle that made it 1% more difficult for her to back her SUV out of the driveway.

Maybe he just wanted to seem like a nice guy to the perky young neighbor.

Sunday, August 23

Come. On. England.

Up at 5am this morning. Cricket starts at 6am EST.

England need 10 wickets to win the Ashes.

Australia need a world record run chase to retain them.

Is it just me or does Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain, look like a young George Bush?

To clarify Ricky is not suffering from a bad bout of herpes. He got hit in the face by the ball yesterday.

Which in the words of the Bee Gees was a "Tragedy".

Whatever happens, if England do win it will be thoroughly undeserved. The Aussies have been way better during the series.

But who cares. We've mugged them!

10am Update: 4 down, 6 to go.

Douch action on the BBC!!


Later Update. We won!!!!!

Saturday, August 22

Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes. No

So I don't write anything too detailed about my work.

It's not like I'm a spy*, I own a branded packaging business and I'm bound by a general etiquette, and in some cases non-disclosures.

But. This is awesome. I get client direction with different slants. Marketing, Legal, Design.

I'll change the content slightly but not the direction.

Legal: It is not Brown Sugar
Marketing: Should be Brown Sugar
Design: Leave as Sugar
Marketing: Should be Brown Sugar
Legal: Sugar, not Brown Sugar
Design: Leave as Sugar
Marketing: Don't delete Brown Sugar
Legal: As noted previously Brown Sugar cannot be claimed
Marketing: Please change to Sprinkled with Brown Sugar
Legal: Can't say Sprinkled with Brown Sugar. Doesn't use Brown Sugar
Design: Leave as Sugar


* Or am I?

Friday, August 21

House of Pain

Jump Around!

Well. This is going nicely isn't it?

On Monday 'the bank', let's call them Bank of Assholes or BoA for short, called to say our loan was turned down!

Sweet!

Some background. On July 13th a different bank told me (in 15 seconds), "You won't get a government backed mortgage because you've been self-employed for less than 18 months".

But BoA said, "Oh, you'll be fine". August 21st close date? Yeah, no worries."

It took them 5 weeks, during which the Loan Officer took a few vacations, to come back and say ... and I'll copy and paste this directly from 2 paragraphs earlier, "You won't get a government backed mortgage because you've been self-employed for less than 18 months".

So on Monday we started ALL OVER AGAIN, with private banks. Submitting every financial document we and my business has ever created in the past 3 years. 3 years of paperwork x 3 banks = A Tree (probably).

Tuesday - Informal approval
Wednesday - Commitment Letter
Thursday - Appraisal
Friday - Closing Day set

And that folks is how you buy a house in a week.

We close on Wednesday.

Could anything still go wrong? Of course!

Thursday, August 20

Reception?

Followed this idiot for a mile. The whole way he had his arm stuck out of the window doing who knows what.

A cop car passed the other way. Didn't blink.

Saturday, August 15

This might work

I've been digitize silly for years now. Think I last bought a CD in 2000.

Photos? Yep, scanned all the childhood albums years ago.

Like many, I'm now on a crusade to bring my cable bill down. The movies are ripped, and we're evaluating which TV shows we really watch. iTunes Seasons Passes plus some Hulu. Add Netflix, a Roku, and maybe an Apple TV.


And so to the last challenge.

Sunday Bloody Sunday. Sorry to all those angry Irish Christians of various descents, but to me Sunday is the day my wife MUST watch her brand of football (the one where they mostly throw it).



Which begs the following question.

How much would you pay to see every Cleveland Browns Game?

Wednesday, August 12

Its. Not. Fair.

My bookworm of a wife reads in bed. Always has.

Until this week. When she started taking her iPhone to bed instead.

Now to quote Sir Tom Jones, its not unusual. Just a few weeks back I took to playing an iPhone game with annoying sound while she tried to get through some depressing novel where a family of ethnicity overcomes great hardships in an ultimately uplifting story of the human spirit.

But that's me. I'm silly. You expect it of me.

She's started playing Scrabble on her phone. Playing just herself. No computer or human opponent.

I love Scrabble. I play everyday on facebook with 2 good friends. Think I wouldn't like a little husband/wife wordplay action?

But No. She hates that I play stupid 2 letter words that form multiple directional scores.

I know Anne is the Least Competitive Person in the World™. But this is wrong. It's like me joining a Book Group that reads the same book as Anne's Groups ... but I refuse to discuss it with my own wife.

Wrong. (9 pts in open play)

Assumption

In 9 days we are due to buy a house.

Everyone around us (real estate, mortgage, lawyer) is moving forward like this is a done deal.

Yet we still have no approval for the loan. And don't expect to get it this week.

Ever hear of anxiety attacks? I'm having anxiety dreams.

Something tells me the next week is going to be just peachy.

Thursday, August 6

En Francais


We decided to dine at a fancy-pants restaurant tonight.

Ever notice that after 5 seasons of Top Chef, you ALWAYS get an Amuse Bouche?

We were informed tonight that it meant 'muse of the mouth', so there you have it.

Later on a French couple sat at the table next to us. The waiter came over and told them about the special, a grilled Sea Bass (not from Chile I might add - wtf?).

The madam's English was not so good, so her husband translated with such clinical beauty.

"C'est un poissson."

Maybe tomorrow

The title of the theme song to The Littlest Hobo, a Canadian show about a dog that rambles from town to town doing good deeds. Think Lassie meets Incredible Hulk.



Also the sentiment for our ongoing pursuit of a mortgage! Today's my birthday and I secretly hoped it would be the day that the thumbs up came through from the Bank. Alas no, but maybe tomorrow.

In other noteworthy news on the day of my birth, we had police action at work.

A partially naked guy decided to sit in the car of one of my colleagues. An on-foot police chase ensued, with comedy results. Willed on by everyone in my company the police tried to squeeze under the fence of the local airport (we work next to a tiny private aircraft landing strip). For a while we thought the assailant had managed to steal a cop car.

Finally apprehended the policeman came and took a statement from my co-worker. I did a quick police playlist on the iTunes server but I don't think he noticed. Blah!