Saturday, July 28, 2007

the real estate deal

Yes, the seller must have laughed with derision, as he counter-offered $5k below his asking price (which was $80K above our offer). The property had been on the market for over a year, originally listed at $380K, and reduced to $325K. Karen offered $240K, on the outside chance that he'd be willing to take his profits (he originally paid $150K in 2005, and has, since then, split off 1/3 of the lot and built a new house, which he is listing for $480K).

At any rate, it is not going to be our great deal, and, considering that the seller's real estate agent is also his girl-friend, he's not going to get 'taken' by a couple of slick (not) Portlanders.

Did 5 loads of laundry, and the two house guests are, even as I type, in the air bound for points south. Spent today organizing our camping box and repacking for a slightly-different kind of week, among mountains and lakes, instead of the ocean (although there will be some oceanic experiences - more later).


FLASH!! Just got a call from our realtor in Manzanita. The deal is not yet dead! Karen is willing to up her bid to $275. We will get some faxes with three degrees of compromise, to sign and fax back to our rep - she will deal with the seller while we are out of town, over the next few days.

Here's the funky old 1920's house (which the seller was going to just bulldoze, but is currently occupied by a very nice single English lady and her young son):

and here is the view from the back, looking out over the Nehalem river, the bucolic valley, and surrounding ridges:

The funky house needs either a major rennovation or a tear-down. Karen imagines a duplex, with a large deck overlooking the amazing view, with one unit permanently rented by a local, and the other available for us, our friends, or other occasional renters.

In order to make that vision happen, just imagine the sheer number of car trips between Portland and Nehalem, that this would entail! Yikes.

Friday, July 27, 2007

(temporarily) back in Portland

We've been in Manzanita for the past week. Had a little rain, a little sun, a little wind, and a lot of clean, refreshing air and vistas. We even put in a bid for a view property in Nehalem, with a little house on it that currently has a renter. If the Seller accepts our low-ball bid (unlikely), we will just sit on it for a couple of years, until we decide what to do, but I'm expecting him to laugh at us before tearing up the offer.

Tonight we are cleaning the house and our clothes, and starting to think about the next phase of Summer Vacation '07. Tomorrow, our two guests (Karen's 96 year-old Mom and her long-time-friend-who-has-MS-and visits-us-each-summer) fly back to California, and, Sunday morning, Karen, Dylan and I head out for a few days up on the Olympic Penninsula, with a house-sitter staying here to watch the house, animals, and vegetation.

Expect to have very limited internet access next week, but it was fun in Manzanita, walking up and down the streets with my WiFi enabled Pocket PC, finding the open hot spots to check mail and news headlines. It never fails.

Lots of laundry still to go tonight, then we are all going out for a last dinner (Thai). Happy Summer, everyone.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Maybe human ingenuity WILL save us, after all.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

stress levels are declining

The past few days have been very hectic, with two out-of-town guests arriving, a big dinner party Tuesday night, and a construction project in the yard that went terribly wrong last Friday.

The crew is here today, and they claim they will finish before they quit for the day. They have a lot of stone pavers to lay, and the sky is darkening. One hour into the project, last Friday, they tore up the electrical line which, we emphasized, is the one thing they must NOT do. It took until late yesterday to get that fixed, so that things could resume.

Also, work has been very busy. Just when I had thought I had put all projects to bed for two weeks, I got hit with a last-minute request from a client, that necessitated connecting their Access database with a MySQL database over the internet, and applying its data (customers and orders) to the Access tables. Naturally, the MySQL database was still under construction, as its developer was frantically applying last-minute changes, prior to going live TOMORROW!

Unfortunately, several design issues which affect my stuff were still in flux, up until 30 minutes ago. Yesterday, we were both working against his database at the same time, which was horrifying. He agreed to freeze his design at this point. I may have to do some work on this next week, at the beach, but I hope not too much.

My piece doesn't have to be ready until mid-August, so I have a little breathing space. Still, it was a shock to have this come up this week, just when I thought I could relax.

We leave for a week in Manzanita tomorrow morning. Then, we're back in Portland for a day or so, to take the guests to the airport, then we leave for a week at Log Cabin resort, where we last stayed about 10 years ago, when the boys were little.

Still much to do in the next 24 hours, but vacation is near.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

dog daze

Supposed to be over 100 degrees today. Still early - beautiful morning so far.

Down in the computer dungeon, where it's plenty cool, but no work to do - waiting for clients to make some decisions and test out stuff I delivered last week.

Reading lots of blogs, but, more important, am absorbed in Gore Vidal's novel 'Julian', which I've read a couple of times over the years. It's about the 4th century Roman emperor, who was the last best hope of preventing Christianity from taking over. Every page has depth of both imagination and historical insight.

Before waking up this morning, I had a vivid dream that took place at my father's office, on West Water Street, in Elmira, New York. He had driven me downtown and, staying in the car, asked me to run in and get something for him. I walked thru that familiar door and into that familiar space, where I had seen him countless times.

The business was dissolved long ago. The building that housed his office was torn down after the devastating 1972 flood, and the site is now a park by the now-placid river. My father died in August 1982.

Today would have been his 95th birthday. Odd.

Our summer plans are coming together. This Friday, Karen's friend Barbra, who has been dealing with MS for several years, arrives from Napa. Karen's 96 year-old Mom arrives from Pasadena next Tuesday night. We all go to Manzanita for a week at the end of next week.

Then, we are home for a day (to take the out-of-towners to the airport), then we drive up to the Olympic penninsula for another week.

But today and tomorrow, it's going to be hot, and all I can think about is the billions of dollars we are flushing away in Iraq, and how the Roman Empire became so totally rotten.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

James Madison said:

"If the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds to believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty."


I continue to marvel at the scenes from 'Sicko' that showed 100s of thousands of people marching in the streets of Europe, demanding that their voice be heard. The film stated it plainly: in France (especially) the government fears the power of the People. In the US, the People fear the power of the government.

The 2nd point that the film makes, is that life in the US appears to be intentionally structured to keep people fearful of getting in political trouble, because it might mean losing their job and their health insurance.

Independence Day is tomorrow. It's beyond time for a Declaration (we don't even need a new one - the original is still just fine).

I am disgusted.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Constitutionally speaking

If you read the clause about Impeachment, it includes 'bribery' among the sins for which officials can be impeached.

Seems to me that commuting Scooter's prison sentence is the same as saying "I'll do this for you, and you keep you damn mouth shut, OK?"


before I go to the dentist this morning...

I took this simple test, and you should, too.

Spoiler alert: you are very likely headed for Hell. I am.

the invisible man

Dennis Kucinich was to appear at Benson High School last night. I had planned to go, but hurt my back Saturday, and spent all day Sunday in bed (reading Civil War history, so it wasn't a total loss).

This morning, I checked the web sites of all three Portland TV stations to read how the event was. Surprise! Not a single word, from all three, including KGW (i.e. 'Northwest NewsChannel 8').

You'd think that an appearance by a Democratic Party presidential candidate would merit mentioning. It might even be important enough to take the place of the news video at the top of today's list: Employee inflating a tire injured when it exploded.

If I was paranoid, I might tend to believe there was a conspiracy to keep news about Dennis from the public. Ya think?

a quaint notion

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Declaration of Independence, 1776