Friday, October 24, 2008

Moving Blues

The wife and I are moving. We finally decided that the two of us rattling around in this 2,900 square foot three story house is totally absurd! We have two upstairs bedrooms that are only used once or twice a year when the kids come to visit. But, they still have to be cleaned, dusted, vacuumed etc It just doesn’t make sense for us to keep this mausoleum.

So, we put the house on the market, not really believing it would sell so late in the season. We fully expected to be here until next Spring. Guess what! It sold in three weeks. Suddenly, we had to get serious about this moving business.

The first step we started on last summer. We began to get rid of “stuff.” For twenty-one years, we were in the US Navy, and moved every 2-3 yeas. We didn’t have time to accumulate stuff. But, we have lived in this house for 27 years. That’s longer than I lived in my home town. And, stuff did accumulate.

For the past several weeks, the most common question heard around here was “What is this and why do we have three of whatever it is?” I think some of this useless “stuff” was breeding in the dark corners of my workroom. There is no way I could have bought 12 screwdrivers or 14 different sizes and types of nails.

“Stuff” falls into several categories. For example, books: This house has lots of bookcases, so we have books. Thank goodness, the local library has an annual book sale to help finance some of their outreach activities. I have hauled a pickup load of books to the library. I have that many more to ship. Books are heavy. Moving costs are based on weight. There seems to be a lesson here.

Clothes: I have enough clothes to outfit an Army brigade. Again, I am sure they breed in the closet. I am a typical man. I tend to wear a few things over and over, and all the rest hangs in the closet. The local non-profit agencies, like Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries etc. have benefited greatly ( I hope) from this move. I had no problem getting rid of clothes. If I hadn’t worn them in 5-6 years, then they are history. The wife might have a different take on this. But, she doesn’t have near as many clothes as I had accumulated.

Furniture: Here we were lucky. We are down-sizing, so all the furniture wouldn’t fit. The wife was ruthless in this. She said “Out it goes!” Of course, she thoroughly enjoys shopping for new furniture. As I am writing this, I am waiting for a truck from Haywood Christian Ministries to come collect a spinet piano, an oriental rug, two sofas, a mattress and box springs and a large mirror. We had already disposed of a roll-top desk, kitchen table and armoire. Disposing of large items of furniture, such as a piano, is an interesting problem. There is no market for pianos today. Children don’t take piano lessons any more. My tax accountant advised me to give it to a non-profit organization and take the deduction on my income tax.

Computer equipment: I have two computers (plus a lap-top), a monitor, a power control center, a UPS system, a KVM switch, three printers (don’t ask why I need 3 printers), modem, wireless router, different weights and colors of paper, labels, etc. all have to be packed. I hate to be without my systems. I feel cut off from the world. But if I don’t pack the modem and router until last, I can use my lap-top up till the last day.

Little stuff: This is the most intimidating factor. There are thousands of little items that have to be packed. How, where, when? What do you do with a small box of paper clips? You tape it up and put it in a larger box. But all this does take time. There are lots of papers that must be collected into folders, and then put someplace so there is a slight chance I can find them again on the other end.

In today’s financial climate, making a move is a most troubling proposition. The closing on my house is in two weeks. There are many things that can happen between now and then. Most of these things are bad. The absolute worst case scenario is that my household goods would be packed, loaded on the van and on their way to my new house, and the sale of this one would fall through at the last moment. The various moving companies have told me some horror stories of this happening. The purchase of our new house is contingent on the closing for this one. Should the worst case happen, we would be homeless gypsies. I told the wife my alternative plan for this possibility. We would put everything in storage and go on a cruise. That is as good a solution as anything else I can devise.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Picking a VP candidate

I have been watching Presidential elections for a long time, and have been always fascinated by the drama, the pageantry and the utter hypocrisy. This election has really demonstrated the last.

I have been long convinced that the present administration does not consist of a President, a Vice-President and assorted counselors, aides, assistants and various other hanger-on’s and spear carriers. Instead, the real administration consists of a shadowy cabal, a small group of power brokers who meet in a smoky back room and make all the decisions necessary to advance their agenda. I think this same group selected our current President. Eight years ago, they got together and asked each other: “Who do we have that we can get elected and then control?” Presto, like magic we got George W. Four years later, they came up with enough dirty tricks to assure his re-election.

This year, the group had a candidate who was struggling. They knew that even if their candidate was elected, they would not be able to totally control him, so they went to plan B: select a Vice-Presidential candidate who will help get him elected, and who they could control.

The group convened over cocktails and cigars, and embarked on a high-level group-think session. After much group groping around, they finally came up with three firm requirements for their ideal candidate:
(1)There were a lot of disgruntled Hillary supporters out there, so their candidate must be female, in order to capture those votes;
(2)There were a lot of National Rifle Association votes out there in the wilderness, so their candidate should also be a hunter;
(3)There were a lot of the religious right votes just looking for a place to land, so their candidate needed to have, at least, the sheen of religiosity.

They ran the numbers, and lo and behold! Up came the name of Sarah.

If the reader thinks I am overly cynical, then I ask: Can you come up with another logical explanation for this?