Monthly Archives: June 2012

Bernie Sanders Storms the Senate Floor and Challenges Congress’ Koch Whores

Please listen to Senator Bernie Sanders.  He is talking about the gap between the very rich – 400 people – and very poor people – 150 million of them.  The gap between rich and poor is widening, rapidly. And the middle class is disappearing.  We are becoming an oligarchy.

Bernie Sanders Storms the Senate Floor and Challenges Congress’ Koch Whores.

If we don’t speak up, fight back, we will continue to lose ground faster every day.  Please share with your friends.

Let our voices join Senator Sanders and tell our elected officials we want it to change.  They work for us.  They should listen to us.

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Filed under arm wresting, Budgeting, Inspiring People, Life & Death, Politics

Buying or Selling A House? Listen Up

We were selling our house and buying someone else’s. And I was doing hand-to-hand combat with the universe…

We’ve tried selling our house before.  It’s been on the market (the really lousy, bottomed out housing market) 3 out of the last 4 years.  No one even came to see the house the first time.  The second time, two couples and one buyer who offered less money than we thought it was worth showed up.  Not a lot of activity which we put down to the slump in housing sales.

We were wrong.  Turns out that the first two times we put the house on the market, I wasn’t listening very well.  The universe kept whispering a single word, “…stay.”

This year, there were a lot of showings – a lot of cleaning, scrubbing, trimming, leaving to allow prospects to wander through our private paradise and figure out just how much less they could get it for.  This time, buyers, galore.

In the span of just 8 weeks I packed and unpacked our 4 bedroom, 2 office, 2 ½ bath home 3 times.  The only room not packed up was the kitchen.  I lost 12 pounds doing it – running up and down 2 flights of stairs with the accumulated detritus of our lives — clothing, books, photographs, artwork, memories and our lives in boxes of varying sizes.

We sold the house three times in 2 months, found a place to buy, three times in two months.  Packed up our lives, said good bye to the earth, the sky, the trees, the place that we love, three times.

Each time, just days before closing, something happened to the sale.  A buyer’s buyer lost her mortgage.  A buyer fell short of the funding needed to buy the house and wanted us to subsidize their move with a $15,000 seller’s assist.  This most recent sale collapsed 7 days before we were to move when the buyer’s home inspection team found significant issues and required remediation.

Septic, structure, radon…they said.  Shell out $30,000 or the deal is off…they said.

The universe wasn’t whispering anymore.  It was shouting. “Stay!”

This time, I was listening.  It is done.   We will not be moving.  This is where I will die.  The joy, the peace that come with that knowledge fills me up until small, slow tears slide down my cheeks.

I am home.

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Filed under Life & Death, Love and Marriage, Moving, Real Estate, realtor

When Brothers Die – To Bob

My older brother, Mike, died 5 years ago.  I wrote about him on my blog.

I have not written of my other brother, Bob, who died of a brain tumor, too.  I have not written of this man whom I loved without reservation, with all my heart.  He died just 2 years ago on Memorial Day.  He died in just 2 weeks.

I have not been able to write about him.

To the world, he was Robert J. Duffy, poet and plumber, father and friend.  To me,  he was my best friend, a safe place to be, a soft spot to land where I could be exactly who I am and never think twice about it.  He was a man of so many talents and so much intelligence, so much life.

In 2 weeks he disappeared before my very eyes.

As I did for Mike’s family, I stood for Bob in the hospital.  I stayed with him, sleeping in his room, fighting for him, for his comfort, for his peace.  I argued with the neurosurgeon who wanted to do one more surgery.  I argued with the ICU nurse who wanted to watch soap operas while my brother’s life drained away.

And I argued for my brother to be taken home, the only place he wanted to be, the only place he wanted to die.  I slept by his hospital bed in his living room, holding his hand although he was no longer there.  I read poetry to him.  He was a published poet and I was not good at it, but I read, anyway…

And when he died, his daughter Becky and I were by his side.

This year, his wife decided to give away Bob’s books.  I understand why – the need to move on, not to turn the corner and see his books, be reminded that he is no longer in this plane. But when the books are gone, his house will feel a bit emptier.  The last vestige of my brother will be gone, the man who used to come downstairs every morning of every visit saying, “Racket, racket, racket, who’s making all the racket?” then hug me and smile, that man will be gone.

And I will be left behind, again.

I miss him every day and this time of year the loss is almost unbearable.  For once, there are no words to describe how very much I miss him..


Filed under Death & Dying, Inspiring People, Life & Death

Buying A House or Arm Wrestling

We are trying to buy a house.

We are willing to pay almost the full asking price — knowing the house:

  1. Needs a new roof.
  2. Is 1/2 the size of our current home but costs about the same.
  3. Is in the middle of nowhere.  (It’s so far out there there isn’t even a library in town.)

But so far, all we’ve gotten is an invitation to an ongoing wrestling match and a headache.

When did buying a house turn into as WWW WrestleMania event?

Okay, so the sellers have been left at the altar (settlement table) twice by buyers who couldn’t pony up the cash.  They are feeling a bit burned.  But we’re feeling really, really pissed off, snapping at each other like a couple of terriers because we can’t snap at the seller’s agent or the sellers, themselves.

Over the last couple of weeks, my husband and I have jumped through enough hoops for these people to qualify for a new act at Ringling Brothers circus!

The sellers’ agent has slowed the process down to the pace of a glacier (before global warming) and keeps adding or changing things to queer this deal including delaying paperwork, providing contract copies and financials that are illegible and tossing in new clauses faster than a short order cook flips burgers.

The deal breaker for us came after the owners of house accepted our bid, verbally.  About 90 minutes later, our agent called to tell us that the stipulation to acceptance was that, even if the purchase of our home fell through, we have to buy their house.  If we didn’t agree to that stipulation, they would continue to accept offers on their house right up to the day settlement.

I’ve never heard of such a stipulation and wonder why anyone – seller or the other realtor — would think we would put ourselves in such a position of risk.  I’m not sure of the ethics of the other realtor but I am real sure of the potential harm of this clause.  For us, it was  a lose-lose.

Our answer?  “No. Thank you.”

The next communication was that they would accept our proposal but we could not move anything into the garage early, as previously agreed to. We would have to wait until after settlement.

We are moving out of a house  we’ve lived in for 19 years.  This house has 4 bedrooms, two offices and a three car garage and we are expected to be out by mid-day on June 22nd, settle on the new house same afternoon and unload the truck that evening.

We couldn’t do that when we were in our 30’s.  Now, in our 60’s, that’s an order, too tall.

Our answer? “No. Thank you.”

The sellers’ agent said, “Okay, we can get early access to the garage, only.”  However, if the deal fell through for any reason, we would have to have all of our property out of the garage by midnight, June 22nd.  Really?  Another order, too tall.

So, here we are, 20 days away from having to vacate our current property and homeless.  And bloody tired of being jerked around by the sellers, their agent or both.

We really do need to find a house, now.

That said, this will be our last home…the one we leave, “…feet first” as my brother once said.  So, we will not be rushed.  We will store everything if we have to, including the classic cars and my motorheads’ garage full of stuff.  We will continue to look for that place where we will spend the last of our golden years, together.

Oh, and we will curse the name of the sellers, their realtor and their heirs and assignees to that special place in purgatory where they can see the house they want but they cannot buy it….no matter what deal they offer the devil.


Filed under Life & Death, Love and Marriage, Moving, Real Estate, realtor