The Lease of My Concerns

Random stuff floatin around in my head:

A reader asked if what I wrote in The Spoiled Rotten Adult is an “original analysis,” i.e., my own ideas. They are. I’m sure some Brainy Psych Types somewhere have done plenty o’ writing about the people whom in that post I called “Shruggers,” but I don’t know of that work. I don’t read the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or anything. I would—it’s a fascinating book. But it must be said there aren’t nearly enough pictures in it.

In my dream world, “Shruggers” becomes the  word for describing the type of personality disorder for which I used it.

In my dream world—the actual one, where I’m asleep—I can also, at will, hover in midair.

This morning my wife Cat and I are going out to see, for the first time, the interior of the home we’re buying when it’s empty. Up until two days ago, it was occupied by a renter. The walk-through is one of the final steps in the home buying process, which is so phenomenally complex I’m stunned everyone in America doesn’t live in a box on the side of the road, since they can’t figure out how to buy a house. In a year the United States Justice Department doesn’t generate as much paperwork. Lenders, loan agencies, Realtors, escrow people, title companies, home owner’s association folk … it’s like one huge administrative train wreck.

Only, you know: No one got hurt, and we’re buying our first house. Final papers should be ready for us Monday. Signing those that will kick in a rapid series of processes I can’t even begin to understand, all of which should result in our taking ownership of the house on Wednesday the 13th. Then, in short order, we have come in the air conditioning installer man, the painter man, the carpet cleaning people, and the housecleaning people—and, finally, to where we are now, the movers.

Catherine (Cat) is Officially Insane. Turns out she (and certainly I) had no idea how deeply and passionately she wanted to own her own home. It’s been a revelation. By nature Cat tends toward intensity. But yikes, man. Basically, I’ve been staying out of the way and trying not to wreck or (God forbid) lose any Vital Documents. She has spent about three months being one major, sustained manifestation of sheer Desire and Focus. Cat now knows more about real estate in San Diego—about real estate, period—than Donald Trump knows about … hair care products.

I, too, of course, look forward to no longer renting. I was reminded of why I hate to rent when I told our current landlady that, two months into our year lease (!), we were leaving. Despite my assurances that we would happily pay every month of our lease payments until we found someone suitable to replace us as tenants—not to mention that our leaving will net her $1,300 ($500 flat fee for breaking the lease; $800 security deposit)—she still called me a “lease breaker” about eight times, in the same tone she might have said “child molester.” (We worked it out, though. I’m actually very fond of this woman. She was just mad because I think she’s had too many experiences with, like, miscreant lease breakers, which I believe she was relieved to understand we’re not.) 

Wow. This post of Random Thoughts grew obnoxiously long. Sorry about that. So. Later, my friends. (Oh, one more thing: I found the whole deal with A Broken Soul Cries Out For Our Love extremely touching and inspiring. But you knew that.)

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  • Ingrid

    you lease breaker you! Ah well, there are worse things you could be called. I am so happy for your two. When my dad helped my buy my home all I had to do was show up and sign some stuff. I think I gave him my social and the number to the fiscal officer at my job and I remained blissfully ignorant of the processes behind purchasing a house. I think that you actually have the best job in this whole deal. Staying out of the way never gets the kind of credit it deserves!

    Anyhow, I am glad that you all are finally owning your own digs. As my dad says "Every body needs to own some land…its the only thing God is not making anymore of"


  • Thanks, Ingrid. Yeah, I don't know anyone, I don't think, whose parents didn't help them buy their first home. That neither Cat nor I had such a parent is one of the reasons it took us so long to get up the scratch to afford a house. (Well, that, and the fact that neither one of us has ever really given much of a crap about saving money, which is pretty stupid….). And you're right: Staying out of the way IS an excellent life skill. I excell (sp?) at it.

  • Yeah! I want to send a housewarming gift too! something from your neighbour up north….anyways, the thought was good, but can I perform it? The best to you and Cat….."Lord, bless their house…keep it safe by night and day…. (have forgotten the rest…)

    oh, yes….may the mortgage payments be easy to pay!

  • Hello,

    Congratulations on becoming a new home owner. I know exactly what you mean by all the paperwork. My husband and I have endured the process three times. It certainly requires that you put alot of trust in what the lender is telling you the papers say. Really, who reads all that stuff? (Judging by all of our country's recent mortgage woes, maybe we should!).

    Anyway, I stumbled upon your blog while "blog hopping" and enjoyed reading several of your posts. I'll be back!

  • Judy

    I love random thoughts! They're very informative. You two will so enjoy being in your own home.

    The ornaments of your house will be the guests who frequent it. ~Author Unknown

  • Sam: I'm afraid I'm not familiar with "empathy deficit disorder" —but I love the phrase. It's so great. I have a friend who wrote an international bestseller about "nature deficit disorder." I think as long as you have "deficit disorder" somewhere in what you're saying, you're good.

    Greta: You're so sweet! (Oh: those smiley faces are automatically generated when you hit certain keys in succession–usually some combination of periods and parentheses.)

    Teevee: I TRIED to read it all. And then stopped. And then cried for awhile. And then tried again. And then had a nervous breakdown. Do come back to my blog! How fun for me! And maybe for you! I hope so! I think so! But art's subjective! Still, by nature people tend to agree on what I think its safe to call a universal aesthetic, insofar as its true that at some primal level good or (if I may) "true" art resonates with all people in the same way. Of course, as in all things human, cultural contexts are everything, and so before attempting to prescribe or define a set of aesthetics which are applicable to all people at all times, we must first take care to build into those descriptions qualifiers carrying the full weight of the acknowledgment that, now as ever, one man's inspiration is another man's frustration. And in any case, in the end there will always be a subjectively fine line between inspired and insipid, revelation and revulsion, "bravo!" and "barfo!"

    Um. What were we talking about, again?

  • John,

    Man, I want to send a housewarming gift. Congrats.

    Also, what you described in your earlier post “The Spoiled Rotten Adult” reminds me a lot of articles I’ve read on “Empathy Deficit Disorder.”

    How do you think the two relate?


  • where did the smiley face come from….you are clever, John Shore!

  • I believe we were talking about valid universal aesthetics stemming from cultural mores reflecting anthropological preferences until all principal, interest and other charges are paid in full to said lender unless note holder agrees to waive the rights of Presentment and Notice of Dishonor. Amen.

    PS. I forgot to mention before, I loved the pun in your post title.


  • Jennifer

    Found you a few days ago and love your blog! You just made me laugh out loud about the house-buying scenario…we thought we were prepared for our first purchase (2 months ago); I'm so glad we were blissfully ignorant of what was really in store. You are right! It's a wonder people aren't just living in boxes on the side of the road!

    Happy weekend 🙂

  • teevee: TOO HILARIOUS!

    Jennifer: Isn't it AMAZING what you have to … SIGN, if nothing else? My once perfectly useful hand has turned into a useless, deformed claw. I now compulsively sign virtually every piece of paper I see. It's horrible. I'm seeing a shrink about it. But clearly my life is ruined.

    But hey! My own garage!