Saturday, May 15, 2021


 As of this week, I'm fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Technically, I'm still in the "two weeks before the vaccine is fully effective" phase. But I've been jabbed twice.

My side effects were minimal. A sore arm both times. That's all. I feel fortunate.

Precocious Daughter also got her second jab this week. That makes me happy. Coincidentally, she finished up her junior year of college on the same day she got the shot, and I now have confidence that she'll be able to enjoy a mostly normal senior year. The last fifteen months or so have been tough on her, far more so than on me. In fact, the biggest hardship I've suffered as a result of the pandemic has been watching her struggle and not being able to provide much help.

As an aside, when I started writing this little blog PDaughter was just starting fourth grade, and now she's about to be a senior in college. I can't process that right now, other than to marvel at how much she's changed while I've merely transitioned from early middle-age to somewhat later middle-age.

Anyway, I'm not really writing about any of those things today. I'm just putting them down here so I can deal with them later.

In fact, I'm not really writing about anything today. I'm just making a list of things I might write about later. I'm giving myself permission to do that, because my concentration isn't great this morning. Maybe that's a side effect of the vaccine, after all. 

So here are some ideas I might flesh out later. Comments are welcome.

1. I bought some temporary wallpaper a couple of months ago in hopes of creating an accent wall in my apartment. I've been hesitant to put it up because it will likely be a comedy of errors. That could result in an entertaining post and a really crappy-looking accent wall. Is it worth it? Discuss.

2. I got a small raise at my IRL job this week. I earmarked most of it to increasing my 401(k) contribution. My life is just that dull. Also, this might allow me to retire nearly a month earlier than I originally planned. FML.

3. Last week I commented on one of Maureen McCormick's tweets, and she liked and replied to it. Marcia Brady, you guys. I plotzed. Also, the tweet I replied to featured one of the best gifs I've ever seen:

4. Have you seen those commercials featuring people who were born in 1996, saying that that was the last year comprehensive Internet regulations were passed? Those people are 25 years old and have never known life without the Internet. Meanwhile, 1996 was the year I established my first personal email account and created my first online presence, which eventually morphed into this very virtual rag you're reading now. For the record, I support updating those regulations, and also I am old.

5. Also, on the topic of adding to my apartment decor, I'd like to add to my collection of decorative bones. My last addition was a monkey skeleton (fake, but realistic). What should I get? Discuss.

6. My balcony-garden spinach is growing like gangbusters, thanks to a combination of sunny days and seasonal rainstorms. I'm still not posting pictures because I don't want to jinx it. But if I ever get to harvest any of it, I'll write 1,000 words on the joys of a really fine spinach salad.

7. Last but not least: I've achieved six months without drinking, but at the same time my sugar cravings have returned after a seven-year hiatus. I'm wondering if I should swap vices. Discuss.

And here's a random picture so my link will be more interesting:

(Photo by Oleg Doroshenko)

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Homeowner Homeowner, Sell Me Your Home

 Ah, the letter to the homeowner: That charming tradition whereby a prospective buyer attempts to sweeten their monetary offer on a house by penning a heartfelt note designed to elicit warm feelings and/or cold, hard guilt from the seller.

In a normal housing market, the letter to the homeowner is intended to help the seller decide between two interested parties; a bonus gesture designed to tip the balance in favor of the more "deserving" buyer. But in today's incendiary real estate environment, the letter has become not only de rigueur, but a critically important part of the buyer's offer. Nowadays, just as no self-respecting parent-to-be would think of revealing their embryo's gender without a catered banquet and a fusillade of exploding color-coded watermelons, in 2021 no prospective homeowner would simply dash off a few sentences about how the period-perfect kitchen reminds them of baking kringles with their Aunt Daisy in the mid-1980s. Bo-ring.

To assist loyal readers who may be struggling to avoid losing out on the perfect house to some wanker with a sob story for the 47th time, we hereby present the following template suggestions to help craft a persuasive, compelling, and not-quite-legally-gaslighting letter.


...We understand that you may have higher offers. But we anticipate that you, just as we do, value other things more highly than mere dollar amounts. Or credit scores. Or active bankruptcy cases. Or orders of garnishment. Things like...hope. 


...When we saw the upstairs bonus room with its locking separate entrance and wire-embedded safety glass, we knew we had found the perfect home for our little Oswald, one that we would love and the state would sign off on.


...We love this house, and we know our Belgian Malinois, Mr. Peppers, will love it too. Mr. Peppers is 18 and has lived in a 2x3' metal crate in our small apartment since he was a puppy. His hips are bad and his emphysema has recently gotten worse. We've tried to make his life as pleasant and comfortable as possible, but with no outdoor space of our own, we've had to resort to carrying him to the roof our building in a duffel bag twice a week to listen to the air-conditioning units run. Having a beautiful yard like yours to romp in would let Mr. Peppers be truly happy in his brief time left on Earth.


...For the first time in 17 years, my wife wakes up with a smile on her face thinking about the possibility of living in your lovely home. She's virtually stopped writing poetry about flesh-eating bacteria and is taking the first delicate, halting steps toward using indoor plumbing again. I truly believe that if we were given the privilege of buying your house, she might even take the pins out of the voodoo doll of herself that she keeps in the mailbox. And all thanks to what we presume will be your generous acceptance of our offer.


...Our search for a home has been long and difficult. We've been living on a broken pallet behind the Dollar General since being evicted from our sub-sub-sublet in the bad part of town. Our deep-seated faith has helped us endure, however, and we hope that soon we'll be able to take our glow-in-the-dark crucifix out of the plastic trash bag that holds all our possessions and hang it proudly in our (oops not yet, haha) new home. We remain, hopefully, yours sincerely...


...Your home truly spoke to us. Specifically, the voice behind the dining room wall that told us none other would move in to this place and survive a single cycle of the moon before the payment of the ancient blood debt. Therefore we feel that our offer of $22,000 below asking price is both fair and generous. We are eagerly awaiting your response.


...This house deserves to be filled with the laughter of children. Our children. Not the misbegotten hellspawn of the other bidders, who we're sure are lovely people when they're not allegedly running illegal sweatshops or printing counterfeit euros on the backs of their own innocent babes, activities of whose knowledge the law might construe as complicity should you sell your house to them. 


...After being the low bidder on 23 homes in the last three months, we were beginning to lose hope. Attached please find candid before-and-after photos of our family upon making our offer on your house. I assure you the gallows, while homemade, was fully functional. Also note the smiles and tears of relief in the "after" photo. The children can finally sleep soundly at night. Please let us know if we can provide further information. 


...and please rest assured that accepting our offer will not only give a hard-working family a shot at the American dream, it will also result in the prompt release of your grandmother at the previously agreed-upon location. Thank you for reading our letter.

Happy house hunting. May all your pony walls be non-load-bearing.