Monday, April 26, 2010

Making entry

First off, just in case anyone thought I was kidding about those two neighbors feuding over a little maple tree, I present this photograph as evidence.

Over at our new place, Mrs. KintlaLake and I spent much of the afternoon plotting our pre-move strategy. We were surprised by the large volume of goods left behind by the previous owner -- mountains of clothes, furniture and miscellaneous items. There's too much to gather and deposit at the curb, so it looks like we'll have to rent a dumpster.

After deciding that the ancient carpet wasn't worth cleaning, we donned masks and gloves and worked long into the overnight hours ripping it up and hauling it out to the garage. In the process we discovered what was hiding underneath it -- beautiful hardwood in two-and-a-half bedrooms and plywood subfloor elsewhere.

When we pulled back the psychedelic shag covering the basement floor, however, we uncovered a veritable HazMat situation -- a thick layer of black mold covering asbestos tile. Yuck.

So now we've added "wall-to-wall floor covering" to our to-do list. My wife and our spawns will be back over there today, scrambling to make the place ready for our move. It all has to get done by Friday morning, but honestly I'm not sure how we'll do it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Key day

In an hour or so we'll head over to a local home-improvement store to buy a lawn mower. From there we'll drop by the village diner and wait for 11am, when we'll pull a pair of brass keys from an envelope and unlock the front door of our new place.

I'm not sure what I'll feel in that moment -- relief, certainly, and probably a wave of stuff that I've suppressed over the last 18 months.

It's as hard to describe as it is to predict.

As we breakfasted on pancakes and sausage with our new neighbors yesterday morning, one of them popped a surprising question.

"Will you be leaving the clothesline up?" the elderly woman asked.

My wife and I looked at each other. "I don't see why not," I said. "Why do you ask?"

She explained, somewhat meekly, that the previous owner had allowed her to use it from time to time. We laughed, assuring her that the neighborly tradition would continue, and then I told the group a story.

Across the street from where we live now, in this pretentious planned development with wall-to-wall McMansions, one of the homeowners planted a small maple near the edge of his property. His neighbor, displeased, retaliated by trying to poison the tree.

When that didn't work, he hauled out a ladder and a saw and pruned the portion of the offensive planting that extended over his lawn -- I mean, he shaved the thing straight up from trunk to crown.

Since then, these two fifty-something men have engaged in litigation, suits and counter-suits, all over a little tree.

So when a fellow villager asks if she can use our clothesline...well, that's just fine with us.

We're going home today!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mixed emotions

This is a big day, one of several we've circled on the calendar, but our joy is subdued.

Yesterday afternoon my wife got word that one of her cousins had suffered a massive heart attack and was in his final hours. We pointed the truck toward Morgantown and drove the 200 miles as fast as we dared, arriving just minutes after he breathed his last.

Mrs. KintlaLake grew up an only child, three male cousins serving as big brothers. The oldest was her "protector," making sure that his "baby girl" didn't get picked on too much. Even as children grew into adults, this warm-hearted man filled that role.

His life leaves a trail of goodness, the loss of him leaves an ache that time may not be able to ease. I grieve with my inconsolable wife and all who loved the man.

After we left the hospital last night, we joined others at an old house perched above the river. The atmosphere was one of storytelling, pizza and beer -- the dearly departed would've liked that. Mrs. KintlaLake and I slipped away from the group at one point and walked the hillside. In the gathering dusk she pointed out where she and the boys used to play, the secret hiding places, her grandfather's workshop, the spots that live in her vivid memory.

Back home again this morning, weary but hopeful with the dawn, we continue to remember. Sadness tinges our hope.

Hope will prevail.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Un-bagged cat

Our host-tormentors now know when we're moving out of alcohell.

We're prepared for the nastiness that's sure to follow. Since the day we arrived, they've done everything imaginable to make sure that my family and I feel unwelcome in our own home. Now, as is their hateful pattern, the climate of drunkenness and mental instability will escalate until we close the door behind us for good.

And that's fine, because the end of our ordeal is in sight -- in little more than 24 hours we'll be able to say that we have a place of our own. By midday Sunday we'll be able to escape there if we have to.

Besides, whatever the addled octogenarians throw at us over the next eight days, we'll be too busy to care. Our eyes are fixed on a prize that no one can take from us.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I can't pronounce it, either, but I don't need to speak Icelandic to take its lessons.
This sub-Arctic volcano began trembling its warnings in mid-2009, erupting briefly a month ago before quieting until April 14th, when it unleashed a plume of ash that's still disrupting air travel worldwide.

We know all that, of course. What's worth watching are the effects of this natural phenomenon -- or, to be more accurate, our responses to its effects.

There's volcanic activity across the globe and eruptions are inevitable. We're familiar with the behavior of jet streams and surface winds. It's common knowledge that aircraft must avoid flying through volcanic ash, lest engines seize and planes crash.

With only that basic information, then, we can predict that when a volcano erupts -- whether it's in Iceland, Chile, the Philippines or Wyoming -- its effects can spread well beyond the surrounding area and air travel could take a hit. Contingency plans are in order. The question is, where are those plans now?

Judging by the last seven days, it looks like commercial carriers were caught flat-footed. And since volcanoes don't play favorites, I find myself wondering how air forces based in Europe planned for this -- thousands of military aircraft are grounded, too.

I haven't heard that question asked, much less answered.

Eyjafjallajökull will keep erupting as long as it wants to -- nothing can be done about that. While the world watches the scenario play out, however, individuals can go to school on a matter having little to do with volcanology.

There's truly no excuse for airlines treating Eyjafjallajökull like a passing thunderstorm. And if they have no plan for dealing with hundreds of thousands of passengers stranded because a volcano is erupting in Iceland, it's reasonable to predict that they haven't planned for the effects of war, unrest, fuel shortages or much else.

That's disturbing, sure, but let's bring the lessons close to home.

All disasters ultimately are local, even personal. It's up to each of us to identify the threats, predict disruptions and prepare to survive in their wake.

As important as it is to catalog threats, causes matter less than our ability to execute individual plans. We can't rely on government, commercial interests, military or law enforcement to be our salvation -- or, for that matter, our backstop. If we're without water, a reliable food supply, shelter or the ability to travel, we must presume that we'll be on our own.

Waiting 'til after the SHTF to spot threats and hatch plans, like the airlines are doing, is a recipe for failure. Prepare now -- no excuses.

Monday, April 19, 2010

9:03am Central Daylight Time

At this moment 15 years ago, an American with a truck bomb attacked the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. His act of murderous extremism took the lives of 168 of his fellow citizens, including 19 children.

The body count doesn't approach that of September 11, 2001. Neither, arguably, does the event's impact on our society. And despite the bomber's countless apologists, the fact that this atrocity was committed by an American radical and not an Islamist radical doesn't make it any less manifest evil -- terrorism is terrorism.

I will not honor the terrorist now by invoking his name. Instead, as we're encouraged to do by the memorial's inscription, on this day I "remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever."

A dog gets involved

For the last three years, the 84-year-old woman who owns our new place has shared her life with a Shih Tzu she calls "Lil Mac" -- a bundle of energy, friendly and eager to please.

Sadly, she can't take Lil Mac with her when she moves into a small apartment later this week. She'd asked us if we'd be willing to adopt him, but since we already have two shaggy little toys of our own (albeit tracing their heritage to a different Communist country), we proposed another arrangement.

We knew that my wife's best friend from childhood was looking for a dog fitting Lil Mac's description, so we set up an interview late yesterday afternoon. To make an hour-long story shorter, it turned out to be a perfect match.

It wrenched our hearts to watch the old woman let go of her constant companion, drawing tears from all of us. Lil Mac, for his part, bounced and pounced and pranced in the driveway -- he just wanted to go for a ride in the car.

This morning I'm pleased to report that both dog and new master are doing fine. For us, the deed added yet another rich layer of goodwill to our experience.

It's feeling more like coming home every day.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hazy Saturday

I'm not fond of visiting the dentist -- I never have been and I probably never will be. So when I lost a filling a few weeks ago, I decided to postpone having it fixed until after my family and I get settled in our new place.

Oh, sure, I made time for getting my concealed-carry permit. I made some time for family and, the sting of unemployment still fresh in my memory, I devoted the bulk of my time to my job. I didn't make any time, however, for a brief trip to the dentist.

Bad idea.

The neglected tooth got angry on Tuesday, the pain preventing me from getting more than four hours of sleep (total) between that night and Friday morning. With a weekend ahead and unable to ignore it any longer, yesterday my wife shuttled me to an oral surgeon's office.

Here I sit this morning, minus a wisdom tooth. The right side of my mouth is packed with gauze and there's Vicodin flowing through my system. While I appreciate being pain-free, I curse the chemically induced grogginess.

The good doctor ordered me to avoid bending or lifting for the next few days, which means that I won't be pitching-in with packing 'til mid-week. We should be in good shape for the move, though, and that brings me to the most pleasant of subjects -- our timetable for escaping these alcohellish digs.

The house officially becomes ours at noon on Thursday. We'll take possession 72 hours later, a week from tomorrow, after which a parade of workers -- electrician, plumber, carpet cleaner, guttermeister, cable guy, etc. -- will begin to do what needs doing. Moving Day is the last of April, just two weeks from yesterday.

We're all smiles here. Our host-tormentors still don't know why.

As I've mentioned before, we're acquiring the house from an endearingly old-fashioned woman who's lived there for 47 years. The other day she called to invite us to a pancake breakfast at the nearby community center -- it's her treat, and she's asked all of our soon-to-be next-door neighbors to join us.

She wants to introduce us in a formal way, essentially giving us her stamp of approval. That's the way it used to be, the way it should be, the gesture of passing goodwill without interruption or mystery.

That moment will mark the beginning of our new life in the village. I can't begin to tell you how great we feel right now.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bums out, bimbos in?

Former Arizona congressman J.D. Hayworth is challenging Sen. John McCain for the U.S. Senate seat that McCain has held since 1987.

Although I have no dog in this Republican primary fight, I do believe that incumbent McCain a) has out-served his usefulness and b) has become the equivalent of an antenna flag, a sort of PINO (principled in name only).

Hayworth, however, represents the worst kind of alternative. A darling of Faux News and other right-fringe media, he refers to himself as "The Consistent Conservative." Truth is, the only thing he does consistently is act like a bimbo.

Anyone familiar with Hayworth knows that. Defying convention -- run to the base in the primary, run to the center in the general -- McCain is appealing to independents and (for example) making light of Hayworth's reputation as a "birther."

To that end, a group calling itself "Friends of John McCain" has released this

McCain, I predict, will distance himself from the spot, which takes a bit too long to make its points, the moment he realizes that he needs every wingnut he can get. He shouldn't, but he probably will.

If Hayworth ends up winning (perish the thought) it'd be a big victory for Nutjob Nation. And that easily could happen -- I mean, fellow Bimbo Brigade member Scott Brown won recently in Massachusetts and Arizona's 5th District sent Hayworth to Washington six times.

I agree that it's high time to till the political soil and plant a new crop of citizens who truly represent the interests of the People. But with the sprouting of figures like Palin, Brown and Hayworth, it looks like we're sowing some damned ugly weeds.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Same shoe, other foot

Here, presented without preamble, is some of what Rep. Steve Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee, said during an interview last week:

"The Tea Party people are kind of, without robes and hoods, they have really shown a very hardcore angry side of America that is against any type of diversity. And we saw opposition to African Americans, hostility toward gays, hostility to anybody who wasn't just, you know, a clone of George Wallace's fan club. And I'm afraid they've taken over the Republican Party."

"I think [the GOP is] afraid of it. When I saw John McCain stand behind Sarah Palin, he looked more like a captured soldier in North Vietnam than he did a United States Senator. It was very sad, and I tell you, his wife, Cindy, she was about ready to just drop dead. I mean, Sarah Palin dressed like Elvis in the comeback event in Hawaii."

See, extremism and red-meat rhetoric can come from the Left as well as the Right.

Cohen observes what I observe. He colorfully (and quite correctly) points out the presence of a hostile lunatic fringe within the anti-Obama crowd. He's dead-on about McCain bowing to Elvis and the Republican Party's fear of a backward, mindless minority.

When he demeans a Navy pilot's captivity or draws parallels between the Tea Party and the Ku Klux Klan or George Wallace, however, he shows himself to be just as irrational as right-wingers who cry "Socialism!" every time a hat hits the ground.

Steve Cohen is nothing more than an ignorant ideologue of a different stripe.

The rumpled Right probably should dismiss his comments as idiotic and leave it at that -- but no, they're indignant as hell, calling it "hate speech."

Hate speech? This from a political movement that tolerates caricatures of the 44th president as Adolf Hitler or a monkey?


Oh, I see how it is -- it's free speech when I say it, but it's hate speech when it comes from my political adversary.

As if we needed any more evidence that partisans and ideologues will be the death of the Revolution, there it is.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Props: Evan Turner

The 2009-2010 Ohio State basketball team's season ended a couple of weeks ago with a three-point loss to Tennessee, but Buckeyes star Evan Turner didn't finish his run until yesterday.

Last night, Turner won the coveted John R. Wooden Award as the nation's top player. That honor will share space in his trophy case with the Naismith Award, the Oscar Robertson Award, the AP National Player-of-the-Year Award and the Big Ten Player-of-the-Year Award.

It was, in the end, a consensus sweep for the 6'7" Turner, whose per-game averages of 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists were impressive if not spectacular. There's a compelling story behind the stats, however -- in a December game against Eastern Michigan, Turner landed awkwardly and hard, suffering fractures to his spine.

Fans feared that the junior swingman was out for the season, but he returned to action less than five weeks later, propelling OSU to the Big Ten Championship and a 29-8 overall record.

That's leadership.

His truckload of national awards -- each the equivalent of college football's Heisman Trophy -- is symbolic of the respect he earned. Within and beyond the borders of Buckeye Nation, no one deserves that respect more than Evan Turner.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Thinking in stickers

Recent headlines and cultural fixations offer food for thought. They're not bad fodder for bumper stickers, either.

'Save the Bullies!'
Confronting a bully is among the first trials that a kid faces. We can't prevent such encounters -- nor, in my opinion, should we try.

It's fine with me if schools, in the interest of discipline and order, consider student-on-student harassment unacceptable and take steps to throttle it. But every time that we, this increasingly Oprahfied society, demand that children be sheltered from difficult rites-of-passage, we cultivate a fragile generation which will expect the same protection in adulthood.

Rightfully we mourn the loss of young people "driven to suicide" by their peers' cruelty. Our resulting rage, however, is misdirected -- we reflexively blame the bullies, oblivious to the fact that shielding children encourages irrational, irresponsible choices. Our kids live in temporary safety, carrying forever a defect of our making.

We need bullies. We must raise our children to have strength that's built by enduring storms, not weakness that comes from hiding indoors until the next sunny day.

Surely storms will come. When they do, will our kids have what it takes to survive?

'Sex is a Ham Sandwich'
A Wisconsin district attorney has issued a letter of warning to educators: Teach the state-mandated sex-ed curriculum and you risk prosecution as a sex offender.

That's right -- according to this guy, explaining the use of contraceptives to kids who probably are sexually active anyway could put a teacher on the pointy end of criminal or civil action.

Rather than getting lost in the outright silliness of what the prosecutor did, allow me to point out what motivated him to do it: Democrats were responsible for proposing and approving the sex-ed curriculum; Republicans, without exception, opposed it; and the DA is a Republican taking political shots from half-court.

So his letter isn't a legal opinion -- it's an ideological agenda. If he tries to make an example of some law-abiding teacher, the made-for-TV movie will need a laugh track
and I'm gonna need more popcorn.

'Tiger = Golfer'
My relationship with Tiger Woods is pretty simple: He's a master of the game of golf and I appreciate mastery.

I don't care where he parks his Buick.

Anyone disappointed by his off-course excursions should take a good look in the mirror -- the adulation we heaped on this man created expectations that he couldn't possibly meet. If we see him as a "role model" who's tumbled from a pedestal of grace, we should temper our self-righteousness with the knowledge that we built that pedestal and put him up there.

'My other party is the GOP'

The Tea Party "movement" has announced that it's forming the National Tea Party Federation, ostensibly to lure grassroots groups into its right-wing maw.

TPers are under the illusion that their brand of populism is going big-time. Clearer heads realize that the NTPF will accomplish basically two things -- it'll kill whatever independence is left in the movement and hasten its inevitable absorption into the Republican Party.

This public hijacking is fascinating to watch, isn't it?

Some years ago "Kentucky Fried Chicken" became "KFC," caving to pressure to eliminate the word "fried" from its red-and-white buckets. With the introduction of the KFC Double Down sandwich three days from now, the restaurant chain will begin to make amends for its descent into political correctness.

The Double Down is "two thick and juicy boneless white meat chicken filets (Original Recipe® or Grilled), two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and Colonel's Sauce." No bun.

Screw the Health Nazis -- I'm lovin' it. (Sorry, Ronald.) As I salivate over 540 calories and 1,380 grams of sodium, I only hope I can order my Double Down with extra trans-fat on the side.

'Got Light? Thank a Coal Miner.'
The next time I flip a wall switch, I'll remember Pam Napper.

When an explosion tore through the Upper Big Branch South mine near Montcoal, West Virginia on Monday afternoon, it took the lives of Josh Napper, Timmy Davis Sr. and Timmy Davis Jr. -- Pam's son, brother and nephew.

Her burden, unfair as it is, is shouldered by her community and the families of the other miners who perished.

"It's just West Virginia," she says.

No, Pam, it's not. We can't know your pain but we can honor you, your men and the tens of thousands who pay for our comfort with sweat and sacrifice.

Remembering is the least we can do.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dawn to sorrow

This morning brought news of an underground explosion at a coal mine in southern West Virginia. Media are reporting 25 miners dead, four missing.

Some of us grieve more than others, or differently. It's common in this part of the country to count coal miners among our ancestors, family and friends. My wife, born and raised in Morgantown, can say that her grandfather, a handful of cousins and many schoolmates' relatives worked (or still work) in the mines. Ohio's coal brought my great grandfather to America from Scotland.

To claim that Mrs. KintlaLake and I have coal dust coursing through our veins, however, wouldn't be right. In our comfort we can't grasp the hardship, the dangers, the uncertainty and inevitably the heartache that miners and their families know. That experience is the painful province of places like Montcoal, Sago, Fairview.

We do our best to understand. We grieve now because these hard-working Americans, many of whom live in abject poverty, risk and sweat and sacrifice to feed their families. We're humbled by the knowledge that their unimaginably difficult labor keeps our lights on.

Anyone who's tempted to dismiss them as "poor white trash" couldn't lift a coal miner's lunch bucket. Miners deserve no less respect than soldiers, cops and firefighters.

They'll always have my respect. This morning I join them in sorrow.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Another swing of the hatchet

While I was on the phone this morning, expressing my habit of doodling in three dimensions I picked up that old Estwing hatchet and began turning it over in my hands. I mentioned in yesterday's post that I'd found three letters scribed into the tool's carbon-steel shank, but until today I hadn't spotted a second set of scratchings on the opposite side.

Some hours later I squinted through a magnifying glass at the faint letters -- first name and surname, postal route, town and state. A quick bit of research, colored by a splash of speculation, gives me a story to tell.

The place-name leads to a farming community north of Chillicothe, Ohio. As for the hatchet's owner, two candidates emerge -- father and son, Sr. and Jr.

The father was of my grandparents' era, born in Ross County in October of 1901; his death was recorded in the same locale in January of 1981. His namesake, who in his eighties reportedly goes by "Sonny," apparently still lives there. A satellite image shows the address to be a collection of buildings, surrounded by cultivated fields, at the end of a long lane.

With only sketchy information it's impossible to say for sure, of course, but it's my guess that the hatchet was employed on the family farm and may have been sold as part of the father's estate.

By today's standards, this scarred-up tool should've been retired long ago. It's not new, hardly state-of-the-art, neither pretty nor perfect.

Human hands in Rockford, Illinois forged this hatchet to last and, by god, it survived under the unsentimental lash of Depression-hardened Heartlanders. It saw a lifetime of use before finding
its way to me -- what to do with it now?

I think I know what the tool's original owner might've said:

Use it up, wear it out;
Make it do or do without.
That's certainly what my father and his father would've said. There is indeed a story in this humble hatchet, and the telling of that tale isn't finished quite yet.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sharps: Estwing carpenter's hatchet

Each and every time I've wandered the maze of aisles at an indoor antiques mall recently, a certain old-school tool has caught my eye. Yesterday I shelled out a few bucks and brought it home.

It's an Estwing carpenter's hatchet, 13 inches long with a straight, stacked-leather handle. Its condition testifies to hard use. The letters "THH" are scratched into the shank.

Estwing has been around since 1923 and this hatchet is typical of the company's one-piece forged designs. I have no idea how old it is, but I can say with near-certainty that it has no value whatsoever as a collectible -- it looks like the blade was shortened by a half-inch or more and re-profiled at some point, perhaps because the edge broke or chipped.

It came to me crudely ground, with a handle so grimy that it looked like it was wrapped in electrician's tape. I spent five minutes scrubbing the gucked-up leather and ten more knocking the shoulders off of the bevel.

It feels like a keeper and a user -- not much of a woods tool, really, but it could be an ideal backyard companion. Kindling, anyone?

Mid-weekend roundup

Rolling out of bed at 6:30am borders on sloth, at least for me, but that's what I've done both yesterday and today. Once awake, just like I do on weekday mornings, I sift through business e-mail and end each day the same way.

This being a weekend, Mrs. KintlaLake and I occupy the in-between hours with new-house matters.

Yesterday we got detailed reports from a 48-hour radon test and Friday's home inspection. The results of the former don't alarm us (we'll tackle mitigation measures ourselves) and the only pressing concern from the latter is the active presence of carpenter ants and termites in two places near the foundation. There's no apparent damage yet and the homeowner has agreed to pay for a licensed exterminator of our choosing. That takes care of that.

Three days after closing -- April 25th, according to the contract -- the house will be vacant and ours to fill. Until then we won't know if we'll be cleaning carpet, replacing carpet or refinishing hardwood floors that we hope are lurking beneath wretched shag. Equally important, since we
sold or gave away virtually all of our stuff when we moved last year, right now we have no beds of our own, no table and chairs and few everyday furnishings.

Without a pile of money to spend, bang-for-buck is our top priority. We know that we can get great used furniture for a quarter of the price of new, often less than that, so for several weeks we've window-shopped regularly at flea markets and secondhand stores.

On Saturday afternoon we put our name on a 1960s-vintage pecan-wood dining-room table, a clean-lined Scandi design with two leaves and eight (count 'em) tall-backed chairs. The affordable package deal included two buffets, which we'll sell to recoup most of what we paid for the lot. (The house's built-in cabinets make sideboards unnecessary, and the dining room is way too small for them anyway.)

Twin beds for the boys' rooms set us back a hundred bucks -- for two.

Those were the big bits. My wife also picked up an original pink flamingo for the back patio. (I love that woman.) I came home with a small tin sign advertising The Columbus Dispatch and a well-loved Estwing hatchet with stacked-leather handle -- just because.

In the long run our plans call for preserving the house's 1950s-1960s character without turning it into a Disney World diner. Yes, we're still looking for a classic Formica-top dinette to fill the breakfast nook, for example, but we have no interest in retro-repro appliances. All of the built-ins, along with the wonderfully odd bathroom fixtures, will stay.

It's a fun and fresh project. We scour the Web and often fall asleep to HGTV these days, absorbing knowledge while resisting a gotta-have-the-latest mentality. Used stuff is the best, and we'll acquire what we need as funds allow.

There's more happening in this life than just the new house, of course. My TrailBlazer is serving up a couple of problems -- that
check-engine light still glows, owing to a misbehaving air pump. And both low-beam headlights quit working unceremoniously Friday night, a failure traced to a blown under-hood relay. I'll let the expensive air-pump issue go a bit longer and replace the relay ($40) after it arrives at the local NAPA tomorrow.

Our older spawn, who's pushing the limits of (chronological) adulthood, has been giving us serious heartburn lately. I expect to begin exercising the privileges granted by my new
CCW permit this week. Income taxes will be due soon and, because we submitted info to our preparer only a week ago, we're not yet sure what the bill will be. I'm battling bronchitis brought on by inhaling a cloud of attic dust over at the new place.

Stuff like that.

Our perspective keeps us from veering into life's weeds. We can't forget the trials of the last year or that it's been since 2006 that my wife and I have marked Easter Sunday with two jobs, two regular incomes. The four of us are alive and (mostly) well. We grasp our present good fortune and the promise of bright days to come.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Full-speed ahead

For four solid hours this afternoon, a home inspector crawled over, under, around and through the house we plan to buy.

As expected, he saw the same problems we'd seen -- some water intrusion through a few places in the concrete-block foundation walls, a less-than-perfect HVAC system, a few electrical quirks, a roof that'll need replacing within the next five years and a bunch of other minor issues. He also judged the 57-year-old structure to be "fundamentally solid as a rock."

Okay, now we're excited.

The last big roadblock is down. Our new place has become real and, practically as well as emotionally, right as rain.

We're on our way home.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

No foolin'

I know people who won't do business on Friday the 13th, for fear of inscribing that date on some important document. While that seems silly to me, I'll admit to making damned sure that we didn't sign anything related to our new house today, the first of April.

And then this afternoon I got a phone call from the county sheriff's office -- my
Ohio CCW permit was approved.

On April Fool's Day, for cryin' out loud.

After getting off the phone and executing the requisite fist-pump, it occurred to me that remembering my renewal date five years from now will be a cinch. It's also worth noting that the gnarly background check, which reportedly averages about four weeks, got done in nine days.

An LEO friend of mine says that's because our sheriff is efficient, but I'm inclined to chalk it up to five decades of clean livin'. Whatever the reason, I'll pick up my permit in the morning.

Calendar check