Finally, our House is Sold

The saga continues, but some good news is in the air. About 6 weeks ago, we got the call that we had an offer for our house in Chandler. I didn’t get immediately excited, as we had been through this before without result.

The offer was less than I hoped for, and they wanted a couple of unreasonable requests, so I was thinking “not this shit again“. But I played nice. We countered, split the difference, and met them halfway with their requests.

They accepted the counter, and off to the races. They wanted to close on August 20th, and we of course had to go through the inspection, and the fixes. All this happened on schedule, and low and behold, on August 20th the transaction closed and was funded.

We ended up selling for $268K, (original offered at $280K), which netted us about $23K over what we paid in 2 years.

The bad news is that we made less than we hoped, and our down payment here is less than we expected. Alas, our budget for a house here will be about $100K less than we were planning. This will crimp our choices.

I guess we will have to sell our Tucson house to get us back into a comfortable price range. We have 11 months left on the lease we signed, so we aren’t in a rush.

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Jackasses ruining the Dog Park

Dog parks are great places in general, however there are some people who screw it up. Today, we had one of those days.

When we got to the park this afternoon and it felt a little off. There were three people there and 5 dogs. One group grabbed a couple of their small dogs and left (not uncommon, we have greyhounds, so small dog owners are nervous).

The three remaining dogs were a german shepherd, an english bulldog, and a small poodle thing. The first warning was the english bulldog was on a pinch collar. and the owner was working hard to restrain. But no real troubles except that the little poodle dog liked to squeak and that gets Tate all excited. We know this and we prevent it from getting out of control.

Commuting Insanity – the exit shark

Living in south San Jose isn’t so bad, but it does mean I have a somewhat lousy commute. If it is a lucky day, I can get in in a little over 20 minutes. If I am not so lucky, it can take 45 minutes. This is the drive to Santa Clara, the drive home almost always sucks big tool.

This will be a series of posts, and if I get around to it, I will get a go-pro and films some of the idiocy that I see on the road. There is plenty of it.

Today, I will chronicle the ever hated exit lane shark. The setup: an onramp, that turns into an exit lane. Maybe a half mile long, it is designed to give merging drivers room to get into traffic, and people who want to exit a chance to get ready for the exit.

Alas, when there is even moderately heavy traffic, the temptation for drivers to dive into the lane, and speed by, and then to merge into traffic at the last second. No really, we don’t mind when you squeeze in with your fucking pig SUV, or BMW. You are clearly way too important to wait in traffic.

The worst exit I see is Union Avenue, off ramp off 85 northbound. I am sure that maybe 2 cars a morning do actually exit there, but it is a non-stop stream of dick heads trying to shave off 3 or 4 car lengths.

Oh, how I wish I had a shoulder fired missile…

piranha-eat-cows-1

Apartment Living – Competitive Scrap Metal

Yesterday morning, I took the recycling out, and upon putting it in the recycling bin, I noticed that a whole shopping cart was in the dumpster. I wanted to come back for a picture, to point out the insanity, but a scavenger was working it. So today I carried my camera out to grab a picture.

I shouldn’t have bothered. The shopping cart was stripped of all metal. The frame, the stiffening rods, even the bearings in the wheels. All that was left was the plastic basket.

I have never seen so thorough of a stripping job. It is like the scavengers here are fucking metal piranhas, anything that might have any commercial value is stripped clean.

Living in an apartment is a lot of fun.

Living with Arthritis

Alas, getting old sucks. A lot of things begin to degrade, and just stop working. Mid last year my left thumb started to become painful. At first, I assumed it was just a physical damage like I jammed my thumb. When after a month or so, it didn’t get better, so off to a doctor I went.

Long story short, the prognosis was osteo arthritis. The usual treatments were tried, spica brace (OTS and custom made), NSAIDs, and finally a cortisone shot into the joint.

I also tried the alternative solutions. Glucosamine and MSM. Alas, they seemed to be a big heaping pile of placebo, even in high dosages, for several months, no noticeable relief.

All that happened was a temporary respite. The only thing that helped was massive doses of NSAIDs. 800 mg Ibuprofen 2x a day did a pretty good job of keeping the sharp pain at bay. But that is not good, as I also take statins, beta blockers, ace inhibitors, and anti coagulants (don’t ask), adding 800mg of Vitamin I made me bleed in interesting areas. So I am off the NSAIDs.

There is surgery, but it is not a good option, as mobility will be greatly curtailed. The hand specialist told me that they don’t do that surgery in people my age (too young). Gulp.

Now, I am in a constant low grade pain. I can’t play guitar. I can hold on to a bicycle, but not sure for how much longer.

Getting old sucks. I fear that from now until the long goodnight, it is just a series of disappointments as I have more and more things I can’t do.

Sigh.

rockford-trailer

Classic TV – The Rockford Files

With the recent passing of the legendary James Garner I have once again tossed the hit TV series “The Rockford Files” onto my Netflix streaming list. I had gone through the series a few years ago, reminiscing about my childhood, but this time it was to honor the memory of James.

It is astounding how well the stories hold up to time. Written and filmed in the mid 1970′s, the stories are timeless, and entertaining today. Yes, technology is better, and a lot of the tricks of the trade employed by the main character wouldn’t fly today, in all it still makes for amazingly entertaining watching.

One fixture in the show, is Rockford’s trailer, parked on the beach. Unassuming from the outside, and remarkably spacious on the inside, it is a comforting prop to the show.

Of course, now that I am looking for a house here in California, and I might slip down into “manufactured home” territory (thanks to my shitty relocation company) I look on Rockford’s trailer with envy. Great location, and boy, how spacious is it inside.

Answer: far more spacious than it really is. Alas, the interior filming was done on a sound stage, the main reason why the trailer shots aren’t cramped.

Still, a man can dream.

If you have Netflix streaming, I highly recommend tossing this on your list, and watching a few episodes. You will be sucked in and enjoy the time spent.

kissanddropoff

Apartment Living – near a big school

This Tuesday life changed around our apartment. The big high school started the fall term, and that brought a new level of zaniness. I have posted in the past about the “kid droppers” and the insane risks they take with their precious cargo, but this deserves its own post.

First sign was that I was leaving a few minutes later than usual on Tuesday. Normally not a bigger deal, just a longer queue at the metering lights. BZZZZZT. Can’t get out of the parking lot on to Blossom Hill Blvd. A steady stream of cars, and enough students walking the sidewalk to keep me penned in.

Grrr.

Parking

Apartment Living – Competitive Parking

Life in a moderate density apartment complex is fun, and I mean that in the most positive way. The property management team does try to be fair, particularly around “parking“.

Each unit has one assigned space. There is a “permit” (a mirror hangar) that looks impossible to counterfeit. And even if you could, the spaces are assigned, so each permit is numbered. We have one.

Of course, most units have people living with more than one vehicle in them, so the quandary is where to park.

There is no formal guest parking. No open slots in the lots to fight over. Cool, I guess. So it is on the street.

Sidebar: Clearly the people in San Jose never fucking learnt to parallel park, or they just suck at it. Or both.

During the day, it usually isn’t too bad, there are enough openings to get a decent spot. Starting around 6:00PM, it becomes brutal. Not enough linear feet + people who can’t park to save their lives = chaos. Some people leave acres of room before and after their car, and some insist upon jamming in close up. There are typically about 7 – 9 car spaces wasted by morons parking.

After 10:00PM, you are definitely going to have to go well int o the neighborhoods to find free space.

It doesn’t help that across the street are a series of duplexes virtually all with three garage spaces (split, 2 for one “master” unit, and 1 for the “rental”) that have been converted to additional rentals. That means that the small yards they have are now parking, and a lot of overflow into the street. Sigh.

Street cleaning day is the 1st Friday of the month, and it does mostly empty the streets. For a few hours anyways. Then the chaos returns.

The Office has a few reserved spots, and  there are 5 employee parking spots in the main lot. Of course, when the office is open, the residents do honor these reserved spots.  Until the office manager leaves, then BAM they are all filled. Strangely, the employee spots don’t get used (my theory is that we do have an on-premise maintenance person, and he is likely to call the towing company.)

There is hope though. There are a number of “extra” spaces that can be “rented” for $35 a month. Alas, they are all taken, and we are on the waiting list for one of them when it frees up, and our turn rolls around.

White trash moving

Apartment Living – The Exodus

While we have been here only a month, we have noticed an exodus of tenants. The residents are moving out in droves, hence the overflowing trash with household goods. I had wondered why there were so many people moving out, but hadn’t put much thought into it.

A part of the puzzle fell into place when about a week before rent was due, there was a knock on the door. A letter from the management that stated no longer will tenants be allowed to pay partial rent, and to make up the rest during the month. By itself, this had me scratching my head. Rent was due on the 1st, and we pay on the first, budgeting accordingly.

It never dawned on me that this wasn’t the practice in general.

Last week, my wife saw someone leaving (moving out), and asked why and where they will go? Apparently it isn’t dissatisfaction with the property or the apartment, but the change in the allowance for partial rent submission. Additionally, there have been significant rent increases in the recent past.

There is little doubt that we have many residents who are less fortunate, and struggle to make ends meet. Heck, you see that even in well kept single family home neighborhoods. But you have to live somewhere (unless you want to fall back to urban camping on Guadalupe Creek), and this isn’t too bad of a place to live. Rent for the area is pretty reasonable (and for us, the fact that they welcome our dogs is the winning factor).

The Pantry

Apartment Living – Living with less space

Having the shock of going from ~2,400 sqft to < 1,200 sqft is enough. While we never filled out last house, we had collected a lot of “stuff“. But there are things we have lost that hurt. Today, I will talk about kitchen space

Both our houses in Arizona had ample counter space. In Tucson, they were fine Corien counter tops, with ample space for gadgets. But I didn’t need to keep the gadgets out, as we had massive amounts of cabinet space.

Chandler was similar. Lots of places to tuck and hide things to keep the counters clean, and presentable.

Add to that the large pantries, and life was good. You could stock up in a trip to Costco, or even goof and double up on things like condiments, or canned food. It didn’t matter, there was plenty of room.

Not so in Apartment land.