Monday, March 23, 2009

Why buy when you can squat?

I live in Arizona where we had a housing boom and then a fallout. We see houses double in value over the course of just a couple of years and now they are back down, just below what they were before the explosion. One of the reasons that housing is so cheap is because supply is so much higher than demand (look at those college economic courses I took finally paying off). The inability to pay mortgages has left the housing market full of homes, both new and old, owned by banks and void of anyone living in them. I went to go look at houses with a realtor a couple of weeks ago and while he told us that he would only show us a couple of foreclosures mixed in between regular sale homes, he overestimated the strength of his own market and ended up showing us nothing but foreclosures (10 in all).
Only one of the homes was totally trashed, apparently when you are mad at yourself for not being able to pay your mortgage, you take it out on the house that you purchased with the money you couldn't pay back.
The rest of the homes were in wonderful condition and it made me think, why am I thinking about buying when I could just squat. Who knows when this market is going to get better? and how hard is it to change locks anyway? The only way for a realtors to get in is through the key in the lockbox, so if I simply change the lock on the front door I could squat undetected. No realtor is going to say, "well, the key doesn't work, so let me just break this window and you and your wife and crawl in." I figure I have a week to two weeks from the first time that someone can't get in to move before someone comes to figure out what the problem is (probably more, I mean, who has that job anyway?)
Let's figure this out together. I pay $620. (and some change) for rent. I rent a 2 bedroom 1.75 bathroom half of a duplex. If I squat, I need to pay for a new deadbolt lock on 2 doors and I could install them myself, but for arguments sake let's even have someone else install them. At I can buy a deadbolt lock for 35.00 with free shipping and let's say I have to buy one for each of the two doors with this kind of lock, I can use a broom stick for the sliding glass door, let's add 10.00 there and let's also say that I will be squatting in two houses per month. That's a total of 160.00 which is a monthly saving of 460.
If I told you, you could save 460.00 a month by moving out of your crappy rental unit and choosing a home from thousands of available to be your very own (sort of), would you do it? Of course. Ever dreamed of having multiple homes? Squatting is the perfect way to feel like your rich on a hobo's budget. Even if you're not living on a hobo's budget, squatting is the perfect way to save money during these tough economic times.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Vacation for you and me

I am taking a couple of days off work because my wife is in California visiting her family. If she gets a vacation, so do I! I don't have any specific plans, but I hope to get a lot of creative writing done. I am going to find a place to perform (spoken word) on Saturday, but other than that, we will see what happens (I say that, and if you didn't know me you would think that means anything, but if you have even met me, you would know that means that I will be doing absolutely nothing.) For reference, please see:

Monday, March 9, 2009

Scary Moments in Muting

I have worked on the phones for my entire working life, consequently, I rarely answer my own phone (but that is not the point I will be making today, just a justification (not an apology) for me really upsetting people that actually want to talk to me (as if there were any)). There are two very important buttons on the phone at work: The first is the "release button." The release button is what I throw my fist on when the customer finally relinquishes me from their frigid hands of pure evil and malice. The release button is the button I imagine slamming my forehead on, in exasperation after I hear things like, "Above ground basement" and "Z as in Xerox" (both real quotes). The other important button is the mute button. The mute button is the one I press right before I stand up and exclaim to all those around me how stupid the person on the other end of the line is, or when I have to fall out of my chair laughing because the parents of the person calling in on the phone decided to punish their child with the name Joe Joe Josephson (also true).

I was working as a collector for a well known telephone company and on the phone with a woman who was about to make a payment over the phone with me. While grabbing her checkbook she (I imagined of course (keep in mind, I am just on the phone with her)) started coughing a wheezy cough that eventually overtook her body, forcing her first on her knees and then in the fetal position where she tried to maintain consciousness through the inability to breath because of her uncontrollable coughing. Each cough seemed to give birth to 3 more little coughs which filled her lungs and seemed to want to kill her. I pressed the magic mute button and said in a manner in which those around me would hear me, "Maybe you should stop smoking!" I moved my hand back to the box with my two favorite buttons and felt for the activated button. It seemed my finger was trying to deceive me as the button was didn't feel as though it had been activated. I looked down and to my horror saw that the customer would have heard every word that I just said. While my advice was certainly sound, it is still something that could have resulted in my termination from that employment. My blood ran cold as my customer weakly got up from the floor, receiving help from a chair that she grasped as the last of the flem filled coughs left her throat. I waited in silence for the explosion of anger and the wishes to speak with my supervisor. Those fears were never realized as my yelled insulting advice was never heard over the muting power of her black lung filled coughs. It is the most relieved I have ever been in recent memory. I still mute customer to do the same thing (so I guess there is no moral, because no lesson was learned), but I do double check from time to time in moments of would be horror to make sure that my comments stay behind the blocking power of my favorite button.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Head shoulders knees and toes

And a penis. IT'S A BOY! I will post new pictures tonight when I get the disk from the wife. I have to admit I am bummed that I won't be using Julia Evelyn, because I think that that's a beautiful name, but I would have been bummed if I couldn't use Abraham, so the I guess the point is, this child is nothing but a life full of disappointments and why not start now? That may be a little extreme, but it's not like he can read yet (on second thought, we probably shouldn't teach him to read, because that can only lead to him thinking less of me).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The initial Dilemma and other bad puns

These are the initials of my immediate family. JML has the best initials because.... well.... just look at them. It's almost (I am currently driving myself insane because I can't think of the word for when something is equally weighted or is the same on one side as it is on the other. AHHHHHHHHHH I feel so stupid and trapped and it will be the end of me.) JKL are cool initials because they are alphabetical and just look like solid initials. ALL spells a word and I would prefer to avoid that. BML is rough because of...... (SYMETRICAL!!!!! I got it) the BM part. I really don't want to start the child on a life in which they will be the butt of jokes. I figure that they will do that on their own and don't need any help from a crappy name or initials. Girl names are easy, because there are so many beautiful names. If we find out tomorrow that the baby is a girl, her name will be Julia Evelyn Lewis (not sure on the spelling on Evelyn yet (I will make it as traditional as possible)), but if the baby is a boy the name will be Abraham .... Lewis. We don't want a biblical middle name because that will make the kid look like he's a nut (or at least his parents). Abraham is actually after Abraham Lincoln and while I also like the name Lincoln I don't want to seem like a nut in the other direction either, plus you want to give the kid the opportunity to have his own identity and not be held down by the full name of another. I really like my grandfather's name, but I fear that if I name him Abraham Mont Lewis that he will be born with a cigar in mouth and a monocle. I was looking at names last night and found Orson, which I really liked, until I realized that his initials would be AOL. I don't know that AOL will exist in the future, but I just can't run that risk. So, I liked Orson, but now that's gone. Now I like Sid which is a strong single syllable name, but it's really up in the air. Sid would make his initials ASL which is American Sign Language, but certainly a reference that wouldn't embarrass him at every occasion like AOL. DAMN YOU ACRONYMS!
So what is your choice?
If you pick a good middle name of my child and it's a boy, I will give you the baby........... or ten bucks, whichever you want. Good luck, and don't forget the importance of initials.

(Final Note: What an aweful painting of Abraham Lincoln, but it definitely goes along with the blog quote nicely, and the other pic..... bling bling?)