binocular-bkgd1 Our condo has been on the market for just a a very few days. We have had four showings in the first 48 hours. Today is The Super Bowl. Nothing is going to happen today.

Last night, Sir Braver said,  “You know, we sold our last (Florida) home on July 4th. We were certain nothing was going to happen that day.”

Bright and early this morning – today, Super Bowl Sunday – we received an offer. Not just any offer, but an offer exceeding our asking price! Signed, sealed, and delivered. We close on March 31st!

Image result for condo sold

Your Epidermis is Showing


binocular-bkgd1 Remember when you were a kid and you learned the word epidermis? Wasn’t it fun to turn to some poor unsuspecting, probably younger child and tell them their epidermis was showing? Watch them check their feet for who knows what and then twist around to try to see what could be showing in the rear. 


Well, I feel like someone is telling me my epidermis is showing. Let me tell you why.

Our condo is now on the market; it has been since yesterday morning at 9 AM. Wow! Such excitement. By 10 AM yesterday we already had an appointment for our first showing, scheduled for later that afternoon at 3-ish. Well, 3 o’clock came and went and so did 4 o’clock. How long do we sit around just waiting, not being able to move anything out of place, not being able to do normal stuff. At 4:30, Sir Braver called the real estate agent to ask if they were still planning on coming. “Oh, I forgot to tell you, the client canceled,” he said.

We had a “second” showing scheduled for today, this one between 2 and 2:30. It was no surprise that 2:30 rolled around and we were still sitting around virtually motionless, just waiting. However, this one did finally show up. She was alone but explained that the buyer would be along in a minute or two. So we left. We walked around the hall corner and parked ourselves on a bench by the elevator. From there, we would at least hear, if not see, when they left. The buyer and a friend came along and a minute or two after that, the agent left! She left these 2 complete strangers unattended in our home. We could hear them talking. We walked over to the door, the door with the large yellow sign saying “Please do not let the cat out,” to find said door was left slightly ajar! We pondered how to handle this, but didn’t know quite what to do. About 10 minutes later the real estate agent strolled back. She had gone to settle some kind of key mix-up (I hope it wasn’t our keys she muddled) and left these people to “enjoy” our home.

Two more showings scheduled for tomorrow. Showings? My epidermis is showing, and I think every hair is standing on end.

BOOK REVIEW: The Martian

binocular-bkgd1The Martian

by Andy Weir

Six astronauts are on Mars. A dust storm comes and the astronauts must evacuate. In the commotion, Mark Whatney is seriously injured; in fact, he is presumed dead. Five astronauts depart.

themartian_zpseyvw3ensHowever, Mark Whatney recovers, stranded on Mars. He is injured and alone. He can rely only on himself for survival. He spends his days attending to his wounds, inventorying his supplies, rationing what survival needs are on hand, and figuring out how to extend what he has for however long it will take until a hopefully possible rescue. He maintains  a log of his daily activities on Mars, for NASA, or posterity, or maybe just for something to do. The log entries serve to keep the reader informed. After all, this astronaut has nobody to talk to. His thoughts and fantasies are not included, for the most part. (Darn!) Communication with Earth is broken, so communication must somehow be considered, and configured. His botany skills will turn a few potatoes into a crop, and will be (except for a few rationed meals remaining from the mission) his only food for months to come.

There are a lot of NASA abbreviations and acronyms and honestly, for the most part I gave them no particular attention, but they sounded good and set the tone. There were scientific calculations which even if I could, as unlikely as that would be, I didn’t bother to check or even ponder. I accepted everything Mark Whatney told me as infallible truth.

And I really enjoyed the story.

It was a fun read. Next up, the movie.


binocular-bkgd1Saying goodbye is always bittersweet. Portland has been good to us for the past 10 years.

It is now time to go home.

Our condo goes up for sale on February 4. Here is a preview:


binocular-bkgd1 The Plague

by Albert Camus

Rats! Lots of rats! Sick and dying and dead rats, all as disgusting as can be, were everywhere! Their appearance was sudden, unexpected, unexplained. Soon the townsfolk were sick, first this one, then that one, then more and more. It was first whispered and then affirmed that it was the plague.

theplague_zpsqangu5w5 The ill were quarantined. Hospitals were not equipped to care for so many. Temporary hospitals were set up. People were moved from here to there and from there to here. Families were separated. New laws were enacted as the epidemic raged in an attempt to contain the sickness and stop the spread of disease. Walls were built and guards patrolled the perimeter, allowing no one to enter or leave the city.

As a platform for observing and describing the human condition, the narrator takes every opportunity to expound on behavior under the circumstances of uncontrollable destiny. The narrator expresses such thoughts, conjecture, and philosophy.

As an allegory, the German occupation during World War II and the systematic extermination of the Jews and other “undesirables,” The Plague is an outstanding literary work. It began with the emergence of rats carrying disease in rapidly increasing numbers. The townsfolk were tortured and brutally killed. Laws were created to restrict life in “the camp.” Unable to bury such large numbers of dead, a transport system was developed around the periphery of the gated town, transporting the corpses to a crematorium which was kept busier and busier.

As a novel, however, the development of individual characters did not capture my heart. There was little emotional connection. The story (of the German occupation) is so well known to me, that there was no pull to find out what happens next, there was no pull to finish the book, although finish it I did.

The Plague is an interesting study of human behavior. The literary style works well in the classroom for in-depth study. As a novel, I need a bit more mystery and more of an emotional tug at the heartstrings. Given the subject matter, it is hard to come to terms with the emotional disconnect between the reader and the victims.


Birthday Surprise

me203_zpsspzj72nf1No precipitation predicted for today, no rain in the rainy Pacific Northwest. What a nice break for us! But when we woke up this morning, surprise!

.     .     .


Happy Birthday, Sir Braver!

2016 – The Road Ahead

binocular-bkgd1 While 2015 will likely be remembered by us as the year of the decision, 2016 will most certainly be the year of challenges. It is this year that we will return home. We expect to arrive in New York City sometime during this calendar year, hopefully sooner than later. We will arrive homeless, jobless, and with little more than our two cats and a suitcase. Yes, we plan to stay.

The challenges are many:

  • Selling our condo. Springtime would be the ideal time for us, but for this we have little to no control.
  • Making the cross-country trek, with 2 huge, nervous cats that have never traveled or even been outside our home before.
  • Finding a pet-friendly place to stay, one that will accept our money and our credit history in spite of the fact that we have no income. Sadly for us, landlords like to see income – ample, steady income, of which we have none.
  •  Finding a co-op to buy and to settle in for the long-term. Here again, co-op boards like to see ample, steady income. Hmm.

Step one: Our condo goes on the market February 1. Getting nervous!