Sold!

Photo by PhotoMIX Company on Pexels.com

After a whirlwind weekend that saw our home booked for somewhere around 20 showings, we received four offers and just signed the paperwork on a purchase agreement to sell the house for considerably over the asking price. (If everything proceeds as scheduled, it’ll be a matter of public record, but for now don’t want to jinx anything).

By the way, it was my intention all along to have this blog be a forum for some longer pieces getting into this process a little, but I’ve found this specific part (selling our home) isn’t really terribly interesting to anyone except ourselves really. No one needs or cares to know what an ordeal it is to prepare a home for sale. You’ve either done it yourself and know all too well or don’t care.

And that’s fine! Truthfully, I don’t think anyone is terribly interested in the nuts and bolts of the sale of anyone’s home, especially mine. But hoping to tackle some topics in the coming weeks like what it’s been like to live in Las Vegas, the process of what goes into moving overseas and then eventually of course, what it’s like to live in Mexico.

For now, you get intermittent updates and random crap (for the most part).

Our timeline now looks something like this:

•House closes escrow/we have to be out – Dec. 4

•Fly to Michigan for the holidays/have somewhere to live until next year – approximately Dec. 13 (the time in between will be some decompressing, some farewells, selling our vehicles and anything else we don’t want to keep in storage, etc.)

•Fly back to Las Vegas to finalize anything that needs finalizing (more on this in the weeks ahead for those of you who like teasers) – approximately Jan. 3

•Fly to Mexico – approximately Jan. 5

All those dates are up in the air still though as the process of selling or buying a home even after a purchase price has been agreed on can be full of roadblocks, so we’re going to try and stay positive and keep getting ready for this move.

For now, we’re celebrating an exciting day!

Goodbye, good boy

Caught lounging earlier in the summer, 2020.

We had to say goodbye today to our beloved Houston dog. His joint and hip problems kept getting worse and worse and he wasn’t going to be able to handle either being dragged in and out of the house for showings or even to a doggie daycare. The truth is we probably let ourselves be blinded to the fact he’s been getting worse for quite awhile, but we didn’t want to say goodbye.

We adopted Houston in May 2018 after learning that he had been at the adoption shelter for 18 months. You’d think that would mean that he wasn’t friendly or didn’t like being around people very much, but nothing could be further from the truth. For the life of me I don’t know why anyone didn’t want to adopt him (other than his age) because he’s one of the coolest dogs I’ve ever known. We had a good idea we made a good choice when all of the shelter staff (and I mean everyone who was there came by to say goodbye to him and tell us what a good boy he is.)

He loved attention from people, so much so that if you tried to stop petting him he was apt to stick his head and lift up your hand until you’d start back up again or follow you around the room if you walked away. He ended up being very choosy about food (you can probably mostly blame Tanya for that one), but it might be just as well because he was the most flatulent dog I’ve ever known. More than once he cleared us out of the living room while watching TV as a family.

And he was a loyal guard dog to Tanya, overprotective whenever another dog would get anywhere near her which meant even if not for the bad hips and joints, long walks would have been more or less out of the question. So we adapted and made sure to take him for car rides until discovering that he would get so excited during car rides he would often poop.

So we adapted to that quirk as well and try to walk him around the front yard for as long as it took him to relieve himself if we wanted to take him for a ride. He was funny, brave, tough, loyal and lovable. Anything you could ever want in a dog and more. Anyone who had the chance to adopt him in those 18 months and didn’t is an idiot.

Houston (aka Bubba, aka Bubbasaurus): Say hi to Sydney, Willie, Larry and Zeke and one of these days we’ll see all of you guys again ourselves.

Who wants to buy a house in Las Vegas?

Home available to a good home.

Our house is officially for sale. You can see the listing here for yourself. We’re not scheduling any showings until Friday to hopefully build interest and then in this supposedly seller-friendly real estate market the hope is to have received an offer by the weekend. 

It’s all very exciting of course and the culmination of a LOT of work, especially by Tanya to get the house organized to the point where we could do these photos and have the house ready to be viewed by the public. 

Stress levels right now between all of this, the election, my normal work-related stress and everything else going on in the world like a worldwide pandemic are through the roof, but I’m keeping to a strict diet of mind-altering substances and booze to keep my mind limber. 

The plans for the rest of the year are all contingent on how quickly the house sells. If we get lucky and get an offer right away and closing is scheduled for around the end of November, we’ll probably end up spending most of the month of December in Michigan living with family before moving to Mexico the first week of January. (We’re moving after the first of the year for a variety of reasons — tax-related and logistical since it seems like rents are cheaper and there is more availability after New Year’s.)

If it takes a few weeks to sell we might end up only going back to Michigan around the holidays before moving, but like I said — it’s all up in the air. 

As for now, the waiting game begins but in the immortal words of Homer J. Simpson “The waiting game sucks, let’s play Hungry, Hungry Hippos”

And the house is on the market

Well, almost. Technically it doesn’t go on MLS sites and all of that officially until Tuesday, but we signed all of the paperwork with the Realtors today and are listing the house at $360,000. Everyone says it will go quick, but we’re trying to temper expectations around here. Still it’s an exciting time.

The last week has been a blur of cleaning, packing, organizing, more packing, more cleaning and we’re exhausted, so gonna enjoy a weekend of doing absolutely nothing and getting ready for more craziness next week.

Going Out Of Business Sale!!!

Well, it’s a moving sale at least.

It’s been a quiet week at the ‘ol blog here, but not for us. We’ve been working 16-hour days getting things ready for our moving/garage sale this weekend, which starts this morning. I’ve been working all day at work and then the evenings and poor Tanya has been working literally all day, but we got everything done thanks to some help from a bunch of our friends (shoutout to Ambre, Audrey, Kevin, Jeannie, Lou and Teri!).

If you’re in Las Vegas, stop by any time during the day until Saturday to buy some of our crap (er, valuable items…)

In remembrance of 1 October

The Vegas Golden Knights have retired jersey number #58 in honor of the victims of 1 October

October 1st will always be a rough day for me, no matter where I may live. 

Today is the third anniversary of the worst mass shooting in American history, a distinction I fear that will be surpassed in the near future, just as it didn’t take but about 14 months for the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando that killed 49 to be topped. 

Thinking about it three years later, what I feel the most is anger. For two very different reasons. 

The first reason is when you live in Las Vegas, you feel a responsibility to make sure tourists who come here are safe and having a good time. Sure, we grumble about the most annoying tourists from time to time amongst ourselves, but it’s a small price to pay to get to live in one of the most exciting cities in the world. We get to live that energy 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and want anyone who visits to Las Vegas to feel that excitement no matter where they are or what they’re doing. 

On October 1, 2017, we failed those 58 souls who perished. All but six of them were tourists and a madman not only killed them, but punctured the bubble that those of us who live here feel and in some ways, the town has never been the same since.

We have family visiting this week and two days ago had just happened to drive by the festival grounds where the Route 91 Festival was happening that evening and I’m always reminded that the 58 trusted they would be safe that night and let themselves give in to the vibe we try to cultivate here where you’re free to have a good time and leave your everyday concerns back in Chicago or Cleveland or Tulsa.

The second reason I’m angry is because the response to the shooting from federal lawmakers, most especially Republicans, is literally nothing because the tool the madman used to kill them was a gun and guns are sacred for Republicans. 

Put another way, the 9/11 terrorists in four coordinated attacks over the entire eastern seaboard of the United States killed 2,977 Americans in an attack that spanned several hours. The response from Americans and the Republican Party was to lay waste to two entire countries, one of which had nothing to do with the attack, spend $7 trillion to do so and give the lives of several thousand American servicemembers as well as hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and Afghanis. 

One weak, motherfucking man with several guns killed 5 percent of the people who died on 9/11 in only ten minutes in an area the size of a parking lot and the fucking Republican cowards in Congress DO NOTHING.

It makes my blood boil to this day that the cult of guns is so strong that 20 second-graders and six of their teachers can be literally slaughtered, 49 innocent club-goers can be literally slaughtered and 58 people in my hometown can be literally slaughtered with weapons of war and nothing can be done about it because so many of my fellow Americans are so weak and pathetic they just accept it as the price for allowing these weapons on our streets. 

It’s unacceptable, it’s sickening, it’s perverted and most of all it’s angering beyond belief. 

So fuck it. You can have this fucking country. May those 58 people and their families one day know some peace, but I fear they never will because the answer to their deaths was a resounding “fuck you” from Republicans everywhere.

America is now a mafia state

Photo by Mitchell Luo on Pexels.com

Wanted to share this really great interview with Sarah Kendzior, a scholar of authoritarianism who has written an excellent book recently about Donald Trump, which frames him correctly not as a “corrupt politician” but as the head of an international crime syndicate.

Just take the 5 to 10 minutes to read the interview, but wanted to highlight some especially important points not only to her explanation of how Donald Trump’s worldview is less “fascist” and more about trying to exploit the wealth of the United States, consequences be damned. It’s also relevant since the failed systems in the US she discusses are one of the reasons we’re leaving regardless of the results of the election in November.

Put simply — the United States is a failed state and will likely continue to be for the foreseeable future. I don’t feel like I can effect some positive change in that regard, so we’re making the decision we need to make for our finances, for our sanity and for our overall well-being. Your decisions and needs may vary, but we have to go.

About the recent bombshell NY Times piece that showed that Trump has paid virtually no US income taxes for the last 15 years at least:

As for the debt and other information revealed in the NYT piece, none of this is surprising, but people need to learn how to interpret it. People should review his mentor Roy Cohn — Trump’s tax-dodging, mobbed-up, media-savvy lawyer who was the biggest influence in his life. Cohn dreamed of dying owing the US government enormous amount of money, and in 1986, he did. Acquisition of wealth is not the goal for either Trump or Cohn; debt is not a problem for them. A luxurious lifestyle, powered by fraud and threat and untouchable by law, is the goal. People need to examine not only Cohn and Trump’s crimes but the complicit actors that enabled them, which in this case includes the I.R.S., the Department of the Treasury and other broken U.S. institutions. Trump and Cohn are symptoms of a broader disease.

About Trump’s autocratic tendencies:

Every country that becomes a dictatorship started with a chorus of people saying, “It can’t happen here.” It can happen anywhere. And in 2015, the U.S. was extremely vulnerable to autocracy. We had experienced fourteen years of eroded institutional trust due to 9/11 and the illegal wars in its aftermath, we had endured unremedied economic hardship, and we were also contending with hyper-partisanship, a rise in racist violence, and the upheaval of digital technology. Those are the conditions where demagogues emerge, and Trump launched his campaign by calling Mexicans rapists and murderers. It was obvious he was going to campaign as a demagogue to rule as an autocrat...

But I’ve largely called him an authoritarian or autocrat instead of a fascist because “fascist” implies loyalty to the state. A fascist wants to embody and expand the state and usually has imperial ambitions. Whereas Trump wants to destroy the U.S.: he wants to strip it down and sell it off for parts to both domestic and foreign backers. His cohort’s ambitions are similar to what oligarchs and other hyper-capitalists did to the U.S.S.R. after its collapse — which is not surprising because the Kremlin and an associated network of plutocrats and oligarchs are the prime backers of this operation.

Like I said, a really interesting illuminating interview. Be sure to check it out.

A finished bathroom

New shower
New tile, cabinets and mirrors

Since I complained about the master bath being in disrepair last week should mention that it was finished up over the weekend and looks great. The current timeline for the move looks something like this:

Garage/moving sale – Oct. 9 (our 16th anniversary!) and Oct. 10

House listing – Oct. 13

Until then a lot more organizing, disposing and otherwise going through a decade plus of accumulated crap.

Should also mention we have family in town this week, so wouldn’t expect a lot of updates for the immediate future for the 10 or so people who are reading this, but the fun updates were always yet to come anyway.

A jackpot and a lesson

An interaction I had Thursday night with a Trump supporter I think is the perfect encapsulation of the issues we face as a nation even if Joe Biden wins the election and Trumpism is temporarily turned back. 

In short, they have no respect for laws, no respect for rules, no respect for authority, no respect for anything other than “fuck you, I do what I want”. 

I was sitting in the high limit room at The D casino and had just hit a $4,000 jackpot. (I was playing $5 video poker, a limit at which you can expect to hit a taxable jackpot roughly every half hour or so, hopefully more, so this is not a rare occurrence especially in the high limit room.)

You get a lot of what I call “looky-loos” in there, 99 percent of which are harmless. Some people just want to see what kinds of limits there are on the high-limit machines. A lot of people just want to watch someone play a few hands and then move on. That doesn’t bother me. Every now and then you’ll get some kind of a scammer or pest that you have to get security to deal with. It’s a fact of life in downtown casinos especially.

I was the only person seated at a row of about 10 or so machines, not all the same — some were video poker, some were video slots, some were VP multi-play machines, but there were four video poker machines identical to the one I was playing. 

Since COVID, Nevada state laws dictate that players have to be seated apart from each other by one machine unless they are a part of the same group — anyone who has been inside a casino would know this because half of the chairs in the casino have been removed so that only every other machine has a chair in front it. 

As soon as I hit the jackpot, an older guy, maybe late 50s looks at me, looks at the jackpot and drags a chair over to sit down next to me. Even pre-COVID my antenna would be up at this point since you are always attuned to protect yourself at all times and someone sitting right next to you with so many other open machines would be odd, but honestly pre-COVID if the guy wanted to play that particular machine I wouldn’t have said anything. Gamblers are superstitious and some have “lucky” machines.

I very calmly and not unkindly explained that it’s against state law to sit next to people you don’t know and pointed out an empty machine identical to the one he sat down at that was two seats over on my left if he wanted to play.

His response was an immediate blank look and then a few seconds later – “What are you gonna do about it?” 

Fortunately just then a slot tech happened to walk over to start the paperwork on my W2-G and I asked her to explain to him the law and then I helpfully pointed out to her that the machine two spots over was identical and available. 

His response was “I don’t have to listen to your made-up laws” and he proceeded to give both of us what was meant to be an intimidating look. 

The slot tech immediately called for security at which point, this guy decided he apparently didn’t want to be forcibly 86ed from the casino, got up and started to walk out of the high limit room.

I couldn’t help myself and asked as he walked out, “You’re a Trump supporter, aren’t you?” 

His response — “Four more years, asshole.” 

These people aren’t going anywhere no matter what happens in November. They’ve been weaponized by an endless stream of lies, grievance and hate. They’re hear to stay. 

Vacation, all I ever wanted…

Sunset in Carlsbad

If you haven’t seen the new Go-Gos documentary on Showtime rectify that ASAP.

Anyway we only had a small window to get out of town for a few days and used the opportunity to get to Carlsbad for a few days but tomorrow it’s back to Vegas and chaos. For now, it’s a preview of Pacific sunsets, soon to be a nightly occurrence for us.