Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A "shaky" start!

I ran out of decaf this morning and so had a couple of mugs of the delicious 8 O'Clock Colombian Roast we keep in the freezer for high-test drinking guests. It's definitely a guilty pleasure. I'm feeling the effects now, all jittery, eyes twitching....I have very little tolerance for caffeine. It's a good thing I don't have anything high-pressure to do this morning. I'd be shaking like a leaf.

I discovered the downside of too much caffeine many years ago, at a job interview. It was a pro forma affair: I was a shoo-in for the position, and the interview was with someone with whom I shared membership in pretty much a mutual admiration society. But I'd tanked up on coffee before the interview, and there was just enough edge to the occasion to put me at what would normally have been high alert. Add the caffeine and I was buzzing like a goddam bumblebee. My potential boss must have wondered who she had before her--the modern-day version of Don Knotts's "Nervous Man"? It was every bit that bad. I was embarrassed beyond words, but I got the job, and it opened doors to the most prolific and meaningful years I would spend at the Peace Corps. I always wanted to explain to her what was going on at that fateful interview, but I never got around to it. In the end, we remained mutual admirers.

It is deathly quiet here. I'm in the cooled room, so there is the white noise of the air conditioner. Outside a breeze stirs in the thick air; the sun tries its best to break through the muggy haze but so far without much success. There is not even the sound of the occasional boat plying the water. Earlier, I sat outside and read the paper next to the water, but now I've moved in. Later I'll turn on the radio for some vicarious conversation. There is no TV reception here to speak of. For entertainment we either rent DVDs or watch movies I've recorded off the DVR at home and brought with us. I'm well stocked.

Things on the house moved apace yesterday, almost too much so. Construction loans are cheap now and the broker was ready to finalize things right now. We had to put on the brakes--we don't have enough ducks in a row yet, and won't until we know what the house in Arlington will bring. (And there's always that pesky matter of employment....) but for now, anyway, things aren't looking half bad.


Kat said...

I figure from your place in Delaware it can never look more than half bad. All you need to do is sit by the water or take a boat ride and the your world has to get better.

As you mentioned you are unemployed as well, am I to assume you will be seeking employment?

I hope all goes well with the house in Arlington.

Anonymous said...

My friends up in NoVA are all complaining about the lousy sales market. Some think it's worse than Florida. But Florida is right behind California in big numbers of foreclosures. Our market has had a 30 downward adjustment in two years. Not good for our local or State economy. It may pay you to wait this one out.

Mark said...

Ralph - best of luck with that funny little matter called employment - but if I have any say, there will always be a fine place for a man so well-spoken as to use the word "apace" in his blog! Bravo Ralph! Your blog is brave enough to show the real thoughts you feel, and smart enough to make us smile and nod.

Ralph said...

Spring will bring a test of the waters, and that's as far as we are realistically planning at this point, Z&M. I think it may depend on the part of NoVa you're dealing wiht--the close-in suburbs like Arlington are doing better (but not entirely OK) than say Prince William and Fauqier counties, where McMansions built on spec two or three years ago are going begging. We are in older construction in an established neighborhood a mere 15 minutes by car (40 by Metro) from downtown, and the house is updated to its teeth both inside and out. The one drawback is that's it's only 2 bedrooms, so it'll have to be marketed to a select audience--empty nesters, rich singles, childless couples. We'll be in just about the best position we could possibly be in. But still, we're hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.

Ralph said...

What a humbling compliment, Mark! And you "get it," which I count as an achievement on my part. Thank you. Now, if I could make some money at this....(!)

Anonymous said...

Definitely a specialty house. The one I owned on Danville was too, but we converted the family room to a master and had a 3/2.5 to sell. I just can't figure where in Arlington you at. Off Lee Hwy? That's where we were, big sales market for RE. Have to agree, the stats show Arlington to be moving, Mt Vernon is a dud, where we used to live and made money. I bought a house on Morningside Drive for $90,000 in 1980 and sold it in 1983 for $271,000. It forced me to go into real estate when my wife got a VP slot with Zenith Data in St. Joe, Michigan. If i hit the lotto I'll buy your house but only if it comes with seasonal tickets to the Redskins. We lookin good!!!

Ralph said...

LOL!! And we'll do the equivalent for you when we win the lotto!

We're one block south of the Columbia Pike and Glebe Road intersection, (think Rosenthal Chevrolet--that crossroads). Off Glebe. 12th Street South. If you know that area from the old days but haven't seen it in a while, you'd be floored.