Insomnia Notes

I had been sleeping better for the past couple weeks. Well, kind of. Instead of lying awake for hours making and remaking 1000 mental lists related to our real estate adventures, sometime about 10 days ago I began falling immediately and deeply asleep, not waking until morning, and then feeling as though I had only slept for half an hour or so. I’m not as exhausted as I had been, but neither am I feeling 100% rested like I normally would have 8–10 hours of deep sleep.

I say had been because I’m typing this at nearly 1:00 AM Monday morning. I don’t know if it is the heat or my brain getting wound-up for what promises to be a crazy-busy week, but I could not sleep tonight. So seems like the perfect moment to get all ya’ll caught up on what’s gone down over the past week and what’s on the calendar for this week.

Our main home remains unsold. Although Sunday night we heard that a potential buyer requested some more information about our house, whatever that means. We went ahead and scheduled a painter to come in next week, after we move, to make some changes that our agent believes could help us. Yay, spending money for other people to enjoy!

Thursday I went down to the lake house and met the buyers, who wanted to take the boat for a test drive before deciding whether to buy it. That went well on several levels. The test drive went well and they decided to buy the boat! Granted, we had to drop our price a bit, but we set the original price high anticipating that. Negotiating 101, fools.

The other aspect of the night that went well was learning about the family that is taking our place. Just the wife came, with two of their three kids. After we introduced ourselves and started toward the dock, she asked, “So, which one of you is the Jayhawk?” Turns out she has two degree from KU – we were on campus at the same time although she was in law school when I was an undergrad – so that gave us some immediate common ground. She had seen a couple KU things in the house and said, although she already loved everything about the house, that’s when she knew it was the house for her. Her husband went to IU. Those of you who have been to our lake house know that each weekend we spent down there, we hung IU and KU flags from our dock. With a Hoosier and Jayhawk taking our places, S and I decided to leave our flags for them. We laughed at folks who know us stopping by when they see the flags and then getting confused when there’s a completely different family there.

One bad thing happened that night: I lost my wallet. Or at least I thought I did. On my way home that night I passed an Indianapolis cop shooting radar on I–465. I was going about 77, as was the car in front of me, but the cop must have been hunting bigger game, as he didn’t even look our way. I chuckled to myself and thanked the traffic gods for their help. A couple hours later, as I was getting ready for bed, I realized I couldn’t find my wallet. I searched through S’s car, which I had driven that evening, and couldn’t find it. I looked in all the stuff I brought back from the lake house, no sign of it. I looked everywhere I had been in the house before and after my lake trip. Nothing. I went to bed for 10 minutes, got back up, searched through S’s car again. No luck.

So I stressed through the next couple days knowing we would stop at the lake house Sunday when we took C to camp. Sunday we looked all through the lake house, up and down the yard, checked every nook and cranny of the boat, and again nothing. I was deeply perturbed. We hadn’t had any strange charges on our credit cards, so I figured it was safe, but had no idea where it could be.

When we got home I took another look through S’s car. After about five minutes, wouldn’t you know it, I found a “secret” shelf in the central console that I had apparently pushed my wallet into at some point in my drives. Stupid. I say secret shelf because neither S or I knew it was there, and she’s had the car over a year and had one almost exactly like it for three years before that. Apparently the engineers at Jeep are cleverer than we are.

Dropping C off at camp went well. She was super excited to get down there. Two classmates are in her cabin and at least one other St. P’s girl is too. It looked like there was a group of 4–5 girls from another school together in her cabin as well. Hopefully they all get along. It looks like she’s going to have a hot, muggy week down there.

As we were driving down S looked at the car’s temperature display, saw it was 95 outside, and wondered, “Why does it always have to be in the 90s when we drop them off at camp?” My response was, “Well, at least it’s not pouring,” and we laughed.

So of course on a day when there was a 20% chance of rain, there was a pop-up storm that sat right on top of camp and unleashed heavy showers from the moment we parked until the moment we got C to her cabin. Seriously, it was rain stupidly hard. We were thoroughly soaked, but at least it was rain and not sweat like normal.

Oh, last Thursday we also had our home orientation. It was a two-plus hour walk-through where we learned about the home warranty program and then went room-by-room through it pointing out things that needed attention like nail pops, paint touch-ups, etc. I guess that’s the good thing about buying a brand new house: everything should be in perfect shape when we move in.

Friday L got her new bedroom furniture. She bumped up to a queen bed and added a new dresser and side table to replace the stuff we bought for her sisters when they bunked up 10 years ago. She was very excited. We haven’t gotten her a new mattress yet, so we have an air mattress on the new bed frame. I kind of think she’d be just fine if we left it like that.

We have a steady flow of other Amazon deliveries bringing various items for the new house. And we have a long list of big furniture purchases that we are actively searching the perfect piece to fill.

Now comes our big week. Wednesday two of my sisters-in-law have rented a Uhaul to come clear a bunch of stuff out of our home that they’ve either been storing here or that we are handing down to them. Thursday we have a final walk through at the house, close at 1:00, and then will start taking stuff over on our own. Friday C comes home from camp; one of her friend’s parents volunteered to bring her home so I can work on moving stuff. And Saturday the movers come to do all the big stuff. Next Saturday night we’ll be sleeping in our new home.

Friday Vid

So frustrating that Spotify and WordPress still don’t appear to be working well together. So I guess I’ll stick to videos for the time being, until I can figure out why playlists no longer embed.

“Africa” – Toto. The song that blew up the Internet a couple weeks ago. I have mixed feelings. It’s pretty faithful to the original. Which makes it seem a little lazy to me. But, then again, why try to remake what has been a classic for over a quarter century now? “Africa” is one of the greatest bad songs of all time. Seriously, it is full of cheese and schlock and I should hate it. But those synths and that chorus…how can you not love it?!?! I’ve enjoyed my girls reactions Weezer’s version. They, too, love the OG. I guess it’s been on some show(s) they watch or something, and as our generation learned back in 1982, once that synth line gets in your head, it will never get out. We heard the Weezer version the other day in the car and the girls all agreed that it is terrible and the first one was way better. I just chuckled to myself rather than point out there’s hardly any difference between them. Oh well, it’s nice to not have to hide my love for this song.

On Tony and Travel

I haven’t posted anything about Anthony Bourdain. Although he didn’t impact my life as much as Scott Hutchison did, Bourdain’s suicide still struck me deeply. I watched his shows for years, read several of his books, and was a fan of his overall approach to life. 
I’ve written before about the irony of my love of travel books given the general lack of traveling in my life. Bourdain lived a life, at least the one that we saw on screen, that I would have loved to have lived. Spending most of the last quarter decade traveling to places big and small, familiar and unknown, and finding ways of connecting with the people in those locations while sharing their stories with Americans in hopes of broadening our horizons. So many people these days live in fear of anything that is different. Bourdain’s shows were a forceful plea that we’re more alike than the people fanning the flames of nationalism, racism, and xenophobia would have you believe. 
I saw this map yesterday and thought it was the best distillation of what Bourdain was all about. He didn’t travel just to fill his passport or check boxes on a list. Every dot on this map is a testament to his efforts to get people to open their eyes, get outside their comfort zones, and understand that most of the world – whether around the block or on the other side of the globe – live very differently than we do. 


The Last Weekend

I’ve long documented on the pages of this personal website (aka weblog, aka blog) that Mother Nature is a bitch.

She proved that to be true once again this weekend.

After six weeks of hot, dry weather, she decided to unleash a torrent of heavy rains on central Indiana. Just in time to, more or less, ruin our weekend at the lake. We had about two good hours Saturday, between our first guests arriving and the first storms hitting, and then maybe 45 minutes Sunday between storm waves, to take kids out on the boat for tubing and boarding. The rest of the weekend was spent holed up in our home with three other families, 10 total kids from 14 to 3, trying to make the best of the weekend.

This was significant because it was our final weekend at the lake.

We showed the house for the first time last Wednesday and those folks made an immediate offer. They are paying full price in cash, so things are going to happen quickly. We are currently scheduled to close on July 2. However, the inspection is today and unless anything major comes up,[1] we anticipate them asking to close even sooner.

So that was it. Which made it a weekend full of mixed emotions. As I documented last week, I’m well past done with all the prep and clean up that goes into hosting people. I’m done with moody kids who sit around and pout. I’m done with kids of our guests who make huge messes and neither attempt to help clean them up or apologize for making them.[2]

But I also spent the weekend trying to enjoy the good moments while remembering the high points from the past six summers, of which there were many. When we bought the house it was a little earlier than we had planned. But we wanted to do it while the girls were still fairly young and would be able to make memories that lasted the rest of their lives. They’re not pleased that we’re leaving the lake life behind us. But I know they will always look back and remember swimming and tubing and fishing and all the other fun things they did in our time down there.

The only bummer of the deal so far is the buyers decided not to make on offer on our boat. So I’m furiously working various angles to try to sell it quickly, preferably to either someone down there or to someone who is capable of hauling it wherever they want to take it. I’d really like to avoid dragging it back to Indy one last time, and/or having to store it somewhere for awhile as we attempt to sell it. I have a few leads, I have no idea how promising they are. But some information has been sent out. We’ll see if I can get any bites and hook them before we have to be out of the house.

We will go down at least one more time. We drop C at camp next Sunday, which is right down the road. We’ll make a stop to grab our final personal effects, load the trash up one more time, and then depart. Knock on wood we can include wrapping up things with the boat that day, too.

Anyway, it was an immense relief to sell that house quickly. Obviously any time you are buying and selling properties there are endless stresses involved. When you could potentially own three homes for a stretch of time those stresses increase exponentially. We still need to sell our main home – traffic has still been slow although we had an open house Sunday while we were gone, and are contemplating some changes we can make if things don’t pick up in the next week – but getting the lake house moved in a day was monumental.

First world problems…

  1. Furiously knocking on wood, throwing salt over my shoulder, lighting candles, and having the girls say endless prayers…  ↩
  2. Seriously, we found a “paste” made of Oreos, Gatorade, and something else rubbed into the sheets and run of the bunk room. And another kid spilled red drink on white carpet and never acted like it was a big deal.  ↩

Friday Playlist

Welp, appears something between Spotify and WordPress is not working these days. So only a video for today.

“Hey Ladies” – Beastie Boys. A classic. Free James Brown.

That Real Estate Life

The first week of summer was exhausting. Not because we did a bunch of fun stuff. Rather because it was spent putting two houses onto the market.

Our main home went on the market last Tuesday, although the sign didn’t go into the yard until Wednesday. So there was a seemingly endless list of cleaning and straightening and other tiny projects to make the house gleam as much as it can. And then the constant checking of things to make sure if we got a call about a showing we could get out of the way quickly and still have everything in order. The girls did a pretty good job with it all, although they are already beginning to chafe a bit under the restrictions we’ve put on them to keep the house in decent shape.

Then Saturday we went down to the lake house to get it ready for our realtor to come take pictures and put her signs up. That house officially went on the market this morning.

All this is new to us, as we’ve only bought houses before, never sold before.[1] As I said up top, it is exhausting. Especially with kids home from school who want nothing more than to relax and make messes and not have to worry about them for a week or two.

All that physical stuff wears you down enough, and then there’s the mental side. The waiting for notifications that a showing is scheduled. Each time I get a text message there’s the hope it is from the booking agency. It could be a text with totally awesome news from a friend or relative, but I still feel a little let down if it isn’t a showing notification. Little things catch your eye as you walk through the house, “Man, we really should have had that fixed. Who’s going to buy a house that has that?!?!” The girls are clearly having some issues, too, which weighs on us. There have been emotions and some acting out which we are assuming come from the stress and uncertainty they’re feeling. Oh, and I’ve not been the best dad, snapping at them for little things.

This isn’t meant to be some “Woe Are Us” post. We are lucky that we are selling our homes because of decisions we made, not because we have to sell them. We knew what we were getting into and could have adjusted our timing if we wanted to. But now seemed like the right time to jump all the way in. I think that will prove to be true in retrospect once we get through everything. But, man, this first week was tiresome.

Now that all the prep work is done, and the first week of being on the market is out of the way, I do hope I can relax a little. We had hoped for more attention on our house in week one. As I mentioned, we have neighbors who had two offers on the first day they listed their home, and our entire area is lacking in inventory. Those unrealistic comparisons/expectations weighed us down, too. Sunday we told ourselves, “We have a great house, in a great location. Someone is going to want it.” Selling a home in a month is awesome, and there’s still plenty of time to do that. It’s going to happen, just on a more normal schedule that our neighbors.

Oh, the girls and I did go pick strawberries one day last week. Which was a lot of fun until someone – no one claimed responsibility – decided to wash all four pounds at once and then put them back into the fridge. We had to freeze them before they turned into a mushy, mess, which was kind of sad. We will have good smoothies for weeks, though!

  1. And, of course, there are all kinds of other stresses associated with buying our new home we’re also dealing with. For example, spending roughly an hour just trying to get a mortgage statement from our current lender, who seem to operate on systems that were built in the 1970s.  ↩

Friday Playlist

“Sugar & Spice” – Hatchie. Man, Hatchie’s five-song EP which came out a week ago is sneakily one of the best things I’ve heard this year.

“An Air Conditioned Man” – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. Speaking of Best of 2018, based on two early singles from their up-coming album, RBCF are poised to become one of the great bands in indie rock.

“Sleep All Summer” – Neko Case. Funny how I included the original Crooked Fingers version of this last week and today Case’s new album arrived with this cover, complete with vocals from CF’s Eric Bachmann. 

I was sitting on one Scott Hutchison tribute for this week’s video. When I went out to get the YouTube link to it this morning I found several more. I’ll share three of them below. These songs still make me very sad…

“My Backwards Walk” – Manchester Orchestra. FR and MO both toured together and recorded a quick, shared 7” together, so the ties between those bands were strong. Andy Hull’s performance here is beautiful.

“Head Rolls Off” – Noah Gundersen. I’m not sure I’ve ever listened to Gundersen’s music before. But this is a wonderful rendition of what many folks believe to be the best song Scott ever wrote (It’s my third most loved FR song).

“The Modern Leper” – Frank Turner. I should have known that Frank’s performance of my favorite FR song would be absolutely gutting. Not sure why I thought watching it was a good idea.


May 2018

Here we have a month where can’t track everything correctly. The Frightened Rabbit numbers would be must higher if my listening to their music away from connected devices was factored in. RIP Scott…

  • Frightened Rabbit – 68
  • Middle Kids – 38
  • POSTDATA – 28
  • Mastersystem – 16
  • Hatchie – 14

Complete stats available at my page

“Hell is Real”

I’ve never checked out the infield portion of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the 500 mile race. I’m likely too old to do so. Or at least too old and with too low tolerances for drinking in the heat. But it’s good to know that even if tamer than in its glory days of the 1970s and 1980s, the Snake Pit is still a den of debauchery and mayhem on race day.

Hell Is Real, And It’s the Infield of the Indy 500

Reader’s Notebook, 5/30/18

My reading pace has come to a nearly complete stop over the past few weeks. That’s a shame, because I’m pretty sure I was on pace to have my best reading year ever. George Brett didn’t hit .400 the entire summer of 1980, so I guess I was due for a slump.

Manhattan Beach – Jennifer Egan.
I read this three weeks ago, so I’m not sure how much justice I can do to it. It was much hyped and lauded, but as with some of Egan’s previous books, I liked it but did not love it.

Egan goes back to World War II-era New York, for the most part, to follow Anna Kerrigan, a single woman in her 20s who, dissatisfied with the drudgery of inspecting parts at a arms production facility, talks her way into the navy’s diving program. Despite being mocked by her superiors and often treated as a joke, she not only earns her way into the program, but becomes one of its brightest students.

Surrounding Kerrigan’s story are the connected stories of two men that played profound roles in her life. Her father, Eddie, was a bit of a bag-man and small-time fixer for the local mob until his sudden disappearance in the early 1930s. Dexter Styles is a made man in the New York mob, connected to the crime world by occupation and the power elite of the east coast by marriage. He and Anna strike up an odd friendship that becomes more, only to be destroyed when Anna learns Styles has knowledge of her father’s disappearance.

Egan zips back and forth through the Depression era mob, the War era life of New Yorkers, and the life of a man who has run away and carved out a new identity for himself. She wraps things up in a manner that will likely be satisfying for many people. I just never fully connected with the story, or understood how the various parts fit together.

Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story – Chris Nashawaty. I linked to an excerpt of this a month or so back, and at the same time immediately put a hold on this book at my library. I believe I was the first person to check out my library’s copy. Sadly, that excerpt sucked up many of the book’s best parts.

Nashawaty spends as much time setting up the making of Caddyshack as he does breaking it down. We learn about the history of the National Lampoon and the various artistic venues that spun out from it as we do about the movie. Many of his revelations about Caddyshack will likely be familiar to anyone who has read even a little about the movie.

For children of 1980s comedy, this book will be enjoyable. But it was a disappointment to me, as I was hoping it would be filled with dozens of things I had never heard about before.