Saturday, February 19, 2011


Beau resting in his daybed atop the new shag rug.

It's not enough to post four entries from Europe in six days.  No, my fans are demanding new adventures, or at least new posts.  Well since I got back, life is a tad dull.  Except there are new developments in this ever-developing life of mine.  First...

Beau was his usual low-key self when I arrived home.  Kyle had taken very good care of him, as usual, but it always takes Beau a day or two to return to his usual lively self after I've been away.  I slept the sleep of the dead and still managed to wake up at 5:30 the next morning.  I didn't bother to fight it.  Up at once, I was ready to face all the responsibilities that had been put on hold for about seven days.

I'm starting a retail business-a medical supply store, and Kyle will be managing it (he had previously done this when he lived in Tucson).  There was a lease to approve before signing, insurance for the business to arrange, and other matters.  I've got several publishing projects underway, and a never-ending renovation in my basement to get back on schedule.  Despite the fact that I had taken my laptop to Italy with me, there was a mountain of e-mail to deal with.  And lots of news from Mubarek's resignation as President of Egypt, and the Republicans latest and predictable attempts to get rid of Planned Parenthood, abortion, NPR, PBS and any other progressive government program that they deem a waste of tax-payer dollars  to Elizabeth Taylor's latest medical emergency (meanwhile, Zsa-Zsa Gabor keeps going on and on and on!).

Upon my return home, I discovered my bank (Chase) has turned down my loan request to help me fund the business.  I'm done with Chase.  They were appalling about my mortgage, insisting they needed more time to close after I had given them 60 days. They also couldn't find the deed to my apartment in New York, threatening my closing there.  The high-handed way I was treated by my own bank was appalling.  They have every damn dime I own.  Yet they feel no reason to do anything for me.  Oh sure, I can get a secured loan.  Hell, I don't need my bank for that!  We went to BankAmerica and they scoffed they didn't loan money to start-ups. The nerve!  American taxpayers gave them a bailout--it's the bank's fault that we're in the financial bind to begin with.  The idiot at the bank had the nerve to reply, "yes, and we paid them back with 5% interest! "And we're all damn grateful for your effort," I replied with as much withering scorn as I could muster as I left this pinhead's office. At USBank they found a way to loan me some of the money and were creative enough to help me secure the rest of the financing I needed to get this business launched. Time to tell Chase to take a hike and move my money elsewhere.

But first New York State has a lien on my credit report.  I paid NYS a boat load of money in taxes on the sale of my New York apartment.  Ditto the federal government.  Not complaining.  I did well on the sale.  An accounting oversight on my part, which I didn't tell my accountant about had both federal and state coming after me for an addition $3K.  I realized my mistake and paid the bills asap.  What I didn't realize is that my accountant gave me the new payments and the state was underpaid by $20.  They never sent me a bill.  But they put the entire $1500+ lien on my credit report.  Let me tell you, it ought to be as difficult for anyone to attack your credit report as it is for you to repel their absurd attacks.  That $20 underpayment cost me $40 in a post office money order and priority overnight mail.  Is it any wonder why everyone is angry at government. There are deadbeats not paying their taxes. Not me.  Pay the tax.  Life is just easier.  But they won't take a credit card payment, and it will take weeks to get this mess off my credit report.  MEMO TO TAX PEOPLE EVERYWHERE:  YOU SUCK!

As if I don't have enough going on in my life, I also decided I had to change the carpet in my bedroom.  The carpet that was here when I moved in just didn't work for me.  And it looked depressingly old and it had to go.  Up at 5:30 am this morning to empty the bedroom so that the carpet installers could come in and do their thing.  The new carpet is a low pile shag. I'll call the color dark cremini mushroo.  The choice surprised me. I never thought I'd ever pick shag (so 60s).  I had a teenage memory of a blue cotton shag carpet my mother bought for the "dorm" room at the top of the house that I shared with my brothers.  That damned carpet shed blue on everything.  I went to high school for three years looking a creepy color of blue.  Fed up, my brothers and I took it up and threw it out of the window into the back yard. Nasty.

I saw my first Metropolitan Opera HD broadcast in a movie theater last week.  John Adams' NIXON IN CHINA.  It was a fascinating work with a story that played fast and loose with the real facts.  The best characters in the opera were Pat Nixon, Chairman Mao's insane wife, and Chou En Lai.  Henry Kissinger was reduced to a ridiculous sex fiend, which really didn't bother me.  I always thought his reputation was woefully undeserved.  Mao himself is reduced to a a nearly senile and somewhat enigmatic character.  Forget about the millions who were killed during the years of his domination of China.  I loved the second act best.  Adams' music is very appealing.  Only the third act disappoints, but that's the libretto and Peter Sellar's absurdist direction.  To see this newer high-definition technology puts the audience right in the center of the action, which makes the experience of viewing often thrilling.

The floating floor will minimize any damage in case of future leaks. The open-framed view on the upper right is the door to the bathroom. 

The framed closet.  Now I have to find a door!

Finally, we're making progress with the basement. Leaks have been sealed.  The walls have been framed, insulated, and dry-walled.  Mudding is nearly complete and then the finish before painting.  there's even a closet framed now.  The floor is about two-thirds completed.  The bathroom will come next.  The whole thing could be done by April. Progress!

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