Thursday, January 03, 2008

What’s Been Going On

There is no question about it: I have dropped out of sight. Every now and again I resurface long enough to leave a silly comment on one of your blogs, then I scurry away again. What is up with me? Why this ridiculous behavior?

Well, every now and again life seems to get a little complicated and, when that happens, I have this tendency to jettison whatever trifling duties and responsibilities I can to ease the pressure. This blog, while it can be a source of great pleasure and a wonderful outlet — giving me the opportunity as it does to write with the hope of someone reading — can sometimes feel like a burden or chore. I am sorry for this and wish it weren’t so. I am also sorry that I haven’t been as regular a visitor to your blogs as I have in the past.

I am happy to say Daughter Number 1 has been doing generally quite well coping with her nephrotic syndrome. Right now she is extremely reluctant to commit to one of the two courses of treatment Dr. Strangeglove has laid out for her, preferring instead to continue with a sort of maintenance program that has more or less controlled the symptoms. Last week she checked into Children’s Hospital for three days of testing and therapy, but her attitude was very good because this time she saw it coming and knew she wouldn’t be kept there indefinitely. While DN1 was in the hospital I painted her bedroom walls a tropical orange, which, bizarre as that may sound, actually looks pretty good.

Daughter Number 2 turned 17 yesterday and her older sister threw her a surprise birthday party. Boy they grow up so fast, don’t they? 17 years old. On Christmas day we invited a family over for dinner, old friends we’ve known for a long time, and after dinner we sat down to watch a video of a ballet class DN1 took with their daughter. It was really funny watching giggling 5-year-olds take these comical, tentative, stumbling stabs at ballet— but then you look up and see they’re 20 now and all grown up! It’s crazy, man, just crazy.

What’s been consuming me lately has been the mortgage to our house. Everyone’s heard of the sub-prime mortgage crisis I assume? Well, I took a close look at our mortgage a few months ago and discovered how bad ours really is. It’s called an Option ARM, which means that if you choose to pay only the minimum payment (which we have always done), your principal goes up. I didn’t know that. Our broker, if she mentioned it, must have done it under her breath or in Latin, because I sure didn’t catch it. So now I am trying to refinance to a more responsible mortgage, which means I can expect to pay a hell of a lot more each month than what we’re used to . . . so, preparing for that, I have been seeking extra work as a housepainter on the weekends (years ago I was a proud brother of the brush). The problem there is, having been out of the painting game for so long, I find myself completely out of touch — I know no one anymore. Through Craigslist I have gotten three painting gigs so far and have made some extra dough that way, but I need something steady. However, perseverance will see me through as it always does. That and a little pluck and courage, right? And elbow grease of course.

I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and didn’t do anything too embarrassing under the influence of eggnog and mistletoe. I got those mid-calf socks I asked for and now hope my birthday next month will bring me boxer briefs. Ah, yes, then the circle will be complete. My undergarment needs will be satisfied.

See you around.