Sunday, November 29, 2009

Love and Real Estate

"A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of. It certainly may secure all the myrtle and turkey part of it." --- Jane Austen

In times of trouble and emotional tribulation, we turn to the calm outlook of Jane Austen. Love may come and love may go, but real estate lasts forever -- or nearly so.

And when Jane Austen talks about income, she means the income from the securest investment of all -- property, land.

With great sympathy to those underwater or facing foreclosure, a good home with the mortgage paid is a wonderful blessing.

A dear relative called me this weekend with news of a love affair gone bad. There were so many tears and such pain. But later, as things calmed down, we began to discuss her property -- the home she owns, what it might be worth on today's market, whether it might be a good time to sell. This was such a soothing topic.

Keeping the house is probably her best option, but prices in her neighborhood are still pretty good, and selling could be a good alternative.

But if you sell, then you have money. Money makes me nervous. It sloshes around and other people want to take it from you. It's better to take your money and put it back into land.

Therapists say we need to be grounded. I take that literally. A good fixed-rate 30-year mortgage is the ticket.

THANKSGIVING. I had Thanksgiving with very good friends in Anacortes. One of them, the one who sat next to me during the meal, insisted on talking about politics. I did not enjoy the meal.

But afterward, over pie, the hostess brought out her advertising inserts, listing all the special sales and bargains on Black Friday. She and her husband were going to make the 4 a.m. show at Wal-Mart, Kohls, Best Buy, and so on. I hate shopping and I am a life-long critic of American consumerism, yet their sheer enthusiasm and dedication won me over. With elbows sharpened, the two of them plunged into the crowd and fought their way to the best bragging deal in town.

They were buying things they could easily do without, but I'm not going to be a party pooper.

WHO'S HAVING THE MOST FUN? This might be the first weekend this year, when I had more fun than Tiger Woods. He's a wonderful man and a superb athlete. Did his wife really try to brain him with a golf club? It's none of my business, really.

FOUR POLICEMEN KILLED NEAR TACOMA. The execution-style slaying of four cops happened this morning in a suburb near Tacoma. This is awful and frightening. A Seattle cop was killed in this manner last month.

I have to think about this. I was going to write about how we all have blessings and so many things to be grateful for, but now I can't. I have to think about these four cops who were killed. What can I do about it?

BARBARA CRAM DIED. Barbara Cram died in the early hours of Thanksgiving morning, at her home in Seattle. I had a chance to say goodbye to her on Wednesday. She was calm and receiving very good care from her family and the hospice nurses. Barbara had so very many good friends in LaConner. For those who didn't know her, she was the founder of Friendship House in Mount Vernon, a homeless shelter.

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