Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Here We Go Again

"Please, Sir!  Take *ALL* My Money!!"

Once more onto the financial merry-go-round!

All the paperwork got submitted late last night to bid on another house.  My Realtor guy emailed the last of the documents for electronic signature just prior to 10 pm in order to get the package into the seller's lap first thing this morning.

I'm still a little bummed about the condo deal falling through.  It wasn't an ideal location, but it was a cozy little place, and pretty cheap, as these things go.

This house, now, is not so cheap.  It's right on the ceiling on what I'm finding affordable, but it's a whole lot of house.  Also, the online records from the power company show the monthly electric bills to be mostly reasonable.  If I can get some serious tax incentives to go around and install double-pane windows, weathersealing, and foam-coating the attic, I can bring that bill down a good 40%.

It's a leap of faith to spend $6000 up front in order to save that amount over 10 years, but the numbers don't lie.  Turn your house into an Igloo ice chest, and it'll keep the cool in.

Still, I gotta get the house first.  We should know by Friday or Monday.

Keep your fingers & tentacles crossed, y'all...

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Along Came A Spider...

And It Sat Down Beside Her!

Jeebus, but I hates me some spiders...

I don't kill 'em out of hand.  I do understand just how useful they are in keeping the pest insect numbers under control.  As creepy and disgusting as they are, I try to maintain a "live and let live" policy.

Until those bastards cross the line!

I'm riding the shuttle bus in from remote parking the other morning, when I feel this odd tickle up on my head.

My hair needs a trim, so I assume it's just loose strands blowing in the breeze, so I reach up to pat things in place, and this black hairy spider leaps down and lands on my shirt collar.

Looks like this guy, and would easily fit on your thumbnail:



I'm freaking out and swatting at it, and it makes a beeline for the dark cavern of my shirt pocket.  Somehow, I bat it onto the seat in front of me, and swipe it onto the floor.  Or so I thought.

About the time my heart rate settles back down, here's the spider again.  He's on the seat back in front of me, and every time the lady in that seat leans back, the spider's reaching upward with his little front legs trying to grab onto her hair.

I have to admit, I had a couple of moments when I watched the spider reach for that hair and thought to myself, "I'd kinda like to see how this plays itself out..."   but common courtesy kicked in right in the nick of time.

I tapped her on the shoulder and said "Lean forward!  There's a spider on the seat back!"

By the time she peeled herself off the shuttle's front window, I'd given the spider a solid thump, enough to curl its legs up and roll off the seat. 

Was it dead?  I hope so.  If not, it's probably decided to go for smaller game from here on out.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Nocturnal Eructations

More "Oh, Woe Is Me!" Stuff

As I get older, there's a few things you just have to take as a matter of course.

F'rinstance, the greying hair & beard.  The slow emergence of "laugh lines" around the eyes and the general saggification of the epidermis overall.  Getting up to pee more than once in the night.

The eyesight starts to decline, the symphony of creaks & pops from flexed joints goes from pianissimo to triple forte, and, of course, there's the continued decline of the digestive system.  I miss the days I could devour half a BBQ'd dead cow and a cauldron of SpoonMelter chili, and suffer not a whit the next day.  Now, I ought to own controlling shares of Maalox.

The latest item on the "You're an old fogey" list, though, is a puzzler.

Most nights, between O' Dark:Thirty and Dawn's Early Light, there's at least one episode that finds me suddenly sitting upright and belching like a spasmodic walrus.  Big ol' breezy gut bubbles, surfacing from the depths of perdition.

Other times, it'll hit on a bathroom trip, and the echoing of the belch on the tile walls will knock the cobwebs from your eyes...

That bit about it tasting better the second time around?  Not after hours of digestion.

I suppose it could be worse.  The big air bubble could stick around, and choose to exit from another orifice under less private circumstances.

I suppose there's some modicum of grace left to us, after all...

Friday, March 27, 2015

Yo Ho! A Renter's Life For Me!!!

I'm Starting To Dislike This Real Estate Game

I really REALLY do not want to move to an apartment, but I may have no choice...

Condo deal is about 99% dead.   Seller won't budge on price, and value on the property is appraising at about 15K less than he's asking.  Seller is also not amenable to owner financing.

So, back to the real estate listings.

Another condo?    Nope.  Every one I've seen listed in my price range is also appraising for 50-60% of asking price.  You can't get a loan on sentimental value, just what the appraiser says.

So, condos seem to be a dead end.

Houses?  Heh.    Here's how that works.  There are:

1) Houses you can afford

2) Houses you can reasonably commute to/from, in areas you won't get jacked/invaded.

3) Houses in liveable, decent condition.

Now, pick only TWO out of the three categories, and apply those to any house you find.

Sigh.

I wonder how much an old Winnebago goes for??

Friday, March 20, 2015

Back & Forth

Thumbscrews Would Make This Go Quicker...

Ah, the blissful pastime of property value negotiations!

As mentioned earlier, the offer contract for the condo got sent to the seller, and the fight is on.

Quick breakdown:

Asking Price = XX,000

Offer Price = 4/5 of XX,000

Counteroffer by Seller = XX,000 - 2K

Counteroffer by me = 5/6 of XX,000

Final offer by seller = 11/12 of XX,000

And here's the problem.  Comps in the area are about as abundant as hair on a frog.  There's just nothing similar to compare it to.  The one good example of a recent sale in the area that the seller is basing his price on was roughly the same size, but had some serious renovations done.   Paint, cabinetry, bathroom & kitchen fixtures, etc.

I like this little condo, but this pic of the entryway should give you some clue how long ago any sort of redecoration took place:


Makes me want to hang up a mirrored disco ball and do the Hustle...

So, we're offering to go halves on an appraiser of their choice and get an unbiased opinion of the value.

Truth be told, I'd pay what they're asking, but it's not up to me.  If the value ain't there, I don't get the loan.

Keep thinking happy thoughts, y'all.  I need a home!

Monday, March 16, 2015

And Now We Wait...

I Should Have Done This 20 Years Ago.

OK, the paperwork just went back to the realtor & the title company.  Next step is the seller gets to take a look at the offer and hopefully snatch the bait & run with it.

Kinda worried he won't, and I'll have to start all over elsewhere.

Kinda worried he will, and I'll have to speed up the packing/moving process.

Damn, I haven't even gotten any change-of-address forms yet...

Monday, March 09, 2015

Dining With A Jolly Bee

"Wuz You Ever Bit By A Dead Bee?"

Friday night I traveled way the f#^% down Main Street to try out a recent import from the Philippines.

No, not a massage parlor full of LBFMs, but instead the Pinoy equivalent of McDonald's, the fast food chain known as Jollibee.

It was not the best idea to do this on a Friday night during the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.  Jollibee is on a weird corner of OST, Main and Kirby right by Reliant Stadium.  Best to go in daylight and in less traffic!

Jollibee offers a variety of pseudo-Asian grub, with a bunch of items that would be perfectly happy on any American fast food menu.

Burgers and fried chicken are the mainstays, but there's noodle dishes, soups, rice dinners and these little Spamburgers that are definitely not local...

(Note: Pics are not mine, just ones I found on the web.)

I tried the burger steak.  Kinda reminded me of the old Hungry Man Salisbury Steak frozen dinners.
Kinda bland, but I enjoyed the sticky rice and the abundance of mushrooms. 


Next up was the spaghetti.  I had a pasta jones goin' on, and this seemed to fit the bill.

Seemed to, anyway...

Jollibee spaghetti is not like anything you've known before.   It's got a sweet sauce, kinda like the orangey goop that comes in a can of Spagetti-O's.  Also, there's chunks of ham & hot dogs in the sauce, and a big ol' fistful of cheddar cheese that melts into a solid wad of yellow ooze.

Still, it was better than some spaghetti I've had in Italian places.

For dessert, there was the infamous "Halo-Halo" (Pronounced "hollow-hollow), the most bizarre mixture of stuff ever put in a cup and covered in shaved ice.

How was it?   Let me put it this way, your gringo ass isn't prepared for the Halo-Halo.



Oh, it looks festive enough, but lurking under the bed of shaved ice and condensed milk are horrors untold...

Little red beans, super-firm gelatin chunks, all sorts of tropical fruit bits, coconut slivers, and more round yellow beans.

Those scoops on top are ice cream.  One's a purple yam flavor, the other, who knows?  Not shown is a big chunk of caramel flan on the other side.

Just mix it up and go with it.  Don't fight it.  Let the Bee have its way with you.

And all will be well...