Friday, May 2, 2014

The Seven Year itch

We moved into our current home in January 2005 and spent almost half our married life here. Next month that all changes.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,

"To talk of many things:

Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—

Of cabbages—and kings—

And why the sea is boiling hot—

And whether pigs have wings."

In some near future whose date has not exactly been decided yet we will be exchanging our small one bathroom home (above) for a rather larger 2-bog home on Cudjoe Key (below). At the same time we abandon our rather fraught relationship with mortgage servicer Wells Fargo bank in exchange for a rather pleasant man and his wife who live in Miami and own the pink palace we are soon to call home.
We have been asking the bank for a mortgage modification for half the decade we have lived on Ramrod Key and Wells Fargo bank has steadfastly refused so the net result is we have to clear the decks and get on with our lives. I have to say the promise of the HAMP modification program trumpeted by our Fearless Leader in the White Man's house has borne no fruit at all so the news that the Federal government is finally seeking to prosecute Big Banks comes as a big whoop-de-do. Especially as Wells Fargo has modified precisely 0.65% of its home loans, which could lean an ex-home owner to think President Obama has accomplished a big fat zero on that front as well as so many others in his career as Leader of the Indentured World. Happily though Wells Fargo did get a 65 billion dollar hand out from us tax payers when they were on the verge of collapse in 2008, not that that entitles us serfs to any consideration of course.

And yet as annoyed as I am by a kangaroo court system that is loaded against the laboring sods at the bottom of the heap there is a sense, underneath the irritation, of a promise of relief, a feeling that we have shed a relationship that would have aggravated me for another twenty years, likely the last decades of my life. Scientists will tell you it's rubbish but I do like the myth that at the end of every seven years all the cells in your body have replaced themselves. Yes yes I know brain cells are never replaced and those abundant fat cells take ten years, but there is something rather reassuring in imagining that every seven years we are fresh humans inside our skins. Even if, in fact, it's the same old me beavering away at not letting the daily news cycle irritate the shit out of me.

I sent away to Her Majesty's Passport Office last month to renew my status as a citizen of the European Union, and duly got my biometric travel document back, along with a promise that Her Britannic Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs is going to keep an eye out on me and requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty that I be allowed to pass without let or hindrance and be afforded such assistance and protection as may be necessary. It is a sentimental document more than a practical travel paper for me these days, but looking at it I realize than in ten years I shall replace it one more time and then most likely that will be it. For the final journey no passport required, certainly not the back up citizenship of one's distant childhood. I can see the curtains flapping in the wings getting ready to be drawn on one more life lived as well as one was able.

Meanwhile I had to take a more prosaic journey into The Heart Of Darkness to get the utilities switched on in our new residence-to-be. I am always grateful I do shift work and at night so I get lots of weekdays off in which to take care of the daily tasks... How do 9-to-5 workers get this stuff done?

Key West was hot and sticky under a summer sun in April. "I wonder what hurricane season will bring?" My wife had asked speculatively the night before over dinner. "I hope the landlord is ready," I replied smugly released at last from that economic burden of home ownership worry each summer. Our ten years of prompt bill paying made the opening of a new account simple enough, and I mostly had to wonder at the patience of those forced to sit and deal directly with customers and paperwork all day in an office without windows. I feel lucky I work at night, on a weird schedule with lots of random days off here and there for that reason too, my work is varied. Turning on the water faucet is critical work but I'm glad I don't have to figure out how it's done. Civilization grinding through a computer program:

I am fifty six this year, a number divisible by seven, in my eighth seven-year cycle of life and change is in the air. My patient wife is packing boxes, "our" underwater house will be sold Monday and by next month we will be scratching the itch in this new cycle of life in a new home. Cheyenne already likes the cool tile floors and my wife is delighted by the two bathrooms in the new place. "This cabinet is for you" she said carefully showing me round "my" bathroom. I am the neat freak in the family so I am nothing loathe about not having to pick my way through her unguents and lotions to find my toothbrush anymore.
On my journey from gas company to water company to electrical services I passed by this superbike from my youth parked near Eaton Street. I stopped and wound down the window. An old survivor, looking lovely. When I was eighteen the R90S by BMW was the sport tourer to lust after. Today it looks as sophisticated as a bicycle next to modern computerized rocket ships. To my rheumy old eyes this is how a sport tourer should look:

BMW R90S - Classic German Motorcycles - Motorcycle Classics


The Aqueduct had been a slow process and I hoped that Keys Energy could meet their own self-imposed deadline to get my new service fired up. Notice how they only serve the unemployed (and night shift workers):

It didn't look good as the nice lady studied my rental agreement. At least she immediately grasped my correct address on first careful reading of said document. I patiently read my magazine and the process wended its way to its inevitable conclusion after I produced my rental agreement dated May 15th and they got idiotic verbal confirmation by phone from the landlord to start service yesterday...idiotic because I went by the house on my way to work yesterday, two hours after they promised to fire up electrical service and of course there was not one living electron in the house at Cudjoe Key. Her Britannic Majesty got me a new passport with less fuss, on time, and with all particulars carried out by website and postal services with greater speed and accuracy than this lot could do by sucking up my time with a personal visit during regular people's working hours. I wish Her Majesty's Passport Office managed electrical hook ups around here.

Let's face it, the bailing wire and duct tape electrical hook ups never look completely 21st century to me at the best of times:

But in point of fact black outs are far less common than they were a coupe of decades ago when I was in my prime and the utility was not. All change should be good I remind myself, as my wife summons up her house decorating magic and sorts out her lists of people who have been nice, for the inevitable house warming party. Then hopefully a carefree summer of inexpensive boating from our new and enormous boat dock on our new canal at our carefree rental home. As long as Cheyenne is happy.

Try as I might I cannot imagine where I might be in seven years, most likely here or near here, doing the same thing wondering where the last decade flew to in the rear view mirror.