20 January – Seattle
It’s raining of course, and cold in this house. Only 32 degrees outside, but there’s a never ending draft comes through both the front and sliding glass back door . . . somehow it gets past several windows. It’s now 22 degrees in Sweden, but if I were there–inside, I would be warm. Outside I’d freeze my ass off, but the houses there are airtight, windows triple paned. I’m looking forward to the inside part. Outside’s another story. Cold and dark . . . nine months a year, gives Scandinavians a predilection for madness and alcohol. I’ll have to change my entire filing system.
We were lucky with the house inspection and our home may now be sold . . . or not. I thought it was over, but no. There are details: escrow things, appraisal by the bank the would-be buyer hopes to borrow from. More papers to be signed, thousands of words written in legalese no one in their right mind would attempt to read. Today we used our agent as interpreter. 16 pages: ‘Notice Regarding Closing Services, Certification For Information Re: Sale, Property Information, Borrowers Authorization, Homestead Information’ – Homestead information? Are we in 1890’s Oklahoma? No this is Seattle . . . Only in the State of Washington. Next come another couple pages – ‘Request For Information.’ Mind you none of this makes any sense whatsoever to anyone other than a lawyer or real estate agent.
In the meantime we continue to be kicked out as new prospective buyers visit on some kind of backup plan, in case . . . whatever. Stress will go up another notch when the place is finally sold. Our furniture will be shipped and we’ll be spending weeks in an empty house with a thousand dollar TV we will give away on final exit. It can’t be used in Sweden. They have a different kind of broadcast system . . . better than ours I’m told. It’s like the Betamax vs VHS format thing here. The U.S. system went in first and Sweden had the luxury of time to see results, and made a better choice. They were also clever enough to reject the Euro.
We will still have a mattress that we paid another thousand for. I’ve that sold for fifty bucks. It will be taken away on the day we leave . . . in March we hope. The oven, fridge and wash & dryer will remain with paper plates and plastic flatware. Like a picnic, gee what fun! One of the neighbors will loan us a couple chairs and there’s a table I like we will also give away on exit. I sold my beloved 1911 Colt for less than half of what it’s worth. Still have the Browning shotgun that my father gave me for my sixteenth birthday. Lists for better that six hundred on the internet. I have been offered one for it so far and doubt I will do better. It is so damn hard to let go of things!
I’ve figured out what I would do if asked to go through all of this again. I’d buy a saffron robe, the kind those Buddhist monks use, then get two gallons high-test gasoline. I would paint over the For Sale sign with new words then give the house and myself a liberal dousing and throw a flaming Zippo lighter through the front door that leaks air. When things reached the inferno point I would go running in, screaming something profound. I haven’t thought of what last words would be yet, but it would be over. A moment of pain, then peace . . . the material world a memory at most, perhaps not even that.
As I write this the toilet has begun overflowing in the bathroom. Wife is screaming “Help!”