Wish I could add a music clip to this blog. If I could, it would be Slip sliding away by Paul Simon…
Slip slidin’ away
Slip slidin’ away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you’re slip slidin’ away
…God only knows
God makes his plan
The information’s unavailable
To the mortal man
We’re working our jobs
Collect our pay
Believe we’re gliding down the highway
When in fact we’re slip slidin’ away
You can have everything and lose it the next day on what otherwise would have been a bright and beautiful spring morning. Just ask the Japanese. Think about it too much and the thought is just staggering… heart breaking really.
Nothing is permanent here in the matter matrix, no matter how secure we might feel about it. What we do with what we have and what we lose is all that matters in the long run.
We discovered the roof of our secure little home was leaking when the sealed globe over the kitchen light was filled with water after a night of pounding rain. A check of the attic and roof confirmed that it was past time to get a new roof and now time to get a new kitchen ceiling and the insulation above as well so that the dampness now there won’t form into deadly black mold. Our previous home, an old one we lived in for three years, turned out to have black mold in the insulation and was finally condemned. We were sick all the time while living there and it could well have killed us if we hadn’t gotten out when we did.
So we spent a day home from work taking bids on the job. I’m glad Jeb thought hiring a roofer was a good idea. Not only do I not want him on the roof with the possibility of his falling off it, but it would be nice to have it done quickly rather than years later as the hall bathroom that still needs finishing after 3 or 4 years. Meh. Maybe I’ll just hire someone to do that when the hubs isn’t looking. I doubt he’d complain.
My son Andy meanwhile has his first job. He does janitorial work at night using my van to get around in since I usually carpool to work with Jeb in his car anyway. Andy’s girl friend Bonnie works for the same company but they’re usually in separate buildings. That particular night, they teamed up to clean one together that she was running late on. He somehow managed to lock himself out of the van while the engine was running. Frantically, he was trying to figure out how to break into it without breaking anything when a cop pulled up, pulled out his gun, and pointing it, asked “Can I help you there son?” in his best most authoritively threatening voice.
“Oh god yes!!!” Andy exclaimed, completely flumoxing the cop for a few startled moments which Andy tidily filled by explaining his predicament and who he was working for.
Coming closer, the cop shone his flashlight into Andy’s eyes then asked to see his ID. After being convinced that Andy was not in fact a burglar or high on something, he agreed to help him get into the van.
Andy called us at 2:30 AM, waking us out of a dead sleep, to ask our permission to let the cop use a tool to try and pop the locks since said tool might break the lock. I gave him permission. NEED SLEEP! Too damn early to be getting up. I wasn’t even coherent and neither of us cared to go driving to another city to open it for him if we didn’t have to when we had to get up for work in only 1 and a half hours.
He called back a half our later to say the tool didn’t work, I have great locks, the cop was now going to try prying the door open and getting to the lock that way, and, oh by the way, some fluid or other is now pouring out from beneath the engine… and he had to go! *oh joy*
He called 15 minutes later to inform us that the van was now open but and the cop, looking at the source being the radiator, declared the van unfit to drive, so Andy was going to have to leave it there and ride home with Bonnie. *LE SIGH*
Our insurance covers emergency towing, but only once per incident so we agreed that it was best for him to leave it. We’d get off work early, go to the address the cop had to give us because Andy didn’t know, and get it towed directly to our favorite garage, The Everett Auto Clinic. The actually trust the mechanics there and usually I don’t trust guys in that profession. Most I’ve found to be either dismissive of me as a woman and/or downright dishonest. Refreshing to find a car repair place that isn’t like that!
Lest you think otherwise, we do not have any serious problems, nothing we can’t deal with, not like they have in say Japan or Haiti or… down the street where there are houses sliding off the bluff apparently due to one ignoramous land owner in the value down below who took an apparent shine to clear cutting on the watershed and/or recent highway widening along the I-5 corridor. Could be wrong about that, but that is the way it looks and it is now too late to save those houses.
Driving into our neighborhood from work yesterday, I asked Jeb to let me out in the endangered culdesac so I could speak to the cluster of women gathered there in the center in the warm spring light, Mother Nature being all sweet and apologetic after all the havoc she’s been raging lately. I wanted both to hear from these women how they were dealing with all this as well as to tell them about the company I used to work for 15 years ago, Terra Associates, that did landslide abatement. I asked what they were doing to try to save their homes.
The eldest among me said she and her husband had evacuated. They’d already spent $300,000, more than the house was worth in market value, to try and shore up the land under it. She said the city had signed off on all the permits, but their efforts had failed and they couldn’t afford to do anymore. Another family had invited them to live in their house for a while until they could find another.
It wasn’t said, but I’m gathering that since these homes and the land they’re on lose their value once they become unusable, they may as well walk away from their mortgage.
As to my suggestiong that they see what Terra Associates (whom I’d already talked to) could do, they were friendly enough but had done with geotechs. They also seemed to think I must work for Terra Associates. I don’t though. I just thought they could help.
Unable to stop the inevitable, they were doing their gracious best just to live with the loss though the eldest of them, otherwise sweet natured, said that the clear cutting land owner in the valley was going to get the pants sued off him if it were proven in court that he was responsible for this dissaster.
One way or the other, I was thinking, he’s likely to have karma landing on his own home in the form of a fallen bluff house. I sure wouldn’t want to be in his shoes when the work he’s done all rolls downhill though.
On the curb behind us, a news van was park, crew waiting like vultures to catch some film of dying homes in their death throes while we studily ignored one another. I don’t blame them for chasing this bit of news, it’s just that better news would be an all out effort to SAVE these homes. And why doesn’t the city take more of an interest in doing so? Aren’t they concerned for their people? Aren’t these properties a source of tax revenues only if they are usuable? I asked that aloud and one of the women said, “Ha! They’ll only tax the rest us all the more to cover for their losses here.”
Losses here? More like city incompetance and pure gall… especially in light of the owner of the first home to slip over the bluff receiving a letter from the Everett City Council requesting he demolish his home the rest of the way or they’d do it and put a lien against his property to pay for it. Not only is this adding insult to injury, it’s also very stupid. First of all, they’ll get no money out of now unusuable land. Secondly, said land is already dangerously unstable. Bringing in heavy equipment will only make things worse. I hope he told them to piss up a rope.
Meanwhile the local realtors, never ones to pass up a buck are still gung ho to sell nice bluff side houses for as low as $75,000 with a spectacular view of the valley. It’s like a bad joke! Yes, it’s a nice neighborhood, but you’d be Darwin Award nominee at the very least to buy a bluff side house there these days. It should be criminal even to sell such endangered home to unsuspecting buyers. In short: BUYER BEWARE!
Having wanted to help or at least to understand, I ended up accomplishing nothing and walked home where Jeb was waiting for me to go pick up the van.
They’d replaced the radiator, changed the oil, fixed an oil leak, and washed it while I waited and Jeb had already driven away. I couldn’t get it out of the lot though. There was one more thing wrong with it: a broken potentiometer. So… we had to go back for it the next day. But it’s okay. We could have things worse. We’ve really been lucky so far.
Oh, and Terra called me back that morning in regard to my request for information as to what they could do for our neighborhood. They said the COULD do the work if they had more time to operate in and more manpower. They were already too deep in home and business saving projects in their own area, also affected by the heavy rains. They kindly gave me the name of someone at another company, Shannon & Wilson, that could do it, but having spoken to the women of those sliding homes already, I gathered it was too late to do anything and they’d already spent as much as they could to no avail. It’s so damn sad!
News I paid attention to today outside of our own little neck of the woods: The devil’s work? Pastor doubts hell exists, loses job. The church fired him for that bit of doubt, for his suggestion that a loving god would absolutely not torture people in hell forever just for not believing in him or even for other finite sins. Finite sin should not equal infinite torture except in the mind of a monster. The pastor is absolutely right when he says this attitude does not endear people to the god of Christianity or Islam for that matter, whose beliefs about Hell are the same as mainline Christianity’s.
Now why would the church fire him for removing that bit of terrorism from his preaching? The answer seems simple enough to me: the church uses negative things like guilt and fear to make people obey them. It’s their power base. Heaven forbid that power be undermined with positive notions such as love, forgiveness, tolerance, and hope.
Pah! There’s a reason I don’t like organized religion. But I like this pastor that just said, “Stop it!” to them and got fired for doing so. They’re firing him only shows them for who they really are and what they’re all about just like the City government’s behavior in this landslide fiasco is showing the same: nothing good. We can sure as hell do better than them.