Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Life in Eden…stay or leave?

Incredibly gorgeous morning. Has been since 4 a.m. 😀

Seriously: the dogs and I were out the door at 5 a.m. — it was actually almost cool at that hour. This is one of the nicest times of year in Arizona. Mornings and evenings are lovely. And it gets warm enough during the middle of the day to go swimming.

The pool is now exactly perfect: water is warm enough to not freeze your gonads on contact but cool enough to refresh. And one of the lovely things about long hair is that if you get it wet on a 100-degree day, it will keep you cool for a couple of hours. Especially if you put it up, so it can’t dry so quickly. So at this time of year, it’s in and out of the drink all day.

Ruby is chasing the doves, who come into the yard in search of bugs and seeds. The hummingbirds have returned, and just now two of them are engaged in an earth-shaking battle for dominion over the feeder. Gerardo has rescued the yard’s three bougainvillea by discovering that the watering system somehow cut off. Fixed that, and now the most spectacular of them, on the east side, has revived. Haven’t checked the two in the west front yard, because it’s a hassle to get out there around the dogs and I don’t think of it whilst driving off.

A-a-a-a-n-d-d-d-d…natcherly, at 7:28 a.m. sharp, the neighbor decides to fire up his lawnmower. Thank you sooooo much, Jerkowitz!

People are so flicking inconsiderate.

The neighbors in general are more and more up and arms about the blight surrounding the ‘hood. Couple days ago, a pervert entered a home and made off with a nine-year-old girl. This was just west of Conduit of Blight, where drug-addled bums are brought to us daily courtesy of the city’s shiny new lightrail system.

The child managed to escape the guy and sought help from a neighbor. And to tell you exactly how addled the poor shit was, they caught him by dint of a police officer’s drawing. He must not even have tried to wander out of the area.

The other night I went to a meeting of a group called 19 North. This outfit purports to advocate for the neighborhood, but when you watch their approach, you realize that it really is a front organization for developers. We were told, with great pride, that a couple of investors have bought a pair of the run-down apartment complexes west of Conduit of Blight and are going to paint them and fix them up. (woo. hah.) We were told that a rec center thing is going in on Main Drag South.

And we were shown an architect’s rendering of the new low-income block of apartments Catholic Social Services is installing next-door to a development of $700,000 homes that was inexplicably built in the high-crime area at Main Drag S. and Conduit of Blight. We were told how beautiful and lovely and wonderful this would be. No mention of the word “projects” was made, nor was anything said about the blighted shopping center across the street from CSS, where an Albertson’s occupies the (rather interesting, once) building that formerly housed the Church’s local home for unwed mothers. This is the Albertson’s that I won’t enter because it’s unsafe to walk across the shopping lot, where once I was actually chased by a panhandler, where pedestrians have been shot dead standing on the corner waiting for the light to change.

No opportunity was given to ask questions during the speakers’ hour-long series of three-minute presentations. If you wanted to discuss an issue, you had to seek out a speaker after the show and discuss it person-to-person. In other words, NO, not a public forum. Subtext: NO, we do not care what you think about what we’re about to do to your area.

So…i dunno. Once again one is brought back to the question of whether one should move while one still can move. I’ve been in the ‘hood for almost 30 years now (dear God! it’s hard to believe!), and I ain’t a-gettin’ any younger.

Thanks to Gerardo, I have no problem keeping up the property. When I get to the point where I can’t clean the pool anymore (it’s so easy, I’d have to really be decrepit for that to happen), I can always hire a pool guy. So it’s not an issue of property maintenance. It’s an issue of safety and of future property values.

At the moment, values are rising steadily. We’re seeing what I believe to be another bubble — not as crazy as the last one (yet), but still, IMHO values are artificially inflated. My house is now worth $104,000 more than I paid for it, and supposedly would rent for something in excess of $1800 a month. Young people are moving into the area and upgrading madly — every second house is now painted battleship gray or eye-searing white, the colors of the moment.

This is, as I’ve mentioned before, exactly what happened in the gentrified neighborhood my ex- and I moved into, back in the Early Middle Ages. Property values have decidedly not dropped in that area: it remains in demand because it’s close-in and because denizens of the early 21st century think those 80-year-old houses are “historic.”

Today’s pups think the same thing of this area. My house is now 46 years old — in just four years it will qualify for “historic” designation. And this is one of the district’s more recent developments: houses over in Richistan, a block and a half away, were built in the 1950s. The pups have come up with an elegant designation for what we used to call “cheap cookie-cutter construction”: it’s now “mid-century modern.”

{chortle!} Well, kids. Whatever rings your bell. 😀

Especially if your bell rings loud enough to cause you to fork over more than three times as much to buy this house as I paid to move into the ‘hood…the day before yesterday. So it seems.

Literally. I paid $100,000 for my first house here, a block and a half from the present Funny Farm. The FF itself is now worth about $330,000. Is that crazy or not?

The bum situation and the ongoing battles with the city and the developers who own it do give me pause. Sometimes I think I should move: away from the bums, away from the blight, away from the Blightrail. Why am I staying here? I don’t have a job to commute to, and so the excuse that it eliminates a daily drive does not apply.

Unfortunately my entire social life is centered in this area. To say nothing of the fact that my son lives just a few miles away. And one is left with the question of where one would go.

To move to Whiteyville up north, to Scottsdale or Fountain Hills (Whiteyville East), or to Prescott would be almost ruinously expensive. Houses there cost as much or more than this place is worth, plus of course to move you have to pay thousands of bucks in Realtor’s commissions, repairs on the old house, repairs on the new house, a moving van… The only practical way for me to move would be to throw an estate sale, sell everything I own that my kid doesn’t want, pocket the money, move into a Tiny House in the middle of 40 acres, and furnish it with stuff from someone else’s estate sale.

Nor are the lily-white upscale areas of the city significantly safer. Not so long ago a guy was shot dead outside Scottsdale Fashion Square. Who cares where you’re shot: dead is dead, whether you’re outside an Albertson’s or outside Neiman-Marcus.

If I stay here, I’m going to have to do some serious fix-up pretty soon.

In the first place, the shrubbery in the front yard needs some serious hacking back. When I moved here, the house across the street was blighted. Some readers will recall that I used to call it Dave’s Used Car Lot, Marina, and Weed Arboretum. It was quite the eyesore. Not wishing to look at it out my front window, I had the guy who installed the xeric landscaping plant three layers of screening plants.

This foliage is now, shall we say, somewhat thick. “Impenetrable” might be le mot juste. It really is overgrown out there. I need to have two or three large shrubs — the size of small trees — taken out. That’s going to be expensive, and I’m not going to be happy about it because one of them sports the most amazing blue blossoms. Just now it’s covered with them. I’ll be sorry to see it go.

But it is a jungle in front and does need to be cleaned out.

Then, second place: that pool has got to be replastered. That is a $4,000 to $6,000 job. Exactly where the cash to pay for that is gonna come from escapes me. I’ll need to draw it down from investments before the Trump chickens come home to roost…which, I expect, will be a couple of years yet. I hope.

The roof. Hm. It was reroofed after the great hail storm of 2010. That event occurred in November, so the place was reroofed in December of 2010 or early 2011. So that puts it on the high side of 7 years old, closer to 8. Asphalt shingle roofing lasts about 10 to 12 years here. Though it looks to be in pretty good shape just now, soon enough it will have to be replaced. Again. That is now a (hang-onto-your-hat) $10,000 job!

So. Pray for another hailstorm. A tornado might do the job, too.

But still… By the time all is said and done, selling this place and buying a new place and moving a lifetime’s worth of furniture and doing all the usual goddamn repairs on a “new” (to me) house (always figure at least 10% of the sale price for those little surprises) would cost probably a helluva lot more than $14,000. A 6 percent realtor’s commission on what I believe to be a low price for this house (10 grand less than Zillow zestimates) would be over $19,000. And that doesn’t count other closing costs plus the joy of moving plus the usual fix-ups.

Financially, I probably would be better off staying here.

As for the bum situation…can you spell “German Shepherd”?

Available, as we scribble, at the White Gershep Rescue…

 

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