After our aborted attempt to buy a house back in 2009, Dollface and I settled very comfortably back into enjoying our fabulous apartment. Spacious, stylish, comfortable and centrally located in one of the coolest sections of Portland, there was very little not to love about the place. However, after several years of rent increases, I was becoming increasingly aware that renting builds no equity and is essentially throwing money away. Additionally we were fed up with having a landlord and upstairs/downstairs neighbors to consider. It was time to start searching again.
Turns out that on our first and only day of touring various available houses, after about ten unsuitable locations we happened to find a house that felt about as close to perfect as we were going to get. To make a long story short, in a whirlwind 2 months we negotiated, inspected, repaired, bought the place, painted and moved in. It's now six weeks later and, having finally resolved all the top home-making priorities and settled in, I feel I can now break my blogging and social media silence to reflect on the whole experience.
My lovely wife Heather, aka Dollface, has long been an enabler of my Transformers addiction, supporting my purchases, lending an ear when I babble about them, helping me dust and clean them, and more. I've long wanted her to do a guest-post here, offering a spouse's-eye view on the topic. After all, she's a writer! For instance, she recently started a horror movie review site, Movies In The Dark. Unbelievably, despite having watched nearly 700 horror movies, she'd never seen Transformers: The Movie, the bone-chilling 1986 animated feature. Eager to correct this oversight, and unwilling to pass up such an elegant synergistic opportunity, I happily present to you Dollface's sensational review...
When Adam and I started dating back in 1999 I thought he was the coolest guy I'd ever met. He was handsome, intelligent, funny, and he was a fucking rock star. And then he introduced me to his Transformers collection. At first I didn't know what to make of it. Sure, I grew up in the '80s and was aware that Transformers existed. But when I went to the toy store I was in the Barbie aisle. When I bought comic books at the drug store I was reaching for Archie. And when I was watching cartoons my channel was fixed to Scooby-Doo. I didn't have brothers and what male cousins I did have were playing with He-Man. I myself owned the Crystal Castle. Transformers were just that "boy's show" that I had to channel surf through to get to Duck Tales.
Not in my wildest imagination would I have anticipated that when I grew up and started dating boys (ewww, yuck!) that I would eventually meet one who, as an adult, collected these transforming robots. But there I stood, 21 years old in Astoria, Queens, in some boy's bedroom staring at a bookcase full of Transformers and thinking to myself, "huh."
Things have been going well musically. You remember that rehearsal studio I started renting after I bought my new guitar and Marshall amp? I've upgraded since then. The first windowless room was in the basement and the size of a closet. The new room is absolutely huge with three impressively large windows overlooking downtown Portland and its lovely superhighway system. I manage this new room and sublet it to 1.5 other bands. We put in a small dorm fridge for everyone's beer. I put up posters featuring Black Sabbath and the green fairy of absinthe.
More importantly, I've started putting my new band together. I've got a drummer and a lead guitarist and we're about to start looking for a bassist. (I sing and play guitar and do most of the songwriting.) We've already got a number of tunes, the typical length of which is 8-10 minutes. That may sound long, but it's fairly common for the genre of down-tempo metal. With song titles like "The Ten Hells" and "Lair of Zargon," it's a ton of sludgey fun.
But there has been a downside to this. I have finally developed tinnitus.
One doesn't go to Japan without hoping to pick up some great loot -- especially if one is a Transformers collector and a fan of a great many Japanese things. I went with some hopes (particularly Transformers-wise), but I was also looking to be surprised. I'm happy to say that I met both expectations. Let's start with a surprise.
The first toy I actually bought was in a 7-Eleven: a Candroid. What is a Candroid? Well, they're so uniquely Japanese, it's no surprise that neither you nor I had ever heard of them. They are apparently a small sub-line belonging to a larger franchise called Kamen Rider OOO. I don't really know anything about the Kamen Rider, but I know that he can summon the "Ride Vendor," a motorcycle that transforms into a vending machine. You insert special "coins" into the vending machine and out pops a Candroid:
I used to say that if anything ever happened to Dollface, I would keep Commodore but I would give away Tsunami. But Dollface has been out of town for nearly a week and after caring for both cats myself for the last several days, I've resolved:
I could not keep either of them.
I just can't stand taking care of them. Feeding them. Cleaning their shit. Dealing with their nagging for affection. I hate it.
O-kay. Dollface has been gone since yesterday morning. As initially predicted, in spite of some resoundingly loud music, things have been very quiet. Life is simply less exciting without her in it. However, I did stumble upon an unanticipated and giddy pleasure. See, I had to go grocery shopping for myself for the next week. And I realized I need only buy stuff that I like. At this point, probably the best word to summarize the overriding yearning would be
MEAT MEAT MEAT meat meat meatmeatmeat
Because it's been some time since she's visited her parents' respective homes in Michigan, and because she may not have another opportunity to do so anytime soon, Dollface is going to go visit them at the end of this month for ten days (including Thanksgiving). I think she's going to have a great time, and seeing her parents will do her good, so I'm very glad she's going.
Of course, the flip side of this is that I will have the apartment to myself for 10 days. This will be very novel. It's been many years since I've had a place to myself for that long -- the last time she visited Michigan, I suppose. Now I love spending time with Doll, so I'm definitely going to miss her, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't take advantage of this unusual situation. So.... what should I do?
My wife, Heather, and I were having a pleasant evening together after not seeing each other much for several days. We'd just finished dinner at our favorite fish house and were indulging in a rare dessert, and I happened to be rambling about a friend of mine who I felt was letting me down regarding something he is supposed to be doing. I said something to the effect of "I'm disappointed in him." And then I casually continued to say, with this friend and our mutual acquaintances in mind, "...but then I'm disappointed in everybody."
Heather responded with something like, "But you're not disappointed in me, are you?" And just like that, it was like being told not to think of pink elephants and that's all you can think about -- I couldn't help but think of stupid, meaningless things about her that disappoint me. Now I'm not great at remembering specific words spoken, so forgive me for paraphrasing, but not wanting to be disingenuous I answered something like, "Well, I'm disappointed in everyone, including myself."
"So you're disappointed in me," she says. "Great." And she grew very quiet. With just a few words, dessert was ruined, dinner was ruined, the evening was ruined. She doesn't want to be around me right now and I can't blame her. She doesn't deserve this, and no amount of apology from me is fixing it. It may be true that anyone you know well enough or long enough will disappoint you at some point or in some ways, because that's just the way life is, but Heather is an amazing woman and she didn't deserve to have her husband casually include her in his ridiculous list of "disappointing people."
Cosmos travels through the rarefied upper atmosphere of our apartment. It's a special privilege few of my Transformers enjoy. Heather thinks Cosmos is cute for several reasons. His "flying saucer" mode is so woefully outdated and antiquarian that it cannot help but make you feel sympathy for the little guy. He's tiny -- palm-sized, really -- and colored so non-threateningly. Without ever reading his tech spec, Heather said, "He just seems lonely." Of course, that's exactly what he is: Lonely. Isolated. Exiled. So Cosmos moves from atop door moldings to windowsills to desks to bookcases. As of this moment he's currently docked on Fortress Maximus' landing pad, but that's only temporary. He'll be back peering down on us from a doorway molding by next week.
The nicely improved box art for Cosmos is another from the Japanese laserdisc box sets that was nailed by Nailbomb. (What a seductively Decepticon name!)
As you may have discerned from the dispassionate tone in my earlier posts regarding buying a home, I was never in love with the house we had found. It fit all the necessary criteria, to be sure, but it just didn't resonate with me. Nonetheless, I was fully committed to securing the place and spending at least the next few years there. But none of that matters anymore, because after inspections and sewer scopes and soil samples and a multitude of addendums, we ended up withdrawing our offer on the house. But let me tell you why.
The fault lies primarily with Bank of America's mortgage lending department, which is completely fucked-up, disorganized and unreliable.