I shall be putting my house up for sale yet again.
Existing Home Sales August 2012
According to the National Association of Realtors, 4.82 million “existing homes” sold on a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis in August, representing a near 8 percent improvement from the month prior and a nine percent jump from August 2011.
In preparation for this I am attempting to clean all of my closets and shelves, which were covered with a layer of dust last spring when my next-door neighbors put in an addition onto their house. (Yes, I put off doing my spring cleaning.) Doing my bedroom closet meant also filling two huge bags with too large/outdated clothes. Then oiling the shelves so the closet smelled lovely. The NY Times had an article a few weeks ago in the T magazine where a woman described her obsessive compulsive closet:
I’m not going to lie; there are easier people to share a closet with. People who could forgive an ad hoc filing system, one that, say, mixed colors with neutrals… There are basic ground rules, or rather, commandments, to follow, like thou shalt not bring a wire coat hanger into the closet. Ever. Thou shalt not put dirty shoes back before cleaning and, if necessary, polishing (and, if so, allow to air out for 24 hours or until the scent evaporates). Thou shalt not hang clothes in plastic sleeves from the dry cleaners.1
I was amazed that a husband would go along with that. (One of the commenters wrote: As an act of defiance my boyfriend would be shaking off sweat like a dog in this lady’s closet. That would have been either of my ex-husbands.) In preparation I had already bought some “official” shoes boxes and sweater boxes from Ikea (when I picked the grandkids up in Phoenix), which are much less expensive there than anywhere else, to keep further dust off my clothes and shoes (and onto the boxes, which would be easier to clean!) And, since I was cleaning out my closet anyway, I decided to hang the clothes in color order, the blacks through the colors to the tans and whites. I even did the same thing with the old shoeboxes I kept, after tossing out a few that didn’t match. And I polished a few pair of shoes. Wow. Almost looks like a professional closet. Now I guess I should get rid of those wire coat hangers…
Another obsessive compulsive trait: when I am walking about the computer lab in which I work, when there are no students with questions (and as a second class has been added to the lab this semester, College Algebra, yesterday I had to help a student with a problem involving a cosine and a cosecant, stretching my mind back to last year’s studying for my math exam), I straighten chairs and keyboards so they line up, drop the headphone chords behind the tables, and hang up the headphones, tilt all of the computers to the same tilt so they line up. Because it’s a new lab, everything looks great.
James Bond’s 50th
October 5th will be “Global James Bond Day,” marking the 50th anniversary of the “James Bond” film franchise.
Ian Fleming, who had been a British Naval Intelligence Officer, wrote seventeen James Bond stories. (A further five authors have since produced Bond novels. The Bond stories rank among the best-selling series of fictional books of all time, having sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Fleming’s creation has appeared in film twenty-four times, portrayed by seven actors.)
Fleming moved to Jamaica after The War, to a town on the north side called Oracabessa (Spanish for Golden Head), and named his house on the Caribbean Golden Eye. If you’ve read any of the books or seen any of the movies, you’ll know that many took place in Jamaica. Here is a photo of Ocho Rios, on Jamaica’s north coast, where Bond (Sean Connery) stumbles across Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) in Dr No.
Why put this in my blog? When I was in the Peace Corps in Jamaica back in ’75 I first stayed with a couple of Jamaican women in a small house right next to Golden Eye. Fleming had died nine years previously, but his house had not been made into a resort yet. A friend of the women’s was the caretaker of the estate, and I was given a tour. The picture windows looking out to the sea (shown here) had no glass in them, and there was always a sea breeze. To the right of the modest house was a tiny kiosk with a window to the sea, beneath it a small desk top on which he wrote all of his novels. (I also got a private tour of Noel Coward’s Jamaican estate, but that’s another story.)
The SNAP Challenge
In July 2012, over 1.1 MILLION households in Arizona received SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program], formerly known as food stamps. The average individual received $29.14 in SNAP benefits per week, amounting to $4.16 per day. The SNAP Challenge was a five-day period in September, during which participants limited their total food purchases to the weekly budget of a typical SNAP participant. 2 [$20 for five days]
I’ve noticed that my grocery bill has almost doubled in the past three years. I can’t even imagine trying to eat on $5/day with food cost soaring.
Scorching heat and the worst drought in nearly a half-century are threatening to send food prices up, spooking consumers and leading to worries about global food costs.
On Wednesday, the government said it expected the record-breaking weather to drive up the price for groceries next year, including milk, beef, chicken and pork. The drought is now affecting 88 percent of the corn crop, a staple of processed foods and animal feed as well as the nation’s leading farm export.3