Monday, May 1, 2017

April 25th


We woke up at the airbnb. It was really early. Maybe 6:30 because we had to take my car to O’Reilly Auto Parts to find out why the check engine light was on. We were staying in the upstairs of someone’s house for 43 bucks. It was a beautiful house and our accommodations were very nice. There was a list of specific instructions about what to do and what not to do. One thing was we were told to keep the cats out of the upstairs, but they were pretty sneaky, and they snuck in whenever they got the chance. At the time of our leaving, one was in one of the upstairs bedrooms so I didn’t close the door tight when we left so he wouldn’t be stuck in there. 
Saemee and I went downstairs, leaving the key on the bedside stand, but when I realized that the front door of the house doesn’t lock automatically I ran back up to grab the key so that I could lock it from the outside (it was a deadbolt) and then put the key in the little lockbox on the porch from whence I got it, but then when I left I was so preoccupied thinking about this interesting little lockbox and how to shut the key back up into it that I forgot to lock the dang door. I wouldn’t realize this till later when I would, after writing a doting review about our hosts, check the review that was left about us in which, perhaps very frustrated with finding his home unlocked, he also brought up the cats and my parking on the wrong side of the street the night before, which wasn’t illegal, but had blocked a truck that wanted to come through. He had brushed it off at the time in such a charming spirit of easygoingness, but included it in the review, likely do to my cardinal crime of leaving the door unlocked, which I will admit is pretty darn cardinal.

At the O’Reilly the clerk was very simple and easy going. With his machine he found my diagnostic was PO171 which means it could be the mass airflow sensor, or a vacuum leak or the oxygen sensor or several other things. 
We drove to Waffle House for breakfast and there, on my phone, I found a local car shop with a five star rating and called them to see how much time and money it would take to get an estimate. I think the place may have been called Ambrosia. The guy was very easy to talk to and he seemed very honest. But from what he said about getting to the bottom of a PO171 code we wouldn’t have enough time to get it checked out before our 12:15 appointment to see the first house of the day.
The food at the wafflehouse was very good especially my cheesy scrambled eggs. Saemee got the hash browns and they were pretty good too, and we shared both. Our coffee mugs had those thick rounded rims and our waitress refilled them twice for us. 
On my phone I researched the check engine code, and then went outside to talk on the phone with the guy from Ambrosia. So we were at the Waffle House for probably forty or fifty minutes and then we left.
    
We got in our car and I turned it on. Then I thought to go check under the hood myself on account of what I’d read doing a search about the PO171 code. Somebody had said something about, for vacuum leaks check all the tubes, so I went and opened the hood with the car running. Immediately I heard a hissing sound. Then I found the little stray tube that the sound was coming from. I secured its loose end into the little hole from which it had apparently escaped. Then I got back in the car and turned it off. Saemee was on her phone. I got her attention and said “watch this watch this,” directing her to look to where the check engine light hopefully would not appear when I started the engine. I turned the key. The car came alive, but the check engine light was still there. 

Saemee and I then drove to find some park that she had found that was near where our first appointment would be. Following the Google Map navigation we ended up rolling down a road that cut through a golf course and dead ended at a country club. I couldn’t help but think it seemed tacky for a golf course and country club to be right in the dingy part of a city and have a road going through it. We turned around and drove out of there and found another park. It wasn’t glorious, but it was fine. 
There was a little forrest path that we walked through. The trees were still pretty barren since it was still just near the end of April. After we walked through the forest which took all of three minutes we took a stroll around a little path outside the forest by some friendly geese who left the sidewalk and waddled down a hill into the grass when they saw us coming. The sidewalk was speckled with goose poop. Saemee accidentally stepped in some.
 I tried to scrape what I could off with the tiny sharp end of a long stick attached to a big felled branch that was laying somewhere. I held Saemee’s foot up while she balanced on one leg. Then she switched legs and I did the same to the other shoe. That got some of it off, but there was still some on there. I thought from looking at it that there was a chance what we were scraping at was actually mud and I told Saemee that. Then I leaned in and smelled it and it definitely smelled like poop, and when I reacted it made Saemee laugh. Then we went to the car to get the water tissues. Saemee didn’t want to get in the car with her poopy shoes so I drove the car just a short ways toward the exit where there was a trash can. Saemee walked there. When she got to the trash can she took off her shoe, and I cleaned it. Then she put it back on and took off the other and I cleaned it. Then we drove to the house where we would meet the realtor.

I really wanted to make sure we were a little early, because 1: it’s good to be early to appointments. And there had been two appointments, so far, where we had arrived a few minutes late. And I hate to overly inconvenience these realtor folks because I’m not even sure how serious we are as buyers. We may not even buy a house this year. Supposedly it’s a sellers market which means there’s a lot of buyers and not a lot of houses. Me and Saemee have saved up a nice little chunk, but it’s not a whole whole lot, and I want to use it right.So we’re doing everything we can to educate ourselves about what’s out there. But I think realtors want you to pick one realtor and then have them show you everything.
And 2: this realtor was kind of scary and we didn’t want to upset her further. She had called me out about my bouncing around between realtors when I asked her over the phone yesterday about possibly rescheduling. She asked if I wanted to reschedule because of other realtors that we were working with, and I admitted that that’s what it was and she gently chastised me explaining to me the way it works according to her. I conceded and canceled the other appointment because she had a few different houses she wanted to show us that we liked the looks of. I also sent her a link to the house whose appointment I canceled for her, but actually I didn’t think that particular meeting had been set in stone yet anyway. Saemee was positive that it was though.

When we arrived at the house, though we were ten minutes early, she was already there, sitting in her car out front. We said our hellos. She apologized explaining that she usually likes to already be inside and have the house open and ready to show. She took us inside. This particular type of house was what she called a bungalow. And price-wise it was pretty feasible. Saemee and I looked around. 
Then she took us to the next house which was about ten thousand more and also quite a bit nicer, about the same size, and more furnished. 
At the third house, she struggled and struggled with the lock while Saemee and I took turns holding the screen door and signing to each other about other text messages and appointments coming together so she wouldn’t hear and get offended and “territorial.” This was the word she had used on the phone to describe how realtors tended to be. As I write this, I wonder now if this house which she was ultimately unable to get into was the one for the appointment that I had canceled.

Then we went to a duplex which had people in it. The place looked pretty run down. A little girl of about four came to the screen door. From the sidewalk our realtor called up to her, asking if her mommy was home. Her mom came and told us that the upstairs was unlocked and we came, all three of us, under the impression that the upstairs was for sale but the downstairs wasn’t. And it seemed to make sense given how low the asking price was. We declined to see the upstairs and our realtor was perfectly fine with not going up the stairs and into this building which looked to be in pretty bad shape. 
The three of us stood talking in the beautiful afternoon sunshine, there on the sidewalk. Talking about house buying and how it all works and what all you gotta do. We were about to part ways when something the girl’s mom said from the front porch made us all realize that indeed the whole house was for sale. So we went in and checked it out and it was in disrepair and full of life and smells, but Saemee and I were very kind and respectful to the tenants and they to us. Some of them were getting ready to go somewhere. There was a guy sitting in a pickup truck in the alley waiting for them. I nodded to him as I passed by and he nodded back.
Saemee and I went to Kroger next and we actually ran into him again, standing by the checkout. We had come to Kroeger in search of a Starbucks to charge the phone and ipad and to use the wifi while we waited for our next appointment at three. The Starbucks ended up being too minimal though.
Starbucks was on the right side of the store, and on our way there we saw a couple of young men laughing about something, and I didn’t think anything of it, but Saemee later told me that she figured out when we went to the bathrooms (which were over on the left side of the Kroeger) that our phone which she had been holding in her back pocket had the flashlight still on from when she had used it to check out the dingy basement of the duplex. And it was after checking out the Starbux and before going to the bathroom that we passed the man from the pickup who said “hello again.” I didn’t recognize him, but Saemee did. On the way from the bathroom to the exit, this time I gave him a friendly smile and nod, and he responded in kind.

There was a Tim Hortons near the Kroeger, and we drove over there and went in. We were able to charge our phone because there were outlets near the tables, but the wifi was pretty bad. We ordered an icecap and shared it. I called mom to talk to her about Saemee and I staying at her and my stepdad’s house for a short period of time. We’ve been staying at my brother’s but he recently learned that there are restrictions at is trailer park on extra people staying for an extended period of time. Eventually Saemee got too cold in the Tim Hortons and left while I got ready to leave. I don’t remember what I was doing. Maybe Instagram.
From there we went to our three o’clock appointment which was a duplex. We’ve thought about duplexes because they could mean long term income if we can keep rent coming in. This one looked to be in a fairly nice area, but I did hear some loud sound followed by some man shouting something over near the busier road a couple houses down.
I was excited to meet this realtor because on the phone I was struck by how friendly and especially how organized the guy seemed. Let’s say his name was Ed. Let’s say Ed Jones. Well Saemee and I waited around by the front door till it was 5 minutes after the appointment time and Ed Jones wasn’t here yet. Or maybe Ed wouldn’t come. Maybe it was his partner, Sally, that would come.
On the realtor sign in the front lawn, one side said Sally Jones and the other said Bill Bakeman, but both sides had identical photos of the same man and woman. My thinking was that since I had spoken to Ed Jones on the phone and here was the name Sally Jones on this sign that this photo was very likely of the married realtor couple, Ed and Sally Jones. When Sally Jones finally showed up, and she was no more than seven minutes late, I asked her if her husband was Ed Jones, but there had been some misunderstanding and it turns out there is no Ed Jones. There is only Sally Jones and Bill Bakeman, and they are not married. 

Sally Jones was very cool and metropolitan, perhaps a little hyper, possibly on Adderall -- at the very least coffee.
The duplex was an upstairs downstairs duplex with a tenant currently living on the bottom floor, and he was at work and had insisted that the realtor not come while he was home.  The place was pretty nice, especially for the price, except a closet door knob came off when Sally Jones tried to open it. It was one of those crystal door knobs. The house was built in the twenties. 
After we left there we went to get food at a restaurant that had vegetarian pho. There was no one at the restaurant since it was only 3:30 or so. The pho was delicious. And it was here at the restaurant that I posted the Airbnb review and learned that I’d left the house unlocked. I sent him a message apologizing.

The total bill for the pho was around eleven dollars. When we went to pay, Saemee gave me two twenties and told me “just ask for fifteen back” which scrambled my mind a little bit, because I was thinking if the pho was eleven and I’m giving them twenty and I get fifteen back, I’m only paying five dollars when the bill is eleven. But it was actually two twenties. That’s what threw me off. There’s something so symmetrical about two twenties that it still just seems like twenty. Saemee got a little frustrated with me for being stupid.

After this we headed to the library because our next appointment was at six and we had time. We parked in the underground garage. It ended up costing a dollar which I later paid at the validation machine.
At the library we found a computer nook where we could plug the phone to charge into some out-of-service but fully turned on computers whose sole purpose had been for job searches. Saemee went to the bathroom and I browsed a bookshelf of automotive reference books while keeping in view our computer nook where our bags and belongings were. 
After Saemee came back I headed out to explore the bookshelves. I brought back to our nook, first, for Saemee, though I knew she wouldn’t read it, a mildly interesting-looking Korean book that I found after briefly perusing the foreign books section. Next I went and got some books on learning Korean, and then I went searching to find a book with beautiful houses that Saemee and I might look at together, but to no avail. 
What I did find were some real estate books, and I began in a book on financing. It held my interest. I learned a little about what are called “notes.” Then I had to poop pretty bad, but when I found the bathroom there were three stalls, all in use by old homeless men I think. I decided I ought to try to think about holding it because I might have to for a while. I asked the girl at the front desk, though, if there was another bathroom, and she said “there’s one on the third floor.” I went up there but it was locked. I went back to our nook and read but eventually ended up back at that first bathroom and the stalls were all empty. This was a pretty nice library, at least in terms of book selections, but the bathroom was pretty rough. I wiped the toilet down real good and then sat down, noticing as I did so some tiny portion of matter I missed on the inside ridge, but I didn’t get any on me luckily. While I was in there an old homeless man came in and took the stall to the left of me.

Shortly after returning to our nook we realized it was time to get going. We exited the library, took the elevator downstairs, walked past this little cafe, and then out into the parking lot. We got in our car and I started it up. After a moment I noticed it. Low and behold the check engine light had disappeared. I pointed it out to Saemee and she was very happy to see that too. I was very proud.

I began driving to the parking garage exit but then realized I forgot to get my ticket validated so I ran inside and did that then we were on our way, heading to our next and final appointment. It was at six o’clock. We rolled into the neighborhood which looked like a nice neighborhood as far as the quality of the houses and sidewalks, but immediately when we got there I saw a car whiz down the little street pretty fast so I made a mental note of it.
The realtor was cool. He seemed intelligent and even-mannered. He could be my favorite so far. And we’ve met a lot. Not just today, but also a couple yesterday here in Toledo and a few down in Findlay before that. I really liked this place pretty well, and what’s more it was a triplex. The building was pretty old though. On the way back to Findlay Saemee said that she doesn’t want to buy a house that’s so old. I said “okay.” I think it was on the way home or perhaps before that last appointment, I called my brother Jon and talked about staying with him another night and he said it was fine and tonight they were having Bible study and I was welcome to come in at the halfway point since that was about when we’d be arriving. In the car Saemee seemed pretty exhausted. She said she was just exhausted in her brain. This was before she mentioned not wanting to get the triplex because of how old it was.

When we came in to Findlay I drove down Shinkle Street till we came to Rawson Park. And there was supposedly a house around here that had been listed as for sale, but we didn’t see it, but the reason I really came here was to go to the park with Saemee because it was a beautiful day that would soon be over. 
I took our badminton rackets out from where they’d been sitting unused for about a year there in the back window and the yet unopened canister of birdies we had recently bought at Walmart. I opened it up and took out a birdie. With the two rackets in one hand and the birdie in the other we went walking. We went down a grassy field and we began trying to smack the birdie around on the little paved drive that leads to the baseball diamond. Then I said “let’s go play on the grass.” We crossed over to the nice flat grassy field where I and my family had spent time playing games before and where, further out, there was a park bench where me and my highschool girlfriend of long ago had had a picnic or two. Today there was a young couple over past the picnic tables playing around and being in love.
Saemee and I smacked the birdie. If a volley is where one person serves it and then the other person hits it we were stuck at one volley for a while, but we count it like: 1) I hit it 2) she hits it 3) I hit it and so on. So we hit it back and forth as best as we could. I believe 20 was the highest we got to. We did that there in the thick green grass of a gorgeous day, till my arms and legs felt like jello which was probably twenty minutes since I’m 34 and not fit, but it felt great.
After that, we put the rackets in the car and then went and sat on the picnic bench that’s up by the little basketball hoop where an older kid was shooting around by himself. Saemee started taking some selfies of us. And then she handed the phone to me to take a few, and I tried to capture us with the sun flaring in from behind the trees. While in motion the images felt like a scene from out of The Tree of Life. I can’t speak for the still photos themselves because I haven’t looked at them yet.
When I was taking selfies I must have been not doing it correctly or something. I must have been taking that dreaded low angle shot that all women dread, but Saemee ducked out of the shot, but then I heard a little kid coming up behind us trying to get in on the action. I took a picture with him and then me and Saemee took some more of just us. Then we went to leave, and as we headed to the car some kid shouted “she wants to take a picture with you.” I said “does she have a camera.” They said “yeah.” I started walking over and Saemee came in behind. I said “can my wife get in the picture too,” and they said “yeah.” And we all took a picture together. Then me and Saemee walked to the car. I asked “Do you wanna get some icecream?” And she said “sure.” So we drove to the Archies that’s on the way to my brother’s house.

It seemed like it might be closing soon because it was about eight, but the day was beautiful and still very much alive, and it seemed like the perfect time when anyone in Findlay might want to go to Archies. We arrived. They would still be open for another hour yet. There were a few cars in line at the drive-through and there were a few people at the benches eating icecream. We thought about what to get. Then we decided to get a single cone. I ordered one dipped in crunch. The girl who served me was very polite but all business. Our crunch cone was delicious. When we left there were cars lined up for the drive-through out into the road.
I pulled onto main street. I went left, and though I’ve lived in Findlay most of my life I still wasn’t 100% sure that I was headed the right direction to go to center street, which is a primary road in my town that runs out East toward the big stores and where Jon lives. But as I continued I concluded that I had gone the wrong way so I turned around but later realized that I had it right the first time. I didn’t check Saemee’s face to see if she was becoming annoyed when I began turning the car around again. She started to ask me questions about which street we were headed to in order to plug it into the Google map which I found hilarious and ridiculous, but I knew she was serious. 
When we arrived at my brother’s house there were two other cars parked there. When we opened the door and walked into the little trailer Bible study was still underway. I went to the bathroom and pooped again. Saemee sat in the dining room adjacent the living room where the Bible study was happening. Then I came back from the bathroom and sat with Saemee and listened to their discussion. It was about mormons and catholics and cannon. Then they concluded with Jon saying a prayer. After that one guy left, and a little while later the other guy. Jonathan and I joked around with him a little as he stood at the door before he went.

After they were gone I talked with my brother about the structure of the protestant church. And we were just chatting and relaxing there thinking about going to sleep.
 It was about 9:20 when Dad called Jon’s phone wanting to talk to me. He said he knows we’ve been getting to sleep early, but he asked if we could go pick him up some groceries from Walmart. He said his feet have gout. I told him sure. He described each item he needed in detail and I repeated it into our phone with Saemee holding it as it turned my spoken words into written gibberish. After we’d gotten it all down and I made sure I could decipher it Dad thanked me and told me he could reimburse us on Friday.  
We left the house and drove to the nearby Walmart silently. We went in and Saemee went to the produce department to grab a couple things that she needed and I headed out to the shelves to try and find Dad’s items. It was only a few things anyway and I found the first couple items, and then Saemee came with her tomatoes and cilantro and helped me find the rest.
At the checkout I said to the man there “How’s your day goin?” and somewhat curtly he replied “fine, and yours,” and I said “fine.” He scanned items and bagged them. Saemee tried to tell me to tell him to keep her items in a separate bag and I told her “no that’s fine. We can sort it out ourself anyway, very easy.” 

After we had finished and were walking toward the exit I told Saemee “thank you for coming to Walmart with me.” And then she got mad about me not wanting to tell the guy to put it in separate bags or about me trying to keep her from telling the guy or maybe a combination of many things. We fought a little bit, but I didn’t lose my temper, but after that I didn’t talk though.
We had to drive back downtown because that’s where dad lives. When we arrived Saemee stayed in the car while I crossed the street and jogged up the narrow flight of wooden stairs. Dad came to the door shortly after I knocked with a bright smile and thanked me. he told me he’d pay me Friday, but I told him it was our treat. Then I hugged him and said goodbye and left.

Silently we drove back to Jon’s. As soon as we got home I went and got in the shower. Toward the end of my shower, as has happened before in the past on occasion, I realized that I forgot to bring a towel. It was only my brother’s stinky old body-smelling towel hanging there, but after I turned the water off Saemee came in the bathroom and handed me our clean blue towel. I took it and she left. A moment later she came with some clothes and put them on the floor for me.
I dried off, got dressed, then went and sat in Jon’s big comfy easy chair and started writing this. At the beginning of the story when I was talking about the deadbolt Saemee told me I need to do my nose thing. She’s referring to a saline wash that I use to keep my sinuses regular. I didn’t say anything though. I just kept writing. A couple pages in, my brother came and asked if I could turn the lamp off. I said “yes” and he turned it off for me and I sat in the dark for a moment. Then I came to the back room here and kept writing. At the point in the story when I was wiping the poop off Saemee’s shoe, she came in and asked what I was doing. She seemed like she wasn’t angry anymore. 
Before, when I was over in the front room sitting in my brother’s chair under the lamp, writing, she was on the couch under a blanket on the iphone, and she probably assumed I was trying to logically elucidate why I was right and she was wrong. When she came to the back room and asked about what I was writing she probably still kind of had this notion, but I told her I was just writing about what happened in our day. She’s not terrific at reading English, but she watched over my shoulder a bit while I wrote and she probably recognized the word “poop” at least. Then she went back to the other room and likely went to bed and I’d say that was at least an hour and a half ago. Now I’m going to go to bed.



No comments: