Around mid-morning, I was hitting downtown, en route to City Hall, and I noticed that the traffic lights along my route were out. I figured it was some minor thing, but as I reached City Hall, I noticed that it all of the city workers were milling around outside. Now that's odd. I circled City Hall and realized that I wasn't going to be getting in anytime soon. So, decided to swing out to Ruben's office to wait out the power outage. I got to the office and realized that the power was out in the entire downtown area. I walked into the building and found A, Ruben's secretary, sitting in the lobby with all the other office staff. She led me back to Ruben's offices and was telling me that apparently the power and phone lines were out all over town. Huh?
That's right, ALL,/b> the power and phones were out all over town. Some areas got power back fairly quickly, but apparently some areas were still blacked out at midnight. This was very surreal. I hung out and talked to A for about an hour or so, until she was going to lunch to meet up with some folks. I gave her a ride to meet them and then bailed in order to see if I could get into City Hall. I was actually in a really good mood at that point since A is a genuinely nice girl, and she's really fun to talk to (at least when she isn't being tormented by her (now) ex-boyfriend).
City Hall was functioning and they had just started letting non-employees in a few minutes before I arrived.. Very cool. I managed to do what I needed to do with minimal hassle and head back out. I was going to head over to PC Technology in search of some cases for the new machines (it looked like the cases that I had ordered were backordered with no eta). Traffic from downtown to the East Side was horrible. I'm not kidding it was the worst traffic snarl/jam/mess that I have seen ever. Not only that, but it looked to be city wide. Most traffic lights were out and the cops were out in full force directing traffic (not terribly efficiently either). It took me about half an hour to get out to the vicinity of the store, but I was getting fed-up with the traffic, so I decided to just head back to the office/home and call it a day (at least on the road).
Despite dealing with truly hideous traffic that tripled my travel time home, I was in surprisingly good spirits because in addition to a pleasant time hanging out with A, I had also made progress on getting the house I want. I had called the lady who is helping us with financing on our properties and laid out the story of how I had been trying to get a hold of the listing agent for the house for the last week with no success. She seemed quite interested in the situation (possibly because she would get $$ for hooking me up with financing for the house if I move ahead with it ;). She talked to a real estate agent friend of hers and he was making inquiries. She also checked with an appraiser that she works with often and he told her that a house like that could easily be appraised for its "Comparable Market Value" (I think that's the term, I'm having to do a crash course in real estate knowledge right now). Apparently, in a neighborhood/area where there are many houses of a certain type and where many of them have been renovated successfully, it's possible to get an appraisal for what the house will be worth once it's renovated. This means that it's possible to get financing for the actual cost of the property and the improvements that it needs.
I got to the office with lots to think about and I talked to my mom and dad about the progress that I had made. I did some random office stuff, had a late lunch and was just chilling out until around 4, when I decided to call it a day. I wandered on over to my house through a light drizzle. The weather to the west of us looked quite fierce though so I was happy to be getting home to start my weekend. I got into my house and I realized that I was really really tired. I had be "on" talking to folks and running in full on professional/business-geek mode all day and I just wanted to crash.
So I did.
My mom called me around 7 to let me know that UPS had delivered some boxes. Now, I don't know why, but on normal, nice pleasant days, UPS often can't get anything to me on Friday evenings. Today, when we have two major "situations" that affect the whole city, UPS is at our doorstep at 7pm delivering stuff. WTF? Eh, so apparently it was a good thing that I didn't get out to PC Technologies since I now had all the parts needed to assemble the new computers. So, the bad traffic had been a very cool thing (for me at least). My luck was doing really good today (in an odd subtle way). I went over to the office to pick up the parts and I missed the expected Dave "It's Friday, I want to do something" call. I called him back and we decided to wander out and see what to do.
X called while I was waiting for Dave and we had a nice conversation (note to self: ramble about the X situation later). Things are ok with her, but I have so much other stuff to think about that I'm actively not thinking much about the actual situation. It'll sort itself out... I hope. Anyways, I talked with her until Dave showed up and we headed out. This is when Dave informed me that part of I-10 was flooded. Yes, that's right. Flooded. We live in the freaking desert and a big chunk of I-10 was under a foot to 18" of water. (cue music: R.E.M. It's the end of the world....). We ended up driving around town in awe of all the debris on the roads. There were areas of man roads where several inches (or more) of dirt and rocks had settled as the waters receded.
I was on the look out for evil ducks. We drove by My Money Pit (I'm thinking that might be a good name for the house while it's under construction ;). Lo and behold, but on the way there the amazingly elusive listing agent for MMP called. She gave me the scoop on the house and once again I had to make it clear that I understand that the house may need a lot of work in order to be fully restored and live-able. I'm very much OK with that. I just want to look at it and then make a decision about moving forward or not. So she told me to check with the other real estate agent and to decide if I wanted to work with her or if I wanted to use him as my agent. Hmmm... at that point it occurred to me. What the hell are all these people doing taking me seriously? I think the most surreal part of the day was realizing that a) I had to make some real decisions that involved a decent amount of money and whatnot, and b) I was actually kind of ok with that. It's a weird feeling, but it's not so weird as to make me panic. So that's cool.
I talked to the listing agent for a while as we headed to ye olde Village Inn (which is about 20 minutes from my current house but only 5 minutes or so from MMP). I got a lot to think about and while we were waiting for drinks, I called my folks to let them know what was up with the house. I was actually quite surprised that both of them were fairly ok with everything. We were talking about things like grown-ups and just generally, considering the options. Ultimately a lot of this is my call, but it was so cool being able to talk to my folks about this and not have them act like I was a totally clueless kid (even though in a lot of ways I really am in this case :).
Dave and I hung out at VI for a long while talking about the house and random other stuff. It's cool to talk to people about a non-standard plan and have them generally receptive to the idea. Ultimately, taking a run down old house and restoring it isn't hugely unusual, but it's not the standard "let's get a down payment and buy a nice tract house in a suburb" approach either. Thinking about renting out rooms to cool college age-ish folks in order to pay the mortgage is also a bit odd. Planning out (in a general sense) how to wire the house for computer access as well as phones, cable etc.. is also a bit unusual (at least to the extent that we were thinking of).
Eventually we called it a night and now I am here boring all of your with lots of random little details about my oddly eventful Friday. Tomorrow I'll work on building the new computers, making several phone calls and arranging a viewing time for the house on Sunday. Sunday the 'rents and I will do lunch and then head out to the house to meet the folks involved and take a look at exactly what I'm getting myself into. So much grown-up stuff to do and I'm really excited about it, but at the same time I kind of wish I could just get up, watch cartoons, and then veg all day. Although I suspect some of that is just because I'm a bit sacred of messing up or having people see just how much I am not a grown-up (mind you, I will probably feel like a non-grown-up right up until I move into a nursing home 80 or 90 years from now :).
So, yeah. I'm going to bed now and hopefully I won't stay up all night thinking about what I'm going to do with MMP.
<plug>BTW, if you like Nick Cave, check out my current music. You can (legitimately) download the song from his site. His stuff isn't all Cave-like, but this song in particular is really nifty. </plug> ;