“Early” Morning Saturday Ride

Yesterday morning, I rode a few miles around Uppity and Broke-Down Stepford before the day’s busyness set in.  A warming trend here in this part of Tennessee meant I didn’t wear as much in the way of thermal, fleece, or all-weather neoprene-like garments as lately has been my wont.

Joe Blow IItwinhead

One year and 12 days ago, today, I bought a Topeak Joe Blow II floor pump, and last week, when I tried to air-up the Razesa’s tires, the “twin-head” failed.  According to reviews of the product on Amazon, this is a common problem with these pumps.  Out of warranty, I ordered a replacement part from Todson, Topeak’s replacement parts seller, on Tuesday and got it in Friday’s mail.  It installed easily and worked properly.  Cheaper than buying a new pump, although it would have been better to have a better product to begin with.  With properly inflated tires, the Razesa rode like a different bike.

My goal was to ride more than eight and a half miles and to look at some real estate.  Caution-Lady, my wife, wanted me to look at a house about a mile from our own, and I wanted to take a look at a much older house in a less desirable part of town.  Also, there’s a house in our neighborhood with a very low asking price that may turn out to be the best bargain.  Leaving my house before eight o’clock, I rode past all three houses, stopped and looked at two of them.


The old house in the run-down neighborhood looks like it was built some time between 1920 and 1930 with something simple and pretty in mind that can still be seen after years of neglect.  The years of neglect are worrisome.  If the property can be had for the price of a vacant lot, which may be all the market can bear at present, it might be worth putting right.  The mile-away house has a swimming pool in back, central heating and air, a covered breezeway, and an attached garage.  It seems reasonably priced, but the pool would have to go.  How much does it cost to have an in-ground pool taken out?


Besides looking at houses, I rode along the tracks to a point past where the pavement ends, and rode back through some poorer neighborhoods, finding a trail that cut through to a large middle school near where I live.  I took a couple of pictures on a bluff overlooking the tracks – looking back at the road I took and my shadow. The sun was in the way of taking a photo of the overlook, though.  Had to carry the bike over part of the trail, because I and the bike weren’t prepped for cyclocross.  That said, the Razesa handles fine on chip-and-seal, as well as packed gravel roads and dry dirt roads.  It wouldn’t have done well with the trail mud yesterday, though. 

Bad News

A friend posted the following quote as a quote, but without attribution, on an Internet forum yesterday:

He is not afraid of bad news.
— Psalm 112:7

Christian, you ought not to be afraid of the arrival of bad news; because if you are distressed by such, you are no different from other men. They do not have your God to run to; they have never proved His faithfulness as you have done, and it is no wonder if they are bowed down with alarm and cowed with fear. But you profess to be of another spirit; you have been born again to a living hope, and your heart lives in heaven and not on earthly things. If you are seen to be distracted as other men, what is the value of that grace that you profess to have received? Where is the dignity of that new nature that you claim to possess?

Again, if you should be filled with alarm like others, you would no doubt be led into the sins so common to them under trying circumstances. The ungodly, when they are overtaken by bad news, rebel against God; they murmur and maintain that God has dealt harshly with them. Will you fall into that same sin? Will you provoke the Lord as they do?

Moreover, unconverted men often run to wrong means in order to escape from difficulties, and you will be sure to do the same if your mind yields to the present pressure. Trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Your wisest course is to do what Moses did at the Red Sea: “Stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD.”1 For if you give way to fear when you hear bad news, you will be unable to meet the trouble with that calm composure that prepares for duty and sustains in adversity.

How can you glorify God if you play the coward? Saints have often sung God’s high praises in the fires, but when you act as if there were no one to help, will your doubting and despondency magnify the Most High? Then take courage and, relying in sure confidence upon the faithfulness of your covenant God, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”2

1Exodus 14:13
2John 14:27

I truly don’t much care what other people think my life in Christ looks like from their perspective, so I don’t sweat that appearance stuff mentioned in the quote above.  But on the whole, it was what I needed to see when I tuned in to that discussion board.

Earlier in the day, I’d heard from my realtor that the house we sold did not stay sold.  That deal has fallen through.  We get to keep the buyer’s earnest money – a small sum that will offset to a degree the costs of continuing to own that house when we thought we were done with it.  To be truthful, I had a sense a couple of weeks ago that things were not going to work out, and had an attendant sense of peace that the matter would eventually result in a better outcome for us.

For one thing, I’m going to try to arrange today to have that one excellent, Mennonite-built shed removed to our current address.  The new property lacks a clean, dry storage place for my kayaking, camping, and sundry other gear.  The shed that came with the new house, although built on a perfectly good concrete slab, has after 30-odd years proven permeable siding-wise.  Another thing to fix or have fixed when time and disposable income permit.

And I’m going to get those excellent shelving units built in the 1970s for the house in which we then lived at 1904 Velez Dr., then San Pedro, but now billing itself as Rancho Palos Verdes, California.  The former buyers really liked and wanted the units, and we said, “Okay, for an additional sum, you can have them, too.”  They’ll either go in the den or in the garage, but in either place, we will find a use for them.

Finally, if you know anybody who is looking for an excellent, bargain-priced house here in loathsome Stepford that has seasonal bow-hunting across the street on thousands of wooded acres, three relatively large nearby lakes for flatwater paddling or fishing, about 900 wooded acres out back (sadly, they do not go with the house), mature cherry, apple, pear trees and grape vines, have that person drop me a message here or ring me at home.

Happy Wednesday,


Surgery & Other News

After several months, it has become clear that I’ll need shoulder surgery to remove bone spurs from my painful shoulder’s acromium. The specialist said at the same time he will “clean up” the partial tear in the supraspinatus – which means he’ll trim the bit of muscle that’s peeled back like a hang-nail in hopes that will allow it to heal properly. Said also that if too much of the muscle appears to have pulled away from the bone, he’ll fix it with a titanium screw. He said he normally uses the titanium, as opposed to the bio-absorbable variety, screw.

The specialist’s clinic is large, successful, and staffed with a number of nurses and other techs. I observed a large number of slender attractive blonde women in their 50s wearing scrubs walking about. A number of the younger female techs were also slender, blonde, and pretty. I deduced that at least one of the partners in that practice has an aesthetic preference for slender, pretty blonde women, and has been involved in their hiring for probably the past 25 years. The apparently habitually cast facial expressions of the older women varied, and I guessed that had to with both the experienced quality of the present day, and also with their experienced long-term outcome in the work environment.

Traditional Stepford brick ranch-style house

Traditional Stepford brick ranch-style house

On the way home yesterday, our realtor phoned. I found a place to pull over and called her back. She’d presented the offer on that traditional ranch-style house in a neighborhood near the country club. It’s been on the market for some 515 days and vacant, I’d guess, for more than two years. The seller’s counter-offer was 19 thousand less than their already drastically reduced asking price. We countered with an offer that was three thousand dollars less than that, and the sellers accepted. If things actually work out and we move in there, it will be God’s little joke on those who have dedicated their lives to the Stepford social status rat-race. Come to think of it, that rat-race may already be God’s joke on those people.

No matter, the house is bigger than our current residence, has an attached two-car garage, a sun-room, three and a half bathrooms, attic storage, large sunny rooms, a fireplace, better than adequate interior closet storage, big kitchen, and so forth. I should be able to arrange installation of a garage ceiling storage/pulley “system” for a kayak.

Because I already knew we’d be vacating our current house, the one we’ve sold, by month’s end, I scheduled my surgery for the middle of next month. Should give us time to get painting, carpeting done and get moved in.


One of maybe a dozen mock-orange blossoms still on the bush.  Snapped this morning while I was doing yard work.

One of maybe a dozen mock-orange blossoms still on the bush. Snapped this morning while I was doing yard work.

Although it’s not really where they come from (I’m cognizant of and almost mentioned here a facetious argument to the contrary) small children spend a lot of time on the floor. It’s their habitat. I was thinking about that the other day while we were cleaning our house

Today, we’re cleaning the again because our realtor has scheduled an Open House from 1:00 to 3:00. We’ll be skipping church this morning to get the ox out of the ditch. Every ox has it’s own ditch, it seems.

If you’re contemplating a move to Tennessee, we’ll make you a deal on a modest but charming 1957 brick ranch-style house with mature cherry, pear, and apple trees, as well as some grape vines. If you can guess the facetious argument to which I referred supra, I’ll knock a thousand dollars off the asking price if you’re a serious buyer making a serious offer.openHouse

Selling the House

Our modest but charming Stepford home

Our modest but charming Stepford home

Did I mention we’re selling our house?  We’ve listed it in the low eighties because

  • We’re not greedy pigs, and
  • We’d like to sell it quickly

So, if you’re looking for a reasonably priced three-bedroom, one bathroom, 1400 square foot brick house with hardwood floors, two sheds, mature fruit-bearing cherry, apple, and pear trees, three very old and questionable grape vines minutes away from three lakes and two rivers, you should think about buying the Christov_Tenn house at Stepford.

Lazy Morning, Easy Weekend

I’m having a lazy morning, although I do plan to paddle today.  Finally got some Rx allergy medicine refilled yesterday on the way home from work, so I’ll soon get over having a head that feels full of poison ivy.  The leaves here have been changing for the past maybe three weeks.  NOAA predicts 82 degrees Fahrenheit and calm wind.

Tomorrow we’ll go to church and overeat at a church potluck, then in the afternoon, will spend time with our realtor looking at houses.  That’s the plan, anyway.

Parties, Houses, No Paddling This Weekend

My youngest brother’s youngest child turned six, so my mom had everyone over for a birthday party Friday night.  On Saturday, we celebrated the 94th birthday of the oldest surviving male in the family.  Young Seventy-Six was a happy baby Friday night, and a fussy baby Saturday.

Since we got a new DVD player sans VHS player, we’re getting rid of your VHS tapes.  Gave several of them to my brother’s family at my mom’s house:

  1. Dr. No
  2. From Russia With Love
  3. Goldfinger
  4. Thunderball
  5. The World is Not Enough
  6. Braveheart
  7. The Fifth Element
  8. And some Anne of Green Gables collections for the little girl

Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I drove out into the country to look at a house on four acres in a neighboring county.  Barns and outbuildings.  I liked it, but it’s out of our price range.  We drove through a neighborhood that’s got five houses bigger than ours for sale well within our price range.  But the neighborhood.  Creepy.  Not a Twilight Zone neat-as-a-pin with no one about creepy (which sounds pretty good to me), but a grubby X-Files creepy.  Last time I really drove through there, maybe seven or eight years ago, it looked a lot better.

We’re planning to go out again with a realtor this afternoon to see the insides of some houses.

Caution-Lady’s going to bag church today as she’s stressed about upcoming parent-teacher conferences, and wishes to get some things done.  Cafe-Church pastor had surgery to remove cancer and a kidney last week, so he will not be in the pulpit today.  A Sewanee student from Flintville will be preaching.

I really need to wash the white car sometime soon.

Got all the line-trimming, mowing done yesterday afternoon before dark.  I’ll be glad when the pear tree is done producing and dropping fruit for the season.

Real Estate

We made an offer on that house, and the seller made a counter-offer, coming down maybe $1000.00. We countered that with the amount we had agreed beforehand we would not go above. The seller balked, and we walked. Slight disappointment, but we’ll wait for something suitable at a price we’re willing to pay. We’re in a strong position with no need to sell, and reasonably content in our current abode. Actually, there are four or five suitable houses in acceptable neighborhoods with asking prices at or below what we offered for that grander brick house we’re not getting.

Front of that house we didn't get.  Neighbor in the white house has a canoe in the backyard

Front of that house we didn't get. The neighbor in the white house has a canoe in the back yard.

Back view of the house we didn't get.  Note the attached two-car garage, screen sunroom off the den.  Very grand, by our standards.

Back view of the house we didn't get. Note the attached two-car garage and screened sunroom off the den. Very grand, by our standards.


Those of you who’ve tuned into the Christov_Tenn channel on Facebook already know that Caution-Lady, Seventy-Six, and I are thinking about listing our humble, ancient bricky house in a forgotten Stepford neighborhood in order to buy something equally ancient, bricky, but somewhat more grand in a more pleasant Stepford neighborhood.

Decluttering’s the big challenge with our house. The other house will require a number of home improvement projects to begin before occupancy.

We’ll probably make an offer today or tomorrow, and meet with our agent here at Vzzzt-bot manor this evening to walk through and glean marketing suggestions.

Good news is we’re both okay with staying where we are if we don’t get the other house. We’re still planning to clear out the clutter, however. It’s bugging us.