December 8, 2005

The Prince of Denmark Contemplates the Future

So last night the mortgage broker calls and tells me that the bank that had pre-approved us for a mortgage has reneged on its promise. Apparently, The Wife’s employer understated her income on their verification of employment. For this, we apparently had to pay her employer more than she makes in half a day’s work.


This leaves The Wife and I in a very precarious situation. We have made an offer to buy the house and now we have no financing to back up that offer. In legal circles, this is known as “getting caught with your dick out.” I told the mortgage broker that a lawsuit for fraud would cost me a lot less than the closing costs of the house, but cost the lender more than we were asking to borrow. He got the message loud and clear; and of course, he’s not happy either since he’s not getting any commission unless we can get the house. I doubt The Wife is serious about a lawsuit but she’s just as upset about this as me.

Both of us (and probably the mortgage broker, too) were quite unhappy. The Wife is suggesting that this is a blessing in disguise and that we should take it as a signal to move to California immediately. I don’t know; there are a lot of things about the prospect of a move back that are very attractive. The Antelope Valley is as affordable a place to live as exists in California. The scenery is ugly there, but on the other hand, there is a Trader Joe’s in the area now. The quality and enjoyment of my work would probably improve, at least from a professional perspective, and although I’m starting to “get it” with Tennessee practice, I’ve still got ten years of California experience under my belt.

One thing that weighs heavily in my mind is that I ought to be running to something rather than away from something. Is the desire to leave Tennessee nothing more than an escape impulse? Or is the real objective -- a happy life -- truly better achievable in California, right now?

The Wife is concerned about the transaction costs and logistical challenges of moving back to California, and while those are not to be minimized, I’m trying to focus on the bigger picture. Is the future brighter here or in California? I haven’t really given the marketplace here a good test and probably cannot until next month, and I’ve got the idea that so far, I haven’t even got a good sample of what practicing law in Knoxville is all about anyway – my current perspective is somewhat skewed because of the peculiarities of the place where I’ve been working.

And, we don’t know whether, and if so how fast, another lender can be lined up to make the loan. The mortgage broker has said some optimistic things, and there are job prospects here. There’s lots of reasons to stay. There’s lots of reasons to scram, too. I’m used to making decisions based on incomplete information. But typically that is usually reducible to a few unresolved issues. Now, I feel unable to make a decision because those unresolved issues are legion – and like the song says, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” The Wife is very intolerant of this kind of flux and ambiguity – even less tolerant of it than I am. I don’t blame her; I’ll do what I can to help achieve resolution to all of this very soon.

Now, we have been told that a new lender is on the scene and able to pick up the pieces. If we can get enough money in our account soon enough, which we should be able to do. So yes, now we can get the house -- or so we think. And I have a more firm lead on work here in Knoxville, at a firm where my time would be split between employment (good) and malpractice (fair) and the location (near downtown) would be very convenient.

So the variables remain in flux. Until we get some coherent information, I don't know what to decide or what to think. It drives The Wife crazy but I'm just not at a point yet where I can feel comfortable being decisive yet. I can't let this state of affairs continue; it did Hamlet in and will do the same to me. My man Aristotle would counsel that the vices at the extremes are impetuousness on the one hand, and indecisiveness on the other. The golden mean is prudence and patience. How to know when patience has been adequately exercised? That is the question.


Anonymous said...

Hamlet? Oh, brother. You could have had a picture of The Clash, but no, that would have just been too cool ...

Recent visitors have told me it's really pretty here, and I concur. Then again, I didn't grow up in the desert. My complaint used to be that the *people* were ugly, but not the scenery.

Burt Likko said...

Way to sell it.

Anonymous said...

Well, yeah. From what I've seen, trying to live up to those impossible L.A. standards, without a heavy infusion of OPM (One's Parents' Money) will either drive one to severe depression, or land one in federal prison. My only not-old role model for independent achievement of The Good L.A. Life is now doing a three-year stint.