I’m a stress case. I’m a high-strung, mildly neurotic, anal-retentive, passive-aggressive stress case.

The house buying thing is causing me stress. I’ve worked my ass off packing and arranging funds and getting things coordinated and there’s still so much more to do. The time is going altogether too quickly.

Work is causing me stress. I’m working on one project, which is really three projects that people are kind of calling one project, all of which have their own timelines (unreasonable) and goals (conflicting). Requirements are poorly defined (if, in fact, they are defined); cross-project dependencies are entirely out of my control (and they’re trying to jerk the carpet out from under me on one particular key dependency); and the whole thing is just moving way too fast for me to feel in control of my own destiny.

To that end, little things are bothering me now. I get the urge to tell everyone to just fuck off because I can only deal with one thing at a time anymore. I’m constantly riding that “last straw line” and it seems that folks can always just find that one last nerve to step on. I’m rational enough about the situation to realize that I’m not going to be able to address any of this rationally in a discussion, nor do I want to “talk it out” or debate about why things need to be the way they are. I don’t care. I just want shit fixed, I want it to work, and I don’t want it to require my personal time and attention.

I think I need a vacation.

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I went at 11:00a to the title company and promised my mortal soul in exchange for…

Oh, wait a minute.

I mean, I went to the title company and signed all of my loan papers, handed over a ridiculously large check, and now my house is in escrow. As soon as the loan funds and records (which should be Friday), I’ll be getting some keys to the place because, at that point, the house is mine.

Of course, the lady selling the house won’t be out until April 3, which was part of the offer - allowing her to stay there rent-free for a few days while her new house closed and she moved out - so I won’t be able to go in until then. I’ll take a couple of loads of stuff over, maybe roll around on the carpet, nothing major… but on the fifth, I’m movin’ in.

My realtor, Gregory, missed my paper signing, but I think it was just some sort of miscommunication or something. He said he didn’t get the message on when the signing was, while my title officer (who is, coincidentally, also my aunt) says she left a message for him with the info. Gregory is understandably irritated because he thinks it reflects poorly on him, while my aunt is also understandably irritated because she thinks it reflects poorly on her. I don’t think it reflects poorly on either of them; they both provided me with excellent service and will be getting future business and recommendations from me. These things just happen sometimes. I’m not sure what Gregory would have done there anyway, other than just showing support; it was basically just a bunch of new versions of loan documents I already signed.

All in all the signing took about 45 minutes and I signed probably - seriously - 100 different things (I have two loans - a primary/first mortgage, and a secondary/home equity line of credit - so there’s double the usual paperwork), many of them duplicates of each other, but all reasonably straightforward. Now that it’s said and done, I’m not sure what all of the hazardous warnings and bad signals were all about that I got from people I talked to; the signing isn’t really a bad experience, and there’s not a lot different there from when you buy a car or any other big-ticket item. There’s just more to sign, which doesn’t make it bad, just a pain in the wrist.

Only one more step remains in the entire process - the actual move. We’ve been packing nightly and getting things ready to go, but there’s still so much more. I’m wiped out, man.

I’m sitting at the allergy clinic, waiting for my weekly shot, and they have the stupid country music station playing. Apparently this is Toby Keith singing a song called American Soldier. It occurs to me that this is probably one of the worst capitalist sell-outs I’ve witnessed (in a manner of speaking) in a long time. I mean, how cheap do you have to be to write a really bad tribute song to cash in on the emotions of military parents and sympathizers? Terrible.

I went to U-Haul this weekend to pick up some “mirror packs” - gigantic flat boxes you can pack things like framed art in - and ended up spending like $80 on boxes. I bought not only the mirror packs, but they also had these styrofoam corners you can strap onto to the picture to protect the frame, so I got those, too. But at $6.50 per box and $5 per set of corners… well, nobody ever said moving was cheap.

So there was some packing this weekend, but not the quantity you’d think. Instead, Jenn and I got into this sort of triage mode where rather than just dumping things into boxes, we’re going through everything and separating it into piles. We’ve got an eBay pile (things we want to try to auction off); a garage sale/Goodwill pile (things we’ll try to sell at my parents’ upcoming garage sale and donate if it doesn’t go); and a garbage pile (stuff to just pitch out).

As part of that triage, I decided to go through my magazine collection. I have this pack-rat style problem when it comes to magazines. I’ll read them, then if I find an article I like or pictures I like, I’ll keep the magazine. This reached a particular head during my Sarah Michelle Gellar phase a few years back and resulted in my having probably 250 magazines of various natures stashed in the closet. Time to weed out. To that end, I decided that my pack-rat nature would be satisfied if I somehow kept the article even if I didn’t keep the whole magazine, so I set about scanning all of the articles that I was interested in keeping. I spent probably 16 hours on that this weekend, and a couple of hours last night, and I finally scanned all of the articles out of the magazines I’m throwing out. 588 pages worth of scans. I won’t even get into the nightmare pile of magazines in the middle of the computer room floor. I have to clean that up tonight.

Speaking of packing/moving, my parents have listed their house for sale. They’ve been toying with the idea of moving into a condo for a while now and it looks like they’re actually committed now, which I think is a good thing. Not the condo part - I’ve tried to convince them out of that; I think it’s been too long since they’ve lived in an apartment and understood that there’s no such thing as a good attached neighbor - but the fact they’ve committed to the decision. It’s been up in the air for over a year now, and it’s time they shit or get off the pot.

In other news, Jenn and I watched an episode of The Sopranos season four via our On Demand cable a couple of weeks ago and it was intriguing. Enough, at least, so that we went this weekend and rented the first three episodes to the first season. We’ve seen the first two episodes and I’m liking it. I’m not as sucked in by it as some shows, but something about it compels me to watch. I’m sort of fascinated by the way it’s like GoodFellas meets Analyze This.

Oh, and I’ve been sucked into that show Wonderfalls. I’m not even really sure why, but I think it’s got something to do with the writing. The main character, Jaye, sounds like a live action Daria, and the sharpness of the whole thing reminds me of a song by Cake. I can’t not watch it. Maybe I should figure out when its regular time slot is (we caught a couple of episodes in “special encore” showings). I asked my mom if she’d seen the show and she had but couldn’t watch it. Apparently there was “too much going on.” I think the generation gap is starting to widen.

media, movies comments edit

I watched Matchstick Men this weekend. It said “comedy” on the side of the box, but I don’t think I’d classify it as such.

Matchstick Men is the story of Roy Waller (Nicolas Cage), an obsessive-compulsive con artist. He’s been conning people for years, has a bit of a shady past, and wants to get out of the business. He’s done some big cons, he’s done small cons… and now he’s going to do one last big job and quit.

It occurs to me that being a con artist must be a lot like being a gambler. You do it often enough and you become greedy, and rather than knowing when to quit, you somehow feel the need to make one last big play before cashing in. At least, that’s how it seems from the movies.

So Roy decides to do one last con. Unfortunately, he’s run out of medication for his OCD so he needs some psychiatric help to get some more medication. He goes to see the psychiatrist and starts discovering things about himself. He feels sort of empty and needs to get in touch with what really matters in life.

Eventually he gets in contact with his teenage daughter (Alison Lohman), who he’s never met. And, somehow, life seems that much better. The compulsive ticks slowly dissipate and you finally see a man complete and happy.

I thought this was a great movie. It legitimately made you care for the characters, which is not something you see a lot of lately, and it told an interesting story. I will tell you this - there was a colossal plot twist that I never saw coming. It just makes it all the better.

If you have the chance, give this a rent. It’s well worth your time, as are most Ridley Scott films.