Is living well really the best revenge?

florida pine scrub forest
A view of the Florida pine scrub forest that abuts our back yard

As home sellers in NY well know, the Fed’s actions have kneecapped much of the real estate market in lower Weschester.  People are still buying, but at drastically lower price levels from the frothy years, and often in areas once considered less than “desirable.”

My late Mum’s place — which I inherited free and clear — still has not sold; I am taking it off the market the first week of March.  I don’t expect it to sell by then, even though there has been a recent flurry of showings.

All these prospective buyers seem to want the same thing:  a steal.

There have been two offers, a low balling all-cash insult, and another for 40K under my asking price — which was already greatly reduced from its assessed value by the city of Yonkers.

But the 40K-under-asking-price buyers turned out to be assholes, with their lawyer demanding  endless penny ante concessions, so I told them to go fuck themselves.

This is what you can do when you have fuck you money in the bank.  I only once before had fuck you money:  twenty-five years ago, I was on my way to becoming a millionaire.  Or so I thought.  Office in the Helmsley Building on the top floor overlooking Park Avenue north.  House in Greenwich on an acre of land with a beatuiful pool.  C-level executive position.  Stock options.  Company funded travel to tech shows in places like Vegas and Cannes.

This is what I looked like then.

Ritz Car;lton - Cannes
Me on a balcony at the Ritz Carlton – Cannes

But it turned out to all be a mirage.

And after twenty years of horror, during which I fell off the wagon after 16 years of sobriety, I now look nothing like that guy you see above.

My wife and I are going to NY in late April.  I will fix the various issues with our NY house that came up during the past few months, in response to snarky feedback from prospective buyers.

It is going to cost me some to update the house, but I think eventually it will in fact sell — probably by late summer, when folks need to square things up in prepartion for the school year, providing Republican asswipes currently in Congress don’t destroy the American economy for giggles.

In the meantime, I am working like a dog fixing our new house here in Florida.  Painting mostly, but also buying rugs and furniture.  There is a lot to be done here, and I am doing the painting myself — no small feat, considering the cathedral ceilings, and * ahem * my age.

If I don’t break my neck, the result should be a big step up from the tiny shithole we lived in for the last twenty years, the one we lived in because we had to, the one we lived in because we were dirt poor.

I watch cable news, on occasion, and when I do, I cannot help think that these talking heads on TV don’t seem to have a personally-experienced idea of what it means to be really poor, as my wife and I were, as we were appoaching old age while facing a bleak future of destitution — our savings depleted, our health ruined, our house gone, our car a ten-plus-year-old beater in need of expensive repairs.

Today the situation has drastically changed, but I will never forget what is was like when we had almost nothing left, when nobody but nobody we knew or once thought of as friends or family — whether in Egypt (where I am from originally) or New York (where my wife and I met and lived for many years) ever showed the slightest interest or concern about our situation, when people no longer thought we were worth knowing after having to sell our big house in Greenwich CT following the dot com bust.  We got crossed off that list the real quick.

Mostly I will never forget what the last twenty years revealed to me about the putrid side of human nature.

Absolutely disgusting.

Thanks to Allah I know have enough money to laugh in their faces and do exactly as I please without having to ever deal with anyone again except on my own terms.

But it is a bitter laugh, one that’s more to cover my disappointment and barely concealed fury than occasioned by true mirth.

Nobody loves you when you’re down and out, baby.  Never forget that.


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