Sunday, June 7, 2009

Locked in the Old House

The Human Spaceflight Committee, a.k.a. Norm and company, have been handed their piece of real estate and are now fanning out across the country talking to builders. As they start to draw a blueprint for human spaceflight, they will soon find that credit is tight and most of the designs are prefabricated.

And the double-wide is out of the question.

Picking out a front door comes first. The inspector's checklist has already been taped up on it. Norm has been assigned to carry out an evaluation of the status and capabilities of E Street's subdivision. While OMB's budget has set the low ceiling in place, Norm's list of evaluation parameters represents the walls. A single sentence describes the initial effort. However, the real thrust of the checklist is laid out in the other six tasks that follow.

Those next six sentences speak volumes about what lots the transition team have been scouting since the Emperor was sent to the tailor. They have seen the weeds that the pony-tailed engineer planted and that Viceroy Hanley has been unable to cut down. One thing they knew from the start, OMB's mower has been working on the budget cut, right down to the quick, and not even Norm will be able to save his namesake grass from the searing summer sun.

So our new landscape offers little to work with. A quick jog to the toolshed finds some small tools. They could be used to set a foundation, but the going would be slow. In the shed are two handcarts for moving stuff, but certainly not heavy loads. One of them has wheels built in Russia which could fall off at any time.

Norm is also stuck with an old property with little utility value. Six people are living in it, all looking for work, and they have limited transportation. Their lease says they can't be evicted before 2016, and the courts will probably keep them housed until 2020 or later. If Norm can't sell, he will have a hard time coming up with the down payment on the next domicile.

Complicating factors is the front yard junk taking up space on the new lot. A rickety vehicle, an Ares-1, is parked out front. Unless it, too, is cleaned off the property, no new building will be possible.

So, its looking like Norm will be locked in the old house, lacking a down payment, unable to get credit, and facing a costly clean-up of an existing mess on his new property. He, and we, will have to wait for quite some time before we sit on the patio looking out at the Moon, Mars, and beyond.


Antares said...

Russian wheels are better than American wheels. Russian wheels take Americans to This Old House all the time. And there are plenty of Russian wheels sitting a mile high to continue to move things while Americans finish learning to make them (not to mention that Americans already know how to make the toughest part).

If the bank at 1600 won't approve a larger mortgage and we shed green stripes anyway, the real worry is what to do with the minions without the green stripe on their badge who have never successfully designed and used new handcarts, even without budget constraints. They will inevitably try to recast the handcarts in gold, with more handles and thicker frames, driving up the cost for everyone; nor would it be surprising for those of us currently driving those existing handcarts if a gold-cast one broke down thanks to minion-driven changes.

Here's hoping the new HOA Administrator listens to we cogent denizens of his old pentagonal subdivision who own the handcarts and tells the minions to apply their mallets to the last HOA Admin's practice bunker.

Anonymous said...

Who is the person referred to as the pony-tailed one?

The "Rocket City" engineers, both green stripe and civil savants, are going to have a huge credibility problem if the covers are ever pulled back. It could be technical ignorance or a lack of technical integrity, but in either case it will reflect poorly on the entire engineering community in the heart of dixie.

Anonymous said...

Instead of tearing down the old house, jackhammering the foundation, and bulldozing the garden, maybe it is a better idea to modify the home that has been there, doing the heavy-lifting, for 28 years.

Ray said...

My recommendation:

1. Rent a car (don't build one) for those 6 people so they can get to work. Rent another house if you find more work to do than 6 people can do.

2. Get rid of the junk in the yard before it pollutes the land and you have to pay for a big cleanup.

3. Use the small tools. You have to start somewhere, and they're cheap. Start working on a nice driveway.

4. Use your current handcarts, and maybe rent some new handcarts, and do what you can. Maybe you won't have enough money to build a mansion, but a small house might work. Maybe for a while you won't be able to build a house to move in at all. Maybe all you'll be able to do for a while is garden in the new place, but gardening is fun, affordable, and results in nutritious vegetables rather than big real estate bills.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Norm should look into Obama's Refinance Program. ;-)