My friends,

I apologize for being absent these past few days. Things have been crazy, and I feel like I’ve eaten an entire bar of Trader’s Joe’s 17-ounce dark chocolates, but without the high. First, things have settled down at the office. We had a 3-day staff retreat, where we all got to know each other’s behavior types and sang Kumbaya while having a potluck. It was very effective. There were candles too.

On a side note, I heard on NPR that a couple is making candles targeted toward men. They’re called “Mandles” and they have manly scents such as “Autoshop” “Meat and potatoes” and “Campfire Breakfast,” which I would imagine smells like burned eggs and bacon. It’s brilliant. I think they should also make scents called “Flatpanel TV,” “chips and salsa” and “Brookstone gadget.”

Where was I? Oh yeah, things have been insane, insane I tell you. I was nominated as president of the neighborhood council, leading a slate of six people. This means more work, but slowly I am amassing power and soon, soon Facebook, Crocs, and that guy will face my wrath, muahahahaha.

The biggest change however, and you better sit down for this, is that Jameelah and I are searching for a house. We figured, why spend so much dang money for a wedding when we can use that money as a down payment on a house. I mean, our friends and family don’t care. They just want us to be happy. Right? Right? So we thought we’d just buy a house, then have a small celebration at the house.

For weeks we’ve been driving around the city, gawking at houses. At least on a few occasions, we snuck into a vacant house to look around, me very nervous, and Jameelah calling me a wimp because I didn’t want to face charges of breaking and entering. Then we found a real estate agent, and that made things a lot easier. Apparently a real estate agent can go into any house that is on this weird thing called a “List.” It’s weird. They’re like a cult, and they have magical passwords on their phones that let them open little boxes where house keys are stored. It’s amazing. And they talk their own language, and it sounds like this: “If you get an FHA loan, you can amortize your payments, but I recommend an interest-only payment system, because in five years you might want to flip it and reverse it.”

Anyway, so driving around, we were amazed by some of the houses. We just want a little one with lots of light, a little backyard where we could start a small vegetable garden, and a basement where we could sing Karaoke on Friday nights without having the police called on us by the uptight upstairs neighbor like last Christmas (They should also make a Mandle with the scent of “Bitterness.”) It is Seattle, and apparently for what we pay here for a decent house, we could get a mansion in the Missouri. But then, who wants to live in Missouri. (“Maw, that vegemetarian is a-makin’ fun of Missourah again!” “Git the shotgun, Anna-Belle!”)

But we found a great little house, and today, we’re going to make an offer. It’s at the higher end of our price range, but we just fell in love with it when we walked in and realized that it doesn’t have mold like our current apartment! We’ve been busy running around getting all the documents ready for our loan. It’s a time-consuming and confusing process. Today, we sat down with our agent while on conference call with our broker. Said our agent, Al, to our broker, Arnie, “So we did a market analysis and are thinking of offering full asking with concession that seller pays 3.5 closing costs, what do you think?” Arnie says, “Wait, I still need several more documents to secure the loan, including their tax returns, 12 months of bank statements, and report cards from elementary school. Plus, their down payment money needs to be more seasoned, and also, what is their blood type and shoe size?”

We signed five billion pages. Tomorrow I will rush to get the missing documents, then we’ll send in our offer. We’ll know by Thursday if they take our offer, or they’ll just point and laugh. Will keep you updated. We’re nervous. We really like this house. It has a great little yard and I’ve started daydreaming about planting some grapes on a trellis so we can make our own dolmas.

In the meanwhile, I’m getting inspired for more Mandle scents, including “Leaking roof,” “cracked concrete,” and “rotting wooden deck.” What’s your favorite manly scent?

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