I’m in debt

It’s official. I’m a debtholder.
And a homeowner.

And after the brouhaha around my downpayment, I understand why my mom’s whole side of the family hates banks. It’s my money! Not yours! Gimme!

So here’s what I learned:

1. Banks don’t talk to each other. That’s fraternizing with the enemy.

2. In this age of computer automation, it can–and will–still take days for a check to clear. Give your brain-dead financial institution a week to sort it out. Don’t count on them getting into the 20th century before your closing date. (Yes, I am aware that it’s now the 21st century.)

3. Try to keep your money in the same institution as your family members, just in case they need to quickly loan you what you put in limbo by writing a check (ha ha!). You know that computer system it refuses to use to quickly transfer money to and from other banks? It will use it to at least check account balances and verify that the money you say is there really is there.

4. Keep as little of your money as possible in banks. My stockbroker/money manager/whatever-you-want-to-call-him gets money to me faster than my banks do. And he beats the tar out of the interest rates a bank pays.

5. You say it’s your money? Possession’s 9/10 of the law, pal.

But anyway, that’s over. I signed my name a few dozen times and around 8 pm I got a key. I drove over. I had a few things with me.

My mom wanted to know what the first thing I’d bring in was. Well, I figure you’ve got two hands. So, since I’m the greatest writer who ever lived, I brought a bronzed copy of my book, Optimizing Windows, and the Nov. 1991 issue of Compute, which contained the first published article I got paid for.

Actually, several of my friends are under orders to shoot to kill if I ever do anything like that. And, for the record, the greatest writer who ever lived was F. Scott Fitzgerald.

So what’d I really bring in?

In one hand I brought in a pewter cross I received on March 18, 1999, the day my membership became official at my current church. (But its main significance is it’s the only wall-hanging cross I have.) I hung it above the fireplace. In the other hand, I brought a framed copy of my dad’s senior picture. I set that on the mantle.

Then I brought in some old stuff. I brought in the sign that hung outside my grandfather’s office (“Dr. Ralph C. Farquhar Jr., Osteopath”), and I brought in a box. The contents of the box:

An apothecary that had belonged to my grandfather
A medical instrument that had belonged to my grandfather (whatever that thing’s called that he uses to look in your ears)
My great-grandfather’s microscope
Dad’s camera (a Minolta) and a couple of Kodak lenses
Dad’s wallet
A can of Farquhar’s Texas-Style BBQ Seasoning

I arranged those on the mantle as well. They look good there.

Unfortunately, since my dad was a radiologist, it’s hard to find anything that symbolizes what he did for a living. But soon I’ll be getting the OMT table that had belonged to Dr. Ralph and then to my dad. OMT is an osteopathic practice similar to what chiropractors do. Dad used to give OMT treatments to his friends after work in our basement. So the OMT table is going in the basement. Then, this house will be home.

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10 thoughts on “I’m in debt

  • September 9, 2002 at 9:41 pm


    Home ownership is kind of like having kids.
    It’s more trouble than you realized, but more
    rewarding than you would have imagined.

    Hope you enjoy.

  • September 9, 2002 at 10:40 pm

    Congratulations! I hope it’s everything you dreamed of in a house and so much more 🙂

  • September 9, 2002 at 11:25 pm

    Congratulations. Now the thing to do is to own it outright and get out of debt again as quickly as possible. Simultaneously you’ll need tools and likely gardening tools and lawnmowers and…..

    Seriously. Budget to spend as little and save as much as you can each pay period, and build up a financial cushion. Then switch all those ongoing savings to paying off the loan. Depends on how your loan’s structured, but if it doesn’t cost you extra to overpay, and if you can apply it all the principal, paying off the mortgage in as little as five or seven years is doable.

  • September 10, 2002 at 12:28 am


    Keep us informed on your plans for your house! Computer in every room??


    I just became a homeowner a few months back and I am enjoying every minute of it! I am sure you will too.

    /Dave T.

  • September 10, 2002 at 2:02 am

    Congratulations Dave. You are now forever free of landlords. Be it ever so humble, your home is YOURS.

    Banks: they rank right up there with Insurance companies for taking your money from you. NEVER trust them. (I like your Mom’s family Attitude!)

    Nevertheless, banks being a necessity, like undertakers and Sanitation workers, I have finally settled on NetBank – as good as they come, bank-wise. My account info available online 24/7/365, “Paybills” set up to painlessly pay my bills rapidly and automatically – less than 5 working days. And Direct Deposit of my two retirement checks has the $Money available to me as of 0001 on the day deposited. Can’t ask for better than that, if you MUST have a bank (as we all must).

    Enjoy your home in peace, Dave. You have earned it.




  • September 10, 2002 at 8:37 pm


    good news and good luck..

    I am just about to spend more money on my house, as you will do. Just remember every time you walk into a hardware store (and you will) you will spend 100 bucks. Get used to it.

    In Australia we have a inter-bank electronic funds transfer system (bpay). Still takes two days to clear an electronic payment?!?



  • September 10, 2002 at 9:36 pm


    I can’t wait to read of your exciting adventures as a homeowner… how you deal with damndelions, the phone company, the stuff they failed to disclose…

    How about an old xray tube as a memorial to your Dad?
    Want me to hunt one down for you? I’d like one too, come to think of it.


  • September 11, 2002 at 1:47 am

    Congrats, Bud! Enjoy the fruits of your labors…

  • September 15, 2003 at 10:28 am

    Is the OMT table one of the big pneumatic types with lots of chrome and springs? My osteopath has one that belonged to his father. It looks like a barber chair put together by Picasso. I am trying to find one for my house too. Would you ever consider selling your’s?

    Radiology? Sounds like you need a skeleton in the closet.

  • September 18, 2003 at 6:39 pm

    Nope, it’s just a padded table, with a surface that wipes down easily. And no, I can’t say I’d ever consider selling it. It was my dad’s, and his dad made it by hand. Stuff like that needs to stay in the family.

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