1996-12-18 Woozle writes to Dad and Cindy

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Hey folks,

Two letters and two wee gifties have been and gone and no response from me. Well, I've dragged the 100-lb. laptop across the street for the weekend, and here I am. (I've also got to type a letter to Grandma -- if this gets to Pinecrest first, please let her know it should be on the way Real Soon Now.)

As you surmised, the financial situation hasn't improved much -- after our talk in the summer, the total went up to 41k but we've managed to get it back down to 40.5k by skipping lunches and minimizing grocery trips. I'm hoping that the Waseca school will soon have an opening for Anna, and then NLB will take over daycare for Anna and we will no longer be out $50/week (plus food plus heat during the day plus electricity for cooking lunch) which will, at this point, make a significant difference.

On the job front, I submitted myself to a couple of "job search" web pages the last couple of days we were in Durham, and received what I consider to be a flood of responses (considering my previous luck with "Job BBS"s c. 1993/4) -- about six different head-hunting places called with jobs they wanted to shop me for and asked for faxes of my résumé (sometimes several different people from the same place each wanted a copy), more details about this and that, etc. I have responded to all of them and am waiting for more news. I will enclose copies of the materiel sent for your critique.

I have decided to refine my job search at this point to positions not requiring more commitment than a year or two; I don't know if this is unrealistic on my part -- or perhaps I'm simply being too honest -- but I don't want to promise anyone that I will work for them indefinitely. (Mind you, if adequately fed and kept in supply of enough wherewithal, I'm likely to become complacent and stick around anyway -- but you can't exactly say that in a job interview and expect to be taken seriously.) So we'll see what happens. If no serious bites in a few weeks (say by mid-January), then I may have to go for total upheaval.

On the work front, money continues to dribble in from the online store and the studio (more from the latter than the former, unless you're talking gross rather than net) and this weekend I am working on some major revisions for the Autonomous Records web site (billable hours). I've also received inquiries from a couple of small record companies wanting to list merchandise in the store; eventually, with a large enough catalog and enough different people referring their customers to the site, it should be able to generate substantial income. Whether that will come in time to be of help in this situation is doubtful, but all I can think to do at this point is keep all the irons hot.

As far as bankruptcy -- I am not firmly opposed. It's mainly a matter of balancing (pro) the gain of not having to pay out $40k+interest over the next N years versus (con) bad credit for awhile, not knowing a good lawyer, the risk of unknown side effects (e.g. harrassing phone calls from creditors, possible bad rep for the business, I don’t know -- never done it before), and the ethical dissatisfaction of not paying a debt. If indeed a good lawyer can wangle a settlement of 30-40%, perhaps one could wangle an 8% interest rate instead (and lowered monthly minima to match)? We could keep up with it at that rate. But the credit companies probably wouldn't see any difference between this and a percentage settlement (n.b. would they want such a settlement in cash up front? In that case, we certainly couldn't come up with it regardless).

On the Rebekah front, I'm currently stalled. Relations seem tense-but-ok, i.e. par for the course. I think I have to treat the things she said as worries and fears, rather than intentions or beliefs, and trust that she won't carry through on any of them without fair warning. That has been the modus operandi since we moved here, more or less; all we can do is try to respond sanely and rationally to what we perceive the situation to be (with input from Mubbie) and remember that Rebekah's input is based on her imagined inflations of Mubbie's worst fears and depressed moments (which is probably all Rebekah gets to hear) and very little actual knowledge, and forge ahead until it becomes clear we are being directly opposed.

It probably seems I’m blowing the whole thing out of proportion. It's Mubbie's land, then Rebekah's, and then she can will it to whomever she wishes -- why do I care what they do with it? If they want to build condos, I should wish them good luck and go live wherever best suits me. What I see, though, is that unless Rebekah intends to let the land leave the family, it will eventually be in Anna’s hands, and that makes it my responsibility to see that no irreparable harm is done -- or, at any rate, harm that would be unaffordable to undo. Perhaps condos, once no longer wanted, could be knocked down, and in 20-30 years the woods would have grown back to more or less where it is now. But the money would have already been spent on the construction, the inevitable trash would be back in the woods (after we’ve spent a good year or more removing what was there before), there might be tenant's-rights laws which could make it expensive to decommission the condos (did you hear "Money Matters" this morning?), and 20-30 years is a long time to wait. In addition to all that, I see the conflict and destruction (between Rebekah and Mubbie) that we are averting by keeping them out of each other’s hair.

Sorry to run on, but we didn’t really get a chance to discuss this stuff at Tgiving, and I did want you to have some idea of what we feel our position to be about living here. It looks like I need to write Rebekah a letter about all this, too.

Must finish up, though this letter feels unfinished. We're all looking forward to visiting again and seeing Anna's Great Grandma.

Take care,