110 Should I Go, Should I Stay?

As promised, R.M. had sent Greg a market analysis and included comparable sales – recent sales, typically within the last twelve months – of units at the POPS or similar buildings, where there was some basis of direct comparison to Greg’s, either by size, or room count, or taxes. It was the place to start when considering a listing price but it was also necessary to factor in other things such as unit condition, or location in the building, for example.

In a stacked building - one with identical floor plans - the position of a unit in the building contributes to its relative value.

In a stacked building – one with identical floor plans – the position of a unit in the building contributes to a determination of its relative value.

Greg reviewed this data. Some condo owners in this market couldn’t afford to sell at the lower prices units were fetching of late; they were renting out instead, until the market recovered. Either renting or selling, Greg would have to move out. He didn’t have to sell and he had a lot going for him in the building, not least of which was a built-in nanny. True, he no longer had a girlfriend. She’d been handy, too; well, whenever it had suited her. He’d really only moved in here in the first place because he could afford it after his promotion, wanting to show off his newly regained bachelor status.

His financial adviser said it was a good idea to talk to more than one realtor, or he could try and sell it himself. But if these were the facts, Greg didn’t see the point of getting them sent to him all over again. He’d surf around on some real estate websites, see what he could dig up about value and sales, maybe go to a few open houses to see what other places looked like, see what was hot. The Cabots’ was the only place now listed at the POPS. He could wait and see how that went for R.M., watch him work, see if that got offers. Greg turned back to R.M.’s data, attempting to see his place in comparison.

He was aware that the information, though of vital interest to him, just wasn’t holding his attention, that what he was contrasting was different women, not condos, even to the point of imagining, as he looked at the interior photos, what unit features each of them might prefer; from there it was merely a sidestep away into which woman’s features he himself most preferred.

Perhaps it was boorish to compare Kitty and Georgia so directly but there it was. There was always something caged about Kitty, a taut, springy readiness poised to strike, even with her mask of apparent disinterest. He’d never once startled her; she was always there first, disdainful of his pace. She put him on his guard, in a defensive position, skating backwards so he never missed a move. He missed looking at her but he didn’t miss her.

Georgia was poised and calm, to the point of seeming slow. Not unintelligent but languid, more wary than ready to strike, more ready to retreat as she had when competition had emerged in their marriage. He’d been so hurt that she’d just given up on him, conceded defeat. Not much rivalry in those bones. He’d like to see some competitiveness in his daughters. How hard was it to achieve in one’s kids a distribution of more of the good qualities of each parent and fewer of the poor ones? Maybe they could combine, be just one good enough parent.

Competition was embedded in his business. He was always after the best, the cream of the crop, like his namesake Gregor Mendel, the geneticist, he of the experiment with the peas, testing, re-arranging until he came up with the best combination possible of dominant and recessive characteristics. Greg’s mother loved peas and the old tale of the princess and the pea. The princess was aware, to the extent of sleeplessness, that she could feel a hard and uncooked pea all the way through multiple layers of mattresses. It was this discernment of her own abilities, according to Lynn Ehuss, that distinguished this princess from other mortals, whether princesses or peasants.

Were his daughters just duplicate peas in a pod? Ping pong was a place to start, anything to tap into their rivaling souls, get them stirring. Even their hair was flat. He could take them over to Pluto’s, get Carrie Karon to stiffen theirs up a bit, though Kitty had teased that it was hopeless and why expect anything of girls with those names, anyway? All that soft, fine, brown hair, like their mother’s, was inclined to droop around their chubby faces, was never really likely to rise up in spikes nor instill new personalities, either. Kitty’s hair gave the appearance that it stood up without any encouragement, streaky, stranded, and Medusa-like.

At least Gina was teaching them how to deliver a joke well, get the timing right. A good skill to have. What was the one they’d used in the car on the way home? He struggled to recall it. Why were jokes so hard to remember? He worked it back from the punch line. ‘Two silkworms had a race but they ended up in a tie.’ A twin thing? Even with verbal competition, they ended up together. He’d talk to Georgia about it. Yes, he really wanted to talk to Georgia. Out of the mouths of babes.

Chapter 110 Should I Go

  • * * * *

Early Monday evening, invigorated by the day’s change of pace, Kitty returned to the training center, her ‘Gospel Hostel’ with a plan to get out of this temporary residency requirement and into something more suitable. She went to find Moth. He was counting up money, lots of money.

“Win the lottery, Moth?” He looked up, while his hands marked his place. It was bad enough doing this job once, counting money that wasn’t his, much less twice. But he didn’t want to miss a chance to talk to Miss Doyle.

“Hi, Kathy.”

“Remember, you can call me Kitty, when no one’s around to hear you.”

“Thanks, Kitty. On Mondays, I have to count the proceeds from the weekend before my Dad comes to review them. It has to be right or he gets, well, crazy angry with me. He’ll be here soon, so I have to finish. I’d really like to speak with you, I just can’t.”

“That’s OK. Another time. But do you have a list of contact numbers of all the people who conducted the services this weekend? I need to do some follow-up.”

“On that bulletin board.” Moth nodded in the general direction she was to look. Her eyes fell on a calendar with Herbie’s upcoming sermon topics. Next up John 3: 19. On auto pilot, Kitty dredged up ‘men prefer darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil’; finally something on which she and Herbie agreed. To be followed by I Corinthians 7: 34, ‘a wife should please her husband’; or maybe not so much.

“Got it.” Kitty scanned the list. “What about that new preacher,Ā  Mr. Thuss?”

“Oh, right. In the top drawer, here, in a folder marked Miracle Tour. See it? It’s not for general use yet, so please keep it to yourself or I’ll catch hell.”

“You, Moth? No way. Carry on counting.”