The Balance Of Life

Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin has made an amazing recovery. He was extubated overnight and is alert and talking.

In a Wednesday text exchange with David Banner (not his real name, but a real doctor) I wrote that perhaps Hamlin’s youth and excellent physical condition would give him a chance at a meaningful recovery. In a press conference yesterday, one of the doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who is supervising Hamlin’s care did mention those factors as likely having played a role in his progress.

To be honest, though, both David Banner and I were less than optimistic about Hamlin’s chances. Regardless of whether or not the cardiac arrest was the result of commotio cordis (Latin for agitation of the heart, a blow to the area directly above the heart at exactly the wrong time during the heartbeat cycle), anytime a person completely loses their heartbeat the situation is critical. By the way, the etiology investigation is not complete and, as I write this, no cause has been definitively identified.

I wish Hamlin and his family all the best.


As good as the situation appears to be for Damar Hamlin I am reminded that on this day in 2004 was the last time I spoke with my marvelous mom. In very early December of 2003 she had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. (The cancer had metastasized to other organs like her liver.)

Pancreatic cancer is a curse on Ashkenazi Jews. Some studies have suggested that, for example, among Ashkenazi men with a family history of colorectal cancer (I “qualify” as an aunt on my mother’s side had colorectal cancer), the rate of pancreatic cancer is twice that of the general population. Of course, since my mother had pancreatic cancer, my risk is even higher. All of those facts make my current bout with pancreatitis scary as hell.



The clock is ticking…well, I’m not really referring to everyone’s inevitable fate. We are down to 25 days in which to negotiate an accepted offer for our house so we can buy the “Goose Bumps” house.

One of the reasons for my poor mood yesterday was that a married couple who had walked through our house twice, each time for over an hour, did not make an offer and, instead, had decided to “move on.” I don’t want to describe my mental state as devastated, but for a brief time I was extremely depressed.

Showings are picking up, but we are running out of time. I’ll stick with my assessment that the probability of executing this purchase is only about 20 percent.

With the benefit of hindsight I have to admit that this endeavor was ill-conceived. In this environment of rising interest rates and talk of a recession, trying to sell a house in our market segment was not the best idea.

I don’t know if our realtor (Hi, K Squared!) defined our market as our zip code and I am not sure of the length of the study period, but houses listed at between $1 million and $2 million had 45 recent sales. In our segment, between $800,000 and $900,000, there were only 4 sales.

If that sounds counter-intuitive, remember that someone trying to buy a house for $1.8 million can probably pay cash whereas someone trying to buy a house for $850,000 probably needs a mortgage. Principal and interest on a 30-year mortgage for $680,000–80% of $850,000–at 6.5% is about $4,300 a month. The same amount and term at 3.5% is about $3,100 a month. (The current average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is about 6.5%. Our last rate before we paid off our mortgage five years ago was 3.5%.)

When people buy items like a house or a car, most of them are really “buying” a payment. One reason why 7- and 8-year car loans exist is so people can have a smaller payment, even though the car costs the same.

While we have not definitively decided, I strongly suspect that if we don’t buy the “Goose Bumps” house then we will just take our home off the market and wait for demand to improve, which–of course–might take a year or two. I will be very disappointed because I doubt we will ever have another chance to buy a house we like this much. Of course, I could be wrong.







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6 thoughts on “The Balance Of Life

  1. “talk of a recession”

    Looking at events as a layman, I feel we are already in the beginning of a recession. Prices on most items have risen, a lot, yet wages are stagnant. Many folks are deferring major purchases which has a domino effect. Example: A majority of the companies we do business with manufacture metal products for construction and appliance applications. We have been notified that some purchases of the machinery to make these products have been canceled, or in some cases postponed. This is totally due to falling demand for these products so it makes no sense for the company to invest 1 to 20 million dollars on new machinery to make these products.The dominoes continue with the OEM of the machinery, the folks who install the machinery (us), the folks who supply the goods needed for the installation, the hired help needed to install and run the equipment, and on and on and on.

    Pretty much like the butterfly effect.

    I hope you are able to make your real estate deal, but yes, it’s a tough market right now. I know I’m holding off on my plan, and my sister finds herself in this tough market also. She is remarrying soon, and now they will have to decide whose house to sell. The market where they live, New England, is worse off than many other areas for selling right now. I wish her luck, but I think they will be sitting on an empty house for a while, or selling at less than the assessed value.


    1. Thanks for sharing your current experience, DDM. Truth be told, my wonderful wife and I have a bet and if I LOSE that means we will have successfully purchased the “Goose Bumps” house. I hope I lose.


  2. Genetics pretty much controls the diseases we will suffer. You from your Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. I too have a similar family history. My father’s family had eight surviving siblings, who sired 24 children. In this group there have occurred, to date, five cases of colorectal cancer, two breast cancers, three lung cancers, two prostate cancers, one glioblastoma and one bone cancer metastasis from one of the prostate cancers. My own case of prostate cancer is probably from the breast cancer history on both my paternal and maternal history. Other family history of arterial plaque and kidney stones plagues both sides of my family. It pays to know your family medical history so your doctor has a head start on what to do in diagnosing your symptoms. I believe that God has taught us everything we know about medicine and how to treat the problems. We have to do our part in using that knowledge wisely to take care of ourselves. He gave you a brain and He expects you to use it.

    We will continue to do our part concerning the real estate deal. You never know what can occur in the current market.


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