on home ownership, PNW living, and motorcycles

I love living in the PNW. It’s friggin gorgeous out here. Since moving out of the house everything has been easier, even winters. It used to be I hated winters out here, all rainy and cold and wet. Now that we live in a rental in the city, the feeling of being “stuck” is gone. Home mortgages really suck, you know? I mean, they’re essentially 30-year rental contracts, with the option to own at the end. I know, I know, there’s all this other stuff involved with equity and perceived investment and blah blah blah, but the way I see it is this:
  • Society is more mobile now. We don’t buy a home with the intention to live there, retire there, and have our children raise their children there. We buy a home with the hope we’ll be able to sell it for some sort of profit in 5, 10, 20, 30 years. It’s ridiculous.
  • We tend to calculate the value of the home in terms of purchased price vs. sold price. We don’t factor in sunk costs for repair, renovation, interest paid, etc.
  • The idea of home ownership as a measure of success is a societal myth we built and perpetuated on ourselves, and has no bearing on reality.
I mean, if I live in a home, I have to pay “rent” (mortgage) to the mortgage company, who can and will sell my note to anyone they choose. We bought our home through First American, who sold it to Chase the day we moved in, who sold it to Litton Loan, who sold it to Ocwen. We didn’t get a say in any of this. We never even made a mortgage payment to First American, because they sold our loan immediately to Chase. I have to do my own repairs or pay a guy to do them — roofing, plumbing, etc. With a rental, my landlord provides a handyman and I gotta say, this is an aspect of renting that is highly underrated.
If I want to move (transfer for work, maybe?) or I get cabin fever from the same walls and layout every day, I have to either commute or deal with it until we can find a buyer. With a rental, you just look for a new place.
Oh, and you know how they sell your note? Believe it or not, the personality/ values of your mortgage company matter. I know it doesn’t seem like it’d effect you like a petty landlord does, but it turns out that some mortgage companies will work with you to overcome bad times, while some level fees against you and stick hard-and-fast to the rules until you have no choice but to foreclose. It has the overall negative effect and stress a bad landlord does, except a mortgage company can ruin your credit and send you into foreclosure. So there’s that.
I know, not exactly on target, but still hilarious.

I digress, though. This wasn’t supposed to be a post about home ownership, mortgage companies, and why I think renting > buying when it comes to living spaces. This was supposed to be a post about gorgeous PNW spring weather and how I want to ride my motorcycle.

I mean, seriously, it’s insane out there — the trees are budding leaves of green, and the sky arches blue and cloudless overhead. The pavement radiates warmth from the 70 degree sunshine. In the PNW, our roads curve and twist in spirals and loops both long and tight — with mountains and varying terrain everywhere, every motorcycle ride is both an adventure and an exercise in skill.

Source: A View of the World

We could ride to the ocean and talk to the instructors at the Grays Harbor MSF Course, who taught me how to ride. We could ride to Mt. Baker  or Mt. St. Helens or Mt. Rainer and enjoy the scenic vistas. If we had motorcycle insurance (Washington is one of the few states that does not require motorcycle insurance), we could ride to Portland, Oregon and browse Powells Bookstore for a bit — and we could do any one of these during the 7 hours or so Kidling is in school, and still have time for coffee.

Unfortunately, I can’t ride. Besides the obvious (footpeg being broken), I actually need to grab some riding gear, too. My helmet is about 4 years old by this point, and you’re supposed to replace it every 2-4 years, or immediately after an accident. John needs to replace his, too — his was on sale at something like 75% off for being unsold inventory when he bought it, so it’s actually about 6 years old. I need new boots, and we both need new summer gloves. Also, I need to adjust my chain, because it’s a little loose. And getting that motorcycle insurance wouldn’t go amiss.
So there are actually several reasons I allegedly couldn’t ride today — but let’s be honest, the chain adjustment is easy to do, and if my footpeg wasn’t broken, we’d adjust my chain and be off. I’ve decided I’m going to replace my clutch/ brake controls and the footpegs with matte black versions instead of the silver versions. I also want to get new gear.
I just realized all the gear I want is black. That’s . . . interesting. I wonder if that says something about my character or outlook on life. Most gear (when marketed to girls) seems to feature flowers, pink camo, and just various shades of pink. I’m not really a fan of flowers, pink, or camo, so I tend toward the neutral-toned gear.
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2 thoughts on “on home ownership, PNW living, and motorcycles

  1. It's mostly just the lack of footpeg, to be honest. It's the left footpeg near the shifter. We tried replacing the broken footpeg with the passenger footpeg, but no dice. Doesn't work. Prevents the shifter from proper movement. Replacement footpegs range from $51 – $86

  2. That's all that is holding you back from riding? C'mon cheeka! We need you on the road with us while we're still here!!! LOL Seriously though, I love the mountains, trees and the roads. I'm onto my 3rd helmet and I have like 3 pairs of gloves… one for each season. I can't even remember how many jackets and pants I have for riding… I quit wearing the chaps. They're all warped because of the HD VRod exhaust melting them. I discovered that it doesn't matter if you have riding pants on, because from my experience, my legs still get scraped up and twisted around. I only wear textile type riding pants in the cold wet seasons. I just double up my pants layers in the dry season. Like yesterday, for example, I wore my exercise pants under my jeans. Worked out great.

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