In Xanadu did Kublah Khan a stately pleasure dome decree

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Appraisal

NYE was My 3rd anniversary of moving into the house. I put the minimum down and have been paying an objectionable amount of PMI. The bank predictably has been many forms of subtly discouraging, but I pushed and am having the house officially reappraised. Recent comps of essentially identical houses (unimproved) are running a third above My purchase price, so I figured now is a good time to do this, JIC talk of a low-rate driven housing bubble turns out to be true.

So the nice appraiser guy came. When I bought it, the appraiser never even came to neighborhood, but now nixing PMI requires a visit, measurements, inside photographs. Supposedly this is driven by Dodd-Frank, who knows. So the guy comes and is very complimentary of the considerable work I have done, the choices I have made. We had a nice visit and generally hit it off, which I worked at of course, in hopes that wherever there may be discretion in the calculations, he might exercise it in My favor. Meanwhile boy t is sitting in the living room working remotely and obviously collared, but the guy seems not to notice and boy t is careful to not interfere with the important visit. As the appraiser is at the front door preparing to leave, a comment is made about the election and 2016 and hopes for a better year in 2017. 

I really don't know how the conversation turned exactly, I was just being nice and exhibiting a humane interest in the guy. But somehow goodbye turned into a 90 minute crisis therapy session. In between apologies for being unprofessional and wondering aloud why he is telling us all this (boy t's face is clearly transmitting a degree of amazement), the appraiser says the following:

- he's former military guy who used to have his life together
- then 2008 happened which triggered Dodd Frank, which cut his fees by 50% and increasing his workload, so his appraisal business is now unsustainable
- he was raised Catholic but can't go to church any more because the abuse scandals have to ruined it for him
- then his SEVEN closest friends all died in the space of about three years... he feels morally responsible for one of the deaths and was present for two others
- now he is depressed, struggling with meds, seeing a psychiatrist, messing up his marriage to a very hot Estonian woman, and wondering if his five year old daughter might be better off if he were dead

I quickly realize this is one traumatized, unmoored guy and though he is on meds, clearly he is not yet on the right meds cuz he's still toying with the question of whether to live or not. I'm of course not a therapist, and he seems to have given up on therapists because one of them told him something he wasn't ready/ willing to hear... that the always successful, heroic person he wants to be isn't the whole story, that this Other broken person is also him.  I can't in good conscience just kick him out after spilling of his guts to Me. I also have to wonder how stable he might really be, whether he is going to be calling Me, and in retrospect, maybe I should have seriously considered whether he had a gun under the jacket. Ours is the kind of state where people do wear such things.

So I tried to keep him calm, let him vent, showed concern and compassion, and offered resources: some books, a website, a CD, and a male counselor I have confidence in. I prompted him to write these things down. I shared some of My story, enough to say "I've been there, I made it, you can make it, your daughter needs you, you can do this."  I tried to validate his feelings while gently pointing out how his thought patterns reinforce his negative perceptions, closing off alternative interpretations. I gently nudged him to consider those alternatives. But it was like playing whack-a-mole, as it so often is when talking to someone who is deep in depression. The narrative and the judgments are so strong, everything is so locked down. I was glad boy t was getting a front row seat with someone so clearly demonstrating things I have said in our past conversations, about how we create a story to explain our lives and often get stuck in the story. I advocate choosing to believe stories that help rather than hurt us.

I also I thought, how interesting. This guy need someone to talk to right now, he must need it really badly to break professional decorum. How interesting that I am here on a weekday morning which is surpassingly rare; boy t is here which gives Me physical safety with a stranger in My home, even rarer; how interesting that I have something this appraiser needs which somehow connected without trying; and how interesting that I have all the time in the world to give him.

At one point the appraiser apologized for all he was saying, and expressed some bewilderment. I looked at t and said, "Tell him, boy."  boy t then looked at the appraiser and said, "Don't worry, things like this happen with Her a lot."  And it is true. As Master I spend quite a bit of time helping various boys unpack their baggage, so really I was not phased to have a man I barely know on the verge of tears in My living room. It does happen.

So I just rolled with it until about noon, which was 2.5 hours after he arrived. Eventually his phone pinged and he jumped up saying he was late for his next appointment, thanked Me profusely, and quickly left.

I didn't fix any of his problems. I do hope, though, that I gave him just a little bit of hope, a little bit of a feeling that there is somewhere he can turn, maybe a little sense that someone could care what happens to him, that he is not entirely bereft.  I hope that I was able to be for him the way-pointing Presence that several people were for Me back when I was lost and not yet found.

When I bought the house, it was a sick house. The home inspector even said so, "I cannot recommend you buy this house, it is unhealthy."  But three years later, My house has apparently healed quite a bit, healed enough that it now wants to try and heal people who visit it.

How interesting.