Daily Archives: April 4, 2018

I check off one more “grown-up” item: We bought a house! A woman gets five years in prison for accidentally voting. And “One Shining Moment” honors a fabulous Tournament, with Villanova reigning supreme

There are moments in a person’s life that I always figured, serve as absolute benchmarks.

Graduating high school. Graduating college. Getting married. Having kids. All those, in my first 42 years, I’d done (Hey, I liked getting married so much, I went and did it twice!)

And there was one more huge one that I hoped and knew would be coming someday, as my wife and I started a family and started realizing that our once-huge-seeming two-bedroom apartment in NYC might be becoming a bit too small. (If I step one one more LEGO piece or small matchbox car…)

Buying a house. It’s such an enormous, grown-up thing to do, something lots of people our age had done and seemed perfectly capable of doing, but still seemed intimidating.

But happily, after a very short search to find one, and a very rushed yet seeming very long drawn-out process of actually buying one, we own a home.

It’s beautiful. It’s so much bigger than our apartment. And, quite amazingly, it’s ours.

We actually own property. And a backyard where the boys can play WiffleBall and have a swingset, and their own bedrooms where they can hang posters of LeBron and Federer (OK maybe their father will be hanging those but still), and a kitchen and a basement and all the usual things homes have.

We closed on the house on Monday, and signing every single piece of paper felt like one more giant step toward being a real adult.

It’s thrilling, And terrifying. For the first time as an adult, when something breaks where I live, there’s no super or building manager to call. It’s just us, on our own. The amount of pros totally outweigh the cons, but it’s still a huge step.

We got extremely lucky during this process; we knew what we were looking for, we had an amazing real estate broker who puts to shame any of the horrible cliches about brokers (truly, she was fantastic, so helpful and friendly that I’d recommend her to anyone), a terrific, smart and helpful real estate lawyer, and we found a perfect house within a few weeks of starting to look.

The town we’re moving to, Port Washington, is on Long Island. We chose it for many reasons, among them: There’s a real, walk-able downtown, which was crucial for Shelley and I to have (so many LI towns are just one strip mall after another). It’s fairly close to Manhattan, where she works and where we can still give our boys so many cultural experiences.

There’s water, there’s tennis courts, there’s a good school system, a train line that goes directly into NYC, and our new house is close to all of those things.

After the closing Monday, we went to lunch with our parents and then drove over to the house. I opened the front door, looked at the vast open space of a house with no furniture, and smiled.

A house. The whole house, ours to fill up with memories and scuff marks on the walls and love and fighting and great meals and thunderous laughter and most assuredly sorrow, a house that I hope to grow old in, and be one of those grumpy old men sitting on the porch complaining about the kids not calling as much.

I’m babbling. But it’s an overwhelming feeling. And a great one.  It feels… big.

(Oh, and don’t worry. That’s not the house we bought in the clip above.)

**Next up today, just your occasional reminder at how incredibly biased and prejudicial our criminal justice system is. So it’s been proven time and again that minority defendants get much harsher sentences than Caucasian ones. It’s also been proven time and time again that “voter fraud,” which Trump and many on the right claim is so rampant ant horrible, doesn’t actually exist.

Those two topics collided recently. Check out this story from The Washington Post: A 43-year-old Texas woman named Crystal Mason was just sentenced to five years in prison, for voting in the 2016 election while on probation.

The details from the story: “The 43-year-old former tax preparer hadn’t even planned on voting until her mother encouraged her to do it. She had only recently been released from federal prison for a 2012 tax fraud conviction, in which she pleaded guilty to inflating returns for her clients, her attorney, J. Warren St. John, told The Washington Post.

She was still on community supervision at the time of the election — but no one, including her probation officer, St. John said, ever told her that being a felon on supervision meant she couldn’t vote under Texas law.

As she told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram at the time she was indicted: “You think I would jeopardize my freedom? You honestly think I would ever want to leave my babies again? That was the hardest thing in my life to deal with. Who would — as a mother, as a provider — leave their kids over voting?”

Absolutely ridiculous. Really, with all the other problems going on in this nation, this is what a judge decides to do, sentence a woman for making an honest mistake to FIVE YEARS in the penitentiary?

**And finally today, Monday night brought the end of the college basketball season, as a dominant-all-season Villanova team trounced Michigan, 79-62, to win its second championship in three years. This Wildcats team was outstanding, they’re coached by a class act and one hell of a coach in Jay Wright, and absolutely deserved the title.

Of course, right after the game comes what me and millions of others wait for each year: The amazing, sensational, best-of-all-montages, “One Shining Moment.”

I’m an absolute snob when it comes to “OSM,” I hate it when they deviate from the format (I nearly retched in 2010 when they kept showing clips of Jennifer Hudson singing the song instead of, you know, CLIPS OF THE TOURNAMENT!), and I have to say, as amazing as this year’s NCAA Tournament was, this year’s “One Shining Moment” was just OK.

My big issue? Way, way, way too much talking. You can barely hear the song with all the announcer cut-ins, coach quotes, and other nonsense. Just give the highlights and the song and I’m happy! Maybe 1-2 great “announcer calls” is fine, but geez Louise I didn’t need nearly this many.

Still, I got chills. So that’s good. Still can’t believe UMBC beat Virginia.