Selling a House (and a trip to the library)

We’re selling our house and buying another one just up the street, as reported in Bahiyyih’s Webble. And although we scoured Champaign and Urbana for a suitable home on our own and then with professional help, in the end neither transaction included a Realtor (TM). First, David and Heidi didn’t need much help finding and investigating our current place, and second, the sellers of our new house decided to try For Sale By Owner before for a couple of weeks before they sought professional assistance; we found and committed (informally) to it on the first day that it was on the market.

Which means that we’re doing a lot of the work ourselves. For David and Heidi’s purchase, there aren’t even lawyers involved, which I guess is not uncommon these days. I was trying to fill out some paperwork with the help of the Reference section of the Urbana Free Library—specifically a Warranty Deed—and came to the section in How to Avoid Lawyers about selling a house. It said something like, “Your closing will be handled by your lawyer.” So much for that. So I went to our lawyer, whom we hired for the purchase of the new house, and she helped with the Deed (which I had already mostly filled out, but was intimidated by the

____, ____ of ____ of the ____ of ____ (State)

parts. And some of those ____’s were actually multiple lines long. I wasn’t sure whether they were supposed to be something like

The Hon. Bob Thornton, Chief Custodian of Records of the Second Prefecture of Illinois (State)

or if it was more like

Bahiyyih J. and William B. Baker, owners of said property of the cutest widdle house of Illinois (State)

I was pretty sure about Illinois, at least, and I think I got that one right).

Which leads me to the other part of visiting a library, which I don’t do nearly often enough: the books you run across accidentally that are much more interesting than the books you are actually there to peruse.

  • How to Hide Things in Public Places

    Theme: you can hide all kinds of things in public places—the backs of guard rails, inside unused newspaper vending boxes, in the weeds next to rarely-trafficked sides and backs of large buildings.

    Specifically: in large buildings, especially in basements, but really anywhere you might find a hallway whose walls are cinder blocks, you will find occasional utility cages and boxes (water meters, security system junction boxes, emergency equipment, etc.). You can stick your stuff inside them for safekeeping, or, better yet, why not put up your own, with an “authorized access only” and a nice combination padlock? The book even suggests places to buy suitable metal boxes. Now that’s useful.

    Sure, it seems obvious now that someone has mentioned it, but honestly, I hadn’t thought of it before I saw it in that book.

  • Winning Through Intimidation, which started off by praising Ayn Rand, which I shall refrain from saying more about. It seemed autobiographical, based on the table of contents, and had three successive chapters whose titles were something like this:

    1. I didn’t intend to cut off your fingers, but you were reaching for your chips
    2. I did intend to cut off your fingers because you were reaching for your chips, and I warned you
    3. I did intend to cut off your fingers because you were reaching for your chips, even though I told you that I wasn’t going to

    To be fair, I’m not sure, in retrospect, whether the book was a warning to people who might be on the receiving end, or an instruction manual for the doer. I was loath to find out.

  • The entire oversized book section.

    Wow, you could pick almost anything from there, and it would be interesting to any person in our family, from Teresa to Bahiyyih. If it’s worth publishing an oversized book about, it’s probably pretty photogenic. Astronomy, Geography, Travel. Basically, in the Urbana Free Library, an entire wall of coffee table books.

    I didn’t look for the Encyclopedia of Poo (note the missing h—it is purposefully omitted), which we discovered at Liz and Nate‘s last time we visited, but that’s the kind of thing that the wall was covered with.

    At any rate, it was well worth visiting—if you’re getting a DVD, you should also pick out an oversized book, because it will probably be at least as entertaining and informative.

    The Reference Librarian commented that most people don’t realize the treasures that are back there, because they’re kind of out of the way against the back wall.

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