Home is Where the Weeds Are
We speak of it only in reverential tones around Speaker Manor: The Slope. It is Moby Dick, inspiring fear and awe in equal measure. Over 2400 square feet of steep obsession. I have conquered half of it. I continue to hold it to my breast.
We were shopping for homes in the midst of Southern California's largest buying frenzy in over a decade. We'd find a place we liked and three weeks later it would be out of our price range. We'd stumble into another faceless development only to find a triple-digit waiting list. We'd arrive hours early to a new model opening only to find people who'd been camped out a week.
Frustrating? Oh yeah.
The end result was being pushed way the hell out. As in 70 miles from downtown LA where I work. It was literally the LAST place in the extended area where we a) could find an affordable home and b) had garnered a reasonable slot on the ubiquitous waiting lists.
Which is where we found ourselves on an unseasonably hot October morning in 2003, grappling for shade with 150 others. The bounty was 18 new homes. We were 40th on the list that day, but our first choice was one of the least popular, owing mostly to the fact it was the only floor plan for which there was no model home. Of course, a week earlier we had infringed on the new owners of the same model and had a look around their finished product. Nice folks.
After a long morning and afternoon, only one home remained: the one we wanted. There were two names above us on the list, neither of whom had selected that plan as one of their choices. We were home free.
Until the white trashy guy just above us on the list, flush with cash from the booming meth industry, announced he'd consider our model. He'd like to go take a look at the home site. The saleswoman, who clearly preferred the good-looking couple with the precocious tot, sighed and reluctantly ferried him away.
For endless minues we waited, the dear and patient wife on the verge of tears, AJ inconsolable over my not letting him eat grass. Finally, a familiar car turned the corner and the saleswoman got out. Alone.
"He didn't like the slope!" she shouted at us. "Come into my office."
That's how close we were to NOT buying a house. More than three years we'd saved for a full down payment, denying ourselves a lot of pleasure in doing so. When the development released the next phase of homes a month later, the price of our model increased 20%, out of the range we were comfortable paying.
So I love that slope. Even though it damn near killed me this weekend.
There was poker last night. Somehow, I managed a minor cash in the $11 Crazy Re-Buy on Stars, finishing 87th of nearly 1200. I say "somehow" because I never had any chips. In fact, at the end of the third hour with 135 places paid, the stats told the whole story:
Your position is 214 of 214
The details are relatively unimportant. I had less than one BB left and got lucky to stay alive. Then I got Aces and tripled up.
It was my first cash in the Re-Buy in my last four attempts. It was notable for another reason compared to the others: It was the only one in which I had to play short-stack poker the entire affair. In a couple of the prior tries, I had a buttload of chips in the second hour, but didn't manage to break into the money.
There's something going on here. I don't quite know what it is exactly, but looking back over my past top finishes, it seems I'm "better" playing with fewer chips. I don't mean so few that it's "push and pray" time. But I clearly make better decisions with a larger percentage of my chips on the line than I do when I'm flush.
I have some ideas as to why this may be. And, at least some of it is perception rather than reality. By that I mean my psychological reaction to having a bunch of chips vs. not having hardly any. Anybody have any experience with this? Any pertinent literature to suggest? I'd be much obliged.