By Alexis, In Her Own Words


            With my first year of human life now in the record book —by the way, birthday cake is the closest thing to Heaven I’ve experienced since… well, since Heaven— I find myself examining things from a more mature point of view. You can’t stay a kid forever, you know.

            So, it’s time to take stock, and make sure we’re all on the same page together, no? Set the record straight, so to speak.

            Here it goes: I’m thinking about buying a new house.

            Oh, sure, you’re probably saying. Good luck qualifying for a loan, kid!

            Luckily, I’m not going to make this decision alone. My parents are fully invested in this decision; in fact, eavesdropping on their recent conversations is what led to my interest in home ownership. When they started talking about what seems like a major life-decision for all concerned, I hadn’t listened to a conversation that intently since my interview with the Gender Assignment Committee before my birth.

            And there’s a lot to think about.

            Leaving aside for a moment that my credit record is pristine —never missed a payment (on anything), not over-extended with other debt (though I may owe Grandmother for that dry cleaning bill; enough said about that!), and with great personal references from well-established financial experts (thanks, Grandpa!)— the fact is that obtaining a loan is only one of the factors I’m mulling about a new home purchase.

            For instance, there’s the question of how it might impact myself and my family. Having moved myself, fairly recently, from a very comfortable neighborhood (read: “Part 1”) to a largely unknown new location… well, let me tell you, emotions play a massive part in any relocation.

            Frankly, I was pretty content in my previous location —did I mention it was HEAVEN??!!??—until my number came up and I was born. Sure, I wouldn’t trade my new circumstances for anything now. But it took some time and more than a little tribulation to feel that the right decision had been made.

            Which indeed does bring us back to the question of finances. From a purely practical point of view, buying a new house is only possible when all the numbers line up properly.

            According to my parents, a very important factor is something called the “down payment.”

            Surprisingly, this has nothing to do with goose feathers; rather, it's money you need to convince other people to give you more money. Most lenders require you to post a minimum down payment of about 3% for conventional loans. But in most cases (as Mom reminded Dad) it’s smarter to post a down payment closer to 20% of the propertys selling price if at all possible. That way, you can take out a smaller loan and avoid having to pay something called Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). This is just a surcharge banks will charge in case in future years things don’t go right and you stop making payments. This way the bank isn’t left holding an empty bag. The extra money down will also save you from paying a heck of a lot more interest over the life of the mortgage.

            Honestly, there are an infinity of factors involved in housing decisions. For instance, people who want to sell their house to you still have to live somewhere themselves. My understanding is that most current homeowners have mortgage rates below 4%; they are not eager to sell their house and give up their bargain interest rates to finance their own new homes higher rates. That puts a cap on housing inventory in what Dad called a “vicious circle.”

            And to make it all more tumultuous, I heard on TV that some experts are warning that there might be a “housing bubble” coming, which is somehow bad and may cause a “crash.” I don’t know. I’ve had a lot of baths that involved a lot of bubbles. Unless they get in my eyes, I  don’t feel they’re bad at all. And I’ve never heard any of them crash.

            Oh, well. In Heaven, I know that there are many mansions. I wonder if the market is as confusing up there as it is here on Earth.

            Anyway, in my house the discussion continues. I’ll keep you up-to-date on my homeowning decisions.

•.  •.  •

Moving on to a totally unrelated topic, I’ve been thinking back over the reports I’ve published here to date. I’m a little worried that I may have given all of you an inaccurate picture —or rather, an incomplete one— of a very central part of Heaven.

            To wit: angels.

            I’ve mentioned the corps of angels fairly often, and I want to be completely fair in my descriptions of them.

            Before I was sent down here to begin my human life, I knew a lot of angels, and learned a lot from them, too. They’re pious, beautiful in appearance, and undeniably the hardest-working entities in immortal existence. They tend to come across as serious, no-nonsense types, always focused on the job at hand.

            Sure, there’s a bit of impatience shown by many of them in their dealings with us still-unborn, humans-to-be-types. As expected from pure spirits… knowing that somewhere down the line, were all destined to become messy little meat-sacks with a general propensity to misbehave and create chaos.

            It’s a little like how humans view caterpillars before they become butterflies or see teenagers before they become sane; you feel the urge to stomp on the former, and treat the latter to, say, with just a taste of the Fiery Sword of Righteousness & Simple Good Sense. (No kidding: there actually is a Celestial Sword named that.)

            But human or angel, you usually fight back those natural urges, based on the hope that things are going to work out in the long run. Probably. Maybe. Even against all odds.

            Now, all this might make angels sound somber, or even wholly without humor. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I think they’re just a little stressed when they’re around human-types; they see us as ticking time-bombs that might go off at any moment.

            But when they’re alone talking to each other, you see the playful side of the angelic life. They tell jokes. Knock-knock jokes abound; even predominate, for some reason. But not exclusively: for instance, they often tell jokes that border on the… well, let me give you an example that I once overheard between two angels taking a work-break.

            “Okay, I didn’t see any of this myself,” the first angel was saying, “but I heard about a crew of humans down on earth who were fixing up their old, run-down church building. You know the type: rich in spirit but downright flat-busted when it came to money.”

            “Root of all evil, anyway,” the other angel observed.

            “Yeah, but useful when they need to buy something, right? Anyway, they need to paint the outside of their church, but all they have is donated stuff. They have a whole pallet of turpentine, but then they realize they only have a couple cans of paint— not nearly enough to cover the entire building.”

            “That’s rough!” the second angel said. “Big-time.”

            “So, one bright guy says, ‘We have lots of paint thinner. Why dont we thin the paint so it will go further?’ So thats what they do. Looked terrible, but you work with what you have, eh?”

            “I guess.”

            “So, theyre almost finished with the job when a big black cloud forms above them. Boom! Crack! Lightning flashes, thunder rolls and torrential rains fall until all the paint wash off the church.

            “Then out of the cloud a Deep Voice roars. It’s the Boss, you know. And He’s not pleased.”

            “Wow! What’d He say?”

            “He said… “

The first angel takes a deep breath, raises his hands high, and in a commanding voice says: Repaint! And thin no more!”

            I’d never seen two angels rolling on the floor laughing before— or heard that Deep Voice join them either. He loves a good joke, you know.


— end —

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Alexis and her musings will return to these pages in future editions.

But not right now: once again, it’s naptime.)