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September 2010 Dr. Vern

Posted in Features on September 1, 2010
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Q: What's the difference between a Jeep junkyard and my idea of a dream home? A: Not much.

As you may have already guessed, my wife and I just signed our lives over to the mortgage company. My wife is excited because there may have been a gorgeously remodeled farmhouse tossed in with this deal, but I wasn't really paying much attention to that part. My eyes were focused on the rest of the property. This place has everything a guy could ever possibly want in a residence, wrecking yard, or both. The huge lot equals plenty of room for Jeeps. The tall fence means I can stack 'em high. And the new neighbors didn't even bat an eye when I kept other buyers away by putting up crime scene tape during the realtor's open house, so I shouldn't have any trouble turning this property into a Jeep ranch.

For the crowning touch, the new Casa de Vern is only four blocks from my place of employment. Compare this to my old house, which was (and still is) 26 grueling miles away. With traffic, that was a guaranteed hour wasted in each direction. Now understand that I've never lived anywhere near the Los Angeles area and Jp Global Headquarters. You might think that writing this monthly Mirth-O-Rama is a full time job, but it's just a sideline. My day job (and new home) is over a thousand miles away in a quiet mountain town. At quitting time, my commute will be governed only by how fast I can walk. I can then be up to my elbows in Jeep parts in the garage, or even better, I can point my Jeep onto the trails just a few minutes away. Rush hour will no longer be part of the equation.

What more could a guy want in a house? Actually, there are a few things, now that I think about it. I'd like a fountain that dispenses money for free. Anytime I need funding for Jeep parts, I'd only have to reach into the fountain and grab a few bills. I'd need to plan ahead to give the money time to dry, but I'm willing to put up with the inconvenience. I'd also like a garage floor painted the color of oil leaks, for obvious reasons. And if I trim a few trees, I'll have enough room for a proper landing pad. I figure a big cargo helicopter is just what I need to bring home Jeep projects, instead of messing with a balky trailer.

My wife insists that the property also includes a house. I'll look carefully once we actually move, but it's not really ringing any bells. It doesn't matter all that much, because I'm planning to spend most of my free time out back in the shop. Maybe her mention of a house isn't all crazy talk, as I think she may have been referring to that building with the bathroom.

We can't discuss real estate transactions without mentioning a very scary requirement which I hope never makes it into the Jeep world. Somewhere in the blur of paperwork for our new place, we glimpsed and possibly even signed a disclosure statement. The law requires a seller to voluntarily let a buyer know of any possible defects. There's even a worksheet where a seller must answer specific questions. Imagine if such tomfoolery ever became a legal requirement when selling a Jeep. Heck, I have enough trouble conjuring up a valid title (even when my printer is working properly), so I can't imagine having to be upfront about the condition of the vehicle itself.

For example, the real estate form asked if the house or property was ever used for the manufacture or distribution of methamphetamines or other illegal drugs. What if I was the one who had to answer that? To add insult to injury, the questionnaire required a simple yes or no answer. There isn't even room to add a qualifying statement like, "Well, duh, how else was I supposed to afford Jeep parts?"

What if such questionnaires became mandatory for vehicle sales, too? Since nobody wants a vehicle that's been abused, we might see a question like this: "Do you own 'Smokey and the Bandit: The Director's Cut', and if so, did you use it to teach yourself to drive?" It's also important to weed out vehicles that have suffered mechanical neglect, so here are some scientifically crafted questions: "Does your toolbox contain the remnants of a large roll of bailing wire?" or "Are you now or have you ever been a magazine editor?" The questions are intended to protect the buyer, so all this nosiness isn't necessarily bad. Consider my theory that sound waves never fully dissipate. A wrinkle in the time/space continuum could cause an irreversible reversion to full volume, making this an important question: "Have you ever listened to 'Having My Baby' by Paul Anka while in the vehicle?"

I'll just have to put those fears aside and concentrate on our new homestead and all that wonderful room for Jeep hoarding. The only downside is the actual move. It's always awkward when a friend says he's found a new place to live, because you have to avoid him until the last box has been unloaded and it's safe to come out of hiding. I know I'm not the only one to do this, because all of my friends have been avoiding me lately in the same fashion. Funny thing, though, because I don't remember telling them I was moving. -Dr. Vern

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