Boy, this is turning into a tough week.

My wife's nephew has been playing college ball for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He's been their starting catcher and their starting first baseman for most of his three years there. He's had several teammates drafted this year and last year, and this year his club was good enough to make the NCAA tournament this year . . .where they went two-and-out. In their season finale, the nephew went 0-for-3, committed an error and was lifted for a pinch-hitter, not exactly an inspirational exit. Pretty depressing...but there was the major league draft, looming on the horizon. And it's not just his hopes and dreams hanging on the thing, but all of the energy invested by his extended family in his career, with all the highs and lows.

I knew that he wouldn't be taken on the first few rounds, but we all had hopes. He has power and a sweet left-handed swing that stays in the strike zone a long time. He's one of the tougher kids to strike out in the country. I think we were all expecting that he would be taken some time during the second day of the draft.

Instead, the second day went by without him being called, triggering an emotional crisis in many members of the family. The last 20 or so hours have been unpleasant. Today, the final rounds went by without the nephew's name being mentioned. 32 teams effectively passed on him 50 times. There were over 1,500 players tabbed in the Draft, and he wasn't one of them. It's hard to credit, and hard to take. In the Big West Conference alone, more than 30 players were taken, many with comparable numbers.

It's hard to take.



As some of you may know, my wife and I made the decision back in August of last year to sell our home and move into a rental rather than take a beating on payments for a residence that was no longer worth what we paid for it. We got a sweetheart deal on rent from our landlord, who is also my wife's ex. Our expectation was that as the number of foreclosures rose and housing prices continued to plummet, we would enter a buyer's market and could get a suitable home with a monthly payment more in line with our income without sacrificing the features (mainly the number of bedrooms and bathrooms) we felt we had to have.

In particular, I've been pretty keen to hold out for a home that has an extra room which is suitable for a recording studio.

So far, our expectations haven't proved realistic. While the housing prices are in fact way down, it really isn't a buyer's market from our perspective due to the fact that we can't find the house we want in an attractive neighborhood close enough to either of our jobs. Why? Probably because there simply isn't enough inventory---and here's where my wife and I have a difference of opinion.

She's in the real estate business (a loan officer) and she thinks that, any day now, there's going to be a wave of foreclosures and other distressed properties flooding the market, boosting inventory and further deflating prices.

I'm 'just a teacher', but I'm increasingly skeptical. This business about 'a wave of foreclosures' is on its way to urban legend status. We've heard people in the business allege that this is going to happen 'any day now' for six months, and it still hasn't happened. I have a pet theory about this: first, it's not necessarily in the bank's best interests to put all of the distressed properties on the market at the same time; second, the banks are not really set up to either manage or liquidate lots of real estate.

Given that, it seems to make more sense to predict that they will tend to hold onto much of the distressed property and take the short-term hit, making the payments and outsourcing some of the property management issues (security/maintenance/landscaping) to other entities. Then, as the market recovers somewhat, gradually put a trickle of properties on the market and start moving them.

Who's right? Who knows? In the meantime, we sit in our rental, hanging on the MLS, constantly beating the bushes at open houses and new developments, waiting for the 'right house' to emerge. We actually have an offer in on a property that's a 'short sale', but that offer is over three months old. We've yet to hear anything definite back from the bank other than the property in question has been assigned to a negotiator. Glaciers move faster than the banks do right now, and so I can only assume we will be in the rental indefinitely.

So, I continue to work two jobs. Graduation for my seniors at Bullard is tomorrow. Finals for the rest of my kids is through Thursday, the last day of school.

Friday is starting the process of teaching summer school, yet another job. Will I still be in the rental when summer school is over? When the next regular teaching year begins? When hell freezes over? (shrugs shoulders)