Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Dr. Joel's Response to UCSD's Dress and Appearance Policy

Yes...It's insanely long...

As an academic physician at UCSD, I was disappointed to see the proposed Dress and Appearance Policy, MCP 559.2. I generally support the goals of professionalism (including in appearance), improved patient care, and patient satisfaction. Unfortunately, I find the specifics of the proposed policy somewhat arbitrary and potentially discriminatory. I have detailed my concerns below. I realize that this may seem lengthy, but I feel this is a very complex topic, and concerns the core values of an academic medical center such as UCSD. I apologize for not giving input earlier – an email I received 10/22 was the first time I was aware that such a policy was being advanced to this extent. I admit this may have been my own oversight.

1) Regarding Professionalism

a) Multiple Professions. There are many definitions of professional/professionalism in the business and medical literature. Merriam-Webster defines professionalism as “the conducts, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person”. While we share a common goal of patient care, the policy as written would cover a wide variety of professions, including physicians, nurses, social workers, case managers, and janitorial staff, all with different characteristics. Such a broad policy is unlikely to optimize “professionalism” for all these employees.

b) Physician Professionalism. The term professionalism is used throughout the abstract and policy, but it is not defined, at least in this section. In definitions used in the medical field, attire is rarely addressed. The Medical Professionalism Project took great lengths to define medical professionalism, including 3 charter values (primacy of patient welfare, patient autonomy, and social justice) and ten commitments, none of which focus on dress or appearance. (Medical Professionalism in the New Millennium: A Physician Charter. Annals of Int Med. (2002). 136(3). pp. 243-246.)

i) This need not mean that dress and appearance cannot affect professionalism, but that they should be viewed through the various values and commitments. In a broad sense, whether dress and appearance are “professional” is best judged by how they affect the therapeutic relationship or represent a direct risk to patients – not by what “first impression” they make. It should also be noted that dress and appearance are not interchangeable, and the differentiation can be important.

ii) With regard to the therapeutic relationship, dress and appearance are both subjectively judged by the patient in question, and can be thought of together. Optimizing the therapeutic relationship allows few absolutes, as can be demonstrated by the variety in the UCSD patient population. Anecdotally, I have had patients pointedly wonder why I do not wear a tie, and others express that they felt comfortable with me because I wear jeans or earrings. Neither type of patient is more important than the other, and no rules should be made that slants appearance in one direction or the other. For fiscal reasons, it may be tempting to err on the side of the patient of a higher socio-economic status, a decision that would truly be unprofessional.

With regard to one reference noted by the human resources staff, (Am J Med. 2005 Nov;118(11):1279-86) it should be noted that the data collected was from an outpatient setting with a demographic and educational mix that may not accurately reflect the population of Hillcrest or La Jolla. Further, it was judged by viewing pictures that did not address many of the specifics of the proposed policy. Other studies have shown no effect of attire on patient satisfaction. (Am J Obs and Gyn. 2007 Feb; 196 (2): 186)

iii) Direct Risk

(1) With regard to specific impacts on direct risks, dress and appearance can be quite different. Dress, the actual clothing and accessories worn, can have a definable impact on patient risks and disease. Oddly, the policy is silent in some areas where more data exist, e.g., studies demonstrating that long sleeves, white coats, and neckties can carry bacteria. Though a defined link to patient outcomes is less clear, even the AMA has considered recommending against these articles of clothing. The portions of the dress policy that address statutory issues, e.g., ID badges, or other known risks, e.g., hair covering in food areas, may be data driven and likely appropriate. Sections that ban specific fabrics seem less so.

(2) Appearance does not have such a direct impact on health care as infectious risk. Rather, the health impact of appearance would be related to a patient’s subjective assessment of that appearance, and the effect that a negative feeling might have on a patient’s trust or satisfaction. Such effects may well impact health outcomes, but can be hard to quantify. These concerns are not to be neglected, but do represent a slippery slope toward discrimination (see next section). It is therefore appropriate to weigh such an effect against the judgments of other patients, the rights of workers, and the value of diversity and free expression.

2) Concerns for Discrimination

a) The concerns listed in the abstract regarding patient trust, confidence, and satisfaction are appropriate. Efforts should be made to address them, especially when such concerns are objective, data driven, or can be alleviated without impinging on other goals. What constitutes appropriate/professional dress and appearance, though, is subjective and variable, and often represents a summation of the patient’s life experience. Unfortunately, this may include implicit and explicit discrimination or bias.

i) For instance, would UCSD indulge a patient who demanded a Caucasian physician as opposed to an African-American (or Latino or Asian), a male physician as opposed to a female, or a physician from a wealthy as opposed to poor family? Would we allow a patient to dismiss a homosexual or transgender physician? Would we make a staff member take off a Star of David for an anti-Semitic patient? Hopefully, the answer is a resounding “NO!”

ii) The line between the overt discrimination in (2)(a)(i) and the proposed policy’s attention to issues of patient trust, confidence and satisfaction is a fine one, and the slope is slippery. Many of the specifics of the policy do little more than validate less overt forms of discrimination based on age, gender, and culture. Tattoos cannot harm a patient, so why does the proposed policy demand they be covered? Tattoos are currently accepted in many cultures, particularly Asian/Pacific Islander, and are gaining acceptance in the US as a whole, particularly in the youth and LGBT communities. If a tattoo decreases a patient’s confidence in their physician or nurse, it is likely because the patient has subtle biases about people, or cultures, that tattoo. Why should this be indulged by policy, when we presumably would NOT accede to a patient’s request to not be treated by Hawaiian or LGBT staff?

iii) The variability in patient preferences is alluded to in (1)(b)(ii). In this regard “Professionalism”, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder; what is concerning or offensive to some may be encouraging or calming to others. It is not clear how the specific elements of dress and appearance addressed in the proposed policy were generated. It is possible that a few may be issues overwhelming addressed on patient surveys, and it may be reasonable to give these extra consideration. Regardless, it is important to consider that discrimination and intolerance are wrong, even by majority vote. Similarly, some axioms are true, if trite: the squeaky wheel does get the grease, and the plural of anecdote is not data. For every patient complaint about an element of dress, there may be an equal number or more people who were comforted by that element who were not asked about it.

b) The following examples illustrate some of concerns regarding patient variability and discrimination:

i) Example – Patient Variability: “Extreme hair colors should be avoided.” Consider an employee who dyes part of their hair blue and yellow for a Chargers game. This is not uncommon in San Diego. Some may consider this inappropriate for the hospital atmosphere. Some consider it a pleasant diversion, forging a bond that enhances comfort and the therapeutic relationship. And some may simply root for another team. Similarly, a female nurse with a shock of pink hair might frighten an older patient and amuse a younger one. Neither reaction is objective, or superior, or more important.

ii) Example – Gender Roles: “Shorts…are not appropriate in a professional setting.” What is the difference between a male case manager wearing shorts that come to the knee, and a female wearing a skirt of similar length? Both expose the professional’s lower legs. Neither is dangerous to the patient. If the basis of acceptability is that one is a man and the other a woman, then the root is an expectation/assumption of gender expression, which is somewhat discriminatory. Would the male employee be considered more professional in a skirt than in shorts? Remember, it was not long ago that a female wearing pants was considered unprofessional. Secretary Clinton might argue that there are 17 million cracks in that point of view.

iii) Example – Socio-Economic Bias: “…denim of any type and similar casual clothes are not appropriate in a professional setting.” Denim is a sturdy and easily washed fabric made from 100% cotton. Why is it less professional than other fabrics made from 100% cotton? Many believe the “professional” taboo against denim is rooted in the fact that it was traditionally worn by farmers and manual laborers, who needed an inexpensive fabric that was durable. Others believe it related to the youth movement of the 1960s. Regardless, it was judged inappropriate for occupations of “higher” socio-economic status. In an age where environmental sustainability is important, at a hospital where staff wages are being cut, in a profession where bodily fluids are a common hazard – what is unprofessional about a durable, easily cleaned fabric? Only deep-rooted socio-economic biases.

Consider other fabrics. Silk might be “professional” to most in a tie, inappropriate as lingerie, and arguable in a male’s work shirt – does he look impressive, or like a “gangster”? Leather is almost universally appropriate as a belt or in shoes. Many would argue leather pants on a male would be inappropriate, yet few males who own them would consider them “casual”. What about a leather skirt from a female employee? In red? There is really no reason to universally dismiss a fabric – if there is a legitimate concern, it more likely relates to a more specific piece of clothing.

iv) Example: Religion vs. Culture -- Nasal piercings can be a religious adornment for Hindu women. They have also become a cultural affectation for women of Asian Sub-continental cultures, regardless of specific religion, and have gained broader popularity in America. They are banned by the proposed policy, with an exception for religion. Is religious expression particularly definable and more important than cultural expression? Who will judge religious devotion versus cultural expression? What about a paganist’s religious eyebrow piercing? A gay persons cultural expression by piercing?

v) Example: Complexity of issues – culture, variability, risk assessment. “Tattoos or other types of body art must be covered by clothing, a band-aid, make-up, etc.” The cultural issues regarding tattoos are discussed briefly in (2)(a)(ii). In a more specific example, consider health care employees who get their start in the military, where tattoos are common. A patient with a military tattoo on their forearm might unsettle some patients. Other patients, especially but not only veterans, might be comforted or identify with a veteran staff member. To comply with the proposed policy, the staff member would have to cover this tattoo. The simplest way to do so would be to wear a long sleeved shirt or coat. This action would satisfy the unsettled patients concerns, at the expense of the comforted patient. With regard to patient satisfaction, this yields no overall benefit, except that the unsettled patient may be more likely to complain about the tattoo than the comforted patient is to mention it in a positive way.

Further, the compliance action, a long sleeved shirt, may put both patients at risk of infection, a negative effect that should outweigh even a benefit to subjective satisfaction.

c) To be clear, there are reasonable policy issues regarding dress, and there may be some regarding appearance. But they should be limited to definable risks, and things that are specifically objectionable or offensive. For instance, it may appropriate to ask an employee with a Swastika or vulgar phrase to cover it, as this is more about avoiding a direct offense than indulging in a subtle bias. Such an “I’ll know it when I see it” policy is not easy to monitor or enforce, but it is better than indulging discrimination or unnecessarily stifling free expression.

3) Why not UCSD Medical Center? The arguments above can be made, and likely have been, at any institution considering a policy on dress and appearance. Despite this, many businesses have such a policy. It is reasonable to ask why UCSD Medical Center should be different.

a) As this relates to “Professionalism”, not all occupations are considered professions. The difference can be semantic, but given the reliance of the proposed policy on the idea of “Professionalism”, it seems germane. One way to express the difference is that professions, like medicine or health care, involve a fiduciary responsibility to the client. (http://depts.washington.edu/bioethx/topics/profes.html) In other words, we have obligations to work to benefit ALL our patients, even at a potential cost to us. While this is not unlimited, it differs from a business. A retail store might endorse a profitable policy that pleased a majority of clients, or a minority of high paying clients, even if other clients suffered. For a profession, such as health care, this is NOT appropriate; we have a duty to all patients that goes beyond profit.

b) The prior argument explains why the policies of other businesses might not apply to UCSD Medical Center. But what about the dress and appearance codes of other hospitals?

i) UCSD is different. It is an academic institution, and is committed to the largely unfettered pursuit of knowledge. Especially in recent years, academia has become the place where diversity and free expression are valued the most. The American Association of University Professors highlights the importance of academic freedom as follows:

"Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition" (http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/issues/AF/)

ii) It is governed by the Great State of California, which has strict policies against discrimination based on (but not limited to) the following: race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, age, and national origin (State of California, Department of Fair Employment and Housing). In its mission statement, UCSD underscores this commitment to fairness and non-discrimination:

“To foster the best possible working and learning environment, our university strives to maintain a climate of fairness, cooperation, and professionalism, which is embodied in our campus Principles of Community. UC San Diego embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion as essential ingredients of academic excellence in higher education.” (http://www.ucsd.edu/explore/about/)

Clearly, UCSD’s mission includes professionalism, but not at the expense of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Indeed, the idea of indulging subtle discrimination at a teaching institution like UCSD is particularly troubling – not only does it validate those espousing such biases, but it risks teaching our trainees that such discrimination is acceptable.

iii) The Core Values of UCSD Medical Center are equally clear:

“Caring: Commitment to valuing differences and respecting the well-being and dignity of each person.” (health.ucsd.edu/about/mission.htm)

Notably, UCSD’s policy does not specify each patient, but each PERSON, suggesting that the commitment to valuing differences extends to all people at UCSD, both patients and employees.

c) In short, a business might pursue any dress and appearance code they found profitable. A profession, like medicine, must consider the best treatment of each patient above the wishes of a majority, and above any related concerns for profit. As an academic center, UCSD, by it’s own mission and the goal of academics, must weigh the importance and benefits of diversity and free expression, and the danger of teaching discrimination, when considering such a policy.

d) To maintain its excellence, UCSD must recruit and maintain medical students, residents, and faculty. All of these groups would be affected by this policy, and some may choose to leave rather than be part of a discriminatory institution. It is also notable that many of the articles banned by the policy (facial piercing, tattoos, denim, hair color) are increasingly popular and accepted in the young people we will need to refill our professional ranks. With that in mind, our policy should be on the side of openness and diversity to ensure long-term excellence. It would be sad to lose our ability to recruit the best and brightest nurses and doctors of tomorrow because of a policy based on biases of today.

e) There is also an issue of logistics, largely for physicians. At an academic center, many physicians work by pager, coming from clinics, laboratories, or home. Should a physician stop to change clothes if paged while wearing jeans, or without his or her tattoo covered? Most patients and families would presumably be more concerned about when the doctor arrived than what he or she was wearing.

4) Summary

This does not mean there is no room for a policy on dress and appearance, but it must be fair to all patients, and limited to data driven interventions that prevent definable harms, such as bacterial contamination or risk of injury. It must not arbitrarily impinge on free expression or indulge discrimination based on gender, culture, age, or sexual orientation. Sadly, too much of the proposed policy focuses on the latter, occasionally at the expense of the former.

Thank you for your kind consideration. I would be honored to meet with the committee or its members to further discuss these issues, especially any policies that are driven by outside research or significant data that has been obtained from our patients.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Blog

So I haven't been here lately. There are many reasons, but the most recent was my work on the Vote No on Prop 8 Campaign. I'm starting a new blog with some friends to carry on the work we started for marriage equality. We took the last campaign slogan and made it a site/blog. Hopefully we'll tune it up soon, but come visit the new site at www.unfairandwrong.com, or unfairandwrong.blogspot.com.

If you're in California, I hope you voted No on 8. Wherever you are, please support marriage equality.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Start with a long day at work with crazy families;
Add a song from driving home with 93.3;
Fold in listening to a John McCain's speech;
Finally, blend with a bottle from a recent wine shipment,
And you get..."Concedin'"

(To the tune of Jesse McCartney’s “Leavin’”)

Hey John McCain, I was watching you last night (last night, last night, last night)
Man, your military story is amazing (amazing, amazing, amazing)
You make me want to fix your arms to work again (work again, work again, work again)
I know you got a plan, but this is what you should say
Why won’t you tell us you’re

Concedin’, never gonna run again
You know Obama can do it better than you can
No more sarcastic lines, no more blatant lies
You can go out on a big high, big high

You’re concedin’, never gonna run again
So call your party and tell them to back the change man
That Democratic guy
Walkin’ the road so high
Make the country all-right, all-right

Oooh oooh oooh (oh)
Oooh oooh
Make the country all-right (gonna make it all-right)
Oooh oooh oooh
Oooh oooh

Now John McCain you want reform and I’m right there with you (there with you, there with you, there with you)
Yeah, we need to be some changes, changes back in D.C (D.C, D.C, D.C)
‘Cause Barack is the candidate who can change the scene (change the scene, change the scene, change the scene)
So I'ma ask you one time since you met the man
Why don't you tell us that

Concedin’, never gonna run again
You know Obama can do it better than you can
No more sarcastic lines, no more blatant lies
You can go out on a big high, big high

You’re concedin’, never gonna run again
So call your party and tell them to back the change man
That Democratic guy
Walkin’ the road so high
Make the country all-right, all-right

Oooh oooh oooh (oh)
Oooh oooh
Make the country all-right
Oooh oooh oooh (the country’s all right, oh, the country’s all-right)
Oooh oooh oooh (the country’s all right, you got me praying)

Don’t stress, don’t stress, don’t stress
Just give it to the Dems, Dems, Dems
Don’t stress, don’t stress, don’t stress
Just be gone and be gone and be gone

No stress, no stress, no stress
John, you deserve nothing but some rest
No stress, no stress, no stress
John, you need to tell us that…

You’re concedin’, never gonna run again
So call your party and tell them to back the change man
That Democratic guy
Walkin’ the road so high
Make the country all-right, all-right

You’re concedin’, never gonna run again
So call your party and tell them to back the change man
That Democratic guy
Walkin’ the road so high
Make the country all-right, all-right

Oooh oooh oooh
Oooh oooh
Make the country all-right
Oooh oooh oooh
Oooh oooh

He’ll make the country all-right, all-right, all-riiight

Oooh oooh oooh
Oooh oooh
Make the country all-right
Oooh oooh oooh (the country’s all right, oh, the country’s all-right)
Oooh oooh oooh (the country’s all right, you got me praying)

I know...I need a life.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

NOT just another debate

I got back SF just in time to watch the Democratic Debate, and have been watching the spin since.

Before any other opinions, I want to give a shout out to former Senator John Edwards. He could have continued to campaign and collect delegates, but he saw the writing on the wall. I think he dropped out when he did because he knew the party needed to see Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama one-on-one at least once before Super Tuesday. I also think he may endorse Obama, but didn't want that to color the debate. Thanks, John.

I'm hoping Obama will get his endorsement this weekend, to help him for Feb. 5.

I'm looking at this debate as about round 6 in a 12 (or more) round title bout, and I give the round to Sen. Clinton. There was a lot of posturing, a lot posing, but not too many punches thrown. I counted Sen. Clinton with a few more jabs: I think she won health care (for now), maybe experience, and had a great line about needing another Clinton to clean up after a Bush.

Sen. Obama definitely survived the round without a knockdown, and had a couple of hits of his own. Like body blows, we may not see their effects until the later rounds. Bringing the war back to the front of the debate was a great move, and the (paraphrase) "not only ready, but right, on day one" was great. His strong stance in support of driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, combined with the support of Sen. Kennedy and the service union, may also bring him a much needed boost in the Latino community. He'll probably get a good number of delegates in California, but actually beating Sen. Clinton there would be a huge coup. I'm sending in my ballot to help make it happen.

Friday, January 25, 2008

It's Official!

Come on in!

As of Tuesday afternoon, escrow is closed, and the change in title has been recorded, making it all mine. By which I mean Bank of America's.

The pic's were taken with my camera phone, and Dad didn't realize how easily it shakes, so some are a little blurry.

Here's a wider view of the front, with the driveway on the left.

And from the side:

Had to have a fireplace. Mine is in the living room -- there's also a dining room.

The kitchen has an island and a built in wine rack, as well as me next to a nice mirror left by the previous owner and a bunch of shelves for my wine glasses.

The master bedroom has a big mirrored closet and french doors that open onto the patio.

The patio with the hottub. The previous owner did a lot of landscaping. Come see it in the daytime!

Master Bath - in the mirror you can see the swank towel warmer.

The guest bath ain't bad either.

The guest room, which will probably be the den again.

The previous owner turned the third bedroom into a gym, complete with water cooler and rubber floor. I'll probably keep it that way.

That's all for now. Book your visit soon :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Debate With 3 Winners

I know you are anxiously awaiting my take on the Democratic Presidential Debate, so here it is. Oddly, I think all of the candidates accomplished most of what they wanted, and were effective in different ways.

John Edwards - Frequently looked like the only adult on stage, and was quickest on his feet and probably scored the most points. Pressing Obama on ALL of his "present" votes, was far more effective than Clinton's laundry list. Even if there is a good reason for all of them, he couldn't explain them all away, or the issue. If it were November, or his opponents weren't celebrites, this might really be a three way race.

Barack Obama - Showed he can take it and hit back, though I thought he was a little winey in some of the exchanges. Put to rest the Reagan/ideas story, which was sadly necessary. Did manage to bring things around to his change theme, but not often enough, especially for MLK day, and seemed less inspiring than usual. But the crowd seemed to like him, and I think he may have played it well enough to solidify a victory in South Carolina.

Hillary Clinton - I agree with some of the CNN pundits -- whether she meant to concede South Carolina or not, she was definitely playing to a national audience. I think some of her shots were a little too harsh, and Barack may benefit in South Carolina from the "don't mess with our guy/gal" votes that she got in New Hampshire. Time will tell if any of the points she raised will help her later, but they might.
Missed Opportunities

I wish Edwards would prep my guy, because I think he missed some great chances to score.

Immigration/Health Care: I think Obama could have used Edwards' admissions that none of their plans covered undocumented immigrants to point out that none of the plans were "Universal", tied it briefly to a need for immigration reform, and spun it back to the need to change the playing field, not just the game. A little dangerous, because he would have had to duck promising it himself (not a good sound bite for the general election), but he would have scored points with Latinos. It also might have shut down the issue, because Clinton would NOT want to have to take a stand on that point.

Changing Stances and the 2 Clintons: Voters seem willing to accept that somehow Hillary's service as First Lady in Little Rock and Washington, D.C. counts as "experience", so it's probably time to stop fighting it directly. Instead, use it. Tie her to every decision her husband made, and every time he flip-flopped. For obvious reasons, I'd start with Don't Ask Don't Tell and DOMA. NAFTA works, too, since she's not really for it any more. Ask her where her strength and experience were when those things didn't get done. If she says she wasn't a politician then, you can go right back to the question of what her experience was during those years, and the unreleased notes from the library. Plus, he could then bash both Clinton's with one strike instead of having to pivot from one to the other.

Most Electable

I don't think there is a "Most Electable" candidate this year. We've gotten used to having an established candidate or opponent, which isn't true this year. It depends a lot on the winner of the Republican primary, which we won't know. My thoughts:

Huckabee - If this one's close with any of the three democratic candidates, something went horribly awry.

Romney - Similar to the above. He probably loses some of his base due to his religion (sadly) and any of the 3 can remind voters how we did with an MBA-in-chief.

Guiliani - Hillary Clinton. It's hard to imagine a Democrat winning the White House without NY, and he might put it in play. If a Democrat can win without New York, though, it might be Obama vs. Guiliani, because more Southern and Western states will be in play.

McCain - Obama. Hands down. Even if you grant that Hillary has the most foreign policy experience, she will not best McCain on the point. It will be about cross-over appeal and winning independents. The only person in the democratic field who can best McCain with independents is Obama.

Political - I didn't really like Obama's answer to the question about whether President Bill Clinton was the first black president. It worked OK for him, but if John Edwards had similarly equated dancing ability with "blackness", especially in a political realm, he would have been vilified as the second coming of David Duke. I would have liked a better answer from Obama

The Chargers
The Packers
The cute boys added to Prison Break tonight -- they died at the end of the episode. With the exception of Sucre, hot Latin men on Prison Break have the life span of someone with a red shirt on Star Trek.

Excitement - I am allegedly getting the keys to my house tomorrow. Again. What's 2 levels below cautiously optimistic?

Friday, January 18, 2008

"My" House: The saga continues

Any one remember "The Empire Strikes Back", because this is FAR from "A New Hope".

"I have altered the deal. Pray I do not alter it further."
-- Darth Vader

That's about how I feel about the house.

As you may remember from 2 posts ago, our hero had been told he would get the keys to his new house last week, only to find out that the evil Seller had not paid off their debts.

January 17, 2008 -- My agent texts me to say that I have to resign all of my loan documents, and asks when I would have time on Friday. Turns out Seller took too long, and B of A couldn't use the same ones.
Given I would be post call, with a lot of new patients, I told him Friday probably wouldn't work. He said that if I didn't sign Friday, we couldn't close until Tuesday at the earliest, when my Dad is supposed to arrive for our vacation. He assured me (because Escrow had assured him) that Seller had done all of their stuff, and this would be the last thing. So I asked why we couldn't do it that night.
After talking to escrow, skipping the gym, and breaking a date, I was at my house waiting for a Notary to arrive from Irvine. It was the same guy as before, I signed the papers again, and he left. My agent called to make sure everything had gone OK, and told me that I would have the keys today.

January 18, 2008. I was more or less getting through my first 8 hours of work by thinking about having my friends over to my house when my agent texted me. Apparently the escrow company (about as useful as the Imperial Senate) couldn't confirm some of Sellers payments. So we couldn't close, and I couldn't get my keys. I called Escrow myself, and no one could explain how this was possible, given that I had been told that "everything else was done". So I skipped a date and the gym (and thereby more dates) for NOTHING. I resisted the temptation to let my overly optimistic agent have it, until he said "Escrow is upset as you are. We're all upset". That was it. I explained to him that we could all get in a room in see who was the most upset. He shut up.
So now I won't have my house until Tuesday, if ever. You think I'd have learned my lesson about getting excited -- but I never do (probably why I'm supporting Obama). I did learn something though -- I called my guy at B of A to make sure I won't have to sign documents again if they drag it out until next Thursday.
And, for the record, my banker, and Bank of America, have been the most stalwart, honest, and professional part of this whole thing. A pleasant surprise from a big company.

The saga continues...

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