Last year Amy and I flew to Kansas City to visit her family, and on the back porch of her parents’ home, her father and I shared a cigar. He asked me about real estate prices in Portland. He asked me how much money I imagined we’d need for a down payment in order to find a house with mortgage payments we could reasonably afford. “Thirty grand?” he guessed. “Forty?” I did not immediately grasp the point toward which he seemed to be telegraphing. Portland real estate is a topic of interest for most of our out-of-town family and Amy’s father is well-known for his conversational non sequiturs.