In early 1999 GE Capital made its largest deal in Japan to date with the purchase of the leasing business of Japan Leasing Corporation, a business with $7 billion in leasing assets. Then in late 1999 GE Capital agreed to purchase the remaining assets of Toho Mutual for ¥240 billion ($2/33 billion); Toho had collapsed during 1999 after suffering huge losses from the thousands of old, unprofitable policies in its portfolio, and a large portion of its liabilities were to be covered by Japan's life insurance association. Expansion also continued in Europe for GE Capital, highlighted by the 1997 acquisition of Woodchester, one of the largest financial services companies in Ireland. Overall, GE spent some $30 billion during the 1990s in completing more than 130 European acquisitions.
She spends her days shopping, cleaning, taking her child to the park. She tries to convince herself that the raising of this child is the equivalent of her husband’s work; that it is, in fact, life itself; that, therefore, the sensation of waiting for her life to begin is an illusion. But it doesn’t work: the energy inside her remains muffled, trapped, alive and insistent. This imprisoned energy is the subject of the book, and it is what Anne Roiphe does with it that turns “Up the Sandbox” into a Ladies Home Journal story. Instead of gathering force and bursting through to whatever is on the other side, the energy of her protagonist leaks out in safe little puddles, its pressure defused in a series of park-bench fantasies. The fantasy life, to be sure, is rich, funny, clever; but in the end cowardly and self-defeating, shabby in its emotional use of self-deception. The chapter headings clearly indicate whether this is a “fantasy” chapter or a “real” chapter. The final chapter is headed “fantasy” and in it Margaret discovers that she is pregnant again. In reality she is, of course, pregnant.