Friday, June 26, 2009

Well, it's not a house...

It's been a while, and with good reason. Chaos sucks up a lot of my life sometimes. But enough of that...

We are moving!

It's not a house, but it is an apartment in a better complex (as far as we can tell) and in a better area of town. The new apartment is just about 300 square feet larger than the one we're currently in and, because of a special they were running, it's about $14 less than what we're paying now.

We do sacrifice some things, but we're willing to give it a try while we continue our house hunt. K. only has another year of middle school and the high school she'll be going to has a larger boundary area than the middle school. It'll give us more opportunities (we hope) to find a house.

One of the things we're giving up is the 24-hour exercise room. In the new complex, it's only open from dawn to dusk. It also doesn't have the same variety of machines as the one we utilize now. On the other hand, it does have better access to outdoor activities and there's a YMCA just a short walk from the complex entrance.

Another thing we're sacrificing is a bit of privacy. We're going from a duplex unit (where we share ONE wall with neighbors) to the ground floor of a standard-type apartment. It's not really a sacrifice of privacy, but we'll not only share a wall with neighbors, but also have people above us. It's not something K. has ever experienced and bound to take an adjustment period.

The new kitchen is much, much smaller than my current kitchen (which I think is too small), but I can live with it for a for a while. While small, the kitchen does have a (small) pantry closet IN the kitchen (what a novel concept) and a garbage disposal. I'll miss the light currently over the kitchen sink that serves as our household nightlight.

And K.'s bedroom will be a little bit smaller, too. She's said she'll live with that to "escape" the current apartment. (Also, she's getting a new bed and finally getting to do what she wants with her room.)

We lose the front porch this apartment has, but we gain a screened-in patio, a small storage unit (on the screened patio), and a full-sized water heater.

It's really a bit of a trade off. We lose some things that we really like. On the other hand, the new apartment has two bathrooms (hallelujah!) and, as I said before, almost 300 square feet more space.

So... we're moving! This is supposed to happen on the 17th of July. That's less than a month away, and we don't seem to be preparing too much. That worries me, but people keep telling me I'm a worrier, so... maybe it's nothing. Maybe. We'll see.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Uh. Confusion, please?

I'm in one of those "don't screw with me" moods, I think.

It started yesterday with that quote I posted, but it really flared with an email A. forwarded to me from the guy that's supposed to be helping us get our mortgage loan. So far, he's been incredibly less than helpful to the point that I have the loan documents here and signed, but I can't bring myself to send them back. But the email.

Subject: Loan Documents
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2008 17:34:48 -0500

I wanted to follow-up with you regarding your loan and M[xxx] and Maureen's conversation regarding the information I already have. I believe you received a letter from Maureen [xxx] requesting some information, bank statements, pay stubs, etc. I know that you had already dropped those things off to me, but many of those items were dated around the last loan we were working on. Since that was many months ago this loan requires updated more recent documents from you. Maureen is a great processor and will be sure to take good care of you. If you'd like to fax them to me or directly to her that's fine. Please let me know if you have any questions regarding the mortgage.

Um. Ok. I was tired and not one bit of that made sense to me last night because I was REALLY tired and uncertain of the dates involved.

I'm not so tired this morning.

A. took the documents in question to Jason (the mortgage loan guy) on February 8. I know this because he did it on the last day of his vacation before he started working on the cars again and I got super pissed because he left everything there - the tax records for 2005 and 2006, the w2s for 2007 (while I was in the middle of doing the taxes, no less), bank statements, everything anyone needed to wipe out our bank accounts and/or steal both our identities - and it wouldn't be mailed back to us until sometime during the next week. That was way too long for random folks to be having their hands on all my sensitive information, and damnit, I wanted to do the taxes!

A. emailed Jason on the 13th to see if there was anything else we could do and he got an email on the same day saying "moving along smoothly" blahblahblah.

On the 22nd A. gets a series of emails from Jason. These included an update on our credit scores (low to mid-700s on both of us), wanting to know if I could put A. on the checking account (??? he... IS... on the account), and wanting to know if we could (if I'm interpreting it correctly) get a custom statement printed from the bank. The sentence read (and I'm copying and pasting this, folks):

"I want to show as much funds in your accounts so can you print me statement on the day you get paid?"

I don't know of ANY bank that does that. Sure, I can print out a screen capture of my account records on the day A. gets paid, before I start paying bills, but the statements I provided are print outs of actual bank statements and the information contained within them doesn't change based on when I print them. (I subscribe to the e-statement method of statements.)

On the 26th A. gets an email asking him about his military background and status (....again, it's IN THE PAPERWORK I SENT OVER) and on the 27th an email letting him know who the processor assigned to our loan is and that she may be contacting us for further information.

Um. Ok.

On February 29 we get a letter via USPS from Maureen (the processor) requesting original documents of EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE DOCUMENTS WE'VE ALREADY SUBMITTED to Jason. Irritated and confused by this, I call her office, leave a message and settle in to watch a movie while A. takes a nap and K. does K.-stuff. Maureen calls, I pause the movie, and we chat. After I explain that we've already given Jason everything on the list (with the exception of possibly A.'s driver's license) just a few weeks prior, she says she'll get Jason to fax the stuff to her. She'll contact me if there's anything else she needs. Cool.

On March 1 we get a duplicate letter from Maureen (minus the business card) via USPS, which I file along with the first one.

And that brings us to the email from Jason last night.

They had requested the three most recent bank statements from two different banks (actually credit unions, but whatever). Bank 1: On February 8 we gave them print-outs of October 2007, November 2007, December 2007. January 2008 had yet to be released at that time. I can now provide them with the bank statement for January 2008. February 2008 has yet to be released. Bank 2: On February 8 we gave them statements for October 2007 and November 2007, and duplicate statements for December 2007 (I never got it in the mail) and January 2008 (it hadn't come in the mail yet, but the people at that bank like me and gave me a copy). I... think... I got January's statement in the mail, and February's has yet to come.

They asked for w2s for the past two years. On February 8 we provided them with w2s and tax returns for 2005 and 2006. We also provided w2s for 2007. The only way I could possibly make this more up-to-date would be to add the printed tax return for 2007... something they never asked for.

They asked for A.'s Certificate of Eligibility from the VA. We provided it on the 8th. They kept the original and sent us back a copy. There's nothing I can do to update that.

They asked for his DD-214 (release form from Navy). We provided it on the 8th. Nothing to update there.

They asked for his most recent pay-stub. We provided the stub dated 1/31/08. The only thing I can do to update that is send the one dated 2/29/08... when I finally get it.

So, the only new information they'd be getting would be the January 2008 statement from Bank 1 and a pay-stub.

Now, I realize that I'm just a simple housewife without much of an education and largely ignorant when it comes to a lot of things involving the "real world", but this just doesn't seem right. If Jason already has all this information, why do I need to provide it again? I understand that maybe he didn't pass it on to Maureen, but why is he saying it's all out of date?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

It's been a while...

So things went a little kablooey towards the end of 2007. The new owners of the complex starting making all sorts of noises and things got real rocky for a while but we survived. Not without sacrifices, though.

Among some of what was sacrificed were my crafts. Almost everything. Gone. No more sanity saving projects to help fight off the boredom of being a stay-at-home mom trapped more days than not in a box with no way to leave except walking, and nowhere close enough (or safe enough) to walk to. No more creative outlets. No more... mom fun.

It was hard. It still is on some days, but the husband bit the bullet and signed up for a store credit card at Best Buy and bought me a laptop for Christmas. He got it for me on November 26. The day after my birthday. It's not top of the line, it's bogged down by Vista, I can't increase the RAM (it's already maxed out at what the system supports), I can't print from it, and I do miss my number pad, but it's a great little computer. I do love it. In fact, after using it for a few months, the only thing I would change is the RAM issue and the printer issue. (Yes, I'd even keep Vista. I have hopes for it.) If I could increase the amount of RAM the computer would support, I would. Just because Vista hogs so much of it that installing (let alone running) ANYthing else is nearly impossible. I've already pushed it as close to the line as I dare, and on some nights I do have to start shutting things down because I'm running out of memory. And it's just a matter of time before the printer has drivers that will work with Vista.

Having the laptop gave me back at least one creative outlet. Writing. It gives me the opportunity to NOT be tied to the desk (in a chair that was killing my back) and still write, whether I'm sitting at the dining room table, on the couch, or sprawling in my bed. I can even go outside for a few hours. I can't do graphics and such on it (again, Vista hogs all the RAM, making it all but impossible), but I can write. And surf the internet. And do other (simple) computer stuff. Like blog. I even coaxed my baby to load the Arachnophilia program I use to make web pages so at least I can do the basic html coding on new pages and update some existing pages. I still have to go to the desktop for the more intense graphic side of things.

Lately, we have been trying to incorporate other creative outlets back into my life. Small projects. Simple things that will give me hours of release without taking up too much space for the supplies.

Recently I picked up a pack of watercolor pencils. I can't draw, but I like to try. I'm enamored of the colors. And while I really haven't used the pencils yet, I'm looking forward to it.

I also picked up a little beading kit out of a dollar bin at the craft shop. It's a simple little kit and I will need to find the box my pliers are in, but it'll keep me amused for a few hours. It'll give me that sense of accomplishment when I finish making whatever I end up making with it. Not to mention when I show the finished piece to the kid and she "ooh"s and "aaah"s over it before begging for it to be hers.

Both the pencils and the beading kit will save my sanity and give me a sense of alive-ness... a sense of living... that is so often missing when there is absolutely nothing for me to do beyond read a book, clean the apartment, and cook for my family. I am more than those things, and I enjoy the feelings I get when I'm being creative.

Another project - though less creative - that I've been working on is house hunting. We desperately need to get out of this apartment before it destroys me. But more on that another day. I've already maxed out my tolerance for house-hunting conversation for the day.

All in all, it's been a rough and crazy time. But we've survived. I've survived. And with agonizing slowness, life is getting back to what we like it to be. What we want it to be.

Now if we only we could find the right house...