Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ma and Pa

It's been a while since I've posted about my folks. It's hard to believe that two years ago, they had sold their house and were getting ready to drive cross-country to the desert Southwest. It's definitely been an adjustment, both for me and for them. They've settled into their new home, which is much smaller than the one they left in Buffalo. Mom's gotten herself a job, I've had to adjust to having them much, much closer and with that comes added some additional stress on my life.

I often look at them and wonder how they have made it through 35 years of marriage. My Mom is so outgoing and pleasant. My Dad likes to sit on the couch and watch TV with his can of beer. But, they've made it work and I can't really fault them for that. They epic control battles are humorous, though.

Here's an example - they "agreed" when they moved here they would only have 1 car. For the first few months they lived here, it worked OK. Her job was a couple of days a week, and she was home by about 6-6:30 on those days she did work. However, that one didn't work out. Next thing you know, she takes a job at the Galleria Mall, which is clear on the other side of town, and her hours are not nearly as regular.

So now, Dad is truly trapped at home on the days Mom works. He wants some mobility. OK, so it's he can go to the bar, drink some beer and play some video poker. He keeps threatening to go buy a car. Mom, for her part sticks to her story of their agreement and that when Mom was a "stay at home" Mom, we only had one car.

Oh the beauties of marriage...

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I've known Denis now for 14 years or so. He's one of my closest friends from college. He is one of those folks that always seems to have way too much time on his hands, even when he has a lot of work to do. Take the night before his senior thesis was due - he was about 5 or pages into a 55-60 page paper that he hadn't even really started researching yet. But still, he wanted to go to Denny's for dinner. That's just how Denis is.

Denis is definitely "wacky." In school, he used to tell us stories of his grandmother back in Ireland that had Alzheimer's. You couldn't help but laugh. The 6-day trip to London with her dead husband to see what race their great-grandchild was, yelling at the Bishop for ruining her tarts and the stories went on. And don't get me started on the Baby Shower card he went to sign when he had no clue what to say. Let's just say it took on a life of it's own.

Denis finally left Buffalo at the age of 34. To move to Hays, Kansas to be the Headmaster of the local Catholic prep school. Yep. Quite literally the middle of no where. The most exciting thing is that you can go to the world's largest ball of twine. If you don't believe me, check this out. It weighs about 9 tons. Talk about someone that just can't get a break.

I tell you about Denis because he is a true character and a good guy. Maybe all of you out there in blog-land can find other interesting things for him to do in Kansas.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Evil Bill Update

Just wanted to update everyone on the Evil Bill situation.

On Friday I was speaking with Bill and we were having a perfectly nice conversation, covering both business and personal topics. I was telling him that we should have the remaining docs by Monday and will FedEx or fax them. Then, I mentioned that we were still going to shop the mortgage. That's when things went south, FAST.

I didn't get a chance to say that we were only going to check with banks/direct lenders, when he said "then I respectfully decline to be a part of this process." To summarize the rest of the conversation he felt that he was going to have to put too much time and effort on this loan and they run an honest business blah blah blah. "I am offended that based on my relationship with Keds that you would shop this." And some more blah blah blah. I didn't mention that his previous meddling had cost us $1400 and that as a family friend they should be willing to do this for minimal to no profit. That would not have accomplished anything.

So I fill Keds in. She starts to freak out. We really didn't mean to piss Bill off, but Keds called this one. We figured Bill would run and call my Mother in Law's attorney (BTW - MIL never used Bill for refinances either) because that's the usual path. I decided the best defense is a good offense, so I got to the attorney first. He was speechless. Had no idea what to say and should Bill call would do what he could to put Bill in his place.

So, I got in touch with a loan officer I had previously worked with and she is just awesome. Keds spent some time talking to her and said that it was completely different - no lectures and she genuinely wanted our business. She pulled Keds' credit, and was willing to provide the credit report to Keds so she didn't take too many unnecessary hits on her credit report. She had the perfect product for the right rate, but it was going to be iffy at best to get this done.

So it's getting late in the day on a Friday. We hadn't heard. I was getting nervous. About 5:20 or so, my phone rings. It's Keds. She wants to conference me in. Her bottom credit score jumped 200 points! That made her previous top score her middle score and squarely into the right loan! Keds has all the documentation ready and will drop it off on Monday. The loan will be done by the end of the month. How cool is that? Oh, and you should ask Keds about her "just because present."

So, I'm debating what, if anything, I should say to Bill (in e-mail of course). I do feel a little bad - she was operating strictly off of information I had given but he did know what the credit situation looked like a few months ago. He was going to pull credit at the last possibly minute to see if it came up on its own without doing a Rapid Rescore. However, given the initial rates he was quoting (7 5/8th vs the 6 7/8ths we got - ON THE SAME LOAN PRODUCT!), I am pretty sure he would have made sure they made good money off of us. But I never meant to piss him off. This was strictly a business decision.

At this point, I don't think we are going to say anything until the new loan is DONE. I've done enough mortgages to know that there is always something that can go wrong. That, and he is pre-disposed against this lender, but I think he is pre-disposed against all lenders but his own...

Anyway, things are looking up. Have a great week!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The return of Evil (um) Bill

Author's Note: Names have been changed to protect the innocent or clueless

So Evil Bill has returned. I say this half jokingly because I don't really think Bill is Evil. Their heart is in the right place, but as my Mom used to say - "It's not what you say, it's how you say it."

Let me back up a bit. Bill is a Mortgage Broker. He did Ked's refinance of the townhouse a little more than two years ago, but with a two-year adjustable rate mortgage and a two-year hard pre-payment penalty. When the rate adjusted, the interest rate JUMPED. I mean higher than a Mexican Jumping Bean jumped. From 7 percent to 10 percent.

Now, in that two years, Keds was supposed to clean up her credit. Mine was on the mend as well, after buying the new house and getting married. We got the notice in February but needed to do some quick work. We paid off our consumer debt. We were a little slow in getting some items paid off, but things were looking up in March.

Enter Evil Bill. In March, we had gotten quotes from two prominent mortgage lenders and then contacted Bill to see if they wanted our business. At this point, we needed to do the financing with me on the loan, to ensure the credit score would get us the best rate. Bill flat out refused to do this. This house was a gift from your mother... Don't think that Ken won't hesitate to take half of this... Blah blah blah blah blah. Again, looking out for Keds, but not in a positive way.

We decide to hold off until Keds score improved. Fine. But now, Bill is making us jump through a bunch of hoops to do a Rapid Rescore and seems to get offended when we talk about shopping this. While I understand she wants a commitment so that she makes money, we need to feel like we aren't getting screwed and getting the best deal possible.

Evil Bill finally quoted me a couple of rates last night. They don't sound that attractive, to be honest, but I also know the market is changing. He is out of the office today, so Keds and I are going to shop a couple of rates today and see where we can get. Wish us luck!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Productive weekend

Man are we both exhausted. Our second consecutive weekend in LA, but probably one of our most productive to date - or it at least it feels that way. All of the stuff we are keeping LEFT. The movers came, took the boxes and the furniture we are keeping and it all came out. The master bedroom is nearly done. Some focused effort in the bedrooms and those will be done. The Estate Sale is set for July 7th (YAY!) There is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. I'll let Keds tell the story of the New Adventures of Dumpster Girl.

I just forked over $75 to Cox to "professionally install" my cable modem. I've been having issues on and off since we moved into the house, but it's been really really bad lately. Since I use it for work, this has been really annoying. Let's hope this is resolve.

The A's swept the Giants this weekend, so all is right with the world for now...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Let's go Oakland

OK. So as I write this, Curt Schilling is holding the A's hitless through six innings, and the BoSox are up 1-0 over the Swingin' A's of Oakland. This team just baffles me. How can they take at least three out of four games from the team with the best record in baseball, but they always seem to drop the series against, say Tampa Bay? I just don't get it. I know they are typically slow starters and they seem to have been hit by the injury bug a little bit more this year than in the past, but man. Now if only I could watch them on TV more often...