Refinance, part 2... wherein I want to strangle my loan originator.

This post, the first part of which I wrote last month, is on my ridiculous refinancing experience with a completely fucked up mortgage company -- and yes, I'll name them -- Platinum Home Mortgage:

Right now, it's been a little over 24 hours since I officially become the sole owner of the house that my ex-fiancé and I bought together in February 2010.  I don't think I'm used to the thought yet that it's me, only me, on the title and mortgage for my (my!) house, making it mine, all mine. 

I was never good at sharing when I was a kid.

Anyway, the refinance process was fucking ridiculous.  The first 2.5 years after P. left, I couldn't find anyone who could give me a loan -- I went to three different banks and a credit union.  One of them actually told me that lending to a single woman makes banks "nervous," which I later learned is a totally illegal practice.

I then found a mortgage company in February that would take on my case.  I was so relieved and excited that I actually texted P., even though we don't really talk, to tell him I was finally going to be able to refinance.  Things moved very quickly after that -- I got pre-approved, an appraiser was sent over to the house, I generated copies of every document that I've touched since birth, etc.  I was getting five emails a day from the loan originator about a missing page 7, things I need to sign and send back, and what the appraiser will be looking for; by the end of the day, I usually never wanted to see or hear from my loan originator ever again, but I knew that this would all be worth it. 

When I got the appraisal, I was told that this:
...would be fine as long as the materials to finish the construction job were on the premises, and they were, so I didn't even worry about it. 

Two months later.  A week before I was supposed to close... I get an email from my loan originator, asking for more documents, plus, "Is construction done on that bedroom?  We can't close on the refinance without that bedroom being done."

Um, WHAT?  All I was supposed to do is get all the materials, but apparently not.  And could no one have fucking told me??

David and I tried to get the room done, at a feverish pace, but it was still not enough.  We even looked into hiring a contractor to do it, and we weren't expecting to have to pay that much because:
  • All they'd have to do is hang the drywall, mud it, and tape it.
  • The ceiling was already done.
  • They wouldn't have to mess with the carpet.
  • We had the drywall, the mud, and the drywall tape already.
  • I'd already removed all the nails from the studs and scraped off excess pray foam, and David had insulated the whole room.
We received quotes from three different contractors: $800, $950, and $1190.  All just to hang a few pieces of drywall.  Again, I say, WHAT?

So David did it.

Not completely finished, but still.  Was that so fucking hard?

So the appraiser had to come back to simply take a picture of the bedroom and leave -- a service that I later learned had cost me about $150 -- and I was go for refinance...

Except for one little thing.  And by "little," I mean it threw me into an unfettered and inexplicable rage.  The loan originator, who at this point must have just thought paperwork was "like, what are this?", couldn't manage to get her shit together long enough to generate an actual monetary figure that I'd be expected to bring to closing.  So like, pretty much the one thing I have to bring in order to close.


Twenty minutes before closing:  Picture me at the bank, phone to my ear, screaming unladylike things, sweating bullets, face red.  Not much of a departure from my usual demeanor, but at the bank this time.  This usually just happens at the DMV.  Or the bathroom.

Anyway, so I got a cashier's check for an arbitrary amount, hoping it was enough, and got my ass downtown.  I took David with me, and when I tried to tell him about the mortgage company's most recent antics, he waved me off.  "If you tell me that they fucked up again, I'm gonna have to [expletive deleted] a [expletive deleted] with a [expletive deleted] until next Tuesday," he said.  Yeah, what he said was hardcore, even for me.

So I sat and signed things.

My cashier's check was more than enough.  And I officially closed on the house.  I'm now the sole owner of the property.

It's a little bittersweet, because although this is what I wanted (and probably what P. wanted), I no longer have anything to do with my ex ever again.  There's absolutely no reason for contact now.  He's completely out of my life -- nothing to talk to him about, no way I'd see him -- forever.  I haven't been in a state of "not 'knowing' P." in ten years.  I can't say I'm incredibly happy about that, but I'm going to have to get used to it.

In the meantime, I feel like I'm in a courtship with this house, where I'm getting to know it again, as a different person.  For the first time in three years, I can let myself get emotionally invested with home projects, and I can put in more sweat and blood (literally... there's thistle in the backyard).  Before this, I felt like I was in limbo -- I was afraid to make any improvements or adjustments, because it didn't exactly feel like it was "my" house.  Now it is.

For example, I actually exhaust myself with yardwork now.

Of course, the problems with my mortgage company have not stopped, despite all of this and everything they've put me through.  I got some emails from the loan originator, saying she needed more documents.  AND NOW, I'm having problems creating an account online in order to pay my own mortgage (due August 1... is now August 4), because it isn't "recognizing" who I am.  I tried the phone service, and the automated voices didn't recognize me either; naturally, I couldn't talk to a real human.  So I emailed my loan originator -- I was positive that she could help, or at least respond, because she was the queen of emails... I used to get 5-7 emails a day from her, asking about stupid things, and even got emails from her at night.

But no.  I haven't heard back.  what.


Refinance, part one

Attention customers:

The Park Ave. Pub is now under sole ownership. All ex-fiancés and emotional baggage are no longer being served. 

Thank you,
The Management


Sometimes, quesadillas aren't worth it.

That's right, I said it. 

For the last two weeks, I've been on a diet.  Well, a doctor might get technical and call Week #1 "influenza" or whatever, but did I eat?  No.  Did I lose weight?  Yes.  Was I miserable?  Fuck yes.  Sounds like a diet to me, Mister Medical Degree (pfft).

As part of my diet, I've simply just cut out a lot of sugars and carbs.  I'll still eat fruit occasionally, mostly berries or an apple when I'm at work, but for the most part, I try to stick to fewer than 30 grams of carbohydrates a day.  I'm not following Atkin's, keto, paleo, or any other "program" -- I just weaned myself off carbs.  It's easy to do when your throat hurts like hell and you can't stomach much more than water.  Also, I think my stomach shrank or something, because I still can't finish most of my meals.

(Related note:  I think the best way to start a diet or detox regimen is when you're already sick.  You don't want anything anyway, so you pass that first week with pretty much no craving for bad food, cigarettes, alcohol, prostitutes, etc.  Win win win.)

I snack on cheese, peanuts, beef jerky.  I eat omelettes for breakfast, fish and veggies for lunch, and some kind of meat with veggies for dinner.  I'll still make roasted potatoes for David, though, because he starts to lose his superpowers if he goes too long without a starch.

This was all well and good.  I'd lost 12 pounds in two weeks with no back-and-forth.  And then last night happened.

I'll preface this story by saying... I occasionally do dangerous things.  I've gone skydiving.  I put needles near my eyes to combat clumpy mascara.  I've been pulled over for traffic violations no fewer than 15 times (yeah, I've totally lost count).  I may have even gotten drunk once during a restaurant shift.*

Last night, I lived dangerously by eating a quesadilla. 

That fucking quesadilla.

All I remember is that we were supposed to get crazy, wicked storms, which were supposed to huff and puff and blow the Park Ave. Pub down, and then we'll all be dead, etc.  I was skeptical.  I told David, "I'll believe it when I see it," because storms never hit my town directly.  Yes, we'll get some rain, maybe some thunder here and there, but we have never had a storm actually make my city its bitch.

The same was true last night, and I knew not to get my hopes up, but it was impossible, considering David was breaking out the NOAA weather radio, looking at weather maps, turning on the news, jumping up and down with excitement... so I ended up on the front porch all night.  I missed dinner.  Forgot I was even hungry.  I just sat on the porch, watched the skies, waited for the storm to roll in.

Suddenly, it was midnight, and I was still waiting for Indiana to be wiped off the map when I realized two things:

(1)  That storm was the most heavily predicted drizzle I've ever seen.
(2)  I need food.  Fucking now.

I was too weak to cook anything, my carb-less snacks weren't going to cut it, David sees our kitchen as "the room before the room with Mr. Flatscreen in it," but I was ready to faint.  David put me in the car and drove to the closest place:  Taco Bell.

That fucking Taco Bell.

By the time we got there, my stomach was hurting from hunger so bad that I felt sick.  I studied the menu, trying to look for low carb options, but I didn't see any.  Not saying that they aren't there, but I was in such a woozy panic at the time that I didn't look for long.  And I said, "Just order me a steak quesadilla, please.  Tytyty."  (When I'm not feeling well, I tend to get super polite.  Unless you're my mom, and then I snap at you like a ginormous bitchface, because I'm a terrible person.) 

I had intended to just pick out the steak and cheese, maybe eat that with some hot sauce.  But by the time we got home, I was so sick that I knew that wouldn't satisfy me. 

I ate the tortilla.  That fucking tortilla.

I then went to bed in a carb-coma, woke up at 3 a.m. with severe stomach cramps, and missed a couple hours of work the next morning.

Now, a survey:  Were the stomach cramps due to...

(1)  Eating carbs?
(2)  Anxiety about a severe thunderstorm?
(3)  The fact that I ate at Taco Bell?

Hmm.  Maybe I just live dangerously.

* I will not recall saying "drunk" if asked about this in the future.


Some of today's events.

So we bought a new refrigerator and a new dishwasher.  They were both delivered today.

(1)  Appliance delivery guy is legally bound from installing the dishwasher because a previous owner did not move the stop valve to the main floor while renovating the kitchen.  We find it in the basement.

(2)  The faucet thingie to the stop valve is rusted shut.

(3)  We discover that the dishwasher was hard-wired to the house.  I stand in a corner while David swears a lot.

(4)  The stop valve finally shuts, or so we thought, and then David unhooks the dishwasher.  Water gushes out, all over a panel of live electrical stuff.  Kitchen starts flooding.  House loses electricity.

(5)  The dishwasher can't be removed, even after all the events above are resolved, because there is a copper water line running in front of the unit.  The line will have to be cut.

(6)  Plumbers arrive.  Two hours and $234 later, they cut the line and install the dishwasher...

(7)  ... incorrectly.  Dishwasher nearly falls out of its space when we're loading it with dishes.  We find it isn't fastened to the counter at the top.

David, trying to secure the dishwasher.  He'll have to do some tweaking later, but it's good for right now.
(8)  When the plumbers are leaving, we realize that we haven't seen Bellatrix in over an hour.  We remember that one of the plumbers left the door open, and the screen door doesn't latch.  We search the neighborhood for about an hour, by the end of which I'm hysterically sobbing.  David found her in a hole in a basement wall.  She was fine and is now napping at my feet.

My little bear is safe with Mommy.

(9)  Exhaustion.

Though after all that happened, we discovered a decent southern BBQ food truck in town.  yaaaaay.  


I'll be back soon. I promise.

"Why are we forever weaving new ties to bind us to the earth..." -- Davy Jones

I was in a conversation over lunch a couple weeks ago when the group started to talk about politics... as that's apparently a pleasurable topic of discussion... and I said something about how some odd person I knew didn't like Obama.  Because, in my circle of friends and family, it's really weird and fascinating if someone votes Republican.

So, when the other person in the group said, "Well, no one here voted for Obama," it was a natural reaction when I nearly laughed lemonade out my nose.  Then he was like, "I'm serious.  No one here voted for Obama."  All I could say was, "Uh...[looking at everyone like they're lunatics]... and why?"

The basic answer was money.  Their short-sighted version of what should be happening with money.  Their I-just-hate-Obama-so-I-won't-pay-attention-to-anything-else-but-the-fact-that-I-hate-him stupidity.

All I could tell them was, "Well, I didn't vote based on my paycheck."

One man said, "But it's your life."

My response:  I laughed at him.  Then said, nearly verbatim, "My paycheck is not my life.  If money were my life, I would be a disappointing excuse of a person.  I voted based on human rights.  If you want to vote for someone that will maybe make you more money in the meantime, but make sure that no one else has any -- and for that matter, will make sure that you have no money by the time you're 65 -- then knock yourself out.  If you want to vote for someone that will make you more money in the meantime, but also make sure that women are sent back to the kitchen and gays are sent back to mental hospitals, then knock yourself out.  Really -- physically knock yourself out.  For the sake of humanity.  Please."


In other news, I slept wrong on my neck two nights ago, so I now have one of those hot pad thingies on my shoulders.  Doesn't help that I'm leaning over a laptop right now, though.

In another news, things have been dramatic lately, and I can't blog about it because it isn't exactly public knowledge for people in both my personal and professional realms.

I had so much more text, making that last sentence a paragraph.  However, because the universe hates me, there are apparently some peers within my professional world who read my blog.  (And, I seriously ask you:  Why?  What is so interesting about "girl with cats who cooks and swears a lot and knows way too much about The Monkees"?  Don't you guys have like, kids or something?)  This is the reason I haven't posted in nearly two months -- I don't know what the fuck I can say anymore.

But I'll be back soon.  I promise.


Sunday Confessions Link Up aaaaaaand a special birthday!

First things first!  A very happy birthday to Michael Nesmith, who is turning 70!!  He shared a birthday with Davy Jones, who would have been 67 today.

From R.I.P. Davy Jones

And now, it's that time of the week!  If you're interested (and you should be), link up with the lovely Alyx and publicize your sins, baby.

1.  I woke up at about 3:30 p.m. today.
I have been sick for over two weeks, my sleep schedule is weird, and... um, Adrianne Curry was doing a live chat last night.  I know it's weird, but I think that she and I have a lot in common -- nerd stuff, being from the Midwest, etc.  Thing is, the chat was just full of boys going "HEY TALK ABOUT BOOBS" and she would then actually talk about boobs.  The whole thing gave me a headache.

2.  I received Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Christmas, and I'm in love with the pages.
Seriously.  I just run my hands over the pages.  They're all soft.

3.  I'm currently upset because David is going to a party tonight, and I'm not "allowed" or whatever.
Apparently only David's co-workers are invited, even though they're going to my favorite bar/restaurant (The Checkerboard), and with David going out to eat, I'll have to make dinner for one tonight, which is depressing, and I'd much rather go out and have some of The Checkerboard's broccoli (which I'm obsessed with), but I'm not allowed.  :(  So if I do go and get dinner there, I'll have to like, pretend not to notice David, having fun with his party.  

4.  I'm seeing Les Mis tomorrow night, and I'm afraid I'll cry during the movie in front of my family.
That would be embarrassing.  I am, however, looking forward to this annual tradition:  On New Year's Eve, I go out with my mom and her sister (and spouse) (and now David) (and sometimes a boy I'm dating, if applicable... not applicable this year) to dinner, exchange Christmas gifts, and see a movie.  So far, we have always managed to pick a movie that later wins an Academy Award!

5.  My cats provide me with hours of entertainment.
Sometimes, I seriously just sit in the living room and watch them being stinkers.  They chase each other around, play with ping pong balls, take naps in funny poses.  Right now I'm watching Micky trying to awkwardly sit on a comforter -- she doesn't quite fit into one area of it, but she wants to be there so she'll make it happen.  Bellatrix is on the other side of the room, doing her "lying on her side and not giving a fuuuuck" position.  They really are just too funny.

Yep.  I'm a crazy cat lady now.


So I used to be in a band.

The other night, I was wandering around the Internet and found an old MySpace page dedicated to a band I belonged to back in 2008 -- The Funky Transactions.

I'm in the background
We were actually pretty good.  I listened through all the songs that we'd uploaded on MySpace, although we had like 20 more songs than what was on there (hmmm... do I have my old song notebook?); I watched our videos, and even though the A/V quality was poor, I was able to remember the notes; I looked at the pictures, which a couple of friends had taken of us.

Sigh.  How exciting it was to be 23.

Kiley and I met in middle school -- I remember playing with my mom's face masks with her and a mutual friend, laughing as we peeled them from our faces in front of the bureau mirror in my parents' room.  Years later, we ended up in the same sociolinguistics class at Purdue, and while we were catching up, it came up that we both played musical instruments.  At some point, one of us exclaimed, "Dude!  We should start a fuckin' BAND!"

Taken by Sandra
After class, we went to the study area in the union's soda shop with our notebooks and worked out a game plan -- how often we'd rehearse, what kind of sound we'd have, how many instruments we could each play.  I'd never been in a real band before, other than tinkering around with friends growing up, but Kiley had, so I was happy that someone actually knew what she was doing.

Then suddenly, we were at my house, which I rented with my then-boyfriend in downtown Lafayette, practicing chords and covering Regina Spektor songs, with Kiley on acoustic guitar and me on my grandmother's piano (which I had to buy at an auction because my sociopath uncle sold all her stuff).

Here's us just fucking around early on -- this was an unfinished chorus and bridge, and it became a "real" song later:

Our song-writing strategy was simple:  I'd never written a song before, and Kiley wrote songs in her sleep.  She'd come over for rehearsal with a new idea for a song, complete with most of the lyrics, and then I'd make shit up on the piano to the chords she already had.  That was probably the one area where I was solid:  I knew chords.

Kiley knew some of the chord names, but mostly she just played what sounded cool and didn't really know how to communicate what it was (and that's not a bad thing -- Paul McCartney couldn't read sheet music either, and I suppose he did okay with himself).  I'd studied music since I was a kid, learning chords and scales, being in the school band for eight years, taking a music theory course at Purdue, performing with the Lafayette Citizens Band, etc.  I was able to figure out, with relative ease, the chords Kiley was playing on guitar and then match something up with the piano.  It helped that she kept her guitar tuned really well.

Before I knew it, Kiley was talking about playing live, which naturally freaked me the fuck out.  We did end up playing some live shows, and she was so cool with all of it, but my hands shook the entire time, and the shows are a blur to me now.  I don't remember making any big mistakes, but I do remember us starting a song over at the Knickerbocker after a couple of measures because it didn't sound right.  I don't know what we changed the second time, but it sounded fine after that.

Taken by someone I don't know.  Both my now-ex-fiancé and my father are in this picture. OOH GUESS THEM!

At the Skylight Coffee House.  Peter Tork played on this stage two years later.
Kiley had a friend who owned a recording studio in what used to be... I think a furniture store?  Or a school maybe?  We went in and recorded some songs in there.  I was less nervous about this part, because it wasn't live, and no one was looking at me.  Plus, I mean... the attitude that comes with, "yeah dude, I'm in the fuckin' studio, layin' down some fuckin' tracks, y'all."  Some of the songs we recorded are on the MySpace page still.  We also had a photographer friend take pictures of us one of the times we went to the studio.

Recording.  Photo is by our friend Angie, but I don't know if she's interested in consulting as a photographer right now.  If she lets me know, then I'll link to her stuff in this caption later.

Hallway in this school-furniture store place where the studio was.  Also, I was pretty uncomfortable with having my picture taken.  I still am.
We ended up going our separate ways after several months.  I don't blame her -- I was about to graduate from Purdue, I was career-oriented, wanted to work in a cubicle.  Which, I know now, is... well, not at all what we'd been aiming for.  Kiley ended up traveling, I think, and then she settled down to start a family (and out of all the babies I see on my Facebook newsfeed, he's one of the cutest -- and those who know me well know that this is actually saying something).

I'm glad I found those songs and videos, though.  Lots of good memories.  She brought me out of my shell -- when I first thought about performing on stage or recording music, I wanted to shit myself.  Now, however, I know that I did something that terrified me, and I enjoyed it.  And, I hope, other people got something out of it as well.

You can barely hear Kiley in this last video, but I liked this song.

And us live -- sorry for the poor quality... it's from my ex's phone:

Anyone else out there have a band, or were you ever in one?  Ever been terrified on stage, or are you totally comfortable?


Nigel Barker is a bit pervy

What I do on a Thursday night when I have a bad cold and we're expecting snow:

  • Make five little cups of Easy Mac
  • Eat them, slowly and sadly
  • Watch America's Next Top Model
  • Ibuprofen, nose spray, vapor rub... in that order
  • Look at my copy of Les Misérables as if I might actually read it again before I see the movie, but I know that I'm just going to skim the Wikipedia page instead
  • Fuck, that was the last tissue
  • I'm not done Christmas shopping, and that freaks me out, because as an atheist I'm supposed to be all like, "lol wut holiday"... but I don't want to be offensive by not buying things for people to celebrate something religious, or something?  Unless you're one of those weird people that deny any Pagan influence on Christmas and say phrases like "war on Christmas" and "reason for the season," and in that case I'm just going to tell you to get a grip and read something that's actually non-fiction
  • Tyra Banks is kind of a psycho, but all she does is work... at some point, girl, just go have a nap... take a vacation... relax your smizing 
  • This turned into more than a to-do list
Anyone else been sick during a holiday?  Is it as miserable as I'm expecting it to be?


"Terror starts at home"

Both of my parents were school teachers for 35-40 years each. Never once, not even after Columbine, did I think to ask them if they were afraid to go to work. Now I'm wondering if they ever were -- if they ever looked around their classrooms and worked out a plan for if anything horrible was happening -- "Where can I hide? How many students can fit there? Do these windows open? Who's the bravest kid in each of my classes? ... who's the unhappiest kid in each of my classes?"

I was stressed about work this week.  I was stressed about chores at home that need to get done.  

I don't have kids, but I understood when I saw that one of my Facebook friends, who lives here in Indiana, left work in the middle of the day today to grab her toddler out of daycare... just because she wanted to hold him.  Her son was in no danger at daycare, but the people at an elementary school in a sleepy Connecticut town assumed they were in no danger either.  

At work today, we all stopped for a while to watch real-time news online.  We still went to our meetings, sent our emails, etc., but for about ten minutes, we were just silent and sick to our stomachs.  

These were children.  I first said "innocent children," but everyone who is a victim of one of these acts is innocent.  I don't want to take away from the adults today that were victims -- parents, educators... servants to our society... and in the end, all we can ask is "why?"  The cliche exists for a reason, I suppose.

As an atheist, there are times when you wish you could pray -- then you'd actually feel like you're doing something.  But also as an atheist, you wonder how people can believe in a god at a time like this.  

I don't really know what else to say.  


Sunday Confessions!

It's time for...

Sunday Confessions!  If you're interested, link up with the lovely Alyx!

1.  I still haven't finished my Thanksgiving post.  Or any posts on the two Monkees concerts I went to.
I have pictures and everything -- the pictures are even on Picasa right now -- but I'm just Thanksgiving-ed out.  I just don't think I could ever adequately document something like this.  I was testy all day, and in the end everything was great, but I've just been in vacation mode since.

As for the Monkees concerts, Picasa won't "accept" the pictures from my phone for some reason.  It's total bullshit, I know.

2.  Sometimes I like to be public... sometimes I don't.
There are times when the (15) on my Facebook tab doesn't bother me.  But sometimes, I don't like to put it all out there -- and apparently, someone is keeping an eye on what I post on my blog -- I know that to be a writer means having to cringe occasionally, so I'm working on this.  As for the person that is scrutinizing everything I write and attempting to censor me (yes -- someone used the word "censor" pertaining to my blog):  Dude.  Get a fucking life.  If I point out that someone is being stupid, what do you suggest I do?  I don't make people look bad.  Those people make themselves look bad.  Nothing has happened to make anything better.  And I am not deleting this post for you.

I write what I think.  I send it "out there."  Get fucking over it.  If you don't want to be represented poorly, then don't be a fucking idiot.  

OH.  And I use curse words.  Fucking oops.  

3.  My nails look like shit now that Kate is gone.
She had this whole trendy thing of painting her nails one color, then painting a glittery polish on her ring fingers.  I started to do the same, but I painted the glitter crap on my middle fingers.  I just thought that I could show people something shiny while I'm flipping them off.

Now that she's gone, my nails are bare and bitten.

4.  Why does Candice Bergen get all the bitchy roles these days?
I just watched "Sex and the City" back to back with Sweet Home Alabama.  They have Ms. Bergen playing the ball-buster man-hating career woman both times.  Has it always been this way?

5.  I don't know what the fuck to do with my hair.
It's blond on the bottom.  It's dark brown/red on the top.  The red is from my dad's side, I think.  It's at an awkward length, and an even more-awkward state of damage from... let's see... cutting it all off, being unhappy with the length, then perming it, then bleaching it blond, then trying to dye it dark again (with only semi-permanent dye)...

I want my long, dark hair back.