Funny Things to Ponder


Recently my doctor advised me to avoid stress. I think that’s a standard line from doctors, even for people like me with little health issues. Nevertheless, I laughed and told him that would be difficult because I’m buying a house. He said that was good stress. From where I sit, it doesn’t feel good. I think I’m more stressed now than I’ve been at any other point in this one year journey. Here are the five most stressful parts of buying a home, at least from my perspective.

Looking for the Right Home
In a normal market, this might be easy. In this market, looking at endless homes to find the right house is very stressful. You visit house after house until they all blend together. When we were just looking at open houses, it was pretty easy, although the homes we saw when we didn’t have an agent looked nothing like the homes we saw when we did!

Making Your First Offer
Actually, deciding whether to make an offer is pretty stressful, too. We considered making offers on two houses before finally finding the right one. We were exhilarated, but then the stress set in as we waited for an answer. The offer on the next home was easier, but not completely smooth as we waited to find out if the bank had stopped the foreclosure sale after receiving our offer. By the time I got to the third offer, I felt fine. I was excited about the house, but blasé about the process until the day we realized we would probably get this one. That’s when I asked my boss to visit the house to check it out and offer his second opinion.

The Appraisal
This used to be an easy step, but now it’s pretty stressful. It took 8 days to get our appraisal back and we sweated it the whole time. It was possible that the home would appraise low, although we certainly wouldn’t have offered what we did if we didn’t think it would appraise. Still, you never know what will happen under the new system. I practically did cartwheels when the appraisal came in $5,00 above purchase price.

Loan Approval
Once the appraisal is in, the loan goes to underwriting and here comes more stress. We were pre-approved by an experienced loan officer, so he was confident we would be approved, but it’s still stressful. Here’s a tip: once you start the home-shopping process, don’t do anything that affects your credit. No major purchases, no new loans or credit cards. You can, of course, pay off debt if you have extra money after your down-payment and closing costs and reserves are met, but don’t take on new debt. Don’t close any accounts. We also stopped transferring money from our checking to our savings once we went into escrow in order to avoid any questions.

I nearly did a back-flip when our loan was approved, except for the rent verification which still needed to be met. I knew we’d get it and be fine, but it was very stressful while we waited for the bank and the landlord to communicate. I finally went down there and took care of it myself.

We’re not there yet, but this is also stressful. Once you get everything to the lender and the loan is approved, you’re at the mercy of other people getting everything done on time. Escrow has to prepare the HUD-1 form and get it to the lender. If there are corrections to be made, they have to do that quickly. Once the form is done, your lender orders the loan documents. They have to be delivered to escrow, which arranges for you to sign them. Then after you sign them, they have to go back through underwriting.

Your loan could be rejected at this point – which had already happened to me once, when an appraisal issue arose at the last second. I got it ironed out, but it was stressful. Then you wait for the loan to be funded and the deed to record and then finally you get the keys. So even as you sit on third base and the batter hits it into the stands, you might not make it to home plate. That’s stressful! If you’re at this point, don’t make any changes to your credit because it could cause your loan to be rejected. Wait until you have the keys to buy your appliances.

I’m not expecting anything to go wrong with our loan. Everything seems to be in order and our loan officer is very careful about making sure he has everything he needs. However, I’m not yet ready to say I bought a house. I won’t do that until those keys are in my hand. Until then, I’ll do my best to get a good night’s sleep and not take to the bottle. THIS IS CRAZY, all for a house…

Impersonating Happiness

My mother was never a reliable narrator of her own story. Once, she had a heart attack. It was the very best kind of heart attack a person can have. It was the kind that happens when a person self-diagnoses, well actually misdiagnoses, her own panic attacks. She was immediately given a clean bill of health from her cardiologist. The second and third opinions concurred with the first. Out of habit and suspicion, she continued walking around holding her chest for several weeks while,swearing off anything that spiked her blood pressure. Unfortunately although i was born for greatness, I was born into the wrong family, full of eccentrics.
My family communicates through extremes: comedy, silence or drama. Speaking directly, or from the heart, is too "on the money. It would eliminate all the anxiety of a surprise, of nuance. Nuance, it turns out, is very convenient. The perfect scapegoat. You don't necessarily have to mean what you say. You can even pretend to be misunderstood. Often humor impersonates happiness.
When my parents divorces, they joked about it for months. My mother would giggle and make snide remarks about my father's appearance, or his inability to dress himself properly without someone laying out his wardrobe. She once joked about if it wasn't for her he wouldn't be able to find his way home, which I thought would have been fine, since he wasn't welcome to come home anymore, anyways.
My father laughed about how my mother would be afraid to leave the house without him. All dressed up with no where to go, is what he would say. He once joked she would have to live her social life talking on the phone, which I thought would be fine, since she never stopped talking anyways.
Neither one of them were ever kidding, and neither one of them appeared funny to me then. At least not on a topic so close to them or so damaging to me. Their marriage wasn't, as fate may have it, a mistake. They were perfect for each other even if they couldn't manage to be happy. They did fit, in that peculiar way that incomplete people sometimes do. They failed in different areas, and when they felt up to it, they picked up the slack and helped each other out. I always thought I saw them "happy" as a child. Turns out neither of them could tell you the true definition of happy. My parents needed structure, needed to be steered by love. They had no confidence and no self worth. Thus made me realize it is so simple and ignorant to impersonate happiness.

Do the things that annoy us most about other, the same things we don't like about ourselves?

In the year 1998 my grandmother, Coreen, told me a parable that made me think for 3 days. To this day I still do that very thing, not sit around telling parables with my deceased grandmother, but ponder things for days. This was the parable, or at least how I remember it “Two bulls are sitting on a hill overlooking a valley of cows.
The young bull says to the old bull, “let’s run down there and screw us a cow!” The old bull says, “Let’s walk down there and screw them all.” Not the funniest thing I have ever heard, but to me this symbolizes our “new generation” Faster, Harder, Better…everything must be fast now-a-days. I remember when I was a kid (I know I’m still a kid, I’m referring to adolescence.) My little brother and I would get up and lounge around all day watching cartoons in our snap pj’s till we felt like going outside to ride bikes down to the lake then we would get on the rope swing and do nothing but have fun and get lost in time. That doesn’t happen anymore, not even for children. What is everyone in a hurry for? Is there some big secret race to death I’m unaware of…Why are we all speeding down the highway? I feel like the world is passing my by so fast and no one is slowing down to enjoy it. I’m sick of being rushed, I like taking my time. I’ve learned when you rush things it ruins it, and so my New Year’s resolution is to SLOW DOWN. Like my grandmother was implying in her parable, it’s like the young bull is now the Real Time bull. Speed is not always king, and the greatest ability we will develop is an understanding of that.

Why in tarnations would you do that?

Beliefnet is hosting a competition called "Who inspired you most this year?” It's mainly focusing on US and there are 10 nominees left. A quote from their website: "One man landed a plane in the middle of a freezing river, saving everyone aboard. A teen rescued 22 school children from a troubled girl with a gun. Others worked to help people pay their bills, fed the down-and-out, saved people from layoffs, and showed homeless children that someone cares. One couple even danced for the sheer joy of being young and in love."You can go to beliefnet and vote for your favorite person that “inspired you” this year. But I urge you not too….Instead take a minute, a day, a year to think about all the amazing people that inspire you, weekly, daily, yearly. If you aren’t inspired by people, I’m truly sorry…for your life must be boring. I normally would have never ever written a blog, mainly because I’m a silly almost 29 year old girl. But someone I just met who, is very likely the smartest and most captivating person I have ever met, inspired me to thing “outside the box” from now one…probably because so many people are “thinking inside the box you can’t even hear yourself think in there anymore”. I would never write a blog! What would I write about? What if people laughed at me, not always a big deal to me, but I don’t know many people who like to look like an ass. But for some reason mature people sometimes help you to think maturely. I may not have much to say and it probably won’t be interesting… but it will be fun, and it will be kooky like me. So this is my first one, thank you Uncle Richard