Friday, May 27, 2005


Yesterday there was a terrible squawking outside. After I realized that it didn't appear to be getting settled anytime soon, and I noticed that all three cats were about ready to break their way through the screen door, I decided to investigate. It wasn't at all difficult to find the baby robin that was the source of all the racket. Apparently he'd managed to make it safely from nest to ground, but couldn't quite figure out how to regain the air. There's not many outdoor cats around here, and he had a parental chaperone, so there wasn't too much I could do for him other than leave him alone. Later I got curious, so I did a little research and learned that robins generally fledge at 13 days or so, but aren't competent flyers until approximately 10 - 15 days later. From my perspective, that seems like really bad design, but obviously no one asked me, and we have robins each year, so what do I know?

Some things you may not know about me:
* I went to grad school for three years.
* I paid for said schooling with loans.
* When I graduated, I was clinically depressed, young, and stupid. The combination means I managed to screw up my credit pretty badly.
* We currently pay as much each month for my student loans as we do in rent.
* For awhile, we talked about not legally marrying so that Pukka wouldn't be tainted by all of this.

So when we started really working on this whole, "We should buy a house" project, the first thing we did was go to the bank. We talked to a very nice man there who ran all of the numbers and checked our credit scores and told us everything should be fine and we were pre-qualified.

Without another worry, we set about looking for our house. And as you know, we found the house. Meanwhile, the bank changed names, and the very nice man no longer works at our bank. In fact, his replacement no longer works there either. His replacement's replacement is named Tym. For the record, that's his real first name because I don't like him well enough to come up with a pseudonym (or even change the spelling).

Our "friend" Tym called us on a Friday about a month ago and told Pukka that they would be unable to qualify us for any mortgage package because of the amount of my monthly student loan obligation. Never mind that they had known this information since January. Never mind that we had signed papers from the bank documenting that they had known this information in January and were fine with it. Never mind that we had made an offer on a house and had spent the last two weeks believing it was ours.

And of course, it was Friday, so there wasn't a whole lot to be done about it in terms of talking to anyone at a different bank. It was one of the crappiest weekends of my life. I'm pretty darned good with our money now, but I have a lot of guilt about how I've handled things in the past. Especially I have a lot of guilt around how we're now over $75K in debt for a degree I'm not using. So I was a mess.

When I went to bed every night, I would try to think of what to pray for. It was tempting to ask for the bank to explode after being struck by a fiery ball from outer space, but although personally satisfying, that wouldn't ultimately help us much. I've been schooled for years in being careful what you wish for, so I was reluctant to even ask for this particular house or that a particular place offer us money. I ended up asking simply for a home, a place where I could feel secure.

Monday found Pukka in the office of yet another bank, pay stubs, bank statements and W-2's in hand. The woman there started crunching numbers. She told Pukka that we did have a very high debt to income ratio because of the student loans. Then she frowned and said, "But wait, you get paid twice a month!"

(Yes, yes we do. That's why our paychecks clearly show that each one covers a range from the first to the fifteenth or the fifteenth to the thirtieth of a month. That's why our W-2's show we make twenty-four times the amount on one of our paychecks. Duh!)

So she multiplied our income by two and lo and behold, the debt to income ratio suddenly looked a lot better.

When Pukka got back to the office, he called Tym and asked if it were possible that he had neglected to notice that we are paid twice a month. Tym assured him that he would not have made that kind of mistake. And yet, in less that fifteen minutes, we had an email from him saying that while reviewing our application, he had found a miscalculation, and they would be able to offer us a mortgage after all.

Problem with that is that another mortgage broker in town offered us a better rate, so we'll be going with them, both because it's the smart thing to do, and because it gives us a chance to spite the idiots at our current bank.

They took my house from me. Even now that this is settled, I still can't go back to believing that the house will be ours. Until we close next month on the 21st, there's always going to be this niggling feeling in the back of my mind that something could happen to take it all away. It's not fair. I want to be excited about our new place, and instead I just have this huge ball of anxiety.

Luckily for Tym, I've never actually met him, and would be unlikely to recognize him on the street from Pukka's description. I say that because if I ever see that man, I'm going to kick him.