Tuesday, May 30, 2006


"Jenny, I just talked to Jennifer," said Mike (where Mike==homeowner's insurance agent, Jennifer==mortgage loan agent, and Jenny==me). "She said that your loan won't go through because the borrower cancelled it."

After a few seconds of strangled inarticulacy on my part he said, "I guess this is news to you?"

I wrote Jennifer a strident e-mail and she called me a couple of hours later to say that she'd made a mistake: that she was handling an account for someone with the same last name as me, so when Mike referenced me, she assumed he was talking about this other account, and that our account was listed under Eric's last name. This has pissed me off throughout, since we're co-borrowers but even the people I've talked to first have put it under his name. But oh well.

Today I re-faxed the purchase contract to Jennifer because the one I sent her last time didn't have both sellers' names on it. She sent me the appraisal, which came in at $4000 over what we're paying, but they still use the lowest value for PMI determination so we can't get up to that 20% like we were hoping to. Note: the appraisal listed the sellers under just one name, the husband's. Presumably this will happen with our house, too. Considering that I'm putting up all the money to get it--well, I and my parents--I think this is completely unfair.

I also talked to the lawyer about getting title work--another reason we can't afford to put the down payment up to 20% is that we don't know how much the lawyer's fee will be--and I will be going to visit Mike at his office to sign a document and give him a check for a full year's insurance. I don't remember having to do this last time I bought homeowner's insurance. In fact, I remember a very nice guy doing everything over the phone and arranging for my insurance to be withdrawn monthly from my account. Maybe I should have asked for him again.

And then, it's hot. Really hot. Yesterday it was 93 and humid, and we stayed at Brenda's because they have air conditioners (albeit window ones) there. We're considering renting a U-Haul this weekend and moving into the new house earlier than planned, since it has central air. But we're still not sure closing will actually occur this Friday, so we'll have to hold off on that. Also on calling utilities and changing addresses. Grrrr.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The site.

I went to Wildwood Preserve yesterday morning and, after stopping at the wrong place (the converted limo garage rather than the converted manor house), found the administrative offices and explained that I wanted to rent the pavilion and gazebo for a wedding the Sunday of next Memorial Day, and I knew I was two days early but I had some questions.

"Actually, it's open," the lady said, clicking through her computer program. "It's the month of the day you want to reserve, not the day itself. Let's check, because it fills up fast. Let's see...Memorial Day weekend...yep, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are already booked."

"Well, damn," I said.

She grinned sympathetically at me, then frowned at her computer. "Wait. That's the wrong year. Hang on...it's open." So I booked it. And she sold me a $30 membership that saved me $80 in rental fees, so it was an even better deal than I'd thought.

So we're set: our wedding date is May 27, 2007. This somehow makes it all that much more real. Now I have to start sending e-mails to family and friends in distant places; and if we should lose our minds so much as to want personalized napkins or glasses or candies with our names and date on them, we can now commence the madness.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


You know what makes me really happy? That when Dad sends out family e-mails he includes Eric on them now.

Today I was supposed to call for home insurance, fax the purchase contract for the house to the mortgage company, and visit Wildwood (since I called three times and they neither picked up the phone nor replied to my message) to discuss renting space for the wedding. I called Liberty Mutual but they had me leave a message and they haven't called back, and I had intended to include their information on the fax cover for the purchase contract (I just found out the other day that I can use the apartment office's fax free of charge. Why didn't they tell me this before?) and leave directly from there for Wildwood and then to work, preferably with a slight detour to Panera Bread so that I actually have something to eat while I'm there. I guess I'll have to skip Liberty Mutual. I tried looking at their website to see if there was another number to call (the one I called was for the Dayton/Cincinnati office) but all they have is an online form. Unfortunately I do not have an online life--or at least, not an exclusively online one. So, off I go.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Worklife and homelife are going fine.

There are a lot of "this person isn't answering the phone" messages. Most of them I don't mind, but there's this one, a male voice, that starts out quite pleasant but then, with "--to take your call" suddenly gets all snotty and smug. I can't stand it. I call it Phil.

I had a guy tell me, "I think it's un-American that you can call and ask me how often I have sex and what my blood pressure is." (I do not, for the record, ask people how often they have sex. I don't want to know how often they have sex. I do ask about their blood pressure, because that's my job.) He went on in this vein a little, and I mentioned that I could always stop calling him, he could opt out of the program, and he told me he couldn't afford it and repeated that it was un-American. I said, "At least it's capitalist," and determinedly went on to my next question.

Speaking of blood pressure, I had mine checked recently and it was quite low, so the job evidently isn't getting to me yet. Not that I think it necessarily will; some people I talk to are reluctant and others are chatty but most are pleasant and reasonably cooperative, and I've already experienced some disgruntled ones and don't expect it to get much worse. Plus I like this long break between leaving work Monday at 4:30 and returning Tuesday at 3:30. Then I have to work until midnight, of course, but them's the breaks. It's not a bad job. And I finally get paid this week, so hooray.

The house has been inspected and we're making our demands today; they're pretty reasonable and the sellers are closing on their new house this week so we'll almost certainly get them. I'm going to buy cleaning supplies and get paint swatches this week, and start packing things in boxes. Moving does not thrill me this time around; but having moved, and living in a place where I will finally (barring disaster) be staying more than eighteen months, for the first time since 1999, does.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


As promised, I have pictures from Korea. Lots and lots. Mom got her Mother's Day/birthday box, which contained a CD of them, early and sounded approving. I have yet to see hers and James's, of course.

This was dinner the first full day we stayed, or at least part of it--we also had sushi, meaning raw ray and flounder (?) that had been caught perhaps an hour before on the ocean directly outside the restaurant.

You can't see the rice, but rest assured it was there. I ate marinated vegetables and the egg/vegetable cakes, which were good, and watched the others plough through the basket of sushi until it was gone. We drank Coke with the meal.

My cousin Eunhae, who was our translator and tour guide for part of the trip because she speaks English, took us to downtown Pohang, where we were staying. We parked on a street full of hardware stores

and we saw a multitude of cell phone shops (incidentally, James bought one, but it doesn't work in the US) and stores like this:

We took our road trip the next day to go to the folk village and (as it turned out) see more family (instead of going to Seoul). This was one morning out of two I didn't eat rice; instead, we had sweet rolls in the car. We ate constantly. We stopped at midmorning for a snack; the others had soup, and I got this:

Other than my not actually being hungry, this was fine, since I like rice and seaweed. But I asked Mom what the stuff in the lower left was, and she said without looking, "It's kimchee. Leave it alone if you don't want to eat it." I looked at it a little closer and then announced, "It has suckers. I don't think it's kimchee." I did leave it alone.

The Korean folk village, Yongin, was, as I mentioned, cold and dreary. But still very interesting. There were a lot of old-fashioned houses

and features of real old Korean life, such as the candymaker. They made the candy and would carry it around, banging their (expensive) metal scissors like the music on an ice-cream truck, and the children would run into their houses for anything they could trade for the candy--spare metal, spare anything.

This was my grandfather's favorite candy. Eunhae bought a packet and shared it with the family. I have to admit I didn't really like it, but I was glad to finally taste some.

Another thing at Yongin was the swings. While we were there and my aunt and grandmother were swinging on them, we saw this guy:

He was running back and forth with a bunch of children in front of a camera. Later we found a plush version of him in the E-Mart, Korea's version of Fred Meyer, so he must be Korea's version of Barney.

The next day we went to see a Buddhist temple. There were lanterns all over to celebrate Buddha's birthday coming up.

We weren't allowed to take pictures of the actual Buddha statue, but it was beautiful, and beautifully kept considering how ancient it is. There were indeed Buddhist monks in red and yellow robes bowing to the Buddha and watching the rest of us to make sure we were respectful. There were a lot of us to watch.

It must be a popular field trip spot. Most places we went had lots of schoolchildren there, come to think of it.

That temple was on a mountain; after we had gone, and bought roasted chestnuts to snack on, we trekked down on the mountain and to a different temple. This one was more pastoral

and also bigger and with more to see. Again, no pictures of the Buddhas were allowed, but apparently Bodhisattvas are okay. These guys guarded the entrance:

After that, we went to a museum of history and looked all the Shilla artifacts and the old gold and strange instruments. (There was one exhibit marked 'mushroom-shaped instrument' and we figured the archeologists had no idea what they were for either.) Outside were more hordes of schoolkids. Here they actually mobbed James, asking for his picture, all wanting to talk to him in English:

Then we went to Chomsongdae, the oldest existing astronomy observatory in Asia.

Then we went to the dums--which are just mounds of dirt in a nice park; we weren't allowed to take pictures of the excavated one, either. Then, after a nice dinner of rice, vegetables, and (I think) fish, we went home and collapsed.

Then there was the family reunion. The pictures of the people are probably only interesting if you're part of my family, and the yunori game was only throwings sticks; what I remember most visually is the fish market. Ah, the fish. Here is a tiny fraction of what I saw:

I also have pictures of seaweed and socks and toilet paper and chipmunks for sale, but I'm afraid Blogger is going to choke on this post as it is. However, proceeding:

These are the hands that cup the first Korean sunrise of every new year. Well, one of them. The other is on land surrounded by torches and posing tourists.

Here's Minyoung, my first cousin once removed, the one to whom I taught tic-tac-toe.
As I mentioned, my family was snacking on seaweed as we walked along the beach and took pictures and picked up geh (crabs).

I miss her a little. I miss all of them a little. I'm going to have to go back.

Monday, May 08, 2006


This job may work out okay. I spent my first day really doing the job today, and I did all right. Not great, but I think I'm getting the hang of it, and--importantly--the day went by in a flash. Now as long as I don't fall asleep at work tomorrow--my shift lasts until midnight and I've been getting sleepy around 10:30 since I got back from Korea--things should be okay.

We talked to the house sellers on Thursday. I found, to my surprise, that I enjoyed face-to-face negotiation so much more than the proxy-by-agent kind. Of course we didn't do much actual negotiation; their asking price was $137K, we named $131K in the paperwork, they read it and looked at each other and said "$133K" and we said okay. They're talking to their lawyer, but they want to close the deal--the only issue would be if someone else made a better offer, I think. So my fingers are still crossed.

In the meantime, Eric and I both got application packets from Wells-Fargo, where we got our phone preapproval. With mine came my credit score: 772. I'm exceedingly pleased with myself over this.

I also went to Target today to get Mother's Day and birthday cards for my mom, because I should have gotten them yesterday and mailed them today but forgot about even the existence of such things as cards. It's so nice to spend money and know that it will be replenished.

So things are going well. And now, off to see if I've pushed my luck saying that, as I'm going to be printing photos off my computer and we all know how little that relies on luck.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Good things

The new job is going to be...something. Interesting, boring, fun, dull, I'm not sure. The first week is training. My trainer is getting on my nerves with her dull jokes and strange facial expressions--I asked for an example of something and she complied, then squinched her face in a Joker-like smirk at me--but I think I'm learning how to do the job. This makes me uneasy as I'm not sure the job ought to be this easily learned. And then my schedule is going to be four nights--until midnight Tuesday and Wednesday, until nine Thursday and Friday--and they have not-very-good medical benefits. But they're benefits. And it's a job. We're working on buying a house, now that we can afford it--we called Monday to see if we could possibly get preapproval without my having worked more than, you know, eight hours, and they preapproved us over the phone. It was awesome. Behold the power of good credit.

Monday after I'd eaten my lunch I went to Meijer to buy a bottled water. I wandered around the aisles some since I had time and guess what I found? Apple Cinnamon Pop-Tarts! I haven't been in a Meijer in a long time, so I don't know when they came back, but they're here! Of course working nights I'll have time for real breakfasts in the mornings, but there's still Monday that I'll be getting up at seven. Apple Cinnamon Pop-Tarts! Things are looking up.