Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to Abnormal

D is now refusing to move, because he doesn't want to commit to a lease and then have to break it when he gets fired and we have to relocate to Colorado or wherever on earth he finds a new job. I occasionally feel as if I am losing my mind, but those moments only come when I think too hard about all of this and allow frustration to win the battle against calmness. I stay up late at night and forward job listings to him, but I don't think he's sending resumes. I can only do so much to spur him before it will start backfiring on me. I am back to formulating worst-case scenario backups like I was doing last fall.

On the upside, I have cleaned A LOT of stuff out of the house. I mean a LOT. I have bags and bags under a tarp in the side yard, destined for a yard sale or thrift store donation. I have several boxes full of stuff to sell online. We're streamlining the boys' toy collections (they've grown out of quite a few of them anyway) and the "grow into" clothes for them as well.

Out of all of this chaos, we will make something good. The panic is subsiding and now I am back to a sense of purpose.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's Like I've Taken a Verbal Emetic

There is so very much to complain about, and I am going to attempt to write about it all without sounding too shrill or self-pitying. UGH.

Our landlord is broke. Like, living off of loans from his parents broke. The pipes are capped, the water is on, but since the asbestos mitigation people left NOTHING else has been done or fixed. The boys room has no flooring, only concrete, the drywall is off both sides of the wall between their room and the bathroom, so only wall studs provide any sense of separation. He can't get anybody to come and fix anything because he can't promise them he'll pay them if something goes wrong with the insurance claim. I've told him to make sure he includes loss of rent in the claim, because at the MINIMUM we want $500 off of this month's rent. We are screwed, I think.

We are trying to find another house to rent, but stuff in our price range is rare. There are a couple of options up in the canyons that we're going to look at very soon. Of course, that brings up the newfound anxiety about D's job and exactly how much longer he might HAVE a job. Even if the fellow selling that mobile home decides he wants to sell, I don't know if we'd feel safe enough at this point to buy it. Nothing has come from meeting with the headhunter, so either the wheels of hiring turn slow or things are not nearly as rosy as D was led to believe. I'm trying to network for him as best I can.

My college semester started this week. Through a combination of having no internet in Montana, not particularly great registration priority, and an intense amount of student demand, I failed to get into any Trigonometry classes before they were all filled up. I hired a babysitter and went to four different sections to try to add - there were enough people attempting to add that the college could have easily filled another section, but they are on a budget freeze and can't add any new classes. There were THIRTY people trying to add the 7 pm class I went to last night. All this in the middle of a heat wave with no air conditioning. Yeah!

I am not defeated quite yet - my Algebra professor from last semester is going to talk to the woman teaching the 9 am class (the one that would let me be in school while Eli is!) and ask her to add me in if anybody drops in the next two weeks. He tried to get me into the 7 pm class, but that didn't work out. I owe him a box of cookies, at least. He's a pretty great guy and I wouldn't mind having him as a friend outside of school as well, but for now the student/teacher thing is probably still a wee issue. If I have the chance to take him again for another math class, I would definitely do so. The bright side is that by not having to take a nighttime Trig class, I can keep my nighttime guitar class (I wouldn't take two night classes, that's asking too much of my family).

In the area of other small disasters (it's like an aggregate boulder of small disappointments and setbacks), Paul will probably end up needing that chipped front tooth fixed quite a few more times before he is old enough for a more permanent fix. I'm already mentally adding up the expense of fixing it annually for the next 10 years. And yesterday D was rear-ended while driving our Subaru to work - they hit the rear corner of the car and spun him around. It's an inconvenience, but since we were thinking about selling it I'm now kind of hoping our insurance company just declares it totaled (please please please).

Phew. I think I feel better after vomiting all that out.

I am trying to think of any good news to offset all of this with and aside from the platitude of "D still has a job, we are all healthy," I am coming up short. I know we will survive all of this, but my inner Pollyanna is having a tough time of it. Phew!

Tell me a funny story in the comments!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

If You Can't say Anything Nice

Don't say anything at all.

(Don't be too worried. D still has a job. We are all healthy.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Monday To-Do List

1. Schedule dentist appointment for Paul so they can super-glue his tooth back together (Grandparents' concrete driveway + a razor scooter + general kid foolishness).
2. Drive over to Anaheim to get copies of our medical records.
3. Schedule a Dr. appointment for me, ASAP.
4. Arrange for many, many hours of babysitting this week so I can go beg to be allowed into a Trigonometry class.
5. Chuck out more stuff in case everything goes wrong and we have to downsize. Pack, too.
6. Make new copies of the house key, since my landlord has apparently lost his.
7. Attempt to get hold of my landlord and find out when he's coming back to finish the plumbing repairs. His phone will almost certainly go straight to voicemail, and he'll call me when I'm at the medical records office, saying "Where are you? I'm at the house."

Friday, August 20, 2010

I'm Always Optimistic in the Morning

D had an appointment with a head-hunter this morning. He says it went well and that there are options. He has another contact who tells him a company very close by wants to at least talk to him. His old boss, who he'd love to go back to, is out of town this week but he should get D's email soon.

I keep hoping that this will lead us to a job that D loves. I really, really want him to be happy at work again.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Are we here again already?

D is certain they are prepping to fire him. He had a scathing review today and he suspects this is the first step towards getting rid of him with all of the legal t's crossed and i's dotted.

When I hoped there was a reason for our continual inability to buy a home, this wasn't the reason I was hoping for. Sigh.

Monday, August 16, 2010

No Mas

No mas complaining. Life is good. Everything will work out. The nice upside of all this disruption and impetus to relocate is that I've been cleaning out more clutter, boxing up things we don't necessarily need, re-organizing, taking inventory. We looked at another rental this weekend; it was very VERY nice and $50 a month less than what we're paying now, but we suspect we'd be going from one extreme (a very lackadaisical landlord) to the other (an extremely uptight landlord), so we're passing on it. I have some other ideas, but I'll wait until we hear yes or no on the mobile home.

My fall semester starts next week. Every section of Trigonometry is full, so I'm only registered for a guitar class, as a placeholder if I can't get into the Trig section I need. I really don't want to take a semester off from math, as I fear my skills will atrophy more and more the longer I'm away from it. I should exercise some self-control and start teaching myself with an old textbook.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Of Course.

I was over the mental hurdle. I kept bicycling through the park at different times, interviewing people about how they like living there (about 5 to 1 in favor, and that 1 was a pretty grumpy guy whose reasons for hating the park were pretty much his own fault). I was planning the decor - I was going to make it sooo modern, I have GREAT ideas! We had an appointment for a second viewing and were going to apply for financing - we had decided to put 50% down to get a better rate and shorter loan terms. We were already planning to take 6 months off in 2015 so we could hike the Pacific Crest Trail with the boys.

And today... the seller decided to take it off the market. Of course! Something about some nonsense with his job - he's supposed to know in the next two weeks whether he's going to list it again. AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH.

But I'm decided. I met the park manager, who lives there and thinks it's great. Her adult son likes it so much he owns a unit in the park, too. I met the HOA president, a smart and friendly guy, and he says he has fantastic neighbors. I met one of those neighbors and she was as friendly as anybody comes and obviously takes great pride in keeping up her home. The Pres says their financial reserves are high, they only have one household that's delinquent in paying their dues/rent (remember we won't have rent, only dues). So the HOA appears to be in good shape, even after a few years of recession. He says they haven't raised the space rent in three years, haven't raised the HOA dues in 6 years, but that in three or four years they might raise them a bit. He says as long as the economy is bad it would be a poor idea to raise any costs.

So I'm pretty much sold now. And so we wait. AGAIN.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

O, Despair!

I am burned out. We have a leak in a pipe in the wall between the bathroom and the boys' room. I have spent eight days being chipper about only being able to turn the water on for ten minutes every day. I've been flushing the toilets with buckets of water from the spa. I've moved everything out of the boys' room and into the living room of our 1350 square foot house. The boys are sleeping on a mattress on the floor, and as I type this the asbestos removal crew is in their room scraping out the flooring and ripping out the drywall. We've managed, and been fairly upbeat through it all, even when you throw car trouble into the mix.

But I am also angry and insulted. Our landlord has lost us, over a 20-minute plumbing repair that he dragged his feet on for eight days. This is why we're looking hard at buying that mobile - I'm sick of living at somebody else's mercy, and I won't make us slaves to a mortgage on a ridiculously overpriced house that stands pretty much zero chance of appreciating any time soon. I talked to my mother-in-law on the phone today and she thinks a mobile is a bad idea, tells me to just keep praying and that a house will come to me on the Lord's time. It was a bad idea to talk to her; she kept making pioneer analogies and told me this is a trial of my faith and that I just needed to focus on making sure my grandchildren were prepared for the Last Days, and that the economy won't get better ever again because this is a sign of The End Times. Sigh.

I do not like it when I start to feel trapped. It makes me afraid, prone to crying, and unpleasant to live with. I wish I had answers to my prayers.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Trailer Trash

We're seriously considering buying a mobile home. It sounds like a joke, but it makes tremendous economic sense.

It's $85k. We'd offer $80 with 30% down ($24k), for a total mortgage of $56k. It's in a co-op, which means no space rent, but which also means the interest rate on the mortgage would be ridiculous (as much as 12%) and the loan terms quite short (10 years or less), BUT that interest is tax-deductible. If we had a 10-year mortgage at 12%, our monthly payments would be $803. If we got the more common 7-year mortgage, our payments would be $988. The HOA dues are $270 a month. Property tax is around $100 a year. So worst case, our monthly costs just to have a roof over our heads would be $1266 a month, with an annual interest deduction of about $6500. Compare that to our current rent of $2k per month, with no tax benefits at all. In seven years it will be paid off and our monthly costs will only be the HOA dues. The co-op expires in 2025, after which it's anybody's guess what will happen to the park, but by 2025 I hope I don't care.

There isn't much dirt for vegetables, but I could have an herb garden. An elderly lady in my ward has offered her backyard for vegetable gardening, which would also get her free veggies. I might be able to find somebody to host a chicken flock if we split the cost of feed with them. There are lots of solutions.

There are drawbacks as well. No garage. No real yard. My own prejudices about what kind of people live in mobile home parks. We stopped one couple walking through the park and asked them how they liked living there, and they couldn't say enough good about it. Renting out your unit is not permitted by the HOA, although the realtor admitted that there are probably a few rule-breakers in the park.

Decisions, decisions.