Well, it's been a week of ups and downs, the ups being our lovely visit from Greg and Jessica and family. I'm hoping to do a post on that soon. We loved having them here in our home, loved visiting with them, and loved sharing our beautiful state with them as well. We're so appreciative that they would come visit us like that, especially with all the sacrifice it entailed - traveling with 3 little kids on a red eye and driving to us from JFK in New York! It was a lot of fun to spend time with them. We love sibling visits! I'm grateful for my brothers-in-law and my sisters-in-law.
While they were here, the fridge and freezer both went on the fritz. That was fun. After moving all the frozen foods to the outside freezer (thank goodness for that!), the fridge started feeling warm/not cool. Eventually Mark looked some stuff up and figured out how to take out the panel at the back of the freezer and see if the fan was frozen - which it was - and he was able to fix it or at least have it hold over a bit longer until we can afford to buy a new one. More on that in a bit.
Kate works weekends mostly, but she also works 4 additional weekdays during the school year around this time of year, so that translates to a couple of work weeks in a row that look like this: Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday. And around that we have our usual school, volunteering, work, appointments, errands, etc. stuff, so it gets kind of crazy.
Yesterday (uhhhh, I started writing this on Friday), between various work schedules and appointments and a generally crazy day, we drove over 100 miles even though we didn't ever go farther than 10-20 miles from home. It was harried to say the least.
The kicker is that we're saying "no" to more this year. We're actively trying to not do as much as we usually do. And somehow, it all feels crazy. Part of that is just how it is as kids get older. Needs/activities/jobs are different as they age. When they were little, we could just stay home and play trains and restaurant and that was a full day! It's different now. And we're not even what many would call an over-programmed family. I can hear snickering from behind my computer here, but it's true. As far as regular weekly activities go, they each have one (Kate has violin and Max has taekwondo). The other things are either something they share (like a volunteering shift) or a twice a month art class or a thing here and there. It's just that those things here and there add up.
And honestly? What a wonderful thing! We have a rich, full life full of amazing opportunities and get togethers and fun. We're so lucky! We're also a bit tired. :) All of us like seeing a stretch of days on the calendar with nothing on them. We love evenings where we can make dinner together and then watch our TV shows as a family. Love those nights!
And, during that day of running around yesterday (Thursday), we had an especially frustrating interaction with the bank that is working on our refi. Yep, the refi hasn't happened yet. But wait, didn't you start this process back in July/August, you ask? Why yes, yes we did. We did our research ahead of time and as soon as we settled on the farmhouse (8/31 - rescheduled from a week before that), we didn't waste time and we got to the bank to get the process started. Based on what they said, it would take a couple of weeks. We were hoping it would be done before our annual trip to the beach. It wasn't. We almost didn't go (because psychologically, we wanted this refi done before going), but I'm glad we did.
Well, here we are almost 2 months later and it's not done yet. I got aggravated and said, "This is absurd." We qualified for our new house while owning our farmhouse and not having our rental occupied. Now, we've sold our farmhouse and we have a 3-year tenant in our rental and we've put the money from our farmhouse into our new house. This shouldn't be this difficult! We called several times and they said it was in process and sometimes takes a while, we're a weird case (self-employed, no W-2s), yadda yadda.
So, our customer service representative liaison person pulled up our credit yet again and walked through everything bit by bit. She sees a big amount of debt and asks what it is. Student loans. "Well, could you just get rid of that?" What PLANET is she on? "Just get rid of that??" Sure! Why didn't I think of that?!? I'll just dig in my couch cushions and pull out tens of thousands of dollars in coins and just knock that right out of there. Silly me.
Once she figured out that, no, we cannot "just get rid of that," she asked about another big debt owed that she saw. Guess what it was! No, guess! Nope. Nope. Nope. (You won't guess this). Our mortgage on the farmhouse! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I'll go ahead and wait for that to sink in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . you know, the one WE PAID OFF WHEN WE SOLD THE HOUSE SIX WEEKS AGO.
Even though the bank pulled our credit information a full week AFTER we sold the house, it hadn't yet updated that part for some unknown reason and it looked as if we still owed quite a bit of money and that was hurting our debt to income ratio. I was LIVID! What moron didn't spot that?!? Furthermore, what moron didn't think to ASK, "Hey, why do they have an outstanding mortgage here?" LIVID! And even after they figured that out (when we told them what they'd screwed up) and apologized profusely, they continued to sort of nickel and dime us on things to get this thing approved. Are you kidding me?!? They should be bending over backwards and giving us cupcakes while singing us an "I'm sorry" song IN HARMONY, not making us jump through more stupid hoops.
And what really galls me is that we're not in a position to say, "You screwed this up and we're going to another bank" while flouncing on our heels. They have the best rate, hands down. The best deal. And now that they've pulled our credit, going somewhere else and trying again would hurt our credit score. We need and want this to go through. Like 6 weeks ago.
And while we wait and wait and wait some more for this to go through (hopefully this week), we're paying for things in cash and trying not to use our credit cards for much of anything, because even those charges right now - charges that we WILL pay off when the statement comes - affect us. And that is when the fridge decides to break and also when I look out my bedroom window today and see this for the 5th time this summer/fall:
Yep, that's Mark jumping his car. Again. To get it to run so he can get to work. It is so time to upgrade his car. It has been for quite some time. But every time we think about doing it, other stuff comes up. And hey, it runs! We're entering year 18 of owning that Saturn. Go us! This car situation. And the fridge situation. They will get addressed once this refi happens. And I hope it's soon.
So, in summary, Blergh. And roar. And ugh.
But also, Yay! And Huzzah! And Woot! Because even with all this financial stress stuff and the busyness of life, there are those rays of sunshine and goodness. And this past week, it came in the form of a really nice family visit. I am LOVING getting our kids together with their cousins and uncles and aunts like this. We don't have extended family near us like so many do, but when family comes to visit, there are those few special days when you feel less alone, more supported, a little strengthened. And I think we needed that. The reminder that we're part of something bigger than ourselves - a group, a community, a family. And the reminder that we are not alone. It's a little sad and lonesome whenever guests leave, but for those days that they're here, it's something special.
"The Nightmare Before Christmas" (Thing 1)
3 hours ago