Saturday, November 21, 2009

Slow road to somewhere

I'm waaaaay behind on my novel. I did manage to get a few more words down on paper (or computer as the case may be) so at least I'm working in the right direction. I'll give you a small snippet of a conversation between two of my characters. Without a back story it won't be much use to you, but what the heck I'll let you suffer along with me. You don't know where it's coming from and I don't know where it's going.

“So where are you taking me?”

“I thought we’d drive around for a bit, get to know each other a little better.” This surprises me but I try not to show it when I respond to him.

“My suspicion is that you already know more than you should about me and I know not nearly enough about you so maybe you should go first.”

“Well, let’s see, I’m twenty three years old, six foot five, two hundred thirty five pounds and I’m an Aquarius.”

“This isn’t e-match Romeo, I don’t need your stats. I need to know what makes you tick.”

“Beautiful, independent, smart women who make a living collecting would be on the top of the list.”

“Again, not a dating resume. Also, again, I’m old enough to be your mom.”

“Only if you were a teen mother.”

“Either way, the facts still stand. So, how did you get to be a collector?”

“That’s a long story for another day. How bout we start with something a little easier?”

“Fair enough. From your earlier reference, I’m going to make a wild guess that you went to ASU, so what did you major in?”

“I ended up with a Master of Architecture degree.”

“You “ended up with”? You make is sound like you went to get ice cream and they accidently screwed up your order with a Master’s degree. I could see how someone might “end up with” a degree in something like women’s studies or interior design. But not architecture, that takes effort.”

Thursday, November 19, 2009

So that's that

Tank of Ta Bearica managed to completely eff my clients over. Remember when I said they wouldn't finance my Brooklynites because of the 90 day fix and flip rule for FHA loans? Well amazingly, even though that's what they told me and my clients, that's not what they put in the file. No, when they filed the FHA denial, they put down every reason EXCEPT for the one technically valid one they orally gave. They said they denied for the following:

1. Instability of income
2. Inadequacy of income
3. Delinquent credit
4. Inadequacy of available assets

I'll deal with them in order:

1. The preference for lenders is that buyers be in their jobs for at least two years. Dad has worked at the same job for over eight years. Son has only worked at his job for just under three years. Of course, that could be because he's only 20.

2. While I don't know their exact incomes, I do know that starting income for Dad's job is $45k per year (see above where he's worked for them for eight years.) Based on what I know, I believe the son makes about 2/3 of what Dad does. They have minimal debt. No money owed on cars, no credit card issues. Together, they should easily qualify for more than the $110,000 price of the home they were trying to buy.

3. The delinquent credit belonged to the dad's soon to be ex wife. Unfortunately since they are still legally married and it's a community property state, this one is a little tougher (but not impossible) to work around.

4. I'm not sure where this one came from at all. My clients had the down payment and the closing costs readily available. And they have the ability via their income to easily make the payment.

So what gives? Why would Tank of Ta Bearica put these as the reasons they denied the loan instead of the reason they gave us? Are they just trying to cover their backsides with excessive reasons in case they are questioned? Did they mix up some files and put the wrong reasons on the wrong file? Are they really just that incompetent? (That's the one I lean towards.)

So why does this matter at all? Because it's an FHA loan. And those reasons, those made up reasons regarding my clients? They stay with my client for the next six months. That's right. Six months of bs reasons for a denial of a loan. My clients are now completely screwed and will not qualify for an FHA loan again for the next six months.

I hate that bank and will make it a point to spread that message to any and all future clients to the best of my ability. They should have been allowed to go under when we had the opportunity. Instead, we're paying them 20 billion to eff up my client's and my life.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Well that was fun...

So I took my dog to her Monday night very basic training for the fifth (sixth?) time tonight.

Earlier today, I put her through all that we've learned so far. We were outside at the time, off lead. And she did very, very well. She sat, she stayed, she lay down, she did a down stay, she came when called, she spun in circles and danced on her hind legs. All on command. It was amazing. I could not wait to get to class to show all the progress we made.

Apparently, somewhere in the parking lot of the training facility, her brain fell out. I'm not even kidding. I watched her IQ drop as we neared the entry, and it just plummeted further the longer we were there.

She couldn't stay to save her life. Hell, she couldn't even figure out how to sit anymore. Walking nicely next to me? Not hardly. Evidently she couldn't figure out what that invisible force was that was holding her back and causing her to choke. Forget about getting her to lay down. But it managed to go even further downhill from there.

Today's new lesson was on how to properly "greet" a strange dog. Oh boy.

First, we have to establish if the other dog is friendly or not. We do this by asking the owner "Is you dog friendly?" If they answer affirmatively, we have to explain that we're trying to allow our dog to do a quick greeting as part of their training. I suspect we're not supposed to reply that our dog is decidedly NOT friendly and perhaps they should move their wussy dog out of our way so we can get back to the training room where it's safe. Whatever. We allow our dogs to touch noses and then move on. If either dog shows any sign of aggression, we're supposed to step between them, turn our dog away and walk away until she calms down.

If they answer negatively, we don't allow them to greet at all, we just go look for the next vict.., er dog.

So what happens if the owner is a clueless idiot who doesn't know what qualifies a dog as "friendly" to other dogs? Well, then Cujo comes out to play.

The first dog we asked to greet was an old, overweight pug. His eyes were busy looking in different directions so I was pretty confident that even if he wasn't nice, I wouldn't have a problem pulling my dog back. But he was really sweet and not at all aggressive. The dogs touched noses, the pug peed on a nearby shelf, and we moved on.

The next dog we asked to greet was a young, very exuberant pit bull mix that had no manners at all. We were told that she was "friendly" but I don't think they understood what we were looking for. Because the dog growled at my dog and put her paw on my dog's head. And my girl? Well...if she could speak it would have been:

"Bitch! What the hell was that? Did you just put your foot on my head? Oh no! No, you did NOT just put your damn foot on my head! I will KILL you! Kill you until you are dead!"

Only in all capital letters and with more attitude. And then I had to walk to far corner of the store with my dog yelling threats and throwing gang signs back at the other dog the entire way. I think that went as well as expected.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Why a pitbull should never be left alone with a cat...

They cannot be trusted to follow basic rules of good citizenship...

They cannot be expected to make good decisions...

They have voracious appetites...

And worst of all, they may even join the evil cat in her exploits...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Just a few tidbits from Master J

At home...

MJ (while looking closely at my eyes): Hey, your eyes are different colors.
Me: They're called hazel.
MJ: They're green and brown.
Me: Yep.
MJ (thinking): Are you deaf?
Me: What? Why would you think that?
MJ: Because when animals have two colored eyes, they're usually deaf.
Me: Oh. Well, that usually applies to white cats or dogs and each eye is a different color. One eye needs to be blue for that to happen.
MJ: Oh. So you're not deaf?
Me: No.
MJ: Yeah, I didn't think so.

Out at dinner tonight, Mister C was discussing putting speakers in "every room of the house", annnnddd go...

MJ: No way. I don't want that!
MC: Why not? Wouldn't it be great to be able to hear music throughout the house?
Me: No.
MC: What? How can you not think that would be awesome?
Me: I'll let Master J tell you. Go ahead Master J.
MJ: Because then all you'll do is make us listen to your bad music in every room. I don't want that. What's the word for that Mom?
Me: Torture.
MJ: Yeah, torture.
MC: Someday Master J you will appreciate the fact that your dad loves toys.
MJ: Not if I have to listen to your music in my room. Say it with me on three Mom. One, two, three.
Both of us: Torture!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Getting ready for Thanksgiving

Other than the eyes staring back, I think she does a pretty good imitation of a turkey.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank you Veterans

Two of the three gentlemen in this photo deserve our thanks for helping to retain the freedoms we so enjoy in our daily lives. I'm sure that everyone out there has at least one person they know that deserves some extra gratitude today. Thank you to all that have served, are currently serving or will serve in the future.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Captain obvious, hard at work

I buy deli meat every week for my son & husband to have in their lunches. Mister C insists on turkey, Master J prefers ham. I almost always buy the same kind of ham because Master J really likes it. Mister C has eaten this same ham numerous times. And yet, his powers of observation (or lack thereof) never cease to amaze me. Case in point...

Mister C (while cooking ham & eggs): Every time I cook with this ham it smells like I'm cooking maple syrup.

Me: Umm, that's because it's maple glazed honey ham.

Mister C: What? Why would you start buying that all of a sudden?

Me: I've been buying it for over a year because it's what Master J likes.

Mister C: Well I don't like it. You should just buy regular ham.

Me: Or, you could just eat the turkey that you insist you prefer.

Mister C (eating and mumbling to himself): It tastes like maple syrup.

I'm not sure which is worse: that he apparently has no taste buds, or that he eats something he insists he doesn't prefer at all.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Small Arizona castle for sale

So I dragged Mamoo through a neat foreclosure this morning. I've driven past this particular property many times since it's fairly close to my parent's home. Yesterday while driving home from picking up Master J I noticed a for sale sign in front of the house. I checked it out on the mls when I got home and figured out pretty quickly that it was a bank owned and vacant. I immediately made plans with Mamoo to stop by this morning.

So there are a few things to note about this property that make it somewhat unusual.

First of all, it's built so that the back half of the house is about four feet underground. So while the outside temperature was around 92 degrees when we visited, the interior was closer to 70 degrees. What makes this more interesting is that because this is a bank owned property the electricity has been turned off, thus, no a/c.

Secondly, there is actually a tower, the exterior is seen in the first photo below. To get to the tower you need to walk up two short flights of stairs. The stairs are open and really high so care is needed walking up them. I only know this because I tripped up them and scuffed my elbow on the wall. At the top of the stairs is a room that is about twelve feet square with circle windows overlooking the area. There's also a ladder that goes up to the roof of this room so you can hang a flag on the very top of the tower.

Third, that wall that bit me above? Appears to be about foot thick adobe. That probably helps with the temperature control and utility bills as well. Those thick walls also helps with the noise control. Even with mostly tile floors and no furniture to absorb sound, it was really quiet throughout the house.

Lastly, this house was made for parties, big ones. There's a huge family room that's open to both the kitchen and the huge covered patio that overlooks an over sized fire pit area. It could easily accommodate a party of 50 people.

Now obviously since this is a bank owned property it has it's issues. One obvious thing is that there is roof leak over the kitchen area that has caused a lot of damage to the ceiling. There's deferred maintenance of the landscaping that's going to take a lot of physical effort to bring back. Typical of all bank owned property it needs paint, flooring and bleach. But it's not nearly so bad as most of them and it's sitting on a huge lot. And seriously, it's got a castle theme!

Here's what the property looks like from the street.

Here's the solid wood, crazily detailed front door. You won't find another door like this around town.

The hand carved chandelier that hangs in the foyer/tower. The dust comes standard with most castles, this one is no exception.

Over sized fireplace in the family room.

Front stairs, main door is on the first level to the right. The open stairs to the far right go up to the tower room. The wooden area in the top left is the bottom of the walkway between the two flights of stairs going up to the tower. The walkway has a door that goes out to the roof over the family room.

Party patio!

The kitchen and family room. The water damaged ceiling is over the island

The family room, the front door is opposite the fireplace

The other front door. This door leads into the other bedrooms.

Master bathroom

Monday, November 2, 2009


Because I have nothing else to do with my time, I have joined this year's nanowrimo. This is a yearly deal held in the month of November wherein idiots like myself attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Good times right? I know, I know, I can barely keep on top of writing a blog entry on a regular basis but this will different. Maybe. If I'm lucky that is. I started writing this morning before I dropped Master J off to school. While I won't tell you what the novel is about or print it here (you're welcome), I will give you a snippet every once in a while. Today's snippet is:

This was never going to work. All I had in my car was a shoestring, a map of Sun City and yesterday’s leftover donuts in a bag.

Now back to the grindstone for me, because so far, I've written exactly 2.75% of the novel.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Trying to "train out" the obnoxiousness

I'm trying like hell to train my goofy dog. We've been to three classes now and I have to say that I'm not nearly so impressed with this particular trainer as I have been with previous trainers we've gone to. She's sweet and she means well, but I think she's too young and she's moving way too slow.

Case in point, we're still working on learning to sit after three weeks. Three weeks, of sit. No, seriously. I think the dog has it by now. I mean, at this point I can put her in a sit, walk away, walk toward, stop, back up, take a step to either side, wave my hands around and walk back and she doesn't move. I think we got it.

She already knew the command "drop it" before ever entering class. She should, she's only heard it 3,000 times since we got her. "Drop the shoe!", "Drop the rock!", "Drop the cat's head!". You know, the usual.

She already knows "Leave it" as well since it's another favorite of ours. That one gets used if we actually see her about to pick up any or all of the previously mentioned items.

So at the end of the day, I've spent three Monday evenings working on teaching my dog to sit. And the class is only 8 weeks long.

Which is why I've started working on the other important things myself. Things like coming when called which is only THE most important thing the dog can do. And not jumping on people when you greet them. Surprisingly, most people aren't real thrilled to have a 35 pound pit using them as a springboard for her antics. And she's doing pretty good with these.

But the one that's killing her is having to lay down. Because she cannot contain herself. She gets down there in the down position and then she starts vibrating, which is the precursor to the butt wiggle, which finally ends in her bouncing up and grinning at me. Yeah, we got a lot of work ahead of us.