Friday, May 30, 2008

Breaking news in the entertainment world

Harvey Korman died.

I loved The Carol Burnett Show. Watched it every (was it Friday? or Saturday?) night. And who didn't love Blazing Saddles?

You know, I met him once. At the Jerry Lewis Telethon in like 1988. Don't ask me what I was doing there.

Rest in peace, Harvey. Maybe my dad will find you and you can play cards and drink bourbon with his buddies up there.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

You try to be nice and helpful...

So I have been in the branch furthest away from my house this week, and will be until next Tuesday. It's been good, first day was really busy and flew by, the second maybe not so much, today, nice and steady. The people in the branch are very nice, accommodating, even funny. I like it there. If it wasn't so far away, it would be almost perfect.

Except one of the escrow officers in there that doesn't have an assistant apparently was busier than crap yesterday, worked well past 8pm, and still had allegedly 10 more files that had yet to be worked up to fund by tomorrow (month end). Another EO came in my office this morning to tell me about it. My response was, Geez, she was that busy? You know, I could have helped her, but if she isn't slamming things around her office or running around screaming obscenities, I can't tell that she needs any help. Signals, people. So this morning when she got in I told her to give me anything she needed me to do, anything at all, my day wasn't that bad and I could totally help her. What did she give me? A short payoff (meaning we didn't send enough money to the lender we paid off, it was short by like $250, so I literally spent 11 minutes on it and that includes doing the Fedx label), and two sendbacks for builder loans that were 8 pages each (meaning it took me 3 1/2 minutes each to finish). Every time I went in there, I got nothing. Either she doesn't trust my ability (pre-POSterous!) or she was totally lying about those 10 files.

Meanwhile the EO that had discussed all this with me was sending frantic emails to one of the escrow managers begging for help, oh-my-hell-it's-out-of-control-you-simply-MUST-send-help. The manager, who is not my boss but is my boss's equal, emailed me and said, Really? To which I responded, You know, I am only 2 doors down from this gal and yet she is in a totally different world. There are only 2 floats for the west side and 2 for the east side, and trust me, there are plenty of busy people. I once was called to this same branch as they (again) were frantic, and I sat there for 4 1/2 hours and did 2 things. Talk about panicked. Or priveleged. Not sure which.

So here is the part that really pissed me off as I left at 5:30 tonight. One assistant in there, she's one of those know-it-all types who just really annoy me. Something about her. She's really, like, Mom-y and advise-giving and irritating. But, you know, I roll, I get along with everyone and maybe escrow does turn you into a big fat phoney but hey, it's a skill. Anyway, most of the people in the branch, including the assistant who is working with me (I am covering her EO, the branch manager), who, you know, really is all that matters to me, know that I committed to being downtown for another assistant tomorrow for the first half of the day. Here's my gig: as an EO, the morning of the last day of the month isn't that horrid. As an assistant, it's pandemonium. There is an assistant downtown that needed the day off, and I told him I would cover him for the bad part of the day, and then go back and finish my regular job. The assistant I am working with was completely fine with it - she has like 5 funding, but seriously, ALL OF THEM are released. ALL of them. Which means she will be done by noon. She doesn't need me, my shit is covered on the desk I am at, and the kid downtown needs me. What would you do? We have flipping 2 floats, it's called "teamwork", so get the fuck over it, Miss AnnoyingPants.

So as I am leaving at 5:30 tonight, I say to Miss AnnoyingPants, Okay, see you tomorrow around noon. She gave me this total LOOK, this total like, down the nose, sideways-stink-eye-sourpuss-ohmyGODthisgirlbugstheshitoutofme look, and says, They promised us they wouldn't pull you. They promised us we'd have you all week. I said, You do, I'll be back in the afternoon, which she poo-poo'd away. Like I wouldn't know. Stupid bitch. We started walking out to our cars and she kept going on and on, all negativity, saying that they never get coverage (they do, what the hell am I?), that assistants are never covered, who was this kid to get it (well, for one, his EO opens and closes more than flipping 12 orders a month, so that's something), all this company ever does is lie to them, poor poor office. Oh waah. I told her that I hadn't spent a full week not flitting around from office to office or covering someone remotely in a year, and that this is just the way things are anymore. She just really pissed me off. She tried to make ME feel bad for trying to cover as many bases as I could in this lower staffed situation we are living in. For Christ's sake, the question could be asked of YOU - how do YOU rate thinking you deserve help all the time? Take a good look around - EVERYone is having to step up to the plate. But it's clear, there is no teamwork in this branch if one girl is working til 8:30pm and nobody even knows she is busy.

Anyway, she pissed me off. She pissed me off so bad I almost phoned my boss to tell her. But I didn't. Instead I sat in traffic for 45 minutes, got home and put on my houseclothes (and then blogged about it).

And packed. I'm going to the beach tomorrow for the weekend. Though I will miss my little kits, I get to go to the beach, which is just plain fun and stupid Miss AnnoyingPants won't get to have any of it.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I have to say it

I think it's time I gave you my opinion on this whole "mortgage crisis" business. I can't hold back anymore.

For pretty much most of my escrow career I have had a very lender-heavy desk. This means most of my clients were mortgage brokers and mortgage bankers (there's a difference) handling refinances for the entire range of homeowners. You had the customer who was doing some remodeling and using their equity for that, you had the customer doing a "rate-and-term" - generally refinancing to lower their interest rate and payment, you had the customer trying to remove a spouse after divorce, and you had the customer using the equity in their home to pay off consumer debt. I made a huge living off of this lender business, and a lot of escrow purists who preferred doing primarily resale business turned up their noses at me because of it. But I loved it. Lender business was somewhat less involved (in a lot of cases) than resale, and I could close 60-80 files a month compared to a resale desk that closed perhaps 40 in the best of times. Plus, I'm really good at what I do, and care about closing as much as a I can in a month, which results in the clients getting paid. All good.

A big chunk of that business is what we call "foreclosure bust out" or "bankruptcy bust out". These would be loans that, for a higher rate and higher loan fees, would pull a homeowner out of foreclosure or bankruptcy, pay some debt perhaps, and get them back in a position to correct their delinquencies and move forward. Most of the time the new loan would be a two- or three- year fixed rate that turned into an adjustable - but if you kept your payments current during the fixed period you would qualify for a more conventional loan afterward. Conventional meaning the lower fixed rate. The key to all this was following the plan. Pay your bills, control your debt, be grateful you get to keep your house.

I'm not going to say that all of my lender clients were angelic. They made plenty of money doing this sort of work. But the plan WORKED if the homeowner followed the rules. The problem? The homeowners didn't necessarily follow the rules.

For whatever dang reason in this society, we see something pretty and shiney - a neato new car or a big screen TV the size of a banquet table - and we simply must have it (I say "we" because I am a part of this society whether I like it or not. I'm trying not to alienate anyone...). Even if we don't have any money, we think, hey! I'll just charge it! Then I can have all this neato stuff and my credit card payment will only be like $30 a month! Well, kids, it isn't like that anymore. And I cannot begin to tell you the pages and pages of debt I see on your final application at closing. What were you thinking? Seriously I commonly see over $70,000 in consumer debt (credit cards mostly) owed by a homeowner who also had two mortgages and made less than $5000 a month. Good luck with that. One could say, Shame on the credit card companies! But not me. We humans are blessed with that one thing that sets us apart from the rest of the animals - free will. Only YOU know if you can afford something or not.

Which brings me to my bitch. I am sick to death of hearing about the mortgage crisis and what the government is going to do about it. Foreclosures are up right now, and why? Because people are buying houses they cannot afford. If you really could afford it, you wouldn't have had to put zero down and squeeze yourself in with a two-year-fixed rate loan with a three year prepayment penalty and now your rate is twice as high. IF YOU HAD READ WHAT YOU SIGNED, you would have KNOWN that the payment had the potential to jump in two or three years, or five, or seven. So who are you blaming? And why can't you refi into a conventional loan now? What's that? Because your credit is shot after furnishing the too-much-house to look like something on "Cribs"? And you certainly aren't paying your Wickes bill because look what happened to them? And this is WHOSE fault? The lender? The loan officer? THE GOVERNMENT?? No. It is not. It is yours. Because nobody held a flipping GUN to your head and told you to buy a brand new home that was way too much for you and your $2500-a-month-two-kids-stay-at-home-wife ASS to afford. YOU HAD TO HAVE IT, along with your BIG SCREEN TV and WII and all that CRAP and now it is up to the government to bail your sorry ass out. Because when you GOT this loan, you had the LOAN OFFICER explain it to you, you had the ESCROW CLOSER explain it to you, and you had the PAPERS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU before you signed them.

TAKE. RESPONSIBILITY. Where I come from, your signature says you agreed to it. If you don't understand it, don't sign it.

The good news about all this is I don't have the readership to spark a huge debate or offend a bunch of people, but I will again say that THIS IS MY BLOG and I will SAY WHAT I WANT. Trust me, if anyone WERE to argue this, you will not win with me. But I would love for you to try.

Monday, May 19, 2008

One of the reasons I really like "How I Met Your Mother"

They played this song in the background during it tonight, and I haven't thought about The Replacements or this song in a long time. Which makes me want to go out and find "Tim" and play it over and over and over again in my car.

There's no actual vid to this but it's a great song.

Oh for Pete's sake, you have 4 1/2 minutes. Open another window or something while it's playing. It's not like I've given you anything to read lately.

Oh and about that. I got nuthin to give right now. I try. It doesn't work. I'll get over it. Hang in there.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Inventing a more satisfying existence.

So obviously I have been in a blog rut lately, so when Becky H. emailed me to complain, I suggested she give me a topic, any topic, and I would run with it. Here is her suggestion:

"Let’s see…I’ve got it. Write about what you think the top 5 new inventions would be. If anything could be invented to make life easier, what would they be?" (I put that in quotes so that you understand it is a direct paste from the email).

So. I thought about it some immediately afterward, and then when the next email came in from someone approximately 3 seconds later, I forgot about it. Kinda. I've been mulling, there's no doubt, and here is what I came up with.

Perhaps these are not the NEXT top five new inventions, but they are out there somewhere in our future, they just have to be.

1) Voice recognition everything. They came up with the voice recognition dialing on your cell phone, well, pretty soon that technology will be used on virtually everything. Starting your car, your dishwasher, the ATM, your computer. There will be very little concern for fraud because the software will recognize YOUR VOICE, and all it's subtle complexities. Sounds good, right? No more fumbling for keys or looking for the remote control, no more groping with lathery hands for the faucet, no more struggling over the tight lid of the pickle jar. I'm talking EVERYthing. The downside of this - laziness is at an all time high, and everywhere you go is constant yammering. Noise pollution becomes an issue, and New Jersey is abandoned because even they can't handle listening to that accent all day.

2) Remember those highly nutritional and satisfying meals combined in one small capsule that were on some 1960s' sci-fi show (it might have been Star Trek)? Those are coming. I bet you someone is working on that right now, but the FDA will never approve them because people might start losing weight and the medical profession would lose a lot of business. Just like the cure for cancer that has already been invented.

3) Cat - to - Human/Human - to- Cat (and Dog - to - Human/Human - to - Dog) translation dictionaries. This is just barely on the horizon, I know it. Already my kittens know certain words like "kitten", "love bunny", and "wet food". It's just a matter of time. And as soon as they come out with these I will finally understand what all the yowling is about in this house. I get "step away from the computer" and "I can't seem to wipe the poop from my ass" but the rest of it? Utter nonsense. I wonder if they are mimicking me. I wonder...

4) Family-sized unicycles. Because that would just be fun to watch.

And 5) (my favorite) TV will become so advanced that you can purchase The Throttler – a device that allows you to reach INTO the screen and touch the performers. It won't be marketed as "The Throttler" at first, but everyone will eventually call it that. Of course it will be with gloved hands so you can’t get your stank on them, and really it's only recommended for reality shows and live performances (news programs, etc), but you could probably get a really advanced one for use on truly hideous shows like "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Semi Homemade with Sandra Lee". One will need a special permit allowing them to purchase one, of course – no history of violence, mental illness or really short tempers - but there's always a way around THAT, look at meth and how it's still a nationwide epidemic even though they took all the antihistamines off the shelves. And felons with guns. I think I would really like this one. I think I would really enjoy reaching out and touching some of the people that prance across my TV screen these days. I may never leave the house (except maybe in shackles, but that may take a while - how long will it take the police to get in if I keep yelling "Lock!" at my front door?).

Technology and all its advances have made the world a convenient place to live, if you have the cash. Perhaps if I got off my ass and worked on developing some of the above, I'd be rich some day. Of course I wouldn't have much to complain about, and then I REALLY wouldn't have much to blog about, and then, well, what would become of poor Becky H.? Nah, I couldn't live with myself.

It's all for you, Beck.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Guilty until proven innocent

Yeah so I am sitting here in the living room, minding my own business, the 15 minutes of snuggle time that Lava gives me has passed, and the kitties are "somewhere else" which basically means up to no good.

Suddenyly, there is a crash.

And not just the standard, tipped-over-the-bathroom-trash-can-, knocked-over-the-Swiffer-handle-, shoved-something-hard-enough-to-make-it-fall-off-the-bathroom-counter-, bumped-a-bottle-of-body-wash-into-the-bathtub-crash, but a really loud, long, shattering, clattering crash. It seemed to go on for days. The kitties of course raced over to me, looking behind them and up at me as if to say, "What in the holy hell was THAT?!"

I flew across the living room to see what they could have possibly done this time, visions of the waterer rolling all over the floor spilling out the gallons of water I just filled it up with dancing in my head (for the record it took longer to type that than it did for me to actually get to the bathroom). It wasn't the water bottle (thank God) - somehow they managed to crash the new toilet seat box (with the old toilet seat in it - long story) into their food dish, which apparently caused it to flip in the air and scatter all of the fresh kibble to every corner of the bathroom/laundry room. Kibble everywhere. Everywhere. I looked back at them and they were like, WHAT. HAPPENED. Shocked little kittens, so innocent.

The joke was on them (and my downstairs neighbor) because this was a job for the big vaccuum cleaner, so 20 minutes later (still laughing) I have finished up cleaning the bathrooom floor for the SECOND time in as many days and telling you all about how I spend my evenings after a long day of work.

Whose bright idea was it to take these kits home...?

Five minutes later I was recovered enough to actually post it on my blog...

And I'm still laughing. Poor Seca and Lava! All THEY ever wanted was to poop outside too!

OHHH my hell...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Nothing new to report

Work, blah blah blah, up early on a Saturday because I had to pee really bad, blah blah, errands, blah blah, stupid people in front of me at the Starbucks drive through, blah, I ain't got no money, blah blah. I don't think I am that exciting anymore here on TtheD. Was I ever? So I took a test because I am bored. Here's the result.

Your Personality at 35,000 Says...

Deep down, you vastly prefer being with others to being alone. You love to engage people in conversation.

You are good with your place in the world. You are confident and comfortable with who you are.

Your gift is having a way with words. You know how to express yourself well.

You are inspired by almost anything. You don't have many mental blocks.

Your life has a lot of ups and downs, but things generally end up being pretty positive. It's one big emotional roller coaster, that's for certain.

THAT was exciting.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Good grub

Last night that Marsha and I decided to try dinner at a restaurant that neither one of us had been to but has been around for quite a while, I think: Salvador Molly's in Hillsdale. What I knew about it was that it had a sort of Caribbean flair, but that's pretty much all I knew. It's really more than just Caribbean. The menu was varied (I'll let you check it out from my link) and everything we had (split two appetizers and each had an entree) was wonderful. We started with the calamari and tofu fries (awesome) and then I had the kalua pork and Marsha had the Ocho Rios jerk chicken. Ton of food and great atmosphere, and both of our entrees were recommended by our waiter. He did a great job. The best part was that our bill was only $36 total and seriously there was a LOT of food. Another really great thing that I enjoyed, and I mentioned this to the waiter, was that they didn't rush us through the eating process. I have been to all too many restaurants in the states where the entire experience lasted 40 minutes from walking in the door to walking out the door. Salvador Molly's is pretty kick back, and we managed to spend about an hour and a half - and we weren't even drinking! Two thumbs up for a place that I have always heard about, never tried, and will definitely recommend and return.

There's my PSA.

Work has been mellow, I spent this week in Lincoln Tower prepping with Gloria to cover her desk in mid May. I go back to Tanasbourne on Monday, allegedly to cover Renee, but it looks like I might be Judy again, too. She just isn't getting better and frankly I am a little worried about her. I'll cover her desk for as long as it takes because nobody needs to be that sick and I really shouldn't be so selfish.

Other than that, Friday morning and it's casual day, so in mere moments I will be out the door, spreading the kind of joy that only I can spread.

That was sort of sarcastic, by the way.