Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The joy of refinancing

Crap, I can't believe it's been a whole month since my last post. I decided it was time to refinance my 1st and 2nd mortgages plus a gaggle of miscellaneous debt around the middle of September. Around 3:00am one Sunday morning, I hung my hat out at Shortly thereafter several lenders started calling. Belatedly I called Wells Fargo (owner of the 1st & 2nd) to see what they could come up with. After a couple weeks of back and forth with the LendingTree contacts and Wells Fargo, I decided to go with an outfit named Metro Lending. I ended up with 6.5% 30yr fixed and 0 points, which was great for a stated income loan. You see, on paper my finances look pretty horrible but "somehow" I'm able to maintain a very good credit score. The loan's actually going to be serviced by Countrywide (scary, I know!), but I think it's gonna be okay. I was surprised Countrywide would even want to be involved, given their current state because of people just like me. Another surprise was the appraisal. It is difficult to comprehend how my house could be worth almost 2.5 times what I paid for it 8 years ago. Extra brownie points were given for my rockin' BlueStar range and the Vent-A-Hood, but were probably mitigated by unfinished painting areas and pet paraphernalia scattered here and there.

Speaking of painting, Jim's decided to get back into doing art after a long absence. He was hard at work converting his wood shop (which used to be a garage) into an art studio. He fixed up the taping, repainted, and reorganized his tools and hardware. And finally, I was able to talk him into putting some kind of wood subfloor over the nasty old concrete (he tends towards cheap bastard on most aspects of life). We found this neat subfloor tile product called DRIcore at Home Depot: it's a square of varnished OSB glued to a plastic sheet with feet, interlocking via tongue and groove. It wasn't too expensive, either, considering what would've been involved with installing a subfloor with 2x4s, plywood sheets and then something on top of all that. Jim actually liked the look of the plain OSB, so he just applied a few clearcoats for now. The lighting was a bit trickier. He insisted on using these ancient Lightolier halogen track lights, but the light was gross. There are two skylights, but there's not enough natural light to compensate for hot, orange-y halogen spots. He ended up having to put in several fluorescent fixtures with full-spectrum bulbs and now it looks nice, neutral and even. My experience with doing press checks helped a little: neutral gray walls (actually a special gray paint that's really expensive) and 5000K bulbs are the standard. Higher K is more blue, lower K is more yellow. You just need a shitload of bulbs.

The Smashing Pumpkins concert in Ridgefield, WA was awesome. The Clark County Amphitheater was a great venue - not large, with the back end open so it doesn't get hot or stuffy. The Pumpkins were freakin' LOUD. Thankfully I never go anywhere without earplugs anymore, but I remembered them a little too late. Hmm, too much of my youth spent loitering near massive speaker towers, I guess. The opening band was Satellite Party and I probably enjoyed them even more than the Pumpkins. I think I saw one other couple that may have been in the 50s and they were drunk. Well, I freely admit to being immature for my age, so there!

Looking forward to seeing Cesar Milan, thee Dog Wheesperer, here in Seattle on Nov. 4.

Busy at work doing one of my favorite things: screwing around with databases and writing Excel formulas... building our intranet and dreaming up new kitchen gadgets.

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