Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"I've made more bad decisions at three in the morning than I can list."

I've loved Project Runway since the very first commercial appeared with the taunting Heidi Klum being rushed by 12 strange looking people wielding sewing needles. It's going to be the one thing I really miss once the cable's must be online somewhere, right? Also, is it just me, or has Tim's vocal affectations gotten noticeably stronger this season? I fear his fame explosion is making him turn into a caricature of himself. It's okay, Tim, you're still my boy.

I got an email from my mother today regarding my last post that said, "I don't know where I went wrong in raising you that I didn't pass on the knowledge of rain checks. I'm sorry." I don't know, this is kind of a startling, unfortunate admission, Mom. Next thing you know I'm going to find out I was supposed to have been playing well with others all this time or that the birds and the bees make little bird/bee hybrid babies n'stuff.

In the "Weird Things I See On U Street" category, we have two entries this week.

1) I saw one guy kick another guy in the face. I'm talking straight up Van Damme ultimate fighter round house to the noggin. Apparently it was over a bag of take-out Chinese. Cause if there's anything that puts me in a disfiguring mood, it's some moo shoo gai pan from Yum's.

2) Last Thursday I was walking home with my iPod on when I saw a police car pass from behind me going lights and sirens. Then another. Then another and another. I thought, oh jesus, someone got shot. Then another passed. Then a police van, and another van. Then another car. I turn around and literally, literally there was a motorcade of lights and sirens as far as I could see down U Street. There were no black sedans, so it wasn't a presidential parade, so I squinted to see what was in all the vans...and they were filled with big dudes in orange jumpsuits. They were transporting an entire fucking prison. Down U Street! I lost count around 30 cars and vans, so it was at least a few hundred prisoners. Where were they taking them?! And why? And during rush hour? So weird.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Things you learn when you become a cheapskate

Yesterday I went into CVS to get a batch of travel toiletries to donate to our firm's charity and pick up a few things for myself. I had to get some hair goo, and it turned out it was on sale, but naturally, there was only one left. I asked the 17 year old manager if there was more in the back, but I was out of luck. He squeaked to me, "Get a rain check at the counter." "A rain check?"

Apparently if something is on sale and they're out of stock, you can get a slip of paper that the checker fills out with the sale price and the quantity you want, and you come back later and get it for the sale price. Who knew? I mean, probably everyone besides me, but still, it was a nice discovery by someone who's still cringing while she clips coupons.

In less financially successful but at least somewhat vindicating news, one of my lenders (who I think of as the Front Office Woman; while the person I was arguing with yesterday is the Back Office Woman) called me today and profusely apologized, saying that the "grant" was not at all properly explained to me. So, I was right. And I would be lying if I said I wasn't thinking about a lawsuit, if it weren't for the fact that all our conversations about the grant were over the phone and not in writing. The truth is, I would have gotten the loan even if I'd properly understood this term, but the fact is I wasn't given the option. And though I appreciate the apology, what I'd really enjoy is my damn money back.

Anyway, I met my floor guy today and had the usual good news/bad news conversation. Turns out his initial estimate didn't include the kitchen, so that added a nice sum to the ticket, though I was able to argue him down a little. But the good news is that they were actually able to start today and should be done by Friday, meaning I can start moving in this weekend. He's also going to stain the existing banister to match the floors, and instead of choosing the stain color off his samples, we're going to wait until the floors are installed so he can put a couple of my final choices on the wood and I can really see how it fits in the house. My sense of humor is slowly dying.

Why didn't I think of that?!

I just ran into a co-worker I hadn't seen in awhile and he asked me what was going on.  Quickly, of course, I got to the new house, and as I was describing it he asked if it came with a parking spot in the back.  I said that it did, which was a huge selling point to me because of resale, but also because my friends (and contractors) can all park there with ease.  And he said, "Dude, rent that shit out!"

Interesting story in the Express today

Two things stood out from the three paragraph story titled, "Harvard Expands Its Financial Aid to Middle Class":
1) Apparently "middle class" means "families earning six figures."  Six figures ain't what it used to be, I guess.
2) "The university said it would replace all loans with grants."  Why?  Because a LOAN isn't the same as a GRANT.  That's why.

Monday, December 10, 2007

But in more pleasant news...

I meet with my floor guy tomorrow, who will start Thursday. So by next Monday or Tuesday, my house will be ready to move into!

More importantly, I really need to settle on a woodstain. My floors are Georgia Pine, but contrary to the light color that sounds like should go, I'm leaning towards dark floors. I want the warm, rowhouse feel, but I worry that a dark color is going to make the house look small, and what furniture even goes with it? It's one of those tough decisions that you make once and then that's it, you're gonna have to live with it.

Every time I tell someone I'm leaning towards dark stain, I get the "ehhhhh" look. But take a gander (second photo). Doesn't it look good?

I don't know. Anyone out there got an opinion I should hear before tomorrow morning?

Good luck, America. Good fucking luck.

Hey, I don't mean to be all braggy an'all, but listen: I am not a stupid person. I can supply evidence. In fourth grade I invented a working automatic dog feeder. In high school I firmly rooted my nerdiness when I discovered coolness wasn't an option and passed my Calculus, Physics, and Chemistry AP exams, and got to wear one of those yellow rope thingies at my high school graduation. I got an academic freaking scholarship to college and got an A in astro god damn physics my senior year. I went to (and I choose this moment to decide these rankings mean anything) a top-tier law school and passed the Golden State's notoriously tough Bar Exam the first time, while planes and trains collided outside the room. I can turn iron into gold and discovered the cure for cancer during a dream last night.


I got my first bill the other day, and it includes this amount of money that I was told was a "grant." So I asked my lender, what's up with that? She said, remember we had that conversation? I said, the one where you explained it was a grant? That it was money from the government? That the money doesn't even go to the seller? That it was a GRANT? "Yeah, but also that it's included in your loan." THAT IS NOT WHAT GRANT MEANS. In fact at some times they used "grant" and "gift" interchangably to describe this money. I don't understand how I was supposed to divine that that a word that means "I'm going to give it to you for free" ACTUALLY within the terms of my mortgage means "But we're going to take it all back, slowly and painfully, over the next 30 years." THIS IS WHY THE FORECLOSURE NIGHTMARE IS FALLING OVER AMERICA PEOPLE. Because GRANT does NOT MEAN LOAN, all you sons of bitches in the lending industry.

I mean, I'm lucky. I'm in a decent financial position and this is not going to break my bank, though it probably will mean a few more brown bags at lunch time, and I'll still make money on the house in the end. But these were not the terms I agreed to. I'm just saying, if a reasonably well educated person can go through this whole process and not understand this significant term, is it such a surprise that people all over the country are getting totally, utterly fucked by this fucked up system?

Maybe I should have had my lawyer look over the contract. Right.

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