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Archive for June, 2008

Superstition is Weirdly Alive

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Well folks, Kari and I are now residents of Santa Cruz. We’re Cruzers. We’re gonna start wearing matching aloha shirts and stuff. Things came together for us in such a neat way that we began to have superstitious inklings. First: As we were packing the truck in San Francisco with our precious and incalculably worthy possessions, a bike messenger rolled up with an urgent document. I was instructed to sign it and hand it back to him, who would ensure its timely return to the sender – Old Republic Title Company. It was the last, thinnest barrier between me and the loan money. The title company called an half hour later and said that they processed the paperwork and that the money would be transferred that day. The day we arrived in Santa Cruz was the day our loan finally came through. 

Did I mention how hard it was to get that loan? It seemed like every day there would be an article in The New York Times (heretofore referred to as NYT) saying stuff like: “A loss of confidence among lenders has also put a damper on sales, as even Americans eager to buy a home are having difficulty procuring mortgages from lenders who have tightened their standards.” (from a May 24, 2008 article detailing the current condition of the housing slump). This was not good news. And now that I have the loan and I’m not afraid to jinx myself, I can finally say that DAMN I was worried about not getting that loan! That being said, it wasn’t like I wasn’t vetted. I submitted tax records, bank statements, client invoices, six forms of photo identification, my library card and toe prints to the loan broker. The property value-to-loan ratio is 0.3 – which means that if I take the money to Vegas and blow it all on coke and roulette the bank can sell my house for three times the value of the loan. Seemed like a pretty good deal for the bank, but apparently they and their investors did not concur. So along with the inquisition-inspired vetting process, there was also the matter of me being utterly clueless. Like the time I made an appointment to sign the loan papers and the notary reminded me to bring photo id and proof of home insurance. Doh! Home insurance – I need that? So I got on the phone and miraculously had my paperwork in hand the next morning. Another crisis averted and all thanks to Tina Andreatta at Farmer’s Insurance. Then, at the signing of documents, they asked me where I wanted the money transferred to. Doh! I guess I never really imagined actually being in control of that much cash. So I opened up an ING account on friday and waited anxiously for that paperwork to go through in time to accept the cash. That account opened and was verified the morning that the cash was finally transferred. 

In the end, or in the interim at least, I’m happy to say that things have gone very smoothly for us. We found parking for our big moving truck right in front of our old house and managed to avoid a parking ticket on street sweeping day. We found an awesome dude named Juan Sanchez from Chiapas, Mexico to help us load up the truck. Everything just barely fit in the truck, but it fit. We got a good deal on a storage space in Watsonville. When we returned the truck, we returned it exactly on the minute it was due – apparently a first at the rental place. 

Perhaps one of the most important and most beneficial things to happen to us is that Scott’s parents, Bert and Shauna, offered to let us live in their in-law for the duration of the project. I can’t say enough complimentary things about those two. They’ve been extremely supportive and have inspired us from the get-go with their positive attitudes and generous spirits. We look forward to relying on their wisdom and support for the coming year and hope that we can, in some way make their lives better, in return. 

I’m not superstitious, but some mystical force is telling me that we are doing the right thing with this project. I don’t expect it, but I hope to continue reporting smooth seas and compliant planning department officials for many months to come.