Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Roller Coaster That is Buying a Short Sale Home

So I'll start at the beginning.  I've been trying to buy a house for a few months now.  I had a purchase and sales agreement approved by the seller in April.  I knew going into it, that it is a short sale.  Of course, I asked how far in the process the bank is with it, and the seller's agent replied, "there's already been a negotiator assigned to it."  Great.

So I decided to go ahead with the offer, because I like the house, and it shouldn't be too painful - there's a negotiator already assigned to it.  So the seller accepted my offer, and then said, "ok, now we're going to get the process started with the bank..."  WHAT?!?!  "Oh, the negotiator is for the family in the home, the bank hasn't received anything yet."  WHAT?!?!?  There's the first giant drop on the roller coaster, and so I have to get ready for a long, long ride.

So a few months pass without much of anything going on.  Mostly just some conversations between me and my agent... catching up on small talk and the lack of progress the sellers are having.  In the middle, we looked at a couple of other homes that may fit what I'm looking for, just in case.

So September comes, and it's like the bank magically woke up.  Not only did they wake up, but now they act like I'm the one that's been holding up progress since April...we'll get to that shortly.

I got word from my agent that the bank officially approved the sale, so I could schedule inspections and the appraisal.  As soon as I got off the phone with him, I had those two things scheduled.  Cool, moving right along.

So I had the window to do inspections, etc. and got them done during the second day of the window.  So moving forward, my loan application gets submitted to the underwriters.   The underwriters approved me, but has a contingency for the house - a gasket on the furnace needs to be repaired.  Ok, I can get that done.  I schedule that to be done, get it done, and get the proof that it's been done, and it goes back to the underwriter.

That brings us up to last Friday, when the selling bank (who I will leave nameless... **Cough Countrywide Cough**) decides that they think I'm dragging things out too long and that we have to have closing done by the following Friday, or else they'll back out and make me lose everything I've put into the transaction so far..  Normally, having a week to do something isn't an issue, but closing a home is a royal pain in the ass that involves about a million and a half different people that all have to agree that I am able to buy this house.  Getting all of my paperwork to these million and a half people within a week, to be on time to close by Friday is a major feat of insanity.

So my mortgage originator called me on Friday... My roller coaster ride so far was only the one giant drop, and was pretty docile since then... Talk about a calm before the storm.  Here's where the insane loops, drops, stalling mid-air, etc comes in.

The mortgage originator delivered the news to me on Friday morning rather calmly, saying that, "basically, everything has to be wrapped up today if we're going to have a shot at closing by then."  Holy crap.  "The underwriter has had this thing for a few days, and I called him to see if he'll finally just approve it so that we can move on and get the other signatures, and he said he's still reviewing it."  Holy crap.  "He did mention that he needs a written statement on letterhead from the company that repaired the furnace - that the statement and photo provided aren't enough."  Holy crap.

The conversation lasted about 15 minutes where we laid out a gameplan of what I needed to do and what he needed to do, then we broke out of the huddle like Jordan and Pippen and tried to make a miracle happen.

I did my stuff as quickly as I could, while at work, on the clock (that was nice, I neglected some of my work duties to take care of my stuff - a small victory for a whack-a-mole).  The mortgage guy did what he could to speed things along, and give the other parties involved in the signing of my paperwork that it would be coming, and need it turned over as quickly as possible.  We kept updating each other every hour or so, and ended the day not quite as far ahead as we hoped, but had made good progress.

Monday came along, and still awaited the "clear to close," from the underwriter.  It finally came at 2 p.m.  YAY.  But wait, there's more.  That just ended the first loop, now there's another 4 before closing day.  Oh crap.  So it now had to go to another underwriter.  WHAT?!?!? Another one of these bastards? "This one should be much easier to get through - the first one tends to nitpick."  Ok...I'll believe you once bastard #2 has signed it.  4 p.m. - "The second underwriter has signed off on it, so now it has to go to our closing department in [Guam]."  Holy crap.  "I'm going to drive it up to [Guam] tomorrow morning to help expedite that." Holy crap, and thanks.

So Tuesday comes along,  and my mortgage guy drove about 2 hours to get to the main office and drop off my papers so the closing department can give their stamp of approval.  That, apparently, took them all of a few minutes.  Wow, something quick?  From there, it went on to the bank's attorney.  At this point, I have now decided that I have a strong dislike for attorneys.  This bastard sat on my paperwork from 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., fully knowing that all he had to do was put his happy little scribble on it, and that it's needed TODAY so that I can get my HUD stuff done on time (they require up to 72 hours before closing).  Oh crap.

The closing department then went on to process everything and get the HUD stuff submitted.  Thank you to those that stayed late to do it.  Screw you, to the bastards that put me, and these kind people in this position.

Closing is scheduled for Friday.  Come hell or high water, closing is happening.  I just love how the selling bank decided that it's a good idea to attempt to screw me for waiting, in good faith, for 5 months, just because they legally can.  Friday marks the end of the period I had after receiving the approval notice to do inspections, etc.  So, they, in their infinite wisdom, decide that it's a great idea to continue to jerk me around, just like they have been since April.

So the roller coaster ride is still not over.  I would say Friday was probably the worst day.  Every few minutes, my mindset went back and forth between, "Oh, shit, I'm screwed..." to "It's looking ok..."  That went back and forth about 10 times in that one day.  Monday, was about 4 times.  People at work thought I was bipolar.

Moral of the story: Don't buy a short sale unless you REALLY love the place, or unless you enjoy torture.
Second moral of the story: Don't write a blog while in the middle of a bunch of shit, because otherwise you'll end up with a long, rambling thing that would likely lose readers' interest by the time you see this line!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Asshole Wants to Kill Off Pandas!

One of my favorite animals ever is the giant panda.  For as long as I can remember, I've loved everything about them.  I find it incredibly sad that they're endangered because they happen to be from an area that's increasingly developed by people.

There are roughly 1,600 giant pandas in the world now, and British asshole Chris Packham says that we should just stop trying to save them because, "Here's a species that, of its own accord, has gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac."

Before this outlandish series of comments that Packham made, he was a little known (at least here in the US) conservationist, located in the UK.

Packham went on to say, "I reckon we should pull the plug. Let them go, with a degree of dignity ..."

In the words of George Lopez - Fuck You Puto.

How would you like it if a bunch of people took over your home and said we should just pull the plug on you, and let you go with some dignity?  It seems like your career has hit an evolutionary cul-de-sac - you can only get some kind of attention by vocalizing an amazingly stupid idea of killing off a popular species, especially in terms of conservation.  For the millions that are spent on pandas, how many hundreds of millions or billions are made for the conservation effort?

Maybe people have gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac... we use resources faster than what can be replenished.  Maybe whales have gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac - they can only live in water.  Maybe cats and dogs have gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac - most rely heavily on people.  Does that mean any of them should be killed off?  No.  It just means that each adapts to the environment they're in.  People are adapting in ways to at least slow down use of fossil fuels.  Whales know how to live in the ocean.  Cats and dogs have adapted to the home life with people.  Pandas have largely adapted to life in captivity, being that's where a large majority of them now reside.

So if Chris Packham were to...say lose his house and be relocated to the mountains in China, how well do you think he'd do?  I can guarantee that a wild Panda would outlast him.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Break into My House, Hackers!

So lately while watching TV, I've been seeing commercials that boast this new lock where one guy in a rainy scene can unlock his door with his cell phone, where infomercial-type guy is standing in a nice, sunny location.

Am I the only person to see something wrong with this picture?  Am I just that paranoid?  You see, I know that something like this...where you can unlock the door to your home from a cell phone requires some kind of transmitter or connection to something that can be at least, semi-public.  What happens to your computer when you happen to come across "the wrong site?"  What happens when your wallet goes missing and all your credit cards and whatever else are missing?  You go "HOLY SHIT," and go in a mad panic to get things fixed, cancelled, etc.

So now imagine that your home is now linked to the outside world, where, theoretically, its safety hinges on your ability to make a strong password that nobody can hack.

So Schlage came out with a product they call LiNK.  It connects to wireless,  and can be unlocked via Internet, PIN pad or a good ole fashioned key.  On top of the hefty product cost, you also have to pay an additional monthly fee.  I'll get to my feelings on additional fees in another rant post.

So, for shelling out all this money, you now have a few different ways someone can now easily gain access to your home without much effort.  It seems there aren't many locksmith type bandits these days.  However, with certain things out there, a PIN or Internet connection with a brute force attack could easily take this lock down.

I know a lot of people love new technology and finding ways to get lazier... but seriously?  Why would I want to use my cell phone or some random web browsing session to unlock my house?  That seems like too big of a risk to take.  Passwords and PIN's are stolen everyday, and web sites are constantly hacked.  Why would I want to add my own home to the list of things hacked?

My idea of a secure home includes closed circuit infrared cameras on a terabyte sized DVR, panic room, alarm system, and a series of insane locks on the doors.  I think texting a code to my door would kinda defeat the purpose of all that.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Word of the Day - Cockamamie

So...where to begin... I can only sum up today with the word "cockamamie." Go figure, the title makes sense.

So I get into work today, and a low level marketing type person tells me about some harebrained idea to have a cookout for customers where we can give out random crap, and that will attract people, because everyone wants useless shit.
Naturally, I ask, "what exactly would you want to be giving away?"

The answer, "I don't know... key chains, stickers, food, stuff like that."

My response, "so you want to have a cookout in the fall, when it's like 50 degrees, and attract people by giving them key chains?"


"Wow that's dumb."

And that, my friends, is why I get paid the big bucks. I can quickly point out a cockamamie idea from a mile away. And, I don't have to stay confined within my own area of expertise.

So that's how my day started. After that, I was approached with an idea of how to help sales better manage a program they use.

He said, "How about you change the program so that it can re-assign customers to new salespeople based on who the last person was that talked to them, instead of who was the last one to actually sell them something?"

My response, "how about you go fly a kite? That's not my program to edit, never was, never has been, never will be, and if you suggest that my entire job should revolve around managing your cluster-fuck of a database, you're severely mistaken."

On first thought, you may think I was overly harsh on this salesperson, though I fail to see how anyone can be too harsh on a salesperson. I assure you, he has a history of being an ass, and most every co-worker doesn't enjoy being around him at all. Secondly, there already is a database administrator that works for the company that is supposed to work on doing things that this salesperson suggested. My job is to troubleshoot basically to "fix the unfixable," because by the time an issue reaches my desk, 3-4 other people have unsuccessfully tried to troubleshoot. Exciting shit, huh?

So then another cockamamie idea came up. "Unblock my Internet access so that I can Google stuff and play games while I'm bored." My response, "that's exactly why your shit is blocked."

Go figure. I'm now a villain because I have to partially enforce work in the workplace. Is that such a foreign concept that I'm coming up with this cockamamie notion that you're supposed to actually work in the workplace? Are we all taking tips from government workers or something?

So work ends, and I attempt to get home. I have to drive across this bridge that is the only way in or out of town. It's rush hour, yet on a normal day, I can easily go through at a comfortable 20-25 MPH over the speed limit. Today, it's a parking lot. Not that I wish anything bad to anyone, but I wanted to see something at the end of all this to make the wait worthwhile. Give me a crash, a fire, end of a high speed chase, a raid, something. Anything. Why was traffic so backed up? The bridge was narrowed down to only one lane because they were re-painting the lane stripes. Whose cockamamie idea was it to close down 3 lanes of traffic so that way too many cars had to go through this one damn lane DURING RUSH HOUR!?!?!?!??!? My commute usually takes about a half hour. Today, 3 hours.

So that is why the word of the day is cockamamie. If you have a cockamamie story of your own, please share it in the comments.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Smart Ass News Vol. 1

Disclaimer: This is in no way to be taken as literal, real reporting. It is for entertainment purposes only. If you think this is real, accurate news... please seek help by a qualified psychological professional.

Gadhafi Auditions for Dictator Idol
Moammar Gadhafi led the way in the first round of auditions for Dictator Idol, held in New York on Wednesday. The much anticipated event featured a spirited rant about jetlag and a new JFK assassination theory involving swine flu.

"I just wanted to 'wow' the crowd, and show them that I'm willing to go all out as a dictator," Gadhafi said. "I just hope I make it to the David Letterman show, or I'll even settle for Conan."

Gadhafi's antics raised a lot of buzz around the world, while calling the Security Council the, "Terror Council," and comparing the Taliban to The Vatican.

It's amazing how little fabrication had to go into a spoof article about this - the real story is just simply entertaining, as is.

Obama Appoints 'Death Panel'
Congress passed the much anticipated health care reform bill, and the Advanced Care Consultation Board, or "death panel," as popularly named by Sarah Palin has been revealed. Shortly after the bill passed Congress, President Obama quickly named Batang, Kiko, and Iris, orangutans from the National Zoo to the panel that oversees $90 billion of the reform bill's budget.

"Without a doubt, Kiko, Batang, and Iris are definitely qualified, and will be unbiased, and non-partisan," President Obama said. "They are outsiders to the political game, and will serve the American public well."

The plan for how the orangutans are to oversee the death panel is to have three candidates enter a room, and whichever person they throw bananas at will not receive any additional care.

The panel will start hearings in February of 2010.

Jeter Makes Shocking Admission
Shortly after the game in which Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter broke the Yankees' all time hit record, he made a widely unanticipated announcement to the press.

"Alex Rodriguez and I have decided to get engaged." said Jeter. "We've been secret lovers since his Mariner days. Every time he would come here, or I would go to Seattle, we would hook up after the games, and look forward to the next time we would see each other."

"Now that we play for the same team, it's been much better for our relationship. We help each other stay relaxed, and let off some steam both before and after the games," said Jeter.

Though it was widely suspected, no formal admission of a relationship between the two had been mentioned prior to Jeter's statement. The New York media had noticed how Rodriguez' lips had been getting increasingly purple since joining the Yankees, and suspected some sort of foul play.

"I'm so excited and relieved that it's out in the open now," Rodriguez said. "I thought my lips would give it away - they tend to get more colored after Derek and I would... well, you know."

The happy couple hasn't indicated when, or which of the handful of states they intend on being married in.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thank You, Captain Obvious

So being a proud New England sports fan, I was watching the Patriots suck today. It was a rather sad display, watching them lose to the Jets, but I digress.

During the second half, one of the amazingly talented announcers said, "that interception would have been a game changer," when one of the Patriot linebackers almost intercepted a tipped pass near the Jets' 15-20 yard line. No shit. I would have thought that an interception during the last few minutes of a game, deep in the opponent's territory while down by a touchdown would be insignificant. That must be why he gets paid the big bucks, and I'm a mere whack-a-mole.

Really, what is the point of sport announcers? Are they there for the casual fan type that rarely watches and might not have a damn clue of what's going on? I mean, sports themselves are pretty easy to follow, especially football. One dude has the football, while 11 guys on the other team try to pummel him. What's not to get? Why do I need some jerk making obvious statements while all this is going on?

To his credit, at least the announcer didn't go all Madden on us and write "game changer," across the screen in yellow writing during the replay, and make random doodles over the players involved.

Mic up the players. That will definitely be more entertaining, even though the game might only be allowed to be viewed on HBO or Pay Per View without it sounding like some form of Morse code on the TV. At least we would hear the crashes a bit better, and feel more of the pain that football players endure during a game. Better yet, none of them will be making dumb comments like, "that would have been a touchdown if he didn't get tackled," or playing etch-a-sketch while the game is going on.

Another problem I have with sports coverage is that national coverage is supposed to be non-partial. They're supposed to call the game as-is. I can understand bias when you're watching a team's home station (i.e. Red Sox on NESN or Yankees on YES). But the CBS announcers were practically getting themselves off on the Jets before and during the game. The whole time, the announcers were gushing over Mark Sanchez, and how Rex Ryan is doing SO MUCH for the Jets. Granted, I don't really care about the Jets, but just the simple fact that things like this happen all the time when announcers on national coverage just dwell on how much they love a particular player or team... it makes me throw up in my mouth a little. I would expect such self massaging on a team's own station, but keep it to the facts and balanced coverage when you're someone like CBS, NBC, FOX, ESPN, etc. Fans of both teams are watching, and you're just pissing off a lot of people when you're slanting your coverage (and yes, I would be just as annoyed if they were getting off on the Pats).

So here I am in a catch 22. I love sports. I love watching sports. I have no way to afford season tickets, so I'm stuck watching the appropriately named boob tube. Maybe I'll just mute it? Maybe try listening to radio coverage while the game is on? Music? Maybe you have season tickets you'd like to let me borrow? I have to do something. I just can't endure another, "oh, that would have been a catch if it didn't hit the ground first." Dumb asses.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sex, Drugs, Alcohol and Sarah Palin

With a title like that, you're probably thinking, "what do they all have to do with each other?" And I don't blame you one bit.

It's really quite simple, they can all lead to dizziness, fatigue, and generally best suited for people 21 and over. Though many attempt to use some of these before that age, you may not get the full effect of what these things can do to your mind and body.

Sex is fun. Don't get me wrong on that. It can be very fun and satisfying. However, when magazines are telling me to screw like I'm pushing a wheel barrow... something's wrong with that picture (I borrowed that from another post here about Cosmo). That just seems like it would be dizzying, nauseating for the female, and especially painful with the separated boob.

Drugs... I can honestly say I haven't dabbled in them myself, though many people I know have, and I've been around them while in their drugged stupor. Marijuana has led to some stupid decisions, even though it seemed fun, happy and exciting at the time for them.

Alcohol makes an unattractive person at 10:00 p.m. seem like a good idea by 2:00 a.m. Even better, you won't remember the good idea by 8:00 a.m. Fortunately for you, I'd be around then to remind you.

Now Sarah Palin. Holy crap. We have to fix the health care system by reforming it. Death panels! Ah, Jim Ayers is taking over! I retired as governor because I wanted to concentrate on my Facebook page and show the liberal media that I really do have a lot of friends.

I'm really not sure where to start with this. It seems like when she couldn't screw up any worse, she goes out and proves me wrong. First it was Russia being right there, so she's got great foreign policy because she was keeping an eye on the Russians. Then it was how she reads all of the newspapers. Finally, the election ended. McCain lost by a lot. I figured, that's it. No more Palin! I won't lose more brain cells having to listen to her!

Of course, she proved me wrong. Who would have thought that the LOSING VP candidate would make the morning news show rounds after the election was well over? It was unprecedented. Of course, that didn't stop her. She still needed to extend her 15 minutes and disspell the allegations about the campaign buying her clothing, and yada yada yada, whatever else crap she had to spew out at the time.

Then came the resignation. WOOHOO! Maybe now she'll be gone. Damn... she's making what some would consider a big announcement... Son of a bitch... she'll be all over the news for a while, but it will be worth it because she'll be gone after she's out of office.

So now, we get death panels, the AP hanging on her every word on Facebook. I wonder why she quit Twitter... maybe she thought that it was a dirty word and didn't want to be a bad influence on young women of America by endorsing such a thing as a Twitter.

So, what does the person who understands the health care bill so well that she started the idea of "death panels," have to say? Here's my shortened, paraphrased rendition of her latest statement concerning the health care bill, and one of President Obama's latest statements:

"President Obama and his bureaucrat buddies want to take over your health care. They want a system that is completely government controlled, and send your grandmother to a bureaucratic death panel to decide if she should get her dentures. President Obama hasn't refuted these claims, so they're true. I'm a maverick. I don't want the government to take over your health care. I'm also mavericky because I'm ditching mainstream media, and reaching out to all of you Washington outsiders with my message on Facebook. Did you see my pictures from our latest trip to New York?"

Impressive, huh? The most absurd part of it all, to me, is that she literally does say that President Obama keeps making unsupported claims (related to the Medicare Advisory Council, aka "death panel"), and that she's going to continue to call him out on it. I'm pretty sure that it's been said more than once, that there's no death panel, and that the council isn't going to be saying whether or not granny should live or die.

So where I'm left now is with Sarah Palin now off of my TV, but instead, infecting my Internet. Talk about a bad virus.

Why My Job Title Should be "Whack-A-Mole"

So, like many Americans out there, I'm in middle management. More specifically, I'm an IT Manager. Basically, I get to do all the random crap that most others won't do, or don't have the will power to do.

Everyday, I get phone calls and e-mails from co-workers about "this doesn't work," or "that doesn't work," or the ever happy conversation that ensues after, "I think it died..."

I've adopted a philosophy that I like to call, PICNIC (Problem in Chair, not in computer). Whenever someone at work asks me how my day is going, I happily respond, "oh, I'm going to a picnic," while on my way to "fix," an e-mail setting (this typically gets some kind of response like, "oh really? when?" or just confusion, which I just enjoy). Operator error is the #1 issue of computer problems, yet never gets reported that way. Go figure. Nobody can admit that they're morons when it comes to certain things. I'll gladly admit that I'm a moron when it comes to things like automotive repair, plumbing, and skilled things involving fire like welding (though I do enjoy blazing a nice big fire in the backyard with a little too much gasoline poured on, and making fireballs with WD-40). Why is it that nobody can admit that they're a moron with a computer? It's not for everyone, I understand that, but don't tell me the computer died just because you can't connect to a particular website.

At any rate, I suppose I should get back to the point of this post instead of ranting about computers and idiots killing them. My job is that of a glorified whack-a-mole. I think I'll get my boss a mallet for his next birthday just to make it official.

While all of this other stuff is going on when I have to save every department of the company from computer issues, I also get to do other random projects that have absolutely nothing to do with my job. For example, when have you seen an IT person do things such as accounting, fulfill management roles for sales, marketing, and then random carpentry projects? Mind you, this is no small company where there's the owner and just a handful of employees. I know for a fact (because of one of my random, non job related projects) that there are about 450 employees working for this company.

So back to the whack-a-mole... I feel this way mostly because, on a daily basis, I get the proverbial smack on the head, while being told, "I need you to do this..." as if I didn't already have enough going on. I typically don't bitch and moan about things like this, except that I recently found out that a known lazy bastard in the company makes more than twice as much as I do. There goes the mallet on top of my head again.

Everyone, the owner included, recognizes me as one of the hardest working individuals in the company, and that the place would probably fall apart, or blow up in a riot if I were to leave, yet I'm grossly underpaid. I wish I could have more faith in the job market, but double digit unemployment rates don't make that route look too promising.

So I'm back to peeking out of the hole and checking to see if I'll get smacked down again. I'm just having another picnic at work.