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Archive for February, 2012

Extremely Eventful Weekend

February 21st, 2012 at 03:44 am

This past weekend was like Mr. Toad's wild ride.

On Saturday, BF and I took off for a day trip to Bodega Bay. We enjoyed the beach and a fresh seafood dinner. We had a nice, relaxing time.

We started home about 7 pm. It should have been a 3 hour trip home. Instead, it was a 20 hour trip. I am going to summarize this particular fiasco quite a bit. It started with my car dying as we were driving down the road. We eventually got a tow into a nearby town and left my car at a Pep Boys, hoping they could work on my car Sunday. We had to take a cab to a hotel with a vacancy. The only vacancy we found was at a budget motel and the room had a broken heater. Better than sleeping in the bushes outside, so we took it. No clean clothes, no toiletries. That cost $65. Spent half the next day waiting at Pep Boys, and they were able eventually to get my car repaired (new alternator). That cost $389.

Arrived home a little past 3pm. Missed work, that cost 8 hours of OT. Upon arrival, my nephew and all 3 dogs were not in the house. My nephew's bicycle was in the garage. He would not take all 3 dogs for a walk all by himself. His bedroom door was wide open, and he always closes and locks it. Over the course of the afternoon, two different people called to say they had my dog. I collected those two, but the third dog is still missing.

What happened to my nephew? Well, it seems Saturday night he played rap music really loud all night, upsetting the next door neighbors. The very same neighbors with whom we have had the fence isssue. Sunday afternoon, they called the cops. The cops came but heard no music (it was off by then). As they were speaking with the neighbor, my nephew came outside and began giving the neighbor a piece of his mind. He screamed "Im gonna kill you" to the neighbor in front of the cops. Brilliant idea? Hmm, perhaps not. Nephew has been arrested and is currently in jail. I went tonight thinking I could visit, but that isn't how it works. I had to fill out a visitor registration form and they will review and approve or deny me, I will hear back in a few days. His bail is $50,000. I will not be bailing him out.

I'm still pretty upset. I apologized to the neighbors for the disturbance. I don't care for the neighbors, but there is no reason they should have to put up with that.

When Is Market Rate Not Market Rate?

February 15th, 2012 at 12:46 am

When you are applying for a Harp 2 refi, that is when.

Rates dipped this morning so I contacted my mortgage consultant. I learned that Harp 2 loans are not market rate and do have a premium. This is not what I had understood her to say when we talked previously. I can get 4.625%, or 4.375% with a point. I said that unless I can shave at least 1 percent from my current rate with no points, I am not interested in doing a refi. She acknowledged that the current rates are not very beneficial to me. So unless rates dip quite a bit more, there is no refi in my immediate future.

I chipped the $10.00 I received from Hauser. Tomorrow is payday, so I did a wallet sweep and chipped an additional $7.01 from that.

Today Is The Day

February 14th, 2012 at 04:10 am

Its my birthday, but more importantly, it is the day I can officially begin my refinance. All last week, the rate for a 30 year fixed was 3.875. This morning, 4.0. Isnt't that always the way? :P I did not ask for a lock today.

I have not heard from my mortgage consultant further. So I haven't actually signed anything at all yet. I am sure I am not the only person around here salivating to refinance.

Today in the mail I received my first check from Hauser! It is for $10.00. It is for the period Jan to Oct 2011. I was expecting $21.00 for Jan to Nov 2011. If you exclude November (which was a high volume month), then $10.00 is correct. I really want to chip it, even though my refi makes it seem pointless.

Friday morning J decided he wants to be on the school swim team. The deadline to turn in the paperwork and get a physical is tomorrow. Don't you just love when your kids pull that sort of thing? When I filled out the paperwork, I ran across one sheet which needed to be signed by me in the presence of a school official, who also needed to sign. Well, great. So today I took a long lunch and drove over to the high school to take care of that. It was pouring down rain and I got soaked. Tomorrow immediately after school, J's dad will take him to the dr. for his physical. And tomorrow night J will attend practice and turn everything in. As it happens, practice is 4 nights a week and is held not at the high school J attends, but at the one a few blocks away. Yay! That means J can get himself back and forth from practice with no trouble at all.

On Saturday, I spent the day with my mom, my cousin, and J. My cousin bought some nice travel books for each of us; one on Oahu and one on Hawaii (Big Island). We pored over them, discussing what we would like to see. Wasn't that thoughtful and organized of her? She is sooo like that. (I have LOTS of cousins, but this is the one with whom I have a close relationship.) Her name begins with an L. From now on, I will refer to her as cousin L.

Work is crazy. I don't know what else to say about that.

Federal Refund Received

February 8th, 2012 at 05:12 pm

My federal income tax refund of $763 posted today. I sent $700 to vacation fund (to repay what I previously "borrowed") and $63 to CurveBall. I'm feeling much better about the balance in CurveBall!

Yesterday I charged a deposit for our Hawaii trip to my Visa. That charge won't show up until next month's bill. Until then, the money will sit in Vacation Fund accruing interest (teensy as it may be).

Mortgage rates for 30 year fixed continue to be 3.875%. (I check twice a day.) They haven't even fluctuated in more than a week. I can't lock yet, still waiting.

Reward Points Big Boo-Boo

February 6th, 2012 at 06:09 pm

I made a big mistake at Christmas time when I redeemed rewards points. I had 50,000 pts on Chase Sapphire and was expecting, at any moment, 50,000 pts on Chase Southwest. I was saving the Sapphire pts to use on airfare to Hawaii, as that yields a 25% bonus. Half of the Sapphire pts belonged to BF as it was his purchase which earned them. But the Southwest pts were mine, all mine, and I planned to use them for Best Buy gift cards to buy J's iPad2 (his Christmas gift).

Well, Christmas was approaching and my Southwest pts kept not showing up. I was beginning to worry they would not arrive in time. So I thought, I'll just use the Sapphire pts, then the Southwest pts will go towards airfare. So that is just what I did. And it might have worked beautifully. But guess what? Southwest doesn't fly to Hawaii. Did I bother to check before using the Sapphire pts? No, I did not.
Frown

My next thought was to cash them in for gas cards. They do have Shell gas cards, but only $25 cards. $25 cards cost 3,000 pts each. $50 gift cards cost 5,000 pts each. I'm not too excited about losing 500 pts on each $25 gas card. If I cashed in all of the pts, I would receive 16 $25 cards, or $400 worth of gasoline.

So, today I cashed Southwest pts in for Wal-Mart gift cards. I bought 10 @ $50 each for 50,000 pts. Once I receive the gift cards, I will close the credit card account. I will sell the Wal-Mart cards on Plastic Jungle and take a loss on the face value (3.4%). The transaction should net $483. That is $241.50 each for BF and I.

I suppose it isn't too awful since we ended up buying a travel package including airfare. I had priced tickets, and they are running $850 each including taxes. Our whole package is right at $1800 per person, for air, 9 nights lodging, and rental cars while on the big island. (Our 2 days on Oahu, we will not have a rental car. We do have shuttle service to and from the airport included in that price.)

Previously I said $1850 each person, but that was based on the first resort we booked. (My cousin has narrowed it down to two resorts. One was almost booked solid, the other was not. She booked the one which was almost full, and we had a time window during which we could switch if we wanted with no penalty. We did decide to switch to the Mauna Lani Point resort, which is the link I posted in my last entry.) There was a small price difference and our total went down. We are actually staying in condos, and will have a kitchen with a stove, fridge, pots and pans, dishes, and utensils. This will be nice as we will not need to eat out for every meal. We will do a grocery shopping trip shortly after arrival. We will eat some meals in and also will pack lunches to take with us on outings. And I want to try the local farmer's market. I wonder how freshly picked bananas taste? I'm going to find out! Smile

Hawaii Trip Booked!! :)

February 3rd, 2012 at 09:36 pm

My cousin went to see her travel agent this morning. Our trip is booked! We will spend 2 nights on Oahu and 7 nights on the big island. For round trip air, hotel, two rental cars (there will be 8 of us), and travel insurance, it comes to $1850 per person. Of course, we will need more for food and activities.

I'm very excited!

Update: here is where we are staying for 7 of our 9 nights
I don't expect to suffer much. Smile


http://www.maunalanipoint.com/luxury/villas.cfm

Meeting With Mortgage Consultant

February 2nd, 2012 at 04:27 am

So I continue to go back and forth on the whole 20 yr vs. 30 yr decision. Today I was thinking, "definately the 20 yr". Tonight I had my long awaited meeting with the Wells Fargo mortgage consultant.

First of all, the rate break for a 30 is a mere 1/8th of a point right now. So that is not worth taking on the bigger minimum monthly obligation. The 20 yr is out.

I had to supply basic info on income, assets, and liabilities. They will do a credit check. They will pull my income tax returns. They will do a market appraisal, meaning it is based on sales in my neighborhood not on an actual onsite appraisal.

So she opened my file and now we have to wait for Feb 6th to be ready to roll. Today the rate for a 30 year fixed is 3.875. On Feb 6th, who knows? I cannot lock before the program is officially active.

She said everything else we can do by email until it is time for me to sign final docs.