Monday, February 27, 2006

A Week of Disappointments

It started off well enough. We put an offer in on a house that was exactly what we were looking for and exactly in our price range. But as the days and hours went on after the offer was put in it was clear that we were not going to be able to get financing. Not because of us necessarily, though we do have a year old bankruptcy and a low income in CA which makes it difficult, but because the house is a manufactured house. Lenders translate that into 'mobile home' no matter what the reality on the ground is. No matter that it was built to be a permanent home. No matter that it never had wheels, was never meant to have wheels and was considered real property (not personal property like a mobile home or your car) ever, ever, ever. It was called a manufactured home by the realtor and try as I might to get him to call it prefab, so that we could get the lender to lend us the bloody money!, he wouldn't. Apparently this is such a new phenomena that no one is really clear on what they are.

So, our offer died on the vine.

Then I was really excited by being able to edit and transfer to tape my audition tape for KCET's new digital channel they are starting out here in the desert and looking for hosts. I got it out by Wednesday in FedEx which means they got it by midday Thursday. A short, snappy 3 minutes along with my considerable resume. But by Friday there was no response, which means, they were not enthused.

My attempts to find some sort of full-time employment or additional parttime employment making more than $12.00 an hour have so far come to naught. Despite my considerable experience and education I am apparently not worth more than $12.00 to anyone out here. My talents are either not apparent or not necessary and I feel like I am being wasted. Needless to say fulltime employment at $12.00 is not enough to pay for the babysitting it would require to look after my children while I am at work. I asked my boss for a raise this year which would have somewhat ameliorated the financial squeeze we constantly feel but he said 'no'. He said no. What a way to make an employee feel valuable.

And after two poo poo poos in the pants and one pee pee pee accident by S.O.v.1 yesterday, we had another today. As I was changing his pants and underwear I just began to sob. The fact that he would rather pee in his pants than tell me he needs to go just tells me that I have failed somewhere. Its not like he doesn't know what to do and he does tell his babysitter, but he won't tell me or S.O. and of course everytime I ask him he says 'no'. And to get him to go anyway is always a fight. I feel like I have just screwed something up and I feel like such a failure.

It has been a week of disappointments.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Very Proud

Very proud of S.O. who yesterday was playing cook and chief baby-washer. Kids were happy and clean when I got home and for that I am thankful. Was at work late working on my piece for audition... Gosh, it is nice to have a wife. I think everyone should have one. At least sometimes!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Getting up and about after a bad flu is a bit like walking on someone else's legs. After being in that semi-conscious neverland of flu bug when you finally realize you are on the mend you wake up in what, at first, seems like someone else's body altogether. I always can tell when I am coming to the end of a flu because in the middle of the night my body wants to move, not lay still any longer. I know it sounds innane but I am just grateful to be able to do housework today.

In the midst of this flu bug S.O. and I had decided to make an offer on a house. Well, come to find out we may not even be able to find a lender. Not because of our credit or income mind you but because the house is affordable. It is what they are calling a manufactured house. Now, let's get this straight. A manufactured house is not necessarily a mobile home though a mobile home is necessarily a manufactured home. A prefab home has come to mean modern architecture in an off site built, on site assembled home. Not all manufactured homes are considered prefab, but all prefabs are essentially manufactured homes with a hipper name absconded from the industry by hipster architects and enthusiasts. Are you following me?

See, building a house from scratch on the lot where it is meant to live has become very expensive. So, whaalaa, manufactured homes, which are built in pieces in a factory. The pieces are then shipped and assembled at the site and on the foundation where they will live. They are never ever meant to be mobile or in any way impermanent. They are meant to be affordable. And if you look at it logically they might even be better. Because they are built in a factory, enclosed from the elements they will never get rained on or damaged. Because they are built to specific specs on an assembly line, just like, say, your car is, they are built more accurately because the guy who installs the joists does the same thing all day long. Now in a stick built house you have a crew who do different tasks from day to day with varying degrees of expertise and experience. And stick built houses are subject to fudges on site. Someone cut a 2x4 2 inches too short? Oh well, fudge it to save on costs. Manufactured homes cost less because there is less waste because it is a production line not a craft, which essentially building a stick built house is. I mean love 'crafts' all you want, sure that little dent in the vase you bought at the craft fair is charming but the one you got from Ikea that came off the assembly line is more accurate. Is it charming when your doors don't close properly or your house 'settles' in an odd way because of that fudge on site? Not.

And since manufactured homes are built to withstand the many miles they must travel on the back of a truck they are sturdier by design.

So, does the mortgage industry keep up with any of this? Well, why should they! You wouldn't want actual working class people to be able to get into homes of their own would ya? Yuck! How awful would that be? Home ownership by people making less than 100K a year! How unseemly.

OK. To be fair, I am being dramatic and bitter. Apparently with the upturn in interest rates and the foreclosure rates now at, I read this morning, 9% (yikes!) lenders are shying away from what they call risky loans. Which are apparently to people in CA trying to find affordable houses. I am bitter, no doubt. But I am not beaten. I will find a way to buy a house damnit. It may not be the one we picked but I certainly am not going to settle for a 1957 stick built house that hasn't been kept up and is going for $100k more than its worth! Ironically, we could find a lender willing to give us even more for a house that has been so ill-repaired and looked after it should by all rights be torn down! Go figure... how is that not risky?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Medical insurance snafus - some resolved, some still a bitch.

Writing stalled due to illness and house hunting.

House hunting - initially successful but financing stalled. Damnit!

Illness - blows in the worst possible way. Uck.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

So, the whole insurance/medical provider thing is a whole big, honkin' pain in the ass. But of course I am sure you all know this. It's a big 'accidentally on purpose' scam. Lots of times it runs smoothly, your medical provider bills your insurance, they pay whatever amount they pay and you are off the hook for the rest (if that is the way your insurance works, like ours, if not, I'm so sorry). But then sometimes they "oops" bill something incorrectly, with the wrong billing code and oh my oh my you owe us $10,000 and if you don't pay by tomorrow, we're real, real sorry but we are gonna have to notify the credit bureaus.

UGH! And UGH again. I get a headache each and every time I have to deal with this f*&^%(& s(*#. It is never easy. And they always seem to blame the other guy. "Have them call us" and of course they never do. These people don't communicate with each other except by fax and code and sometimes it requires a phone call. But inevitably I will get one of them on the phone and they will say "It's not our job to call them. Have them call us. And no, we can't take your word for it. Yes, I am sure they told you that exact thing but we have to hear it from them." And then we wonder why people lose it and go shooting up office parks?!?!? They probably just got off the phone with their insurance company and their doctor's billing department.

But that's just my beef for the day. That and being thrown up on several times in the last 24 hours. But then that's just parenthood.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

So, we were experiencing more Non-Specific Fuss last night - you know pushing, not playing well, poking, prodding, generally pestering - and so I made the hard call of "no more cartoons". It is our routine to replay our DVR selections at night so that Momma can get dinner ready without much interruption (I know, I know, TV is bad, blah, blah, blah. But show me a momma who doesn't use television to placate her little ones and I will show you one stressed out momma!). When the fuss gets out of hand, no more TV (now see, if you don't have TV where's your leverage, huh?).

S.O.v.1 and S.O.v.2 were now calm-er while eating the macaroni and cheese with hot dogs momma prepared (hey, I'm not proud of it, but there it is... at least there were fresh green beans too) and just to really send home the message how awful life without cartoons can be, I let the State of the Union address play in the background.

Neither are paying much attention and we are talking nice, like a good little family when S.O.v.2 looks over to the TV. Just then they cut to a shot of Lynn Cheney. S.O.v.2 pointed a finger at the TV and said "UH OH!".....

Good girl. So wise, at only 21 months.