Mortgages Go Minimalist and Other Matters
Monday Morning Coffee Time! There are a lot of “M” words for today’s post, like mortgages, motherhood, moving around, missing my cat, making time, etc.
Just Before the Bloom
Mortgages: One of the local real estate wizards in my area tweeted a link to an article about Obama’s Making Home Affordable program, specifically about how Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-backed mortgages had a special deal where if you haven’t missed any payments, you could get them refinanced no matter what your income situation was. Evidently this has been in place since around January of 2011, and it’s called Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).
So I looked into it, and Holy S**t, Batman, it’s for real! And, best of all, it is simple. Unlike the descent into madness that was the original Making Home Affordable program back around ’09, this one is as straightforward as anything I’ve ever experienced in home finance (and I’ve done a few). So, if you have a Fannie Mae- or Freddie Mac-backed mortgage and you haven’t missed any payments in the last 12 months, this is your chance to take advantage of incredibly low rates without selling your firstborn. We went from 7.5% to 4.375% (not bad for self-employed folks) and we’re deliriously happy. If this helps just one person amongst my readership, it will be worth it. Good luck!
Missing Tabby: The evocative photo is of a suddenly revived peony shrub, growing against the fence in the area cleared for our dear cat’s burial. I didn’t plant it, it was there when we bought the house, and it just got smaller and wimpier each year. I’d forgotten it was even there when we selected that spot. Now the peony is about to bloom, and has sent out a new shoot right over the grave. Remarkable. Or, at least we think so. The house is sill a little sad without Tabby.
Motherhood, for a lot of us, has meant taking advantage of able-bodied offspring to help with things we can’t quite manage on our own. Such was the case the other day, when my tall, lanky son came over and managed to slither up our very small and awkwardly-situated attic access in order to tell us if it was indeed dry up there, to take pics of the parts we can’t see from the opening, and to replace the batts of insulation that the contractors had pulled away from the area where the roof had been leaking earlier this year, right above the bathroom ceiling. He reported all was well, his charge was several cups of coffee, and of course he has our infinite gratitude. (He paid dearly with his allergies, though. Sorry, Nick.)
Moving it: The treadmill arrived two days early, and I’m glad to report that it works great. It was simple to put together, save for two places where Steve’s strength was needed to get a couple of pieces to join together. It also had a very strong smell, probably from the tread itself, which is thankfully fading. I don’t find it hard to start up at all, and agree with many who have compared them that you’ll get a faster workout with a manual treadmill than with an electric one. Inexpensive, no increase in the electric bill, portable, and surprisingly quiet–what’s not to like?
Making Time: We have an outing planned for today. It is the first of what we hope will be many. Our destination is very general, no specific activity is planned. As writers/artists, we both work at home and it can get to be a rut. Back when we shopped, we’d get to other towns and look at lots of things. Now we don’t. But instead of shopping, we’ll be walking, reading in parks and on the beach, Steve will take photos and I’ll be jotting down descriptions and whatever comes into my head. We’ll usually pack picnic lunches so we don’t blow money on restaurants (the gas money will be bad enough). It’ll be good for us and hopefully replenish the creativity wells, too.
It’s 72F, calm, and sunny, a.k.a. Meg’s Kind of Weather. Time to fill the travel mugs and be on our way