prosaic money stuff, continued

Another week, another financial appointment… This time, following my financial counselor’s advice, I headed to our bank (Bank of America) to meet with a mortgage specialist and learn about what loan options might be available to us through BofA. Specifically, I was wondering if we would qualify for a loan at all, and, if so, how much we could get. Would it be enough to buy both a place in the Methow and a place in the city? Also, while I knew that my bank was not one of the banks that worked with USDA rural development loans in Washington, I wanted to know if they had land loans of their own available, and how those compared to the USDA guaranteed loans that I’ve been looking at. Finally, I wanted to get their take on our pay off debt vs. save dilemma: where should we focus our energies (and available cash)?

The mortgage specialist asked me a couple of questions about income, debt, and credit score, punched some key on her calculator, jotted down a handful of numbers on a piece of paper, and came back with the following:

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financially empowered… sorta

This past Wednesday afternoon, nervously clutching a notepad to my chest, I got out of my car and walked a short distance under the typical Seattle November drizzle to the entrance of the Financial Empowerment Center Hub on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Rainier Valley. I then sat down with a very nice Nepali woman, one of the financial counselors, and dived into the complicated mess that is our financial situation…

FEC folder

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bits & pieces

A few miscellaneous pieces of news, some of them kind of important, as well as some random stuff that’s neither here nor there:

  • P’s dad is coming to visit again! He arrives the day before Thanksgiving – just over 3 weeks from now – and plans to stay for 2.5 months. I think – or I’d like to think, at any rate – that we are all a little bit wiser and calmer compared to this past summer when he was here, and that we’ve all learned some lessons that will help us treat each other a little more gently and be more open with each other, but also take more time to think before we speak. We might try to spend Thanksgiving somewhere in the Methow if we can find an affordable place to stay or if any of the campgrounds are still open (and not covered with a foot of snow) in late November.

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finally, a photo!

This is just to say that I found quite a treasure trove of photos we’d taken on our first-ever trip to the Methow Valley in 2010, so finally I have some images to liven up this blog! Here is one from Mazama. I love the light in the valley. It seems to be particularly dramatic in the fall and spring, when the change in seasons means clouds frequently passing overhead, blown into various shapes and directions by the wind, ranging in color from pure white to leaden gray/blue, with bright golden light streaming from patches of azure opening up here and there.

finances and fires

I’ve noticed that my posts tend to consist of (longish) bullet points lately, but that’s just the way things stand these days – an accumulation of random bits of news, with something to say about each one but not quite enough actually happening, or not enough time, to go into much depth on anything. So, here goes: Continue reading

trying to get back on track

I’m still not back to posting once a week, but I am trying to get back on track, and hopefully will be soon. P.’s father is gone, which means I have a lot more free time in the evenings and on weekends. Things got easier with him towards the end of his stay. We stopped pressuring him for a decision about whether or not he would stick around past his scheduled return date, and whether he’d be willing to apply for a green card and move here on a half-time basis, and everyone relaxed a bit.

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mid-summer catch-up

Wow, long time no blog… It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and this post will be a brief one, mainly just a way to start bringing myself back into the habit of posting with at least some regularity. It’s been a busy summer, and a lot has happened, both in our favorite valley and in our own lives.

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Summer solstice solitude

I am typing this post on the longest day of the year: here in Seattle, the sun rose at 5:11 am this morning and won’t set until 9:11 pm tonight, a whopping 16 hours of light, actually more, considering that the darkness dissipates some time before the sun rises and then light lingers for a while after sunset. All these hours of daylight make me feel like there is so much more time in one 24-hour day, and even if I don’t end up doing all that much with these “extra” hours, the day still feels extravagantly, bountifully long. Living so far up north has its drawbacks, but I wouldn’t trade this abundance of summer daylight for anything. It makes trudging through the winter darkness all worth it.

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