two roads

Three weeks ago, we stuffed our brand-new tent and a bunch of blankets and sleeping bags in the trunk of our car, filled several paper grocery bags with things like dried pasta and ketchup and a loaf of bread and a jar of pickles, then waited until afternoon rush hour traffic was done and drove up I-5 and over the freshly opened North Cascades Highway into the Methow Valley. Continue reading

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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