When I last checked in here, a few months ago, I wanted to do a traditional “taking stock of the past year” kind of post, but instead ended up writing mostly about money. We were in a tough spot at the time, having lost our housemate shortly after taking out a second debt consolidation loan in order to finally get serious about paying down our credit cards. In my post, I wondered how we would make it work, but somehow had a feeling that, in one way or another, we would. Continue reading
The long silence after the previous post could have been interpreted either way, right? Either we got the house and I have been too busy to blog, or we didn’t get the house and I have been too upset to blog. Fortunately, it is the former. Continue reading
I am typing this post on the bank of a rushing creek, which runs through a corner of the Methow Valley that we recently discovered. Of course, there is no internet here, so I won’t post this until I go online, most likely tomorrow when I’m in town to use the wifi at the local bakery. I take that back – if we were like most people today and had smartphones, this post could go live five minutes after I finish composing it, as there is cell phone coverage just a quarter mile down the road. However, being the luddites that we are, there will be a bit of a lag between writing and posting. Continue reading
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
It’s officially spring now, although for me spring actually came a long time ago for two reasons. Continue reading
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:
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…
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.
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
A few things to report since I last posted about a month ago:
- We went on a spontaneous camping trip in – or, rather, near – the Methow Valley over Labor Day weekend. Because we hadn’t planned to do this at all, it felt like a special treat, and also somehow surreal.