Monday, June 23, 2008

Phew.. a lot can happen in a week

It's been a bit busy. I started my new job last Wednesday and things are going pretty good. There was actually some back and forth about how much I was going to get paid.. I talked to Top Doc on the phone who just said, come in and talk to the office manager. So I showed up Wednesday morning and he had a very fuzzy recollection of me - apparently he had gotten about 15 seconds with Top Doc who just said, she's coming. So they had not had a conversation about my salary. He says he'll talk to her, and then for the next few days, I can never find him, plus I keep shuttling between two of the offices. Finally on Thursday evening before I leave, I sent him an email listing what I wanted to talk about (salary plus a couple other things) and said if I couldn't get a hold of him I would call him. I finally got him on the phone about 2PM on Friday and he said that they'd set me at $40k. Which is fine, I told them $40-45k in the interview, and while it is a little less than I used to make, I probably would have accepted less, but it does seem like bad form to cheap out on someone who's already BEEN there three days.

Something that is definitely a bonus though is that instead of working at the main clinic, which is out in the suburbs and is about 20 minutes of highway to reach, I'll be assigned to the downtown office, which is literally about five minutes from my house. So that's pretty awesome. Unfortunately it'll be longer after we move, but definitely not bad at all - about 12 minutes, none highway. If I REALLY wanted to, I could take a bus, with only a few blocks' walk to get to the stops at each end. But that's $41 a month for the bus pass, and I don't know how much the garage pass is going to be, but unlikely to be that much, and 12 minutes drive in each direction is pretty good on gas too. I'm also excited to be downtown because it's actually in a hospital, which means there are a lot of resources (like a cafeteria, a lot more bathrooms, gift shop, etc, as well as being able to schedule tests for my patients onsite.) Downtown also has a lot of lunch restaurants and some street vendors, so I could go out and get all kinds of good stuff.

(for those who used to read regularly, yes, I do now own a car. It is a 2002 Chevy Cavalier with about 9823498 dents, which is why it was about $2700. But it hasn't required much in the way of maintenance and I'll probably drive it into the ground. Driving is WEIRD but fun.)

One really awesome bonus though is that they FEED YOU LUNCH on Mondays and Tuesdays, and sometimes Fridays. Today I actually got two lunches, because I was in the suburban office in the morning when they were passing round the menu. Apparently the drug reps pick a restaurant and we all get to choose what we want off the menu. Most people got an appetizer or dessert in addition to a meal. So I picked out coconut shrimp (which they ended up not having) and chicken parmesan with pasta. Then at about 10:30 I got a call saying that there was someone to see down at the downtown office. I am meeting with the most experienced coordinator down there frequently for training. So by then the order was already in, and I went downtown before lunch arrived. And what do you know but they had Panera boxed lunches. Five kinds of awesome. So I got Panera for lunch, and my chicken parmesan was there when I got back to the suburban office. Hooray for free lunch! I am totally going to milk that. I don't think they do the menu ordering at the office I'll be at, but free food is still awesome.

In house news, we did our inspection on Tuesday, and there are of course a few problems. The ones we were most concerned with were the wiring and the hot water heater. The house is about 100 years old, so the wiring is pretty old, but it looks like someone rewired the downstairs but not the upstairs. The upstairs is not grounded at all, and there is knob and tube wiring in the attic that is under a foot of insulation. How this was explained to me as bad is that knob and tube has nice big copper cables, which can be good because they are much thicker than wires used today, and usually enclosed in a wall with air all around them to let heat escape. So being under a foot of insulation means the heat can't escape and this is a fire safety issue. So that's bad. The other big issue is that the hot water heater's air outlet is not drafting properly. The house has two chimneys and the air is supposed to go up one of them, and it's not. This might be because the chimney is full of leaves and crap, or it might be that the chimney has collapsed internally. Who knows. Not our problem. It's a safety risk. So we asked on our request to remedy that they replace and ground the upstairs wiring, and that they fix the hot water heater so it's drafting properly and the basement doesn't fill up with carbon monoxide. That's bad. We're waiting to hear back from them probably tomorrow about what they're going to do.

We also went in early this morning and Boyfriend signed lock papers. We are locked in at 6.25% paying half a point of discount (probably covered under what the seller is paying) and given the way the markets look now, that's probably the best we'd be likely to get, even given what our mortgage person was up to. When we first met she had said 6.25% with no points, but this is acceptable given that we are putting so little down.

In completely unrelated news, I've also been spending money on clothes. This is kind of new for me, and I forgot how much I actually really enjoy having nice clothes and looking like an adult. At my last job I kind of fell into wearing the same pants every day with different solid colored t-shirts and long sleeved t-shirts, and I felt like I was starting to look my age. (this is not something you want when you are as young as I am in the professional world where people have to trust you are providing accurate, potentially life-altering decision-making information.) So I spent some time at the outlets on Tuesday and spent about $250 on clothes, and for this got six dresses, a couple tops, and some assorted other items. Went to a different store a couple days ago and spent $75 on four dresses. Kind of getting into dresses now, to some extent. But like the commercials say, feeling like a grown-up at your new job: priceless. I'm going to try to weed out some of my older, less attractive clothes and slowly turn over my wardrobe. At this point, if I can't wear it to work, there hardly seems a point in buying it since I already have plenty of t-shirts and shorts, and you can wear black pants any day. I do need to buy some black closed toed shoes that I can wear barefoot, since I a) hate pantyhose b) bought a bunch of knee length skirts and dresses and c) you can't wear open toed shoes in a hospital. So that might end up costing more than my outfit on any given day, but hey, no one said looking like a grown-up was cheap.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Employed once more!

Hooray, today I actually got not one but two jobs. Had to turn down one. But this is great news. I had signed up with Spherion (temp agency) a couple weeks ago and they were very excited to talk to me, being that I am a college graduate with computer skills, phone experience, and can speak easily without saying like or ain't. Yesterday they called me to come in and take a Word and Excel test and a drug test for a potential full-time temporary administrative-type position with the bakery branch of a local grocery store chain. So I went in and did that today. The secretary thought I was great and told me semi-confidentially that she pretty much figured I'd get the job because the woman who interviewed me had suggested me individually for this position (the secretary read me the email - the gist was, start with her and you won't need to check 4 other people.) So that was pretty exciting, having been without normal full-time employment for 3 months now, and at home for the last three weeks. After a number of phone calls, they confirmed that I had the position, and I was to start tomorrow morning 8AM sharp. This meant that I would miss the home inspection on the new house but they did not seem to be willing to negotiate starting time. So everything got lined up, and I even got the dog a doggy interview at doggy day care tonight so she could start tomorrow.

THEN I come back from the grocery store and there is an email from the head doc at the private clinic/research organization I interviewed with last Tuesday, who liked me bunches.

Hi Kira --

please give me a call

I'd like to talk with you about a job.

So I call, and Top Doc says, are you still looking for a position, and I say yep, and she says, we're still looking for someone to fill our open spot, and I say, what an amazing coincidence! and she laughs. She asked if I would like to start tomorrow and I asked if Wednesday would be OK so I could go to the home inspection, and she said that was fine. (This is also beneficial because I could totally see the staff getting notice that I'm coming about 5 minutes before I show up. They know that I'm coming in general, but probably not specifically when. So this will give them some time to, say, find an extra desk.) I was so excited I forgot to ask her how much they were going to pay me, but the office manager had asked what my salary expectations were and I said $40-45k so if they're within shouting distance of that, that's great.

These people are as sane as medical clinics get, and just seem like reasonable human beings. I am excited to get back into the thick of things. They have a matching 401k and a health savings account medical plan, so I can bet I'll be posting about that when I get that set up.

Off I go to take Maggie to her doggy daycare interview - there's several doggy daycares in the area, and this one is about five minutes from our house so she won't throw up in the car. (Motion sickness.) It's $75 a week to take her every day, but I'll probably only end up taking her two or three days a week.

This is also excellent timing in that both of my guinea pigs have been seriously ill in the last few weeks, and I'm literally just today not going to be squirting medications and food into either little mouth five times a day. So it's good that I was able to be home to give them more frequent care when they needed it, but also good that when I won't be able to, they won't need it.

Hooray for money! This is exciting!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Not amused

So although Boyfriend's name will be on the title and mortgage of our new house, I'm pretty much handling everything. He doesn't really have the inclination to gain more knowledge about house hunting and everything that involves, so we've only seen houses I've picked out with the realtor I selected and gone to the mortgage person I contacted. Mortgage Lady seems to not be terribly on the ball though and it may have just cost us several hundred more dollars. Our offer on the house was accepted on Wednesday and our realtor sent her the contract. She called me about 2PM on Thursday to tell me that rates had gone up a little from when we saw her last Saturday (we are getting an FHA loan, and the rate at par then was 6.25%) and that we could choose to pay a half point to get it back to 6.25% or we could take 6.375% without the half point. I asked her to email me the Good Faith Estimates for both scenarios and I would discuss it with Boyfriend and get back to her. I said I would do that and call her in probably about an hour. Then I called Boyfriend and asked him to check my email in half an hour and look at the estimates. By 4:30 I still had no email so I called and left a message. She had apparently left for the day - had not bothered to call me when she didn't hear from me - and I didn't get the estimates until 8:15 this morning. I checked email at 9 after finishing force-feeding one of the guinea pigs who has some bowel issues (she of the multiple tumors) and got the estimates. Boyfriend and I gmail-chatted about them and decided to go for the 6.25% with paying the half point. This scenario wouldn't have cost us the full half point, because part of our offer is that the seller pays $3300 towards closing costs, and it was looking like the costs weren't going to be that much, so the extra would go towards paying for the half point.

So I email her back to say that we'd pay the half point, and she replies saying:

Hi Kira,
Well.......................please don't shoot the messenger. About 1/2 hour
after we talked yesterday, our rates were suspended because the market took
a bad turn for mortgage rates and are still suspended this morning. I will
have new rates around 11:00 then I'll call you as soon as I know we still
have that, ok? Keep your fingers crossed that Friday the 13th will be a
good day and I'll lock you in at a good rate.

Ok, now why exactly didn't she say that when she sent me the estimates at 8:15? When she ALREADY knew that these estimates were no longer valid because she had no idea if we could get the rates or not? (Note: she works for a quasi mortgage broker place, they use internal funds on some loans and then sell all of them off. So I assume she means their internal bank's rates, or something.) I looked on Bankrate and the national average is already up to 6.29%, which means we probably will be quoted 6.5% or worse.

Now if she'd sent the emails on time yesterday, we could have locked in already and not had this rigmarole.. she already had issues sending things to Boyfriend by email because she didn't listen when I spelled it for her and tried to send it to and not So I'm thinking maybe we need a new mortgage broker.. and it would have to be fast, because the closing is scheduled for July 8th. But also, at this point, the rates have already gone up, and I don't know if anyone else could get us a better rate anyway. Grr.

Oh, and for the wildly curious, our offer was full price minus $3300 in closing costs, for closing July 8th and the tenants moved out by July 15th. They accepted with only minor revisions (the realtor asked for home and gasline warranties to be purchased, but they already have them.) The house has students in it and is owned by one of the students' parents, so they are flexible on the whole tenants-rights issues, although we have always given 24 hour notice and are giving 30 days notice for them to move out, plus allowing a week after closing (in case it doesn't happen.)

Boyfriend is understandably pissed. I would not be surprised if he wants to vote with his feet and we go to someone else.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Long time no see! An update

Here's an update on my life, for the curious. I decided I missed the pfblog community so I'm going to try to keep up on Penny Foolish.

Job: Between jobs currently. Left my previous job in March as it was not much fun anymore and I was not happy. Boyfriend is no longer a student and has a FT job. So it works out financially (at least someone is paying the rent, that much I am sure of.) On the upside, this means I have had some time to work on a new business, which is still far from complete - mostly because it costs a pretty penny to get custom PHP programming done, and I don't want to spend much until I get another job. (Funnily, if Boyfriend hadn't gotten a full time job, he might have done it on the cheap.) However, since I left, I was able to roll over my 403b into an IRA, so I may convert some of that to Roth if my taxes are going to be quite low this year, so that's sadly convenient. I am anxiously waiting to hear right now, actually, whether I got a job at a place I interviewed on Tuesday, which I really really liked and they seem quite sane. I happened to have interviewed there a year and a half ago, and they did not hire me because I didn't have experience in their specific medical field. Lo and behold, that field is where I got my next job, so I'm well qualified. It's mostly a matter of me (Ms Personality) vs someone else (Ms Way More Years of Experience) but it's definitely making it a tough choice for them so I feel good about that. Also, when I did the initial phone interview and mentioned that I'd interviewed there before, the head doc commented, "We should have just hired you then!" So fingers crossed on that one.

Life: Spending a lot of time with the dog, Maggie (acquired in January 2008) and the guinea pigs (both of which have now cost me an additional $1k or so since they both got uterine cancer and one of them appears to have an abdominal mass. Fun times.) The cat is perfectly healthy as always and is enjoying his new five-foot-tall cat tree which I got for a steal at a neighborhood-wide yard sale. ($25, and you know it's a good deal when 3 other people try to buy it in the 15 minutes while you are going to fetch your car.) Still working on CashDuck, and have recently opened CashDuck Global for the UK, Canada, and Australia. Working piecemeal on the new business. I had a temp job for a while grading the Ohio Graduation Test short answer essays, and as every generation has thought about the next, we are in trouble if this is the future of our country. :) I am cooking up a few other business ideas as well. I had planned on trying to get into business school to get an MBA, but basically if I don't work for the university, it'll cost buckets. So at this point, I figure I don't need an MBA to be a mogul, Andrew Carnegie didn't have one! Perhaps if it takes off and I need help, I will recruit from among my loyal readers like I did for CashDuck. :)

Home: Still living in a rental, although Boyfriend has put in and had accepted an offer on a real house, that we will hopefully move into by the end of July. Due to the inconveniently timed job loss, this was just the way it worked out best. We were also a little nervous (although willing) about being on the mortgage and title together if we weren't married - very messy if we parted ways. I am excited about finally owning something though, because now we can actually fix things when they go wrong, instead of having our landlord's maintenance men half-fix it and then cause a housefly infestation. (In the bathroom.) The house is quite reasonably priced and is right on the border of where the taxes double, so we get a nice neighborhood with low taxes. Although we might have been able to qualify for more, especially if I were working or did stated-income with the CashDuck income, I feel a lot more comfortable with a mortgage/taxes/insurance payment that is about or a little less than our current rent payment. Plus, there are several remodeling projects that we are planning that should significantly raise the value of the home, and its value as a rental if we choose to go that way in the future. Boyfriend also seems to have caught the homeowning bug and is anxiously awaiting being able to finish the basement and put his office in it.

Finances: And now the part you've all been waiting for. Since my quitting coincided nicely with Boyfriend's full time job, we haven't had too much trouble in the cash flow department. Unfortunately I got into some debt from when Boyfriend was unemployed for three months (he didn't make a lot, but it did help) and mostly from taxes (self-employment income is a crap ton of money, and I have essentially paid for the economic stimulus checks of Everyone I Know.) But my retirement kitty has been untouched since we had some savings and I chose to do some balance transfers rather than dip into it. I will need to take out a little, since I am providing the downpayment for the house, but that's 3% of a not very expensive house so it won't be too much. But since I am not on the mortgage, it doesn't much matter how much debt I am in, and while I'm in more than I'd like, it's all on balance transfers at 4-5% interest, or on the 0% for 1 year card I got before quitting, so I'm not overly concerned about how much interest I'm accumulating. Cross fingers that I get this new job - with both of us having full time jobs, that would literally be like rolling in money. Does it mean I'm still a finance blogger at heart if the first thing I think of is, we could save so much money!!