By BoLOBOOLNE payday loans

2009: A Year of Commitments

As the year wraps up, I'd like to share some of the major events that have happened in my life recently.  Many of my readers will be well aware of these events, but I recognize that personal news travels through a variety of channels, and all of those channels are unreliable.  (I'll save the diatribe on why Facebook is a horrible way to keep up with friends for another day.)  For readers who are looking for insightful analysis of technology, my apologies.  Note the "ego" tag.  This is a personal update but does contain a little insight into real-estate finance.

December is often a time of reflection, with good reason.  It's a natural opportunity to consider how things are progressing on a longer time-scale than we often do.  For me, 2009 was a year of making long-term commitments.  I made two huge ones, and I'm extremely happy with both of them.  The process of making these commitments kept me quite busy for almost the entire year.

Most significantly, I married the most amazing woman I know.  Maegan Ashworth and I permanently committed ourselves to each other on September 19th.  Our promises to each other were conversational, humorous, long-winded, personal and deadly serious.  We made them in the most public way we could manage, and were still sad to miss the company of many important people in our lives.  I could fill a book with everything I love about Maegan, but that's even more self-indulgent than I'm willing to be right now.  Suffice to say I am confident this will turn out to be one of the most important positive changes in my life ever.

The real planning for our wedding was compressed into just a couple months because it was difficult to focus on the ceremony while the other major event of the year was uncertain.  But in July we moved into a new house, ending 8 months of ambiguity about where we'd call home.  The process started in November 2008 when we first became interested in the house.  (Just before Maegan and I left for our bicycle tour across Vietnam, where we got engaged.)  It took months to reach agreement with the sellers and then months more to finish the process.  

I went in with a group of friends to buy the house together.  For years we had dreamed of living together in something like an "urban kibbutz".  I've liked that phrase ever since I read it applied to Barack & Michelle's early domestic life.  But for a more complete description of our situation, see our co-habitation blog.  (currently unpublished.  sorry.)

Getting a mortgage was particularly complicated.  The global financial crisis obviously did not help, but our situation was especially difficult.  Living comfortably with lots of good friends requires a big house, which means an expensive house.  In real-estate, expensive is also referred to as "jumbo" meaning that it's too much for any kind of government guarantee.  So banks would either need to make a long-term commitment to us themselves (a so-called "portfolio loan") or re-sell the mortgage to another bank on the secondary market.  We learned that the secondary market was "frozen" to use the popular vernacular, probably at about the same time as one particular bank which had all but committed to giving us a loan.  Another complication was that we needed 3 unrelated applicants to demonstrate our collective ability to pay back the debt, which was unusual enough to make many mid-crisis banks feel extra skittish.  I spent a large part of 2009 working on different aspects of how to finance this house.

Happily the stars aligned one evening when I was walking over to the house of my then-future, now-current roommates.  It was quite common for me at the time to walk those several blocks to sign yet another thick stack of papers to give to some agent or broker or other helpful professional.  Along the way I noticed a four-leafed clover in the grass, and picked it up.  In grade school I spent a surprisingly large amount of my recesses scanning the lawn for these botanical mutants, and once had quite an eye for finding them.  So it wasn't an unusual or significant event for me, but it had been years since I'd found one.  We taped the clover onto the application-du-jour which was going to a small local bank, in an act that signified frustration, exhaustion and powerlessness more than hope.  This bank ended up financing our house.

So that took up most of my year.  Trying to buy a house for about the first half, with moving and settling.  Then a wedding followed by a fabulous honeymoon.

  1. tonx says:

    congrats on a year of good fortune and adventure. may the next one continue it…

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