Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Random Thoughts for Today

You know how everyone has advice and ideas on how to reduce CO2 emissions and our impact on the planet? One I’ve seen is to use public transportation or walk or ride your bike to work instead of driving, and telecommute whenever possible and use webconferencing services (they work great!). Well, this only applies if you are not the military. My boss had to fly across the country for a 1 hour meeting with the military. Two days of travel, 1 hour meeting. I guess since the information is sensitive, they don’t want to say anything over the phone of web. Whatever.

Braille maps for the blind exist. Finally! When I first heard this story I was surprised to find out that Braille maps did not already exist. If they have books, why not have maps or some sort of guide to help them navigate streets in their city? I love looking at maps and figuring out the most efficient or alternate routes. I think this is a neat invention.

I don’t think people who got caught up in the subprime fallout should get bailed out. We were looking at buying a house at the peak of the real estate boom and were considering the adjustable rate mortgages and the 80/20 loans. But we decided not to. It just sounded insane to have 80% of our netted income go towards a house that we were in a sense paying rent for (you don’t totally own it until the loan is paid off). Even 50% of our netted income feels high. What about emergencies like when our cat got blocked and we ended up with a large vet bill? What about saving for rainy days or retirement? And what if one of us got laid off (it was a possibility at the beginning of this year)? Sure some people got duped and confused by loan sharks or real estate agents who just wanted to get a commission. Some people didn’t have time to read or didn’t understand the lengthy and confusing loan agreements. Well, that’s your responsibility. I’ll admit that I don’t always read the forms I sign when I go to the doctor’s office so I’ve probably committed my first born to them. But if I’m getting into a $750K, 30 year agreement, you better believe I’m reading every word of those papers I’m signing. And we would probably even get a lawyer to look over the documents for us, even if we had to pay them out of our own pocket. I understand if the banks want to work with their customers so that they don’t loose their houses and the bank doesn’t loose its money. But it should not be a federal bail out. Are they going to start bailing out the people who bought the luxury cars or the yacht or the expensive jewelry only to find out that they couldn’t afford them? It’s wrong.

I’m becoming more and more comfortable with the fact that we don’t yet own a house. We have a healthy savings account, a good start on our retirement fund, and our health. And as time goes on, we continue to save. Maybe if we ever get jobs elsewhere (we’re actively working on Albuquerque and Austin), then we’ll be able to afford a house there, cash. While I dream of having my own house, I will enjoy renting and not having to worry about repairs (our landlords are great). Plus, renting gives you the freedom to get up and move at a month’s notice.

So the months of February-May are super busy for us and I love it. My planner is full of activities like trips, guests visiting, dinners with people, and of course playing and coaching soccer. I’ve never had to refer to my palm pilot so much when making plans. Monday night I had a soccer game. Tuesday night we had dinner with someone form the internet (more later) and a get together for my outdoor coed team. The husband came along and thankfully he didn’t make a scene when I handed a check to commit to the next season. Friday night we are getting together for dinner with our Scottish ex-houseguest (the one who wasn’t drinking) and hopefully a “proper booze-up” (he has resumed drinking). Saturday we got to San Diego and Baja California for a few days. We’ll travel with my parents-in-law and brother-in-law (hopefully). We’ll meet up with my parents and brother (hopefully) in San Diego for dinner at my uncle’s Italian restaurant. Then we’ll head across the border to Baja California for wine tasting. I am not trying to make you jealous by describing all my activities but I’m just super excited to be a social butterfly for once.

We’ve actually met up with about 4 people we met on the internet through my husband’s website. Fortunately none of them turned out to be crazies. The first couple we met were loads of fun but then they moved to NY. Another couple we met because the husband ended up getting my husband a job at his company. We just met up with a guy yesterday (at a neutral place but the husband did start to give him directions to our house over the phone at which point I started signaling “No!”) for dinner and he was totally cool. He’s living in Pittsburgh right now and he brought us a souvenir – a terrible towel. Grrr! I think our meeting people on the internet karma is way up so the next person will probably be a stalker.

1 comment:

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