Monday, December 20, 2004

Here We Go Again...

It's just another day on the roller-coaster I like to call "How Home-Buying Can Be Your Own Personal Hell." We stepped away from the "gee, I'm sure we can build a house with our bare hands" camp for a few minutes, and, given my two fab new freelance jobs, decided that we could possibly afford to buy an actual, real, already built house. Maybe even a nice, real, already built house. It didn't take long to identify the perfect house. The one where, when you step out of the car with the realtor, you hear angel voices singing and the sun shineth upon you, etc. For us, the perfect house is only five miles down the road from our farm. So far, so good.

The first lesson in harsh reality hit when we approached the bank for a loan. Get this: before, I was working as assistant editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, making not much over minimum wage, part-time, hardly covering fuel, daycare and the required Thursday night cocktail with the office mates (oh, come on, you *know* that counts as a legitimate work expense). Now, I have two really good freelance jobs and one OK freelance job, plus that pesky custom quilting business that I started from the ground up, and I'm making, well, a lot more these days. In fact, I'm pretty much doubling our income. The bank should like this, right? Umm, no. See, I'm now self-employed, and the crappy thing about achieving that part of the American dream is that the bank HATES self-employed. Especially newly self-employed. Hey, thanks for letting me know!

So after our first discussion with the bank we learn that, thanks to my income not counting AT ALL, we can barely afford the tiniest mobile home on a weed-infested half-lot. Since that actually wouldn't be a step up from where we live now (I know, that's really hard to believe, a place worse than this!), we declined to work with said bank.

Now I think we have a new bank lined up, one that is actually willing to work with us on a loan, so we may be making an offer on this place soon. Wish me luck, because after all that we've been through on this house madness, we really need a break. If anyone reading this happens to be an incredibly wealthy benefactor looking for a charitable cause, I am that cause! I'll even take a pic of my daughter looking sad in front of the shack of impossibly small proportions, just to show you how cramped we are. But hey, at least the hole in the floor is fixed now, so you can't hop into the crawl space from the foyer....

The new house, on the other hand, has no gaping holes anywhere, has about 6 times the amount of space we currently take up, and is on 7 acres with a lake and a gorgeous view. Please stars, align for me this week! I'd like nothing better than to get a call on Christmas Eve (while, incidentally, I'll be relaxing on a Florida beach, thanks to my parents choosing a warm retirement spot), saying that we will finally become homeowners. It's been a long road. Let's hope this is the end of the line!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Festive Holiday Cellulite!

So I was signing up for a coupon site the other day, in hopes of finding some formula coupons. No, I'm not pregnant, and my three-year-old isn't going to start drinking formula now. Let's just call it a work experiment. This coupon site had some really bizarre questions on it, and they had to be answered before you could see any actual coupons. The first thing that struck me as odd about this site was that, no matter how many times I clicked that I wanted coupons and deals for baby products, it kept giving me links for Hormel meat products. Does anyone else see the connection? Am I missing something here?

However, the Hormel thing wasn't the weirdest. I'm reading along, answering bizarre question after bizarre question, until I get to THE question. The one that takes the cake. The one that made me pause to wonder whether this particular survey writing company has any proofreaders, or whether the proofreaders are smoking crack. Read along with me. Let me know if I'm the only one who thinks this is the weirdest freaking question ever.

As the holidays approach, which of the following worries you the most:
a) eating healthy
b) credit card debt
c) removing unpleasant cellulite

Huh? Are there really that many people who take time as holidays approach to dwell on cellulite? First, why the holiday connection? If one were terribly concerned about cellulite, wouldn't it be a year-round thing? Is there some strange obsessive disorder that causes holiday cellulite panic? All I want for Christmas is some anti-cellulite cream? Jingle Bells No More Jiggle Lotion? Festive Hannukah Anti-Cellulite Eight-Night Gift Set? (Guys, if you're reading this, let it be said right now that actually buying anti-cellulite cream for your sweetie at any time would be a very bad, even horrendous, idea and I'm definitely not advocating the practice. So don't blame me if you try it and end up with an anti-cellulite-cream-bottle-shaped indention in your head.)

Second, unless you live in a tropical clime, which I do not, as the holidays approach, your cellulite is happily ensconced in a triple layer of winter warm clothing. No one can even see it under your corduroys! And I suppose if they can you probably need more than a discount coupon site cream to handle the job. I'm still not sure what the link is between the holiday season and removing unpleasant cellulite, but I'm guessing that, if this coupon company has its say, it will somehow involve Hormel meat products.

Happy holidays, folks. And please, don't spend your holiday season worrying about your unpleasant cellulite.