Monday, January 7, 2013

Project No Control

Over the past couple of years, Chuck and I have spent many hours
 discussing our future plans now that our third child is almost out of college.








 Pour another glass of wine.

Many of these discussions take place in the back corner of our tiny backyard after a couple of glasses of wine.  Chuck always brings up living in the country.  I retort with Big City because I can't imagine what we would do as a couple if we didn't have restaurants on every corner.
 Not to mention he already has a very long commute but wants to work
 another 5 plus least. 
And really, the country sounds fun but high maintenance.
  Some days, all I really want is a one bedroom apartment.

Because of my passion for change and design, I would love to build a house....
but on the other hand, I'm not getting any younger and come home pretty tired
 in the evenings and Chuck has that long commute and we can't decided where
 that building would take place. 
So we usually just drop the subject for another month or so. 
All the while, time is going by and
we have our "dreamy" conversations that lead nowhere.

In the meantime, we decided we would update our master bathroom knowing that it needed to be updated for resale but we would enjoy the project and benefit from the results.  We have only owned 2 houses in our marriage but this is the only house where we actually have some equity.  Our first house was purchased for $105,000 in 1983, with an interest rate of 13 7/8.  (yep)  Years later we were able to refinance (years of waiting for the appraisal value to come up) but not before we had already paid way too much for that house.  Fifteen years later, we sold it for $108,000.  Do the math....we sunk millions in to that deal. 

Last summer, we filled out the application for a refinance on this house with the intention of taking some cash out of our equity to remodel the master bath.  Interest rates were low, we have equity and we could refinance, take out some cash and end up lowering our mortgage payment.  Win/win.  I tell you all of this, because it was our entrance in to REFINANCE hell and I feel like you should be warned. 

Timeline went something like this:

  • First of JULY - Send in application fees with all the paperwork to bank.  Get assigned our very own Loan Officer.  Easy enough.

  • 1 week later, our very own L.O. calls and says he got our paperwork and the ball is rolling....we are looking at closing in about 30 to 60 days.  Wow!  We better get going on that bathroom design.

  • We start looking at tile, light fixtures, etc.  because we think this thing could happen in September.  Working and shopping and getting bids.

  • END OF JULY, L.O. calls and tells us he needs one more thing signed so will fax it to us and then we can FedEx it back.  Ball is rolling.

  • We call to verify he received our signed paper and there is bad news.  L.O.'s son has been in a very bad accident.  Wow.  So sorry.  But, uh, how about that loan?  No, really I had so much compassion for the guy but he didn't act like it was that big of a deal....just told Chuck on the phone as a reason for him not returning our call.

  • Middle of AUGUST....another 2 weeks have gone by.  We are out looking at things, making decisions.  Having people come by to get bids.  No word from L.O.

  • We call weekly, L.O. doesn't call back. 

  • END OF AUGUST, we call and get a new bank employee on the phone, who explains that our loan is in process.  We're approved...they just have so many loans in process in may take a little longer.

  • SEPTEMBER.  No word from bank. Chuck is calling daily to the 2 phone numbers he has been given.  No one is returning calls.  It is apparent this loan isn't closing anytime we start calling plumbers, electricians and such to delay the project as we had estimated the last week of September would be the start date for the remodel. haha.

  • END OF SEPTEMBER, a new L.O. tells us that our first very own L.O. quit and apparently dropped the ball.  So we are basically starting all over on the process. Count it....July, August, September =  90 DAYS wasted.   They need a few more things signed by us.  First L.O. said he had everything he needed but new L.O. says no, no, we need much more paperwork signed.  They will fax and we will FedEx back to them. 

  • At this point, every response we get is " a week to 10 days."  We call on Monday, they say we should know something about closing in a week to ten days. 
  •  But then a week to 10 days goes phone calls from anyone that works at the bank.

  • Every Monday we call and leave messages and play phone tag....and several weeks later.... OCTOBER happens but no loan.
  • It is about the last week of OCTOBER, when I finally take over the phone calling from Nice Guy Chuck.  Up until now it has mostly been Nice Guy Chuck calling because I felt like nice was the way to go.  But nice wasn't working.   I call and leave tons of messages and am very disgruntled.  Some would call it very B*tchy. 
  • First week in NOVEMBER we are told our loan is finally going to close.  But, of course, there is a major Bank Holiday for Veteran's Day and oh, they forgot to tell us that there is a mandatory 3 full days between loan closing and "cash out" being funded. The cash was important because we had a huge list of items (light fixtures, faucets, tub, etc.) waiting to be ordered before job could start. 

  • Fast forward to the MIDDLE OF NOVEMBER.  We finally close on our loan. Three days later, we get our "cash out" funded and begin ordering light fixtures, plumbing fixtures and put a deposit down for the tile.

  • END OF NOVEMBER we have closed and ordered everything but the holidays are here so there will be no remodeling going on as I work retail and we have kids coming in for Christmas and need every bathroom available.  

 Just ridiculous.
 World ending? 
Worst thing ever? 
 Absolutely not. 
But in control?

So my warning to you is, if you think you are going to refinance in 30 to 60 days, don't count on it.  It happens.  I've heard it happens.  But it didn't happen that way with us and we spent and wasted a lot of time gearing toward that 30 to 60 day schedule. There were times during this four month period that I realized I could have bought crack cocaine or a handgun easier than getting a new loan on a house we had equity in with an excellent credit rating.

 Is it any wonder that being a rule following, tax paying citizen seems stupid sometimes?
I will be a rule following, tax paying citizen my whole life...just saying there are times I understand the rule breaker's mentality.


Here we are today, and the job is supposed to start today. 
 It is almost noon....but the workers are on their way.

They say.

I am calling this Project No Control. 

Today is Demo Day.
  A few before that when I am in the middle of this big mess,
I can remember why we did this. 

The main thing I want out of this remodel is a bench in the shower. 
I now have a 3/4 inch ledge in the shower that I balance my toe on when I shave my legs. 
Mostly, I just don't shave my legs.  (Are you still reading this post?)

We are getting a smaller tub with a marble slab surround...and moving the shower door to the right so we can encompass the end of the slab in to the shower for a bench. 

 This cabinet is being restructured...the top half will be
open shelving and the lower door will become 2 drawers.

 Demo actually began in October when my frustration level was at an all time high.
Three layers of wallpaper and some sheetrock were subject to my wrath. 

This is a reminder of a very bad leak and
an even worse repair job in the ceiling. 
As I wash my hair in the shower and look up...this is what I see.
 Hopefully, this will be gone in a few weeks. 

White tile.  I hate you.  Bye bye.
  I have used every product known to get the crud
out of this shower but nothing works. 
 This shower is clean but you would never know it.
Guh ross. 

So, after 6 months, it's finally happening. 

Project No Control.

Did I make any New Year's Resolutions? 
Only to remain in the moment and be patient.

I know I have no control over anything else. 


  1. Holeee crap. What is it about us??? The wallpaper in your bathroom is the same as in our breakfast nook and kitchen!!! And remember, the curtains you put up in your kitchen remake are the same ones in my family room? We are not only sisters in friendship but certainly soul sisters in decorating!!!! Sorry for all your trouble. Next time get Paul to do it, we've done it a couple of times and he calls several times a day. Both of our loan officers quit after we were finished...just sayin'...we got our money though.

  2. Good luck! It's worth it though. We remodeled our bathrooms a few years before we sold..........that way we got to enjoy them!!! And we thought about moving to the country, too...... why do that at our age? The country requires maintenance.... my yard guy won't travel that far!