Signing Off

I came into the office today to write my last post, and I’m not even kidding, one of my co-workers thought I’d been fired.

“Why’d they want to take you down?” she asked.

“Huh? Uh, no…this was actually my decision,” I said. But then it totally sounded like I had been fired but was trying to claim that I really wasn’t. I’m pretty sure she still thinks they canned me.

Here’s the thing, y’all…

Three and a half years ago I walked into my Boss James’ office and said, “I want to put a personal face on your business. And besides, nobody is going to read anything you write because it’ll be super boring. So could I have fifty bucks to start a blog? I want to call it Just the Assistant.” I also told him I wanted to teach people about mortgages in a way that anyone could understand.

And he gave me the fifty bucks.

After a while, I transitioned from being Just the Assistant, to being Just the Office Blogger, meaning that I no longer had to pretend to know how to work the copy machine and could focus solely on writing about my co-workers. (Full story here in case you’re in prison and they won’t let you go into the yard pen today and you’re going to lose it if you don’t find something to occupy your time.)

And while this blog never went viral, and I never made it onto the Ellen Show, and I’m pretty sure that my Boss questions his judgment anytime he sees me typing away on yet another aimless tangent, I think I’ve accomplished my original goals.

And so, dear readers, I have decided that it’s time for me to wrap this up…

Where I’m going from here…

While I will really miss hanging out in this office every week, I have some new writing projects on the horizon, and hopefully they will all place me one step closer to extreme famousness. While I’ve been a blogger for one particular branch of Envoy Mortgage for the past few years, Envoy has now agreed to hire me as their company blogger! The new blog will consist mostly of funny interviews (I mean, I hope they’re funny) with the people who keep the company moving along at the corporate office, much like this one. We are still ironing out the details (they have to write this huge contract because they say I’m likely to get them sued), but we hope to have the new blog up and running in the next few weeks.

As soon as I know the web address where I’ll be posting for Envoy, I will get the word out via Facebook (be my friend!), my personal blog (read it here and please subscribe!) and a link on this site instructing readers on how to follow my journey. Until then, I’m going to write some words for some other folks and keep chugging away at what I hope will become a book one day. (In the event that you are a powerful book agent or just a regular person who happens to be sleeping with a powerful book agent, please hook a sister up.)

So thank you all for following my silly mortgage blog. The fact that anyone would read my ramblings is humbling (Don’t laugh. Sometimes I feel humble. Well, like once I did.), and I could not have kept this gig if I had no readers. You have made my dream job possible.

Thank you. Thank you so much.

A final note to my ole Boss James Beaver:

Dear ole Boss,

Thank you for hiring me six years ago and teaching me all about the fascinating world of mortgages and how to properly order your lunch. And thank you for only laughing mildly when I didn’t know how to use the hole punch. Thank you for letting me start a blog in which the primary purpose was to constantly make fun of you on the Internet. And thanks for letting me continue writing it even when it didn’t bring flocks of borrowers like I told you it would.

Thank you for being kind, and being funny, and always trying to build people up. And thanks for not firing me when you realized I was afraid of talking on the phone. (Come to think of it, you should probably think through your decisions a little more thoroughly in the future.)

Thanks for agreeing to take me and the team out for pizza to send me off. If you wanted to throw in an Anthropologie gift card for like, a thousand dollars, that’d be cool too.

I cannot leave without mentioning that you’re still clearing your throat every nine seconds and you’ve been doing this for the entire six years we’ve worked together. Dude, take a sip of water. And for the record, I am fairly certain you’re allergic to cheese.

Lastly, thank you for always being in my corner.


Just the Assistant

It’s Not You; It’s me

Has anyone ever sunk into a depression over a blog? And if so, are there support groups for this?

Dear readers (oh my gosh – even writing your name is making me wince and place my hand over my heart and let forth a sort of groaning sound like my dog does when I won’t play fetch with him),

I have really big, kind of sad, kind of happy, news to share, and I don’t know how to wrap it up into anything funny…

Sweet readers, within the next week or so, I will be writing my last Just the Assistant post. There, I will fill you in on all the details about why this is happening (thankfully, it was my decision and they didn’t can me after all), and let you know where you can keep reading my ever thought-provoking ramblings on the purpose of life, and how I don’t know how to work the copy machine, and the stories behind the people I meet, and my love for pizza and my fine cat Harold, and whether or not I will ever come in not-last place at my CrossFit gym, and the ins and outs of brushing my teeth beside an engineer every night.

So please bear with me while I attempt to put into words a long, sappy good-bye, along with the scoop about what I’ll be doing in the future. And while I work on that, you all have a happy Tuesday. Well, not too happy though, okay?

Now, off to write a really difficult good-bye…

The Dog Park

Someone in my neighborhood is leaving their dog’s poop in the “dog park” (we’ll discuss this later) and when I find out who it is I’m going to sue their pants off. And then I’m going to smear their pants that I’ve just sued off in the dog poop so that they can’t put them back on. And they’re gonna be sorry, I tell you.

Poop Park Diagram Edited

I’ve tried enlisting help from my responsible neighbors, attempting to coax them into jumping the poop offenders. “Come on. If we all jump them at once and each get in one good jab, it ought to work. Now, who all owns a ski mask?”

So far, however, the only tactic we’ve actually implemented is gossiping about the poopers. We stand in the dog park and kind of toss our heads in the direction of the houses of the suspects and mumble, “You know who it is, right? It’s mmbdmmrr…”

Speaking of houses, I am working from home today and not in our generally poo-free office. Some of you have kindly asked me, “How’s the new house?” The house is great. Part of it (my bedroom) is being painted today (hence working from home) by two nice men named Hector and Francisco…and me!


Just kidding. I made Hector take my picture.

Back to that “dog park”. One reason we chose the particular house we bought was because of the promised “dog park” that would reside “right outside your door!” (Handy when you don’t have a yard but do have a large dog that tends to enjoy a good poo three times a day.)

We laughed as we signed the contract (financing by James Beaver, by the way!), daydreaming of our new house and of the dog park. We saw ourselves tossing the tennis ball to our frolicking labradoodle while chatting with future neighbors.

But as our house was being built, we noticed more and more contraptions being added to the promised dog park area. Large, gray boxes and pipes and wires and latches. “Are those going to stay there?” I asked my husband as we took pictures of the continuing construction. “Maybe they’ll move some of them before we close,” he offered.

But instead of moving them, they added more, and even threw in a few pieces catawampus just for fun. Today, I’d call the area more of a “gray box park”. Dogs still poop in it and sometimes pee on the contraptions, but that’s about it, besides the ambush talks.

Before I go, a heads up to those of you who actually read my silly posts all the way down to the bottom (bless your hearts). I have a meeting with my Boss James tomorrow to discuss this blog, and me, and world problems, and maybe what James had for lunch (I always hound him if he eats a lot of cheese at meals). So if you are so inclined, please come back later this week to find out what we unearth…

Okay folks, you all have a happy Wednesday and go buy some houses, and I’m off to purchase a ski mask.

Less Than Ideal

I said this on my personal blog, so forgive the duplication if you read it there already, but I conditioned my hair with coconut oil yesterday and it looks like I’m wearing Soul Glo.

(Note: on my other blog, I referenced using coconut oil as hair gel. This is true. I used the coconut oil as hair gel last week. And after that disaster I was like, “No more coconut oil hair gel for THIS girl! I’m only going to use it as conditioner!” Turns out, that provides identical results: Soul Glo hair.)

My Boss James saw my hair and was like, “What was the coconut oil supposed to do?”

“I don’t know! I guess make it look like I’m wearing Soul Glo,” I responded, throwing my hands in the air.

“Um, have you thought about washing it?” Online Dater Jason asked.

“I already did,” I said, frowning.

And that’s when they burst into laughter. “You’ve already washed? Har har!”

Don’t they have loans to work on or something?

It reminds me of the time in fifth grade when my mom thought I’d look cute with short hair. Like, boy short hair. The next day, my best friend took one look at me in the hallway and put her hand over her mouth. The rest of fifth grade went down hill from there.

Speaking of less than ideal circumstances, you want to know why I couldn’t pull into the parking garage here at the office today?

Because an ambulance was blocking me! And they were putting a guy in the back on a stretcher!

I only managed to get a picture of the fire truck though. After that, a paramedic directed traffic so that I could drive up the exit ramp of the garage, which felt kind of exciting and dangerous. (I don’t do dangerous stuff much.)


Once parked, I wanted a closer picture, but I realized it would appear I was trying to photograph the guy on the stretcher, and since I wasn’t in the mood for pedestrians to stone me in front of our office, I kept walking.

Speaking of being stoned…

Kidding! None of us are stoned today. But speaking of injured mammals, I bought a cowhide rug. I confirmed with the seller that the cow was going to die anyway and didn’t die just to become my rug. (Though I do find myself petting the rug with my foot and telling the cow he was a good boy in efforts to make up with him.)

Good boys. Both of you.

My two good boys.

I actually bought two, so now it’s like I have a herd in my bedroom.

Okay folks, I’m out of here. I’m taking a horrible CrossFit class tonight and the workout involves slamming our torsos against a pull-up bar and I need to go psych myself up for the abuse. I suppose I deserve it though, considering I walk on a cow every morning.

And yes, this is still a mortgage blog.

Happy weekend, readers!

The Hoods

Part 1.

I’m wearing a Prince (or wait, did he go back to The Artist Formerly Known As?) shirt and toboggan in the office today…

Here’s the thing.

I watched a YouTube video read a Wall Street Journal article last week that claimed the old way of thinking about how to dress at work was to dress nicer than your job calls for. But that was back when it meant you were kind of a big deal if you worked in an office, and hence, kind of a big deal if you had to dress up to go to work. But these days, almost everyone works in an office. So dressing professionally doesn’t set you apart anymore. Besides, you know who the really powerful folks are these days? Billionaire tech guys!

And you know what they wear?

Ski caps and The Artist Formerly Known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince shirts.


(Actually, the video article said hoodies and the like, but I thought a ski cap and Prince shirt would provide the same effect.) So now everybody thinks I’m all powerful and rich and all my co-workers are like, “Oh my gosh can I borrow seven mil?” and I’m like, “Pfsh, I guess so.”

(The previous sentence has not been confirmed by the management.)

Part 2.

Speaking of keepin’ it real, my Boss James is headed to a homeless shelter on Friday to sort and prep donations.

I’d like to pause so that we can all think about how awesome this is.

By the way, you’re invited. It’s this Friday, March 7th from 9:00 – 11:00 AM at Star of Hope. James is going to start volunteering there once a month, and if you’d like to join, let me know and I’ll send you more deets.

James thought the volunteering would be better than throwing happy hours every week and doing tequila shots with his business relationships (though admittedly, the latter method can be fun). But the volunteering thing makes the world a better place, and feeds the hungry, and clothes the needy, so, there’s that.

Save the Earth Rating 0

Save the Earth Rating 1 million

Part 3.

Everyone in my neighborhood received letters in the mail yesterday from the EPA telling us that the building across the street is going to give us all a rare disease. Something about asbestos and airborne sicknesses. My husband read the letter aloud to me as I shouted, “Does this mean we have cancer?! This is JUST like Erin Brockovich! We need Erin Brockovich!”

He tried to calm me down, but I’m convinced we’re prepped to die in our big new house.

But until that happens, I’ll be dressing for success and filling you all in on any other uneventful happenings in this office.

Happy Tuesday, folks!

Secret Shoppers – They’re Everywhere!

Y’all, I’ve got some inside scoop…

On tires.

Here’s the thing. I’m sitting in the waiting area (which bites, by the way and has no women’s magazines) of Discount Tire right now on the corner of TC Jester and 18th, and guess what I just overheard. Are you ready?

Discount Tire

Secret shoppers are coming.

Discount Tire Manager (to cashier): Hey, what did Gary want when he called?

Guy at Cashier (trying to speak softly but guys who work at Discount Tire don’t know how to speak softly): He said that the secret shoppers are coming. That means we’ve got to exercise every single avenue, or else someone is losing their job.

Discount Tire Manager: Okay.

So that’s it. That’s why I think if you need tires you should come to this place. These guys are going to be running a tight ship over the next few days. (Come to think of it, I don’t really know what “exercise every single avenue” means, but I guess it could mean that they’re going to try to up sell everyone this week, and in that case maybe you should go to the Firestone down the road.)

Okay, this place is crazy. (I’ve been here an hour at this point.) I just heard one side of a phone call from an angry customer.

Guy at Cashier: Discount Tire.

Caller (saying something I can’t hear): Blah blah BLAH!

Guy at Cashier: Uh, you say they were racist?

Caller (again, I can’t hear): Bleh bloop bloopy!

Guy at Cashier: Okay well I can look that up for you. Got it. But you say he was racist? Because the guy who sold you these was Mexican, so…

(At this point I audibly laughed and had to put my hand over my mouth.)

Caller (obviously bananas): Bleddy blahdy!

Guy at Cashier: I mean, that was just one store. We’ve got (says high number that I forgot) stores across the country. You can’t assume every Discount Tire is like that.

Caller (still thinking the Cashier is racist): Bop bop.

Guy at Cashier: I apologize for this happening to you, but they charged you the correct price. That’s how much those cost. Mm hmm. Okay. Bye.

Y’all, I’m so glad I don’t work at Discount Tire.

I was once offered a job as a secret shopper though. The lady wanted me to walk into banks in creepy parts of Houston and ask about opening a checking account. However, I turned it down since, considering all the driving, I’d be making like three dollars an hour, plus I’m afraid of the ghetto, so…

Okay guys, I’m back in the office, and speaking of secret shoppers…

Online Dater Mortgage Banker Jason just asked me how my weekend was. “Oh, it was good. We did a marriage retreat.”

“Oh yeah?” Jason asked.

“Yeah, we’re kind of in training to begin leading the retreats…” I replied. Then Jason wanted to know all the material we cover.

“Oh, like communication, boundaries, stuff like that.”

“That’s great stuff. Think I could tag along on one of the retreats? ‘Everyone, this is Jason. He hopes to be married in twelve to eighteen months.’ It’ll be like I’m auditing it.”

Jason Listening

“Ha! That’s perfect. ‘Okay couples, Jason will be tagging along on your breakout sessions. He won’t be a distraction at all. Just ignore him while you brainstorm ways to improve your conflict resolution.'”

Okay y’all, I know I’m all over the place today, but being at the tire store totally threw off my day. (‘Tis a sheltered life I live, readers.) With that, you all have a happy Tuesday, and I’m headed home in my new tires.

Shaun is Still Talking…

The rest of my interview with the Hippie… (Read parts 1 and 2 here and here.)

Is Your Refrigerator Running?

The rest of my interview with Envoy Mortgage’s very own Hippie, Shaun Brennan…

Just the Assistant (rubbing arms of chair I’m sitting in): Okay Shaun, we’ve covered a lot here, but now it’s time I ask you, where did you get these chairs?

Hippie Shaun (nodding): I took them from another office.

JTA: These are stolen chairs!

Shaun: Nope. The person didn’t work here anymore. Hey, did I tell you I play basketball?

JTA (turning from looking at the chair to looking at this guy like he’s bananas): What? When? When do you play basketball?

Shaun: Tuesdays and Thursdays. Pickup games.

JTA: Did you just say pickup games? What are we in Chicago in the seventies? Where do you play pickup games?

Shaun: The YMCA.

JTA: Dude, you could not get any odder. It’s official.

Shaun (nodding): Did I tell you I’m also very political?

JTA: NO. Shaun, you have to stop. Listen, let me get back to my questions because I only asked how you’re doing and so far you’ve told me about nineteen different aspects of your life and I have an agenda here. Now, how is business?

Shaun: Busy.

JTA: Since you won’t market yourself to your hippie friends, how do you market?

Shaun: My style is, look, I do a good job, I know what I’m doing, I care about people, and I’ll treat everyone as I would want to be treated. Then I just like to sit down with people and find a connection with them.

JTA: Ha! Like, “Hey do you like tambourine music?”

Shaun (liking me less by the second): I usually just start with asking where people are from and going from there. I know people think I’m the Willy Wonka of mortgages, but I’m being genuine. I’m actually doing some work for a clown right now.

JTA: You are NOT doing work for a clown.

Shaun (reaching into his pocket): I am! Look, here’s his business card. Get a picture!

JTA: Are you having to document clown income?

Shaun: Nah, the clowning is volunteer work. Name’s Bam Bam.

Shaun's Clown

Yep, it’s a clown alright.

JTA: This is amazing. Hey, do you ever get in trouble?

Shaun: Well, I really like to prank call people. I call my mom all the time and pretend I’m the SPCA and going to come euthanize her pets.

JTA (mouth agape in horror): You are horrible! You realize I’m trying to bring you business here, right?

Shaun (head thrown back, laughing): Tell her my name’s Mark Bark. She falls for it every time! Ha ha ha!

JTA (shaking head): Has your mother disowned you yet?

Shaun (still laughing): I’ve been doing it for a year and she still doesn’t know it’s me. My brother does it too.

JTA (hands over face): Who else do you prank?

Shaun (cackling): I got my stepdad THREE times in one day a few weeks ago! He still doesn’t know it was me!

JTA: Hope your stepdad doesn’t read blogs.

Shaun (maniacally laughing): If you make your name rhyme, they get more fixated on that than who it really is. That’s why I’m always Mark…(laughing so hard he’s having trouble finishing the sentence) Mark Bark!

JTA: Okay Mark Bark, because you have been gracious enough to stop doing lame mortgage stuff and prank calls and pickup games in order to chat with me, I’m going to help you out. I am going to help you promote your tambourine player. What’s his name again?

Shaun (straightening up): Craig Kinsey.

JTA: And how do people buy the album?

Shaun: iTunes and music stores.

JTA: Now when you go platinum you better call me, right? To thank me, not prank call me.

Shaun (smiling): Peace.

Okay y’all, I can’t even top this with a clever ending; I’m too flabbergasted. (But, in the event that you would like to prank call Hippie Shawn, please dial 713.403.6637.)