Woo

I’m on a conference call with my Mob Boss Ty and the rest of this huge new branch. At this point, everyone is wooing as Ty reads off a list of people who’ve done a ton of business this year. Apparently the wooers are sitting right beside the phone, because all I’m hearing is a muffled, “So-and-so mmff mmff mmff” and then what sounds like a group of injured parrots shrieking “WOOOO!” right into the speaker.

My first grade teacher, Ms. Griffin once showed the class how to cheer silently by slowly pumping our fists in the air and opening our mouths really wide. I’m going to ask Ty to pencil me in to give a quick tutorial at the beginning of next month’s meeting.

Conference Call Woo

Conference Call Silence

 

Speaking of silence, Straight-Shooter Shane just got back from taking a realtor to Barnaby’s for soup and salad. The silence occurred when Shane realized he had no money to pay for said soup and salad…

Straight-Shooter Shane Denied

Here’s the thing. Straight-Shooter Shane made the mistake of shopping at Target over the holidays and because of this decision had his identity stolen by Target thieves. Since then, Shane’s bank has issued him a new debit card to replace the one the thieves stripped. But since Shane spends all of his time providing wonderful people like you with home loans, he never got around to activating the new card. And that’s why his old debit card was denied at the restaurant today.

After considering asking the realtor if she has any dishwashing experience, Shane rummaged through his wallet in hopes of finding a fifty dollar bill he somehow forgot about. This is what he found:

Shane's Wallet

After scanning the restaurant for any wealthy people he knew, Shane searched his wallet once last time…

And found this:

Shane's Card

A seven-year-old credit card that expires, like, tomorrow. Shane shakily handed it to the waiter and prayed.

Success! Shane was able to pay for lunch, and maybe his realtor doesn’t think he’s a hobo anymore.

Finally, I have a giveaway for you all, but it’s not a cool giveaway like other blogs have. This is a lame one.

Here’s the thing. My Boss James’ business coach (he still has that coach that screams at him) is making him mail out sappy “Letters from the Heart” to his friends, past clients, current clients and anybody James has ever met in his life who happens to own a mailbox. Because James is not much of a “Letter from the Heart” type of guy, he and I collaborated on his letter and came up with a “Letter from James’ Cold, Dark Heart”. If you would like us to mail you one of these letters (it’s basically an interview), email me your name and address and I’ll make sure you get one (mchristinaledbetter@gmail.com), or if you’re totally carefree, put your info in the comments section (I mean, Target has already stolen all our identities anyway). It’ll be like junk mail, but funny, so totally worth killing the rainforest. We’ll even spray it with James’ cologne (not really).

Okay, now you can go back to reading other blogs that give away cookbooks and flatirons and crap. Happy Tuesday!

Watchin’ You Like a Hawk

I have an announcement to make to all of the news organizations around the universe:

It is no longer news if some guy orders a snow-making machine and fills his south Georgia yard with snow for his kids.

Here’s the thing. Brandon Walsh rented a snow machine for Brenda and Dylan like 22 years ago on 90210.

Brandon's Snow Machine

So if you’ve reported on a story like this any time in the past two decades, you need to start digging a little deeper for your scoops because this is old news. Thank you. Now we can all move on to my mortgage blog.

Okay y’all, get this. Our beloved front door man Otis knows I write this blog, and works as my spy for the building. As I was leaving the office yesterday he stopped me in the lobby. “I got something for you, Just the Assistant,” he said, reaching behind his desk.

While I was really hoping he would show me video footage of criminals trying to rob the building and Otis fending the thieves off with a pistol, what he showed me instead was almost as cool.

(Otis was reluctant to be in the picture, but I lied and told him that thousands of people read my blog and it might make him famous, so if you happen to bump into Otis in Kroger, do me a solid and go nuts taking selfies with him and asking him to sign your bag of naval oranges.)

Hawk

Ta-da!

There are two hawks living on the fifth floor ledge of our building! The guy who offices on the fifth floor took this photo and sent it to Otis. Remember last year when there were all these dead birds outside our building? (Story here).  Maybe it was these hawks killing them as a warning to all the other birds in the area. Like, “This OUR territory!”

With that, if there are any birdwatchers out there who happen to need a home loan from a friendly mortgage banker, give us a call. While you stare up at the building with your binoculars, we’ll shout out interest rates from our window.

Finally, I never got a chance to tell you all about our office Christmas party (not to be confused with the branch Christmas party). Our office party consisted of just our little office folks, some filleted steaks (eggplant for me), a few bottles of wine, and real silver. (We had the party at Uncle Britt’s house, and Britt is the person in our office who most resembles a grownup and owns silver. The rest of us were like, “What is this shiny we eat with? Nom nom!”)

Real China

This isn’t anyone who works with us. It’s my husband. I make him go to stuff like this with me because he’s small and cute and charming. Plus, he wears bow ties.

Benson Christmas

In addition to fine China, Britt also owns a cat and dog. Here, Pastor Christi chokes snuggles the cat:

Christi Cat Edited

I made my husband take like sixteen pictures of me with the dog. Here are the three best:

Dog 3

“Come here, dog.”

"Now look at the camera!"

“Now look at the camera!”

You think I'm above choking a dog in order to get a good shot? Think again.

You think I’m above choking a dog in order to get a good shot? Think again.

And since apparently our mothers weren’t feeling very original when they named us, here’s a picture of Christi, Christina and Christina.

the christies

Okay folks, while you all thaw out from record cold temperatures that everybody so cleverly keeps posting on Facebook (it’s just time to stop), I’m off to secure the hawks some winter wear. Happy Wednesday!

Blooper

Somebody has been throwing staples all over my desk and they’re about to get a stapler to the jaw if they keep it up. I’ve been out of the office for the past two weeks and have returned to find that most of my co-workers are recovering from the flu, but if they think I’m above throwing office supplies at someone with a fever, they’re wrong.

Try me.

Try me.

So while the office recovers from ailments and/or thrown-hard-object-related injuries, I’m going to dig up some dirt from the past for your reading pleasure. Below, a fun story that took place in 2013 about which James would not let me write. Surely there’s some sort of statute of limitations on this stuff, right?

It all started during a team meeting in which James was trying to think of ways to wield his power over others. It was essentially a brainstorming session on how to punish people:

“We should slap them! Like when you join a gang!”

“We should make them give us money!”

“Make them buy us lunch!”

“Or maybe we should make them dance in front of the office,” James pondered aloud.

“We should make them twerk!” someone (who no longer works here) suggested.

“What is twerking?” James asked. “Yeah, what’s twerking?” I chimed, somewhat deflated that nobody liked my gang initiation idea.

“Uh, I don’t really know. Just look it up,” suggested the same person (full of ideas, I tell you). So James looked it up on YouTube with his computer…

His computer that was linked to the conference room big screen.

twerking video

And for the next twelve seconds we all watched in horror as a questionably dressed woman somewhere in Ohio humped a display of frozen cabbage in a grocery store. At the same time the guilty person over whom we were discussing punishments cried, “I’m not doing that in front of the office!”

James hurriedly fumbled with his mouse to close the video, then glared at me typing away and shook his head, daring me to defy him. Woo ha ha ha!

And that’s how our office learned the facts on twerking.

Before I go, would you please take my survey? I’d like to know what to focus on for the next year with this blog, but since most people find me by searching for porn (boy are they disappointed), I don’t really know what the thousands hundreds seven of you like to read. Oh, and you can choose more than one answer.

Now, off to sharpen my stapler.

The Hippies

Envoy Mortgage has its very own real life hippie…

So I told y’all that last week I went to the corporate office to snoop about and sucker the new team into loving me, right? While there, I met this hippie loan officer named Shaun whom I briefly introduced you to.

In order to allow you at least five minutes of shopping left before Christmas, I’m not going to write out the entire interview because Shaun talked for ninety minutes, and at one point he was literally talking about the marine life in Galveston and I was like, “Dude. Just stop. I’m not writing about squids.” But I do want to give you a glimpse of this guy because he’s fascinating.

Free Range Beef and Free Range Thoughts

An interview with Envoy Mortgage Loan Officer/Hippie Shaun Brennan

Just the Assistant: So Shaun, you work for Ty, right? Are you afraid of Ty?

[Background on Ty here.)

Hippie Shaun: No, but the first time I met Ty he was in a fight. We went to rival high schools in Pasadena and at a party one night Ty got in a fight with two guys and won.

JTA: Stop it right there. I don’t believe you one bit. Nobody gets in a fight with two guys at once and wins. That’s just on TV. Or, you’re romanticizing high school, because in my high school, fights lasted like twelve seconds.

Hippie Shaun (nodding): It’s true. He fought two guys and won and one of the guys was named Bubba.

JTA (shaking my head because I still don’t believe him): How did he beat up two guys? Why were they fighting?

Hippie Shaun: He punched one and pushed him, then punched the other guy and ran out of the garage. It was all just because Ty was from another school.

JTA (slaps Shaun’s desk): Were you in high school in the fifties? What were y’all, the Outsiders? Did you get in a fist fight, too?

Hippie Shaun: Yeah. Everybody did! That was just what Pasadena was like. But I’m a more peaceful person now. I like to shop at thrift stores and listen to music and promote musicians.

JTA: What? You’re like a hippy? You’d love my mom. She only shops at Goodwill.

Hippie Shaun: I’m kind of a hippie.

JTA: I bet you didn’t vaccinate your kids, did you?

Hippie Shaun: Well, we did have two all natural home births with the help of a midwife. My wife went entirely without medication and I helped deliver both of my children.

JTA (delighted): What!? That’s awesome! Your kids are going to live to be, like, a hundred I bet. Now, tell me about the music stuff.

[Just the Assistant Note: This is the part where Shaun made me watch his hippie videos.]

Tambourine Man

Hippie Shaun: So I’m in charge of distribution for this guy.

JTA: Like you have to make sure his CDs are sold? How are you going to do that?

Hippie Shaun: I don’t know yet!

JTA: You’re in trouble! You better start asking your borrowers to buy this guy’s CD!

Hippie Shaun (laughing possibly at my joke or possibly from the vibrations from the earth that only he can feel): I get along with a lot of different people. I once did a loan for a district attorney, and later I was at a concert with a friend who was, a, um, he had some run-ins with the law –

JTA: Hey, it’s cool Shaun. I come from a family of criminals myself.

Hippie Shaun: Okay good. Well my friend and I bumped into the DA at the concert, and it turns out the DA had convicted my friend a few years earlier. I like having my feet on both sides of the railroad track.

[JTA Note: Though Shaun has friends in the pen, he’s a total love-peace-earth guy himself and refrains from illegal activity.]

Shaun Day and Night

JTA: So do you like to travel?

Hippie Shaun: Yeah, I do. I go to Big Sur every year. But, actually, don’t write about that.

JTA: I can’t write that you go to Big Sur?

Hippie Shaun: I don’t want everybody to know about Big Sur.

JTA (choking on my water): DUDE, how many readers do you think I have? Like, this mass of people is going to start flocking to Big Sur because I mentioned it in my mortgage blog? Ha! Oh that’s good stuff, man. Oh, and I know I’m suppose to know this, but what is Big Sur?

Hippie Shaun (not entirely appreciating my mocking): It’s this 150 mile long land mass. I go and camp, hike, hang out. People go to get lost and found.

JTA: Okay well from now on how about you not talk about stuff you don’t want me to write about because it makes my job kind of tricky.

Hippie Shaun: Okay, well I also want to be a standup comedian for a year. It’s on my bucket list.

JTA: You want to be a standup comedian?

Hippie Shaun: Yep. I used to have loads of material, but it was in a backpack and the backpack was stolen on the beach (along with my wedding ring). And now there’s this other comedian who uses jokes just like I wrote and I think he stole my backpack.

JTA: I’m sure he did, Shaun. People are all the time stealing ideas from the hippies. Now, I’m going to go, and you get back to talking about mortgages/toiling in your organic soil/loving the earth, okay?

Okay y’all, stay tuned for more on Shaun because I am totally not finished with this guy. I may stop writing about anyone else at all and just focus on him and Galveston marine life and music that involves lots of tambourines. Well, maybe not the marine life, but definitely the tambourines.

Happy Wednesday, readers!

I Have Four Things to Tell You

1. Big news, people. I have weaseled my way onto the Envoy Mortgage Fancy Pants Holiday Party invite list. This is the party that I didn’t think I was invited to (told here). Well, I still don’t think I was officially invited, but still. How’d I manage it? I put on my puppy dog eyes and asked around at the office if anyone would let me come as their guest and Online Dater Jason was kind enough to give me one of his invitations. Now who’s legit, huh?

The party is Thursday and my sole purpose in going is to take embarrassing pictures of people and tell you all who ended up making copies of their butts with the scanner. (Just kidding, new co-workers! I’m just going to spread holiday cheer, I swear!)

2. My Boss James Beaver just received his much-anticipated shipment of one thousand squishy beavers with James’ name and phone number painted across the bellies.

Beavers up close

Currently, we have more squishy beavers in our office than people, keys, laptops, pens, and diet cokes combined.

Seriously.

Beaver Army

We even used them to decorate our office Christmas tree:

Beavers in a Tree Edit

I’ll let you know when James’ business explodes under the wing of this new marketing genius.

(I started to write a caption for this picture, but it’s so funny it doesn’t need a caption):

Beaver with his Beavers

Next order of business…

3. Super fun news, readers – Britt passed his mortgage banker test! He’s legit, y’all! Well, actually he still has to finish all the paperwork for his licensing and I think they ask for your whole life history plus your mom’s life history, but once he wraps that bad boy up, he’s open for business! Dolla billz, Britt! (Oh kidding…our loan officers earn very little in order to give you low rates. Sometimes they even skip supper.)

4. Finally, it is with mixed emotions that I announce that I am allowing my subscription to Glamour Magazine to lapse next month. It’s been a mostly fun nine years together, but I’ve come to a place in my life where, no, I really don’t want to know the top 109 things that 23-year-old boys want in bed. Plus, I’m kind of mad at them for putting cigarette ads in there, too. (Remember on 90210 when Brandon refused to run cigarette ads in The Beat? Well, I’m just like him, and Glamour is like Steve, who totally wanted the cash from the ads. But everybody liked Brandon better, so there.)

Almost final issue

Okay readers, you all have a fab weekend. I’m off to pick out my fancy holiday party attire and make sure the scanners are all working properly for those who may choose to scan their butts.

The Company I Write for Blocked My Writing

I have a bone to pick with Mr. Envoy Mortgage. On a trip to our corporate office yesterday to meet more of our new team, I met a very kind loan officer assistant (just like I used to be! Except for he actually proves useful to his boss and is a lot more important) named Daniel. Daniel had a hazy familiarity with my blog, much in the way you’d remember the Christmas from when you were three. Like, “I remember a tree, and I think my dad got drunk that night, but that’s about it.” So I tried to tell Daniel about my work. “So I write this blog? And I write about the people who work here? And I try to make it funny?”

Daniel then asked me the web address (okay so he had a slightly less than hazy familiarity) and typed it into his computer.

And this popped up:

Blocked by My Own Company

 

“What!” I exclaimed. “You must have typed it in wrong, Daniel. What kind of assistant are you? Try again.”

But still, the same results.

I’m blocked. Y’all, the company for whom I write a blog has blocked my blog from their corporate employees. I can’t decide if I’m exasperated or flattered. I think both. So listen, Mr. Envoy, I know you have some IT people working for you because I’ve called them when my computer acts wonky. I suggest you get this issue taken care of before I take down this company with all my power.

I’ll do it. I swear I’ll do it.

After I gasped at the atrocity, I asked Daniel for his best office gossip, and he was totally rude and wouldn’t say anything bad about anybody. At that point, I had to go interview Daniel’s boss, so it was time to say goodbye to my new friend.

Me: Okay, Daniel, I’ll be back to talk to you some more later!

Daniel (shifting in his chair): Um, you don’t need to do that.

Me: I’ll be right back. You think of some dirt!

Daniel (turning away from me): Eh…no.

Daniel Wants Me to Go AwayAfter my non-interview with Daniel, I snooped around corporate for a while. Here’s the thing, people. I’m kind of in this trial period. So I’ve told y’all that we’re part of this big branch now, right? And the leader of the big branch is named Ty, right? Well, I don’t think Ty is totally sure about me (which, okay, is kind of understandable as I’ve written on three different occasions that I suspect he has ties to the mafia).

So I’m trying to convince everyone on our new team to love me so that if Ty tries to oust me, everyone will revolt and there will be this huge mutiny. To begin accomplishing my goal, yesterday after interviewing Daniel I spent six minutes of my life that I’m never getting back watching grungy music festival videos with Daniel’s hippie boss, Shaun, who happens to produce and distribute all sorts of granola-lyrical-peace type stuff after work.

Not gettin' this time back, people.

Not gettin’ this time back, people.

Totally joking, I was like, “Do you have a festival to produce tonight?” and he was like, “Not tonight, but I had one last week,” and then made me asked me if I wanted to watch the video.

Dude was so kooky interesting that I’m saving my interview with him for a whole other blog post, so stay tuned for that.

Okay, sweet readers, you all have a happy Wednesday. (Oh – and feel free to leave comments for Ty below!) Now, off to start a revolution.

How’d this Whole Thing Start, Anyway?

Happy Birthday, Just the Assistant! It was three years ago this week that I wrote my first post. Little did I know how famous I would become.

(Kidding. I have like twelve readers.)

To celebrate, I have written a handy timeline explaining how this whole thing came about.

April 2008 – I refinanced a house and used James Beaver as my mortgage banker. At the closing table, James asked if I liked what I did for a living. “Nope! I’m about to quit!” I replied. When he heard that, and saw that I could write my name legibly on the closing docs, he mentioned that he needed a part-time assistant.

May 2008 – I quit my old job where I used to tutor naughty children in reading. I had read Lilly’s Busy Day with first graders who did not know the short o sound roughly eleven thousand times by that point, and I was done, people.

June 2008 – James took me to Houston’s and drew me a flowchart of the mortgage industry on his napkin. During the interview he asked if I had a desktop. Since I didn’t know that a desktop is what a non-laptop computer is called, I just stared at him blankly. Then I asked how much he could pay me. When he told me, I replied, “Well that sounds great. I’d really like to work with you,” and we shook hands. Looking back, I realize that I weaseled my way into the job as he never actually offered it to me.

James Can't Be Tricked

July 2008 – I showed up at James’ office wearing my newly purchased office lady clothes and for three weeks listened as he taught me the ins and outs of mortgages. I wrote everything down on a giant notepad that I would refer to for the next two years. Also that month, the mortgage industry decided to go on a vacation to the home of Satan and stayed there for six months. I am still not sure it was a coincident that the month I entered this trade, the whole industry went down the tubes.

Sorry, Boss

Winter 2008 – James’ business partner Chad noticed that I was really good at driving to Chick-Fil-A and picking up James a number four with a tea, and approached me about working as his assistant, too. I accepted. To celebrate, we all went out to lunch and ordered fancy salads.

July 2009  – The Bosses and I left the mortgage company where we’d been working and moved to Envoy Mortgage since our old company used scratch paper and wooden pencils to fill out loan applications and Envoy used this fancy contraption called the internet.

IMG_8677

November 2010 – I came up with the idea to write this blog. I talked about it to anyone who would listen and asked for feedback. Because I have really kind friends, I was convinced I could make this work. I asked James if we could meet, and in this meeting, I told him that if he wrote a blog (which he’d talked about) it would be totally lame and nobody would read it. Then I told him that I wanted to write a blog for our office and gave him two drafts of sample posts. Plus, I wanted fifty bucks to get it up and running. Bam.

December 2010 – I wrote my first post and emailed it to all my friends. Some of them read it. Within three weeks I would write stuff that sent the Bosses into panics. They all the time thought I was going to get them sued or fired. No one sued though. And nobody got fired.

January –July 2011 – I continued to perform as a less-than-average assistant, and fell more in love with writing the blog than filling out expense reports and stocking the office with toilet paper. The Bosses hired more people. Some came and went, and some stayed.

The mortgage industry decided to visit Hell again. I’m pretty sure there were months in which the Bosses paid us but couldn’t pay themselves.

July 2011 – The Bosses sat me down for what I thought would be my yearly review. During all my reviews I would always begin by saying, “Are you ready for your review?” (I’m a hoot, I tell you.) I began this one the same way, but instead of conducting my review, the Bosses told me that with the mortgage industry doing so poorly, they couldn’t keep me on as their assistant. But, they still wanted me to write the blog.

I sobbed. They gave me tissues and told me how much they cared about me. I left the office and cried for seven days straight. I also decided that I would stop writing the blog. How could I write a blog from the point of view of the assistant if I wasn’t the assistant? I emailed the Bosses and told them as much, and wrote a few draft last posts.

Two days before I submitted what I thought would be my final post, the Bosses emailed me and begged me to keep writing for them. James even tried to tie scripture into his plea, something about the disciples writing for Jesus. As it happened, a potential client from Pennsylvania had contacted them after reading my blog, and the Bosses saw that this blog was something worth fighting for. We went back and forth for a couple of days. Finally, I called them and agreed to stay, but only if they’d let me have James’ office chair. They agreed, and now I sit in his chair and my fine cat Harold sleeps in my old chair.

We tried to put a positive spin on it on the blog. The Bosses were afraid that our readers would lash out or something if we said I’d been laid off, even though I told them that it’s really just my cousin and brother that read this and that they’re pretty mild mannered. Here’s the post where we announced the change: Just the Snoop.

July 2011- present – I come into the office twice a week to snoop and write. I go to team meetings, attend team events, eavesdrop on conversations, pilfer through desks (kidding!), and ask lots of questions. Then I write about all of it and for the most part, they let me write whatever I want. It’s the best job ever.

Thinking

(FYI – Since that happened, James has offered me my old assistant job back, but thankfully I’ve racked up enough other writing jobs that I kindly declined.)

Fall 2013 – My Boss Chad took a job at another mortgage company. We’d worked together for a long time and it was sad to see him go. (Post here). Afterward, our little branch of Envoy rolled under another branch, so now I have James as my boss just like always, plus this guy named Ty who is over the whole branch. I suspect Ty is in the mob.

Our little branch offices here in the Heights. The rest of the branch offices at Envoy Corporate. In the future, I think I might bounce back and forth between the offices to provide you all with the most gossip possible. I’m still working that part out.

So that’s where we are, dear readers. Thanks for reading all my ramblings and making this job possible. If you’d like to give me an early Christmas present, feel free to share my blog on Facebook and the like. Every once in a while, the people who pay me actually want to see my stats, and high numbers help me keep my job. Oh, and if you could drop me an Anthropologie gift card, that’d be cool, too.

Mr. Nicer Guy

There’s this guy at Envoy who works for the corporate office named Jim Hopkins. My Boss James told me I should interview him. He didn’t say why, but I think it’s because Jim is very important and James thought it’d make us look good. Too bad James forgot that I often make us look rather poorly in front of others…

There’s No Basement in the Alamo

An Interview with Envoy Mortgage Regional Vice President, Jim Hopkins

Just the Assistant: First things first, Jim Hopkins. I’ve heard that in addition to being an Envoy Mortgage Big Shot, you are a CrossFit coach. How many pull-ups can you do?

Jim Hopkins: Strict pull-ups? Ten.

JTA (snickering): My husband’s stronger than you. Just sayin’.

JH: But I bet he’s smaller than me, too and has less to lift –

JTA: Stop it right there, buddy! He’s stronger than you. Period. Now let’s  move on before you make me mad. How’d you get such a fancy office? What’s this, mahogany?

JH: I was the fourth person they ever hired at this company, so I worked my way up. I first started as a set-up tech. Oh, and that refrigerator is mine I brought from home.

JH - Refrigerator

JTA: What’s a set-up tech?

JH: I entered clients’ information into the computer.

JTA (wondering how he’s going to take this): Like, loan applications? Uh, Jim? You realize you were an assistant, right? And apparently they gave it a fancy name, because that’s exactly what I did when I first came here and you’ve seen the name of my blog, right? It’s not called Just the Set-up Tech. Okay, what do you do now for Envoy?

JH: I’m head of several regions. Think of me as a pocket CEO. I bring people into the company. I make branches more successful. I help with strategies, P&L stuff…I’m  like an executive sounding board.

[Just The Assistant Note: No clue what P&L stuff means. Come to think of it, I don’t know what an executive sounding board is either.]

JTA: Do you get to fire people?

JH: Nobody “gets” to fire people. But some people have to fire people. Yes, I have to do that sometimes. When my wife was laid off from Enron, it devastated her. I’d never had to be at home with the aftermath of being sent home, so now that I know what that’s like, it’s that much worse, whether they deserve it or not. Outside of reports, it’s the absolute least favorite part of my job.

JTA: Has anyone ever freaked out when you fired them?

JH: Not when I fired them, but we’ve had to have someone escorted out by security, but that was many moons ago.

JTA: How did you get so important here? Why do they keep giving you promotions?

JH: There have been a few unfortunate accidents of people who would have succeeded before me. Just some freak accidents. Life gets much more dangerous if you’re more senior to me.

JTA: Ha! I should try that, too. So I guess you heard that our branch is under that guy named Ty now. I’m kind of intimidated by Ty. Are you intimidated by Ty?

JH: No, I recruited Ty. He’s intense though.

JTA: You’re intense, too.

JH: I used to be very intense as a branch manager. I once bet a loan officer his eyebrow over a deal. This was all before HR – those party poopers! But I’m much nicer than I used to be.

[JTA Note: When I first met Jim Hopkins, I was like, “Who’s that prick?” to my boss James. But lately he really has gotten nicer. It makes me wonder if he almost got hit by the light rail or something and started reevaluating life.]

JTA: What made you become nicer?

JH: You grow up. I just sounded like an idiot. You don’t have to be that guy that freaks everybody out because they’re terrified of him. I used to be in charge of interviews and they’d call it “the smoke down”.

JTA: Oh my gosh…what would you do that was intense in interviews?

JH: Rapid fire questions designed to see if you’d break under pressure.

JTA: That’s horrible! I’m really glad James is my boss and not you. James took me to Houston’s for my interview and drew flowcharts for me on the lunch napkins and hired me on the spot. Speaking of James, you might have heard that I kind of cussed him out a few weeks ago. Have you ever gotten in an argument with someone here at work?

JH: On a regular basis. David, Dana and I used to yell in every meeting. It was cordial, but very open.

[JTA Note: David Zugheri and Dana Gompers are the two founders of this company. If I were Jim, I think I’d stick to using my inside voice with those two.]

JTA: But now you’re nicer, right?

JH: I’m still intense but with different values. It used to be all about the money. I’d outwork anyone else and I wanted to win at all costs. Then I had kids and I realized there’s way more to life and I have a brief, finite time on earth.

JTA: Amen. Now, what if you were the CEO of Envoy? What would you change?

JH: Everybody’s loans would be approved instantaneously. We’d just give out money. As long as you pay it back. Boom.

JTA: Heck yeah! What’s that sign on your wall?

JH: You don’t know what that is? Didn’t you take Texas history?

JTA: Uh, they didn’t offer that in my high school in Atlanta.

JH: It’s from the Battle of Gonzalez. When Santa Ana came and wanted a cannon back. They said, “You want it, come and take it.” It’s the opening phase of the Texas war for independence!

JH - Texas History

JTA (not registering any of this): You’re so touchy, I swear. Hey, I went on a tour of the Alamo a few months ago. Does this have anything to do with the Alamo?

JH - Alamo Draw

JH (face dropping into hands in disgust): Are you kidding me?! You need to brush up on your Texas history!

JTA (trying to think of some Georgia history): Oh yeah, well do you know about…uh…

JH: Sherman? Yes. (Jim’s phone rings ). It’s Ty.

JTA (thankful for the distraction as I kind of don’t know who Sherman is): Ooh, ask him if he’s intimidated by me!

JH (answering phone): Hey Ty, I’m here with Just the Assistant and she wants to know if you’re intimidated by her. Oh, and she doesn’t know anything about Texas history.

JTA: Now please hang up because we aren’t finished.

JH (into phone): I’ll have to call you back, Ty.

JTA: Is there anything else you want people to know?

JH: No. I’m kind of dull. Can you make up something for me?

JTA: Of course!

[Jim would like you all to know that you should send me money. Like five dollars apiece should do it.]

After our interview, Jim paraded me around to higher-ups in the company and told them how little I know about Texas history. I may or may not sneak back into the corporate office and place some moldy ham in his fancy office fridge.

JH and JTA - Envoy

But for now, I’m off to brush up on my Georgia history. Happy Wednesday, readers!

Shane and I Are Going to Lose It and Happy Thanksgiving

Straight-Shooter Shane and I are about to LOSE IT. Shane is about to lose it because he wants the government to get out of his hair and just let him do loans instead of making him take all these continuing education classes. Let ‘em just do the loans, Mr. Government!

Shane is Going to Lose It Censored

And I am about to lose it because Spirit Airlines has the worst automated phone line in the history of the universe AND they will not let me purchase bags online without signing up for a lifetime of spam. AND they want to know every detail of my being down to my blood type and mother’s maiden in order to sign up for the lifetime of spam in order to pay for the checked bags. And I’m not even buying the bags for me – they’re for my mom, who is flying here tomorrow, on a flight that is leaving at noon even though the airline previously told us she’d be leaving at 7 PM. And they didn’t even tell us of the time change until right this second. It was just an afterthought, mentioned on the “Time to Check In for Your Stupid Sucky Flight!” email.

Let’s all take a deep breath now. Ready.

INhale…

EXhale…

Thank you readers. I feel a lot better now. (You might be wondering if this is a mortgage blog. Yes, yes it is.)

Okay…business time. I just got back from the corporate office where I interviewed some big shot guy who thinks he’s all that. Interview to come next week in which you’ll learn about the Big Shot and my, shall we say limited knowledge of Texas history, so please hold your horses, folks. In the meantime, here’s the fun part. After I interviewed the Big Shot, I found Ty’s office. Remember Ty? (More on him here.) He’s the guy who is my Boss James’ boss now. I don’t know if that means he’s my boss or not (probably does, huh?), but anyway, I found his office.

It was empty.

Ty's Empty Office

The Big Shot who was showing me around encouraged me to open a drawer or two and poke around while I was there. “No way!” I hissed. “What if I find a revolver?” Instead, I sat at his desk and talked on his phone.

Ty's NonEmpty Office

WOO ha ha ha!

Okay folks, I know this is a random, slightly erratic array of ramblings that make little sense, but I’ve just had seven hours of “time to prepare for house guests” time lobbed off my schedule, and I’ve got to wash some towels.

Before I go, listen up. I always talk to friends about how I love writing this blog. But rarely do I mention that the only reason I get to do this is because you read it. I am so very thankful for each of you. (Even the random hits I receive from dudes searching for porn. Thanks for stopping by. Sorry there’s no porn here.) But the rest of you? The actual readers who follow along on these kooky office adventures? You, my dears, ROCK. Thank you. Please have yourself an awesome Thanksgiving, and I’ll see you next week.