Birds, Dog, a Horse, and My Co-workers

I may have caused a bit of a mini-panic to settle itself on my Houston readers concerning the dead birds falling from the trees outside our office. Y’all are so touchy, I swear. Listen, at this point, nobody in the office is running a fever, and our front desk receptionist, Christi, even exercised for the first time in her life yesterday (I made her go on a walk with me and you would have thought it was the SEALs training),  thus proving that all our lung capacities are still optimally running.

Here’s what’s happened since Thursday. The Humane Society finally showed up and took “samples” (dead birds) with them to run some tests. After they left, birds kept on dropping, and Juan, our awesome building maintenance man, had to run out and scoop them up as they fell. But then Juan had to go run an errand, and for two hours the birds piled up. Otis watched nervously from his post inside the building and directed visitors around the “samples.”

Meanwhile, until Otis hears back from the Humane Society, he’s busy trying to find out what’s up by frantically searching the Internet, which worries me because I don’t want Homeland Security tracking his searches and thinking he’s a lunatic. Hey Homeland – Otis is a really great guy! I swear!

Enough of the bird debacle. This week I’m working on writing bios for the team for some website we’re going to have (why this website isn’t enough for us, I do not know). I’ve been pulling the mortgage bankers into a conference room and asking them all their hopes and dreams. Here are the highlights:

  • When I asked Richard about his dog, he abruptly got up to go fetch his phone to show me pictures. On his way back to the conference room from his desk (like, four feet away) he was so engrossed in the dog pictures that he passed the conference room and walked into some random office. I was like, “Richard! Hey Richard I’m in here!” Dude loves his dog. He also loves everything else about life and I’m having a hard time coming up with a snarky nickname for him. More on that later.
  • When I sent Straight Shooter Shane the rough draft of his bio, which included the phrase “frat house” because he used to be in a creepy fraternity, he actually wrote back: It’s never a “frat house” always a fraternity lodge or house…. Otherwise, I love it! That’s so weird. It’s just so weird. What is a “lodge” anyway? Lodge. It sounds like throat lozenge. I asked him if he still wears his letterman’s jacket, and he frowned and gave me some lip about not having a class ring. And he still won’t show me the secret frat house (d’ya hear that!?) handshake. Also, I have changed his name to Straight Shooter Shane because the guy totally tells clients what’s up. Not a coddler, that Shane.
  • V-Shaped Mortgage Banker Will, forgetting it was an interview for a professional bio, ended up telling me some horrible story about a horse getting killed (he didn’t kill it). Y’all, come on. I’m trying to bring you business here. Don’t go telling me about the night an axe murderer broke into your house.
  • In Just So John‘s interview, he told me about a loan he did for a transgendered person, and Just So John had to file all this paperwork to prove that his client was one person and not two people since the guy/girl’s W-2s from one year said Bill and the next year said Veronica. And you thought you had a tricky loan?

Oh, and by the way, apparently nobody listened to me last week when I said to get a loan somewhere else, because our business is exploding this week. Two borrowers in the past hour have called Online Dater Mortgage Banker Jason asking for loans, and I know this because he’s all, “BOOM!” and singing and giving people high fives. (Dude loves mortgages.) Then he made a big sandwich to celebrate.

That must've been one big loan...

That must’ve been one big loan…

Alright folks, I promise I’ll let you know as soon as we hear from the Humane Society. While you all be on the lookout for falling parakeets, I’m off to edit these bios and try to make this group of people with whom I work appear fairly normal. Wish me luck.

Fuddy C. Duddy

A few months ago I showed up at the office looking like a street dweller. It was the week after I returned from Rwanda and I was still grappling with feelings of guilt over the fact that I own more than one pair of pants and a blow-dryer. Plus I wanted to show off my new African headscarf and handmade beads. So that’s why I rolled in wearing some wrinkled wide-leg pants, an equally wrinkled t-shirt that, in a stroke of fashion genius, was the exact same color as my pants and a grandma sweater that didn’t match anything. Oh, and I hadn’t showered. Then I topped off the ensemble with my African headscarf and beads. And you want to know the first thing Hipster Andie the Loan Coordinator said to me when I came in? “You look SO cute.”

“I look like a homeless person,” I replied. (Note –yes, we all know a homeless person or two and I’m being all stereotypical, but come on y’all.)

“No, you look really cute,” Andie said. Mental note: If Andie ever compliments my attire again, go home and change.

Fast forward to yesterday. As soon as I entered the office I noticed Andie looked totally pulled together. She had on dress slacks, high heels and a cute sweater and scarf set that said, “I am a grownup. I work in a mortgage office with professionals.”

“Andie, you look so nice today!” I chimed, getting ready to ask where she bought her shoes.

“Ugh! It’s laundry day,” she scowled, glancing over her outfit and walking away. It was as if some old fuddy duddy had doted on her top as she left for an ugly Christmas sweater party. Andie’s mental note: If Just the Assistant likes my outfit, store that bad boy in the back of my closet and save it for when I’m seventy and need something to wear to bridge.

Speaking of Hipster Andie the Loan Coordinator, I have a handy mortgage tip for you. See, part of Andie’s job is making sure loan applications are filled out completely. But, you don’t want to go overboard here. Here’s the thing. The way in which you type your name on the loan application is the way in which you will have to sign your name at closing on dozens of documents. I learned this the hard way when I filled out the app for my first mortgage and printed my full name, first, middle and last. Come closing, I wished I’d just used my middle initial instead. There. That’s it. Are you in shock at the wealth of mortgage advice you get here, or what?

Next week I’ll draw the winner of the Kindle Fire HD. Read about that here. I think like seven people have entered thus far, for those of you keeping score.

Oh, and for those of you who went all nuts the other day because I didn’t tell you how much I sold my gold for: $1585. Cha-ching! Now then, while you all tell  me your thoughts on office attire below, I’m off to polish my silver, or whatever it is rich old fogeys do.

I Sold Gold

It’s like ants in here. Mortgage bankers galore, answering phones and pacing and typing. My ole Boss James walked by “my” cube (they don’t give me my own cube) earlier and asked, “When are you going to write about our new people?” as he vaguely wafted his hand over a few of them. Dude, they’ve been here like four days. I don’t know anything about these people. Correction, the guy sitting next to me is named Richard and he lives near Gallery Furniture. That’s it. And he’s wearing a white shirt today. I typically like to write informative pieces about my co-workers, but with James rushing me, this is the best I can come up with:

Getting to Know Richard AlvaradoJust working with what I’ve got, folks. If Gallery Furniture Richard does anything interesting, I’ll let you know.

And another new guy, John, is on the phone right now going, “Okay you see the picture of you in front of the trees? Now click that button that says ‘Edit Profile Picture’ – you see it? Click that.” I mouthed out, “Your grandma?” but he hasn’t answered.

Now, on to other matters: I sold gold.

Y’all remember when I visited the CoinStar machine, how I felt like a hobo? Well, I sold a gold coin this weekend. I swear I’m not, like, living in the gutters over here, but y’all, gold is hot right now! Here’s the thing. When I got married, someone gave us a gold coin as a wedding gift (everybody else gave us fondue pots). For the past ten years, my husband and I have kept that gold coin (and re-gifted the fondue pots) tucked quietly away in any random hiding place we could think of. In our first apartment it stayed under the kitchen sink, in our second apartment we stuck it in the laundry room. Then I think we lost it for a few months and found it once we moved into our first house. Pretty sure we kept it with our dinner plates back then. Every so often, we’d discuss our gold.

“A Hawaii vacation sounds nice. Think we should sell the coin?”

“You think we’ll ever sell the coin? Or should we save it for, like, wartime?”

“What are we going to do with this thing? Should we keep it so we can say we own gold?”

Then last month, I was chatting with V-Shaped Mortgage Banker Will Zugheri. Will used to be in the jewelry business. Seriously, sometimes people even find my blog by typing “Zugheri Jewelry.” Will was reminiscing about the good ole days and telling me about dealing with gold. (On a side note, Will was trying to explain something about how Rolexes were made and he started looking around the office. I realized he was actually checking to see if any of us were wearing Rolexes so he could demonstrate further. “Uh, Will? Nobody’s sporting Rolexes around here, buddy.”) Somehow the conversation drifted toward selling gold, and I mentioned my gold coin. And that’s when Will gave me the scoop on gold. “Don’t go to any of these ‘We buy gold’ places. Go to blah blah blah…” and named some fancy sounding gold business.

For the next few weeks, Will kept an eye on gold prices for me as I picked his brain on the gold industry. “You think it’s, like, shady to sell gold?” I asked. Will assured me that it is perfectly acceptable to sell gold, and finally told me, if he were me, he’d sell it. I was still nervous. I asked him about it so much you would’ve thought I had this wooden chest of gold in my dining room. Like my back porch was like a scene from The Goonies with jewels and necklaces and signet rings and Sloth in the backround eating a Baby Ruth.

But I had one coin, people. One coin. And I decided to go for it. I sold gold.

Outside the gold store:

Selling Gold

Inside the gold store:

Gold Store

Guess who opened the door for me once I got there? A police officer! I was so nervous. I held up my purse, indicating my gold, trying to prove that I wasn’t a robber and that there was no need to be alarmed. I had this whole speech memorized for once I got to the counter. So I’ve had this gold coin for a while and I swear I’m not a gambling addict or anything but I was wondering if this is an establishment that could help me…

I never got a word out. The old man behind the counter said, “I see you’ve got a Canadian Maple there. I’ll be right back.” Forty-five seconds later he came back and told me he’d give me a boatload of money for it. Boatload for these pockets, anyway.

Here’s me being nervous about carrying around my gold money.

Protecting my Gold

Speaking of boatloads of cash, this is the final week for my Kindle Fire HD giveaway. Read the details here because I don’t feel like typing it all out again.

Finally, have any of you sold gold? Or pawned anything? Had a gambling addiction? Robbed a gas station? Tell me all about it! I’m off to buy a Rolex.

Thank God it’s…Somebody’s Birthday

No joke, the garbage truck just broke down in front of my house while clasped onto my garbage can. Below, the picture of my garbage man holding my garbage can hostage:

Garbage Can Hostage

Garbage Can Still Hostage

After sitting in front of my house for a while, smoking a cigarette and guzzling bottled water, the garbage man was finally able to get ole Blue to crank.

Garbage Can Free

Speaking of stress, it’s been a doozy of a week at the mortgage office. Well, not for everyone. See, Chad and Rachelle just got back from the Circle of Excellence trip (that’s the fancy award vacay they won for our branch being the most fabulous branch in the company). Please note this is the trip that I have tried to attend for years now but am continually denied. Please also note that I am very upset with our company for not allowing me to attend as the corporate blogger and that won’t they be sorry when I start blogging for the Evil Big Box Banks and leave them in the dust. I mean, not that the Big Box Banks have asked, but, you know, they might. Anyway, while Chad and Rachelle are all tanned and refreshed from their jaunt in Cabo, the rest of the office passed the week going nuts.

On Wednesday, Nikki pranced in with a birthday cake and it’s not even any of our birthdays. It was just a stressful day and she knew everybody needed cake. Hayley walked in the kitchen going, “Oh! Cake! Who’s birthday?” as she shoveled it onto her plate, preparing to eat away her stress.

Happy Birthday Somebody

While the office worked like mad with deadlines and crazy phone calls and not eating lunch until 4:30, our borrowers kicked back and enjoyed peaceful weeks with their families.

Behind the Scenes

If you would like to send a relaxing candle set to my hardworking co-workers, please fill out a loan application on the right. If that was your birthday cake Nikki mistakenly picked up from Kroger instead of the TGIF one she originally ordered, we’re really sorry and we hope you had a great birthday. The cake was delicious.

Interest Rates and the Animal Kingdom

Happy New Year, readers! It seems like reporters got quite lazy over the holidays, and instead of just owning up to it like I did and quit writing for two weeks straight, they sissied out and wrote a bunch of crap “here’s what happened in 2012 that we’ve already told you about” articles.

In the spirit of those crap recaps, I would like to let you all know where we stand as far as interest rates go. And since nobody is doing anything interesting in the office today, I’d like to display a brief history of mortgage interest rates compared to animals. Remember, smaller is better when it comes to interest rates…

Interest Rates and the Animal Kingdom: Then and Now

Animal Kingdom Interest Rates

And now let’s take a peek at modern times:

Interest Rates Today

So remember, interest rates are low. Lower than 30 years ago, lower than 20 years ago, lower than 10 years ago, but a tiny bit higher than a month ago. If you’d like to know more, let me know or simply fill out a loan application on the right with “Just the Assistant and the Animal Kingdom” in the referred by section, and I can pull some strings and get your name displayed on our fancy flat screen TV in the foyer when you come in to chat about your praying mantis-sized mortgage with one of my normal-sized fab co-workers.