My new boss is becoming more control freaky every week. Now she hath decreed the overnight shift begins at 7:45 pm, because I really need an extra 15 minutes of standing around watching the day shift close the register, feeling (and being) useless.
I really wanted to fight it, but I might want a vacation again eventually and one of the hardest lessons of adulthood is choosing your battles carefully. Still, never before have I wanted so badly to say, in the immortal words of Michael Bublé, “take this job and shove it.” (I KNOW IT WAS JOHNNY PAYCHECK, THIS WAS A JOKE)
I’ve even spent all week desperately scouring the interwebs for another job, but sadly nearly a decade of working two jobs without actual physical coworkers has ruined me for any sort of normal employment. The lack of drama, the doing what you want when you want (in the purview of your duties), the wearing what you want, the not having to deal with the public — there’s nothing like it.
Then I was scrolling through Facebook, as you do, when without thinking I clicked on a refinance calculator from something called LowerMyBills.com. I didn’t realize that clicking would INSTANTLY send out my phone number to every lender in the tri-state area.
The first to call (within two minutes) was Quicken Loans. Sam was born to sell loans — he sounded personable, energetic (but not annoyingly so), optimistic, and most importantly of all eminently trustworthy.
Right off the bat I warned him “I have zero money for closing costs,” which is true and why I haven’t looked into refinancing earlier. He assured me at great length that they were the biggest in the biz, worked closely with the government, and had access to tons of secret programs that other lenders didn’t, that would guarantee I wouldn’t pay a penny in closing costs.
We started going through my details, and the more I told him, the more excited he got. Evidently (and this isn’t surprising to me), we’re one of the last remaining homeowners in the land with an interest rate over 6%. Evidently there are lots of people who want to refinance again and again just to save $50 or $75 every month, which I say what a lot of work to go through for so little, but I suppose mortgage lenders need job security too. He hadn’t worked with someone like me in months, and was eager to make a real difference in my mortgage payments.
I had started the conversation cautiously optimistic, figuring no matter what I couldn’t be any worse off than I was before talking to Sam. Then he crunched some numbers and gave me a tentative new monthly payment; without giving too much away, let’s just say if my current payment is $1 million (LOL, it isn’t, but some months it feels like it might as well be), he could get me down to $750,000. Wow. He had my full attention now.
I’m not doing terribly. I’m keeping my head above water, not drowning, but also not getting any closer to land. It’s frustrating as hell to work so hard and so long and still basically be living paycheck to paycheck. I’m not getting any younger and a savings account might be nice. That extra quarter of a million dollars a month (remember, not literally) would make a HUGE difference. Why, I could almost quit my hated second job with that kind of change.
On our next call, Sam gave me a preliminary list of documents he would need to get started for realz, which I happily supplied — all the while thinking how odd, after being drilled into my head repeatedly the dangers of identity theft, here I was handing over exactly that information in a tidy package, no questions asked. But Sam sounded like he wanted to be my best friend.
I then had about 12 hours to imagine all the things I would do with that quarter of a million dollars (not literally) — well, save it, obviously, but not before maybe buying a little something nice, the way you do when that first lottery payment clears — maybe even pull the trigger on that sweet $50 air purifier I’ve been eyeing (SEE HOW FAR MY DREAMS HAVE SHRUNKEN). But I would be able to build a respectable savings in no time with that extra cash. I could breathe a little easier. Maybe buy my family birthday presents again. Stop feeling every second of the day like I was doggy paddling in place while the sharks circled. Tell my megalomaniacal boss to shove it.
I suppose I have only myself to blame, then, for getting my hopes up so high. The next morning it all came crashing down when Sam called back to ask about a car loan on my credit report — the car was Tery’s, I had to co-sign for it, and with it my income-to-debt ratio was a no-can-do. There was no question of including Tery in the process because her credit rating would do more harm than good.
I could tell Sam felt awful, though probably not as devastated as me. I didn’t even point out the unfairness of it: I’ve been carrying this 6% rate for a decade now, I’ve never missed a payment, and my credit rating is exceptional. What makes you think I couldn’t handle a payment $250,000 (not literally) lower? But of course they have their little formulas and guidelines and regulations, and Sam’s hands were tied. Not much room for logic or humanity to factor in there.
And now I owe you an apology. I might have falsely foreshadowed some terrible scam perpetrated on me by the innocent-seeming Sam, some dastardly plot to steal my identity and/or money that I don’t have to spare. No, thank goodness. He never even took the $400 “good faith refundable deposit” from my credit card because the deal fell through. Sam is a good guy. Look him up if you need to refinance.