Monday, December 29, 2014

I'm Tired

     ...Tired of running as fast as I can just to not lose ground too quickly.  The bank that holds my home loan keeps pressing me to swap my 30-year, fixed-rate loan for a 15-year one, same payments, fixed and lower interest, but they want $2.5K up front and it all sounds too good to be true.  What's in it for them?  Then there's the little problem of just having bought a car and therefore not having a couple grand to sling around.

     Found a network of deep cracks in the driver's-side front tire of that car, along the sidewall near the rim.  Not sure what that is but it doesn't look promising.  May need new tires before winter is over.   

     I need a new mattress.  The one I have now was old when I moved to this house, seven years ago, and it's hurting my back to sleep on it.  (I don't use box springs, that's way too soft.  I'd sleep on a 3" slab of foam like an RV mattress but it's too much trouble finding the stuff and it's unfriendly to fitted sheets when you do).  Well, there's $500 or more and that's not happening soon.

     There are still funky things with the plumbing and some of the natural gas piping seems iffy to me in terms of support and routing; I've got a plumber coming in to have a look and give me estimates.  I'll do some water plumbing myself but we're short on shutoffs and some of the things I want redone had been plumbed with field-crimped PEX, fine if you're a plumber and use the tools all day every day but impractical for doing one's own work.  Yeah, more expense.

     Meanwhile, my peers and I went without raises from 2008 until, h'mm, a year and a half ago, and that was 1%, with  more of the same to follow.  Not complaining, either: at least a half-dozen of the other technical-type people have been laid off.  Meanwhile the grocer, the mechanic, the utilities and skilled trades all want more.  At least gasoline prices are down.

     But it's tiring.  At the end of it, if I am very lucky, I'll have a house paid for and enough coming in to pay utilities and eat.  And that's if I work until I'm 72.  50 is the new 30, right?

     UPDATE: So, the plumber just added some hangers for the line; he used the good bubbles and found no leaks.   But the "Check Engine" light came on on my way home from work.  Oh, and have I mentioned we haven't had any dial tone since Friday?  Internet service is int rmitt nt, too, which makes Tam exercise her vocabulary in interesting ways.  I just ran the phone tree with AT&T twice; asking for high-speed Internet repair got me to "Your call did not go through."  Asking for phone line repair got me deep enough into the automated process that they sent a big old slightly-hot jolt of ringing voltage down the line, which did make my phone ring (weak ramping to normal) and lo, we now have dial tone -- and the robot proudly told me, "The problem does not appear to be in AT&T's equipment."  This is incorrect: there's a water leak at the neighborhood terminal box (or whatever you call it, honkin' big transition from glass or a fat copper digital multipair cable or wigwaggy-flaggy to the old-fashioned  UTP) and it's messed up our phone service before and been "repaired," I suspect with a wad of chewing gum which has now dried out.


Bob said...

Memory foam mattress topper for a temporary fix, maybe? 2" for around $70?

Alien said...

RE: mortgages. Nothing you don't already know, but the tipoff as to "who wins" is the interest rate staying the same. A 15 year note should be a lower rate than a 30 year because the lender gets their money back sooner.

If the principal amount doesn't change and the rate doesn't change, why give them a couple grand to "allow" you to make higher payments? Rather than give them $2.5K to lock you in to 15 year payments which will be significantly higher than your present 30 year schedule, just make the 15 year payment amounts on your existing loan, and if you're short one month, drop back to the 30 year payment. Use that $2.5K against existing principal - it'll drive you down the amortization table faster, putting more of the next regular PITI payment against principal.

Not that you have the 2.5K lying around to do that with, but a small piece of it each month added to your regular payment accomplishes the same thing at a lower pain level. Either run an amortization table ( or others) or get one from your lender for your specific loan. With each month's PITI payment, add in next month's principal. This is a huge money saver if done early in the loan.

You're going to pay the entire principal amount, the only variable is how much you give the $@#% lender in interest for the privilege of paying the principal over time.

LCB said...

The cracks in the tire sound like dry rot...although I'd never describe dry rot as having "deep" cracks.

In any case, you may have a dangerously bad tire. Please get it checked ASAP. Would hate to hear that you'd been in an accident. You can always buy 1 cheap tire to last you until the other 3 are ready to be replaced.

Roberta X said...

Alien: here's the thing: the payments are (claimed to be) the same or slightly lower. The interest rate is way lower.

When I could afford it, I paid more on my home loan, always against the principal. I can't afford that now.

Roberta X said...

Bob: won't help. The blame thing is too smashed.

LCB said...

Hope the check engine light is just a loose gas cap...

Old NFO said...

Yeah, something doesn't make 'sense' on that whole loan thing...

Mike V. said...

There's an old radio show called Escape where the introduction (read by William Conrad or Paul Frees) started "Tired of the everyday grind..." I sympathize with the feeling of being a hamster on a wheel you can't get off of.

Anonymous said...

Have you had the car 30 days? If not, it should be covered, even by the crappy used car warranty. If you don't have a OBD II scanner, get one. Telling the repair dude WHAT to fix, rather than asking what is wrong, can save you thousands of dollars.

Samsam von Virginia

Anonymous said...

Go to any auto part store and they will read the code for free

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Looks like AT&T abandoned their old AT&T Direct forum on DSLReports. That's a shame, that was a good place to get DSL and U-Curse official tech support.

There are some other social media options that you might want to try. Got these off of the last post in the AT&T U-Verse forum from the last AT&T tech who was actively helping customers:

There is facebook:

The uverse page on facebook:

They also have a twitter account located here:

their email address is:

They have community managers in their forums at

Discobobby said...

Take a look at Tuft and Needle mattresses. We bought one, and it's fantastic. Check them out on Amazon. And they're not skeezy mattress salescreatures!

Scott Gelber said...

On the mortgage, the bank wants to do it because they pocket the $2500 or part of it. The lower interest rate does not concern them as the loan is going to be sold, so they do not care. They make money in loan origination, not loan servicing. In other words, they want to make some money now as opposed to making money over the lifetime of the mortgage.

If you can refinance, do it but use a local credit union that will not sell the loan and will service the loan.

Anonymous said...

Rates are different on mortgages because your current mortgage is from 7 years ago.

And the banks make money on fees. They make cash your check, but they don't hold your note - they sold that to Fannie or Freddie.

Tires suck.

The big auto-parts stores will check the readout on the engine light for free (around here anyway) and sell you parts. They won't reset the light however. On a newer car it could be a gas cap or a thermostat. Could be more, but keep hope alive.

They now sell shark-bite connectors for pex. Makes life easy. (They aren't cheap, but probably cheaper than an hour of a plumber's time.)