Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Things That Are Annoying Me Today

I was never good at math. At least, I was never supposed to be. I jokingly told Ryan the other night that "the only thing I remember about Math is that I was good at English." Which is true - I was a girl, I learned to read early, I was encouraged from a young age to focus on words and forget about the numbers. There was also the subtle, underlying assumption that girls aren't as good at math, and hey since I had the English thing going, why bother to fight nature?

I wish I'd paid more attention, because today most of my gripes are math-oriented*:

- I got a letter from our mortgage co. saying we owe an extra $300 to our escrow account. As near as I can tell, after half an hour of staring at two pages full of tiny columns of numbers labeled with lots of words like "projected," "required," "comparison," and "previous," when they did the initial calculation for our payments, they underestimated the taxes. Or our taxes went up. Or they're going up next year. Or our homeowners insurance went up. Or is going up. Or something.

- The thing is, we switched insurance carriers and got a refund earlier in the year. Our new policy was $200 less than the old one, but I took the whole refund and put it in the escrow account, just to be safe. I can't seem to figure out what happened to the extra, unless our taxes are going up by $500, not $300.

- It seems like we are paying a lot of taxes. When we were house-shopping in California, I'd always look at the estimated taxes on the houses we liked. What we're paying here seems high in comparision, which doesn't make much sense.

- I would not mind paying extravagant taxes if I got something in return. Like maybe if there were sidewalks beyond the borders of our neighborhood, or a bike lane on a road within five miles of here, or if they ran some buses within eight miles of here, or if they had plans to build an arm of the new and very successful light rail anywhere near here in the next 25 years (they don't; I've combed the CATS website).

- Staring at those columns of tiny numbers has also made me pissed off at how much of our payments go to "mortgage insurance" every month. As near as I can tell, "mortgage insurance" means paying someone to sit on their ass and do nothing. It doesn't help me, and people paying it has certainly not helped banks or mortgage carriers stay upright (Helllooooo, Wachovia, Countrywide, Silver State, I'm talking to you). So how about I keep my money every month and make my payments more affordable? I'm sure a lower payment would help prevent a default more than paying your mob-like protection money "mortgage insurance" every month.

- Also, if you are going to screw up the amounts I'm supposed to put in escrow for my taxes and homeowner's insurance, can I just do it myself? I mean, I can't, under the terms of our loan, etc., but I think I'd rather. The mortgage lender has generously offered to front the money (and charge us interest, of course) or work it into our payments (which means our payments are going up by $20 a month) but personally I'd like things to be all separated out so I can see what's going on with each thing, instead of scrutinizing the jumble of figures currently before me.

- They also seem to have the amount of our last payment wrong. It's only off by a small amount, the few dollars extra I put into principal every month to round the payment up to a nice whole number, but now I have to figure out why it doesn't add up and that is also pissing me off.

Non-math related:

- I just ate my last biscotti. Now I have to make some more, and not think about the fact that I am the only one in the house that eats them (well, Piper takes occasional bites) and that I have been making them once a week, which means that every week I am consuming half a stick of butter and 3/4 cup sugar in baked biscotti goodness form. There's other stuff in there too (like, um, flour and eggs), but it's the butter and sugar that I find most objectionable. And by objectionable I mean delicious.

*Also, I wish I'd paid attention because science and math would've served me far better in life than my meandering Liberal Arts education. I would have a viable career now, instead of wondering if I'm going to have to eventually ask people if they would like fries with that.

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