Thursday, July 17, 2008

Things That Are Stressing Me Out Right Now

  • The builder called yesterday to say that there will be a $1500 up-charge for the dark red and brown paints we had chosen for the dining room and master bedroom, since they require more expensive primer and 3-4 coats of paint. (I knew that extra coats might be necessary and was prepared to pay for them, but "pay" in my mind meant a couple hundred extra dollars, maybe.) This meant an emergency rifle-through of my paint chip collection, an emergency trip to Benjamin Moore to pick up the large chip of "Maple Fudge," an emergency trip to Small Town to test it in the dining room (gross), and then an emergency trip to Sherwin Williams to pick up "Nuthatch," the lighter brown we're switching to for the office and master bedroom. Total driving time: 2.5 hours. Total stress increase: immeasurable.

  • Hubby wants to have his name removed from the title to the house, so that means we need to rebook our mortgage. But mortgage rates have gone up since we first booked, so now we're considering a variable rate instead of a fixed rate. Any opinions on variable- vs. fixed-rate mortgages? (Aren't you glad you read my blog? Isn't this fun?)

  • The bricks are on the house now, and I don't like them. Can they possibly have been that orangey when I was picking them out?

  • My workload this month adds up officially to 72 hours per week. I can do the work in less than that, but that doesn't include the hours I spend groaning and pulling my hair out over the abysmal quality of the essays I have to grade.

  • I've turned into Mama Shrew. My communication with my children has devolved into an endless stream of "Time to put your clothes on NOW!" and "That's enough - I mean it!" and "Stop throwing your food, you're going to your room" and "That's it - I've had it!" All of the above are basically expressions of the same inner thought: "I'm too exhausted right now to figure out an appropriate consequence, so instead I'll see if my anger intimidates you into good behaviour." So far the result of that experiment is no. It doesn't.

  • My to-do list for today: Call the flooring place to make sure they've rebooked the hardwood installer. Write a letter of recommendation for a student who's applying for her Masters of Biology (because apparently the Department of Biology highly values my opinion.) Figure out how to print documents even though there is no printer driver available for my operating system. Flip through decorating magazines to find examples of the wood stain I want for my staircase. Check my blog periodically for responses to this whiny, miserable post.


Bon said...

ickity ickity stress...sorry to hear it. my go-to solution was always gin. it would make that reference letter for the Masters' student waaaay more interesting. ;)

just a note on the paint...we (meaning my fine MIL) just painted our bedroom a very very dark red, using Benjamin Moore aura paint. it's expensive paint but has no VOCS and the colour came through gorgeous. two coats was all that was needed, even though we were painting over a very, very bright blue. don't know if you've considered the aura stuff but we were really happy with it, almost no fumes, very quick might save you money in labour?

anyhoo. good luck, Bea.

Anonymous said...

No to variable mortgage, no no. Never a good idea because of the variable word, substitute 'unpredictable".
Why does DH want name off title? Not a good idea at all for financial and liability reasons.
Paint? Upon move in it WILL NOT matter.

(Your) Anonymous (I am old)

Jenifer said...

I have just blasted through your last 6-7 posts and oh my you have been busy. Those essay quotes made me laugh out loud.

Why does Hubby want his name off...would it be better to leave it as is? I hate all those types of financial/mortgage decisions they stress me out completely. I would say stick with a fixed-rate if you can secure a good rate, things really are way too unpredictable right now. I always prefer the safe route when it comes to large amounts of dollars!

Good luck with everything. The house is really coming along, I imagine it won't be long before you are all happily settled in your colourful new house!

Kathryn said...

My hubby wants to badly to build a house but I keep refusing. I think I may have him read a few of your posts. ;)

Your world sounds crazy right now. I hope it gets easier. :)

Omaha Mama said...

So sorry to see how much you are dealing with right now. Yuck. I tend to deal with such things by watching too many DVR'd episodes of Sex & the City and drinking an icy beverage (alcohol please). I'm a head in the sand kind of ostrich so no help to you whatsoever. Sorry.
Hey ~ Hang in there. Time will pass and then you'll be happily in your cozy new home. All of these days will dissolve into a vague memory.

Greg S. said...

I don't know how closely the Canadian financial markets track those in the U.S, but I would point out that rates here are still quite low (historically speaking.) And expectations are that they will trend higher for a while (which is probably better measured in years than months.) I would agree with anonymous to avoid a variable rate. If you were moving somewhere short term, it might make sense. But since you're building, I expect you want to be there a long time. So lock in a rate that is still good, from a historical perspective.

And I'm really curious what possible (good) reason your husband has to want his name off the title. Your business, but it sounds fishy.

I feel badly for Bub and Pie that Mama is so over-stressed right now. It sounds like it is (totally unintentionally!) affecting them as well. I hope it all calms down for you soon. Remember that in the big picture, most of these decisions matter very little.

Beck said...

Um, like everyone else, whyever would he not want his name on the mortgage? I made a brief plea to have mine left off of ours, but that's only because I find the meetings so dullllllll.

We're repainting our bedroom this weekend, and the colour is named "Irish Sea". Evocative!

Andrea said...

I had a variable rate mortgage on the last place and I kind of liked it, actually. With most of them you can lock in very competitively if the rates start going up, so the risk is low.

Mad said...

I'd be tempted to have them put on the primer and one coat at cost and then I'd do the rest of the coats myself. Painting's easy once the primer's on.

Bea, I think you might be a stress blogger just like I am a stress eater. You often seem to be at your most prolific and/or most creative in times of high stress.

Naomi (Urban Mummy) said...

We have a variable rate mortgage. It's good. According to my bank person, historically, they have outperformed the fixed rates. So there you go.

(I worried when we got it with our move a few years back, because we had a REALLY low rate with our old mortgage, and rates had gone up, so we had a much higher rate. But it's all good.)

Hannah said...

You shouldn't have told us your hubby wants his name off the mortgage... now our creative brains are coming with all sorts of Days of our Lives-type reasons why that could possibly be.

As for the brick being too orangey - I suspect that because you spent so very much time stressing about the colour that now it's up, you're going to feel let down because your reaction perhaps didn't live up to the time you spent picking it out... give it a little time before you rent a sandblaster from Home Depot and try to change the colour. ;)

Sue said...

If you get a variable rate mortgage, make sure it has caps and a really low floor. The real estate market is nuts right now, nobody really knows what is going to happen with interest rates right now, and if it adjusts out of your price range, it may not be easy to sell it.

The Husband said...

For the record, I'm a lawyer and keeping my name away from the house is a liability issue. If I make a big boo-boo, I'd rather not have the family living in a box.

cinnamon gurl said...

I had a feeling hubby's reason had to do with his job. For the record, I never doubted his integrity.

RE: mortgage rates. We're going variable. We went fixed with our last mortgage because it was our first house and scary as all hell and fixed rates were the lowest they'd been in 50 years. But the rate difference between variable and fixed, for our new place, equals about $180 a month, so I figure we'll put that away for a rainy interest rate day. My parents have had variable rate mortgages for like 20 years. Our mortgage broker said whatever lets you sleep at night. I'm pretty risk averse, but this seems like the kind of risk I'm willing to live with.

b*babbler said...

Ooh - all of these suck. And really, $1500? Sounds like a builder cash-grab. Crappy nonetheless.

Intimidating kids with anger? Yup, been there. Peanut laughs at me. She is 21 months old. This does not bode well for my future.

And I totally understand why hubby is asking for the name off the title. We're pondering the same decision around these parts.

Sus said...

i'm just commenting to give you a break from all that other crap. and because i always feel so much better when someone I don't really know in cyber space tells me it's all going to be ok and encourages me to go get an ice coffee and see a matinee.

Aliki2006 said...

Whew, I'm glad the name on the title thing got cleared up. I was getting gray hairs wondering...

Good luck with it all--no advice, just hugs of support.

Aliki2006 said...

Oh, and variable rate is NOT good. Not good at all. Do fixed rate, even if it straps you a bit.

Bea said...

Poor hubby! I thought it would be okay to leave it all vague, and then he has to come on here with some crack-pot story about being a lawyer, just to cover up the whole second-family/polygamy thing!

Bon - Here's the kind of person I am. I know all about Aura paint and I think it would save me money in the long run to use it, but I've read that some painters prefer the brands they're familiar with because Aura dries so quickly it requires different painting techniques. So I didn't even MENTION the issue to the painter, because I don't want to seem like I'm telling him how to do his job. I suck.

Anonymous - Do you mean that when I move in the colour of the paint won't matter? Or that when I move in the $1500 I spent on the paint won't matter?

Mad - I was thinking the same thing this morning. My annoyance level goes up when I'm stressed, so I get all cranky and snippy (just like my most favourite bloggers ;).

Hannah - That is EXACTLY what's going on. Would that brick deter me from buying the house if it were resale? No. But because I picked it out, somehow my credibility as a brick-picker is on the line here - I feel like all the neighbours are shaking their heads at the execrable taste of the new family in the neighbourhood. (Because goodness knows that my brick-picking skills are second only to what the neighbours think as important values to me.)

Anonymous said...

Re: paint, I meant the color won't matter.
"the husband": I run a large human services agency in the US and the word risk is in our mission statement. Long ago my husband and I got a Homesteader Act on our house It is practically free, we had it done with in conjunction with our will, etc. It exempts the property from lawsuits, etc. Does Canada have a comparable provision?
Doesn't it increase your wife's liability having your family's most expensive assett solely in her name?

Veronica @ Toddled Dredge said...

We bought our house five years ago. If we had used a variable rate mortgage, just the increase in gas prices would have been enough to drive us out of our house. Fixed, fixed, fixed. Variable rates are designed to make the bank money, not to save you money.

nomotherearth said...

I would have a hard time re-picking paint colours once I settled on them.

As to mortgages, Mr Earth knows about these things and here is his answer:

Fixed is good if you want cash flow certainty.

Variable - it's possible, and recently likely, that you will pay less money.

He said both are good (We have a fixed.)

Bea said...

Anonymous - The idea is that I'm a lot less likely to get sued. Unless one of my students reads my last post, that is.

Maddy said...

This is why blogging is free therapy, right!

So there you go, for right now, you have a lot to moan about, grumble for free.


Anonymous said...

Hi Bea,

I've gone through the same paint experience (realizing that the dark colors I'd selected were a lot more expensive and having to quickly make new choices with husband).

I love reading your blog. I identify on so many levels. I have an MA in English lit from McGill, and am a high school English teacher. I'm the mother of two - I have a three and a half year old daughter and an eighteen month old son. My husband and I are in the midst of house planning (major renovation of current home, or tear down home to build new - its all up in the air at the moment).

I've lived and taught English Literature overseas for many years. Last year my hubby and I decided to move back to Canada, as we had an opportunity to teach at an independent school in beautiful small town Fernie, British Columbia, which is where we are now.

I thought I would delurk and introduce myself.


Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

We had a painter do all the trim inside our house (2500 sq ft). The trim was dark, dark red & we wanted it bright white. It took 3 coats and cost us $1300. It was absolutely worth it. We thought of doing it ourselves, but it would have taken us (knowing us) at least 3 years ... and we couldn't live with that awful color for three years!

Mimi said...

Oh dear.

Here's my advice about the mortgage: fixed, because you are going to freak out checking the mortgage rates and financial markets every damn day that your mortgage rate is variable. Fix it and forget it. Otherwise, every day it's like a decision about whether to lock in or not.

And. We're entering a period of inflation. I think rates are going up. IMHO, because I"m so qualified to give it, as an English PhD.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I get it. Totally and completely. Fast food 3 nights in a row for my kids. . .how's that for good parenting? Sorry--no time for anything else.
As for house issues, our hardwood is warping b/c the subfloor contains too much moisture, DH got "cranky" with our service coordinator who *was* giving us free stuff, and now we have to pay. . .the list goes on.

Heidi said...

Hey, if it's still on with the polygamy second family thing, sign me up. As long as I get to live in the dream house you're building.

And if you are the kind of sister-wife who loves to clean. Because otherwise, it's never going to work.

Nora Bee said...

Ugg. We may remodel soon and this post gives me pause. Good luck!

the dragonfly said...

Breathe. Just breathe.

bren j. said...

Well I've heard building a house is stressful...I guess that's being proven once again.

Maybe the orangey brick will look great once you can stand back and look at the whole picture?

Good luck with your paint and your children and your horrid papers. I helped grade some First-Year Sociology book reviews one time. There was one particular paper that was UNBELIEVABLY horrible. It was a three page 'prose' 'poem' written 'artisticly' all over the pages. *shudder* It truly should go down in the annals of history as THE WORST paper ever written. I believe it got an F with a not-so-very-nice comment.

Kelly said...

Just moving with two small children was stressful enough. I cannot imagine having a house built. That ratchets the stress to another stratosphere.

Paint colors? I think they look divine.

Stimey said...

Once this house is built, imagine how totally happy you're going to be. It's like in college when you're so tired during finals and you know you're not going to be able to sleep for the next 36 hours, but you know when you do finally get to sleep, it's going to be sooooo good.

Once this house is built and you're in there, it's going to be soooooo good.

Julie @ Letter9 said...

I hate HATE those new-house second thoughts. The bricks, the paint. Ugh. But once the whole thing's done, you're going to look at it and love it, I know you will.

kittenpie said...

Next time you are going for dark or bold colours, use Sico Cashmere paint. Seriously. They start with a darker bas, so with no special primer, it covers in 2-3 coats, and they have GORGEOUS reds. The painters who used it at my old house for me were blown away.

Paula said...

Oh I SO sympathize with you the stress of building. We did it two years ago and NEVER AGAIN! Absolutely the worst consumer experience of my life. Builders are all shady, immoral bastards. (Sorry if there is some ethical builder out there reading this, I really didn't think you existed and if so, I need your number in case I ever rethink the whole never building again thing). Good luck with the rest of it. The colours are looking good!

Lawyer Mama said...

LOVE the colors in the post above. So pretty!

We used Benjamin Moore paints in our house (although I can't remember which version) and even the dark pumpkin orange in our dining room was fine in 2 coats. I used a dark red on trim in the living room & only needed a tinted primer & 2 coats for that too. Love that BM paint.