Tuesday, February 22, 2005

When it rains, it pours!

Literally! We've had one of the wettest winters on record here in Sunny So Cal, with over 31" of rain recorded at the Los Angeles Civic Center. Other areas have had much, much more. But today, I became part of the statistics of "rain related auto accidents". I was travelling north on the freeway. It was not raining, but just had rained heavily, which created a massive amount of spray in the air. The sun was shining, so there were rainbows in front of me, behind me, coming up from the roadway. I backed off from the cars in front of me because visibility was about, oh, 30'. I saw brake lights. I slowed, and then realized I had to stop - quickly! I did. I looked in my rear view mirror to make sure the person behind me was going to stop. Then I saw it. A semi with a trailer, on the lane next to and behind me. He wasn't slowing. Then he started to jackknife, and as he did, his front left bumper hit my right front fender. He stopped, fortunately, before he hit other vehicles. But behind me I could see other cars and trucks as they were swerving, and in the case of one big cargo truck, sliding sideways. The total amount of vehicles inlvolved must have totaled close to 20, and the accident I was directly involved in caused at least 3 more behind me. I was one of the lucky ones. Not only was I not injured, but I was able to drive away. I saw several vehicles that could not. Whew!

Hey, at least I had some good news today! Signing loan documents tomorrow night for our re-fi, funding on Monday the 28th (my birthday), and payment of all items by Wednesday.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Whew!

Well, my last post was about feeling beat up - under financial strain, which was putting a strain on my relationship with my wife too. I tend to worry too much about things, while she's a little more relaxed.
Earlier this week I got an email from a home-loan company that I had refinanced with 2 years ago. I hadn't thought of doing a re-fi as a means of getting out of the hole we were in, but I just gave it a try. A few phone calls, and a couple of discussions later, and we're in the process for the 3rd time in 5 years. But THIS time, because real estate values in Southern California - Orange County in particular - have skyrocketed, we're able to pay off the 1st, the 2nd, and ALL our consumer debt! We'll be debt free except for the car payments and the mortgage. What a relief! I was able to go to bed not worrying about things. I feel so much better.....

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Beat up

I feel beat up lately. Not in the literal sense, but figuratively. I've had some decisions on my mind that have required great thought, but I've had little time to think. It was only 2 weekends ago that we finally got all the Christmas decorations in storage, and at the same time my wife decided to re-do the living room layout, and all three of the kid's bedrooms. Lots of work in getting that done! Even though she did much of the moving.
But I have so much on my mind that I am feeling like a pinball in a fast-moving pinball machine. First off, our family finances. Like many in our country, I have amassed a large amount of consumer debt, which was increased due to my wife not working, and the fact that we purchased two Land Rovers at the same time. Her LR is now gone, replaced by a new GMC Yukon that will cost us $220 LESS than the payments on the LR. But my LR is still around, and I have 2 years to go on payments. On top of that I have nearly $2000 in repairs that need to be done. So, we're looking at purchasing a new or newer vehicle that will last longer and be more reliable. But the costs of doing that are what I need to determine. That'll take time, which I don't always have.
But even with my salary what it is, every pay period is a challenge to make it all fit. We've refinanced twice in the 4+ years we've been in our house, both times to consolidate debt. But with 2 kids in 11-1/2 months, we had a lot of expenses that we just didn't count on, and we did some renovations to our home last year that were costly, but necessary.
On top of all that I am looking into relocating, which is a major family decision. We're not all 100% sold on the idea, but I am wanting to leave sunny So Cal, and Lorrie would like to go to a place that actually has "seasons". Oregon is our choice.
Anyway, feel better now...