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Our old house sold rather quickly, it was listed, sold and closed within 30 days. Our buyer was a little wacky and we had to jump through all kinds of hoops to make him happy. The closing date snuck up on us big time and we had only a few days to make moving arrangements. Liz and I packed up as much as we could and we had some friends that were nice enough to come over and help us. We had some help loading large items onto a moving truck which we were fortunately able to get for free from our real estate agent’s company. It was a 15′ truck and took 2 full loads to get all of our things to the garage of the new house. Liz and I loaded the first truck load along with some help from friends with the large items on Saturday morning. We then took the load to the new garage and unloaded it with just Liz and myself. It took us about 1 hour or so to unload the first trip. Then we took the truck back to our house and started to load more. It was getting late and Liz’s dad had come down to help from Ocala, so we took a dinner break and ended up with Liz’s dad and myself stopping by Dairy Queen on the way back. We got all the rest of the stuff from our old house loaded onto the truck in a few hours. Leaving only some trash to put out for collection and some small items like mirrors and things we could get with the van. It was almost 10pm by this time so we decided to leave it at that for the night and I drove the full truck back to a baseball field parking lot next to some friend’s house whom we were staying with. The next afternoon, Liz went somewhere with the kids and I took the truck to the new house and unloaded it by myself. It only took me a little over an hour and a half to get the extremely packed truck unloaded. What can I say, I’m nothing if not efficient. Ha ha. That evening I took the truck back to the real estate agent’s office and got my precious Miata back. I enjoyed a nice pleasant ride back to where we were staying.

First our home sale was supposed to happen on a Friday and the closing on our new house on a Monday. However, there was some kind of delay last minute and we could not close on either until Wednesday. So Wednesday finally came, I took some vacation days off work for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday but also had Monday off for Columbus day. So I had 6 days to move and get settled in. We met at the title company at 3pm on Wednesday to close on both houses. The buyer of our house could not be there so he came earlier and signed paperwork. Which we were very happy about so we didn’t have to deal with him in person since he gave us such a time dealing through his real estate agent. Not to mention his agent had a horrible accent and was very hard to understand. They got to us in a short amount of time and we signed all the sale papers for our old house. We finished only after about 15 minutes or so, and then decided to move on and finish the signing of the papers on our new house. This way, when the seller got there all he had to do was sign a few papers and we’d be all set.

Bad thing was that the amount we got back at closing was not as much as we had thought due to higher taxes and expenses in closing. So we got back just short of the amount we wanted. We had planned to pay off two big debts but didn’t receive enough to pay off just one of them. We will be getting an escrow refund from our first mortgage which will help and we don’t have a mortgage payment until Dec 1st, so I’m hoping the extra bill I hadn’t counted on will not be too high of a payment. We should be able to pay a little on the second debt which will hopefully make it more managable. We still have some things we need to buy though, like a dishwasher, since it died just after we got the keys. I’d like to get a new refridgerator, but that will have to wait. We did get a new TV (woo hoo), couch set, and some other things, but the budget is going to be interesting now. We are going to have to take Sarah out of private school and send her to a very highly rated public school nearby. We just can’t afford her tuition anymore with the higher living expenses. This has been hard for Liz and I’m not happy about it either, but unless I get a major career boost (and I already do good) or Liz gets a good job, we just can’t afford to send our kids to private school. Its bad enough just paying tuition for one, I can’t immaging how we could send all our kids to private school. Sarah will likely start public school in early November.

Activating utilities at the new house was a little strange, we are just outside the city limits of Temple Terrace, but still are on their water/sewer system. Tampa Electric still services us which is good, but water and trash pickup were tricky. The county told me they didn’t service my address, the city said they didn’t service the address, Temple Terrace told us they did. So it was a bit confusing getting it all setup. But on the day we moved in we had power, water/sewer and trash pickup is covered in our property taxes. I missed trash pickup this morning, I guess they come way earlier than I am used to, so I’ll have to remember to put it out the night before the pickup day. I ordered Verizon FIOS for internet access to try it out and see how it works for me. Its cheaper than Road Runner and has faster upload speeds which is more important to me than a few MB faster download speeds. I am downloading any TV shows I want to watch now so we didn’t get cable again and I don’t want to pay for Satellite, which stinks in Florida anyway with all the rain in the summer. I connected my PC via DVI to the new TV – a Hitachi 57″ HDTV. I watched some things on it in HD and its amazing. I just need to get a good surround sound system and I’ll be set. But thats one more thing I can’t afford right now. I might be able to get a PCI video card with a DVI port on it, and just use my e-mail server as my multimedia machine. I’d also need to get a wireless keyboard and mouse, but thats not too expensive. I have yet to decide what I want to do about that yet.

We love our new house, its not brand new and it has some maintenance things that will need to be done, but its been cared for and is in good shape overall. Its in a very quiet neighborhood, peaceful and pleasant. Liz has already been rollerblading a few times and I took the kids in the back yard last night to assemble their swing set and it was so quiet and there was a nice cool breeze blowing with no one else around. I have some installation inadequicies so it took a little longer than I had wanted to get the swing set assembled 🙂 We still have lots of stuff in the new garage so only my Miata can fit in there at night right now. I would like to have both vehicles in the garage by next weekend. Its not that much left to move, but its a matter of time and energy to go through it all. We made good progress in the few days we have been there, the kitchen and living room look great, but the other rooms are a little bare right now.

So I’m back at work today after a long break and am right back into the mix of things again. I think I am becomming a supporter of capitol punnishment for spammers. :-)]]>

Last minute change of plans

I took vacation days for Thursday, Friday – Monday and Tuesday to close on our houses and get moved in to the new house. So on Thursday morning I was off of work, Liz and I went to New Tampa and picked up the moving truck. We had purchased several items online and needed to go pick them up, so we headed out to Brandon to pickup our new couch set. We got there and the people were really nice and we had no trouble loading the new set. We left there and tried to find a place to stop and get a money order, because I was a few hundred short of the cash I needed to pay for the next item. We found an Amscot where we were going to try to buy a money order, but we only had a check and credit cards with us. They would not let us buy a money order since they deal strictly with cash. So we went to Lakeland anyway to pickup my new TV!!! I bought a 57″ Hitachi Big Screen. I got a great deal on it, it came with a matching entertainment center too. So there were two guys there at the house we picked it up from who helped us load it onto the truck. It took a while and lots of effort, but we managed to get the TV and entertainment center out of the house and onto the truck. I skinned up a knuckle hauling that monster, since we had to pick it up to get over dips and when moving at angles. We secured the TV to the side of the truck and went on our merry way. We only made it a short distance when we heard loud bang from the back of the truck. We pulled over to find the bungie cords we used had come undone. We re-secured the TV this time with rope and more blankets to protect it from any further impacts. Eventually it settled down and we made it back to Tampa in one piece. But something else happened on our way back to Tampa…

As we were leaving and about to get back on I4 to go home, we were sitting at a traffic light on Florida about to turn onto Memorial to get back to I4. Suddenly lots of police kept zooming by us, probably 10-15 cars, we had no idea what was going on. We saw tons of cops, an ambulance, lots of unmarked cars, and just a lot of police activity. We finally made it onto Memorial and were going down the road when we saw lots of people standing on the sides of the road and more police activity. We made it by the police as they just were coming out to stop traffic. We went a little further and saw motorcycle cops driving up and down the road looking for something. We went on our way and didn’t think much more of it. When we got back to Tampa, we heard what happened. Some guy (they think a drug dealer) shot two police officers and a dog. The dog and one of the police officers died and the other office is in critical condition. Last night there was a $15,000 reward for the capture of this guy. This morning, it was up to $40,000. I just now (at the time of writing this post) heard that they found the guy (think he was hiding in the woods) and they shot and killed him. So we were right there in Lakeland when all this happened just moments after it took place.

So we made it back to Tampa and decided to stop by the new house and drop off our loot into the garage. We were told to call the sellers agent for the code to the keypad of the garage door so we could get inside and unload out things. We tried calling and got her voicemail. We called over and over and were about to give up and leave after being there for about 30 minutes. Liz’s mom had just arrived to pick us up so we could leave the truck there until we heard from the sellers agent, just then the phone rang and it was her with the garage code. So we opened the door and unloaded the TV and entertainment center with the couch we got. Then we took the truck back to our house and were going to start loading more onto the truck. Liz had to leave at 2:30 to pickup Sarah from school, so she ate something quickly and left. Liz’s mom also left around that time. That left me home alone to load the truck. I was going to get as much loaded as I could and take a load to the garage so that when help came later, all we had left to move would be last minute things and the larger items I need help with. Well, once Liz left I got ready to go outside and haul stuff into the truck. I took my keys out of my pockets, and put my cell phone on the desk. I didn’t want to have a lot of stuff on me while moving. So I went outside and closed the door behind me. I didn’t realize until a few minutes later that I had just locked myself out of the house with no keys, no phone and no way back inside until Liz got back. Now Liz had to go take Sarah straight to Amanda’s house so she could watch the kids while we moved stuff. She also had to feed michael before she came back. So Liz didn’t come rescue me from my own stupidity until around 4:20pm. We originally thought that Thursday would be our only moving day since we had to be out of there for closing the next morning. So I was in a rush to get stuff loaded and moved, and was rather distraught that I had lost almost 2 hours of my moving time by locking myself out of the house. So Liz got home, and started to pack up more last minute things and I started loading more stuff onto the truck. I had put some things that were on the back porch in the truck already. Around 4:30 we got a call from our realtor, who said there was a delay on the buyers side and they were looking at a Wednesday closing now. So we had to unload what I had loaded onto the truck already, and help Liz finish getting what she needed. I then took the truck back to New Tampa and dropped it off. Liz took some things to Amanda’s house and they got Pizza for dinner. I got back from New Tampa to Amanda’s house around 8pm. I ate and helped get the kids to bed and left around 9:30. I spent the night alone at our old house since we still had most of our things in there. I didn’t want to leave it all there alone.

I got up this morning and came to work a little early so I could eat breakfast in the break room, since they provide pastries and bagels and such every Friday morning. Liz originally left me some milk so I could have some cereal for breakfast, but forgot to leave me some cereal. So I was stuck at the house with no food. I had a bagel and creme cheese for breakfast along with a yummy cheese danish.

I then got a call this morning from our realtor again with a few updates. Apparently I was not told of two more repairs to our house the buyers wanted done. Now I have to patch one more crack in the garage floor (which is normal in FL for a new house) and replace the air filter in the return on our hallway. The buyer is going to do his walkthrough on Monday while the appraiser is there.

So now we have reserved the moving truck for Saturday and Sunday just in case. Hopefully on Saturday we can get all of our stuff moved out of the house into the garage of the new house. I am meeting my realtor to get the truck at 9am tomorrow morning. This should be a fun weekend! And its killing me, I have that nice 57″ TV sitting in the new garage and no way to play with it until Wednesday! 😦 Maybe I will take my DVD player and some cables with me tonight and hook it up just to see it play. I’m so impatient.]]>

Moving day approaching fast

Today is my last day of work this week. Tonight we have lots of last minute packing and dis-assembling to do. In the morning, Liz and I are going to go pickup the moving truck, then head over to Brandon to pickup our new couch set. Then from there, I hope to go to Lakeland to pickup my new TV and entertainment center. Fron there, on the way back we have to stop and get a refridgerator as well. Its going to be a very busy morning. Then I plan to load everything I can on own that morning/afternoon and take as full a load as I can manage to the new house and unload everything into the garage. I’ll then head back to the house and load more stuff, small furtiture and other items I can manage on my own. The goal is to only have the larger items that I need help with left when help arrives that late afternoon or early evening. We have almost everything packed, except for some stuf in the master closet, and kitchen and bathroom items. Liz is packing suitcases for us today for our extended weekend stay with friends. Hopefully, on Monday morning everything will go smoothly and we can close on the new house before 11am and head straight to the new house and start unpacking. At least thats the idea anyway! Good thing I bought a back brace!

Truck is SOLD!

Woo Hoo! My truck sold today! I am going to lose some money on it, but at least its out of the yard and I can drop the insurance now. This is definately a good thing!

Fun driving

I am having so much fun driving my new car! I’ve never had a roadster before and this little Miata is amazing. It corners great, handles well and even with my bad back tire, still makes much better contact with the road than my truck did in rainy conditions. Last night I went to Autozone to get some stuff and came out and it was pouring. Good thing I put the top up! I’ll be putting in some Iridium plugs this afternoon and changing the oil to a nice synthetic 0W-30 tonight. This should be a nice combination for my little car! I’m thinking about adding a K&N Cold Air intake to my engine and replacing the standard intake/air filter system. I also need to replace the head gasket soon. This is great fun, its been several years since I’ve done my own car maintenance, but I’m enjoying it!

A Miata for me!

1. Has to fit in my garage (to prevent theft or vandalism)
2. Had to be more economical than my truck

Those two items limit my selection to just a few types or models of cars. After some searching and research on the few models I had to choose from, the Miata stands out. Its a fun little car, peppy and loads of personality. Plus its much better on gas than my truck. So it meets both of my selection criteria. Then I had to talk Liz into it. It was hard work, laboring in hours of discussion over it. 😉 ha ha, NOT! Liz loved the idea, she practically mandated that the next car I get must be a manual. She likes the miata anyway and loves that its a manual. So looks like I’ll be hunting for just the right Miata once my truck sells. Hopefully it will sell fast. Otherwise I’ll have to get a miata from a dealer and trade in my truck for even less $$ :-(]]>

Finally a positive customer experience

All I can say is WOW. This is a rare thing for me, but I can actually say I had a positive, pleasant experience as a customer today. Previously I stated that my truck had been broken into and my radio was trashed and had to be replaced. Well I decided to put the factory radio back in and called Circuit City today to make an appointment for tomorrow. The guy on the phone said “can you bring it in now, I’m not doing anything right now”. He said it might only take 10 minutes. So I shot over there and sure enough, he was in and out and had me all taken care of for free. Since I originally purchased the radio from Circuit City, they will replace the factory radio for free. So it took about 10 minutes and I was done. The guy was really nice and it didn’t cost me a thing. How much more can you ask for? So now my truck is all set, I just have to clean it out a little and then I’m ready to sell it. I posted two online for sale ads today listing it. Hopefully it will sell fast so I can get a car and save some money on gas!

Daddy Dates

Sunday was Sarah’s “Daddy Date” day, so after I got the girls some dinner (left over belgian waffles); Sarah and I left. I took her to the same DQ where we ended up parking and going in to order. But we still got our order to go. We took my truck this time so we got our blizzards and went out to my truck to eat them. We don’t like eating cold ice cream in a freezing cold DQ restaurant. So eating in the truck was nice, because its warmer and you appreciate the ice cream more. We had a nice time, we ate our ice cream and talked. We both sat up front and had a nice time together. Once we were done eating, I asked her if there was anything else she wanted to do. She recommended we go to the park, so I drove out to the Bonnie Brae park which was only a short distance from DQ. We drove through some nice neighborhoods and looked at houses and ended up at the park. Once there she ran over to the monkey bars and I watched her climb up to the top. After that she wanted to swing with me, so we both got on the swings and talked and had a good time. After that we played on the exercise equipment they had at the park and then headed back to the monkey bars. She had my climb to the top this time. Then we got on the swings again for a few minutes and finished up with a game of tag. (we tied 2 to 2).

Each time I take the girls on “Daddy Dates” they always say “This is the best day I’ve ever had”. I love spending time with my girls. They are so sweet and so much fun.]]>

Financial grief

A. I recently (within the last 2 or 3 months) switched bank accounts from Bank of America, to Bank Atlantic. BOA is now closed.
B. Several of these items mentioned are setup with Auto payment methods

1. I decided to pay off my truck loan with another line of credit I have in order to get the title and attempt to privately sell my truck. Sounded like a good idea, I got a great rate (better than my auto loan) and it was great. I sent in the payment and viola, the truck is paid off. I should have the title in the mail within 2 weeks. But what, thats not all. Almost a week after the loan was paid off, somehow Capitol One (my auto loan provider) debited another months payment from my new checking account. Apparently their system did not catch the payoff in time to stop the next monthly payment (I guess one week is not enough). So here I am now with a paid off loan, and an extra payment made to the account. So I call Capitol One and ask about the payment history on my account. According to this rep, they received my payoff and the account was closed. No further payments show as having been posted to my account. However, looking at my bank statement there is definately an auto pay debit on my account from Capitol One for the exact amount of my monthly payment. So I call back later and was told that I would need to fax in a bank statement showing the debit with a 5-day running balance on the account. I sent in the fax and am still waiting on a resolution, meanwhile there is an almost $200 chunk of money missing from my account now.

2. At least 3 weeks ago I updated the banking information on my Citibank mastercard, which is what I used to pay off my truck loan using a special balance transfer offer. There was only section for updating payment information on the citicards website. So I assumed my job was done. Last week I received a notice in the mail from Bank of America with a payment rejection notice from Citicards. Apparently I originally signed up for Autopay on the citicards website (something that has since been removed, you now have to call and send a fax to activate this). So now that Auto Pay information has been removed from the website, I had no way of knowing my account was enrolled in autopay, so I updated my banking information in the only place available on the citicards website, which they call Click to Pay. Needless to say, they billed my old (now closed) bank account and the payment was rejected. Now I have to ask you the reader, have you ever read the fine print on any of your cardholder agreements? You know the part where they say the interest rate will go up to some ungodly number if you ever default on a payment or otherwise default on your account. Well, I am living proof that they mean what they say. After the 1st day the payment was rejected, my account was immediately flagged as in default and my interest rates were jacked up to over 32%. This raised my monthly payment which was due to almost $700. I received a phone call from an automated system from citicards saying my account was overdue and I could press option “1” to pay by phone and avoid the normal $14 processing fee. So I did and I made the payment which they pushed me into before they would even talk about resolving my issue (which would have reset my interest rates and brought my payment back to normal). So I made an almost $700 payment and then realized I was charged the $14 processing fee I was told I would not be charged. To citibank’s credit, they did refund the $14 processing fee, after I used their website to request a refund. After talking with Customer service at Citibank they initiated an APR reset, to put my rates back to normal (what they were before this all happened). I have to call back again on Friday to check on this and make sure it was done. Hopefully retroactive to cover the few days my account was in this state. Later I was transferred to an e-services representitive to try to figure out why my account billed from the wrong checking account. I was then told that I was enrolled in autopay and the only way to update banking information was to complete a form from Citibank and mail it in with a blank check. Again, this is something that was removed from the website. So right now, my rates are on their way back to normal, I still need to make sure they are retroactive. My banking info is saved on the website, so I am just going to use click-to-pay from now on (fortunately they have E-mail reminders for this). Once the rates are corrected, I am going to check to see if they can readjust my LARGE payment I had just made to reflect the changes of the correct interest rates and apply the bulk of that inflated payment to my principle balance. I have my doubts if they will be very helpful with this request.

So as it stands now, I am missing nearly $1000 from my checking account unexpectedly. And these major banks are in no rush to try to resolve any of my issues. With a 7-10 day turn around time, I guess thats just big business. Hopefully by tomorrow evening or early next week I can at least expect some kind of resolution to these issues. Although I don’t think they will be resolved to my satisfaction, but rather to the bank’s satisfaction. I wonder if Bill Gates has these kinds of issues? 🙂

UPDATE: 8-7-06 – I called Capitol One and Citicards again this morning. Capitol One agreed to refund the extra payment they took out, so I can expect a check from them soon. (Although soon in bank terms could mean months). Citicards said the interest rate reset went through and should take effect tonight. The change should be retro-active and correct any time the rates were messed up. This will also cause my finance charges to get re-calculated so the huge payment I made will get re-calculated and anything over the normal finance charges will go towards my principle balance! Looks like this is on its way to being fixed.

UPDATE: 8-17-06 – I did finally receive a refund of the extra monthly payment Capito One took out. They put it right back in my account. As far as Citibank goes, I’ll have to wait until the end of the month before I can tell if everything has been fixed with that.]]>

Truck Update

Almost 2 weeks after my truck was borken into, I still haven’t had the radio replaced yet. The exterrior and interrior damage has been repaired (for the most part), but the radio is yet to be replaced. I have the factory radio which I am leaning towards having re-installed, rather than purchase a new expensive radio, since I plan to sell the truck once I get the title in the mail.