Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In Delaware

I greet you from the Delaware hovel, where my wi-fi connection is tenuous at best and I may find myself unceremoniously dumped from the ether with no warning. I hope it's not a hard landing.

I can write for about 20 minutes, at which time I must join a conference call between Steve, a mortgage broker, and myself to discuss a construction loan we've applied for. We've been approved, but there are some small details to iron out, such as: Both Steve and I may be unemployed at the time we need the money. Um...what then?

It's as muggy here as it was in DC when I left. The water looks muggy, sort of thickish and green, as if there's just enough heat to incubate algae perfectly to full bloom. The water temperature in this 3-foot-deep rivulet does get into the upper 80s at times like this, so I guess algae that would be considered benign at other times of year can thrive and become too numerous now. I'm not trying to catch any fish in it, but our next door neighbor, a professional bait dealer, does grow fish fry in big traps off his pier until they are big enough to sell as bait. (Acutally, I guess they survived to market size because the traps are out of the water now.)

Gas at the local station is $3.79! Non-U.S. friends, I wish I could translate that to dollars/Euros per litre, but suffice to say that this price is a full 30 cents cheaper than what I paid as I left
Arlington this morning. It's always cheaper here than at home, and if we play it right, we only buy fuel here in Delaware. But I really never thought I'd see anything below the $3.80s again.

I will stop here before I really begin to babble. My mind is distracted by the f&b world and there is momentarily no space for things nostalgic or philosophical. I'm just saying boo.

7 comments:

Zoey & Me said...

At least you're in a nice place. I thought builders got the pre construction loans based on their credit and then the customer would refi at the time of closing. This illiminates an owner suing the builder for non performance. If you dole out the loot and he doesn't show up, you still have to repay the debt. I have one right now where the city permitted a gas line from the street a thousand feet back to the footprint. County said no. Customer doesn't want the house without the gas so the builder hired an attorney to meet with the county commissioners. If no good, the buyers walk away free, won't even lose their $1000 deposit.

Ralph said...

Is that how construction loans are dealt with in Florida, Z&M? I hope those owners can back out OK, but that case just shows you have to watch the process like a hawk and ask questions. We trust the builder we're dealing with, but folks can make mistakes. Here, we'll get our own construction loan and then turn it into a mortgage once the house is built. Construction loans are interest-only and run for a year, with possible extension. Makes it easy to work with, and even better if you can also work the principal down as you pay the interest.

Zoey & Me said...

Sounds like a good plan. And I agree because I've been a party to building 8 to 10 houses over the years, none were easy, all had major changes and as good as some architects are, missing a half bath by putting in a hall closet is something that can't undo itself once the foundation is poured. But yeah, the builder carries the debt and the land owner closes just like a sale once the CO is issued.

Jeff said...

Gas prices...yesterday was down in the Princeton NJ area for a presentation and passed several stations with both regular and mid-grade under $4.00 a gallon (premium was at $4.05). And that looked cheap! Then believe it or not, when we were on our return trip about 3 hours later, the prices had dropped by another dime.
What the heck is going on here? They're fooling with our fuel!

Mim said...

Ralph,
Well you are on your way with the loan being approved. Thanks for the info on your floor plan. I always thought we'd build a new house, so far no good. But I do enjoy looking at floor plans, planning and all that.
I hope the fear factor of no jobs, and the housing market, doesn't take too much joy from your planning on your dream place. And I love the way you call it a hovel, and home! Now that is being real.
Mim

Peewit said...

Only just catching up on my reading having been busy for the last couple of days. The kids are off for Summer!

Anyway for your information I've been playing round with the Math. Your price equates to £1.91 a gallon. I am currently paying (having converted price per litre to price per (U.S.) gallon) £4.88 for diesel which equates to $9.06 per gallon!

Ralph said...

Peewit: Wow! I hope some Americans see this. I'd always heard even at these prices we still don't pay much compared with the rest of the world. It's gives pause to be told that "in the flesh," as it were.

It does seem that Europeans in general are used to paying more for some things--higher taxes--and yet your lives are so better than ours. Saw Michael Moore's "Sicko" for the first time last night. Brings the U.S. health system into ultra-high relief. One of our current worries is that if/when Steve retires, he will have bno health insurance for 5 years, until he turns 65 and our govt. funded Medicare kicks in. At this vulnerable age, no health insurance unless we pay for it ourselves, which we'll have to do, at exhorbitant rates. Imagine.