House-buying mortality

I was going to put this under “Living,” but given that the topic is actually “Death” I decided to simply file this under “Real Estate.” The two are related.

Last night and again today (I’m “working,” okay?) I’ve spent a great deal of time going through snail mail that has piled up over the last few months. Between work-work and house-work, I haven’t had a great deal of time to separate the wheat from the chaff. I was given to understand that it would be a very good thing for me to think about doing, so instead of actually being productive last night (did I mention I want to write an extension for Word to serve as a Wiki engine? Offline, for now… Oh. I needed a hobby.), I went through piles of mail.


You see, I am, and always have been, a packrat. I just have a strong desire to KEEP things. This would explain why my bedroom at my parent’s house still is full, while my new house is similarly full. I have clothes that haven’t fit me in ten years, but I just can’t justify getting rid of them, for sentimental reasons. My jacket from Space Academy I (aka, Space Camp for Slightly Older Kids), for one, is still sitting in my closet. I digress, however.

I have mail from when I was in college. Some of it is kept out of sentiment — cards my mother sent me, for instance (and she sends me a lot of mail!). Some of it is kept because at the time I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away (a birthday card from an exgirlfriend, for instance), and now don’t know where they are (If you’re reading this, don’t worry, I’m not talking about anything YOU gave me). Boxes of mail have tended to move with me; I just rarely have the time to do anything about it.

Last night, however, I made some time. However, all I did was go through mail received since I bought our lovely house (for the record, I have a bunch of pictures. I just haven’t had time to sort them yet… This is a theme, isn’t it?). The mail, with a few exceptions (most of which weren’t addressed to me) fit into depressingly few categories. I had some mail at work from the same time period which I’m going through while waiting for a build to finish, and I’m discovering the same repetitive themes:

  • Mortgage refinancing offers.
  • Debt refinancing offers.
  • Credit card offers.
  • Items from my real estate agent.
  • Life insurance offers.

This strikes me as being fairly ironic. On the one hand, I’m sure having a new mortgage and the associated effects on my credit score must trigger some set of automatic behaviors when lenders process credit information. On the other hand, though… Let’s reexamine that list:

  • Please! Redo the hundreds (slight hyperbole) of pages of paperwork you’ve already done! Rates have gone up, but you’ll still save money!
  • We’ll throw money at you! It’s so much cheaper than the current credit card bills you’re paying! Either you don’t have to have a house to back the loan, or you do! We’ll tell you how much we’ll actually lend you and at what rate after you actually apply! Don’t read the small print that says you need to have a FICO of 900 and a Loan-to-Value ratio on your house (if applicable) of under 10 percent (slight hyperbole)! We know you just bought a house and don’t possibly have that great of a LTV, and we know that the interest on this loan will not be entirely tax deductible, but still! Let us lend you money for you to pay back over a longer period of time at a lower interest rate, so you just think you’re saving money!
  • Congratulations! You’ve just spent several hundred thousand dollars you don’t actually have! What are you going to do next? “I’m going to go further into debt!” (No trip to Disneyland or World required)
  • Come on, you bought one! It was a lot of fun! Why don’t you take up house buying as an investment strategy? After a few hits, the pain of signing over your life fades to a dull ache!
  • (At this point, I picture a gaunt man in a black suit, sitting with his hands clasped on his desk, while you’re sitting across from him, waiting for the receptionist to hurry back with the cup of tea you said you would like in place of coffee.) So. You’ve just bought a house. You know, you’re going to die. Soon. Have you thought about your death yet? It’s an interesting question to ponder. Will you suffer long? Will you die suddenly in a terrible and inexplicable accident involving glue and rubber cement? Will you be “rubbed out,” to put it colloquially, by someone who you annoyed by snoring through part of Der Ring des Nibelungen? Will you die from too much artificial sweeter accumulating in your body? But I’m sadly off topic. Ah, here’s your tea. Sugar? Aspartame? No? Here you are then. After you die, you still will have to worry. You can’t just slip silently into that dark night. You have bills left to pay! Your house still to pay off! What will those who expect to extract cash from your corpse think when suddenly, all your money has gone to your old expenses, and you still have debts left over that they’ll then have to resolve? Come now, wouldn’t it be far better for you to start handing us money now? After all, you’re going to die really soon, so it’s a sound investment strategy. You give us money, you die, we give some back. (I see him leaning forward, with a quill pen and scrollwork parchment to sign.) Just sign here… (This has some elements in common with other issues proposals that require bloodwork…)

I don’t think reading the mail is good for my moral.

I did, however, come across a package addressed to Glitch that contained samplers for “Greenies for Cats,” which Glitch hates. Pixel and Bit, on the other hand, went bonkers for them. So all was not lost, and my last thoughts of the day did not dwell on my own mortality. Instead, they dwelt on the blasted kittens who decided to wrestle ON me. Can’t win…

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  1. I love your description of the life insurance man. 🙂

  2. haha! I love your description of the life insurance man.