Nina's Stillwater Calendar

Friday, November 30

Getting a Loan

We applied for a loan today. Last week I solicited a small mountain of Good Faith Estimates, which are a lending organization's guess at how much they are going to charge you at closing to get your mortgage money. They varied wildly between 2 and 5 thousand dollars. Except that when you read a little closer, the lower estimates were leaving off important items like insurance premiums that have to be paid. Which gave me no faith whatsoever in their estimate overall. We found two estimates we were generally happy with and I called to make an appointment to apply for a loan. I got an appointment and was faxed a list of documents and a loan application. The mortgage officer double-booked the appointment and actually asked if we could come back later. Absolutely not. So we got a last-minute appointment with another mortgage officer at the bank. Since we went with this bank on a friend's advice and we were now chatting with the woman he had worked with, this was actually cool. So it was time to get down to the loan app.

The faxed app had a list of documents to bring. Including divorce decrees, recent IRA statements, school transcript, etc. I thought it seemed a little excessive. It turns out it was. That list is for FHA loans, not conventional ones. For a conventional loan, all you need is a paystub and some W-2's. Humph. My thorough reading of "the list" did earn me one small point. When the mortgage officer asked for a copy of the contract I replied "That's not on the list." She replied that they really needed to fix the list. After calculating the resell value of my cars on Kelly Blue Book and totalling Scott's 401k only to find out it didn't matter, I completely agreed.

Tuesday, November 27

Roof Advice

We are getting a new roof on our new house so I could really use some advice. Here is our new house:

Here is a house with the green roof/butter paint color scheme I think I want. I think it looks a little less yellow in person than it does on the cell phone. But anyway:

And here is a house with the specific shingle brand/color we'd like to use:

So whaddya think? Anyone have any opinions to share?

Sunday, November 25

Mount Pack-more

We are going to need a lot of boxes so we started collecting them now. But there is no space in our house for a bunch of empty boxes and our stuff. So we started filling the boxes with our stuff. And filling. And filling. And filling. It's now taller than that fridge in the picture and twice as deep. And filled with stuff I didn't even remember I had until last week when I started packing items that had long ago been stuffed into the dark recesses of my house. Anyone else have items they are sure they owned once upon a time but have lost into the abyss of one's home?

By the way, if anyone out there has boxes...

Thursday, November 22

I really am that mean

Some people think all my talk about how mean I am to my husband is pure swagger. It's not. This evening after Thanksgiving dinner we were cleaning and packing (yes, it turns out we are moving) when I found a small squishy bean-filled cloth ball. Scott claimed it was a stress ball and demonstrated by squishing it in his fist. I suppose nervous tics help him deal with stress. I have other methods. I asked him to hand it to me so I could try. He handed it over and I promptly threw it at his solar plexus. In case anyone was wondering, stress balls are wonderful stress relievers. At least for the one doing the throwing. Scott, on the other hand, is still whining about the sore red spot on his belly.

Friday, November 16

Happy Birthday Oklahoma!

Here's a picture of tonight's fireworks, to celebrate 100 years of Oklahoma statehood!

Thursday, November 15

Overheard in math bldg hallway after an exam

Girl on cellphone: "Oh Britney! They tricked me. The problem they told us would definitely be on the exam. They changed the numbers. Now I don't know if I got it right. And I spent all that time copying it down so I could cheat. Assholes."

Wednesday, November 14

The world comes to an end and then life goes on

I presented in topology yesterday. I use the term 'presented' loosely here. Maybe something more like 'mangled and destroyed a simple bit hyperbolic geometry'. I went home in shame and spent the evening vaccilating between a desire to cry and hide under my bed for the rest of the semester or quit grad school and head to Mexico. I still have to present again next week though (unless I go to Mexico, that is) so I went and asked a professor for help. I thought of asking him for help before, but I am not enrolled under him so I didn't want to bug him. So I crashed and burned instead. This time I went for help. And the sun came out and the birds started singing and I think I get how to solve my problem and get ready for next week's presentation. Lesson learned. I hope.

Tuesday, November 13

Teenage Marriage, Part V: The Belly Glance

I've had enough talk of moving and I never finished my reminiscences on getting married as a teenager so let's get back to my teenage wedding. And no teenage wedding would be complete without endless speculation about whether the bride is knocked up. No one can just ask because that is rude (Although, come to think of it, people asked lots of other questions I would have thought off-limits as well. Well, that's for another post.). Some ask about the bride's health or whether the couple has any plans for a family. But most just stare at the bride's belly. The more determined ones try to get a good look from various angles. I suppose I should have been grateful that people were staring at my belly instead of a little further up, but I wasn't. At least I know a little further up is supposed to have a jiggly layer of fat.

I didn't mind the roundabout questioning and belly glances at first. But that was only because I am pretty dense and didn't realize what was going on. Finally, after a rather odd round of questions about my health and family plans, a friend told me what people were really asking. I felt torn. On the one hand, I was insulted that people thought I would marry a guy just because I was knocked up. On the other hand, here was a golden opportunity to play a prank on dozens of people without any expense on my part.

When Scott and I went to Target to register for wedding gifts, I grabbed the scanner they use for gift registries and made a beeline for the maternity clothes. I wasn't engaged to a fool. Scott saw my face, looked where I was headed, followed my thought process, and grabbed me before I could scan anything. Then he kept a tight hold on my arm until we were safely outside of the Target parking lot. My mother offered to take me back to Target when Scott wasn't around so I could scan some maternity stuff. But I was engaged and 'in love' and 'didn't want to go behind his back', etc. Of course, now I am more mature and I don't play pranks like this anymore. I have learned my lesson. Now I make sure Scott doesn't find out what I'm up to until it's too late.

Sunday, November 11

Moving IV: They love me! They really love me!

People often ask me what projects we are working on next. This week I had no answer because I had no information. I told everyone we were thinking about selling our home ("After all that work?!?") and moving ("Where?", accompanied by a very suspicious look until we assure them we aren't leaving town). Once we explain why we are moving, the reaction changes to a disappointed sounding "Oh, well, I guess. But siding..." followed by an excited "There's a house for sale on my street!" Sometimes during remodeling my house looks like a dump (the collection of broken floor sanders on the porch, the bright orange dumpster out front, the lumber scrap pile under the carport, ...) but lots of people who know me and some of my many faults have suggested I move to their neighborhood anyway. I think I get to take that as a compliment.

Saturday, November 10

Moving III: Not an Appropriate Time for Humor

We sent proposed terms of sale off to a potential buyer for our home. This particular sale required me to read and actually understand the sections of the tax code relevant to donating real property to a charitable organization. As I was listing the terms of sale I desperately wanted to add the following line after the price, but even I realized it was just not the right moment for a joke:

- Buyer is responsible for all counseling and treatment necessary as a result of trauma induced by reading of IRS tax code.

Friday, November 9

Moving II

I fear I have given the wrong impression to my readers. The earlier post about moving wasn't a reasoned explanation about why we are considering it. It was only a description of how the thought of moving made me feel. For the other, well this blog isn't about explaining my life so much as pointing out its absurdities. Otherwise I might have to consider why I am not nice to my husband (I'm secretly a sociopath), why he doesn't seem to mind (He's secretly a robot sent back in time by the poor sap I would have married to save mankind, or at least himself, from a secret sociopath), why I have unrelated college degrees and refuse to settle on a thesis topic (dread of someday graduating and getting a real job), why I shave my head in the spring and dye it pink in the summer, and why I let the dogs sleep on the furniture even though I hate pet hair on the sofa.

Tuesday, November 6


We may be selling our house in a few months. Not sure yet, but maybe. This is providing some level of stress. Possibly even more stress than if we were sure we were actually selling it since I don't know what we are doing. Selling and moving has its upsides. I always like variety. And our street is getting busier and construction is going to start so someplace quiet would be nice. And a little more room would be nice. And a little closer to campus would be nice. But then I look at my brand-new beautiful siding (that I still owe money on) and my brand-new beautiful French doors and my copper tile ceiling I can lay on the living room floor and appreciate like a piece of art and my not-so-brand-new-but-still-beautiful bathroom with the huge soaking tub that I imported from Europe and the reproduction gooseneck faucet that I found online and then I want to cry about leaving it all. So I suppose torn sums it up. Today, at a meeting to discuss selling, I tried to be cool and pragmatic about it all. Which was easy to do in a meeting room nowhere near my lovely bedroom with the romantic wall sconces I found on clearance. At some point though, I had to go home.

Crying over Math

This semester has felt comparatively easy. Maybe it's because I took Algebraic Geometry last semester so now I have much lower standards. I couldn't follow the lectures and the homework frequently left me in tears. The professor even said he learned the most in courses that gave him nervous breakdown. I haven't cried over my homework yet this semester. Though I have cursed and stomped and blown raspberries at it. But I think it is mostly because I have procrastinated working on my reading course so it has felt more like 6 credit hours than the 9 it ought to feel like. Procrastinating has made for a great semester, but the day of reckoning is approaching. I have one week left to make actual progress. Let the tears and crying begin.

Sunday, November 4

Some Halloween Photos

Well here is Mina Harker in all her black and blood gory. With a few cows, a witch, a masquerade ball dancer without her mask, a priest, Pikachu, a pirate, and, of course, Dracula.

Thursday, November 1

Sexism & Feminism

You also want to consider, is she the right woman to be the first woman president?
- Wellesley student quoted in New York Times

So are you ready for some whiney complaints about the sexist men out there? Tough. In case you hadn't noticed, the quote at issue is from a student at a women-only university. This post is actually about sexist people, including women. Like me. Once after I claimed to be sexist, I was immediately corrected: "Don't you mean feminist?" No. Feminists advocate equal rights for women. Sexists believe their sex is actually superior. I am most definitely sexist. So the question this Wellesley student asks comes pretty naturally. Follow the logic: Women are better than men. Therefore, the first woman president should be better than all previous male presidents. That means being the greatest U.S. president ever. I don't think Sen. Hilary Clinton would be the greatest president ever. Therefore, she is not the right woman to be the first woman president. Which actually makes me an anti-feminist:

Feminism will have succeeded when a mediocre woman has the same opportunities as a mediocre man.
- I have no idea where this is from. Maybe Megan repeated this to me?

Basically, I am willing to deny equal rights to women by holding all but an amazing few back, totally violating all the goals of feminism, just so I can live in world where all the female role-models in public life are the epitome of successful womanhood. Meanwhile, I am by default supporting the promotion of mediocre men (e.g. All major candidates in the last two presidential elections) over more highly qualified, but not perfect, women. And I'm not alone. For example, I've got a Wellesley student with me. And many other people who expect professional women to be 1) incompetent feather-weights who charmed their way through grad school, 2) backbiting maneaters, or 3) hardworking, dedicated, feminine, brilliant, in a word, perfect. A man can alternately be incompetent, selfish, brilliant and just plain average. A woman is expected to find a category and stick with it.

In the end, my sexism classes me in with the same jerks who pigeonhole women and refuse to let them reach their full potential. Yeah, I'm really wrong. It's not the first time I've learned that particular lesson. I won't stop being sexist, but I can start believing in equal rights and opportunities. As long as I don't have to start treating my husband as an equal that is.