Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Copy rat

The other day after school the kids got home and my son decided it was time to play house and take care of his stuffed cat, aptly named Kitty. When his sister was born I got him a sling just like mine, but mini-sized, so that he could schlep around his things like I schlepped his sister. He wasn't much interested. But in the last year he's taken it out a few times as a favorite prop when playing house.

So I put it on him and stuffed his cat in with his head peeking out. So cute. Then my daughter wanted one too because she's in the me too stage. So I fashioned a sling for her out of a bandanna and we stuffed her rat Julio in there with his head peeking out. So cute. And the two of them proceeded to while away the rest of the afternoon taking care of their precious cargo. The cat and the rat remained even for dinner time. And I watched in amazement as my daughter did exactly everything that my son did. He picked up his glass of milk for a sip; she picked up hers. He pointed to the window and told me about the crow he saw; she pointed and blabbered something unintelligible, presumably about the crow. He ate his fish and cucumbers; she ate her fish and cucumbers. And she doesn't even like fish.

My son figured out this pattern and asked why little sisters always copy big brothers. That's how they learn, by watching and copying someone bigger. The same way that you learn by watching and copying Mommy and Aba. To which he replied, and that's why I need my own cell phone so I can watch and copy and learn from you. And then I swear I saw him wink.

I'm sending him to law school.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ferber shmerber

As the lord is my witness, the sleep trick is WORKING. These days she comes in around 6 am, goes straight for her spot, tucks herself in and goes back to sleep for another hour. The only reason I heard her this morning was because I set my alarm for 6 am thinking I would work out. Right.

Now this trick, was it written anywhere in any of the sleep manuals out there? No. Online anywhere? No. I had to make it up. Because no one talks about sleep training the second kid when two kids share a room. This crying it out business is for shit. It's for first born who lives in a sound proof room. And bringing them back to their beds a hundred million times at night? Rubbish. Because there is shrieking and dragging involved in that method. Pass. Tried it. Sucked.

So here is the only viable method for sleep training a second child who shares a room with her sibling.  Set your kid up with a sleeping area on the floor by your bed. Next time she arrives for some snuggle time with mommy and daddy, ask her if she wants to sleep next to mommy in a special bed on the floor. She will say yes. Tuck her in. Done. 

Years from now parents will be telling each other to "Susie-ize" their second born kids. That said, hundred bucks says she crawls into bed with us tonight and spend the next four hours digging her heels into my back just to remind me who's really calling the shots...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fannie Mae I? Yes you may.

A mortgage update. We locked in our rate and I negotiated with the Credit Union to bump it only by an eighth of a percentage point instead of a quarter. So they are drawing up our documents as we speak. And wouldn't you know, the day after we locked in the rate, my buddy Brian Lombard from the county assessor's office finally returned my call to report that he had indeed changed our home designation from a condo to a duet which is essentially an attached single family home. So instead of code 6 for condo, we are at code 1-D for Single Family Home - Duet. Knowing this before we had the home appraised would have obviously given us a very different number and would have meant no increase in our rate per Fannie Mae's annoying new condo provision, but it will certainly be a boon for our resale value. Now instead of thinking that buying this house was the biggest miscalculation of our lives, we are hopeful to eek out a modest profit when we do decide to sell.

And we continue to be harassed by telemarketers claiming to be associated with the federal government's Help for Homeowners act. As far as I can tell it's only the scammers who have seen any benefit from the federal government's generosity.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

To the Lighthouse and Home Sweet Home

Two more Name Prints are up on the site. I just did them on Wednesday and finally got around to posting them. I think this rounds out the collection for now. I can't tell you how much I loved creating these and to visualize how they'd look with names to find just the right quotes...makes me giddy.

On this one, the quote is tiny at the bottom. It says “Let your light shine. Be a source of strength and courage. Share your wisdom. Radiate love.” – Wilfred Peterson
This one says, "Where there is life, there is love." - Ghandi
That's a personal favorite. Hope you like.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Here's sleeping with you kid

My daughter and I have come to an agreement about sleeping arrangements. Three days ago she slept the whole night in her room. What did we do differently? We started putting them to bed together. She used to fall asleep while I was singing songs (and it would make sense that she then would have trouble falling asleep again when she wakes at night without me there singing her songs) but I now I sing my songs, give everyone goodnight kisses and I leave. There's always a little upheaval. Mommy, she's on my bed! Mommy, she's playing with stuff! Mommy, she's touching me. And I have to March them back in their room a few times. But after twenty minutes they are usually both in the room and finding a way to coexist in the dark. The other change is that instead of putting her back on her mattress after she's rolled halfway across the room, I just left her where she was on the carpet and put a blanket on her.

So I repeated the exact routine the next night, but she still woke up and walked into our room holding her pillow. When she went back to grab Julio the rat and her blanket, I put my pillow on the floor next to my bed. When she came back in I whispered, do you want to sleep on the floor next to mommy? She agreed. And that was that. In the morning she woke up and instead of coming into our bed she reached for her blanket and snuggled in more on the floor. She appears to like the floor. Last night, same story. Although she came in much closer to 5 am.(progress!) I had already put the pillow and blanket down there for her. She only needed help finding her Julio in her room. So I retrieved Julio and she got cozy on the floor. Bingo.

Tonight, I'll have her pillow and blanket ready PLUS the spare Julio. If all goes well, I won't even know she's there. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pajama Day

Every day should be pajama day. The world is a better place to be when it's pajama day. My world anyway. The kids woke up and were THRILLED to put on their jammies (we're having a heat wave so they've been sleeping in their skivvies). I didn't have to negotiate with anyone or trick anyone. They just got dressed smiling. And that pretty much set the tone for the day. When I picked them up they were beaming, the whole day spent marching around in their full regalia.  Even I was transformed. We got home and I was inspired to blow up the kiddie pool. The disgusting, moldy kiddie pool that I first had to scrub down to get the scum off. The kids stripped down and I powered that thing up and filled it with two inches of freezing hose water. And they jumped around for two hours while I blew bubbles on them and made dinner and generally lollied around the house while they entertained themselves. It was awesome. Then I thought, what they heck I'll just give em a bath in the kiddie pool. So I soaped everyone up and scrubbed everyone's heads and privates, in that order, and before we knew it, it was time for dinner. After dinner they watched a little Curious George and had some apple slices. Then I brushed their teeth and shuffled them to bed with a few stories about Pinky and Pongo, two cats I made up whose antics bear a striking resemblance to my own kids'. Imagine that. Then a few songs and by 8:30 they were both asleep. 

Today was crazy hair day which unfortunately does not have the same effect. It's the National Week of the Young Child so tomorrow is cowboy day, but since my son's cowboy boots no longer fit him and I didn't get my shit together in time to get him boots that fit (in my defense he is a half size right now and they only sell the kind he wants in whole sizes), my guess is that cowboy day will not make my life easier the way that pajama day does. 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gender Bender

My son loves earrings. And purses, And wearing princess slippers. He likes wearing barrettes in his hair. Oh and nail polish. He loves to wear nail polish. And I let him do all these things because I can see that it makes him happy. And at the same time I'm very attuned to the language I use surrounding these things. I never say stuff like princess slippers are only for girls. Or that boys don't paint their nails. Or carry gold purses with a cameo of Sleeping Beauty on the side (yes, that's what he picked out with my Disney Store credit). He is who he is so I just let him do his thing. When he plays in the front yard in his Thomas underwear and platform shoes we sometimes get stares, but he doesn't notice and I prefer it like that for now.

A while back I bought him a pair of red clip-on earrings because he was forever bugging me about wanting a pair of earrings. And he just about died when he saw them. But the clip comes off the plastic earring so I end up having to glue them about once a month. And he only wears them a few days a month but today was the day he really REALLY wanted to wear them and he just would not stop bugging me about it. Mommy, can you get the glue gun? Mommy I want you to glue my earrings. Mommy, I have the earring - can you get the clippy part? Mommy the glue gun is ready. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. And before that he'd been bugging me about wanting to drive in my car and could he please call grandma on my phone and he needs a new coat of nail polish. I just about snapped. And I came to understand that it's less about him wanting to act like a woman and more about him wanting to act like a grown-up. I know it's pretend and it's healthy. I know all that. But at a certain point it's just enough. Act like a goddamn kid. Do kid things. I know that dress up is a kid thing but do it with your dress up toy jewelry, not my jewelry. And wear your damn princess slippers and not my work shoes. So I told him as much. Enough. You need to play with your own stuff. With kid stuff. Play with toys. Trucks. Dolls. Princess make-up. I don't care - just be a kid. Because being an adult actually sucks. You have to work. You have to clean the house and pay bills and buy groceries and mow the lawn. Sometimes you have to refinance. And watch what you eat. And dye your hair. So enjoy being a kid! You can run around naked and no one cares. You can sing songs all day long and everyone claps for you when you pee in a toilet and for the love of ginger you could bounce a quarter off your tushy. What I wouldn't give for a tushy like that! Okay maybe the last part of the speech was in my head.

He listened and stopped bugging me for a short while. And I did get around to gluing his earrings which made him endlessly happy. And even happier later when we were at his pal Aidan's birthday party and he saw her dad wearing earrings.

Him: Look Aidan's daddy's a boy and he wears earrings with holes in his ears.
Me: No, Aidan's dad is a grown-up and he wears pierced earrings. And when you're a grown-up you can too.

With all the excitement he let some pee pee escape. So I took him to the bathroom to finish what he started. Indeed his undies were a little wet. Can I just go commando? That's my boy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Playdate and Surf Grommet

I sort of fell off the painting wagon for a few weeks because I was in a frenzy trying to get my email newsletter prepared and the Mishmish site optimized. Plus we had grandparents visiting and Passover in there. My Thursdays were hijacked! But I was happy for the break and the company. Sometimes it's hard to be creative just because it's Thursday.

So this past Thursday I was back in the studio (I go to my friends' house after work on Thursdays and call it my studio). And I came out with these two new name prints. They're kind of unisex. Hope you like. Now available on ETSY.

On this one, the quote is:
"You are unrepeatable. There is a magic about you that is all your own." - D.M. Dellinger

This quote was a find.
“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air…” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Good Morning

This morning made up for that horrible afternoon the other day. My husband left very early and I had to get both kids out the door earlier than usual because my son had a dentist appointment. My daughter woke up and after having her banana she pointed to her diaper, said poo-poo (she says that no matter what's in her diaper. One time I found a crayon in there and she was calling it poo-poo) and then laid down on the floor in our room waiting to be changed. Who ARE you?

And that's how the morning went. I said get dressed, they got dressed. I said brush your teeth, everyone marched into the bathroom. Did someone slip something in their cereal milk? By 7:30 they were in the car ready to leave for an 8:00 appointment that was only 15 minutes away. What to do with all this free time?

What I did in fact was not rush my son who wanted to buckle his sister into her car seat. More accurately, she's the one who asked him to do it. Then he got himself in and we were off. Since we had my daughter with us I wasn't able to sit with my son in my lap for this appointment so he was a little nervous about being in the dentist chair by himself. But he was a star. Dr. Jones scraped the gunk off his teeth, polished them, flossed them and even did a fluoride treatment. My son squirmed a little but I reminded him he was in a rocket chair that was lifting off and had a water spout for inter-galactic hydrating. Where do I come up with this shit?

We left 20 minutes later with our dentist prizes in hand and I got the kids to school by 8:30 and myself to work by 9:00. Even drop-off was smooth. My daughter sometimes cries but today she just jumped out of my arms to go be the helper and take the chairs off the tables. And my son was excited to tell his best friend about the pink sandy toothpaste that Dr. Jones used.

Maybe we'll have a third.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Taming of the Shrew

Yesterday afternoon was a zinger. Some afternoons just suck you know? No matter what I do. It took my daughter all of three seconds in the car after preschool to start shrieking about wanting to eat her brother's leftover apple sauce. Huh? And she does this with such a sense of entitlement. It's not even your freaking sauce cha cha. I just couldn't get her to stop crying about the goddamn apple sauce no matter what I said so I opened all the windows in the car and turned up the radio. After another five seconds she just stared out the window and let her curls blow all around her face. I'll have to remember that trick for tomorrow.

It got worse the minute we got home. I made them a quick dinner and then wanted to take them across the street to the park. I know, how awful of me. We get there and immediately they start fighting over the little springy seahorse thing and somehow my daughter gets knocked on the head with a forward-thrusting seahorse. No doubt that hurt. So I console her by offering the swing as the best available alternative. She relents but then while on the swing she wants to take her left shoe and sock off. Meanwhile my son wants to move on to the jungle gyms (it's an elementary school) but she won't budge so we pretend to leave and she is hanging there like Shoeless Joe Jackson staring at us as we walk farther and farther away. We're halfway to the other side of the blacktop when it occurs to me she doesn't give a rat's ass if we walk all the way to Canada. This isn't working.

So I go back and offer to get her out of the swing again and go play. I'm being playful and patient. I'm using my squealy toddler voice. She'll have none of it. So I grab her sideways around the belly and bring her home squawking and shoeless. And then began the Mother Of All Tantrums. She puts my son to shame actually. She's a force of nature. She's 25 pounds of combustible material. At one point after I had put her in the corner for the thirtieth time (time-outs don't work - maybe for preschool teachers or super nanny, but not for actual parents) I was literally palming her head out in front of me as she was trying to rush forward with swinging arms and clenched fists. My brothers used to do that to me as a kid and it drove me nuts. Wait, I'm seeing some parallels. Anyway, I finally just get on the floor with her and hold her while she is sobbing and we slowly move into her room and onto her bed. It took about ten minutes of my rubbing her feet (more on this for a later posting) for her to calm down. And when we could all breathe again without emitting smoke from our nostrils, it was time for her bath and another thirty minutes of sobbing. And at that moment I had a clear vision of those Calgon commercials we saw as kids. You know the ones: Calgon, take me away. And it's this lovely woman in her thirties lying in a tub of bubbles. I bet that stuff flew off the shelves.

Monday, April 13, 2009


At 5:00 this morning I heard my daughter shouting and crying from her room. I figured she was asleep because if she was awake she would have just climbed into our bed. I went in there and as suspected she was curled up in child's pose in the middle of the room with no blankets and likely freezing. But she was sleeping for sure. Usually by 5:00 am she's already snuggled up with us for more than a few hours so this was a pleasant surprise. I put a few blankets on her and went back to bed but then thirty minutes later she came in first with her pillow, then her blanket, then her other blanket (I'm serious, she made three trips) and then she crawled into bed for her last hour of sleep. I can't figure her out. But literally every time I blog about how she sleeps half the night with us, she ends up sleeping basically the whole night in her bed. So I am going to dedicate this blog entirely to her sleep habits so I can continue to get some rest. Just the thought of that is putting me to sleep so it's already working.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Other Plague

The eleventh plague, which no one ever talks about, but which is second in severity only to the slaying of the first born, is the plague of the matzah crumbs. We have matzah crumbs in every friggin room in the house. I mean, who brings matzah into the bathroom? Probably no one - you just can't contain the stuff. It travels. This is the only week of the year when we allow shoes in the house because I swear matzah crumbs will tear your feet to shreds. We sweep it up, it comes right back. I even go so far as to wet the matzah so it's a little more supple but it still crumbles.

And all this without even mentioning the constipative qualities of matzah. I mean if we really wanted out of Egypt fast God should have made Matzah the first plague and ordered the Egyptians to eat it for a week. By the third day they'd have been begging the Jews to leave. I can hear the conversation between Pharoah and Moses: Alright alright Moses. I'll let your people go if you let my people "go".

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I thought it would last a day or two. I was wrong. Several weeks ago (months? I've lost count.) my daughter was suddenly terrified of taking a bath. This is a girl who used to lie down in the tub so that only the tip of her face - like her nose, eyes and pursed lips - was sticking out of the water and bubbles. While my son was whining about getting his head wet she was snorkeling for tub toys. We called her the baby beluga. Then one day, seemingly out of nowhere, she freaked out about going in the bathtub. I put her in and she was literally shrieking to get out. My son was already in so I knew it wasn't too hot. It was the same as any bath day. Same amount of water. Same gnarly bath toys. But she was having none of it and made that clear with blood curdling screams. Step aside Ronald Regan, this girl is the Great Communicator.  All the while she was also ranting about poo poo. So I figured she had to go. I put a diaper on her but she didn't go. And then it occurred to me that maybe she was worried she would have to go. Two days before she had pooped in the tub which really upset her (though you'd think my son would be the one with the hang-up now. Yes doctor, I have a latent fear of floaties). 

Anyway this has been going on for a while and the only way I can get her in the tub is if I go in first which as you can imagine after a day of work and scrambling for dinner and an hour at the park, the last thing I want to do at 7:30 at night is get in a luke warm bath. A spa, sure. A sauna, no problem. As long as I'm alone. In Baden Baden. But the luke warm piss tub is not a fave. Although now she even gets nervous with me in the tub and I see her kind of holding her crotch which says to me that the feel of the water is making her want to pee but she's not comfortable peeing in the tub (she used to just pee right on her brother without a care in the world. Again, we wonder why he's not the one troubled by the bathtub). So here I am telling her, sweetie, it's okay. You can pee in the tub. I've lost my mind.

So how is this going to end? I don't want to force her but she stinks. My son went through a brief bathtub boycott when he was about her age. Younger actually. We came to understand, at least we think, that he was afraid he would go down the drain. So I sat his butt on the drain and he felt a little tickle of suction which made him laugh and maybe he realized that in fact neither his giant tushy nor the rest of him would ever fit down this drain. But his anxiety only lasted a week. This is going on months. I even put her in a  swim diaper (I mean I am pulling out all the stops here). That worked for a few minutes until she likely peed in the diaper. She's going to end up being the stinky kid at school that no one wants to be near. Just pee in the goddamn tub. We all do it. It's your one opportunity to pee standing up. You'll love it. It's liberating. 

No can do.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sleep Saga continues

The sleep situation is not improving. She's taken it to the next level and now when she comes to our room she actually brings her own pillow and blanket. I hear her pad in around 3 am, she hands me her pillow which I put long ways in the middle of the bed since that's the only way it will fit. Meanwhile she's gone back to her room to get her blanket. So, I mean, this girl's wide awake and fully functioning in the middle of the night. So she claws her way up the bed and over me to her bed away from bed and falls back asleep immediately. I just don't get it. And more importantly, I just don't know how to make it stop. We tried bringing her back to bed. We tried having her sleep on the floor in our room, instead of the bed. She's having nothing of that. I need a solution that takes into consideration the other person sleeping in her room and the fact that she doesn't sleep in a crib anymore and can get up at will.

I've mentioned this problem to friends and it turns out that EVERYONE'S kids are coming into their beds. As old as six or seven! I never knew this. I was that obnoxious parent who swore by sleep training (since it worked so well on our oldest) that I think other parents just stopped confiding in me about their nighttime disruptions for fear I would judge them. Which I would have. Now I know better. Although now I'm even a bigger proponent of sleep training when babies are young because while doing it at four months is hard (emotionally) I am telling you that doing it after the age two is IMPOSSIBLE.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Why is this uncle different from all other uncles?

We had Passover Seder at my brother's house last night and as usual the highlight was a surprise visit from Elijah the Prophet. My older brother knows the drill at this point (I have two brothers - one hosts, the other is the prophet). We wrap him in a sheet and a tallis and he wears a wool Rasta hat and sunglasses and then walks in doing the customary Elijah jig. He grabs the wine glass and shimmies out as mysteriously as he arrived. I'm not sure why he takes the whole glass but that's his shtick. The adults are cracking up at this point and the kids are vacillating between fear and exhilaration. My son turned to me in the car later and asked if that guy was Santa. My nephew is almost six so I'm not sure how much longer he'll believe in our Rastafarian prophet. So far no one has made the connection between the entrance of Elijah and the disappearance of Uncle Aaron. I guess we're good for another year.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kiss my Fannie Mae

Apologies to my loyal readers. Both of you. I have been on the schneid. I've been preoccupied with a number of pressing issues and have neglected you. I am sorry. But first, a bit of house-keeping:

I am soon to officially launch my new delicious art prints business Mishmish Studio so if you want to be part of the launch and get on my mailing list, which is opt-in only, then please go here. It takes three seconds. Then they send you an email to confirm (another three seconds). I promise to send only the occasional email announcing new designs, new collections or upcoming promotions. And I won't share your email with anyone ever ever ever, except for maybe with one nice Nigerian diplomat with whom I have been corresponding lately regarding a substantial sum of money...

Then you can help me create some buzz by forwarding your newsletter to anyone and everyone. Some suggestions: Oprah, Angelina Jolie, the Obamas, Ellen Degeneres, Martha Stewart, Madonna…he he.

But on to more pressing matters. I have two words for you. Fannie friggin' Mae. Yes, people. There is a reason why Fannie Mae, the supposed government-sponsored enterprise chartered by Congress with a mission to provide liquidity and stability to the U.S. housing and mortgage markets, is named Fannie. Because they are full of shit. I've been hearing for months about this making Home Affordable campaign and how it's supposed to help not only those poor people who are looking at eminent foreclosure, but also those of us who got caught in upside down mortgages after our home values plummeted. Yes, we are one of those people. Or so we thought.

The back story: we bought our home, which is technically a condo (that's another whole story), in April of 2004. It was a small fortune for a two bedroom but with a little bit down and a double mortgage it was affordable. Did we put down 20%? No? Was that a mistake in retrospect? Probably. But we made enough money to cover the mortgage and we weren't planning to stay long. So the 5-year ARM worked for us and we had a 4.25% rate so the world was our oyster.

But the market is a fickle bitch isn't she and when all went sour in the fall we started to think about refinancing because five years later we're still in this tiny house and it wasn't looking like we could sell it for as much as we bought it for. Not good. And we tried to find a mortgage lender to help us but everyone wanted an 80% debt to value ratio and we weren't even sure we had a 100% debt to value because home values had dropped so much. But the deal with appraisals is that you pay for them no matter if the bank is willing to give you the loan or not and they cost $500. Except for Bank of America which doesn't charge you if they don't end up giving you the loan but there's no guarantee they'll send an actual person to appraise the house. They may just do a "desktop" appraisal which means looking at comps, doing a calculation and spitting out a number. That would be bad news for us because our home is very unique. It's half a duplex so it looks like a single family home with a yards and all but in fact it's considered a condo. Though if I can ever reach Brian Lombard over at the County Office of Santa Clara, I might be able to change his mind about that erroneous designation.

What to do? All the while I'd been hearing how Fannie Mae would help millions with debt to value ratios higher than 80% (that's a magic number, as well as $417K. It's a little bit like being in LOST with all of the magic numbers). So I thought, OK, any day now the banks are going to start rolling out these new terms and we'll refinance and a great hush will come over the land and all will be content. So we waited and waited and meanwhile no official word came out but now we're getting calls that sound official except they're from schemers and liars and cheats trying to hoodwink an already down and out population by pretending to be associated with the government and wanting to help out soon-to-be foreclosed homeowners. What is wrong with you people? Did you not have parents? Did no one tell you that deception and thievery is wrong? Don't get me started. Too late.

So finally we just decide to bite the bullet and apply for a loan through the Stanford federal Credit Union because we trust them (non-profit), they only do walk-through appraisals (which only cost $250) and there's only like three guys who work there so we have their ear when we want it. We filled out all of the paperwork, set an appointment for Daisy the Appraiser (she's friends with Dora the Explorer) to walk-through and then prayed, literally prayed, for an appraisal of $525K which would give us an 80% debt to value ratio. I had everyone I know doing the $525K mantra. We even prepared a one-sheet for Daisy listing all of our home's improvements and virtues. And I coached my husband on what to say to her on the day of the walk-through. We actually practiced his little speech. Five agonizing days later we got the call. $525K. I'm not fucking kidding you. Daisy came through and our debt to value was 80%. This meant we could get a loan and we didn't have to pay private mortgage insurance on top of it. Woohoo.

But wait, the plot thickens. I go to seal the deal with my buddy Alex at SFCU and he tells me that because we own a condo, I either have to pay 3/4 of a point on the loan (that's 3/4 of a percent on the entire loan or $3,800!) or tack on a quarter of a percent to the interest rate. This is written nowhere on the website and was never mentioned in previous conversations. So I am livid. And I let Alex have it realizing of course that he is only the messenger but I can't help it. And why this new ridiculous stipulation? Because of, yes you guessed it, kiss my FANNIE MAE. As of April 1st all condos that don't have a 75% debt to value ratio have to come up with this extra cash.

So not only has Fannie Mae not helped anyone who's underwater, they're actually sticking it extra to the people who happen to be above water and want to do the right thing by getting into a normal and stable loan. Fannie Mae, you suck. You heard it here first. Go to hell Fannie Mae.

So this is where I've been. On the phone with Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Lending Tree (never use these people - they are a giant scam), Alex at the credit union, Brian Lombard's goddamn answering machine, Daisy the queen of all appraisers and Fannie Mae herself.
Anyway, our appraisal is good for three months so we'll be making some decisions soon. If Brian changes our house to a townhome or, even better, an attached single-family, then we're really in business. Of course, he'd have to return my phone calls for that to happen. Otherwise, we will just suck up the extra percentages points and refinance and continue to live out the American Dream, grateful that we still have a home at all.