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The Boston Ruby Group and WordCamp Boston

I mentioned a couple months ago that Michael Gyura and I were starting our own consulting business, Poka Yoke Design. We’ve had a good start, and we’ve already launched our first project: the Greenway Health ROI calculator, through our client Hobson & Co.

Our house is still overflowing with half-unpacked boxes. Despite all the craziness of moving (or perhaps because of it…), I was a speaker at WordCamp Boston this past weekend, and also gave a lightning talk at the BostonRB Ruby meetup last week. I wrote all about it on the Poka Yoke Design blog. I’ll be doing my technical posts and work related blogging there from now on, but I’ll always link to new posts from here.

First-world problems: Lurching towards home

Home sweet homeHome sweet home
Home sweet home13-Jul-2015 13:24, HTC EVO, 2.0, 3.63mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 216

This is the 3rd time we’ve bought a house and gone through the delightful process of getting a mortgage, and it was by far the most stressful and unpredictable. We had some nights of lost sleep and a couple genuine nail-biters along the way, when it looked like things might go very wrong.

  • “For the last 10 years, please provide a hand-written, detailed explanation of your relationship to every dollar you’ve ever encountered.” That wasn’t quite what we had to do in applying for the mortgage, but it was close. We provided probably over 100 separate pieces of financial documentation, including several that had to be hand-written. Apparently this is because people often sign things without paying attention to what they’re signing, so the banks have decided that a 19th century approach is the best solution to this problem, by making you hand-write it yourself. My hand actually cramped up! Sad to say, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve written more than a few sentences by hand. Also, at one point I got caught in an argument between the bank and our accountant. The bank was insisting we provide a profit & loss statement for Maria’s fellowship last year. Our accountant argued (correctly) this was absurd, and refused to do it. He surmised all they were really trying to do was spread their liability to him if something went wrong. The bank would not relent however, so I had to figure out how to write a profit & loss statement myself. I could fill up several pages with stuff like this, but this should give you an idea of what the process is like, and it went on for about 2 months. I can only assume these extreme and seemingly arbitrary documentation requirements are all a consequence of the 2008 financial crisis, as we never experienced anything like this before.
  • The loan process was taking so long, we had to change the closing date. This caused a big problem with our movers – they said if we couldn’t keep our early July delivery date, they would have to push back our delivery about a month, since they were swamped for all of July. We’ve been living out of suitcases, and the movers have our beds, so this was not an attractive option. After sharing this with our mortgage broker, he felt confident he could have everything ready in time to close before the movers came, so we gambled on keeping our scheduled moving date. He succeeded, and he told me he had been coordinating all this with the agents and attorneys, but it turns out he actually hadn’t. They had no idea he was pushing the loan through ahead of the new closing date, so we weren’t able to close before the movers came. This led to a frantic negotiation with the sellers to move our stuff into the house early (just our furniture and boxes – not us actually moving in). At first they said no, but after we agreed to getting an insurance policy, they said yes (some very expensive insurance, which I think went directly into the seller’s pocket, as I was instructed to make the check out to the seller’s name with the word “Insurance” added to the end). This all happened at the last minute, so I was also checking out storage options (and not looking forward to the prospect of moving all our stuff again a few days later). The movers were on the road during all this, and were quite understandably calling me every hour to find out where they were going!
  • We thought that would be the end of the drama, but at 4:50pm on the day before the closing, we got an email from the closing attorney (Massachusetts requires attorneys for closings, not just your real estate agent). It included a change to the final amount, and instructions that they would only accept wire transfers. The closing was at 1:30 the next day, which normally is not enough time to arrange a wire transfer (our bank requires 24 hours notice, and I didn’t see the email until after the end of the business day). Luckily we have a good relationship with someone at our bank, and, just as importantly, her direct number. Even though it wasn’t her department, she was able to take care of everything for us in the morning.

Things mostly went well with the movers. We had some damaged items, but nothing tragic, except, of course, the only truly valuable piece of furniture we own: the leg of Maria’s antique desk was completely broken off. Aside from that, we’ve been buried under boxes since the closing earlier this week, and we’re slowly digging our way out. This house is smaller than our last one, and we have decided we have way too much stuff – it’s time for a purge! The boys are happy to be here. Eidan has made friends with the boy who lives across the street from us. We’re pleasantly surprised that Kai’s enjoying being a counselor-in-training at a sports camp, which Eidan is also attending. The only downside is driving them there and back in Boston’s absolutely brutal traffic. Maria’s enjoying her new job so far, and I’ve already given a talk at the Boston Ruby user’s group, and I’m a speaker at WordCamp Boston this weekend.

My Boston RB talk on the Law of DemeterMy Boston RB talk on the Law of Demeter
My Boston RB talk on the Law of Demeter17-Jul-2015 12:08

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