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In Other News

Everybody Loves Raymond

Haven't started writing yet because I tanked my original story idea. It was okay but it didn't set me on fire, and I'd really kind of like to be in flames as I write this one.

I'm hell on wheels for capturing the characters' voices and I think the humor's right up there, but I always feel weak on story. I think that's primarily because I work alone, but I need to talk my story through to help flesh it out. A few word association sessions and rambling conversations with Beth about it and I feel like I've got a much more solid story now.

I've spent the last couple days bending it here and tweaking it there to make it fit structurally, and then writing up an outline. Now, I'm pretty much good to go. As soon as I upload this I'm going downstairs to watch my Raymond tapes to soak up the Raymondness of the show, and then I'll come back up and start writing.

Seven days to my birthday, which is when I want to be typing "END OF SHOW". No problem.


Thursday - October 22, 1998
Escrow Hell, Episode 47

It's always hard getting back into the swing of things, journal-wise, when it's lain fallow for a week or more. Each day that passes entryless makes the next entry that much harder to start to write because I always feel the need to explain why I've been remiss -- obligation, don'tcha know -- but then I feel like an illiterate, excuse-ridden spaz as I begin. Which leads, today, to this clumsy opening. Oh well, deal with it. At least we've started. Onward.

The Escrow From Hell continues unabated. Since the last entry I have become personally involved in it, taking action on behalf of just about everyone from buyer to seller to state entities in between, with only limited success. It seems the real problem is the buyer's original lender. To put it bluntly, the guy's a crook, a lying bastard, and begging to become a greasy spot on a driveway.

Apparently, when she first went to him she was quoted X as her total cost for the loan, all fees and whatnot included. Standard procedure when one applies for a home loan. When the loan finally came through he ambushed her with a completely different loan price, something on the order of X + $10,000. Quite rightly, I believe in retrospect, she told him thanks but no thanks and went to a new lender. All fine and good, but there's some bass-ackwards requirement when transferring a loan as she's trying to do that requires the original lender to supply certain documents and to sign off on the transfer. Given that this guy's now not making any money on the deal, he's in no hurry to give it up. In fact, he's actively blocking things and dragging the process out interminably.

That's where I stepped in. I spent a morning in his office a week or so ago browbeating him and his assistant into releasing the necessary documents, then the midday arguing with them on the phone because they'd changed up as soon as I left their office and decided to release only one of them, then the afternoon driving downtown and back to pick up the one doc they'd released and deliver it to the buyer's new lender. This was all quite inappropriate, given that I was doing the buyer's work, but somebody had to do something, and at least I trimmed a few days off the process.

Progess, right? Wrong. The next day we get yet another letter from the buyer saying she wants out of escrow and she wants her deposit back. This was right after we signed off on an amendment she had proposed, by the way, giving her something else that was stupid and inappropriate for her to request. Clearly, the woman is losing her fucking mind. So I went outside the box again. I called her agent's manager directly and said, basically, What the hell is going on? He told me she didn't really mean it -- again -- but that she was just trying to protect her position. Creating a paper trail, if you will. I told him that what she was really doing with these silly letters was pissing us off and that if she sent one more we were going to take her at her word and take her deposit in the bargain.

[Shortly thereafter we got yet another amendment from her suggesting that if she can't get her loan from the new folks the whole deal will truly be off...and she'll get her depost back. We laughed and laughed...and did not sign off on that one.]

Bah. Enough boring details. To sum up, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe. The original lender still won't release two documents they need -- the new lender said he's trying to queer the deal -- but there is a way to go around him and they're trying to do so. The last I heard, the buyer's loan should come through by tomorrow afternoon and we can finally move forward. (We hope, we hope.) The buyer's skittish because, as I said before, she's barely able to afford this house, her first lender is bending her over as hard as he can, we're pressing from the other side, and everybody's getting mad at everybody. But it's starting to look like it's all going to work out in the end, original scumbag's efforts notwithstanding.

And the original scumbag. I've eased off him for the time being. It became clear to me that, although I did manage to get the one document out of him, I wouldn't be getting anything else and would in fact be slowing things down if I persisted. Okay, fine, I backed off. But he's at the crux of this situation, the monkeywrench in the works, if you will. I haven't forgotten that. When this deal finally goes through and he can't hurt it any longer, he'll be hearing from me again. I'm going to make it my mission in life for the next month or so to make sure he wishes he'd never heard of me. As I told them when I was in his office: "This is costing us money. Somebody's going to pay." I promised him then that if he didn't stop fucking with me it would be him. I'm a man of my word.


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Copyright © 1998
Chuck Atkins