Monday, July 15, 2013

One of these days I’ll learn

Last week was consumed, in a good a rightly way, by my wife’s birthday, what with planning for it in the days leading up to it (because with three small children, even something fairly low-key requires a certain amount of logistical awareness to avoid completely falling apart) and of course dealing with the scrounging pet-related after-effects. But there were actually some fairly momentous developments last week which I will now bring everyone up to speed on.

Big haps number one: my all-consuming project at work actually rumbled into an almost lifelike approximation of forward progress. The advantage of only posting about work stuff on Mondays is that I have had a whole weekend away from the cube farm and am not sick of talking and/or thinking about the indignities thereof. The slight drawback to only posting about work stuff on Mondays is that sometimes there’s noteworthy goings-down on Tuesday and I just don’t get around to talking about it for a week, and that is in fact a fair description of last week’s turn of events. I got a hookup with the hardware support I needed this past Tuesday and since then I have been doing my level best to get a bunch of data transferred from the network to a movable storage drive. That will be about half the battle when its done, and then I’ll need support again in uninstalling the movable drive and reinstalling it on my workstation on the classified network so I can do the whole transfer again in reverse. Wheee.

Not everything is skittles and beer (of course not, it never is) because now I am at the mercy of our network speeds to transfer this ungodly amount of data, and those speeds are non-optimal. It is a painstakingly slow process, and there’s not a lot I can do to speed it up, and every time I calculate exactly how long the whole transfer is going to take I get very depressed (and also have visions of the people waiting for me to finish this project completely freaking out). I’m still trying to figure out what, if anything, I can do to work around that which I cannot change, but I haven’t had any breakthroughs as of yet.

Big haps number two: we finalized a closing date for the sale of the old townhouse, and that date is today. I know, I know, I KNOW, the short sale of that property dragged on for close to forever but everything has been sorted out and all that remains is the signing of a spotted owl’s habitat worth of papers, and that’s on tap for this afternoon.

As I may have mentioned, I’ve never been through a closing from the seller’s side before. The townhouse was the first patch of real estate I ever bought, and then my wife and I bought our current house together and rented out the townhouse because it would have been impossible to sell at the time, and so for the past few years I was two purchases up on zero re-sales, and now I’m closing half of that gap. (Some day in the not-too-distant future I will finally probably have the experience of buying a new house and selling an old one and closing on both all around the same time, which should be interesting, but neither here nor there.) I bring this up again as a point of emphasis for my own lack of experience as the grantor in the transaction, because that goes a long way towards explaining how this past Friday unfolded.

Basically I found out on Thursday that Monday the 15th was the appointed day of reckoning, and the lawyer (whom I was required to retain the services of for navigating the arcane requirements of the short sale) sent along some paperwork for me to complete in advance of the closing. I honestly didn’t even look at the paperwork until Friday morning, at which point I realized various documents needed to be not only signed but notarized. Undaunted, I printed everything off, filled everything out, loaded everything into a file folder and set out for the branch of my bank closest to my office. It’s a bit of a hike, but notary services are provided free to account holders so I felt the long walk was effort well expended.

I got to the bank and waited in line for a teller; my mom used to be a bank teller and in fact for a time she worked for the bank I use (coincidence, because I chose that bank and then after the fact they acquired my mom’s much smaller bank) and my mom was required by the bank to become a notary public so I figured there was at least a chance that this could be a teller window piece of business. But no, the teller asked me to have a seat on the waiting couch while he went and got the notary. I did, and after a couple of minutes the teller came back and told me, sorry, they only have one notary and he had just gone home for the day. (This was about 1:05 p.m.) I was annoyed, but I’ve apparently reached the point in my personal maturation where I primarily blame myself when something like this happens, e.g., I should have called the bank and made sure they were going to be able to accommodate me before I burned shoe leather in that direction.

The teller suggested that I go to another bank branch but I patiently explained that I needed someplace within walking distance because I had to get back to work. The teller offered to take my documents and have the notary take care of them in the morning and then I could pick them up. I explained I don’t live anywhere near where I work and it would not be convenient for me to come back on a Saturday morning. The teller offered to have the notary fax the documents to me, and at that point I stopped explaining myself because obviously the teller had no idea what getting a notarized signature entails (specifically me and the notary being in the same place at the same time). I just shrugged and walked out.

On the sidewalk, I pulled out my phone and googled “notary public” in the neighborhood of my office and the very first result was the Kinko’s office center within a couple blocks of my bank, so I beat feet in that direction. Walked in, went to the counter, asked the woman behind the counter if it was true that they could notarize something for me. And she apologized and said no, they no longer offered that service, BUT the very next words out of her mouth were “but there are three places nearby where you can have it done” and she rattled them off.

See, now, that’s customer service. I can’t get too mad at the teller at my bank because I know he was a young kid just doing his job as it’s been drilled into his head by his corporate training. (In fact, again because my mom worked for them too, I recognized some of the exact phrases he parroted at me as things my mom had rolled her eyes at when she went through the post-acquisition training, such as “What can I do to help solve this problem for you?”) But my bank is lame, and in reflection of that the teller was entirely focused on ways that the bank could notarize stuff for me, in the morning or at another branch or whathaveyou, even though I had already expressed the urgency of getting stuff done right then because I had to return the paperwork for a Monday closing. So if the bank couldn’t do it right then, then I needed to know who else could do it right then. And at least the Kinko’s lady realized that. She mentioned another bank up the road, the hotel concierge down the road, and (randomly enough) a framing shop right around the corner inside the shopping center. I opted for the closest destination, the framing shop.

When I got there, I asked the proprietor if he notarized, and he just laughed at me and said no, he doesn’t, and he has no idea why people keep coming in and asking him that. I told him the people at Kinko’s apparently thought he did, and he shook his head and said he never told them that and it’s a great source of confusion to him.

At that point I had already killed so much time I figured I might as well indulge in getting some good karma for myself by going back to Kinko’s and informing the lady at the counter that she was misinformed about the framing shop, and maybe prevent her from misdirecting other people in the future. So I retraced my steps and told the lady of my recent experience, and this time the first words out of her mouth were “Wait, which framing shop did you go to?” Because apparently I work within walking distance of a shopping center with more than one framing shop in it. I guess there’s enough office towers where executives need to hang art on their walls to support that kind of thing in mass profusion. At any rate, the Kinko’s lady gave me better directions to the framing store she had actually been referring to, slightly farther into the shopping center than the one I had made a beeline for originally, and I set off once again.

At framing store number two I finally found success and got my documents all signed and stamped with seals and whatnot. It cost me 20 bucks (cash only, so I had to jog up to an ATM and back) but at that point, and in fact in this point of the whole overall seven-or-eight-month short sale process, there is literally almost no hoop I wouldn’t jump through to get things done. And with docs in hand I trudged back to the office to get the papers back to the lawyer.

The scanner was down at the office so I had to fax the papers back to the lawyer, and then I e-mailed him to let him know they were coming that way. He e-mailed me back to say that he had only provided me with the paperwork because the title company handling the closing needed them before we sat down at the table. So I printed off another cover sheet addressed to the title company and faxed the paperwork to them, and e-mailed the lawyer to let him know I had taken care of that. He e-mailed me again to inform me that the title company needed the original documents inked by me and the notary before closing. Which did not quite sound right to me, so I called the title company myself. And I spoke to the woman preparing everything for my closing, and told her what I had been told and asked her what exactly she needed from me. And, as nicely as you can possibly imagine, she said that she already had everything she needed and she certainly hadn’t been expecting me to get anything pre-notarized. It would have been fine if I had just showed up on Monday afternoon to complete and sign the paperwork, and of course someone in her office would have notarized it then. Of course. (Sad trombone.)

Well, what’s done is done! And by this time tomorrow I’ll be done with the old townhouse. It’s been a bit of a trip, but I’m more or less used to those by now.

No comments:

Post a Comment