What’s up with Six. What’s up with our escrow account. What’s up with our side yard. What’s up?

Just as you don’t want to hear a drawn out tale of woe about our old used car, I’m not all that interested telling the expansive version. So I’ll cut to the chase. Our Mazda 626’s engine died on the way home from soccer in Portland on Monday night. This, just after having been in for a tune-up. We were able to get it restarted and get back on the road, but without my parents we’d be carless for a few days. The mechanic replaced the ignition coil, but it happened again. He’s got the 626 over the weekend and will be replacing the ignition module on Monday. The car will back in the shop on Friday for brakes and wheel bearings. We plan on buying another car in September, but the idea is to have two cars, not replace the Mazda.

The news is also less than perfect on the house refinance. The news that we have a rate of 4.879 and that we’ll have the house paid off in less than eight years is, of course, very good. The escrow account got messed up in closing though, and it’s uncertain at this point exactly how much money we will need to come up with for house insurance and property tax. You’d think it would be obvious, but of the good faith estimate, the numbers we were given by the loan officer, and the HUD-1 statement we received at closing, none bear any relation to one another. It’s as if everybody just came up with their own numbers along the way.

See we were supposed to be paying about $350 at closing based the last talk I had with the loan officer. The HUD-1? It said we get $1450 back. Although I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, there’s no way that was supposed to happen. It did, however, and it took me a while to figure out why. Essentially, they dumped the $2500 in our old escrow account into the closing costs to reduce the overall size of the new mortgage and help defry closing costs. The big question then is how are we supposed to pay insurance and taxes this year because the closing only funded the new escrow account to the tune of $250.

Now I think the solution is to plop the $1450 we get into the escrow account and fund the remaining $800 out-of-pocket. That’s more than the $350 we were told which cheeses me off a little bit. On balance, though, it’s all money we’d owe one way or another (since it’s taxes and insurance), and the interest rate and loan deal are absolutely awesome. I’m contenting myself with that knowledge. Having the house paid off by the time Jonah turns eight? Well, that’s just happiness.

Speaking of the house, the LDS missionaries returned to finish their work around the pathway to the park. I underestimated the number of bark chip bags needed, so the weed block isn’t entirely covered, but even so it looks really, really good compared to the overgrown vegetation that was intruding on the sidewalk before. Another pizza lunch and drinks is really insufficient thanks for their fine work.

Now that the pathway is looking good, I’m considering building up a retaining wall, filling the space with dirt, and creating a side yard garden space for Erin. We want to that eventually anyway, but I’m wondering if now might be a good time for it if time and money permits. If car and the escrow thing hadn’t both gone goofy it’d just be a question of time, and I’d be more inclined to give it a go. We’ll just have to see how the rest of the summer and the early fall works out.