Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bottoms...and a High--February 12, 2010

Woke up at 9:00 A.M.  I knew I wasn't goin' to be able to fly today, so I went back to bed.  Ended up getting out of bed at 10:10 A.M.  Had a very weird experience at my friend's house.  I could hear some guy kissing all over 9 in the morning!!!  I don't think they had expected me bein' here...and I later found out that nope, I wasn't supposed to be here!  Last night, I had mentioned leaving around 8 o'clock in the morning...well, that didn't happen.  She decided to invite a guest over banking on my early departure.  It was just awkward.

But I got ready and headed to the airport.  The winds were gusty today.  And I knew that...and I had a premonition that I shouldn't fly today.  Well, at least the thought crossed my mind.  But I just mechanically went through with it.  I should've stayed on the ground.

I pulled up the weather, and the winds were 150 at 11, gusting to 22.  Hmm.  That is some gusty crap right there.  Well, I called up the ever-busy clearance at Fort Lauderdale and then made my way out to Runway 8.  I had to wait for a few bigger airplanes to go before me...even though I had been holding longer...and before they were even there.  Oh, the joys of being in a Cessna 172.  But I watched with the utmost of reflection as light airplanes made their way in in front of me.  An Aztec I swore was aimed right at me...and he was!  But he was tracking down the runway.  Then a Cessna followed him...VERY fast...he didn't land 'til halfway down the runway.

Oh, what a day this is going to be.

I finally was cleared for take-off.  I aimed down the centerline, put my yoke all the way over to the right, and powered up.  I bounced up in the air VERY quickly, and I never stopped the entire flight.  I made a very caution and leisurely turn out to the west...and I prepared myself for what I knew was going to be a very unenjoyable flight.

It didn't disappoint.

I flew 15 miles out to the west, but I could never get above 2500 feet due to clouds.  My engine was revving up and down...the result of gusty winds moving the propeller.  It was annoying.  Not to mention my tail was being thrown back and forth, back and forth...the ball was swinging widely from side to side.  Again, very annoying.

Oh, and the ride itself?  I would have very much liked to have NOT been in the sky today.  Swinging to and fro, constantly adjusting the yoke, adjusting the power, and getting sudden jolts up and down...quick snaps.  It was NOT fun.  I put the utmost of trust in these two little wings, but sometimes I wonder.

I made a slow turn back to the east and called up Tower.  He had me line up for a 5-mile final, and I did what I needed to do to line up...which meant face my airplane directly downtown.  I was doing 109 knots across the ground...but my airspeed was bouncing up and down.  The Tower advised me that winds were now 160 at 20 knots, gusting to 22.  Crap.  That is right at the tested cross-wind component of a 172.  Oh boy.  He also let me know casually at three miles out that he may have to call off my landing for a faster jet behind me.  Umm...ok?  What do I say to that?!

I left all my flaps off.

400 feet, 1/4 mile.

"Cessna 151, turn left 360 and follow Citation on final."  You have GOT to be kidding me.  I get NO respect.

I side-stepped to the left and climbed up to respectable altitude first.  "Cessna 151, begin left turn."  Shut up, man.  I was just 400 feet above the ground when you broke me off...and now I am over houses...I am climbing.

I turned to the left and instantly indicated 134 knots groundspeed.  Crap.  And I was being jolted left and right.  The winds were NASTY down low.  "Cessna 151, turn left for left downwind approach."  I acknowledged.

A minute later, he asked me where I was going.  And I will admit, I was making a very gentle standard-rate turn to the left...but even then my wings were going back and forth, back and forth.  I couldn't keep ANY type of turn in...the winds were whipping my plane like a rag doll.  I was so annoyed.  A bit tense...and admittedly somewhat scared.  I hate saying that, I do, but fear is real.  And my plane was being TOSSED around.  I finally made a 3-mile left downwind.  Crap.

I turned to base and followed in another jet.  I was to turn for Final right behind him.  And it was RIGHT behind him!  Crap!  I had to climb just to avoid his wake turbulence.  So annoying!!!  I AGAIN lined myself up for Runway 8, though I did overshoot my turn as I tried to go for altitude.  I did NOT want to have to deal with wake turbulence as well as these winds.   On Final, the Tower advised me that winds were still 170 at 20.  Wonderful.

I kept off the flaps the entire time.  I'm not sure if that was a good move or not, but my airspeed was going back and forth rapidly.  And I couldn't easily find an angle at a slow speed (within the flap range) that proved too controllable.  I kept the airspeed pegged at 110 (I think).  I know it was well above 100.

My oh my, how fast those numbers look when you going this fast!!!  I crossed the numbers doing over 100 knots across the ground...double what I sometimes come in at.  But I needed controllability today.  As I crossed the numbers, I focused and I gradually bled off that speed, keeping my airplane tracking down the centerline.  I quickly threw in the first and then second notch of flaps once in the range.  It would certainly add to the floating, but I also needed some drag.  I finally touched down about halfway down the runway.  Not bad.  It was a very simple touchdown.


What a flight.  I absolutely HATE, HATE, HATE those flights.  There is simply nothing good that can be said about them.  I thought about what that would look like in IMC conditions...and I honestly lost all confidence.  I simply can't imagine the stress, the disorientation, the stress!!! of keeping that airplane upright.  It was bad enough in perfectly clear conditions.

I taxied to park and headed home.

I stopped at McDonald's, and I was honestly pretty somber.  A flight like that just makes you realize exactly what you can be up against at any given time.  An airplane is simply no match for the elements.  I toyed with flying into a thunderstorm just to see how it would feel (STRICTLY hypothetically-speaking).  I have NO desire to do it in a sane mind.  But it's one of those "desires."  I just CANNOT imagine the strength of such a storm.  I have no doubt in my mind my wings would snap off.  No doubt.

I headed back to the house.  My friend was still asleep.  I called and arranged for home owner's insurance.  Then later on I headed to the airport to get a smaller car.  On the way back, I received a phone call.  I remember EXACTLY where I was.  I was on the off-ramp just coming off the interstate.

It was my banker.

He said he was glad he got ahold of me and then asked if I had time to discuss something.  I know exactly what that means.  And it is never good.

I was right.  More or less, the bank has denied me for a loan.  Even after approving me two weeks ago!  I don't get it.  He explained to me that I don't have enough taxable income, and I said I understood what he was saying...but that they aren't looking at the BIGGER personal picture!!!  I honestly told him I couldn't understand how I could literally go out and buy this house IN CASH...and yet I can't even get a loan to pay it off over 30 years?!  HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!  OR RIGHT?!  And he explained all the nitty-gritty details about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Frankly, I knew all of these details!  Which is why I was denied for a house over the summer!  But now that I was APPROVED, I thought I didn't have to worry anymore!  I was wrong.  We talked for 15 minutes, and I'm in the habit of just cutting to the chase.  I asked him if I could get this house.  On a 30-year loan.  At a fixed rate.  He said we would have to make some changes.  Namely I would have to put 20% down instead of the 5% I was told.  No deal, I said.

He then said that I could take all of my money out of the stock market and put it into a CD.  I chimed right back that if he could get me a rate comparable to the 40% I had made over three years, then we could talk.  But I refuse to put that money into an account that will get 1.4% when he is turning around and charging me 4.95% to use that very money!  NO DEAL.  He said he could offer me at 2.5% on my money.  I said it didn't compare to the 40%.  No deal.

So then I started looking at options.  I asked him what I would need my taxable income to be in order to get approved.  Though I would terribly lose in having to pay tons more in taxes, I said I didn't have to write off everything that I currently do.  If I didn't write it all off, then I could have a higher taxable income.  He said he would get back to me.  He also said we would have a better chance after me finishing this year's return.  I told him that I have pretty much finished...but that I still work at the SAME job, and I'll still have the same types of write-offs in deductions!  It is not going to fix anything.  I really don't think he had examined his thoughts too carefully.  It was frustrating.

Well, he called me back in 20 minutes.  And he said that I had two options.  #1--I could use my stocks as collateral.  Then, if I defaulted, I would lose the house and these stocks.  Hmm.  I pretty much said that that option was always there from the get-go...I mean, using my stocks as a determining factor for getting the house.  I asked him if they even looked at what I had in them.  He said yes, but it really doesn't matter.  More or less, Fannie and Freddie look to see if you can pay your house payment for at least six months if you lose your job.  Anything above that is moot.  Unbelievable.  So it doesn't matter if I have $3,000 or $300,000...when buying an $85,000 house.  Does anyone see anything wrong with this?  He said the six months was just a buffer in case I lost my job.  To which I quipped...IF I lost my job, then I could go get any job...let's say Wal-Mart or McDonald's...and make $23,000 a year...but as long as I had a W-2, you would approve me!!!  He said he couldn't argue.  I about lost it.

We were getting nowhere.  So I asked what option #2 was.  He said the bank could do an "in-house" loan until I had 20% equity in the house.  But they could only do that for five years.  Nope.  NO DEAL.  I have seen the wide gamut of interest rates over the years, and I lectured him that my parents purchased a house in the Carter years.  At 12%.  I said he could not guarantee me a rate of 4.95% in five years.  It could very well be 5,6,7 or 10!!!!  And that is tens of thousands of dollars over the course of the loan.  No deal.

And that's when I learned that the previous Option #1 was still the same, too.  This was NOT a 30-year loan even then.  It was 5 years, too.  I would have to re-write the loan in five years.  Honestly, guy, do I look stupid?!  Did you think this was going to be a yes answer?  I was so frustrated.

So again, I shot straight with him.  "Jason, do I have ANY option of a 30-year fixed loan at 4.95% like I was APPROVED for"?  He said no.  This is so dumb.  To which I replied, "Well, if this doesn't work out as I was promised, I will have you know that I am coming after you [the bank] for the full amount of earnest money that I have already put down for this house.  That is my money, and I will not be losing that."  You could easily sense a change in attitude.  I already have money in the house?!  Yes, sir, I do.  The whole scenery just changed.

He told me we still have options, and we still have time.  (I see only seven days).  And then he said he would think about it over the weekend.  I said I wouldn't settle for less than 30 years, 4.95%, like I was promised.  He didn't say much to that.  He just said that he didn't want me to have a bad weekend thinking about it.  Oh, right.  Right.  Shut up.  Frankly, I'm not too optimistic.  I think he's going to try to squeeze something else out of me.  I don't get it.  I was promised a 30-year loan.  I have more money than most that go after loans.  And I am denied.  This whole not being cookie-cutter thing has really taken its toll on me the last few years.  And this just added to it.  I am NOT like most people, dang it.  Get used to it.  Work with me, people.  Please work with me.

I just don't belong anywhere.  It really sucks.

Halfway through the conversation, he said he knew exactly how I felt.  What a load.

My other banker (the one I have been corresponding with the most) is on vacation in Vegas.  My last e-mail to her said that I was just another numbered customer.  She responded by saying NOOO...that I was HER customer.  I am eager for Monday just to see how she fights for me.  Or if she will at all.

30 years.  Fixed.  4.95%.  I can't settle for anything less.

I had even been shopping for a couch and fridge today!  For my house!!!


In other news, the time back at the friend's house was just all sorts of awkward.  I walked in, and she was silent.  She said hi, I said hi.  That was it.  This went on for about an hour, and I finally walked to her in her bedroom and told her exactly how I felt.  What a mess.  Life is so annoying.

I watched a thunderstorm come in from her front porch.  I sure love these storms.

Then I went out to eat at McDonald's for supper.  Lame.  At least they all can buy houses.

The high of the day?  Well, I got a phone call.  This next week may change the course of my life.  We'll see.

I went to bed at 12:45 A.M.  Low clouds forecast for tomorrow.

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