Archive for September, 2006

But Tomorrow is a Monday Morning

The crowd roars, the team exults and the banner proclaims “we are the champions!”

What scene are we describing here? Wall Street? The mortgage closing table? The local florist after a big order?

Of course not. This is a sports scene. You know this instantly. Of course, all of the other possibilities I mentioned are much more important in the grand scheme of things than whether a group of 11 guys managed to score an extra touchdown than some other group of 11 guys. But the football season has something to it that regular daily business does not, that makes the celebration natural, even inevitable.

And you’re going to say, “of course. It has the Super Bowl,” but you’re only half right. It does, indeed have the Super Bowl. But the Super Bowl is just a game, except for one thing – it is followed by an 8-month stretch wherein the winner can say to the world “we are the best team in football.” In other words, what makes the Super Bowl the Super Bowl is the offseason.

Humans are set up to have an offseason. We all come originally out of farming stock, and farmers wrap things up in October. They don’t plant again until March or April. True, there’s lots to be done in the winter, but it’s different stuff and generally not as much work as the spring and summer. There’s a break, a natural time off. Enjoy the harvest. Job well done.

Now take your job. Does any of this sound familiar? No? Not to me, either. I consider that this week I will close five loans – by any measure a good week – and that three of them have taken longer than two months to get here. It will be a huge relief to get them off the table. One of them has taken almost two years. That one’s a killer, and it’s going to be done. Finished. I should be exultant and there should be cheering and a banner. Except, oh except.

What about the Kunzler deal? What about the Newmans? The Hadfields? The Hamptons? Etc. See, getting these loans done this week is very like the end of a long, tough season in which we will have emerged victorious. Problem is, there’s another game next week. The Super Bowl wouldn’t matter figs if it was only one game in a year-round season, would it? Yep, you’re the champions. This week. Next week, who knows?

Wouldn’t you like to have an offseason at your job? You get that huge contract taken care of, land that big deal, finish 8 months of perfect attendance, whatever it is. I don’t care if it’s setting a new record for sacking groceries. Wouldn’t you like to have your parade? Or, if like my father you pooh-pooh ceremonies, wouldn’t you at least like to take the winter (or the summer) off?

But we don’t do this. Our lives are not constructed this way, in connection with natural rhythms, even though we ourselves are, I believe. I think this is bad. By “bad”, I mean destructive of relationships, physical and emotional health, and spiritual peace. There is some evidence to support this conclusion, which if I were more industrious, or a researcher instead of a mortgage guy that happens to blog, I would look it up. But frankly, I don’t need to. I feel it. I bet you feel it, too. We feel the euphoria of winning that last game before the long offseason, and we feel the lack of any such thing in our lives. Witness the impossible popularity of sports, of video games, of fantasy sports, for crying out loud. People need this stuff.

So what do we do? Ah, here’s my problem. I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about it for years, and have no better solutions now than I did when I started. Do you know what to do about it? Am I just crazy?

9/11 and Miscellanea

At lunch today the Provo/Orem Pacesetters were discussing 9/11 and the events thereof. There was a general lament – which I joined – that it seems impossible for us to simply mourn and appreciate what we have without taking political jabs at one another – ala Keith Olbermann, who reall ought to stick to baseball, calling last night for Bush to be impeached. Apropos of that, I direct you to a political columnist, Peggy Noonan, who seems very able to put aside her personal predilections, and who wrote a terrific 9/11 column last week.

The 10-year bond had really strong auction demand today, so the price rose and the yield dropped to 4.76. I expect that to confirm the 30-year mortgage at 6.25%, though I do not expect it to stay there.

Congratulations to Eric and Karen Guess of Rabbit Ears Village, Colorado on the closing of their house.

More later. I have a doozy saved up.

Lest We Forget

I never got to go up into the Towers. But I drove (or rode) to work past the Pentagon every day for years. It’s one reason I live in Nowhere, Utah now.

A couple of years ago I sang Mozart’s Requiem in a nationwide day of mourning for those lost that terrible day. What can one do? Pray. And be thankful for what we have. Every single day.

Were Baaaaack!

Three-week vacation. Well, okay, only from blogging. We put almost 6000 minutes on the cell phones here last month, including 8 or 9 hours on the phone from Oregon. I have officially discovered that I can’t do everything, at least not all at the same time. It’s disturbing.

Markets are flat, the economy continues to perk along at a Goldilocks rate, not too hot, not too cold, and the bond markets have picked up a little in response, driving the 30-year rate back down to 6.375%. With a little finesse, 6.25% is available. That’s about a quarter point from a new refinance boom, so if the end of the year brings bad financial news, keep an eye on that, all ye that purchased last August to this March.

There are some large changes afoot here in the absence of any huge market news. We’re in the process of closing out a raft of loans the have dragged on for weeks – and one of them for almost two years now – and that allows us to focus a little on reorganizing the business further. Frankly, I just can’t do all the loan officering anymore. There needs to be a way for clients to get information about their loans without having to speak to me directly. It would be helpful if I didn’t have to be on the phone for half of my vacation. Stuff like that. We’ll be announcing some things in the middle of October, so stay tuned.

BYU and CSU won this weekend, so even though the Utes somehow managed to beat Northern Arizona, the weekend was good. Hope your was as well.