Monday, August 15, 2011

Swirling Thoughts #209 - A tale of one house, two bank loans, three Shamai’s, and four cars.

The longer I go without writing, the more convoluted this story becomes. Where to begin?

The 'one house' is the house in which we live
Which is in the literal physical process of being purchased. I mean smack in the middle. So there are bank meetings. Lots and lots of bank meetings with the “mishkanta” (mortgage) guy. Mostly this involves Bob yelling and screaming in his caveman Hebrew in the hopes of moving things along faster, the mishkanta guy ignoring him, the bank manager walking by to make sure everything is in order, and the two ladies that sit next to the mishkanta guy giggling behind their desks because they know Bob is just putting on a show to pass the painstakingly long time each meeting takes. Sometimes I come along. I last for about six minutes in the bank meetings before I wander out to the makolet for a snack or to the park following Peetoosh, who is strangely at home in the bank. She plays peek-a-boo with the desk ladies, re-arranges all the brochures, and rolls around on the floor.

This last visit, 30 minutes went by before Bob realized I was gone. My phone rang.
Where are you?
In the park, having a picnic with Peetoosh.
We need you to sign some things. Can you come back?
Be there in a sec.

There are also lawyer meetings. Sometimes in our house, sometimes in Jerusalem. At the beginning of this whole process, the lawyer instructed me to get a Shamai.

Beit Hillel vs. Beit Shamai
This is how I remember that a ‘Shamai’ is a house appraiser (beit = house). There is no mishkanta without the house appraisal and so began the courtship of said Shamai.
Hello, Shamai? When can you come?
First you must to send me X, Y, and Z.
X,Y, and Z sent.
Hello, Shamai? When will you come?
Now you must to send the appendix to X, Y, and Z.
Appendices sent.
Um, Shamai? Will you come now?
Not yet. We must first to see Q, R, and S.
Q, R, and S found. And sent.
Please, Shamai!
Okay, I will come. But you are overpaying for that house.
What? How can you say that? You haven’t even seen the house!
I will see the house but I am telling you right now. You cannot pay so much for this house.

Bob (to me): We are not going to get a mishkanta because of this Shamai.
Me: I think he thinks he’s helping us.
Bob: Totally.
Me: It’s that tough love thing, right?
Bob: Yep.

There have been endless life insurance email and phone correspondences
When you get a mortgage in Israel, you must take life insurance policies for both mortgage holders. The bank’s insurance agent called us (maybe 10 times in two days) and urged us to buy his policy.
Is it cheaper?
It is the best.
What’s so good about it?
We are part of the bank.
We make sure if something happens to you, the bank gets paid. Those other insurance companies, they may not take care of the bank.
Let me make some calls.
No, let’s start your application today. I will send you forms in English!
And so began the aggressive line of questioning about my extreme hobbies and Bob’s asthma.
You have asthma! Why did you not say you have asthma on the form?
It says on the form to check if you’ve taken medicine for asthma in the last two years. I have not.
No. It says that on the English form. On the Hebrew form it says if you’ve ever had asthma.

The rate quote is in
Bob: So, that sounds great. I’ll think it over and let you know.
Agent: What do you mean? You must to take the policy!
Bob: I want to shop around.
Agent: But I’ve already priced it for you.
Bob: And I thank you. Now I can compare your price to others.
Agent: But we are the best. We are with the bank.
Bob: I’ll remember that.
Agent (defeated): Can I call you tomorrow?
Bob: I know you will.

To be continued…

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