i had trouble falling back to sleep this morning, kept on thinking about the things i would do and say today. i finally got up, got dressed (my one nice dry cleaned press ironed white shirt), and left my house with my bag full of manila folders stuffed with financial documents, ready to display them at a moments notice. today i'll be mortgage shopping. there was a time when i didn't know what mortgages were. they were these mysterious things that people with money talked about all the time. now i realize that mortgages aren't anything more than an obscenely large loan, paid over a long period of time, like, 30 years. can you imagine being in debt for 30 years? this mortgage won't be paid until i'm age 58. they can't possibly be measures in human scales, more like geological scales, where 30 years can go by in a blink of an eye, or a flash of igneous rock, depending on which analogy you're using.

the first place i visited was the belmont savings bank. i figured since i've been a lifelong resident of town, that somehow the bank would cut me a sweet deal. boy was i naive! i went into the bank, got redirected upstairs (i never knew this bank was so huge!), and waited in an empty conference room with a long table for my mortgage consultant to show up. i was surprisingly calm, i thought i'd be nervous. a man showed up, we shook hands, and he started asking me numbers. when i told him it was "financing" (that's special bank jargon for what i wanted to do, that is, get a loan to buy an apartment) for a condo in cambridge, he started to make those faces and sounds that told me he was about to deliver some bad news. "well...ah...there might be a problem...you see...as a general bank rule, we don't deal with condominium purchases unless you can put down at least 25% of the asking price." although he couldn't offer me the loan, he knew somebody who could, and gave me his card and number in return for my contact information. i didn't want to tell him, but i didn't want to be rude, so i told him anyway. i shook his hand, put all my financial papers back into my bag, wrapped my scarf around my neck, put on my jacket (it's taking forever!), and walked out, feeling slightly rejected but relieved at the same time. one down, a couple more to go!

i went home and called one of the three mortgage brokers my real estate agent recommended. i had a good talk with the guy i called, threw him a bunch of numbers as well, arranged a time to meet wednesday morning to go over some more details. we elected to meet someplace where the both of us could get to easily, that being the au bon pain in harvard square. it felt very cloak and dagger to set up the meeting, since neither of us have ever meet before. "what will you be wearing?" i asked. "i'll be carrying a black briefcase," he said.

after that phone call i took the t into central square to visit a few banks. on the bus my cellphone started vibrating in the breast pocket of my coat but i didn't realize it was mine, and i even thought it was somebody else's annoying little cellphone that's making all that buzzing sound. upon arriving at the station, about to board the train, with zero reception, i checked to see that i got a voicemail message. later.

in central square i visited cambridgeport savings bank first. their mortgage consultant wasn't there at the time but i left a message and my phone number for her to call me back. i got a complimentary mortgage kit for my troubles. the second bank i went to was cambridge savings bank. one of the woman there told me this branch doesn't have a mortgage office and i'd have to go to the main office in harvard square to talk to someone about a mortgage. she gave me a business card of someone i could call and she too gave me a complimentary cambridge savings bank mortgage kit. collect them all!

back in kendall square, after grabbing a sandwich at au bon pain (some tomato pesto cheese affair, nasty ass sandwich, i picked a really crappy lunch today), i sat on a bench on sixth street and finally checked my voicemail. it was the mortgage broker recommended to me by the belmont savings bank guy. i called him up, we had a pleasant talk. i felt sort of weird, sitting out there, all my financial papers on my lap, talking to someone about getting a mortgage. it felt very business-like, very corporate. from a distance, i could've passed for one of those suits that i sneer at daily when i commute to and from work.

i finally arrived in the office. it took me all of three hours to visit three banks and talk to two mortgage brokers, and i'm afraid it's not over yet. sometime in the afternoon i received another phone call, the mortgage consultant from cambridgeport savings bank. i made an appointment to meet with her tomorrow afternoon during my lunch break.

in the office today i worked harder than i've ever worked in a long time. the reason: i finally found something i wanted to avoid doing more than work, and that's this whole home financing situation! so i'm actually procrastinating by working! oh, who would have thought that the idea of getting a loan for close to a quarter of a million dollars would make me a better worker?!

errata: elias is working at srm again, although only for a few days. he's downstairs, so i only see him whenever i get an opportunity to escape to the first floor space. today was amanda's last day as the office manager. tomorrow a new office manager starts and amanda becomes an official member of the production department.