Combine all of your Club Cards

photo3If you are like most people, you have at least 2 or 3 grocery store club cards along with club cards for a few pet stores, beauty stores and even a few electronic stores. With all those cards most people need to carry a seperate wallet just to carry all those club cards. JustOneClubCard.com allows you to combine them all into one card (like the one below). I’ve been using my card for months now and really like not having to carry all those cards in my wallet. The only down side to using the one card is that cashiers normally have no idea how to scan it. I normally hand the card to them and point out where exactly to scan the card.

Here is how it works:
1 – Go to JustOneClubCard.com
2 – Enter up to 8 of your club cards in the boxes provided
3 Print out the piece of paper like the one below
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4 Fold the piece of paper and either laminate it or put packing tape on each side to make it look laminated
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5 Get all those pesky cards out of your wallet!

2nd Annual Green Expo Coming to Delaware

picture-16The 2nd annual Delaware Green Expo will be at the Chase Center on the Riverfront Saturday March 21st from 9am – 5pm. Admission is $7 per person (Kids under 12 are free). As always, I looked for and found a coupon for $2 off. Click through and print out the coupon below.
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We went to this last year and got to meet Sara Snow.  This year, Ed Begley Jr. is the scheduled speaker.  As soon as I see a schedule of events online, I’ll post it here.

Saying Goodbye to a Friend…

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I met Cheryl Rice in my Sophomore year at the University of Delaware. I had just started my first course in Computer Science, my newly found major.  We met in a computer lab and became instant friends.  Cheryl was outspoken, determined and incredibly intelligent.  After our first class together, we decided to sign up for all of our remaining major classes together for the next 3 years. Over the past 10 years Alison & I have had the honor of calling Cheryl one of our closest friends.

picture-5During college I remember going to Cheryl’s dorm on a weekly basis to work on homework assignments and projects together.  We almost always tried to pair up whenever a project was assigned.  I have to admit that I don’t know if I would have made it through college without her.

I also remember what a fun time  Alison & I had when we went to San Francisco with Cheryl & Tricia in 2004 to see them get married.  Unfortunately, by the time we got out to San Francisco, they were no longer performing same sex marriages but we still had a wonderful adventure.  I will forever remember the picture of Cheryl behind bars with her cell mate Tricia in Alcatraz.

picture-61I greatly miss her and am heart broken by the fact that my daughter Haley will not get to spend more time with her Aunt Cheryl.  Haley will however, get to hear about her Aunt Cheryl, especially when we go to Disney and each year when we pull out the snow globe ornament Cheryl gave us.  I also plan on explaining to Haley when she starts driving the importance of putting on your parking break while near a body of water.

Cheryl’s death may seem sudden to most of us, including myself, however after looking back over the past 2 1/2 years, I realize it was not so sudden.  The death of Tricia took so much out of Cheryl which is completely understandable given their deep connection.  There are so many people who helped ease her pain during these past few years and to them I say Thank you.

I’d like to read a poem that Cheryl sent to me a few months back for the 2nd anniversary of Tricia’s death that I feel is helping me deal with her loss.  It is a poem about the Summer Solstice.

Today the sun crosses over the equator heralding the arrival of the autumnal equinox – the time when the northern and southern hemisphere receive the same amount of sunlight and day and night are of equal length.  As the long summer days are transformed into the shorter days nature slows down.  It is a time of harvest, a time for gratefully accepting and graciously letting go of that which is no longer needed.

The equinox invites us to consider what we have harvested in our lives and how we have been transformed by our experiences.  Nature serves as a constant reminder that transformation and change are necessary for new growth and expansion.  A tree releases its leaves in order for the next cycle to begin.  Some animal shed the outer layers of their skin – a yielding must occur for the new to emerge.

Transformation is often precipitated by a loss, a breakdown of existing structures or illness and we can easily become fearful or erroneously presume that something is not as it should be.   Remembering that all things have their season we are inspired by nature’s example to accept the countless blessings and gifts every season of life offers us.

Before Tricia passed, she and Cheryl decided they would meet in the far left corner of heaven and that Tricia would be wearing a big hat. Cheryl – we expect you and Tricia to be waiting for us in that same far left corner!

Amex Discontinues Indy Mac Mortgage Offer

picture-82I’ve been looking for the best deals on mortgage refinance rates for some time now and came across what I thought was a good deal.  Indy Mac has a page on their site that mentions their teaming up with American Express to allow you to earn rewards points / cash back by paying your mortgage with your AMEX card.  I was very tempted this morning when I saw the 30yr fixed rate a 4.875% with 1.2 points to set this up with my American Express Cash Back card which pays 5% cash back at Gas stations and grocery stores and 1.5% cash back at all other stores.

Unfortunately, when I called Indy Mac, they explained that American Express decided to cancel this program and they are no longer offering this to their custsomers.  It would be nice if Indy Mac would remove this offer from their site since it was the main reason I called them for a rate quote in the first place.

Indy Mac Rates for Wednesday February 19th

Here were the rates for Indy Mac on Wednesday in Wilmington, DE.  I’m posting this primarily so I can remember tomorrow morning when they change the rates what the previous days rates were for me.  I’m really hoping to get a 30yr fixed rate mortgage with little / no points for 4.75% or less.  I had one but as you all know Provident Funding decided they did not want to honor it and came up with a bogus reason why they did not fund the loan.  Currently the best Indy Mac is offering this week is 5.0% with a little over half a percent.  According to a recent article on BankRate most believe the rates are going to come down again a bit over the next month…I sure hope they are right!

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Beware of Provident Funding – Mortgage Refinance Drama Part 2

picture-3A while back I told you about the troubles I was having with Provident Funding.  I was in the process of refinancing my home and was using a local mortgage broker.  As of today, I have been told that I was not declined however my property is not “eligible” for funding with Provident.  Their reason for not funding the loan, they say, is because there are not enough “comps”.  They were concerned that one of the comps in my neighborhood that is the same style house, is priced significantly less than our house.  The house in question has been on the market for over a year and is listed in “inferior” condition.  Provident Funding had our appraisal for 3 weeks before bringing these issues up.  I offered to have the house reappraised however that did not change their mind.  Instead, they ignored multiple requests from the mortgage broker for an update and did not tell me until 3 weeks after the initial rate lock expired that they were unable to fund my loan.  Now I am out $300 for the appraisal and have wasted 2 months on a bogus mortgage they were unable to fund for whatever reason.

Here is an email that the mortgage broker sent over to Provident Mortgage expressing his frustration with them:
I know Travis [loan processor at mortgage broker]  has been in contact with you regarding this loan.  I have a couple of questions and comments.  I do not understand the reason behind the denial regarding the appraisal.  We had to get approval of this appraisal company to even use it in the first place.  We were asked to provide more information for more comps.  The comps were in range from ###k with one less bedroom to ###k with one more bedroom and a basement.  His appraised at ###k, exactly in the middle, with no outside or inside structural damage.  All of these comps are within a 1.5 mile radius, and are all fair market value.  If there is another appraiser that you would prefer us to use, the client is more than willing to comply.  He is at 80% LTV with no cash out, and his DTI with this re-finance will be at 18%, he makes more than enough money, and his appraisal is no where near out of line.  There are a lot of things that are right with this loan, and nothing I can see wrong.  The client feels like it is a random pick to give a denial.

I have been locking loans with Provident, and plan to do so in the near future.  I do not want to put another client at risk because he/she may not get approved in the last stage of the process.  I currently have 6 loans locked with you, and [our mortgage company] itself has many more.  I have 5 more on the table right now, and once we get the final back and forth of negotiations, plan to lock them with Provident.  We feel that you are the fairest and quickest out there right now.  Please have some one look at this loan to possibly reconsider.  Please call me if there are any questions.
Thank you in advance for your time and efforts!

Here is what the appraiser said about the house with the same style in our development that is currently on the market:
Comparable #1 was reported to be in need of interior and exterior updating which is reflected in its
inferior condition.

As the mortgage broker mentioned in his email, I was more than willing to have them come out and do a 2nd independat appraisal and would have gone through with the refinance even if the rate were lower.  It baffles me how they can just decline me at the last minute after I have put almost 2 months into this process and spent $300 on an appraisal.  I would recommend that anyone who considers using a mortgage broker, find out which company they plan on selling your mortgage to and do some research.  I did a google search for “Provident Funding scam” and found lots of negative comments on RipOffReport, ComplaintsBoard and XOMReviews.com.

Out of Africa B1G1 Coupon – Camp Verde, Arizona

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We visited Out of Africa Wildlife Park last week while on our trip to Sedona, AZ.  We spent most of the day there and had a great time.  Someone on our flight to Phoenix actually recommended the park to us so when I first got to Sedona I started looking for a deal (like usual).  I first went to their site and found that tickets were $39 per person.  The first coupon I came across was $2 off for signing up to their newsletter.  I signed up to it thinking any discount was better than none.  Then, as I was doing the laundry Monday night at the resort, someone mentioned seeing a buy 1, get 1 free coupon in the yellow pages.  I went back to the room and found the coupon!

If you are planning a trip to the area, I highly recommend checking them out after you clip a coupon from the Sedona Verde Valley yellow pages.  The coupon can be found in the 2008 – 2009 edition on page 5 (see pics below of the yellow pages and the coupon).

Breaking news – Obama bumps his head?

picture-81I woke up this morning and thought I would check to see if there was anything major going on in the news.  I went over to my usual sites: digg, cnn and the AP app on my iPhone. When I went to CNN I found it pretty funny that the main article on their site was about President Obama “slightly” bumping his head while getting on Airforce One.

As I went about my day I chuckled thinking how silly it is that the most important news story of the morning was President Obama bumping his head until the unthinkable happened.  I was in the process of getting my daughter into the car when I accidentally bumped her head on the car. I remained calm even though she did not and I have to admit she was not nearly as composed as President Obama. I apologized many times for the accident and then explained to her that the exact same thing happened to President Obama so I needed to take a picture and alert the media!

In all seriousness, I don’t understand how something so silly can make the main page of most news organizations websites.  I can think of at least half a dozen better things for a news organization to write about.

That’s my random rant for the day 🙂