My Blog

Shutdown at Work, Claire’s Jailbreak, Worm Machine….

Oil Refinery Blues...

valeroI work in a big oil refinery here in Delaware (shouldn’t be too hard to figure out which one).  We are in the process of shutting it down because an important process unit was damaged a few weeks ago and it is not profitable to continue running the plant without that vital process.  This refinery has never been shut down in its 50 year history, so last week was pretty busy.  We’ve got some very capable folks working there.  They were able to shut down the last unit yesterday.  They got this done safely and without any environmental violations – I’m proud of the folks that work there.  Our sick processing unit is under repair – when it is finished, we’ll reverse the shut down procedure and get the refinery working again.  It is not unusual for other refineries to shut down temporarily.  We have a Fluid Coker and that process can’t be shut down.  Unless, of course, the Coker is ALREADY down for repairs……  Work is certainly going to be different for a while.

Yesterday, we took my aunt out for the day.  She is in a very nice retirement home near here, but chafes at the restrictions that their transportation system places on them.  The residents there can get rides on a facility bus to go shopping, but have to stick to the bus schedule.  My aunt can’t see too well, so driving herself around isn’t possible right now.

We had a great time – stopping by Walmart, the grocery store and Applebees (mmmm  Oriental Chicken Salad!) for lunch.  We went to see my brother and his girlfriend and then stopped in so she could get a look at the B Street mansion.  We even checked out our next house.  It was a busy day and we had a good time.  Hopefully, we’ll get to do this again soon.

Speaking of our next house, we now have a mortgage!!  The condition of the place is such that we can’tmoney get a mortgage on it (been there before).  In order to purchase the house in its present condition, I first applied for a FHA 203K loan.  It allows you to buy a house and finance some of the improvements.  Unfortunately, like any other government program, the restrictions on the loan ended up making it an impractical choice for us.  The fees were nuts (almost 10% of the loan amount, after all was said and done).  I also would be required to run all of the money through a General Contractor, who will likely use his subcontractors , (not the people that I want to use) and add his 20% onto the top of the bill.  There was also a complicated draw process that required two-party checks, etc.  For someone without any other alternatives, the 203K loan might be a good thing.  However, we decided to kiss the application fee goodbye ($350!) and try something else.

As an alternative, I was able to get the funds from my regular bank.  The closing costs were only $177, and it’s a loan on my present house – not the next one.  No way is my present house worth that much, so you can bet that that loan was made on me, not the B Street mansion.  It’s a variable rate loan, so it’ll likely be refinanced as soon as our new place is spiffed up.  I’m looking at ING right now – they have a nice mortgage product with low rates and fees.  I’ll shop around some more – perhaps I’ll find something better.  In any event, the house will easily be worth enough for us to get an 80% loan (the 203K had me paying PMI).  If anyone reading this has any good ideas about mortgage loans for us, go ahead and comment – thanks in advance.

14032009320-2Seen at the Kennett Square Walmart yesterday.  A 24 hour bait machine!   Yes, you can stop by and pick up your nightcrawlers or mealworms right from the machine on the sidewalk.  If you think about it, how many folks stop by Walmart on the way to go fishing?  More than you might think – there’s always something you forgot, and Walmart usually has a pretty well-stocked sporting goods department.

How cool is that?

Yes, the Nokia N95 is always in my pocket – just in case I see something cool like this…..

I have to get up early, and it’s late now.

Come to think of it, I wish that I was going fishing tomorrow…..


Happy Birthday Kate!

Kate (my daughter in the Navy) had a birthday this week while at sea.  She’s 21.  I received a delightful e-mail from her that talked about how the folks on her ship helped make her birthday a special day.  That’s so cool….

All for now,







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