Progress to Date

  • Original Loan Amount: $204,000.00
  • Balance at Beginning of 5-year Goal (1/1/08): $188,983.82 @ 6.00%
  • Balance at Refinance in February 2009: $148,000.00 @ 4.625%
  • Outstanding Balance: $0.00 (PAID IN FULL!!!)
  • Latest Payment Date: April 2011
  • Latest Additional Principal Amount: $17,623.22
  • Amount Ahead of Schedule (since refinance): $121,462
  • Time Ahead of Schedule (since refinance): 7 years 10 months
  • Interest Saved Last Month: $23,972.48
  • Total Interest Saved: $28,435.55 ($1,037.74 on original mortgage; $27,397.81 on current mortgage)
  • Months Remaining in 5-year Goal: 20
  • Average Monthly Principal Needed to Meet Goal: N/A (Goal achieved)
  • Progress List Explained

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Reminder

"When are you coming to Texas?" asked Granny. I had called her hospital room several days after she'd been admitted, at the request of my mom ("She's just sitting there with nothing to do", she told me). The initial round of tests and crowds of visitors had passed, so I had her complete attention. She sounded like her usual self, without any hint of trouble in her voice.

"I don't know," I told her. "Hopefully soon." I honestly didn't know when I'd make another trip to Texas. My family and I had been planning on meeting there in the Spring, but had canceled those plans for a number of reasons including finances and work schedules.

"Well," she replied, "I wish you could come visit. You should see people when they're alive. It doesn't matter when they're dead." Granny didn't mean for this remark to sound sinister or threatening. That was just the way she spoke, in a plain, matter-of-fact sort of way. You should eat your vegetables. You should look both ways before crossing the street. You should visit people when they're alive.

I don't know if she said that because of my Grandfather's passing last year (which was sudden and not necessarily expected despite his advanced age), or because she was being realistic about her own age (92), or because she had some indication that the pain and discomfort she had been feeling recently were signs of her own imminent death. Regardless, when my mom called me several weeks later and recommended that I come visit my grandmother soon (because Mom was noticing changes in Granny's behavior), I decided to take Granny's advice and go see her while she was alive.

My workplace has a bereavement policy that allows unscheduled time off for funerals and the like, which fortunately for me includes grandparents. However, my manager cautioned me that if I used the bereavement time while Granny was still alive, I'd have to use my own vacation time to return for a funeral.

I'm so glad I went to visit when I did. Despite her serious illness, Granny was still able to talk and laugh and remember everything. She seemed very happy to see me. I got to spend several good days with her. The weather was not too hot, so one day Mom and I took Granny for a walk in her wheelchair around the nursing home where she spent her final weeks. She got to look out at the surrounding countryside, which she appreciated, since she wanted to know what the outside world looked like (as the nursing home was as new to her as it was to the rest of us). I later learned from Mom that our walk together was the only occasion during her five-week stay in the nursing home that Granny felt well enough to go outside.

Granny died three weeks after my visit. I decided not to use vacation time to go to the funeral, since I already had allocated all of my remaining time off in 2009 for visits and trips with other family members (my parents, my sister's family, and my wife). It would have been a much tougher decision to make if Granny had not reminded me that it's important to see people when they're alive. So that's what I'll do. Granny's final gift to me was the gift of freedom.

I am looking forward to the day when I no longer have an employer to hold me accountable to a certain schedule. Meanwhile, I'll keep working hard now so that in the not-too-distant future I can stop working this way.


Middle Way said...

I am very sorry to hear about your loss and very glad you saw her when you did. A great reminder.

change is a good thing said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss, but what a blessing to have seen your Granny when you did and that it was such quality time together. Definitely a lesson for us all to remember.