Those of you who have been paying attention will know that it has been several months since I last wrote about our mortgage application. At that time, I wrote that we were at the finish line. 

We were not. 

Innumerable twists and turns ensued before the money finally came through. I simply could not keep up. Here are the highlights:

  • First met with our banker during the first week of November. By the first week of December, we were told that our request for a loan had been approved. We closed on the new house on December 15th. The loan money arrived on August 2nd of the following year.
  • First, the bank called it a mortgage, then a refinance, then a loan.
  • First, the banker proposed a 10-year term with life insurance for me. Now it's a 7-year term with life insurance for both of us.
  • First, I proposed that the bank finance 38% of the purchase price. The bank agreed to finance 27%.
  • First did an online medical questionnaire in November. The website didn't like Cathey's phone number for the verification code. Mailed a signed hard copy witnessed by the banker. Then the bank decided in April that the medical questionnaires were too old and had to be resubmitted. Still didn't like Cathey's phone number but her sister's number worked just fine. She called us with the verification code.
  • First the bank wanted us to open a 10,000€ savings account maintained to ensure payments. Settled for 25% less, money that we can't touch until the loan is paid off. 

Each of the changes required an exchange of emails and a personal meeting with the banker. I have counted 15 separate email threads.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY: The old adage is true. The best way to obtain a loan is to prove that you don't need it. For American citizens in France, the requirements go a bit further, including making the deal worth the effort for your bank to comply with American and European banking regulations. 

Regardless of the fact that we have submitted French tax returns, in addition to our American ones, for 15 years. Regardless of the fact that we have lived permanently in France for 8 years. And regardless of the fact that we have received our ten-year residency permits, one step below French citizenship, about three years ago. We are still Americans. We must learn patience with French bureaucracy. If you don't learn that patience, living in France won't be nearly as much fun.


Did I read recently that the folks who built that ark in Kentucky (or someplace like Kentucky) are suing their insurance company? They want to be paid for water damage. To the ark that they built. From rain. Water damage.


The conductor has led the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted the Royal Ballet of Covent Garden Orchestra at the Met in New York. The soloists are among the best in France. And for 30€, we'll be attending their performance of Donzinetti's The Elixir of Love in a small theater in a small town a few minutes away. We had no idea when we moved to the rural, politically conservative, ancient region of France, a region that traces human history back to Neanderthals and beyond, that modern players would find venues for music from Bach to the blues anywhere and everywhere that an audience could be called together. What a gift!

 UPDATE: Attended the opera last night. Unfortunately, our heat wave hadn't broken. Fortunately, the venue's tiered seating afforded everyone a clear view of the performance. And the orchestra was tight and confident from the first notes of the overture. And the set was simple but enhanced with occasional, interesting projected animations. And the principal soloists were nationally recognized professionals. And the chorus displayed enthusiasm and discipline.

And I am so grateful to live here.


There has to come a point of reckoning or else why do we pretend that there is such a thing as the rule of law? You simply can't take stuff out of the Oval Office and stick it in your closet at home if it is classified certain ways or if it belongs in the National Archives. The man overtly puts the Presidential Seal on everything in sight at his resorts and on his golf courses in clear contravention of the law. His other transgressions are so numerous as to defy comprehension by reasonable, rational people. There has to come a point of reckoning.


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