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  • Betty Girardeau


Updated: Jan 29, 2021

Last fall when I was playing around with taking impressionistic images with my iPhone, this was not an image that particularly appealed to me from a creative standpoint. But today as I consider how turbulent my life has become in the last couple of days, this image seems to be a great expression of how I am feeling. As many of you know last fall after my census job ended, I thought becoming a mobile signing agent for real estate transactions could fill the void that I was feeling about getting out and around in the larger world and doing something positive. Besides, I supposedly could make money doing it, too. I took a training course to become fully certified as a signing agent. I was made a notary for Tennessee. I was ready to get into it as soon as Christmas was over. But of course, as always, it takes money to make money. To become certified as a signing agent costs money. So did the two drawer laser printer I needed to have, lots of paper, a mobile scanning machine, and more that I have receipts for but which I prefer to not think about right now. Early January was, not surprisingly, slow until Wednesday. I did two refinance loan applications earlier in the month, and then nothing. Nice learning curve there, as the second one went really and out in 45 minutes and the knowledge that I actually might have made a little money on that one. Then Wednesday, and probably predictably because most closings come at the end of the month, everything went crazy. Initially it seemed pretty easy. I accepted a closing for 3:00 PM in Dayton, TN, a little over an hour's drive away. The signing company accepted my $90 fee. The signing was supposed to be at 3:00. I needed to leave here with all documents downloaded and ready to sign by no later that 1:45 to get to the appointment on time. At 1:30 no documents had yet been delivered to me. The signing company asked me to reschedule if possible for later that afternoon. I did, in fact twice because I still had no documents until nearly 4:00 PM. Thankfully, the signers were flexible and told me they would home and happy to wait until I could arrive. I finally got a message that the documents were ready to download and print. But then I found the file they sent me was password protected and they did not send me the password. It took me nearly and hour to have them send that to me. At this point the sun is getting low in the sky. I am familiar enough with the documents that I thought I could just print them and probably "wing it." That would have been fine, but then for the first time ever my laser printer decided to print front and back. Being such a novice, I thought maybe that was how they had sent them to me anyway. So off I went with my two pack (yes, the signers were supposed to get their copies, too). I arrived at the signing at nearly 6:00 when, if the documents had been sent to me as they should have, I would be arriving around 3:00. Thankfully, most signers are really nice people, and even with two sided copies, we got everything signed, front and back. With a terrible tension and hunger headache, I arrived home at 8:30 still needing to scan back several docs because I could not drop off the document package at UPS because it had already closed by then. I did reach out to the signing company about the fact that the documents had been erroneously printed out on two sides of the paper. What should I do? At least they responded quickly saying they would get back to me in the morning. And they did. But I lost a lot of sleep over this and I am still not sure if the documents will all have to be resigned again. In the meantime on Thursday I was virtually rained upon with signing opportunities, some in locations too far away, others in places I have never heard of in Tennessee. I had already accepted a signing for Saturday morning in Harriman, another hour away. Thankfully, I received all 157 pages of that document today. No need to print another copy for the signers! But my new printer decided I really had to replace the toner cartridge. I had bought one a week or so ago that was generic but was supposed to be compatible. It wasn't. So off for another hour+ drive to Staples in Athens, TN. Real Brother toner cartridges are $$$$. But the one I have now is supposed to print 22,000 pages before replacement. I have a bunch of questions to ask today about documents for the Saturday signing that are supposed to be in the file, but I can't find them. I have turned down a bunch of other signings, too, because I just need to have one major one go well. And I need a turmoil break, too. I will make no real money on this one on Saturday either, because when you factor in printing and gasoline costs, my time becomes virtually worthless. But I will have another notch, hopefully on the learning curve to better days. For now, $$$ out vs $$$ in is greatly out of balance. Such are the joys of a start-up business I guess. And now I am determined to at least make enough money where I might be able to realize at least pay back to myself what I have already spent. This afternoon when I had to drive down and buy some very expensive toner, I actually did laugh. The certification course taught me the basics, but absolutely NOTHING about the nuts and bolts. Someday I hope I will be glad that I made this leap of faith into a new life adventure. But for now....? I will keep you all posted.

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