Monday, July 27, 2009

Minor Real Estate Rant

Why are some agents so lazy? A new listing just popped up in my neighborhood. It's a short sale so (of course) it's listed way below what it should reasonably sell for but that's not the thing that bothers me. No, the thing that bothers me is the picture. Yes, I said picture. Singular. There's one photo and I'm fairly certain that's only because it's now required to have at least one photo. That's bad enough, but it gets worse. Not only was the agent too lazy to upload more than one photo, but the one they did upload, they didn't even take. Now how on earth could I possibly know that? Because it's the exact same picture that was used to list the house previously. In 2001. Seriously.

Not only is this the epitome of laziness, it also shows a complete lack of understanding of fiduciary duty and an absolute disrespect for their client. The sad thing is that this is not the first time I've seen this happen. As a seller, I would be furious. I went off the deep end when an agent took crappy pictures of my last home and actually posted them on the MLS for all the world to see. I went so far off the deep end that when he refused to replace them with fantastic pictures taken by a friend of mine (who's a photographer) we fired him. There were other issues as well (breaking a doorknob during an open house, lying about breaking a doorknob, telling potential buyers about a non-existent roof problem thereby forcing us to get 3 different roofing contractors out to disprove, it goes on) but the pictures were the beginning and end of it for me. My personal opinion is that if you don't want to go the extra mile, then maybe you should be in a different line of work where half-assed effort is acceptable. Like customer service for a cell phone provider.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Craigslist Ad

I put our old kitchen table up on Craigslist today. We've had it since we got married twelve years ago. We paid about $600 for it at the time. It originally had six chairs but one of them got destroyed by being used as a ladder for painting. Anyway, within a few hours I got an email and now the new owner is loading his truck with the help of Mister C. He complimented me on the ad and told me it was better than most real estate agents ads for houses. Which, considering that I'm an aspiring agent, I thought was pretty funny. Turns out he's an agent as well. As a side note, I got $75 for the set. Which means it ended up costing us about $3.65 a month to own. Which I think is a really good deal.

Here's the ad:

Start making family memories. Just think of all the good times you'll have to remember as you gather around this table. It's great for every meal from the simplest breakfast to the most important holidays with your family. Want to change the look? Throw a table cloth (not included) on it and watch it morph before your eyes. Not only is it good for eating at, it's fantastic for a myriad of other things. Does your family like to do puzzles? The table is totally flat on top, perfect for puzzles. Like playing games together? This set has four sides so everyone gets their own side, no peeking at cards with this beauty! Great for play-doh extravaganzas and model building as well. Lego building sets are no problem on the surface of this four legged wonder. Are you the kind of guy or gal that likes to write letters? You can do it with this! There's even a drawer on the end to keep your writing implements in. There is just no end to the wonderful & creative things you can do with this set. The best part about this set is that there are five (not four!) chairs included in it. Just think of all the extra fun to be had with a fifth chair. Neighbor kid comes over and you need an extra seat? There it is! Someone acting up and need a little time to themselves? Instant time-out chair. Act now before someone else recognizes the immense potential and value of this set.

Light oak kitchen table with five chairs. The table is 54" long and 42" wide. It also comes with an 18" leaf. Not to be too obvious or anything, but that means the table can extend out to 6' long. There is a small drawer at each end of the table. The set is in decent condition, not perfect. It is used.

$100 o.b.o.

Cash only. Pick up only.

Thank you!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tough life he leads...

Typical sleeping pose for the Hooligan

He heard the camera click

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ninny & Flowers & Fish, Oh My!

The pictures from the weekend that I promised the other day.

Master J hanging with Ninny.

Ninny's gorgeous glads

Joseph's Coat Rose

Master J's arm - roasting marshmallows. He doesn't like to get too close - in fact, if he could be in the neighbor's yard, that would be better for him.

Also, I finally got around to taking some decent pictures of my cichlids.

Electric Blue

My male Venustas

And introducing my newest fish - a Starry Night Cichlid - Frank. When there's not a camera pointed at him he's a gorgeous dark brown/black with silvery blue spots. When the camera points at him, Frank fades.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Catching up

We arrived in from Baltimore this morning at 8:35. Which means we got up at 4:00 am. On the east coast. Or 1:00 am on our bodies. We flew up to Baltimore to visit one of my aunts for a few days. She has cancer. I'll be honest, I expected to see death warmed over. It is pancreatic cancer after all. What I found was my favorite aunt looking worn out and thinner than normal, but still as ornery as every. That has to be some kind of good sign.

I finally got to see the gardens that I've heard so much about. And even though she hasn't been able to take care of them as much as she usually would, there were some gorgeous flowers around for me to get pictures of. Pictures that I can't post. Why? Because Mister C downloaded them from my camera onto his laptop. Evidently this doesn't mean that the photos go to a shared drive. So only he can see them. Now, I have access to his computer and I know the passwords, but I don't know how to share the photos between us. I'm too darn tired to think straight enough to figure it out right now and I can't ask my husband to do it until tomorrow. Why? Because Mister C is in bed. He was out by 7:40 tonight. I think Master J only beat him by about 20 minutes. Bunch of wusses.

In other clients that backed out at the closing table are getting their earnest deposit back. Seriously. How does that happen? I've lost earnest money when we canceled two weeks prior to closing. I've never heard of anyone getting it back when they refused to sign on the day of closing. The seller is only required to give it back during the inspection period in most cases. But for whatever reason, the title company sent me an email yesterday that had a copy of the letter to my clients attached. That letter was letting my clients know that "the check is in the mail". Wow. Just, wow.

The sad part is that I can't even brag on my fantastic customer service in this case because the only hand I had in it was an email sent last week asking what had happened to the earnest deposit. I do know they won't care how it happened, they'll just be thrilled that it did.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fun with Catnip

Saturday, July 11, 2009

MMMMMM! Ice Cream Cake!

Mister C turned 41 yesterday. We had ice cream cake. My life is complete. There is just something about the concept of making a cake out of ice cream for a summer birthday that just makes perfect sense. Thankfully Mister C understands this logic and claims this type of cake to be his favorite. See why I married him?

We didn't have a big celebration or anything. Heck, I didn't even get him a present. I did order one though. On his birthday. Some time after 3:00 pm. Hey I try. My dad, younger sister (Miss Lee) and her boyfriend (Music Man) showed up for the non-festivities and dinner. We grilled pork & chicken kebabs and had a big salad for dinner. When I say "we" grilled, I mean that Mister C grilled. Just because I love him doesn't mean he shouldn't cook his own dinner on his birthday.

It was an enjoyable day with good food and good company. The best part though was when Music Man found baby fish in my tank. Now, I knew there was a young blue zebra floating around in there and I had seen an electric yellow hiding as well. But, I had no idea there were more. Music Man started studying the bottom of the tank and came up with another smaller blue zebra and an additional three electric yellows, each smaller than the last. How cool is that? Now I just hope they make it long enough to no longer fit in the mouths of the bigger fish.

Don't you just want to pinch his fishy little cheeks?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Crazcation Wrap Up

We made it home yesterday evening. We dropped off the rental car, picked up my car, picked up a pizza, picked up the dog & unpacked our bags. Ahhhh! It's good to be home.

Overall, once we got on the road, it was a good trip. Obviously we had some issues with the outlaws (expected) that led to our vacation turning into a road trip, but we made the most of it and it turned into a really fun trip.

It took us four days to go about 1,700 miles and I didn't have my good camera with me so I took a bunch of pictures with my phone. You'll have to forgive the poor quality of the photos, I did the best I could.

This one was taken on the 4th of July while we were at the lake, prior to the big blow up. I'm not sure if this was when we were being "too controlling" of Master J or if this was when we were "leaving him unsupervised". Looks like he's having fun either way. (Also, the fish was released for those concerned about such things.)

This was taken the first night at the hotel. I get that you can't really see anything. But the point here is that the slide was huge and Master J was fast. If you look at where the slide disappears into the wall, you can see the light. The slide went outside the building for another loop and another full story. It was the coolest hotel water slide I've ever seen. Technically, it's the only hotel water slide I've ever seen. That it was in Dickinson, ND was amazing.

This was taken on day two. We had managed to skirt around most of what looked to be a moderately severe storm over several hours and this is what we were rewarded with at the end of it.

This was on the last day of our trip on the way from Four Corners to Meteor Crater. We were on a two lane highway on the Navajo reservation where livestock apparently has the right of way. As a side note, all of the sheep were on the road outside the fence, the sheep dog however was inside the fence. He really didn't look all that concerned about their safety either. He might want to look into a different line of work.

After the sheep incident, Mister C slowed down. I missed taking a picture of the cattle on the road and the foal running down the road as well, but I did get this guy before he bolted off.

There were a few other things I didn't get pictures of. Things like the life size blow up doll in a cowboy hat that sits in what looks to be a patrol car on the edge of Amidon, ND. From a distance, it looks totally real. The purpose seems to be to get you to slow the heck down through all 500 feet of their town. Also missed was the old, broken down stove out in a field with it's door flipped down. Next to it was a sign saying "Open Range". I can't remember where exactly that was.

So that's our trip in a nutshell. Turns out the outlaws blowing up was the best thing that could have happened.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Crazcation, take II

Guess where we are. Have you thought of a place? Let me give you a hint, it's not Fargo. Here's another hint: we're in a hotel and it's the first time almost all day where we've had cell phone coverage. Any ideas where we're at? Give up?

We're in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

I'm sure you're wondering how on earth we ended up in Wyoming when we're supposed to be flying out of the airport in Fargo in 22 hours. Well, our vacation has turned into a cross country trip.

Do you remember back to the last post? Where I mentioned the three day limit on sanity? Well, as predicted, we had a blowup. On the 4th of July. After a wonderful day at the lake.

After manipulating her way into getting us to allow Master J to go to the fireworks (that started at 10:30 at night), we stopped at the house long enough for him to get into his pajamas and brush his teeth before going back out for the festivities. Master J & I went upstairs to take care of business. Mister C & the outlaws stayed downstairs and within a minute, there was a blowup. We heard the screaming upstairs and Master J was horrified. About 10 minutes later there was a door slam and then silence. We waited a few minutes more and then went down. Mister C was alone. His parents, after making sure to get Master J excited about the fireworks, had simply left without us. Wow. Nice grandparents.

Master J was devastated and Mister C, not wanting to see his kid sad, suggested we walk around the neighborhood and see if we could see any of the fireworks. Only one problem, my shoes were in the back seat of his Mom's car. Because we were supposed to all go together. So I did what any good parent would do, I went barefoot. By the end, we had walked at least a mile and a half and seen a few decent fireworks. Master J was satisfied, Mister C had had enough and I just wanted to sit down.

The next morning, Mister C walked four miles to the airport to rent a car while I packed all of our stuff up. When he was almost back with the car, he called my cell and I moved the bags out to the porch. We had Master J say goodbye and we left. And now we are on a cross country adventure to make our vacation into a real vacation. You might say we're making lemonade out of the lemons we were handed.

So far it has been fun. On the first day, we stopped off at Mister C's grandfather's house and visited with him. Then we drove on to Dickinson, ND where we spent the night at a hotel that had a two story, indoor/outdoor, water slide. Master J wasn't too sure the first time he went down but he did do it. After that, it was "All system's GO!!!" and an attempt to see how fast he could come flying out of the end.

Today was a long day but pretty fun. We stopped by Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse and took a bunch of pics. Just like every other tourist we had to get through. We got caught in a rainstorm and saw the most gorgeous double rainbow I've ever seen. Unfortunately all I had was my cell phone to take pictures with so I don't think they came out that great. Also, I don't have the cable to take them from my cell to my mac so until we get home there won't be any photos. I really wish I had brought my good camera, but honestly I wasn't planning on driving home. As a side note, when we got to the hotel tonight, they didn't have our reservation. Evidently we were supposed to confirm it with our credit card by six pm and Mister C thought they already had it since it was through his priority club. Because he spends so many nights in hotels, it was supposed to be a freebie and I was a little concerned that anything else around here was going to cost us an arm and a leg (if we could find anything at all). However, they took pity on us and offered us the only non-smoking room available. Which happened to be the executive suite. And gave it to us for free. Score!

Tomorrow won't be as long and hopefully we'll have time for Master J to try out the pool at the hotel. The thing he's been thrilled the most with has been all the coal trains we've passed the whole way here. And at the hotel we're in, we can see the trains (and hear them) so he was extra excited when we pulled up. It should make for interesting sleeping.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Friday, July 3, 2009

My Crazcation so far...

Mister C, Master J & I are up visiting the in-laws for a week. A whole week. There will most likely be fireworks. Speaking of that, Happy Independence Day, there will most likely be fireworks for that as well.

So far, so good on the not blowing up scale. There's been some grumblings and snappy answers, but no major blow ups yet. But there's usually a three day limit on good behavior up here.

After three days of semi-sane behavior, something will happen that will cause the perfect storm of insanity to blow in from the north. There will be a lot of screaming and judging of how we're living our lives and it will culminate in us being excused from the premises. Most times, Mister C will make "one more attempt at being reasonable" and go back in to Hell while I wait outside. This will result in him eventually coming back out and telling me that "it's fine, we're staying." He will have made an apology of some sort. Because he's a good son. There will be no apologies from the wicked witch's much nastier northern sister. That has never happened. Instead, her behavior will be explained away through some "stressful situation" that she is currently undergoing.

A stressful event that is indicated by her current non-reading material.

She likes to lay books around the place to indicate what's going on. She doesn't actually read them though. That might result in some learning and modification of her own behavior or some other such craziness. No, the books are for letting everyone else know how bad her life is. And if you don't know any better, you might accidentally pick up a book from a coffee table and spark a monologue of her trials and tribulations.

There's been all sorts of fun books that I've stumbled across.

I first noticed the books early in, before Mister C & I got married. We were visiting and I noticed several books about divorce. Her daughter was going through one at the time and she had found out I'd been through it as well. So there were the books about how to deal with people who've been through divorces. I thought that was a fairly decent idea. I'm a big reader myself. If I don't know a lot about something, I'm more than willing to pick up a book or two on the subject. So no warning bells there.

On another visit there were books about gambling addiction. Conveniently right around the time a family member was confronting their addiction. Again, no red flags on that. I did notice the book was fairly new but figured she just hadn't gotten through it yet.

There were the five or six books on bulimia when that issue was confronted by another family member.

There was the book about what to do when you think your kid is using drugs.

Then there was the time we got tossed out of their house because we had moved to Arizona (the first time). The books laying around at that time all had to do with "How to deal with your kids moving far away" and "how to stay connected to your grandkids when they live far from you". They may as well have all been titled "How could you do this to me you ungrateful son and slutty daughter in law?!?!?!?" because that was the gist of the scream fest we endured.

More recently, there were books about remarriage and step kids. This was when my sister-in-law got remarried and acquired two step kids.

There were several years where the books all had to do with how to deal with the social stigma that occurs when a teacher hits a child in a small community and gets fired for it. Or, maybe it was about how to deal with losing your job. Whatever.

And this trip? Well, there's a brand new bible laying on one coffee table and a religious daily devotional on the other. Now what in the hell do you think that means?