Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Miss Lee Owns It!

So Miss Lee, Music Man & I met at the title company at 8:30 this morning and went through all the gyrations that constitutes a "closing" in real estate. By 9:00, she had worn her fingers to the bone signing her life away. By noon, the mortgage company had funded her loan and by 4:00 this afternoon everything had been recorded. She is now the proud owner of her very own mid-century modern home in a wonderful little neighborhood.

Here's a few pictures of the new digs...

I love the curb appeal on these old houses, they are so inviting.

Even the back is inviting...

Here's another reason to love old homes, the details & built-ins. Miss Lee got a library...I am so jealous!

And finally, how could she resist this home with it's very own six burner vintage stove? Now if she can just get over her fear of blowing up her cute little house every time she needs to light the pilot light for baking she'll be good.

Welcome Home Miss Lee

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Technology

At least for us. Now that he no longer travels, Mister C set up video chat for us so we can talk to each other when we're apart. Master J, of course, was thrilled to be able to video conference with his dad. The Hooligan was appropriately unimpressed.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Master J spent the night at Mamoo & Papa's last night which should mean that I got to sit around peacefully drinking coffee & reading my paper this morning. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

No, Mister C decided that today was the perfect day to clean out the flower gardens and plant new flowers. The cleaning out part wouldn't be done by him of course, because he had plans. He was going to drink coffee with a co-worker this morning. But I had "nothing to do" since Master J was gone. Like I ever go looking for extra stuff to do. I don't need to since it seems to find me, via Mister C.

I figured that he wasn't going to let go of his plan for the day and it was only getting hotter so I started cleaning out the gardens. Mister C was gone for almost two hours, during which time I cleaned out 95% of the weeds. Then I started feeling kind of icky and I remembered that I hadn't had any food or water, so I sat down to remedy that. Of course as soon as I did, Mister C got home and decided to pick out a few weeds himself. He does this because that way he can maintain the facade that he "always has to finish" what I start. Because we all know how much more important the last 5% of any job is than the first 95%.

After that whole ordeal, we had to head out to the garden shop to get new plants & some fertilized soil to shore up the flower beds. Since I hadn't yet showered, I went with the always classic baseball cap style. I did take enough time to put on a bra though, I thought that was a pretty big step.

We eventually got everything we needed and spent what seemed like forever putting the new plants into the ground. The fact that we didn't get back from shopping until after 12:30 on what turned out to be a record breaking day (107 degrees, yippee!) didn't help the comfort level.

Anyway, we finally got done and it looks presentable. I got around to showering around dinnertime. By the time I got around to going back out to take a picture it was too dark to see so I'll have to try again some other day.

In order to not disappoint, I have included a picture of the blister on the pointer finger of my right hand. You know the one, the finger that is used for everything except signaling in traffic. Because I'm right handed. And oh my goodness was that picture a pain in the backside to take. I had to use my non-dominant left hand to not only hold the camera but also to push the button. The button that's on the right side of the camera. Hence the fantastic quality of the picture.

Friday, September 25, 2009

When Electricians Get Lazy

I meant to post this earlier, but never got around to it.

A few weeks back I noticed that the metal plug in thingies for my Ipod charger were slightly askew. I assumed it was that way from the factory and didn't think too much of it.

Then came the day that I plugged it in and it sparked. That worried me enough to tell Mister C about it. He came into the kitchen and pulled it out of the socket and went "Holy Sh*(!". Huh, that's a bit extreme for a simple spark right?

He showed me the charger and said it had melted and that we needed to get it replaced. Evidently there was a recall on some of them and even though mine wasn't on the list, he was thinking it had the same problem.

Then I started looking at the outlet it had come from and noticed that it had some dark marks on it that looked a tad suspicious. So I had him look at that as well. The next thing I know, Mister C has shut off the power to that circuit and is pulling the outlet out of the wall in order to replace it. But once he got it off the wall, he realized that it was a whole lot worse than we thought.

Evidently, when the electrician had wired the outlet while the house was being built, he hadn't bothered to make sure it was done right. He had left the connection really loose. Over time, it got looser and started sparking. Inside my wall. The heat from it had burned the wire insulation back a good four inches. But scariest of all is that this particular outlet is about as far from our bedroom as possible. And fairly close to Master J's room. If this thing had started a fire at night, the odds of us realizing it in time to do something about it would almost be nil.

Thankfully for us, Papa (my dad) is an electrical genius by trade. He came over and helped Mister C fix the wiring and replace the outlet. Of course now I want Mister C to pull off and check out every outlet in the house so I can sleep better at night. So far he hasn't done it. But he will.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Moths doing "stuff"

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Have you ever just sat outside somewhere, listening? Think of sitting by the ocean listening to the waves come in. Only, I live in the desert so there are no nearby oceans. But today is one of those days when I can sit on my patio and listen to the wind.

I live in a neighborhood that has a lot of larger trees. All of my surrounding neighbors have large ficus, jacaranda, citrus and palm trees in their yards. The wind is just high enough that it is blowing through the trees and creating music.

When it goes through the jacarandas, it's a light sound. They have wispy, fern-like leaves that offer little resistance. The sound reminds me of silk sheets rustling.

The ficus and citrus trees are denser, stiffer and more resistant to the wind. They make the sound like paper being crumpled.

The palm trees are the most resistant to the wind with their large, flat fronds. The sound of the wind going through them is reminds me of camping, when the winds whips your tent around while you're inside.

The wind-chime that Mister C's grandparents gave us as a wedding gift are just enough sheltered that they only chime on the big gusts. A light delicate chiming that's more in the background than anything.

Finally, there are dried leaves that are dancing and chasing each other around on the patio next to my chair. There's is a dry sound, a harsher tone but not unpleasant.

In combination, the various trees, leaves and chimes become soothing, calming, rhythmic, peaceful.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Closer than appropriate

Can we get any more fur in one two foot area?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Took the plunge, now we're drowning...

God love Mister C for doing what he does.

We went out and about this morning to take care of various weekend errands. One of the errands occurred at a certain electronics store that rhymes with "west why". Mister C wanted to find an IPod cord for my car so I could take my tunes with me without having to wear headphones. Anyway, he and Master J wandered over to find that and I went to check out the one and only tablet pc that they carry in the store. Yada, yada, yada, now Mister C had to set up my new tablet pc to work for my business.

Yeah. I bought one. And it's not a mac. Because for whatever reason, Apple does not have a tablet style computer yet. At the same time, I was somewhat okay with it not being a Mac. I've been struggling with one of the main softwares I'm supposed to use strictly because I have a mac.

See, with only 3-5% of computer users actually using an Apple product, most programs & software are built for pc users. After the guys & gals finish designing their product, someone reminds them of that 3-5% of the population. At which point, they throw something together that's all half-assed and whopper jawed and only works "mostly".

I love, love, love my mac. But this one software totally sucks on it. Flat out. Sucks. Does not work. Which wouldn't bother me except for the fact that it is the one piece of software that I absolutely need to make my business work properly. Or at the very least, efficiently and well.

So I have this new tablet. And the first thing Mister C has to do is to remove all 500 of the pre-loaded bullsh*t things. Which took him several hours. Then he had to load all the things I do want onto my new toy. Which he has been trying to do for the last five hours. Some things went easily, some were a struggle, some were catalysts for foul language and tons of frustration. And the one software that I really need because it makes my business work properly? Is giving him apoplectic fits. Nice.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Education can be expensive...

I just finished the first of two technology modules that I will be taking in my quest to get my GRI designation. It was a two day course and full (CHOCK FULL!) of information. Information about what direction we're going, technology-wise, as agents and as an industry. Information about how we can do things faster, more accurately, more smoothly and neater than what I'm currently doing. Things like voice recognition and handwriting recognition. That last one might be worth it just to see what the software came up with from the chicken scratching I call "handwriting". I would love to implement about 70% of what I've learned over the past two days. Unfortunately, this was apparently the most expensive course ever. If I were to get every piece of cool equipment, every bit of awesome software and all of the possible fantastic services available, it would run me at least $5,000. This month. I think Mister C might want me to actually pay off the previous expenditures in education & equipment before I start in on the new stuff. Bummer.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Horrifying alone time

Ever since Mister C started his new job and school started up for Master J, I have the house to myself most days. Which I adore. I love my family more than life itself, but I need down time or I get cranky.

Most days after I drop Master J off to school I have someplace to be for at least a few hours. Today was no different. Today I met with my New Yorkers at the house they are buying to get their signature on a few more papers. We got acceptance last night and they were ecstatic. Of course rather than meeting them where they currently live, they wanted to meet at the house they are buying. No problem there. We met, we ooohed, we ahhed, they signed, we left. No, definitely no problem there.

The problem was after I got home. Because while I love my alone time, I don't love when I forget to lock a door before I leave the house. I did a quick search through to make sure I was alone in the house and then sat down to take care of some work.

About five minutes later though, I started hearing noises. Thumping noises. Moving noises. Noises that told me someone was moving things around in my house. And I start the panicky thought process of "Oh sh*t! Where did I forget to check? Where were they hiding?"

As the noises continue, I become convinced that the obvious serial killer that is in my house is now searching for weaponry with which to take me out. I start looking around to see what I can defend myself with...the most potent thing within reach is my Nikon. I'll give up willingly before I bust that over someone's head.

I've got a spoon in a bowl from breakfast. I'm not really sure what I can do with that. Side note here: I know what I'm not going to do with it...there will be no using of implements to poke the killer in the eyes. Even typing that gags me. No, if it comes down to dying or poking someone in the eyes to save my life, it should be noted that my favorite flowers are hibiscus and you may use them freely at my funeral.

Eventually the desire to just get it over with trumps the need to avoid conflict and I carefully sneak towards the thumping, moving noises. And that's when I realize the light is on in the pantry and I can see a shadow moving across the floor. Crap, they're in the pantry with all sorts of electric cooking utensils. I'm probably in bigger trouble than I thought.

I take a deep breath. I brace myself for whatever physical violence might be coming. I reach my shaking hand out for the doorknob...and pull it open quickly.

And find this...

Damned obnoxious cats.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Nobody puts Baby in a corner. Nobody!

I was 17 years old when the movie "Dirty Dancing" came out. I remember watching it on video tape with my Mom and my cousin Brenda. Several times in a row. I also remember when we used the slow motion on the vcr to try and figure out just how naked Patrick Swayze was when he was climbing out of bed in one particular scene. I've watched this movie multiple times since that first time. I (and my Mom) can probably quote most of it by heart.

I fell in love with him in that movie. And had to find and watch every movie he had done prior to it. As the years went by, I watched every movie he did after it. Some were great, some were okay, some were "meh". None was as compelling as Dirty Dancing. There was just something about that movie. I wanted to be Baby. So did every other woman I know.

And now he's gone.

Life is too short. It's too short to spend not doing what you want to do. It's too short to sit in a corner.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I Knew It!

My goofiness is genetic...

Mamoo went grocery shopping earlier today to restock her (already full) pantry. When she arrived back home, my dad wasn't at home so she called him on his cell. When he told her that he would be home in two minutes, she asked him if he would help her bring in the groceries that were in her car.

She went into the house with her arms full and started putting things away. A few minutes later, my dad came into the house with his arms full. Mamoo turned around and saw him and said "Papa! I just bought toilet paper, milk and bread! Why would you buy it too?"

Yeah, I really didn't stand a chance did I?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Pretty Side of the Monsoon

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Remember

Like so many other people, I remember exactly what I was doing eight years ago today. I was holding a six month old Master J, watching in horror as the chaos unfolded on my television set. And even 2,000 miles from ground zero, we felt the aftershocks of that event. Mister C worked for a company that is based on the stock market and within two weeks, he got laid off from that job because Wall St was still shut down. But my experience is a drop in the ocean of pain that people closer to the event felt. If it was acceptable to partake of alcohol at 7:00 am, I'd raise my glass to the Northeast and give a hearty "Salute!" to all of those that made it through that awful day. And all of those that didn't.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Adventures in Driving

So I backed into a cop car today while out showing houses. Granted, the car belonged to my client but I doubt that really makes it any better. It might make it worse, now they know what a complete dork I am.

Here's the scenario:

I need to show a house that is in a gated community. The gate is closed, the code on the mls doesn't work. Rather than block the entrance while trying to get a hold of the listing agent for assistance, I pull back out onto the street and park. My clients, who have met me at this location, pull in behind me. While I am on the phone, they all pile out of the car and go to the opposite side of the street so that one of them can smoke.

After hanging up with the agent's assistant, I wave to my clients and tell them we're good to go. I look forward and realize that I'm too close to the car in front of me to just pull out, so I throw it in reverse. And as I'm backing up I look over to see the son's eyebrows go waaaaaayyy up and he says "NO!". And then I hear the THUD! of my car's back bumper connecting with my client's patrol car's front bumper. And I curse loudly, because I am very well mannered like that.

My client, the cop, runs across and looks at the bumper and declares there to be no damage and tells me not to worry about it. Then his wife tells me they're going to have to take it out of my commission and she and I both bust up laughing. Because what else are you supposed to do in that situation? Thank goodness I didn't actually cause any damage.

I guess if I'm going to do something stupid at least I give it my all.

Riddle of the day

What do you get when you cross this child who forgets where he leaves things...

with this man who thinks if it's quiet it's a good thing...

with this puppy who can't be trusted?

Give up yet?

It's almost artistic in it's destruction, don't you think?

That's gonna cost some allowance money. Now if I could just figure out which of the two human dorks to charge...

Sidenote - again with the crappy phone/camera photos.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Yesterday I met up with a friend to go to dinner and to see Nickelback in concert. Oh. My. Goodness. I love when a band sounds just as good live as they do on the radio. And they absolutely do. I think that's the sign of a good band. When a band sounds really similar whether they're on the radio or on a stage, it's a beautiful thing. Too many bands today rely on the recording studios to clean up their acts enough to be considered decent enough to sell. The three opening acts where kind of in that category.

The first opening act was Saving Abel. I had heard the name before but couldn't tell you what they sang. After listening to them play for 30 minutes though, nope, still couldn't tell you a single song of theirs. First of all, I couldn't understand a word they sang (or said). I'm fairly certain I could pick out the f-bomb being repeated in between songs. It was sort of like "blah, blah, f-bomb!, mumble, f-bomb!, hahahah! f-bomb!". And the audience went wild.

The second act of the evening was Papa Roach. I actually recognized several of their songs, and like them. On the radio. Jacoby (the lead singer) has a very decent voice overall. The songs are pretty rockin' as well. In person, there's a whole lot more screaming going on. And again with the f-bomb. Also, I think Jacoby might have abandonment issues regarding his genitalia as he spent a large portion of his set locating them. Just sayin'.

The third opening band was the one I was most looking forward to, Hinder. Unfortunately I was not as thrilled by the end of their set. I mean, it's not that they are bad at all, it just seemed that the vocals should have been the loudest thing and it wasn't. I struggled to hear Austin's unique voice over the cranking bass lines & ripping guitar chords. Not that it was bad because it wasn't, it just wasn't the way I would have preferred to hear it.

Then came Nickelback. And they were AWESOME! The vocals were clear, the music was jammin', there were huge screens showing the band members in oversize mode, and there was a pretty good show of pyrotechnics. Just awesome. The best part was the rapport Chad had with the audience. He has an obvious sense of humor that comes out in his running commentary between songs and he had the audience going crazy. Not me of course, I sat quietly watching the band, tapping my toe and (only occasionally) screaming out lyrics. Lest you think that he isn't a rock star, he did drop some f-bombs himself, but he seemed capable of saying several sentences in a row without doing so, which was a huge improvement over the opening acts.

Can you make that out? Yeah, camera phones combined with distance, combined with horrific lighting makes for a pretty crappy photo. But I was at Nickelback! Wooooohooo!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Writer's Block

Yeah, it's been over a week since I blogged. It's not that there's nothing to blog about either. It's just every time I sit down to write something, I stare at the blank page and have nothing to say. Me. With nothing to say. Wow, what are the odds? I probably ought to buy a lottery ticket.

So I'll give you a wrap up of what's going on in real estate:

I'm working with a new set of Brooklynites (I don't care if spell check doesn't like it, I'm calling it a word.) A father/son team. I won't use the term "nice" because honestly that's not a word I use to describe anyone unless I'm gritting my teeth. No, my native New Yorkers are blunt, cynical, open-minded and funny. Just my kind of people. We've looked all over the valley at various areas and at houses of all sorts and tomorrow we're going to narrow it down to exactly what they're looking for. These guys are willing to look at anything because the dad used to do contracting so it's making for some interesting viewings. So far my favorite has been the house with the wallpaper peeling off the walls in big sheets because of the amount of water that has come through the bedroom ceiling. Totally fixable, but the price they were asking was laughable. It would have been high had the house been in pristine condition. We're looking at several more tomorrow and I'm positive we'll be able to find something they'll be able to work with.

Mamoo, Miss Lee & I went to look at a few vacant homes yesterday. Miss Lee is looking for a vintage home, to go with her beautiful vintage style. There are lots of homes from the era that she loves out there. But there are two distinct things about vintage homes: they are either really expensive, or in really bad neighborhoods.

The first house was priced a little high and the neighborhood was questionable. We had tried to look at it previously and been somewhat unsuccessful. The problem was that it was almost dark when we went and there was no electricity so we couldn't see much. Honestly, it looked better in the dark. So we moved on.

The second house was priced really low because it was a fixer. The neighborhood wasn't bad, but the house needed major renovations. It had a lot of potential, but would require a "tore up from the floor up" type renovation. I do have to say though that the shaking, rolling "fun house flooring" in the kitchen was different.

The third house was priced between the first two and was in a much nicer neighborhood. It was a recently renovated 1952 three bedroom home. Now, normally, I would shy away from recently renovated mid-century modern homes. Normally, they are purchased by "flippers" who go through and neutralize them. I call it "flipper beige". They take out the pink, green, yellow & blue tiles and replace them with cheap Home Depot beige tiles. They paint everything either white or beige with white trim. They put in cheap brass fixtures and cheap brass knobs. They top it off with beige tile in the kitchen and beige carpet in the bedrooms. In other words, they suck the life right out of them.

Houses built in this era have a lot of charm because of the colored tile and quirky details, not in spite of them. They have niches and different finishes than every other house. They welcome you. I hate flipper beige houses. But this house? Is decidedly not flipper beige. The investor that bought this house kept the colored tile and kept the little details. And I'm pretty sure she added some back in. The main bath still has it's pink tub surround, but the sink had to be replaced. I would imagine at some point that a previous owner "updated" it and took out the original pink tile. But this investor took the time to add back in white subway tile. And it looks really nice. She also took the time to create new shutters around the windows that look original. She managed to keep the character and still renovate the parts of the house that needed it. She put in a new a/c unit and updated the electrical and plumbing. She painted it inside and out, using crisp white to accent the various built ins. She updated the fixtures with ones that look like they came with the house. And she either kept or added an old Roper six burner stove. The fridge & dishwasher are brand new, but are both white so they match the old stove. How cool is that?

Long story short, Miss Lee loved the house and we submitted an offer. Which they accepted within a short time. Her closing date is in 30 days. If Miss Lee is okay with it, I'll try and post pictures of her new home at some point in the future. And I look forward to sitting on her back patio, overlooking her green yard, drinking coffee with Mamoo & Miss Lee in just 30 days.