Monday, October 17, 2005

Generosity of spirit

The power of intention.  It’s a book I read, and have since passed along to my sister.  It’s about the kind of thing we both believe in and tend to encourage each other on when we talk.  It isn’t something I take for granted.

The power of the sisterhood of women.  It’s a strength I believe in and it has been passed on to me and my sisters by my mother and her mother.  It’s the kind of thing we tend to take for granted until we need it.  It is NOT something to take for granted.

I intend to do a lot of things.  I just don’t follow through.  But my sisterhood believes in me and encourages me and supports me even when I do not, I will not ask for help.  This is something I CANNOT take for granted.

Saturday, October 8, 2005

What to do, What to do?

OK, its been a week since I’ve posted. This, after a week of dutiful daily posting – just like I promised myself…

It’s been a little weird here in my life, and being the ‘always-up’ ‘glass-half-full’ type of chick that I am, I haven’t really wanted to admit that things were weird, and for that matter that weird might be an understatement.

Back on Thursday, I felt like I had all the energy in the world. I had meetings, and house showings, and check marks on every one of the 17 items on my Prioritized Daily Task List. Then things started to slip. Really, for no reason since I did a TV news interview from our house for sale, and that same day I’d gotten a sign call on that same house from a lady who drove by every day coveting that same house. We’d also gotten a call from one of my co-workers who had been showing our house to a couple who she thought might write an offer. And I got a great positive voice mail from my 23-year-old-brooding-literary-son. You’d think this would only spur on my energy and brighten my heretofore mediocre outlook, but nooooooo.

Could it be the growing negative balance in the checkbook? Probably. Could it be the endless showings of houses to people who are really never going to buy one? Likely. Could it be that I’m just pretending to be a Realtor and just the thought of attending a sales meeting or sometimes just going into the office scares the bejeezers out of me? Yup. Could it be the fact that I know the stuff that Downtown Dad and I have discussed is true and there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it? Pretty much. Muscle and joint pain when I wake several times a night? Partially. Fatigue caused by waking several times a night? Yes. The fact that I can’t get my shit together enough to even walk for 15 minutes a day? Oh yeah. Could it be that feeling of worthlessness that comes from expending energy toward something almost daily and not making any money from it? Totally!

It’s depression isn’t it? Trouble is, when I took an anti-depressives a few years ago, it didn’t do anything but make me lose interest in sex. It’s hormones isn’t it? But am I doomed to a life of ingesting horse urine to feel like a more productive contributing member of society? God, I hope not.

I need to get a real job – but the trouble with that is that I have a possible stream of income coming that I would be foolish to turn down. Part-time real job then. Yeah right, part time = part intelligence with most employers. I’m not sure what to do.

Friday, October 7, 2005


Call me.

It doesn’t matter when, and if I answer the phone, if I know you, I will greet you with a cheery ‘Oh HI!’ like it’s 2:30 on a Sunday afternoon and you are my best friend in the whole wide world and I was expecting your call just now.

Even if its 5 a.m., or if I’m right in the middle of some business deal, or a TV show, or even if I am really not all that cheery. It’s a sickness, an addiction of sorts really. Pollyannaitis. The need to make others feel good – even if I don’t.

I even feel guilty if I am less than perky when people say hi to me. I can be on the verge of tears and if someone says ‘good morning’ I instinctively put on a smile and a happy voice to return their greeting. This feels fakey to me, yet I would not want to invite someone’s concern if I acted any differently than I usually do.

If you are my friend, I would hope that you would call me if you were feeling down and needed to talk. But will I burden you with that? Nosirree! Is this learned behavior? Is this a genetic trait? Mental illness? Can this be cured? Do I want to be cured?

On second thought, don’t call me. Email me.

Thursday, October 6, 2005


If this experiment is to be of any use, I really need to stick with it, through good times and bad. Especially the bad, since bad times are the times when I get all my ideas. Dark, unacceptable, ugly, unproductive ideas. Things that if people read them would make them think less of me. Things I need to explore, and archive. Things that will be of use to me later to write things that are publicly acceptable, bright and accomplish something.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Be Careful What You Ask For...

Our house still hasn't sold. If only we could line up all the people in town and walk them through, pointing out all of its fabulous features.....

Because of Downtown Dad’s high profile position, he tends to know many reporters. He happened to be talking to one the other day and mentioned that we have a house for sale and even though we keep dropping the price, it is not selling. When the reporter asked ‘who’s your Realtor’ and he answered ‘my wife,’ viola – a story was born. So yesterday, while I was home catching up on my moldy laundry with my new dryer, the TV reporter called asking if I’d be interested in being interviewed since I am in the unusual position of being a Realtor with my personal home on the market. Oh, joy. This is the LAST thing I want to do, but I absolutely have to, because first and foremost, in essence it’s a 3-minute commercial for my house!

This is exactly what I hate about sales. My whole world is crashing in on me because this house has been on the market 6 months, and I have to look sincerely into a camera tomorrow morning and put a positive spin on that. I am not that good at talking out of both sides of my mouth. Herewith then, are my ramblings and propaganda jotted down mainly to psyche myself up:

Speaking as a Realtor, this is a wonderful house to have listed. It’s almost totally brand new on the inside, spacious, with a large three-room addition off the back. There is a large fully fenced, treed backyard – there is even a tree house! It is in a very desirable neighborhood, and based on comparable sales, it is priced quite reasonably. Right now, the price is very close to the appraised/assessed value of three years ago – that was before the entire kitchen was replaced, two bathrooms were remodeled, the whole interior was painted a warm bright neutral color and new flooring was installed in most of the house. They say there are three factors to consider with the sale of a home: Price, Condition, and Location. We have lowered the price; it is in perfect condition and in an excellent location. This house has it all, but it still has not sold. Even the feedback from potential buyers has been positive, which is not very helpful because there isn’t anything left I can change or do to get it sold. I look at this as a wonderful opportunity for buyers right now. The right buyer just has not walked through the door yet.

Of course, I have done all the right things for my sellers (me): open houses, marketing the home with signs, flyers, and ads in publications and on the Internet. We even have the added benefit of the Park Company Kiosk at the mall, where Park listings are displayed exclusively. Fellow Realtors who have been around longer than I have, say that historically, September has always been a slow month for home sales. They cite reasons such as; people have their kids back in school, and are getting their own heads back in to work after the lake season; the weather is cooling off; and they are just staying inside.

The rapid market we have been experiencing for the last couple of years, even up to and including this summer, has been unusual. Realtors who’ve been in the business a long time say that this is not a downturn in the housing market, but rather a return to a more normal market. There are more than 1,400 homes on the market right now as opposed to 1,200 last year at this time up nearly 15 percent. The average time on the market is somewhere between 90 and 100 days instead of 80 to 90 days last year. The inventory, or supply of houses is starting to catch up to the demand, not as much as in bigger cities, but it is starting to affect us. More sellers are putting their homes on the market, houses are selling less quickly, and prices are no longer increasing as rapidly as they were in the spring, although locally the average sales price of approximately 160,000 is up just slightly over last year.

The market is changing, so what do we do? In addition to pricing houses to align with market trends, we agents need to be creative. We need to communicate with our sellers to educate them on what is happening, so that when an offer comes in and it’s lower than expected we don’t just let them reject it. We counter back with options. We aren’t doing our buyers any favors by letting them write unreasonably low offers on a home they can’t afford, but we can work with the buyer’s lender to help negotiate a mortgage that both gets the seller a fair price, but is also within the buyer’s means.

Speaking as a homeowner with a house for sale – I am mystified. I can only reduce the price so much, so how do I attract buyers? What are they not finding in this house that they are finding in another? I have an emotional attachment to this house, so it is frustrating that it is taking so long to find a buyer. However, I am not the only one. All of the three other homes I have listed right now, in varying price ranges and locations are also experiencing this slow down with very few showings. On the bright side, I can relate when they express their frustrations – we are all in the same boat. But that still does not bring a buyer. What I do with my sellers, and my husband is that I remind them that with mortgage rates now rising, the cost of gasoline hovering near $3 a gallon and house prices in some areas of the country just plain out of reach for many families, Fargo Moorhead and the surrounding areas are still a great place to purchase a home. There are still buyers out there, Fargo Moorhead is attracting new businesses every day, and those businesses are hiring and promoting people every day. Our economy is very good. As home sellers, we just have to make sure what we are selling looks sharp, and are priced competitively. Real Estate is still a great investment. It may take a little longer than it did last year, but homes will always sell.

Ahhh.... somewhere out there, someone will watch the news and see my house and say "Look Harold, that's the house we've always wanted! Lets go buy it!"

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

More Than Just Fluff

Even though I don’t like to admit it, washers and dryers play a central role in my life. I’ve owned several through the years. Some have come included with the house purchase, some I admit, I have lovingly brought into my home after hours of deliberation over the yellow Energy Guide label and the carefully worded features brochure. It’s not as if I usually form an emotional attachment to household appliances, but with a family of four – sometimes 5, two dogs, and a pool, I sadly confess that I do some form of laundry every day. My relationship with my laundry partners is like people who become best friends after serving in a war together, a sort of a bonding through adversity. Which is why, when the dryer that came with our house developed a squeak, which turned into a squeal, which developed a clunk, and eventually evolved into a gravel grinding, smoke emitting rasp, we had to break down and buy a new one.

Given my limited financial situation, I could not afford to ponder long on the choosing of the now deceased dryers’ successor. I called around to find only the quickest delivery options on the cheapest models. Turns out, a new dryers’ delivery option, including the essential removal of the old one, is the key to dryer salesmen’s negotiations.

According to the final lucky salesman I spoke to, the choice is simple.

“…of course just because this dryer is on the low end of the price scale doesn’t mean it is not reliable. And of course, its quality is indistinguishable from those that happen to be higher priced. It’s just that those lower priced ones (which to the untrained eye look to be about the same as the higher priced ones) are so much smaller, and take so much longer to dry since the loads have to be so small. Oh, and will you be taking this home in your minivan?”

Silence ensued while I envisioned Downtown Dad and me lugging, hoisting, and heaving this new “small” dryer down the stairs and around the corner into the basement laundry room, and then dragging, pulling and hauling out the old one. Obviously lacking the muscle tone necessary for dryer delivery and removal, I was easy prey for the imminent up sell.

“… over here, for just a few dollars more, is the large capacity model. Would you like us to take away the old dryer when we deliver this one to your home tomorrow?”

True to his word, the dryer salesman dispatched two burley men to deliver my sparkling new dryer and gently maneuver it into place beside the steadfast if not lackluster washer. Then, with all the sensitivity of a highway worker scraping up road-kill, they carted off the old one and drove away, leaving me and the old washer and the mountainous pile of damp, smoky, mildew-y smelling clothes plenty of time to bond with the new guy.

Monday, October 3, 2005

Dear Diary...

It occurs to me that other "bloggers" post their writings daily - no matter what it is they have to say. When I don't post for a day or two it isn't that I don't have anything to say, I just have apparently succumbed to performance anxiety. Knowing that people I know, and don't know are reading this doesn't necessarily make me nervous, it just makes it seem very important to only post 'good' stuff. 'Good' being entirely subjective.

So, having disclaimed, and rationalized I am now going to have a goal of posting something every day. No matter how inane, or boring, or pointless or unentertaining or (yikes) revealing.

My last post was September 30 when I was 'home alone' with the kids and a cold. Prior to that, I posted what I thought was a pretty good run at a thought provoking piece. Anonymous, however, thought differently. Sadly, I must give this anonymous person a bit of credit, because from that comment I came up with an idea for a really cool story!

In the days between that post and the one about the creepy Rose flavored vodka, I did some deep soul searching when faced with an opportunity to be a guinnea pig for the sake of pharmaceutical advancement for a really large sum of money. About as close as I'll ever come to an "Indecent Proposal," and it caused almost as much turmoil in my life. I decided against the three week study when I learned it would be with a drug not yet approved by the FDA. There is way more to this topic I want to say so maybe I'll do a post on it at a later date.

So there. I've caught you up on all the haps in my life... well sort of...