Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday fragments

Welcome to Friday fragments, my weekly recap of topics too big to forget, yet too small to be their own post.

Its been a busy week at work, and the week isn't over yet. Today I met a couple from NJ that is retiring and moving here soon. Today we found a home they really like and although they didn't write an offer today, I know they're thinking about it. Tomorrow my couple from CT is returning and I have a marathon of homes to tour with them. They picked the homes via the internet and I gave them additional info and my own take on them.

My virtual friend and frequent blog commenter Anne Marie is visiting this weekend. She had a work-related thing not far from here so she decided to visit. We're going to dinner at Saketumi and the Divas show at Blue Moon afterward. Sat I work all day, then we're going to 2 birthday dinners, then the Legends show. Sun morning Anne Marie leaves and I may have to go into work for a while, depending on how my marathon of home showings goes on Sat.

Hoping everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another birthday

Tonight we had dinner at Pickled Pig Pub for Kim's birthday.

Kim's birthday isn't actually until this coming Sat, but we celebrated it tonight because Kim was off work tonight. Kim is the manager of Saketumi and works Fri & Sat nights.

Joining us were the Bobs, Steven & Thad, Ron, Jim, and Joe P. We had a great dinner and nice conversation.

Spouse's birthday was last Wed, Spouse's sister-in-law Karen's birthday is today, my friend Jason's birthday is tomorrow, Spouse's niece Anna's birthday is tomorrow, our friend PW's birthday is Fri, and our friend Diane's birthday is Sat.

That's a lot of cake!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Weekend highlights

I worked from 9-5 on Sat, then came home and rehearsed my routine for the Legends show that night. Spouse & I had dinner at home, then I went to the Blue Moon to perform as Neil Sedaka in the Legends show. Jack, Alisha, and Joe P came, and Joe P took these videos of the 4 songs in my medley:
video video

video video
After the show I changed into my street clothes and hung out for awhile with a few friends. One of the bar backs who works there stopped me and said "Every week you're the best. It doesn't matter who the other legends are, you're always the best." I was so stunned by this totally unsolicited and generous compliment that I didn't know what to say. I just replied "Oh... thank you!"

Sun I worked from 9-4. It was rather quiet for the 1st 3 hours but then I got a call from a guy asking about 1 of our listings. He said he owned the house across the street but his good friend who was visiting was thinking about buying a 2nd home. I knew the home was empty so I offered to show it to them. I also found 2 other homes in the same community around the same price that were also vacant so they could make some comparisons. When they showed up I learned that Sean & Mike live in Philly but own a 2nd home here, and their good friends Kevin & Andy were interested in a 2nd home too. They liked all 3 homes I showed them but felt the 1st one offered the most space and ability to update it and create equity. I met up with them later that evening to show them info about comparable home sales and review the sellers disclosure. We also talked about the elements of making an offer and having a home inspection. We agreed to meet up again on Mon.

Then I joined Spouse, Steven & Thad, Alisha & Jack, and Joe P at Cracker Barrel for dinner. Apparently while they were all at the beach together earlier that day (while I was working) they had talked about having meatloaf. Our waiter was surprised when all 7 of us ordered meatloaf!
After dinner Spouse & I relaxed at home and watched the campiest of camp classics "Mommie Dearest" on cable.

This morning I met up with Kevin & Andy and Sean & Mike and showed them 2 other homes, just to confirm that they had picked the correct 1. We returned to the home they liked the most and they signed the contract! It was presented to the sellers who countered their price. My clients countered the sellers counter offer, and the sellers accepted it. Hurray - ratified contract #3!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday fragments

Welcome to Friday fragments, my weekly recap of items too big to forget, yet too small to be their own post.

A friend sent me this article about a fantastic Plexiglass Pontiac. You gotta see this!

My buddy Jared sent me this ditty:
Link
Its long been suspected that having a pet is good for your health. Now its no longer just a correlation between the 2, there's an actual cause and effect. Check it out here.

Tomorrow night I'm performing as Neil Sedaka in the Legends show. The weather has been SO hot and humid I hope I don't melt on my way from the car to the bar!

I'm scheduled to work Sat & Sun this weekend so no beach time for me.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Celebration

We had a lovely time last evening at Spouse's birthday dinner at Saketumi!

Steven & Thad agreed to pick up the Happy Birthday balloons for me, and Bryan picked up the cake from the bakery. That way Spouse & I could arrive together without me having to stop along the way.

In addition to Spouse & me there was Steven & Thad, the Bobs, Joe P, Robin, Bryan, PW, Chris & Jason. As usual, we all had delicious food and impeccable service.

When we returned home we watched another couple episodes of "True Blood" on DVD. It was a terrific evening.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Happy birthday!!

Today is Spouse's birthday!! Today he catches up with me and we are the same age for about 3 1/2 months.
Yesterday he suggested that we both take off work today, which I was happy to do since I didn't get to be 'off' on Sun, and because I didn't have any appointments scheduled for today. I thought maybe we go to the beach together and anything else he wanted to do. Unfortunately, I had to go into the office this morning for a while, and when I returned and asked Spouse what he wanted to do today, he suggested running some errands and going shopping. I would have preferred going to the beach but since it was his birthday, I agreed. Afterall, there would still be time to go to the beach after doing what he wanted. But after we returned he said he wanted to take a nap. I decided to do some laundry while he napped. Not exactly the way I wanted to spend my day off, but since it is his birthday I said he could call the shots.

You may recall that last year I really did a bad job of celebrating his birthday, so this year I made sure I made up for it. This morning I gave him his gifts: a black shirt with white pinstripes from his favorite store Kenneth Cole, and a Kenneth Cole gift card so he could pick out something else he wanted. This evening we're meeting up with 10 friends for dinner at Saketumi (his choice). I am picking up 'Happy birthday' balloons and Bryan is picking up the decorated cake for me and bringing it to the restaurant.

I think we'll have a very nice time this evening!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Weekend highlights

As usual, on Sat I worked. A couple whom I'd shown property to a few months ago returned. Their house in MD is under contract now so they were ready to resume their house hunt here in DE. I showed them 4 homes they'd viewed online, but they were not very forthcoming with feedback. I sort of had to ask them directly "what did you think of that home?" which is unusual since most clients normally speak their minds as they are walking through the homes. That night we ditched 'the family' and had dinner with Steven & Thad. After dinner we tried to go to boardwalk for a sweet treat but the traffic on the Ave. was just too bad. So instead we got ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery outside of town. I got Birthday Cake Remix, which is cake batter ice cream with sprinkles, fudge, and a brownie all mixed in. It was deliciously decadent.

Sun I was supposed to be off work and Spouse & I were to go with Steven & Thad to Ikea, Trader Joe's, and King of Prussia Mall. However, my clients from Sat called me Sat evening and requested a 2nd showing on Sun morning of 1 of the homes I'd shown them. Additionally I had a few others to tell them about, so I had to let Spouse and Steven & Thad go on the day trip without me. After the 2nd showing my clients finally divulged to me how much they liked the home and decided to write an offer on it. By the time it was written up, explained, signed, and double-checked, it was after 2pm. I was starved so I grabbed a quick lunch, went home to change clothes, and headed to the beach. It was almost 4pm when I got there but I did run into a few friends so I had someone to talk to most of the time. I left at 5:45 when I learned that Spouse was home. He was VERY happy to hear about the offer on the house. That evening we had dinner with 'the family' at the Green Turtle. I wore my new t-shirt that Spouse and the kids got me in Wildwood on Thurs: I don't know why I think its so funny, but I do! After dinner we drove into Rehoboth Beach so the kids could have some fun playing boardwalk games. It was a gorgeous night so Spouse's mother and I enjoyed sitting on a boardwalk bench watching people. Then we returned home and had a slice of Dairy Queen ice cream cake (for Spouse's upcoming birthday) on the screened porch. It was a lovely end to the family's visit.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday fragments

Welcome to Friday fragments, my weekly recap of topics too big to forget, yet too small to be their own post.

Like most of you, I was shocked and VERY unhappy about the Netflix subscription changes to go into effect Sept 1. Netflix is discontinuing the subscription we have where you can stream films and get DVDs by mail for $9.99 per month. In Sept you have to choose streamed films OR DVDs by mail for $7.99 per month. If you still want to stream and get DVDs by mail you must pay for both subscriptions at $15.99 per month. To clarify, in order to keep what I'm currently getting for $9.99 per month I will have to pay $15.99 per month. I guess they are banking on subscribers opting to keep what they have and pay the extra $6. per month. Sure they'll be pissed for a month but will soon forget about it. Afterall, Americans have extremely short memories. But I think I will just select the DVDs by mail subscription for $7.99 per month since their streaming library is minuscule compared to their DVD library.

My friend Joe P sent me this cute video from the tv show Australia's Got Talent. He's not a bad singer. Enjoy!

While most of you have already enjoyed your Pride celebrations in June, Pride is celebrated in Sept here in DE. I'm SUPER EXCITED that this year's Pride celebration headliner is Taylor Dayne!! I've been a big fan for years and saw her in concert in the early 90s. I hope she performs all her hits because that's what I'll be expecting. She was a guest judge on 1 season of RuPaul's Drag Race but didn't perform.

Spouse's family is still here. They were originally going to leave tomorrow but they're having such a good time they decided to stay 2 extra days so now they're leaving on Mon. Spouse & I have had plans to go to Ikea with Steven & Thad on Sun and basically be gone all day. The family doesn't care. They'll go to the beach and we'll go with Steven & Thad. The visit has been pretty good, with the exception of 1 night when everyone except me stayed up late watching a movie. I had to get up for work the next day but was kept awake until almost 1am by their noise. But other than that its been fine.

I have a busy day planned tomorrow at work. I'm showing a property to a couple at 9:30, then showing 4 properties to a different couple at 10:30. This is our prime season and its been as busy as I've expected.

Here's hoping everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Listen to your realtor

If you listen to the "news" channels and national reports you'd think the real estate market is still in the toilet. But as a realtor I routinely remind people that national real estate conditions do not necessarily reflect local conditions. Real estate markets are very regional.

National real estate statistics will lump the entire nation's data. Perhaps that's interesting to some people, but its not really relevant to what's going on in your community. If you are buying or selling in San Francisco, do you really care what the market is like in Detroit?

Some cities/markets have a high rate of foreclosures causing the prices to decrease. Other cities/markets have a shortage of inventory. The law of supply and demand says that when supply is low, prices are higher.

To make sound real estate decisions you need to be aware of what's going on in the market where you are buying or selling, not necessarily what's going on nation-wide. A licensed real estate agent can provide you with data regarding how many homes have sold in your area, how many days on the market, and for how much of the asking price. Isn't that what you really need to know?

A few months ago I worked with a client who was very specific about the style and location of the home he wanted. To back up my first hand knowledge I also researched the multiple listing service (MLS) and advised him that the supply of that style home in that particular location was very low. After a few homes that were 'close, but no cigar' a new home popped up on my hot sheet that was practically perfect. I notified him and he made arrangements to return to the area to see the home. As I expected, he loved it. We spent an hour and 45 minutes touring the bungalow and yard, talking about furniture placement and possible future updates to the home. I provided him with the sellers disclosure and comparable home sales in the community. He wanted to sleep on it, and I advised him not to wait too long. This was the only home that met all his criteria and there was no guarantee another would turn up. A week or so later I notified him that the house was under contract. He seemed genuinely disappointed and it took all I had not to shout "I told you so!" He should have listened to his realtor.

Recently I worked with a couple relocating here from another state. They were not very familiar with the area so I spent some extra time orienting them and sharing the pros and cons of the communities in which we toured homes. They expected this to be the 1st of 2 or 3 visits to the area before finding a home they liked enough to buy, but after touring 10 homes in 2 days, they were interested enough to make an offer on 1. I learned that another buyer was also submitting an offer so I advised my clients not to start out with a low price with the idea that they'd negotiate up to an acceptable price. When multiple buyers are submitting offers, the best strategy is to go in with your best sale price and contract terms. My clients could not seem to get out of the mindset of a price that was lower than what they were willing to pay, despite my warning that they may not get an opportunity to negotiate the price if the seller accepted the other offer. They didn't listen to their realtor and offered less than they were actually willing to pay for the home. The seller accepted the other offer.

Human nature often causes people to feel responsible for getting the best deal they can, when in reality they should look to their realtor for advice on submitting the best offer they can. Realtors are not there just to unlock doors! We're there to share community and market info and strategies that will help buyers make informed real estate decisions.

A strong offer is not just about the highest price. Contract terms and financing can be important factors too. Being flexible with the settlement and possession date can be important to families who are trying to move before or after the school year starts or ends. A buyer putting down at least 20% is often more attractive than a buyer putting down less than 20% because there is less chance that the loan won't be approved when the buyer is borrowing less money. Price is just 1 component of a strong offer.

Obviously not every realtor is a good one, just like not every doctor or lawyer is a good one. But realtors are licensed and are ethically bound to represent their clients' best interests, so do yourself a favor and listen to your realtor.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I scream

Last night the gang was about to head out for boardwalk pizza for dinner when it suddenly struck me that it was burger night at the Purple Parrot.

The Purple Parrot usually sells a full pound burger for $13.50 but on Mondays they're half price. That's right - $6.75 for a full pound hamburger cooked any way you like it with a toppings bar! You can add as much or as little lettuce, tomato, bacon, raw onions, sauteed onions, sauteed mushrooms, cheese, mayo, ketchup, and mustard as you like to your giant burger. I knew this would be a big hit with the big eaters staying with us this week.

I was correct. All 8 of us ordered the giant burgers, though several couldn't finish them. The burgers tasted great and we enjoyed the great 80s music coming from the bar area.

Afterward we strolled down the boardwalk and the kids played a couple games at the arcade, winning a Rasta Banana, and then we decided to get ice cream for dessert.

For many years I've been a Kohr Brothers soft-serve purist. There are some things, like soft serve, that simply don't need improving. For years I've gotten soft-serve cones there, until Thad & Steven introduced us to The Ice Cream Store. Its not that we hadn't seen it before - we'd walked past it 1,001 times - but had never gotten ice cream there. Thad told us about the exotic, borderline insane ice cream flavors they offer and got us hooked. So we took the family to The LinkIce Cream Store.


Here's just a short sampling of some of their ice cream flavors:
  • bacon
  • beer
  • motor oil
  • Lucky Charms
  • Mountain Dew
  • booger
  • better than sex
  • dip your fries
  • the ice cream your parents warned you about
  • garlic amaretto chip
  • Elvis impersonator
  • looks like Viagra
  • King Kong
  • junk in the trunk
and many more!

David got booger with better than sex and the ice cream your parents warned you about. Spouse got salted caramel with pistachio and chocolate addiction. I got cake batter with Reese's cups and chocolate addiction.

It was absolutely amazing!!

Not sure you'd like these wacky flavors? Well, there's no need to take a risk - just ask for a taste. The staff is happy to give you a little taste of any flavors you want to try. I tried the bacon ice cream but thought it tasted like vanilla. I was really surprised that I liked the beer ice cream so much!

We really had a fun night with the family on the boardwalk.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Weekend highlights

Fri evening Spouse & I were invited to dinner at Jason & Kevin's. We were surprised to find Steven & Thad right behind us. Jason & Kevin grilled steaks which were delicious, even to me who usually couldn't care less about steak. We also had corn on the cob, also grilled in foil, which was so sweet you'd have thought they dusted it in powdered sugar. We brought my Gram's recipe for butter basil peas. Its so simple: boil peas, drain, add butter, salt, pepper, and dried basil. Its so delicious and reminds me of my Gram who lived out in the country and had a huge vegetable and herb garden. When I was a kid I used to spend a couple weeks at my grandparents' house in the country, swimming in the creek, helping in the garden, and enjoying a very different landscape from my suburban home. My grandparents passed away when I was 26.

Sat I worked from 9-5. Spouse's family (sister, brother-in-law, niece, 2 nephews, and mother) arrived in the late afternoon. Shortly after I got home from work we left them behind to go to 1 of the Bob's birthday barbecue. Many of our friends were there (both Bobs, Steven & Thad, Joe P, Jack & Alisha, Robin & Bill) plus several other friends of Bob that I didn't know well. We had great food and a very nice time. Then we swung back home so I could brush my teeth and pick up my black shoes, and then I was out the door to perform in the Legends show. Spouse's 81 year old mother really wanted to come, so he brought her and his sister and brother-in-law to the show, which is held in a gay bar. Performing that night were Gladys Knight, Etta James, and Neil Diamond. Spouse's mother was dancing in front of the stage with some anonymous gay man who took a liking to her. In reality she's never met a stranger. Immediately after the show the Legends and I came out in our costumes to be with the audience and have our photos taken and Spouse's family shared with me how much they liked the show. It was fun to have them in the audience. They left shortly thereafter so I changed back into my street clothes, got a drink, and hung out with Jason & Kevin for a while. It was a fun night!


Sun I worked from 9-4 and Spouse & 'the family' went to the beach all day. When I got home we hung out for a while, then 'the family' and Spouse & I went to dinner together at Jake's Seafood. It turned into a beautiful night weather-wise, so we all sat out on the screened porch for a long time talking and laughing. The kids decided to watch a movie but it was after 11pm so Spouse & I went to bed. After all, they're on vacation - I'm not.


Since I worked Sun I took today as my day off. I thought everyone would have breakfast and we'd go to the beach together, but it didn't quite work out that way. Since the kids stayed up late, they slept late. None of the adults was willing to wake the kids so I basically sat around all day. Had I known they were going to wait for the kids I would have gone to the beach myself. As it turned out we didn't go until 2pm. I was kind of disappointed when they were ready to come back home at 3:45. It felt like my 1 day off this week was spent waiting around on others who have the entire week to do whatever they want. Oh well... there will be other days to go to the beach.

Now that we're home, everyone has showered and we're thinking about what to have for dinner. Burgers and dogs on the grill? Pizza?

Friday, July 08, 2011

Friday fragments

Welcome to Friday fragments, my weekly recap of topics too big to forget but too small to be their own post.

It is truly amazing what technology can do now! My friend Terry sent me this video about 3D printing of objects. You gotta watch it. Then there's this video about Honda's new lightweight, portable transportation device. Could it be the wheelchair of the future? Absolutely amazing!

My friend Jared sent me this.
And all this time I thought the existence of gay Mexican Muslim bears was just a myth! Turns out they're the #1 threat to America!!

One of the Bobs sent me this video from the "What Would You Do?" tv show. I must admit that I was surprised at the willingness of people in the red state of TX to speak up over unfair treatment of gays and lesbians. More Texans than New Yorkers!

Jared sent me this too.
Really??? Do we really need a sign to forbid peeing on small animals???

Some of Spouse's family are coming tomorrow for a visit. His sister, her husband, their college sophomore daughter, their high school sophomore son, their 8th grader son, and Spouse's mom should arrive sometime tomorrow. They're staying for a week. That's right - there will be a total of 8 people staying in our house for a week! Funds are too tight for them to rent a house in their favorite resort area so they're spending a week's vacation at our beach house. It shouldn't be that bad, actually. They came last year when I worked at home and everything was fine. Like last year, Spouse is taking off work the entire week they're here so he can go to the beach and hang out with them while I'm working. This year I won't be home during the day so I won't even see them until 5pm when I get home. I get along with them great - don't misunderstand - its just that they will be in a 'vacation' mindset and I won't, so it can be a little tricky.

Wishing everyone a great weekend!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

News

I've gotten to the point where I can barely stand to watch the "news" (term used loosely) anymore.

Even the so-called "news" channels rarely report actual news. In fact, there isn't enough actual news occurring for these 24-hour stations to report on. So what do they do? They have hour long talk shows where 'experts' (term used loosely) talk about theories, conjecture, and what-ifs.

And I hate it when they talk over top of each other. Chris Matthews (I love that he's a reasonable liberal) is one of the worst. He'll talk right over top of his invited guest panelists.
And heaven forbid there is a missing white girl! Those channels will interview every psychologist and criminal behavior specialist they can find to fill up the 24 hours in a day.

We've become the generation of the over-informed, and not in the good way. All that blathering eventually sounds like white noise.

Then there's the very real possibility that the "news" that gets told is biased by the owners and supporters of the networks. Obviously the news on Fox isn't the same as the news on MSNBC.

Spouse thinks I should be more interested in what's going on in our country and around the world. I tell him I'm interested in the news, but not the garbage on the news channels.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Festive Fourth

We had a festive 4th of July weekend!

Sat I worked until 5, then Spouse & I met up with Steven & Thad, Allen, and Joe P for dinner at Saketumi. Afterward we went to see the Legends show. Patti LaBelle, Liza, and Alan Jackson performed! We hung out for a while afterward, then sat on a bench on the boardwalk and talked. It was a beautiful night.

On Sun we arrived at the beach at 10 and stayed until 4. It was 1 of those days when the sun kept darting in and out of the clouds. We were joined at the beach by Steven & Thad, Allen, Joe P, 1 of the Bobs, Robin & Bill, and John. We also saw many of our friends at the beach. That evening we met up with everyone for burgers, grilled dogs, and salads at Steven & Thad's house. I was amazed at how much they'd done to get settled in and organized.

Yesterday Spouse went to the grocery store early in the morning - I will still in bed when he left! Then we had coffee together when he got home and planned our day. He was responsible for the food and I cleaned the house in preparation for our 4th of July parade/dinner/fireworks. That afternoon we met Steven & Thad, 1 of the Bobs, and Joe P over at Joe P's pool. We hung out for a couple hours, then came home and finished getting ready. Robin & Bill, Steven & Thad, 1 of the Bobs, Allen, and Joe P came over to watch the Doo Dah parade. I drove Big Ella in the parade, of course.


After the parade we had grilled chicken, rice, and sauteed veggies for dinner on the screened porch and hung out until nearly dusk. Then we headed to the beach to watch the incredible 'volunteer' fireworks display. It seems each year they're bigger and better. The weather was dreamy and we really enjoyed the colorful celebration.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Friday fragments

Welcome to Friday fragments, my weekly recap of topics too big to forget, yet too small to be their own post.

What is WRONG with this picture???

Bugs & Roger supposed to come today and spend the holiday weekend with us. However, Roger's parents were in a car accident about a month ago so they are going to spend the long weekend with his parents. I'll miss them!

I've been working with a couple from CT since Tues. I showed them homes on Tues and Wed, then took them back to 1 home for a 2nd showing. Today we wrote up and offer on that house! I hope it works out. Its going to be a very busy day at work tomorrow. I'm scheduled to show property to 3 different people/couples!

So, what's in YOUR back yard?

Tonight we're going to a smart dinner party at Joe P's. Steven & Thad, Jack & Alisha, and the Bobs will be there as well. Afterward I'm singing a song in the Divas Show at the Blue Moon. One of the perks of winning the Rehoboth Idol contest is being paid to sing in Blue Moon shows. Tonight's the 1st night of this perk for me.