Monday, July 30, 2012

The Meat Wrapper, The Sugar Bowl and When Too Much Information is Too Much

Now I'm all for gay marriage.  And I would venture to say that my readers too, are, overwhelming in favor of same-sex marriage.  Here in Ohio's it's illegal, so the Columbus Dispatch REFUSES to post announcements of same sex engagements and marriages,  because it simply isn't done.

In the old days, wedding announcements were the funniest read in the paper because they were so damned boring.  "The bride is the daughter of mmmmmm.  The bridegroom is the son of mmmmmm, and works as a mmmmmmmm for the mmmmm Company." And they went into PAINSTAKING detail of the lace, materials and types of dresses that every woman was wearing.

But times change and increasingly, wedding announcements have been all business.  We no longer know of the type of fabric that the bridegroom's step mother's mother is wearing.  They are pretty much Dragnet announcements that are all facts and none of the obtuse information that made them so much fun to read in the first place.

Until now.

In New York City, the New York Times has joined the 21st Century and started printing same sex wedding announcements.  And the old gray lady of the press has just published a wedding announcement of profound triviality and monumental minutia for two men, who I expect are dying of embarrassment because their announcement reads like it should have appeared in the latest issue of The Onion, not the Times.

From the New York Times, online (and I am promising you that I am not making this up):

"Daniel Hendrick and Jimmy Van Bramer"

"Daniel M. Hendrick and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer were married Saturday evening at Studio Square, an event space in Long Island City, Queens. Audrey I. Pheffer, the Queens County Clerk, officiated."

CREDIT: The New York Times
"Mr. Hendrick (left), 41, works in Manhattan as the communications director for the New York League of Conservation Voters, an environmental advocacy group. He graduated from Columbia University.

"He is the son of Elizabeth L. Hendrick of Fraser, Mich., and Daniel W. Hendrick, of Largo, Fla. His mother retired as a laboratory supervisor at St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren, Mich. His father retired as a fire marshal for Chrysler and worked in Detroit.

"Mr. Van Bramer, 42, is a member of the New York City Council representing the 26th District, which is composed of Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Astoria and Maspeth in Queens. He is also the chairman of the council’s Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee. He graduated from St. John’s University.

"He is a son of Elizabeth E. Marcum of Astoria and William R. Van Bramer of Vero Beach, Fla. His mother retired as a cashier and a meat wrapper at a Pathmark supermarket in Long Island City. His father retired as a pressman for The New York Times and as an executive board member of New York Pressman’s Union, Local 2.

"Mr. Van Bramer is a stepson of the late James E. Marcum. His stepfather retired as a custodian from Intermediate School 10 in Astoria.

"Mr. Hendrick and Mr. Van Bramer met in May 1999 at a fund-raiser for a gay community center in Queens. (At the time, Mr. Van Bramer was working in government relations for the Queens Borough Public Library and Mr. Hendrick wrote news releases for the Fitch Ratings agency.)

"Mr. Van Bramer, having just arrived, went to the bar for a glass of wine when he looked up and saw Mr. Hendrick. “He was this handsome redhead with glasses,” Mr. Van Bramer recalled. “I just kind of said to myself ‘Who is that?’ ”

"Mr. Hendrick was soon chatting with the man who had invited Mr. Van Bramer to the fund-raiser, leading Mr. Van Bremer to assume that the two were dating. A short time later, the friend told Mr. Van Bramer that he was not dating Mr. Hendrick, and he had more good news: Mr. Hendrick had asked about Mr. Van Bramer (“Who is the guy in the suit?”).

"Mr. Van Bramer approached Mr. Hendrick and very soon began a mental survey of his new acquaintance.

“As we were standing there talking, I went through my checklist,” Mr. Van Bramer said. “I thought, ‘He’s good looking, he’s smart, he’s employed and he’s able to talk about politics.’ He met every one of my requirements.”

"Mr. Hendrick also had a checklist.

"“I thought he was sweet, handsome, intelligent and above all, I really loved his political activism,” Mr. Hendrick said. “He wanted to make some changes in the world.”

"That conversation led to a first date at a movie theater in Queens, and they began dating steadily, with Mr. Hendrick, who lived in Long Island City, spending time at Mr. Van Bremer’s studio in Woodside. Though Mr. Van Bremer wanted them to live together, he did not want to appear desperate.

"“Every time he would leave a shirt behind or a toothbrush, I thought that was a good sign that he was leaning toward moving in,” Mr. Van Bremer said.

"Then one day, Mr. Hendrick brought over one of his most treasured possessions, a sugar bowl that he had bought in Siberia during a college trip.

"The sugar bowl, which Mr. Hendrick put on the kitchen counter, never made it back to Long Island City, and neither did Mr. Hendrick, who moved in shortly thereafter."

So tell us, what's your favorite factoid from this announcement?

Our new house


And the moving date is set!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bidding war!

We got an offer on Tuesday and countered it.  It is another nice couple - I got to meet them on there third showing and the Realtor told me as they were leaving that they were writing a contract.

Well the next day, there was the contract!  And we countered their offer, and told the Realtor to tell the this was a our rock bottom price.  Since they had given us 18 hours for the review, I suggested that we put them on a short leash as well.

Well our Realtor told us to give them 48 hours. "We have six showings on your house over the next three days and we have another party working their mother to give in on the house - you're in the drivers seat if they take that long."

And boy was she right.

Four hours later another potential buyer - the one that they were trying to convince Mom to buy the house for them - stepped forward with an offer.  Then a half hour after that, a third buyer stepped forward.

What to do?

Again, Realtor - who said she hadn't seen this happen on a house in four years ("Two offers, maybe once or twice, but three?  Hell, no and that means Hell YES!") knew exactly what to do.  First she called the the second offer, and then the third offer and said that "there have been multiple offers, with a counter on the table," period.   "This will make them reassess their offers and force them to put forth a higher initial offer."

Then she waited an hour and called the first offer's agent and said "there have been multiple offers made," again, nothing more.  "We don't want them to know when these came in.  We want them to sweat a bit."

It worked, twenty minutes later offer one came through with a bid higher than our counter to them.  And we are in contract!

Better yet, we have a counter offer on the table as well.

The only downside to this is that this buyer is going FHA.  Can't have everything, but we're relieved and not as stressed.  Maybe some normalcy will return for the first half of August.  That would be nice.

And we've scheduled the move to Baltimore the week following Labor Day.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Five showings in one day and not an offer in sight

I can tell you that it is still a buyers market in Real Estate Land.

The house has been on the market for 14 days and while the comments are flattering, no one has stepped to the plate and wants to buy our house.

Today we had - 4 (FOUR!) freaking showing and nothing.  NADA.

We have had agents come back through with clients for second showings and one even brought people through for a third showing.

We get comments back through the Columbus Board of Realtors and those comments include:

"What a bargain!"

"It's so clean!  I wouldn't change a thing!"

"In my single woman fantasies, this would be a no brainer."

The group that cracks me up, though, is a young couple who are getting their first house, but her Mother is footing the down payment.  From what I hear, the daughter LOVES the house and wants the house.  Her husband likes it because every major system has been updated.  

But the Mother?  "She's not on the same page as the daughter."  Of course she isn't.  She wants the couple to buy the house she wants.  I can imagine the conversation:

Daughter: "But it has everything that we want and its thousands less then Clintonville proper!"
Mother:  "I'm not giving you any money for that house.  I wouldn't live in it!  You want something sensible, something low maintenance - you know, carefree ranch living."

The Realtor thinks that Mom can be swayed.  We'll see.

In other news, we have our closing set for the Baltimore house.  So this place has to sell, and soon.   

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Love It or List It or Take a Flying Fuck, Cecile

OK, yesterday was a freaking nightmare.

Get up, get the house ready for showings, drive to Mansfield to go shopping at my favorite dive, Gabriel Brothers (I found NOTHING!), and then back to Columbus pick up the dogs get home and the phone rings - its a request for a 5-6 showing.  So I pack up the dogs and go next door (thank God for great neighbors) and we waited it out until the house shoppers left.  Then, just as the fork was about to hit my tongue with the first bit of solid food all day, the phone rings - someone wanted to see the house in 20 minutes, and you know what they say: NEVER turn down a showing.  So I shoved dinner into the fridge and the dogs and I once again refugeed it over to the neighbors and these people stayed until nearly eight o'clock.

So I get home, nuke dinner, sit down and flip on the TV, then I remembered that the dogs had to eat as well.  So I fixed their food, nuked my dinner, again, and low and behold it's time for Love It or List It.

Well last night's episode - Retirement to House Hunting (Episode HLILI-304H, Season 3) was yet another special treat with a couple who were passive aggressive fuckwits.  Actually make that "fuckwit" - a woman named Cecile, and her husband John.   John and Cecile have magnanimously opened their overly decorated retirement bungalow to their great nephew, who they have taken in.

And the problem is that Nephew, who looks to be a normal kid, and his "stuff" don't mesh well with Cecil's way of life.  What about John?  Well, John doesn't matter because he's pussy whipped by the butch Cecil. How do I describe Cecile...well, think Hope Emerson, but without the charm and without the height.

Cecile wants a bigger house.  Cecile wants to go from a two bedroom bungalow to a four bedroom house for three people.  Why four bedrooms?  Well evidently, Cecile has needs.  And those needs include playing games, by rules that she makes up along the way.

Don't we all, Cecile?

Cecile wants to find a house that has it ALL in the same school district for their ward.   And Cecil is willing to spend $800,000 (Canadian) to get it.  But what of her husband, John?  John wants to stay in the house and Cecile is having none of this, so she is only giving Hillary (the show's cunt, and I mean that with great affection because I adore Hillary) a paltry $55,000 to upgrade their current house, which is valued at $600,000.

NOW usually the amounts spread between the two projects are pretty equal, but Cecile wants to move so she sets Hillary up to fail, because this is what Cecile the Shrew is asking for in their narrow, one floor house:

1) A bathtub for her great nephew, who looks to be about 9, and in three years will say "baths are for girls".
2) A bedroom for her nephew on the main floor of the house.
3) The master bedroom can't be moved to the basement.
4) The second bedroom, which is Cecile's office can't be moved to the basement because Cecile needs day light least she molder.
5) An open floor plan so she can see what the nephew is doing.
6) Entertainment space.
7) A guest room.
8)The laundry room reconfigured because Cecile is such a stupid bitch that it never dawned her to use a laundry basket to move wet clothes from the washer to the dryer, or at least scrub that dirty basement floor.

Cecile wants all this and more for $55,000.  And her quip of the show after snorting at Hillary?  "Well she's the designer."  Hillary is a designer, but even Jesus Christ Almighty couldn't pull off everything that Cecile wants for $55,000.

"She always gets what she wants," moans her long suffering husband.

So, David Visentin, the whiny Realtor goes off and does his thing, which is to show them house after house that isn't right.  This gives John and Cecil the right to bitch about Visentin and the houses off camera. Then we get to Hillary.  And of course, Hillary runs into problems - namely a plumbing stack.  She can't give Cecile the one bathroom feature that she wants because of a plumbing stack.  And Cecile goes psychotic and tries to out cunt Hillary.  And Hillary calls Cecile on it in a very diplomatic fashion by saying "you're trying to set me up to fail" but in her mind she's thinking revenge.  And she think probably thinking that someone needs to slap so sense into this harpy that is Cecile. Hillary is flaring her nostrils, and one does not fuck with Hillary when the nostrils are aflapping. And I'm going going to spoil the ending, suffice it to say as things progress, Cecile's demands become even more illogical and irrational.  And poor John, he doesn't dare put his foot down because he's financially dependent on that harridan of a wife of his.

Honestly, I hate violence but John needs to smack her.  Really, he'd be doing everyone a favor, including Cecile, who is a FUCKWIT supreme.  And my nightmare of a day?

Well thankfully, I escaped dreaming of shrew who is named Cecile.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sarah Silverman, via Felix in Hollywood

Videos seldom do well on this blog. But it made me laugh so hard I thought I was going to pee.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A guest in my own house

Just touching base.  I am, these days, living very simply as I cannot create any type of mess in our house - this runs contrast to Cookie's daily routine, which is to live in the house" and all over the house.  I am by no means a messy person, but I am also not so anal that dust a room every day, either.

What this means is, I am essentially a guest in my own house.  I am not really a resident.  More of a caretaker for an absent owner who could appear at any moment.  I can pretend that I live here, but I not allowed to just relax without fear that I'll be caught with a tissue in a garbage can, or watching the TV in the living room.

I can't leave clothes on the floor, or dishes in the sink.  No unfolded clothes in the drier or wet clothes in the washer, and God forbid that there are dirty clothes in the laundry chute.

For that matter, all the guides tell me not to cook in my kitchen - don't want to risk any smells (garlic, onion, etc.) that could offend potential buyers.  The garbage has to be emptied out of every waste can whenever I leave the house and the dogs go to doggie daycare every day.  When i get home from dropping them off, their crates have to go to the basement where they stay least anyone schedule a visit while I am away and they see the crates as "clutter in the rooms where they normally reside.

Everything I am wearing is somewhat wrinkled - the movers packed the iron and the ironing board.  My collection of art pottery sits in a warehouse on the west side of town.

And then there is the dog hair.  We have two - Mister's Rocky and Kevin, and while I have given both instructions not to shed, they pretend as if I am speaking in French, and all they understand is Esperanto, so the shedding continues, despite my brushing them and Swiffering up the errant bits of fur.

My daily routine is to get up, make the bed, brush my teeth, use the sink, clean the sink, use the toilet and then clean the toilet.  After I shower, I have to wipe everything down, not so it can air dry, but so it *sparkles* because I never know what or where I will be when the listing service will call with the the question: "I have an Agent who like to show your house in":

1) Tomorrow
2) Today at...
3) In one hour - and the dreaded -
4) They are out front.  Can you accommodate them on the spur of the moment? Now?

With the husband in Baltimore full-time now, my company is the TV - and there is nothing that is ever on to watch - and the dogs.  So I tend to lose track of what day it is, as the dogs are terrible at keeping calendars for me.

Tomorrow I have things to do as there are showings in the late afternoon.  But is tomorrow Sunday, or Monday - everything just seems to blend into one long day after another after another.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I am going to miss my kitchen

The Realtor brought the photographer to the house yesterday in front of the MLS going online.  We're going to remodel the kitchen in the new house, but I love my kitchen in the old house.  The floors are cork plank, the cabinets are maple and the walls are painted Valspar's "Smoke Infusion".  But its the the back splash tiles that are the hardest to part with.

The tiles were cut from sheets of maple veneer plywood - 500 3.5 x 3.5 natural tiles.  And because we wanted COLOR - we stole an idea from "Judge Mathis" and his set, which featured orange, purple and green tiles - and had Sherwin Williams mix-up pints stain for each color in wood stain. 

We hand stained 125 in each color (that left us 125 natural tiles in case one color or another ran short), and to get a true random pattern, we used scrabble tiles with O, G, V in a blind bag, and the drew for the next tile to determine which color made it up on the way as we worked in vertical lines across the area.   The rule was that a maximum of four tiles in the same color could touch in an area - OR - no more than three tiles in a given line.  

To trim the tiles to fit our 1916 walls (and all of their eccentricities) we used an invented belt sander (clamped to a saw horse) and that gave us the ability to shape tiles with a minimum number of pieces as we went around outlets, etc. 

The nice thing about this system is that it was thousands of dollars less than ceramic tile, and it eliminated another material in a busy room.  And with all the colors of dyes that they make today, the possibilities are endless.

In the end, and ten years later, we still love it.  Of course, I'm sure that purists will scoff - its not the sacred granite that everyone demands.  But we did it for us.  And we'll miss it!. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

How hot is it?

The thermometer at Casa 'd Cookie - the one in the SHADE - hit 106.7 degrees this afternoon.  That's Carlos Ponce Hot in my book:

This is our third day in the 100's, and the novelty of this wore off half way through the first day.  Even the dogs don't want to go outside and go on a walk.  And you know it HOT as fuck when the dogs don't want to go for a walk.

The husband has taken refuge in the basement where he is scrubbing and vacuuming the floor.  It's only 85 degrees down there, but its damp.  So it feels like 90+.

And Cookie?  I'm on a "fumes" break from painting our guest room, and I am painting in nude. Why? Because it is FUCKING HOT in there because you can't open the windows because its Carlos Ponce Hot outside.

The paper says that the heat will break on Monday with a high 90 and by Wednesday we'll be in the 70's.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

T -1 to Packing

Cookie is up to his eyeballs in angst.  Packers arrive TOMORROW.  Movers arrive on Friday.  First showing is FRIDAY.

Now if you will excuse me, I'm going to slip into a Valium...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sans Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Machine

So now we're back in Cowlumbus, again.  Another whirlwind trip to "Balimore" is complete.  Their electrical situation is no better than Cowlumbus.  So what were we doing in Baltimore, again?

We spent the day traipsing through dark houses with a Realtor.  Why?  Because Cookie lives in total fear of being homeless, and Cookie wants a house.   The husband wants one too, because he is tired of my whining.

When did Daphne become an Asian?

ANYHOW, we toured several charming houses with David and Melissa, our dynamic realty duo.  But we did it in the heat, with no electric power, and flashlights.  There we were, creeping through 1920s Colonials and "Ranchers" trying to find a home, peering about.  I felt as if we were looking for clues.  The only thing missing was the Mystery Machine and Scooby-Doo.

We toured a lovely little home on street named "Saint Dunstan's Garth" in the Homeland neighborhood of Baltimore.  A "Garth" is a cloister, and the seven houses on the garth are all very sweet.  It was a charming little place.  Nicely placed rooms.  But truth be told, the ceilings was a tad bit low.  I am 6 foot, the husband is that and three inches taller and there was a concern of whacking our heads. We met the neighbors, who were lovely people, and thats a plus in any neighborhood.  But the nail in the coffin of said cottage was that there was no place to put the Oldsmobile and no way it ever would have fit on the Garth.  And so the Garth fell by the side, and so did our wishes of sending out invitations to "get togethers" headed by the phrase "Party On, the Garth".

We toured another house on "Dark Star Way".  Seriously, who names these places?  In that house we were surprised by a sleeping owner sprawled in his bed, shades drawn.  We left, quickly.  You never see that on House Hunters.  Just ugly wallpaper border.  Well this guy was out like a light and snoring.  Now that would be compelling TV.

Many of the houses were really dated.  Lots of mauve.  Lots of cream colored lacquered furniture.  Lots of cheap brassy ceiling lights with beveled glass crystals hanging from prongs.  Do these people not stage their houses?  I mean, yes, a major storm has blown through, but do none of these people watch HGTV?  The house on the Garth was feeling better, all of the time. 

Then we went to the Cedarcroft neighborhood, and found a two-story and everything clicked.  The house is a whopping 600 square feet larger than our house now, and it felt like a mansion to us.   And that storm on Friday night? It toppled a tree behind the garage on the neighbor's house.  Thankfully, no one was hurt, but you do get to meet neighborhood people as they are gathered around that house with a 100 foot tall pin oak resting on top of it.

We have set up an offer, it was countered, and we accepted.  So we are "in contract".  The home inspection is next week, and that could mean that have to start over.  If we do, it won't be the end of the world.  It just means more houses to report on.

Once we close, I'll share pictures.