Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas busyness

Too much fun and almost too many events.

Jamie performed in her first 'Dance Ensemble' performance at the Jacksonville Landing and she did terrific. I managed to suppress my urge to tell the dance teacher to put Jamie first in line as the line leader didn't even move to the groove like my baby. And she was smiling so big and pretty. Proud of my girl. They will be performing at our local Arts Market (RAM) This Saturday around noon. They are also scheduled for some UNF Basketball games.

And she is in the Church Pageant - she has the lead kid part! She is playing Christmas 2014. So lots of line learning and rehearsals there.

Plus she is doing some public performances with her Rythmic Gymnastics troup at some college basketball games this month, and then competitions January through April.

So busy driving her back and forth to school and activities I am realizing my Real estate career is allowing her to participate ALOT more than if I had a regular job.

Speaking of real estate - I am having a terrific year. I may have 18 transactions closed by the end of the year! And almost double the production (Over 2 million instead of just over a million)

I did so well I won a cruise this month! Watson offered an incentive to its associates who sold 8 houses, and listed 7 and sent 2 referrals within a 10 week period. I can't believe I made it!

The cruise is in May and I will be taking Jamie only as Mike can't get the time off at that time of year.

So now time to put up the tree!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I used to jump off this bridge!

We used to go visit my Step cousins in Hubbard Lake MI during the summers whern I was 13 -15 - Three years in a row we would go up there and stay a couple of weeks. My cousins had four kids and they had a mobile home on their property that they let us stay in. It was really old and didn't have too much other than beds and a small kitchen but it was free. And FUN!

I think this is the bridge that we used to jump off. I was pretty much the only girl that would do it and boy it looks much higher in my memory...And maybe this isn't the bridge....

Google map memories.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I lost the deal of a lifetime Saturday

I had been showing this older couple houses in Hidden Hills - They had a townhouse to sell in Atlantic Beach and I even went on a Listing appointment there and they agreed to list with me. But didn't sign.

She was moving here to be with him and was the one to call me. and to set up all of the appointments. I showed them houses four times. So that was 5 times I spent time with them. All on Saturdays or late afternoons during the week.

She even at one point said she was moving back to Jersey because he wasn't moving along fast enough. But then she returned and said he was getting the house ready. The house he lived in with his deceased wife of many years and she had decided she wouldn't live in.

She was driving the train and he has taken over the controls. He mentioned early on that he had a Neighbor friend who sold real estate. And that is who is listing the house.

I am the procuring cause on the houses I showed them. So technically if they buy any of them I should get the commission or some part of it.

We will see. I may just let it go. $10,000 worth of commission out the window. Wah.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

School Frustrations

I just don't get why the School administration has to be so controlling and not only that a bit sassy about it.

I understand rules and the meaning of rules and why they can't be broken....Wait maybe I don't.

When there is a rule or policy in place that doesn't make sense in certain situations why can't we ignore it?

Last year I took Jamie out of school at 2:45 every other Monday for her meeting with her counselor.


This year I showed up on the Monday at 2:45 and they refused to get her for me. Citing the policy of you can't get your kids between 2:30 and 3pm for whatever reason because it upsets the schools' transitioning of the students. There is a new principal who took it upon herself to tell me this loudly and clearly in front of administration and other parents. There. Will. Be. No. Exceptions. It's. Policy.

So she was late. And now I have to pick her up at 2:25 for her 3pm appointment even though the facility is less than 5 minutes from the school.

I think that is just crazy. She will now miss her RTI time for math. RTI is help from the teacher for kids who struggle with the subject as my daughter does.

The other option is to take her out of school at 1:45 for a 2Pm appointment (Or any other hour of the day) Then she will lose out on one and a half hours of instruction. Instead of 15 minutes.

I just think if it benefits the student it benefits the school.

They also quit offering 'drop in ' aftercare. Without telling us at the orientation nor did they send home a note or any kind of notice.

So the second week of school Jamie had a rehearsal for the school's troupe of dance. It was on a Tuesday at 4pm so she would need transition time and care. I came into the office that morning to pay for that day's care. I was met with rejection. Nope, we don't do that anymore. And here is a sheet of punishing rates for being late to pick up your child.

Late 10 minutes? $10 Late twenty minutes $15. Late 40 minutes $20, and so on. I think if you get there at 5:30 its like $65 for the late fee.

Now come on. Things happen. Parents have a stressful enough life trying to work and provide and make sure your child has everything they need. WTH.

Oh and also if you are late dropping your child off...You now have to walk them in and sign them in at the desk for them to get a pass. And if you dare to not do that they call you on the phone and admonish you. And yes that is what they do.

Last week I got Jamie to school late one day. They called me that day...- oh crap Jamie's school is on the phone, what happened to her?! And they admonished me. Told me if I was late again I had to come in to get her pass. Then two days later they called and admonished me again!? For the same late drop off. WTH? I said "You already called and admonished me for that on the day we were late" Staff, "Admonished you?" Me, "Yes, Admonished me. Isn't this what this is? Look I know it isn't your fault, you are just doing what you are told, but I am telling you that this smacks of authority or administration vs the parent"

Shouldn't we all be on the same team? To get our kids the best education they can get?

That is all.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sh#t Happens and then you have to Clean it out

One of my listings went under contract in less than a month. (WooHoo!)

It's an older brick home built in the fifties with lovely huge Oak trees and spanish moss that sways in the breeze from the branches. It has a huge built in pool, a pond with a waterfall and pomegranite trees and other unusual plants and trees.

It also has 2 septic tanks and the buyer is going to do an inspection on the Septic system. I have had other contracts that have had septic systems but I don't remember an inspection being done.... I guess they will have to pump out the tank to inspect it. So not just the cost of pumping it out (About $400 or so) then add the cost of inspecting the tank and drain field.

Geesh could there be a worse job?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer's End

Jamie starts school on Monday- can you believe it - she is going into 3rd grade!? Yes we in Florida start school when it's still in the nineties. I don't get it, something about the FCAT (Florida state testing) but that is over and now we are on to Common Core!

Every summer goes by faster and faster. We didn't do much this year. Since we went on a cruise in March and our refrigerator died this summer we just didn't do the big vaca. Mike took Jamie to North Carolina to pick up his mom and she came and stayed for 10 days. Then they took her home.

Early in the summer Jamie, my brother and some friends went to Orlando and stayed a couple of nights and went to water parks two days in a row. Good times.

I also took Jamie to visit my good friend Diana who now lives in Orlando. Jamie was a bit disappointed that we didn't go to any of the theme parks while we were there. Just visited. Well we took the inevitable trip to Walmart (Why do I always forget something when I go away?); we took her two adorable toy Yorkies on a walk and took Jamie to a huge McDonalds inside playground. And games....My daughter has become quite the gamer. Dianas' man played Sequence with her, we all played Ingenious more than once (Love that game!) and Diana played a memory game called Enchanted Forest with her a couple of times.

I also worked over the email and phone while there. As a Realtor barely a day goes by without some sort of work that needs to be done. In this case one of my favorite customers decided to make an offer on a house they have been thinking about for months...turns out it has an active contract on it so it was a lot of busy work for naught. Which is a lot of what we do as Realtors...busy work for naught.

I'm doing ok this year with my third year in the business. I have about $875,000 in production and $360,000 in written business (3 transactions that are in the process of moving towards closing). If all three close I will be farther ahead than last year and the year before so there's that. Ok but not setting any records.

I used to get a little sad at this time of year when I lived in Michigan. Ok let's put it out there - I got depressed, sometimes for the entire season. October through April in Michigan were grey and dreary with snow sleet and cold.  I do have SAD (seasonal affective disorder) as I don't have the issue here in Florida. Fall and Winter are the glory days here in Florida. It gets cooler and you feel comfy outside. I see evidence of 'Spring Fever' here in Fall. Everyone is so happy that it's not so Hot anymore and you can clean out your car, take a walk or shoot some hoops without dying in the heat and humidity.

I feel bad about Robin Williams. Wonder why depression kicked him for a loop, and I am able to deal with it. Depression is such a serious disease, and I don't think it's taken seriously in this country. I hope his death brings awareness to it. You could see he had it beneath the surface. It's a shame, he had so much to live for (Mrs. Doubtfire 2!! would have been great) and he had a great family and friends.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Is crime more rampant now?

Yesterday morning I went to get in my car for work and everything that I had tucked away in the glovebox and cubbys was all over my car seats! Makeup, hair ties, coupons, mileage book, maps chargers All. Over. The. Place.!!

Now we don't live in the exclusive parts of town,  no gated community here. But this part of town was the up and coming fashionable place to be in the early 60's when the neigborhood was built. You see I live in a city by the sea and by the rivers - both the Intercoastal and the St. Johns River snake through our fair city so there are alot of bridges. Back then they had finally built the Mathews bridge to connect downtown with the side of the river towards the beach and our area- called Arlington grew in leaps and bounds.

But now it's an aging area, and crime and blight is quite prevalent. It's a shame and I have hopes that the area will come back into being a fashionable place to live but I am not sure that will happen;

Mike and I worry that the house we own will go down in value instead of up. Now it's worth about $135-145,000 - we paid $117,000 in 2000. At one time during the bubble the house was worth $225,000 or so but we all know now that was a false value.

Is crime more prevalent where you live? Are we going to h*ll in a handbasket or is there hope for renewal and revival?

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Well we went on our third cruise in 13 months in March and just before we left I found three buyers their houses that week. And I already had my listing under contract so I had four pendings by the time I got back from Aruba and Curacoa  - WOOHOO.

I did lose 2 or 3 buyers while I was gone. My back up person was a bit overwhelmed but that's how it goes in Real estate. Buyers are not going to wait for their realtor to come back from vacation after all.

One of the customers did get frustrated with not getting helped while I was gone...and I thought I had lost them. Luckily I found JUST the house for them the week I got back - it happened to be in my neighborhood. So I emailed them it and I was right they LOVED it. So I had FIVE in pending at the same time. Wow, what a good run it was....And three of the houses I sold were right here in my neighborhood, and one is the next neighborhood over!

And now I have a couple of deals in pending - 2 short sales and one that just went under contract today that will be in pending soon if the home inspection turns out ok.

So not too bad. And did I mention I also changed offices during all of this?! I moved to a part of town with alot more median level homes. It's called the Hidden Hills office - it's near a Country Club community with the same name but the surrounding neighborhood homes are mostly in the 150=300k range.The office I was in had riverfront homes and a lot of lower level homes so the floor traffic wasn't as good. Plus this office has alot of fun loving peeps in it.

Tonight we had four teams from our office  compete in the Women's council of Realtors Bowl a thon. We all dressed up as Grease Characters - you know the Pink Ladies? Even Jamie and the other kids dressed up.

Crazy times. Good times, but crazy busy.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

' My Doctor saved my life this week' vs 'The Insurance Co wants to Randomly deny my CT Scan'

I had some pain the other day, a real stabbing constant pain in the right lower section of my gut. Mike said, that's where your appendix is...

So since the next day was 'day two' of morning four day seminar I had paid for I made an appointment for late afternoon - 4:30.

The pain was pretty constant and annoying but really didn't bring me to my knees or anything so I made it through the day ok.

When I got to the appointment lo and behold my new insurance plan didn't have my doctor as my Primary provider. (Despite me calling numerous times to have it changed and having someone tell me from Florida Blue that he had been changed to my PCP (Primary Care Provider)

So they weren't going to see me. They called Blue and the lady said that is the way it is and wouldn't let them put me on the phone.

So I got on the phone and sat on hold for MANY minutes...Meanwhile I asked them for another phone and the phone number of the primary care provider that was assigned to me so I could try to get in. AND I told them I thought I may have appendicitis.

30 minutes later, (Still on hold with Fl Blue) I had made an appointment with the other PCP for 8am the next morning...and the Office manager came over and said that my Dr. - Doctor Fern would in fact see me. On his time and not bill for the appointment (since he couldn't) and check me out...

So laying on the table with Dr. Fern examining me the person FINALLY picks up from Florida Blue and said he would switch me to my preferred PCP but guess what... couldn't in fact do it....

Put me on hold again for about ten minutes in which Dr. Fern went to see his other final patients for the day.

When he came back I am still on the table but he starts to examine me again and the Fl Blue guy comes back on again. This time he asks if I am at Dr Fern's office and asks to speak to someone from the office.

Dr. Fern gets on the phone and took down the confirmation number and verified that he would be able to order a STAT CT scan as it appears I have appendicitis. He said that was a get on the phone himself with an insurance company WHILE examining his patient.

Then I go to the front desk and the lady calls gets DENIED from FL Blue for my procedure.

You know what she tells me? Oh don't worry I just have to call again...they randomly deny tests all of the time.


So my Dr. kept his practice open WELL after six to get this done for me and they gave me some sort of disgusting thick barium banana flavored drink to drink on the way to the ER.

At the ER since my doctor's office had pre-cleared the test and sent my stuff I am taken in to the Scan department, I am told I have to drink more goop and wait for 2 hours. They give me warm blankets and a quiet place to hang out while I wait for my gut for to be ready for the scan.

They took my appendix out at 1am rhat night. What could have happened if my Dr didn't see me that night? I could have gone home and it could have burst that's what.

I don't understand why Health Insurance companies still have so much power over our health and life and can still be so inept.

I get that they were overwhelmed with the whole ACA thing, so HIRE MORE PEOPLE! Insurance companies are one of the richest types of companies doing business in our country. Their offices are annointed with such splendor with rolling hills, statues, lakes and gated entrances that they look like country clubs.

Anyway today I am grateful for Dr. Fern. A Doctor who does the right thing and sees a patient despite the lack of correct policy in place and knows above all else 'To do no Harm'.

I just wish the Insurance companies had to follow that credo.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Changing Routers or Modems is always such a hassle!

Our cable provider has been sending us these helpful reminders that we need to update our Modem. Mike called last week (one of the things I begged him to do during the vacation, you know Honey Do's).

So we got the new modem this week and he got it completely installed today.

Well I am ADDICTED to an online game which is a version of Settlers of Catan. The version I play is on an independent site with no advertising revenue or pop-ups and it's called Asobrain. A couple of guys in the Netherlands designed and built this site for their friends and several years later they have thousands of users and it's terrific.

Anyway I play it EVERY DAY and today I tried to log in after my work day and after I cooked dinner today.

It was a No-Go. Mike tried to come to my rescue but didn't listen to me when I said it was because of the new modem installation. He tried to download and update Java which is the program that the site uses. It was still a No-Go.

Meanwhile I logged onto his laptop and my daughters desktop and it wasn't working on any of the computers.

He was getting very frustrated and we had words. He departed into the den in a bit of a huff.

Fifteen minutes later he came up and handed my laptop with a smile.

Yup 'Tech'* figured it out. It was the firewall. It was blocking Java.

I think we may have gone down this road before the last time we replaced a router.

So I thought I would write a post about it. So we would hopefully remember the next time.

*I call my husband 'Tech' as in "Tech I can't get the printer to work" or "Tech why does this pop up keep coming up?" or "Tech which remote do I press to get Netflicks to come on?"

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Obamacare Update - People Matter!

Well I got signed up through the website and got a pretty good plan for $387/month. I am being subsidized about $115/month. The plan I was looking at Michaels' job was over $550/month for me so I am pleased.

I also am going to continue to use 'Obamacare' when referring to this life changing initiative. I want to give him credit for helping the citizens of this country to get care.

So many who are much poorer than Mike and I can get subsidized much more, even to the point of the coverage being free for them. A family of three that makes under $78,120 is eligible for a subsidy, a family of four under $94,200.

And there is the rub.

Some don't thing the government should subsidize anything.

Don't have enough for an apartment or a house? Rent a room in some fleabag hotel!

Don't have enough for nutritional food for your kids? Give them Peanut butter and crackers.

And don't let us seeing you use your food stamps for anything like a (HORRORS) a birthday cake for your kid!

Don't have enough to keep your heat on? Wear sweaters and hats indoors.

My mom lived in subsidized housing her last five years on earth.

She had a very small apartment but it was affordable. I think it was costing her about a third of her Social security income - about $300/month. She couldn't have had a secure place to live without that apartment. They had group events like cards and bingo. They had a courtyard in the center near the laundry area where the (mostly lady) residents would gather and talk and laugh. They allowed pets, even small dogs so Mom could keep her cat. She loved that cat and I think that having Kiwi there really was a comfort to her. Kiwi died 10 days after she did. I just think that is such a testimony to the love they had for each other. They also had a buzzer all of the older residents were to buzz each morning by 10 am to let them know they were ok. Her not buzzing that buzzer led to the discovery that she had died in her sleep that night last May.

And I lived on Unemployment twice in my life. Yes I have been working since I was fifteen but had about 18 months 'on the dole'. And I am not ashamed of it. We work in this country and we pay for Unemployment insurance for a reason.

We need to allow people some dignity when they need a helping hand.

We need to take care of our citizens in this country. Not just the corporations that have money matter.

Obama care matters. People matter.

Sick Day again

Jamie was diagnosed with Strep throat on Monday. She had a sudden Sore throat Saturday and a very high fever on Sunday (Up to 103.3!!) I was pretty freaked out because she also mentioned that her neck hurt.

Anyway it's Strep again. She has had it a couple times the last year or so. And I had it once along with the flu about a year ago.

So combined with the Strep, and the horrendous cold weather even we in Florida have experienced this week we stayed home Monday and Tuesday. She still had a very slight fever yesterday but today it's gone.

I kept her home anyway. I know bad Mommy. To tell the truth I didn't want to 'Get back out there' myself.

We got up late - my alarm didn't go off - so we took another day. But you know what I am glad. Glad that I am a realtor and can do this without guilt and suspicion from my employer. Glad that I don't have to push my girl back into the swing of things so soon after being so sick.

So there- I have said my peace about that - How was your Christmas and Happy New Year!