Sunday, February 17, 2008

In Entertainment News...

I have finally reached the point where I can forgive Angelina Jolie for taking Brad Pitt away from Jennifer Aniston. It was a long arduous journey, but I think I'm finally there. In hindsight, I might have been a wee bit jealous. Today I snagged a discarded "Star" at Golds Gym and opened it up to see a pic of an absolutely beaming Jolie on Brad's arm and supposedly pregnant with twins. That is when it hit me. Despite all the speculation, they are in this for the long haul. For the sake of all their kids, I sure hope they can keep it together. Afterall, Brad had said publicly for a long time that all he wanted was a family and LOTS of kids. It was getting increasingly hard to imagine Jennifer giving him that. From personal experience I know the desperate measures people are willing to take to be parents so now I forgive him.

Reading tabloids is one of my few vices and although I am no longer willing to pay good money for them I AM willing to hurdle over multiple eliptical trainers and stairmasters to claim one that someone walks away from. Today though, while reading, it felt a little different. In the past I could somehow feel I was reading about my peers. In some weird cosmic kind of way it seemed that any of those people could have been me or vice versa. Now, almost overnight, I feel like I'm reading about my KIDS!

The Mom in me wants to tell the paparazzi to leave Britney Spears the f*** alone and invite Nicole Richie and the Olsen Twins over for meatball sandwiches. I want to file a DCFS report against the Hilton family for prostituting their daughter. I want to hit a Target and buy a few family packs of high rise brief panties to send to young starlets with a note warning them that no one will buy the cow if they can get the milk for free. I want to tell reality show participants that the United States of America is usually laughing at them and not with them, and yes, I want to tell Posh Spice that if she doesn't smile soon her face will crack. If I had what she had I'd be laughing my *ss off pretty much all the time.

Finally, one nagging question. What is Lindsay Lohan's natural hair color? Can someone please tell me that!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Holy Moses! I'm raising a Democrat.

Our 6 year old son is in the curiosity stage. He feels the need to understand everything! So last week when he heard me hollering at the Fox News Channel as I often do he wanted to know what all the ruckus was about.

I explained to him that we were currently in the process of electing our next president and I was very interested in the outcome. "Who is winning?" he asked. I told him it was a tie between 3 people and we wouldn't know for a very long time. "Who do we want to win?" It was such an innocent and appealing question, that I decided to play a little devil's advocate. "Well", I explained, "there are 2 teams. The Republicans and The Democrats. The Republicans believe that you work hard, try to make a lot of money, and keep it all to yourself. The Democrats believe that the people that make the most money should share some of it with the people that don't have a lot of money. Our family is Republican. Who do you think is right?"

He thought for a moment, and then replied sheepishly "The one we aren't Mommy". I have to admit, I felt a little proud of him at that moment.

Later I asked him to bring me his Pokemon collection. He owns about 25 of those crazy looking things. I took 5 from his collection. He looked at me, puzzled. Me: "I'm giving these to a little boy who doesn't have any". Him: "But Mommy those are mine"! I say: "Now you know how a Republican feels." Heh heh.

Paul Pastore's Top 10 Ways Sellers Can Guarantee their Home Won't Sell!

This is a very funny read! And so true. I have reprinted it here with permission:

1. Be casual, not serious, about selling.
A sage once quipped, “Money is only important when you don’t want something enough.” Real estate expert R.L. Brown said that if half of the 58,000 sellers in Maricopa County removed their for-sale signs we’d be at normal inventory levels. Actions speak louder than words in this market. Discretionary sellers should wait for a less competitive environment.

2. Price it wrong.
A home properly priced is half sold. No amount of full-color ads, glossy fliers, multiple photos, virtual tours, agent luncheons, Goodyear blimps, pom-pom girls or Saint Joseph statues will compensate for a wrong, timid retail price.

3. Ignore your agent.
Attorneys believe if you represent yourself, you have a fool for a client. Doctors don’t self-diagnose. Professionals use professionals. Even though many people believe they’re experts on raising kids and real estate, full-time, career pros usually know what’s best. Listen to them very carefully.

4. Micromanage the marketing.
If you sold cookware in college, carts in California, or carpeting in Cranston, it does not qualify you to second-guess your agent. If you had a real estate license years ago, save your stories about the “good old days” for your children. You can share your concerns and timelines, but leave the details to the listing pro.

5. Reject staging suggestions.
Someday shag multi-colored, sculptured carpeting will come back. Whitewashed cabinets, Navajo white walls, linoleum flooring, southwest decor, lots of personal photos, and Elvis paintings on black velvet need to go. Now.

6. Let Fido loose.
I recently entered a house and had two frisky, friendly black Labs run up to sniff me. Unfortunately, I had light-gray dress slacks on that day. Both wet stains lasted for hours. Until that day I didn’t realize dogs enjoyed chewing the tassels on expensive loafers.

7. Talk to the buyers.
Life gets lonely at times. Why not ask the buyers where they grew up? Or how much they qualify for. Tell them about the vacant rental next door. Maybe they could baby-sit next weekend! Why not share war stories, horror movies or meatloaf recipes?

8. Sell personal items.
Wow, maybe the buyers want to buy the patio furniture, rotary lawnmower, or life-size statue of Saint Anthony. You have only four more boxes of Girl Scout cookies to sell. Why not ask for a donation for the March of Dimes, the Humane Society, the local PBS station? Remember the saying, “loose lips sink ships.”

9. Discount that smell.
My house doesn’t smell of pets, baby diapers, curry powder, garlic, fried fish, coconut incense, cigars, manure, mulch, dairy farms or low tide. The buyer must be confusing my castle with a tract home.

10. Dismiss feedback.
What do buyers know anyway? They can’t possibly mind my barbed wire fence, heavy-duty rebar, backyard bomb shelter, airport runway views, lights from the power plant, hum from the high-voltage lines, railroad tremors, scorpion skeletons, termite mud tubes and pet snakes. What are they thinking?

Copyright © 2008 RE/MAX International Inc. 2/4/08

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Peoria Realtors release 2007 stats

Today at a Press Conference at the Peoria Area Association of Realtors office on Willow Knolls, Association President Becky Peterson released and explained all the 2007 year end data for Home Sales in Peoria.

Since I am not really a "numbers" person, I will cheat and link to a press report.

In a nutshell, the real estate market for the Peoria area is down only 5%. This is amazing considering that the suburbs of Chicago are seeing double digit decreases and the folks on the Coasts are contemplating suicide.

Becky did a great job presenting the information and addressing Jonathon Ahl's probing questions, but I had one nagging worry about the whole affair. Sellers should not derive a false sense of security from her calming words and ignore the fact that we still have significant compromised consumer confidence. This would not be a good time to flip your middle finger at a lower offer.. tempting as it may be.

Although Peoria homeowners fortunately seem to be immune from the low lows, we are still in a down market, and it is now more important than ever that your home be 1) priced competitively from the onset 2) in good repair and 3) staged and ready for showings.

Homes will sell, but the competition is definitely stiffer. Choose a great Realtor that has a proven track record, a wealth of experience, and then LISTEN to her!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Peoria Association of Realtors Press Conference Wednesday, Feb. 13

From my "Inbox"

The Peoria Area Association of Realtors will be holding a press conference announcing year-end home sales for 2007 on Wednesday, February 13, 11:00AM at the PAAR office ( 7307 Willowlake Ct, Peoria ).

"We will be providing an overview of the local, state and national statistics. We feel it is extremely important to realistically educate the public, the media and the mayors of the area communities regarding the local real estate market, compared to what is being reported nationally."

They will stress the fact that Real Estate values are local, so if you are nervous about buying a home in today's market, perhaps this information will reassure you that Peoria Real Estate is and always has been a sound investment!

Who should attend? Journalists, concerned citizens, community leaders and bloggers! ;)

A tail of true love...

The time finally came to do the responsible thing and get our new dogs spayed and neutered. I resisted it somewhat, because I couldn't stop thinking about how cool it would be to have a litter of little Merry's and Milo's some day. However, there is no doubt of what the outcome would have been. "But honey, we have to keep them, they are part of our faaaaammmmily now". That would have crescendoed into a "DON'T YOU MAKE ME CHOOSE! DON'T YOU MAKE ME CHOOSE"! Yes, the writing was on the wall that these animals needed to be snipped. Studies show that neutered pets live healthier, happier and longer lives.

So a few days ago I dropped them off at the Vets fully expecting to pick them up later that afternoon. It was a shocker when the Vet staff informed me that in fact, it would require an overnight stay in their Doggie Hilton. Self talk: "OK, Diane, just deal with it - they know what's best!" So I did.

The next morning I dutifully called at 9:00am to see when I could pick them up. The tech delayed a few minutes on the phone and then informed me that they would need to stay "a little longer". The blood left my face. "Um, whats the problem?", I nervously inquired. Well, it seems that Milo was suffering from a permanent erection. A light bulb went off. They obviously underestimated the love these guys have for each other. Even after his little procedure, apparently the dudes still got it. " might want to try separating them and see if that takes care of it."

So I called back at noon, and sure 'nuf, problem solved. They were ready to go home. Ain't love grand?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I want what she's having!

photo courtesy of HOI 19

Would anyone else love to be a fly on the wall during a job interview of Kay Royster? What could she possibly be saying or doing that would possess school board personnel to take complete leave of their senses, ignore all of her past work history and hire her anyway? She should seriously consider a new career as a job candidate trainer and consultant. I would be her first client. How do I get me some of that?

Ya know, you can kind of understand how Peoria might have messed up. One could argue that perhaps the Michigan School District was unfair to her and just plain wrong to buy out her contract early. I'm sure she spun a doozie of a "woe is me" story.

But there is NO excuse for the Jennings School District which ignored not ony the situation in Michigan, but then also ignored an identical set of circumstances in Peoria. Wouldn't you just love to know how Royster explained THAT one? This woman is a whizz! Well they fell for it, hired her anyway, and got exactly what they deserved.

It's just such a shame for all the kids - the kids in Michigan, the kids in Peoria and the kids in Missouri. After all, money isn't exactly falling from trees these days as far as our schools are concerned. Money that should be spent on the educational needs of our children is now going to feather the nest of this con-artist and to silence potential frivoulous discrimination lawsuits. Watch for it - its her MO. I truly hope that all affected school districts refuse to pay her another red cent.

Sleep tight, Ms. Royster. Don't worry about the kids. I'm sure you don't anyway.

pdf file courtesy of The Peoria Chronicle