Thursday, July 30, 2009

Realty? or Reality?

Two evenings this week we spent hours at our dining room table with capable real estate agents who came for a preliminary meeting about the possibility of listing our home for sale.

Realtor #1 was extremely professional, way prepared, gave us reams of paper and tons of information, and even homework.

Realtor #2 was extremely laidback, prepared enough, and gave us some very good info but no homework except to consider replacing the furnace. (more expensive homework than the first guy!)

Here's the thing. They both came armed with printouts of "comparable" houses that are our "competition." I got the impression from the first guy, let's call him PaperMan, that the key to selling your house is see what's out there that's comparable, then make sure you price your house a little lower than them and prepare your house to be as perfect as possible to show. Guy #2, ConverseMan, agreed but had slightly different formulas for figuring out what is actually comparable.

Our street connects to a neighborhood that has much smaller houses, all on a slab, with postage-stamp yards. Our street is NOT part of that neighborhood, but I think there is probably a perception that it is. So, PaperMan says our competition is that neighborhood. I don't get that. And I don't agree. I don't want to price our house to be competitive with the houses in that neighborhood because our house is bigger and nicer, if I do say so myself.

Also, as I have been letting this percolate, I've realized that realtors can maybe only go by what they see on paper. And if a house has three bedrooms, then it is a comparable house to another that has three, even if there are huge differences in the condition, quality, and care of the home.

So, it's just got me to wondering if PaperMan's approach is really the best one. I would imagine if you have your house priced in the bottom three of similar houses, you will be more likely to sell it. But does that mean it's a good thing to sell it for that price? I suppose the answer to that question depends on how badly you want/need to sell your house.

ConverseMan had a different idea of what might be considered comparable and I liked his ideas better. Seemed like he was being more specific about how to decide something is comparable.

In the meantime, I will continue to beautify the old place to put its best foot forward when we finally decide to start showing it to prospective buyers.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dog Lovers, Be Kind.

As Donna Fargo used to sing,

Shine on me sunshine
Walk with me world
It’s a skippidity do da day
I’m the happiest girl, in the whole U.S.A.

Like 8 months ago I was journaling about how it can be overwhelming to have five children and keep on top of things. And then I lost my mind completely and we got a puppy.

She lived with us for five months, and she went to a new adoptive home last night with a lovely young couple who wanted a companion for their beloved dog.

We were foster masters.

Now that she is gone, I realize that parenting 5 kids is a snap. Nothin' to it.

So, if you are feeling overwhelmed at all, you should add into your life more than you can possibly possibly take care of and then remove something when you can't see your way to take even one more step. It does wonders for making things more manageable.

I am so glad for her that she will be in a place where she will be deeply loved and cared for, and I am so glad for me that I am not going to be the one responsible for her.

This doesn't mean we will never get a dog, but I think we learned that a puppy in THIS house with THIS family is not a good fit.

Enjoy your pets today.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Move Along, Grumpy

OK I promise I'm not going to have a Seven Dwarfs theme forever.

I just wanted to get Grumpy off of center stage. But it took awhile, because that wasn't my only grumpy day. Why, you ask? Well, thanks for asking.

Can you say puppy?
Can you say clutter?
Can you say daughter's incessant coughing?
Can you say computer?

Well, of course you can. I haven't posted about the dog because I don't think I ever came to terms with having a puppy after the initial lovey-dovey minutes. But she is being adopted by a very loving family tonight, so that is a very good thing. I think everyone who reads my blog, with the exception of Gregoire, has actually been INSIDE our house, so you know that it is small for the 7 of us, and has been basically infinitesimal with a puppy in the mix. Just dreaming about having all that space back after tonight!

I have posted about clutter numerous times, to the eternal joy of all my readers. I try to make those posts clever and humorous so it's not just all doom and gloom about having too damn many files, photos, books, clothes, papers, and fill-in-the-blank-here. The clutter just won't go away. I think there is some type of spiritual significance to my problems in this area.

Daughter's incessant coughing. Yesterday I finally bought some horrid cough medicine for her, with at least 5 ingredients that I avoid as much as possible (red #40 -- why do they put this in?) I am of the "wait it out, sleep and drink lots of water" medicinal methodology. Hasn't exactly worked for this cough. Hence, the medicine. They sell little cough medicine strips now that just melt in your mouth, not in your hand. I thought this might make it easier for my rarely medicated child to ingest. Alas. No. The strips are a thousand times worse than the liquid and she had to drink 5 cups of water and chomp on some serious altoids to get through the ordeal. Poor thing.

And the computer? Well, as I have mentioned before, computers are such a boon to mankind and such a pain in mankind's butt. But, instead of ranting on and on, I will just say how very grateful I am to have a computer, even if it DOESN'T work like I want it to, and even if it CAUSES ME MORE WORK. Oops, I wasn't going to rant.

Have been feeling like the world's worst mother lately, although surely I cannot be the world's worst mother, can I? And feelings, whoa, oh, oh, feelings -- such a thorn in the side of mankind, sometimes. They just make me want to sleep and eat. Oh, not the ones like joy and happiness. Just guilt and anger that I thought I had already dealt with. We're ba-a-a-a-ck.

So, here's your dose of Siouxsie today. Not the typical post of the stay-at-home mom who writes lovely reflections on the local elementary school and how the village is doing such a good job helping her raise her children. But, thank God I am feeling better.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

Thoughts on My Sister's Keeper

I had the distinct privilege of being asked by my daughter to go to a movie with her. I had seen a review of the movie and knew it didn't get a great review. But I did not want to miss this opportunity to spend time with Valerie.

Shortly into the movie, I could tell Val was disgusted with the screen adaptation. Although I had read the book, I did not remember the story in the detail that Valerie did.

I don't usually cry at movies anymore, but this one really got me. Not because of the movie itself, but because the mother of the family put one child ahead of everything else in the world -- her job, her husband and marriage, and her other children. Everything else was secondary to the needs of the one child. What got this mother's heart was that I think I do that same thing to a certain extent with my sweet little Kepler. I know that my other kids have had to forego certain things and time with me and/or Greg because of the needs of Kepler.

He's not sick, of course. But ever since he was born, I know I have put the other kids second to him many, many times. Perhaps that is somewhat natural, to spend more time with a younger, needier child, but I have sensed, with some actual evidence, that my older kids do feel like I put Kepler first too much of the time.

What breaks my heart is that I know all five of them have needs and I love them all so much. And sometimes it is just so hard to figure out how to show them all that I love them.

A broken heart doesn't mean that all is lost. There is probably room for me to change, and room for the kids to change, and room for Greg to change. I mean, I do believe that Kepler is a gift to us. It's just hard to have one child who has such obvious needs that seem greater than the needs of another. And yet, to that other child, I'm sure it's a mystery why Kepler's needs always take precedence.

I don't have this all tied up with a nice little bow right now. I feel raw and the only "summary" I can come up with is that I am glad that I saw this movie and I want to know how to love my kids, each of them, the way they need to be loved.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Take Me Out of the Ballpark

See this? I spent my ENTIRE day selling people ice cream sundaes in these little hats for a mere $4.75, toppings are free!

So, we had the opportunity to sign up for this "fundraising" deal whereby we work our butts off at the Reds game for a small amount of money which will offset our tuition this year. This was my first time today. I. Am. Exhausted.

First thing this morning, I drove downtown with Valerie and tried to find a free parking place. The place I planned to park was full, so we drove a few blocks further away and parked. I don't know. No one could possibly want to hear all the details. Suffice it to say, it's a buttload of work, and you're standing on concrete all day long, and then? At the end, we got to drive home in rush hour traffic.

I'm pretty sure Greg doesn't think it's worth it for me to spend an entire day for such a small amount of money. I'm pretty sure I'm too tired to make a good decision about it tonight, but I'm pretty sure he's probably right.

All I can say is, I'm tired. I didn't see the game. I just don't know if it's worth it. Sing with me now, Take me out of the ballpark . . . .