But we’re just hanging at home, learning new tricks with old dog Alexa.
It should be of no surprise to me that my daughters, who have farting contests, who can fart on command, would figure this out about Alexa.
But we’re just hanging at home, learning new tricks with old dog Alexa.
It should be of no surprise to me that my daughters, who have farting contests, who can fart on command, would figure this out about Alexa.
In the spring of 2017, we finally got to the bathroom renovation. Our 1932 Glover Park House still had the original deco style bathroom which was pretty cool looking, but not functional for our lives. And, it seemed that it could never be clean enough. (For me anyway - the child of a woman who has a bottle of clorox in every room.)
Being that I personally find bathtubs disgusting, dirty, ugly, and a back-breaker to clean, and that reglazing it actually didn’t work, we planned to rip the old tub out. The fact that that 85 years of asses had sat in that tub was enough to put me over the edge. No way would the girls ever be able to bathe in there without a Haz-Mat suit.
The problem was what to replace it with since it was somewhat of a non-standard length. Every tub option was just as ugly as the next.
Then, unrelated to our renovation, I would tour houses with clients and get misty eyed at the gorgeous showers. I wondered, “Why the hell do we need a tub?” So I did what any confident, smart woman does - I posed the question on Facebook.
The bath-lovers were rabid. They came out en masse. So rabid they were in defending their love of lounging in a pool of filthy bathwater (albeit, their own f that the few friends who supported a no-tub house were scared to comment. They resorted to texts. (Jeez people, the political fighting is bad enough but BATHTUBS?)
Anyway, I’m not sure why I asked for opinions but after hearing, “I’d never buy a house without a bathtub” and “Families with little kids will never buy your house” several dozen times, I said, “Miguel? Rip that shit out. We’re getting a shower.”
Then I got to pick out tile and fixtures for this amazing bathroom that I love. It’s so fresh and so clean clean. I rationalized it with: We have Stoddert Elementary - people are dying to get in this neighborhood, lack of a tub won’t stop them. Yup. I made that decision with emotion and backed it up with logic. Just like someone shopping for a home would.
Now the bathroom looks like this.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, yesterday morning I woke up to the news that Houzz put out their 2018 bathroom trends. And part of the trend they cite from this year? A full 34% of people have ripped out their tubs in favor of a shower. I’m a trending statistic!
Well well well. There’s nothing I love more than vindication. Well, vindication and watching the dirty shower water go down the drain instead of surrounding me.
The story ends here that the girls love taking showers. They love drawing faces in the condensation on the glass, and I love the fact that they don’t get bladder infections from sitting in the water like they were prone to. This was a win all around.
Halloween in Glover Park is pretty amazing. (Shut up, I know it’s November 6th.)
This year we were at the head of the neighborhood parade again. This isn’t a coveted position. It just means you got to the lineup late and last, so when the entire gang of people turn around to head out, you’re suddenly at the front.
The first year we lived here we were at the head of the parade. M was little and Chubs was just a few months old so we decided to take a short cut back to our house. And everyone followed us, because, hey, parade! When we went up the steps to our house the rest of the parade (the entire neighborhood) ended up milling around the front of our house. Follow the leader doesn’t work if the leader is an idiot.
This year we made it to the Manor House! It did not disappoint.
The entire neighborhood of Glover Park explodes in costumed children and candy for Halloween. They know how to do it right here. After an hour of trick-or-treating, my children decided they would rather pass out the candy. For M this actually meant passing out the candy. For Chubs this meant eating the candy. Real Estate Dad and I were thinking to just let the littles gorge themselves and they would get sick of the candy. No such luck. M and Chubs got to a point of complete insanity where they just couldn’t calm down and shut their engines off. It drove me temporarily insane. The wine helped.
Then, because I’m a glutton for punishment, we went to Hershey Park for the weekend. Actually we went because it was a central location for the board of East Coast Corgi Rescue to meet in person! It was so nice to be in the same room (with 6 corgis and Ziggy the terrier) while we planned out the future of the rescue. I still cannot believe I started the rescue from my chair two years ago in the middle of the night one night and it’s exploded to be so huge and so amazing.
I went up to Hershey early Saturday morning with the dogs and we had our meeting during the day. Then Real Estate Dad came up with the girls later in the day. What I had grossly miscalculated was the end result of my not being home during the packing process. Typically I pack the girls clothes and then give them each a bag and say you can fill it with toys, books, whatever, but it has to zip closed.
Chubs is a hoarder.
Real Estate Dad is a sucker.
Chubs pretty much brought everything she owns and some things she doesn’t with her for the weekend. And she unpacked it all into the hotel drawers.
There was more trick or treating at Hershey. The girls again got so out of hand, it was misery in the hotel room. I took them out to the hall and said “Let’s play follow the leader” because I’m clearly so good at it for the Glover Park Parade. I did probably a dozen laps through the halls of the hotel and the lobby doing all kinds of stupid stuff to wear them out. The only one who got worn out was me. I did hit my 10,000 steps though. I went back to the room huffing and puffing and told Real Estate Dad to get out there and wear them out.
He was back in a few minutes. They were still bouncing off the walls.
This is the nicest time of year workload-wise, for me. The real estate market slows as it get closer to the holidays. It’s a good time to plan for next year and a good time to do more things with the kids.
Summer Nanny (who is now year-round-nanny) told me that when she was picking the girls up from school, someone in M’s class said, “That’s your nanny? Are her tattoos real or fake?” When M said they were real, she said, “My mom says only people in prison have tattoos.”
Here we are, Summer Nanny and I, ready for the slammer.
The real estate market has come to a skidding halt. There. I said it.
Summers and Holidays are always slow times, but come September and January, all the agents out there prep themselves for the return of the market. We never quite know what it will bring. Will it pick up where it left off before the vacation season? Or will it swerve a bit and throw all of us off from what we expected.
We did have a ton of rain in the end of the summer. Then we did have a weird and oddly warm September and early October. Then interest rates did rise. But all these are just excuses. You can’t just pin the blame for a sluggish market on one factor. Here’s what it is - we replayed 2003 - 2006 again. Rates dipped unbelievably low, people dove into the market, and lots of future demand was pulled to present day. The people with houses to sell had already locked in low interest rates. They had no incentive to sell. Many of those people moved on up and chose to rent their current abode, building the beginning of their real estate portfolio.
I’ve still been busy, but it’s slowing now in time for the holidays and I plan to catch up on my corgi rescue and school obligations. In fact, I went on a field trip with Chubs!!
(Note to my other snarkies, Mouse-Mom was supposed to be a chaperone but she didn’t come because her kid was sick. Sort of like when she got us all sent to the trailer classrooms then stopped sending her kid to school because she was allegedly sick. Probably from the trailers, you dumb ass.)
(Yes, I realize I am going to hell.)
(I will see many of you there.)
I sent my parents and brothers a picture of this momentous occasion. They were all shocked I could even find the bus since I refused to ride it when I went to school. I am sorry but there is NO REASON for a bus to pick you up almost an hour before school when the school is 7 minutes away.
I also wo-manned the Costume Shop at the School’s Fall Festival. As one of the Pre-K moms, I was on an email chain a few weeks ago where we learned of a delicious surprise. The Pre-K class is responsible for the costume fundraiser. Pre-K has to collect costumes from the school and sell them at the Fall Festival to raise money. I winced as the Lead Class Mom replied, “Well, we don’t want to break tradition…” while the other Class Mom and I huddled behind her and cried our pain.
My mom used to help a lot in the schools. I don’t know how she did it. Oh wait. She didn’t work more than full time and run an animal rescue. Right.
After I class-mommed it at the field trip and the costume shop, I had to staff-appreciation it. I found this cool crafty idea for Principal’s Appreciation Month.
Each student would make a petal and each class would assemble their petals into a flower. I would have 19 flowers I could put in a flower pot for the Principals. Thankfully, the former Staff Appreciation Chair slapped me hard and said “Just do one per class, it will be so much easier” and thankfully she was right. I’ll be phoning this staff thing in by June, I’m sure.
Unfortunately I had no idea that teachers can’t follow instructions and I only got 13 of the 19 petals back. Oh well.
As I was walking out the door to go affix them to the Principal’s door, Real Estate Dad said to me, “Remember when you used to be fun and now they know you by name at Michael’s Crafts Stores?”
Ugh. Like a knife in the side, Real Estate Dad. I won’t soon forget that. I will be punishing him today by taking him to a corgi costume party in Annapolis.
The last two weeks have been mostly exhausting for a variety of reasons. Murders in DC seem to be hitting closer to home, and suddenly not feeling safe in the city is weighing on my mind. The corgi rescue has been pretty demanding as well. We’ve had to start saying no to some surrenders. I miss when life was simpler, and just real estate and kids. Of course, this is payback I’m sure, for all those years in my 20’s when I was underemployed and bored all the time.
Instead of lamenting all the woes, a menagerie of pictures would tell a better story.
There was the Dachtoberfest event, where the corgis were special guests.
And then there was a Million Corgi March. My Piper made the news! Of course, with this tongue, how could she not…
Unfortunately Piper wasn’t a fan of the marching part. We had to eject Chubs from her stroller to let Piper hitch a ride. Also unfortunately, this was a fun corgi event, and people took it to extremes on Instagram, harassing the hosts for not taking a political stand.
People, get a life.
Then we had a day off, thanks I guess to Christopher Columbus and his massacre of the Native Americans. The girls and I went out for some fun.
Then several bad things happened.
Chubs got sick. (Not from that cake.)
Chub’s teacher’s husband was murdered in a carjacking in DC.
An adopter with extensive humane society experience adopted one of our skittish nippy little corgis and then decided to euthanize her on Day 4. For growling when the adopter tried to put the harness on her. When the harness had been on for 10 straight weeks prior and the adopter was told not to take it off of her because she has neck issues thanks to someone who thought a choke collar was a good idea.
I flipped my lid. This is a GOOD DOG. She just doesn’t like to be startled. That’s all. Once you know that, and that she doesn’t like excessive petting or cuddling, you can co-habitate peacefully. She’s more like….a cat.
Anyway, to prevent said adopter from euthanizing, I had to put poor Chubs with a horrible cold/strep, into the car and drive all day to get the dog.
We weren’t the only ones having a bad week. When I walked the girls to school on Friday, the crossing guard was in a full on standoff with a car that refused to heed her instructions to stop. She stood in the middle of the intersection staring him down. It was really impressive.
Then we left town for the weekend. It was a welcome break to get out of dodge for a while.
There we were, on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, letting the girls eat ice cream before calling it a night. Along came a pack of nuns out of nowhere. They were quite enamored with the girls. Probably because they don’t have to live with them.
M started coughing and trying to convince us it was her turn to stay home from school with a cold. I said, “Sounds like maybe you caught Chubs’s cold.”
To which Chubs said, “NOOOO, BECAUSE I STILL HAVE MY COLD!”
Can’t argue with her there.
I’m over this rain. It’s making everyone act like idiots. Today my work-wife and I were almost impaled by an umbrella some doofus was swinging around like Fred Astaire
This Real Estate Family was at the beach this past weekend because we had to finish off one of my crazy ideas from earlier in the summer. Flashback to June, as we are driving out to Rehoboth for our first beach weekend of the season. As soon as we started crossing bridges I said, "I'm in the mood to buy a house."
"Where?" Real Estate Dad asked. My parents had this condo in Florida when we were little and some of my best memories are sitting there at night, watching bad-Florida-cable and listening to the ocean. I said I'd be open to anywhere as long as we can hear the ocean.
We talked through coastal towns up and down the coast, ruling out places which were fated to be underwater in the next few decades or places that were too far to visit regular. Rehoboth for the win! Which isn’t bad news at all, three of us love it there. The other one of us loves Ocean City but we ain’t reliving your youth of trashy girlfriends and fleabag hotels, Real Estate Dad. So, the girls won this one.
The next morning we were looking at condos.
By noon we were writing a contract on a place which was so gross (to me) and in which I channeled my mother by saying, "This place is disgusting - It needs to be gutted." Real Estate Dad thought it was in good condition He’s either right and I’m a spoiled little brat, or he’s comparing it to his old Ocean City haunts.
Even though the place was on the market for a month and a half (a death sentence in DC,) there were somehow multiple offers. This apparently never happens in Delaware. They called for highest and best. Real Estate Dad and our agent suggested going to asking price. Pshaw. You people must be new here. You think I'm rolling over that quickly? I had a strategy, honed from working in this city of crazy. After I explained what I wanted to do, our agent said, "Wow, you are teaching me things, we never do this here." Real Estate Dad didn't want to lose the place.
Him: What if they have cash? It looks better if we offer full price.
Me: What if? Maybe they offered $100K less than we did.
Him: The sellers see the escalation though. They can just counteroffer a the max.
Me: That's not going to happen. They have to show the front page of the other contract. The escalation has to do its job otherwise the whole thing is bullshit.
We waited the rest of the day for a response. I wasn't mad. I wasn't on edge. I'd done this wait with clients before and while I know it's impossible to wait for a response from the seller, I also know that the more you contact them, the more desperate you seem. Real Estate Dad kept asking if I heard anything and I was like, Come on man, we gotta play it cool.
In the end, the sellers accepted our offer when the other offer capped out. We paid less than asking, we didn't waive the inspection, and we kept our financing contingency.
Throughout the entire negotiation and loan underwriting process, we were sort of astonished at how freaking slow people are. “Welllllp, this is lower slower Delaware.” Get it. Lower Slower Delaware. LSD. They even put it on bumper stickers.
It took 3 months to get this thing underwritten because we had to go through 3 different lenders. Each one would come back saying that the condo operates like a hotel and they couldn’t do the loan, whatever the hell that meant. Finally the loan was done and we went to closing.
Our agent was there and so was the listing agent. I liked her because she was playing with the girls. Then I stopped liking her real quick. I can turn on a dime like that.
Papers were signed, and everyone said “Congratulations!” Then we asked for the keys. Everyone looked at each other like, “Do you have the keys? I don’t have the keys.”
The attorney left the room and when he came back he foolishly handed the listing agent her commission check, first. And this my friends, is where the day took a dive.
Listing Agent: “This isn’t right.”
The lawyer sort of whispers. Then there’s math. Then there’s discussion about how she’s “capped out” at her company and she should be paid 100%.
The lawyer looks at us and says we don’t have to stay. We said we were waiting for keys to the house on which we just purchased. But we continued to watch this agent make a spectacle of herself. I texted our agent who was sitting right next to me and said, “Is she serious? I would never do this at the settlement table in front of clients.”
If she had a modicum of self-awareness she would have realized we were all shifting and whispering and she should have waited until we all left. But nope, she kept going.
She got on her phone. Lawyer said he will try to call to find the keys which was nice of him considering this isn’t his job. We thought she was calling to figure out who had the keys.
Nope. She’s calling her company to complain about how her commission check is wrong. Then she looks up as if we are going to agree or actually give a shit. She says, “I’ve maxed out at my company, I get 100% of my commissions.” Real Estate Dad is looking at her without a shred of sympathy and she still doesn’t get it. I mean, I’m sorry but if you’re doing so well that you maxed out your commissions at your multi-level marketing of a brokerage, then you really shouldn’t be hounding everyone for payment at the table. I’d like to think you can wait a couple days like the rest of us do.
We finally learned our keys were at an office across Rehoboth and we had to go fetch them ourselves. When we walked outside I said to Real Estate Dad, “This is why people hate us. This woman is why people hate Real Estate Agents.”
School continues to provide a never-ending source of frustration and entertainment.
M’s bestie told her mama that a girl in their class said that she doesn’t like Hillary Clinton because certain types of people give her money.
(This is why my parents spoke Greek at home, so we wouldn’t go running our mouth about what they think of the world.)
This is what gold is made of, people.
In other news, this note that came home in Chub’s Folder.
Stupidity knows no bounds. It really doesn’t matter if your 4 year old has homework or not, it’s not going to make them smarter in the long run. Maybe people believe that their kid is Harvard-bound if they start homework shortly after they are ejected from the womb but, seriously?
My child can’t even remember to wipe her butt after she uses the bathroom and she’s supposed to do homework now?
This is the note I’m sending back:
The Pre-K Teachers will expect nothing less of me. The last time I spoke with them, they said the Mouse-Mom said “I am being z’attacked by zee people for zee mice!” (It’s my best attempt at a French accent.) (She’s not even French, I don’t know why I did that.)
Not “people.” Me. That was me attacking you, because you were being an idiot. Just like the parent who asked for homework.
It’s gonna be a long year.
Things I don't have time for: another school committee.
Things this idiot just volunteered for: another school committee.
When I heard the history of said committee, I felt like I couldn't not help. I shared my interpretation of how DC Public Schools work (or rather, don't work) with a parent of older children. They congratulated me on figuring it out quickly, as most people never realize the clusterf*ck that is DC Public Schools.
There will be more to come from me on this as I learn that the powers that be just don't care. I don't mean at the school level - I'm talking the downtown "OSSE" level.
Speaking of not caring, the Pre-K class is still in the West Wing, aka the trailer park. They were supposed to be there 2 weeks. We're now in week 3. My most recent outrage came as a result of learning that the parent who started all this "I saw mouse poop" drama and demanded the students be relocated - her kid hasn't been at school for a week. So, uh, thanks for getting all our kids sent to this stupid ass trailer while your kid stays home. In what is not a trailer, I assume. . Traps have been set all over the place and not a creature has been caught, not even a mouse. Yes. You read that correctly. Not. One. Mouse.
And now a storm is a-coming. So, I'll be keeping Chubs home for most of this week because I'm not playing this game. I saw the Wizard of Oz. I know what happens to trailers in natural disasters. I'll put Chubs to work. She can help me write an offer for my client, who is too smart to pay list priced for yet another overpriced listing.
The rain this week is killing real estate. I have a pretty cool studio listing that has gotten very little traffic because while people will house hunt in the snow and ice, they won't do it in the rain. It's sort of interesting but it's how I got my house in Glover Park. We were coming off of 10 straight days of rain several years back. I was 8 months pregnant with Chubs and had no desire to look at this house as I was convinced it was underpriced and would sell in a bidding war. But it didn't. Thanks rain! We got a good house and a good deal for all parties.
And for the file marked "Awesome Things Other Real Estate Agents Have Said to Me," this week we have this gem. I called a listing agent to ask a couple basic questions and was met with a string of "I don't know's." Finally he said, "Clearly I know NOTHING about this listing, you seem to know more than I do."
Yeah. That's our industry, people. There it is. Blech.
I'll start with the good.
M: Mommy, when we say the Pledge of Allegiance at school, the Principal makes everyone wearing a hood take off their hood. Why?
DCREM: Because it's a sign of respect, and the Principal is right, people should take off their hats.
M: Then we sing the National Anthem.
I'm not sure why, but when M told me this, I was so happy I felt my smile spread slowly across my face. Like the Grinch.
It was news to me that they still say the Pledge of Allegiance in school but I'm pretty happy to hear that tradition is still going strong. M buzzes around the house singing the National Anthem and it's several kinds of awesome. Real Estate Dad said she learned it on "America's Got Talent" but M claims they sing it in school.
The littles are still in the trailer park. Or as the school calls them, "The Demountable Classrooms in the West Wing." Nah. They're trailers. In the parking lot. Trailer Park. Supposed mass-trapping of mice occurred this past weekend but the scores are in. Zero point Zero mice were caught. Now the mice story has evolved to "last year a child was bitten by a mouse." This, too, is becoming all kinds of awesome. There is not enough popcorn for this show.
And then, Realtoring this week. Yes I know that Realtoring is not a word! It is when stuff like this happens.
By the time I worked through each of those keys my clients could have had their loan underwritten. What a nightmare. I'm not sure who thought it was a good idea to toss that many keys in a lockbox. Jerks.
Then someone flew half way around the world to surrender a corgi to the rescue. No. Literally. Flew from Korea to surrender a corgi. A board member picked up said corgi at the airport, and not even like an hour later the prior owner wanted the corgi back so it could be given to her friend. All these conversations back and forth necessitated the "a lawyer is going to have to weigh in here." Lo and behold, one of our board members located a corgi-loving litigator who brings his corgi loaves to the office and lets them run around. Yes, this is really a thing. And we are loving it!
So this is what is currently making my world go round. Kids. School. Mice. Corgis. Keys. Real Estate. That's all I got for you.
Real Estate Dad: You need to give up on this school stuff.
Me: It's only been a couple days!
Real Estate Dad: I know, and it's driving you crazy.
Me: You said I'm not paying enough attention to the kids so I get involved in their school, join a committee and become a class mom to be more present instead of working all the time. Now you're telling me to give it up?
Real Estate Dad, laughing: I've seen enough. Go back to how you were.
He might be right. The outrage. The sheer outrage I have felt this week having to deal with some, um, really stupid ideas. Home Schooling is starting to look real damn good.
M started school on Monday. She was excited! She had a great first day. The second night of school, her teacher sent home a folder with a bunch of papers for parents to read. One of them said that instead of doing individual birthday celebrations, they are going to do one big party for everyone, with the date to be announced.
I almost did it. I almost got a sharpie and wrote in giant letters, "I LOVE THIS! THANK YOU!!!" See, I'm burned out from these birthday parties. I'm burned out from driving 100 miles to get to a party. I'm burned out from having an entire weekend day hijacked with a birthday when I am a Real Estate Agent and when do houses sell? NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS PEOPLE! Every time I get an invite for the girls that involves chartering a jet, I can't do it. (Unless of course, I like the mom and want to see her, because it's all about me.) But, we just don't have this kind of time in our days, or in our lives.
Day 3, another letter comes home. It says, "Due to the response from parents, we will be celebrating individual birthdays." Um, can we analyze this for a moment, and can we do it from the teacher's point of view?
Having 20 some odd celebrations is time-consuming. It's disruptive. It's also a pain in the ass for parents who have kids with allergies who have to then wake up at the crack of crack to make something that's allergen-free for their child to enjoy. M is fortunate to not have allergies, but her bestie? She's allergic to eggs. Eggs! Eggs are in pretty much every birthday cake that I know of, and the reason I know this is because once, in junior high school, I made a cake from scratch and forgot the eggs. And yes, my family never let me forget that incident. "Remember the cake Melissa made when she forgot the eggs? yukyukyuk." That thing came out of the oven like a brick.
(My dad and I still ate it.)
I messaged the teacher and apologized and said I thought it was a fantastic idea. She said she was surprised there was such a response to it. Special snowflakes is all I can think. People want their kids recognized on their day of eviction from the womb. I wish I could say I get it, but I don't. I also have kids with summer birthdays who participate in the end of year / summer birthday celebration with all the other summer birthdays. If they can do a joint party, can't the other kids? Come on, snowflakes.
On Day 4, Chubs started Pre-K. Despite the tears and that they had to surgically remove her from me, she loved it and did well. That evening we all received an email from an irate parent that they saw mice poop in the cubby room. I wasn't outraged. I frankly didn't care and moved on to the next email pretty quickly.
Later on, I notice this mouse email thing is picking up steam. Another parent joined in and told everyone this was a crash course in DC Public Schools and we ALL needed to email the Principal, Vice Principal, the Chancellor's Office, and anyone else they could think of.
You would have thought John Wayne Gacy and Wayne Williams were in there playing dress up and reading books to the kids. The emails continued unabated with updates on what these two parents were doing to help. Except, no one asked them.
Finally I couldn't help it and I jumped in to explain that I have had mice in every house where I've lived, and it's not a big deal and everyone needs to just dial this back a few notches. Nope, rabid dogs will turn in a moment, and they both spit venom in my direction, asking what kind of place I grew up in that had mice?
Them's fighting words.
Um. I grew up here. The town of billionaires. And we had mice! In fact, one of the favorite quotes in our house, coined back in the 1990's is, "Why did you eat half a chocolate bar and throw it under the dining room table?" To which my brother replied, "Think about what you just asked me..." Then we inspected the Toberlone Bar and saw tiny tiny teeth bites. We had a mouse. What ensued was an entire winter of a witch hunt. That little stinker could NOT be caught. He was snapped in a trap and he dragged his bloody carcass across the living room and went back into the hole from where he came, leaving the trap leaning against the baseboard.
Anyway, because the first mouse poop complainer bitched and moaned so much, they decided to move the Pre-K class out to a trailer class in the parking lot. Then DC Real Estate Mama lost her shizz. I replied in the email and said that because of her, a decision was made by the school to quiet her down and it affects all of our children.
Between animal rescue world and now school-momming it, I really have had enough of the crazy. I've got zero tact or ability to be PC. Someone tried to surrender an aggressive dog with a heart issue and only a couple years to live and I about lost my crap on him. I told him he needs to keep his damn dog and see it through to the end of its life instead of making it someone else's problem. No one is going to adopt that dog, and no one is going to take on the medical expenses for a dog who stands little chance of survival.
I should delete my email accounts before I really tell someone to go to hell.