Bananas Never Survive a Roadtrip

Today is Real Estate Dad’s birthday. I thought about not saying anything until 10 minutes to midnight like he did to me last year, but I decided not to. I mean, I don’t want anyone to think I hold a grudge or anything. Besides, he looked so good when he got ready for a meeting today that I just had to hug him.

This week was the elementary school’s book fair. EEEEEEE I love book fairs! I used to love getting those flimsy little newspaper magazines from the Scholastic Book peoples. Clifford, Miffy, Hello Cat You Need a Hat - all the good classics still exist in our house today came from that book newspaper.

I know. You want to know why I still have books from 40 years ago. Even if you didn’t want to know, I’m telling you anyway. My parents? They don’t throw anything away. Like, at all. To this day, every phone call that comes FROM their house or any visit TO their house inevitably carries with it, some version of “I was cleaning out some closets and I found (insert piece of garbage) do you want me to save it for you?” My answer is always no, but that doesn’t stop them from dumping it on me when I visit. Now when I’m saying goodbye to them at the end of a visit, I keep my hands in my pockets so they can’t hand me anything.

This hoarding thing isn’t new. The aroma of my entire childhood is eau de rotting bananas. Every time we left on a vacation there would be the last-minute-grab of things that wouldn’t keep until we got home. We all know that bananas are really bad travel companions. That didn’t stop my parents from trying. We would leave our house, get on 95 south and in 20 minutes the banana rot could overpower the burning smell of the Bronx, circa 1979.

 The gorgeous landscape of the Bronx in the late 1970’s

The gorgeous landscape of the Bronx in the late 1970’s

Now that we got that whole “descended from hoarders” piece out of the way, let’s move on to the book fair. I volunteered for a shift every day because I’m a book nerd. I love reading. I miss reading. I don’t get to do it as much as I would like to because, houses need to get sold, kids need to be raised, corgis have to be walked, other corgis have to be rescued, our house needs to be cleaned, yadda yadda yadda.

I have to say I did pretty well in my customer service role. Good thing the last day was indeed the last day because I started to crash. I didn’t even shower for my last shift and I didn’t bother to change out oOffspring T-Shirt. The one with the smoking skeleton head.

Ugh…..of course some kid said something to me. OF COURSE. In front of his dad too, who didn’t look like he was anyone who would appreciate the Offspring.

“Why is that skeleton smoking? That doesn’t even make sense. Why would he have a cigarette in his mouth?”

I could not ring that book up fast enough to get Chatty Charlie the hell out of there.

Then the security guard, who was milling around with friends, wandered over to the book fair and tapped a parent on the shoulder to say, “You didn’t sign in.” This shit again.

The point of signing in is so that they have your face on camera. I get that. But the school was a complete melee. For anyone to have any sort of false sense of security that the guard is going to be able to stop a real threat is comical. I should be nice because last week she appeared to give one tenth of one shit about my grandmother’s ring that Chubs defiantly brought to school and promptly lost. But she could be playing me.

The piece de la resistance was a Harry Potter Cookbook. This thing sold out like hotcakes and there was one left which a teacher had added to their wishlist pile. Someone wanted to buy it and it was late. Since no one had bought the book for said teacher, the book fair lead was going to let her buy it.

So, picture this. We have a line that’s got about 10 people in it, and a woman flipping through a cookbook trying to decide if she wanted to buy it. I have everything else rung up and ran her card and was waiting to see if she wanted this cookbook. I see the line getting antsy and I asked her to just step over so I could grab the next person. She clearly got mad and said “Never mind, I’ll just buy it on Amazon.” Yowsers. I didn’t think it was wrong to ask her to step aside to look at the book, and if she wanted it we could have rung her up real fast but yeesh. She said something about not having enough time to look through it and yelled the Amazon dig again.

Lady, you don’t have to threaten me with Amazon. I’m a full on Ama-whore. There ain’t nothing Amazon is selling that I ain’t buying. Like where would you ever be able to get something like this? (Don’t forget to read the comments - that’s where the gold is.)


 Yes, but does it have a thermometer?

Yes, but does it have a thermometer?

Class Mom on Crack

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.)

 Here we are on the bus to hell! Oh wait. This is the field trip I chaperoned.

Here we are on the bus to hell! Oh wait. This is the field trip I chaperoned.

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.

 Here’s me at the Costume Shop.

Here’s me at the Costume Shop.

 And here’s where my husband lost all respect for me.

And here’s where my husband lost all respect for me.

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.

Four is the New 17

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.

School 2.jpg

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:

School 1.jpg

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.

DCPS Will Land Me in an Early Grave

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.

 

School, Corgis & Realtoring ~ Hitting Snags

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.

 Some asshole obviously needs to borrow my Labelmaker. I love that Labelmaker.

Some asshole obviously needs to borrow my Labelmaker. I love that Labelmaker.

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.

It Was a Rough First Week of School

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. 

 Aww c'mon! I only come out at night anyway!

Aww c'mon! I only come out at night anyway!

 

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.