Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another Real Estate Agent Fiasco

I think this real estate agent is intentionally trying to prove her incompetence. Until now, I'd avoided mentioning her by name, but this latest screw up has her name boldly associated with it in print, so I don't see any harm in sharing it now. What's wrong? Well nothing except the house is shown with a completely incorrect description. The correct description is printed under the first house in the ad and the house we're selling is the second house.

The MLS listing link is still incorrect. As of today it still shows the right house at the wrong address. This is the listing that local agents use as their primary reference of available housing inventory. It has the house listed in a totally different town! She's very unprofessionally told us on 07/21 when the problem came to light, to "Chill Out" it's only a minor problem that "no one but us ever even saw " and yet still submitted the completely wrong ad to the newspapers. She has repeatedly assured us that she has fixed the problem and we're over reacting. I don't see how anything has been fixed since the link has been wrong with 3 different versions since 07/21 and remains so on 07/27.
Plus, she has now printed the incorrect ad in one of the local newspapers. The description of the house is not accurate and never has been. We've alerted her since the beginning to the inaccuracies in the description, but they have never been corrected. Apparently in Nebraska real estate agents aren't concern about truth in advertising.

There are other issues that are just basic "he said - she said" things, that really are subjective, mostly concerning communications. This, however, is pretty clearly inept. There was suppose to have been an open house today, I wonder what people thought who went to the addresss and saw a totally different house. I wonder if a potential sale will never happen because of this huge error.
So to anyone who stumbles across this blog and is looking for a real estate agent in the Beatrice, NE 68310 zip code, don't go with this agency. You'll be making an even bigger mistake than we did, because you've been forewarned.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

St. Joseph, Sell This House

Here's St. Joseph standing at the precipice, looking into the pit he's about to get buried in. With so many opinions on how to do the ritual, I just decided to wing it. I dug 6-8" down, buried him upside down, facing away from the house. We said the prayer and covered him up.

I sure hope he gets busy. This week has been another tumultous one with the agent. It appears that the house has been updated in the MLS book with an incorrect address and she refuses to acknowledge. Now, many people who've checked the online listing for MLS are seeing it incorrect as well, so I'm not sure how that squares with her denial. All I know is that for the 3rd day in a row, with a cleared history and cache, I get the right house with an address 15 miles away.

It's been a huge tragic comedy dealing with selling this house. Things don't look good for Mom and time is running out.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Words for Life

When I was a moody, lonely teenager, I memorized several short pieces of poetry that have stayed with me. Today I was reminded of one, when I came across a blog with 12 rules for living by Robert Louis Stevenson. While I can't directly attribute them to RLS, I did rather like them so I'll pass it along.
First, though is one of the poetry pieces that everyone should know, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

And now the 12 Rules to Live By, purportedly by Robert Louis Stevenson.

  1. Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things.
  2. Make the best of circumstances. No one has everything and everyone has something of sorrow.
  3. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  4. Don’t let criticism worry you. You can’t please everybody.
  5. Don’t let your neighbors set your standards; be yourself.
  6. Do things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt.
  7. Don’t borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear than actual ones.
  8. Since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish enmities and grudges. Avoid people who make you unhappy.
  9. Have many interests. If you can’t travel, read about places.
  10. Don’t hold post-mortems or spend time brooding over sorrows and mistakes.
  11. Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.
  12. Keep busy at something. A very busy person never has time to be unhappy.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Staw into Gold

Do you remember the fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin? A poor miller, to win favor with the King, lied and said his daughter could spin straw into gold. Of course the greedy king liked this idea and so the daughter was locked up in a room filled with straw and couldn't be free until it was all gold. A magical drawf appeared who actually could spin straw into gold, with a catch of course. The girls first born son would have to be given to the coniving dwarf. How was she suppose to know that the king would be so thrilled with the talented girl, he would marry her to the Prince. Time passes and a son is born. The dwarf comes to collect the baby, there's a riddle to be solved in order to avoid the child's fate, the girl isn't too bright and can't solve the riddle within the alotted time. On the very last evening, when all hope is about to be lost, a palace servant supplies the answer, the child and the kingdom are saved and everyone except the evil dwarf lives happily ever after. The answer was the dwarf's name, Rumpelstiltskin. According to the Brothers Grimm at least.

Last summer was the first time I'd thought of that fairy tale in 40 years. It sprung to mind when I saw the outrageously luminous, decadant color of freshly cut wheat in the brillant sun. When the wheat is freshly cut, it's the color of glowing, molten gold. Its the most vibrant, perfect color I've ever seen. Last year, I didn't know that I'd better stop and shoot it on my way to work. I thought I could go back and catch it on the weekend. Wrong. This spectacle lasts only a day; by the next day the sun has bleached it out to the pale staw color most of us are familiar with. I wish I was a professional photographer and could really capture what I see to share with you. This one moment alone will have made my stay here in Nebraska worthwhile.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 12, 2008

True Antiques

There's something about this photo I love. I think it's the best one she's ever taken. There's history here to be absorbed as well as just the simple elegance of this image. The roses are Aloha, my grandfather Russell's favorite. He shared her passion for gardening. It must have been a relief for her to find something in common with her always gruff father in-law.

The vase is a true family heirloom. It's a simple tin syrup pitcher that belonged to her grandmother, Maggie Anderson. I love the soft glowing patina in this shot. I wonder how many breakfasts it was a part of and how did she come by it. Was it a wedding gift, or something bought from necessity. To me, a syrup pitcher doesn't seem like a necessity on a hard scrabble farm, but no one seems to know it's history.

I found the pitcher as I was cleaning out the house of many treasures, and it's in good condition. One of the nicer discoveries to come of that adventure.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 11, 2008

Those Boots!

As long as I can remember I wanted to be Annie Oakley. One of my earliest memories is of a little silver cap gun with a pearly (ok, plastic) handle and the smell of the gunpowder when the cap went off. I loved those pinky red rolls of caps that fed into my gun.

I came across this picture tonight of me when I was 4. I have a flash of memory of pulling those boots on and what it felt like to walk in them.

Growing up, I loved all the westerns on early TV and I was ready at a moment's notice to fill in for Dale Evans or Annie Oakley. All they had to do was call!

Throughout school, I read every outlaw biography I could get my hands on and devoured the history of the Old West, legends and fact, it all speaks to me to this day. I read Native American authors for history with a different view and discovered a deep sense of kinship for ways so different than my own. It always seemed a little odd to me, with a New England childhood, to have such a longing for the West, both old and new, legend and truth. It seems to have started early, doesn't it? Anyone up for a rodeo?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Yoga Kitty

It's Thursday, you need a laugh. Check out the videos at

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

St. Joe, The Ultimate Real Estate Agent

We've not been too happy with the agent we hired to sell Mom's house. She talked a great game, but that seems to have been all she's got going for her. I think we need intercession of a divine kind. So, meet our new agent - St. Joe!
As you can see, his commission is much more reasonable and all we have to do is bury him in the yard, beg for help and get out of the way. The part about this that surprises me is that my ultra conservative Methodist mother wants it done. She's worried that maybe God will be p.o.ed , but she wants to try it. Why not? Maybe it only works for Catholics? Do you have to have saint credits or something before it works?
Did you ever hear of St. Joseph selling your house? One place says bury him upside down in the front yard, another says bury him right side up facing the house in the back yard, another to do a salt cleansing ritual( christian, right? ) and then bury him exactly 3 inches or 12 in the front right corner.... heck, even the instructions that came with him gives you about 3 different ways to get him working for you.
Then, when your house is sold, if the buyers are nice to work with you leave him in the ground and if they're nasty you dig him up and bean them on the head with him. Not really,I made that part up. Hey, if you want to buy your own St. Joseph, SuperAgent, check out this site, where his commission is even less than what we had to pay locally. We're in a hurry at this point, so we opted out of mailing.

Personally, I think maybe St. Jude might have been a better choice.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

So, over the 4th my sister writes that she's going to make Pink Lemonade cupcakes and doesn't share the recipe. I was so intrigued that I hunted up the recipe and made my own. There are much prettier photos on several blogs, including this one where I found the recipe. I'm a sucker for pink foods. Next time, I think I'll color the cake batter and make the frosting a little pinker. I also made them on the "less tart" side of things but I think I'll go full throtle on them when I make them again. And if I'm feeling really ambitious, I'll try and ice them a little fancier. The visual appeal is so much better when you use a piping bag. Pink Lemonade cupcakes are quick, simple and really summery.

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

1 1/8 cup (9 oz) frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate, thawed*
White cake mix (yes, the boxed stuff)
3 egg whites
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 recipe Lemon Buttercream Icing (recipe follows)

* For a less tart cupcake (and these babies do pack a punch), try reducing the amount of pink lemonade. 3/8 cup water and 3/4 cup pink lemonade will cut the tartness.

In a stand mixer, add the cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil, and the pink lemonade concentrate. Mix on low for about 30 seconds and then increase to medium speed for 90 seconds (the batter will still be a bit lumpy; take care not to overmix so you don't end up with dry cupcakes).Place a cupcake liner in each cup of a muffin pan. Spoon the batter into a prepared muffin pan (fill the cups between 2/3 and 3/4 full). Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick registers clean in the center cupcake. Remove the pan from the oven and cool 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes and cool completely on a baking rack.Once the cupcakes have cooled, make the icing and ice the cupcakes.

Lemon Buttercream Icing
3 cups + 3 Tbsp confectioners sugar
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Red food color (to color icing and sugar, optional)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (optional)

Add the butter, confectioners sugar, salt, lemon juice, and food coloring (if using) to the stand mixer and mix on low using the paddle attachment until combined. Turn the speed to med-high until the icing is fluffy and uniformly pink. Add the icing to a pastry bag fitted with a 2D tip and ice the cupcakes.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Bubble Suits

Here's a little something to tantalize my sister. This is from 1960. I don't know if she'll remember it, but I do. We're posing at the farm in our "bubble suits", classic sunsuits of the era. I remember loving the bright multicolor dots and my red cowgirl hat. I always wanted to be Annie Oakley. I'm 5 and she's 3. Don't I look like I'm pretending to be Marilyn Monroe!

I do remember one real drawback to these one piece suits was when you had to visit the outhouse...not much fun when everything has to come off, even as a little kid. For those of you who've never experienced an outhouse in the heat of summer, consider yourself blessed. Even as a child, I was more affected by odors than every one else seemed to be. It was the one thing I hated about going to Grandma's.
Posted by Picasa