Friday, May 30, 2008

Sad news- Harvey Korman

When I was little, there was one show the entire family could agree on, The Carol Burnett Show. We would watch it together and laugh until our cheeks ached and our sides were sore. I must have been in repeats when we watched it because there were some shows we saw a million times; yet somehow it made us laugh like it was the first time. They were a talented bunch who worked well together. There has been nothing like it on television since.

Here was one of our favorite skits, funny in no small part to Harvey's dogged determination not to lose it completely on the set:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Still homeless

We put a bid on a home last week. A older home, one that has been on the market for 3 months, one that needs a new kitchen, all new appliances, new bathrooms, updated wiring, a new garage door, and new driveway pavement. Oh, and the basement had a leak we never did get full details on. Our agent (Frank) presented them with a figure and it was rejected soundly. Very soundly. Their faces dropped, and their eyes clouded with anger.

First they kicked Frank out of the house.

Then their own Real Estate Agent was tossed to the curb.

And there both agents sat for 45 minutes until the homeowners called them back in with an ultimatum: "We will only sell at this amount. Take it or leave it"

And so Frank left it.

"Aren't you going to call your people?" They asked his back.

"I don't need to." he replied. "They aren't going to pay that for a home in need of so much work." He left them slack jawed and angry.

"We're taking the house off the market!" They wailed.

You do that folks. Go right ahead. But I am not paying over $300,000 for a home that needs a minimum of $50,000 in work.

It is still on the market.

Our search goes on.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Signing it all away

Last Tuesday our house went on the MLS, and we had an offer last Wednesday night. House inspectors came over the weekend, found a few missing shingles and a small crack in the exterior basement wall. A small heart attack later, we discover the deal is still on, we just have to address those two problems before we close in September. We sign the papers tonight.

While I am very pleased our house is sold, and that worry is now out of the way, I am dismayed that we haven't found something we really want to buy.

It could be that I want the impossible.

I want a medium size house, on a lot that doesn't have my neighbors up my ass on all sides. Preferably a slightly older home that has been updated, separate rooms (screw open concept!) and a finished basement. Is that too much to ask?

I don't want a new home, as they are so poorly made here in Ontario. I swear they are slapped together overnight with glue, duct tape, matchsticks and a prayer. And they are built too close together! Some "detached" homes have just enough space between them to pass a lawnmower through- not that grass ever grows between houses right atop one another.

We don't want anything so old that it is in dire need of repair because Don and I have neither the time (we both work, and have a little guy) the talent (I take cover when Don grabs a screw driver) or the money for a fixer upper.

I am asking for the impossible. Sigh.

There is very little in the area we wish to buy that appeals to us. The one house that has potential is asking a nice chunk of dough for a home that has no appliances, needs a new kitchen, has dated bathrooms, and carpeting on the upper level that needs to be burned and buried. Oh, and there was a leak in the basement which we have been told was filled with epoxy and fixed. But we love the layout, and the lot size is good enough for us and has been well groomed.

The plan now is to low ball them by about 30, 000 and see if they go for it- it was a rental property that the owners now want to offload. It has been on the market for about 59 days now. Part of me is hoping they go for it and I won't have to worry about it anymore. And another part of me hopes we don't get it, and we are forced to gamble on finding the home that is ready for us to just move right into. No fuss, no muss. But that is probably a pipe dream isn't it?

Wish us luck. Because if we don't find something before our September 2nd closing, I may have to move in with you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Attack of the Telemonsters

Does this sound familiar to you?

“Hi is Mrs _____ there?”

“Who is calling?”

“Is Mrs ____ there?”

“Who is calling?”

“We will call back another time…”


Just a typical supper hour with the phone ringing; calls from people I don’t know, and don’t want to know. If it isn’t the Weedman, it is the phone company, or a charity which may or may not really exist. Like dust mites and bedbugs, these vermin invade the comfort and privacy of your home, and seem impossible to exterminate. As soon as the caller starts with the Mrs. crap, I know this person has no idea who I am. I never took my husband’s name. Anyone important to me knows that. I cut them off at the sound of my Mother in Law’s name- politely but firmly.

“I am sorry, we don’t take telemarketing calls of any kind; please remove us from your calling list.” And I hang up. But I can only do that when they identify themselves, I try to keep a track of who is calling, that way if I get a second call, I can get nasty sans guilt.

But the annoying fucktard who called me on Saturday with the above script did not identify themselves, and when I did a reverse look up on the number that called me- it of course had little information listed. When I called them back, they never answered their phone- funny that. What gives them the right to call me, refuse to identify themselves, and then hang-up when I won’t play ball? It should not be allowed.

There are things you can do to reduce the amount of phone spam you get, I know, because I used to process a lot of phone lists when I worked as a DBA. I will share with you what I know- and while I can promise a reduction in calls, it will not get rid of them completely.

1) Most legit companies who use telemarketing firms also keep track of who they call, what
the response was and try to remove people from their lists when they express a wish not to be called. Legitimate companies don’t really want to piss off potential customers. Every telemarketing company is required by CRTC rules to keep a "do not call" list (and similar "do not fax" list for faxes). So next time they phone tell them you do not want to be called again, and asked to but put on their do not call list.

2) Register with the CMA . The Do Not Contact Service enables individuals to reduce the number of marketing offers they receive by mail, telephone and fax. Consumers register to have their names removed from marketing lists held by members of the Canadian Marketing Association.

3) The CMA will not run the phone portion of the Do not Contact Service by the end of the year, instead Bell (ugh!) Canada will take over. Canadians will be able to register online, by phone or by fax to be added to the list, entirely free. Once added, telemarketers have 31 days to stop calling, and must refrain from calling for three years.

4) Participate in the Red Dot Campaign. This does not address telemarketers, but their print equivalent- Junk Mail.

5) Finally: when the next telemonster calls do not buy anything from them! The reason why you are interrupted daily by these companies is because it works. Don’t make it work for them. If they call you again, complain in writing to the company, and if they are members, to the CMA as well.

Good Luck!

What is the worst telemarketing experience you have ever had?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Call me crazy

May and June is a really busy time of year for me. My students who are working on the Skills Canada have their big competition early May (we just got back from Waterloo), the Communication Technology ISUs are due, and we start the final preparation for exams in June. In addition, the the two School Board committees I am on all seem to want final documentation and meetings around this time as well. And I have to juggle all these airborne balls with a nineteen month old and a husband who would like to see me from time to time.

But somehow, I have added a new task to my list.

We are selling the house.

Putting it on the market this week in fact.

Holy crap.

That means I have to paint, clean and gut the house, weed and plant, re-arrange and de-clutter and pack up what we can, before this Monday. Because, as the Real Estate Agent tells me, spring is the best time to sell, and there is not much up in our area now. If that weren't enough to consider, once the house goes on the market, I will have to keep it in pristene condition until the house is sold. Not sure how well that will work with the nineteen month old- or the husband for that matter as I am pretty sure that underwear in front of the shower stall will not be a selling feature.

I must be freaking nuts.

Does anyone have any tips to share?