Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Late April Frost...

It's official. We're getting frosts from October through the end of April. I thought scraping ice off of windows was over... but had to do it this morning again! The temp got down to around 39F in Washington, D.C., around 35F in Baltimore, but the suburbs (where we are) hit the freezing mark. So much for the new flowers! So, on the cusp of May (tomorrow is the first), we're STILL waiting for Spring!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

SOLD!!!


The townhouse is finally sold. Of course, it was an adventure. It was slated for 8am, and I got a call the night before at 8pm from my realtor saying the bank paperwork had one of the buyer's social security numbers wrong, so it's going to happen in the afternoon. That was fine. I went to work and took the afternoon off from 1pm. I picked up the dogs from daycare, dropped them off at the house and my realtor called again at 2:30pm saying it would now be 5:15pm or later - and to wait. So I mowed the lawn. The realtor called at 5pm and said "come now." Tom was home by then so we did.

The title company person said the buyers were difficult, and my realtor said the same thing. The people and their realtor were horrible. My realtor also said he went by the house at 4:45pm (before I signed over the house) and the buyer's mother and another person were inside the house (which they didn't yet own at the time - so the buyer's realtor broke the rules). Of course, I didn't care. We left at 6:30pm with the check and no more 2nd mortgage. Thank GOD it's over.

For buyers or sellers, I highly recommend my realtor, Jeff Stanyard of Remax in Columbia, Md. He's a saint!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Settlement Update - Friday is the day...

My realtor, Jeff, did call today and said that the termite people were spraying today (yes $450 more out of the settlement), just to quell the buyers whining (again). Jeff made a great suggestion to have my part of the settlement happen first (in a diff. location) tomorrow, so neither of us has to see these nasty people or their dumb realtor. That's what we'll do. Jeff did caution that "the buyers come back from the walk through at 8:30am, and may make more demands." Of which, I've instructed Jeff to cancel the sale of the house to them. Yes, I want to sell the house, but I'm done with them. So, we wait. Tomorrow will tell.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

House Selling- MORE Unreasonable Demands!

I thought that we heard the last of the demands from the buyers of my townhouse last Friday, after we sent the termite company out that I hired in 2003 to reinspect the property for termites. They did, and confirmed in a written report that the few termite "tunnels" were leftovers from the 2003 termites that had been treated and obliterated. The company, C&M, also provided the Buyer with a One Year Warranty, that should termites come back, they would treat the house FREE.
Tonight, my realtor called and said "The buyer and their realtor said they want the house treated anyway (and have me spend $500)." They said "The warranty isn't good enough."
I think this is totally getting out of hand. My realtor, Jeff S., a really nice guy, told me that he'll bring in a 3rd company tomorrow to inspect for current termites. If they believe the house is free of them, then we're good with the C&M report (I hope). If they differ in opinion, then I need to cough up another $500.
What I DON'T UNDERSTAND is- with a 1 year warranty, isn't that good enough for the buyer? It would certainly be good enough for me. I didn't even get that when I originally bought it!
What do these greedy people hope to gain? Why do they want me to keep spending money on frivolous things to third parties? If I didn't have to do the termite thing by law, I'd tell them to get lost.
As it is, both Jeff (my realtor) and I agree that we will close on the house in separate rooms from them and their realtor. Otherwise, both Jeff and I would be giving them a piece of our minds. I really, really hate selfish, greedy, uncooperative people. Regardless, WHATEVER THEY REAP, THEY SHALL SOW!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Walk for Dogs and Cats in Baltimore

On Sunday, April 20th, Tom, Dolly, Franklin and I went on the Walk for Animals in Baltimore, for the Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. We joined our friend Craig's office (IWIF), and walked with Rose Ambrose, her daughter with her son and her boyfriend, and Rose's neice Katie (right with Franklin). Rose brought her three dogs, two golden retrievers and one cocker spaniel. All the doggies were well behaved!
Morning thunderstorms ended for 1 1/2 hours, enough time to get the walk in. It was 1.5 miles around Druid Hill Park Lake in Baltimore City. We just finished the walk, registered for the costume contest, and thunder boomed. That was it. We started walking to the truck and the sky opened with very heavy rain (yes, we each had umbrellas). The whole event was immediately rained out, sadly. At least we got the walk in with Rose and her crew!

Dolly Parton launches ambitious world tour!

An extensive interview with Dolly Parton appears in the recent issue of Billboard Magazine, and on Reuters Newswire- as she launches her worldwide tour (and we'll be seeing her in NYC in May!) Here's the beginning of the article and the link that follows brings you to the rest of it! - Rob

NASHVILLE (Billboard) - It's only 8 a.m. at Camp Dolly, the expansive, Spanish villa-styled compound just off Music Row in Nashville, but Dolly Parton is most definitely put together.
And on the cusp of an ambitious world tour, she has established a game plan to reach the box-office heights realized by her peers in the one-name iconic diva class. At the same time, the Parton brain trust endeavors to familiarize this iconic artist to a new generation of fans, an effort vitalized by a recent appearance on "American Idol."

House Selling Update-Moved the Furniture Out!

We're still in the process of selling the townhouse in Elkridge, and the buyers have been extraordinarily demanding... so there's been lots of things to do on the house. We FINALLY were able to get a settlement date for this Friday, April 25th. Hopefully it will happen. This past Sat. we moved all the remaining furniture out of the house, that we had in there for staging. We had to rent a 16' truck and dropped some of it off to friends in Washington, DC, and Alexandria, VA. It was a long day.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pet Parents Day - Sunday, April 27th

Sunday, April 27th is Pet Parents Day - that's a new celebration to honor those (of us) who have adopted a dog, cat, bird, ferret, (or spouse in some cases! - but not ours, fortunately!)
* "For all the nights you've been crowded out of bed"
* "For all the treats you've given"
* "For all the poop you scooped"
* "For all the love you've given (and received tenfold)"
Enjoy your PET PARENTS DAY with your lovable pet! We'll be celebrating with Dolly and Franklin (right as a Shark and a skeleton from Halloween 2007)!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

House Buyers and Greed

Another day, another ridiculous demand from the potential buyers of my townhouse and their spineless realtor, which I'll call Dumbhead, to make it easier. This time, Dumbhead and his buyers want me to pay $175 for repairs for "soft wood" around the sliding glass door in the basement that leads to the backyard.
My realtor told Dumbhead "that's ridiculous" and "this has to stop." However, Dumbhead (again, the buyer's realtor) said "too bad." Further, Dumbhead said "Well, my clients (the buyers) have to take care of the mold in the house." UM... I'M PAYING FOR IT! What dumbhead was bitching about was that the buyers have to take the money and schedule an appt with the mold eradicators, because the work can't be done before the closing date of 4/21 (next Monday). SO...now, my realtor said that Dumbhead "demands all the work be done before the buyers move in." Uh-huh. That means settlement will be moved, and I need to call the utilities back again. What a pain in the #$)^##$!!! All this for selfish, greedy people.
What Tom and I, and my realtor can't understand is why people can't work WITH you, and instead get greedy, demanding, petty, and nasty.
As I said to people before who were nasty to me years ago "You Reap What You Sow." Beware.
So, the house adventure continues into next week.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mystery Costs to Sell House Keep Building

This has been a tough week. Oh, it's only Tuesday.
The home inspector who went through my townhouse that's up for sale "found" several things that weren't wrong at all, and took me literally DAYS to get checked and re-inspected all for nothing.
On the other hand, there's (supposedly - I didn't find any) a little mold in the attic which is costing me $1,500 out of pocket. In addition, a weather seal on the roof wore out, for another $500 (which is valid).
NOW they see old termite tunnels from when I had the house treated in 2003, but they want to likely charge another $500 "just to be sure" there are no new termites. The guy that treated it in 2003 didn't dig out the tunnels, just sprayed. Not good enough to sell it. SO, likely a retreatment has to be done. SIGH!
IN ADDITION - The realtor called me today and said the TITLE COMPANY called the water utility of the County, and my NEW bill (to be issued next week) is $474.00!! The realtor said that's obviously wrong, so I had to call the county. After getting my blood pressure skyrocketing, I reached someone at the Water Utility, who said my last bill will be $25 (no one has been in the house since Nov.). Of course, I had to call the realtor with a contact name at the Utility. He called the dumb title company. SIGH!
That's just the money part of it. I mentioned it took hours to let HVAC people in to do a thorough inspection of the relatively new system, because the dumbass home inspector said it wasn't working right- but it was working "better than ever" the HVAC specialists concluded.
Further, Tom's stepdad (a retired plumber) took care of 2 small things that needed fixing this weekend and one that didn't.
SO... EVERY DAY this week brings about another $500 mystery expense... Is it FRIDAY yet?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Why Mess Stores Up?

We went to Kohls department store today briefly, to find some
slippers (and learned that they only sell 'em around Christmas,
stupidly enough). As we were walking through the store, we noticed that people threw shoes, towels, and other things all over the place. Of course, I couldn't help but try to organize stuff while Tom was looking at other things. This drives me crazy!
How difficult is it to simply place things back where you pick them up from???? Granted, it doesn't have to be perfect, that's what store clerks do at night, but it takes them a LONG TIME to straighten messes from inconsiderate people!
So, next time you're shopping, think about the clerks making 6 bucks an hour who have to stay until 2am folding clothes from careless people "in a hurry."



Home Inspection Follow-up Part 2...

This Saturday, Tom and I, and Tom's stepdad (who is a retired licensed plumber) worked on the "list" of things that this "home inspector" noted as "must dos" to sell my townhouse. After a frustrating 2 hours of driving from plumbing supply places to Home Depot and finally to Lowes, we found the part for the shower handle that was a "little loose" and Tom's stepdad replaced it. He confirmed that the sump pump was in fact, Working properly, just like the HVAC system that was also on this goofball "Home inpector's list."
Further, I crawled in the attic (it was about 100F in there) and cleaned pieces of the old roof (it was replaced in 1999 and the roofers tossed debris in the never used, tiny attic - and it didn't bother me, so I left it there). Well, the Home inspector demanded the scattered debris (3 bags full) be removed -so I did. I had to wear a mask from the dirt and fiberglass insulation.
The other "adventure" was crawling on my stomach close to where the pitched roof triangles to the ceiling and I had to pull insulation away from the soffits / corner. The fiberglass insulation stuck everywhere in me, but I did it. I also confirmed that there was in fact, NO mold on the attic ceiling, another thing this boneheaded "Home Inspector" said was there. Despite that there was no mold, I still coated the wood with mold killer.
Bottom line, there were three big things that this "home inspector" targeted as "needing fixes" that were not real. How frustrating is that?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Home Inspectors! Arrrrgh!!

Potential buyers for our townhouse hired a home inspector to go through it this week, and he came back with a long list of nitpicky things, and a couple of surprises. One was "the new HVAC (heat/a/c unit) isn't working correctly and MUST be checked by a licensed technician."

WELL... after driving to the townhouse late yesterday (takes 1 hour round trip), and 2 techs spent an hour testing the inside and outside units and thermostadt, they said the unit was in "Perfect working condition" and that the home inspector obviously didn't know what he was talking about.

SO...to the inconvenience and cost of myself and the HVAC company and hours lost in the day, we checked out a false claim. There is nothing more frustrating than wasting time. Our realtor said "anyone can grab a flashlight and say they're a home inspector." Obviously, this guy was one of those. Lesson Learned - Stupid people CAN waste your time and money. :(

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Not-so-Joys of Selling a House

Well, it's happened. I have one contract on the townhouse, but they want part of the new roof altered/fixed, and a little mold in the attic removed (which is estimated at 2K), a couple of small plumbing issues; insulation and some roofing material removed from the attic (which was left there when the roof was replaced), and get this- the home inspector said "when I turned the Auxiliary heat to 112F it only reached 97F in the house. This MUST be fixed." Who in the hell would put heat up so high? I dunno. Anyway, I've got an HVAC person coming this afternoon. I'm glad I'm not married to a home inspector. Can you imagine trying to cook for a person like that? What a pain in the #%(^ they'd be.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Springtime, Sinusitus, and Sunshine

Meteorologically, Springtime arrived March 21st. I can't tell. Temperatures have been below average (except 2 days) since then. Our average high is 64F, but our high temps have been in the upper 40s or low 50s since. Yesterday it was a whopping 46F with clouds and drizzle. Maybe tomorrow we'll see the sun, and temps crawling into the 60s. Like most of the northeastern U.S., I'm tired of using spaceheaters and wearing sweatclothes indoors.
With the change of seasons comes tree pollen. With all the rain (every 3-4 days since Oct. 24th, 2007) we've had, tree pollen is abundant - thus, I have a sinus infection. It's a challenge to think straight without it! Add the cconstant headache and congestion, and you need pots of coffee to stay awake!
From WEBMD.COM, here are some home treatments of Sinusitus:
Decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine hydrochloride, which reduce the swelling of the mucous membranes in the nose.
Analgesics, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen, to relieve pain.
Mucolytics, such as guaifenesin, which thin the mucus.
When those don't work- see the doc for antibiotics. Happy Spring!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Go see "Nim's Island" / Movies I Like to Watch Over Again

This week, we got to see a great new family movie called "Nim's Island" - which is really worth seeing. (Starring Gerard Butler and Jodie Foster (right) and Abigail Breslin not pictured) It's about a young girl who inhabits an isolated island with her scientist father and communicates with a reclusive author of the novel she's reading. Fun and adventurous! You can catch the Movie trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhPqz1VS4xU
Coincidentally, "Mom" Feldhaus sent me a survey about movies I would watch over and over. That got me thinking that they fall in three categories… and each category includes several, especially the Superhero category. Below are my favorites. What are yours?

1) Superhero: Batman Begins, Superman Returns, The Shadow, Daredevil, Hellboy, Superman 1-4; Spiderman 1-2, V is for Vendetta, Punisher, X-men 1 and 2, the Phantom, Ghost Rider, Fantastic Four 1-2, Catwoman.
2) Adventure/Drama: The Sixth Sense, Ghost, Footloose, Tombstone
3) Dolly Parton movies: 9 to 5, Straight Talk, Steel Magnolias, Rhinestone

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

LASIK Surgery- Keep your Eye on the Truth

Today I had my 2nd consultation for proposed Lasik eye surgery, hoping to toss out my glasses. Well, it looks like I'll always be Clark Kent for the rest of my life, but that's okay.
As with anything, it's BEST to get TWO professional opinions. I did. The first one, at Lasik Plus, said that I'm a candidate for the PRK, eye-scrubbing type surgery - and I wondered about it, so I got a second consultation at TLC Laser Center in Annapolis, Md. today.
(LEFT: Dolly and I as Krypto and Superman in Baltimore, July 2007)
The doctor at TLC pointed out that eyes are either rounded or oval (mine are oval) and that they have ridges and valleys (miniscule ones).
What's most important in LASIK is that they need to be symmetrical (identical ridges and valleys) on each half of your eye (when you separate it down the middle). Like Lasik Plus, they took soundings of the eye to determine shape, thickness, and "topography." TLC's doctor, however, showed me that each side was NOT identical in topography, and said that I am NOT a good candidate for the surgery. She said it can be done, but in 4 years, my vision would be worse than it is now. I didn't get any of that from the first place.
The doctor at TLC further said that she cares about people and wouldn't convince people to have the surgery if they didn't need it, and I don't. So, after this free exam (which was elaborate and 45 minutes), I paid nothing, and left feeling great that I actually got a doctor that wasn't in it for the money, but really, really cared about people.
Anyway, in work they call me "Superman," but will always see me as Clark Kent with the glasses. However, when I'm needed, I'll don my contacts and find a storeroom to change into my supersuit!

Now Re-Reading "Crisis on Infinite Earths!"

WHAT I'M RE-READING RIGHT NOW! - "Crisis on Infinite Earths" was a 12-issue comic book series that brought every superhero known in the DC Comics universe together. Written and illustrated back in 1985, this story explained how there were an infinite number of Earths all on a different vibrational plane of existence. (IF YOU THINK COMIC BOOKS ARE FOR KIDS, THEY'RE NOT- these are adult level concepts and characters).
This concept began in the 1960s, when comics revamped and updated heroes from the 40s and 50s; and created new versions of "The Flash," "Green Lantern," "The Atom," and updated Superman and Batman and countless others.
They explained the older versions as living on a parallel earth, called "Earth-2." Lesser known characters that DC purchased rights to over the years, such as "Shazam- or Captain Marvel" were placed on other "Earths" (Earth-S).
This series brought forth a cosmic villain that was destroying parallel Earths (and universes) with anti-matter, and brought heroes from ALL Earths together. Yes, there were 2 Supermen, one from Earth-2 (from the 1940s) and one from Earth-1 (present day heroes).
The story brought forth the demise of Supergirl and the present-day Flash (who would be replaced later by Kid Flash all grown up).
I've read this 340 plus page story many times, and it never ceases to amaze me with all the characters in it. It's truly my favorite comic book series ever!
It in turn inspired the titles of three subsequent DC crossover series: Zero Hour: Crisis In Time (1994), Infinite Crisis (2005), and Final Crisis (coming in May, 2008).

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It's April Fools' Day!

According to Wikipedia: "April Fools' Day or All Fools' Day, though not a holiday in its own right, is a notable day celebrated in many countries on April 1. The day is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, enemies and neighbors, or sending them on fools' errands, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible."
Here's an April Fool story from 2007:
Duke researchers have trained a monkey to throw poo using a robotic arm simply by thinking about it. The lab monkey learned how to use its own brain waves to signal the robotic arm, which in turn picked up and threw a pile of poo at a group of neurobiologists.
Now, if the monkey could be trained to throw poo at mean people!

Apparently, here's what the monkey had to say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8vC03CrpCE
Happy April Fool's Day!

Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

Great Books by our friends

Great Books by our friends
Check out these great books (yeah, Rob's are in there, too)

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next

Podcast of Rob's 50 min. interview on Paranormal Filler Radio 7/13/14