Posted in Uncategorized on April 25th, 2008 by MaryAnn

We finally had an offer; a low-ball one, but an offer, at least.

Catching up…

Posted in Uncategorized on April 17th, 2008 by Michael

It has been a long time since I be doing the blog thing. After the baptism, there was a trip to Dallas , then a couple of days back then am unplanned trip to Amsterdam, then back, then totally trying to figure out which way was up for a week. That brings us to now. Sort of. Still sleep altered but that probably has something to do with Max as well as getting to old to be able to outsmart the circadian beast.

So, let’s catch up – briefly as I will be going to bed early. The house is on the market with executive realty and some chick named Angela. The last house I bought in Oregon was from a realtor named Angela. Can’t really trust them I say but as long as the shylock is on my side… Not that I am totally against all “Angelas”. My high school, and I think at this point life long, friend is named Angela. My grade school girl friend’s best friend was named Angela. We actually thought about naming Max, Angela if Mr. Y didn’t outfox the Ms. X for the last chair at the conception chair game. So maybe, only realtors named Angela are bad. That said, this one seems to be on top of things after a week. I think we had three or four people look at it. There was also one cancellation and one that didn’t even bother to come in the house since it was too close to some apartments for their snooty ass tastes. The latter is a real pisser as it takes some effort to motor out three little ones at dinner time. Anyway, the market sucks, is not getting any better, gas continues to go higher due to stupidity (more on that later if I am awake) and it looks like we may be stuck here another year. If I had the money, I would just buy a house in Dallas (foreclosure if possible) then be a remote slum lord. Yeah, Michael, the slum lord. I kind of like the idea of that but I am not a risk taker, even though I have a high degree of confidence that the market will improve next year and prices will rebound (mainly since there are NO new homes being built now). It is all supply and demand, baby.

The weather was nice in Holland though we did not see much of it. The ride over was fun, as it always is when you are in the back of the bus for a day with nary a thought outside of the plane crashing somewhere in the deepest part of the ocean. Anyway, I like Holland. Been there many times and it is probably my favorite of European countries. It has the most attractive women on the planet from a Nationality perspective (regardless of the song “California Girls”…) – must be all of the dairy and the geographic locations that allows cross pollination of Swedish, German, Italian and Spanish blood to give that certain look. It was this way 20 years ago when I first got there and remains to this day. Then again, they almost never have a Ms. Universe from Holland. Weird. I also like the fact that everyone there speaks English (boo the French for that, amongst other things), the transportation is easy to use (save the driving part given the abundance of bicyclists) and the beer is top notch (Orangeboom, Heineken, etc.). Amsterdam is also really easy to walk. From the central station to the Red Light district to the Rijk museum. 30 minutes max. I visited all three by the way. I learned a lot about the Red Light district that I didn’t know thanks to a free magazine handed out in many bars (it is about Amsterdam as a whole, but with practical tips – feel free to send me email if you have any specific questions). For those who have gone there in the past, it is much different. Not quite as different as Times Square before and after the Giuliani era but still much more tame. There are still girls in the windows but they have clothes on now. You can still walk by a coffee shop and get stoned, but it doesn’t seem seedy. Just my perspective. That said, outside of Indian food, Amsterdam is not known for food… Several steakhouses visited were uninspiring. We did drink much more than we should but it seemed like the thing to do ( I was with Amsterdam rookies, hence the ‘tours’). Soccer is of course, crazy popular there and we were in an Irish Pub during on the semi-final matches. Not recommended if you are unclear of what “offsides” is or who plays for Manchester United. It was a long night. I think one of my lungs went black just from that night. I know I lost some brain cells and a bit of me liver… Of course, I do not think all of the ‘cigarettes’ there were out of boxes taxed by the government. Oh yeah, one other things I love about Holland? Tipping is not expected/demanded. Sweet. Not so sweet? The dollar is in the crapper so things were a bit spendy…

Still it was good to get back, even it that meant being in the last row of a full airplane, next to the bathrooms on an airline I was not getting miles for. At least I was not a couple of seats away like my colleague who was parked next to an older Russian gentlemen who must be coming to American to save up for a shower. Now, that is a long night…

Z is starting to take potty training a bit more seriously. “poop day” is all the rage… If you are going to take pride in something, I could suggest other things, but then again. I am not three.

We did pop out and get a toy for them so they could play in our yard. Here is an image for your enjoyment.

Oh, I almost forgot… People in Holland don’t give a rat’s ass about Hillary or Barack. No news reporter following their every word trying to decipher the modern day Di Vinci code. No talking heads debating the super delegate nightmare for Democrats. No pollsters trying to figure out the Penn farmer. It was nice. Of course, that ended upon arrival in Houston as it was everywhere again. Barack’s down 20 points, he thinks people are bitter, etc. I did see one good jab at Hillary when she was out having a beer (and after consulting with her handler) a shot in a bar. A report’s headline was something akin to “Hillary takes more shots in Pittsburgh than Bosnia”. In any event, it took about five seconds to realize that she is still not a nice one.

Okay, that reminds me about the stupidity of gas prices. Yes, it is a free market (sort of ). Yes, the big companies are reaming people (and socialist as it may sound, I think they should be kept under some sort of controls). However, we are doing this to ourselves. First, the Saudi’s etc. do not set the price (you can say OPEC does but not really). It is all of the speculative traders that drive it up. These people are mostly here in the US, getting 7 figure bonus checks from the likes of JP Morgan, while living in big apartments in NY and likely not even owning a car. Okay, why ? Well, it is hedge again the weak dollar. What makes the dollar weak? Too many of them. How does that happen? Lower rates and easing of volume. How does that happen? Idiots in Washington trying to stimulate an economy. Why does that happen? Because idiots in America vote for things they think are good for them but really are not and politicians prey on that. It is about quality not quantity people. The more money we print, the more gas will cost. The more it will cost, the more it drags down the economy (shipping, other goods also go up). The more the economy sinks, the more politicians will try to help out the lower income groups and blame the “upper income” groups, while making things worse. A vicious and horrific circle. It is like the “Tipping Point” in economics.

I just realized I did not put up March images. I’ll do that this weekend. Sorry about that.

News from KC

Posted in Uncategorized on April 2nd, 2008 by MaryAnn

Well, as of a few hours ago, there is a For Sale sign in our yard.  Pray that the house sells quickly this time around.

Mackenzie had her 3 year check-up yesterday.  She’s now 38 lbs, 38.5″ tall.  Still in the 90th percentile for her age.   She requested 2 bandaids since Meghan got 2 at her last appointment.  While we were there, we had Max weighed.  He’s now 9 lbs  and growing quickly.  Afterwards, we all went, along with Maureen, to run off some energy at McDs.

Today, we went to “The Fruit” at Zona Rosa so the girls could run around and climb (and tire themselves out) for naptime.