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Forget what I said, I’m suing the realtor…

September 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Dateline April 2011 – I have to admit it, I was wrong and I spoke two soon. Every realtor I’ve ever had in the last 30 years has basically turned out to be a dufus, or a inept clown or at worst a fraud.

How in the world do we allow these people to take 5 or 6 percent of right off the top of the most expensive items we own. Think about it, if you have a house that you spent 20 years paying off you’ve ended up working a year for somebody with access to the Multiple Listing Service, a cell phone and a lock box.

They don’t sell your house, at least most of them. Typically it seems they just sit around waiting to see if somebody finds your house and has a mortgage approval.

First there was BC, my realtor in CT, convinced me to list my house at 30% below the appraised value and then spent 10 months telling me the house was only worth 60% of the listing price…. Thank God he finally found me a renter who can at least cover the costs even thought he took 10% of the rent……

Take may house in Missouri, PLEASE! My realtor, will call him Bud, told me about all the work he was going to do to market my house, photos, videos, premier listings and if I was willing to take a small loss he would sell it in 90 to 100 days… Seeing as I needed to move for a new job I was willing to. Expedite the deal.

The net result 210 days and counting and only one totally unacceptable offer.

Then there’s my wonderful agent in Colorado, the guy who was going to reimburse me for repairs caused when his scumbag brother failed to honor the purchase contract on my new home in Colorado. Poor guy, after he got the invoices, pre approved mind you, all of a sudden don’t you know he made a mistake on his taxes and the IRS suddenly emptied his bank account. Poor realtor, bad IRS.

Boy what kind of schmuck does he think I am, the IRS doesn’t just decide to empty your bank account!

Yes I do know the market is bad, but the problem is that there are very, very few people who can qualify for mortgages, and why is that?

Basically it the net result of years of permissiveness and dishonesty, dishonest brokers, secured lier’s loans from dishonest financiers, who bundled the bad paper and sold notes hyped by dishonest bond raters.

There’s no skill, little truth and no values in the industry from my perspective at this time.

Now I need to find a good honest shyster, I mean lawyer to straighten this all out……

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Update April 2012

Well frankly I didn’t post the original rant, perhaps I was embarrassed to admit that I was too casual and not cynical enough to have prevented the troubles. But I am doggedly determined, I did sue in small claims and recovered the maximum allowed under Colorado State Law! Score one for the Good Guy!

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Categories: Change, Life, Ramblings, Society

The Need to be Indispensable and Irreplaceable.

February 21, 2012 1 comment

I was fortunate to have some hard-working role models in my early life.

Most notably my step-father.  He was an enlisted man in the Air Force, a Staff Sargent or E5 whose earnings peaked in 1965 at $244.80 a month pay and a family allowance of $105.00 for my Mother, two brothers and sister.  So Woody, that’s what my brother Walter and I called our step-father, took as many as outside jobs as he could find; cleaning bowling alleys and doing the window dressing at the local Sears at night.  Picking up what ever odd job he could.

It was the financial pressures that finally forced him to leave the Air Force, with I think about 16 years service.  Now as a civilian life was a bit better; but we never had a new car, we never had our own house, the most upscale store was Sears, and the best vacation was when Uncle Bill Meyer lent us his cabin on the beach in Clinton.

He was my primary role model; as I result by age 10 I was taking farm work picking peas and mowing lawns outside Greenleaf, Idaho.  By the way I went to a two room schoolhouse and the lawn I mowed was my closet neighbor’s 1 acre lawn for $3 a pop.  Did I mention he didn’t have a mower and his house was a 1.4 mile away? Thank God the out house didn’t stink.

We eventually moved to denser population centers.  Wall, South Dakota for example, where  I got better jobs.  I  clean windshields, pumped gas and checked your oil at the local Sinclair station for awhile until I got the position of town paper boy.  The only one; seven days a week; sun, rain or snow.  I visited more houses than the post office.

By the time I turned 16 farm work, but not paper routes, were set aside.  By the time I entered the Navy in 1972 I had worked at McDonald’s, my morning motor paper route was 200 houses, cleaned a bowling alley with the old man and delivered auto parts; all at the same time.  Ok so I exaggerate a bit, I did give up the bowling alley and only delivered auto parts on school vacations and eventually the wear and tear on my pink 1960 Dodge Pheonix caused me to give up the paper route.  However, until I graduated from College at the ripe young age of 33 in 1986 I never had less than 2 jobs.

A college degree changed everything; not only did I make more Ca Ching! but I only had to work one job!

But that’s the crux of my current dilemma, the monkey on my now curving back.  I only work one job, and while the work isn’t physical labor, I don’t work any less or fewer hours, in fact I work more. See I am free to work any time, all the time, even in my sleep. I dream work.  I’ve recently realised I rarely dream about my darling 5 year old daughter, my wife, my car, my dream friends. No,  I dream of solutions that will allow me to use eForms in new creative ways, how to resolve business problems with creative implementations of business process management and how to use analytics to create out-of-the box solutions.  I am driven to make the work of others, more productive, more easy, more, more, more, more….

Whenever someone else stumbles I try to be there to catch them, even if that means working any time of the day or night.  Mentor someone in India at 11PM I’m there, talk to a project team across three continents at 5 AM I’ll be there.  Why not, I’m dreaming about work anyway right?

Why?  I mean why do I do this, why? 

For one thing, I have developed a neurosis.  I heard on the TV recently that a new neurosis has been submitted for inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  I think it was called “nocellphoneanosis” or something like that found in  younger members of our society.  Some of these people live in constant fear that their smart phones are going to be lost or stop working and they no longer have the ability to interact except via SMS, Twitter and the occasional obligatory call to Mom.

I now believe that shortly after Y2K. when suddenly all those thousands of off-shore technology workers and “consulting” firms suddenly had to, and I might add very successfully, change into real consulting and staffing firmsl there has been constant competitive pressure on my job, not from the bottom up, but from the top down and either side.

Second, certain former manager’s have found this to be a marvelous motivational tool.  Yes, I one time had a manager say to me, in public, “I don’t like you and if I could I would get rid of you“, it became an innate neurotic need to ensure my talents were indispensable and irreplaceable. Now in his defense I do have to add I am not the most loveable person who ever walked God’s Green Earth, I accept that and I work very hard at being personally acceptable; I’ve resigned myself to possessing a limited LQ or Loveabilty Quotient.

I want to interject a little thank you to my wife who has an LQ of “adorable” , so when we got married my LQ increased from “cretin” to “average guy“.

So I’ve been much more fortunate than many of my peers, lost over the intervening years to the great off shore body snatch.  First of all I didn’t get married and start a family until I was 53 freeing me to work 26×8 (consultants do double book,) and I fell into a niche with lots of demand, where I seemed to posses a modicrum of talent.  With very little  competition and comparatively good opportunities for self-study and work I’ve continued to do well.   I have  been able to leverage my work ethic, these opportunities and my skills to be that critical need person.

I was doubly fortunate to secure my current position.  I’ve likened it to the Elephant’s Graveyard for the IT professional.  Here to my chagrin most of my peers had anywhere from 15 to 35 years employment  in many respects I was mid career not end career. OH JOY OH JOY!

But the one thing I don’t know about the Elephant’s Graveyard is this, once and awhile an elephant is cut from the herd and is forced out to die a cold and lonely death.  If the King of the Elephant’s decides Dumbo’s peaked and he’s hogging the hay, well say la vie Dumbo.  It doesn’t happen often and there are earmarks when it will, but it’s happened here and it will happen again.  I am determined to be Jumbo not Dumbo.

So even though I really haven’t cut back on my work, my laborious dreams,  I’ve been happy these last 18 months.  But after some of the herd disappeared I sense the neurosis returning, becoming more impatient, more infected with my own personal neurosis: “ICANDOIT“!

I have to confess I am scared, scared how this neurosis will affect my LQ and even a realization and expectation of what happens if I don’t disappear from the herd too soon, I can deal with that I still have mad skills. But what if I make it to retirement. How the hell can I turn this thing off and how much worse can it get?

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By the way if this story bores you, look up the history of elephant’s like Hanno, Pope Leo the X’s pet white elephant and Muderous Mary.   I would rather be Dumbo!

Ok so here’s a RANT about a Memorial Company….

October 29, 2010 Leave a comment

If you’re not aware, I lost my Mom this past January. My Brother Bill,  friends Pat, and Ginette and all our wive’s friends were a great help; especially hosting us and helping us grieve.

But the logistics of it all was my obligation. The service was grand and Father Ray held a beautiful Mass, but the cherry on top is really marking my Mom’s resting site with something appropriate, meaningful, but oh ever so short.

Trying to solve that issue from 1300 miles away was not easy and of course I rely on the internet to locate, select and acquire many things. First you find the monument companies, I started in Eastern CT; you call them up, you ask questions and try to learn, make an informed decision.   You kiw I couldn’t believe some of the pitches and utter BS I heard.  When I mentioned to one company I found them over the internet the guy went off on me about “Grout Granite” and “Memorial Granite” etc. etc.   I thought I was visiting a used car lot, the BS was that bad.  Of course I could honor my Mother with a plain piece of his “Memorial Granite” for $2,000 plus installatiion.  Common, 2K for a 12″x24″x4″ piece of rock ?

So back to the web; lo and behold there are web based monument companies.   After review of services, trying to check with things like the BBB I selected, drumroll please,

Burleson Monument Design & Mfg., Inc. of 216 East Ellison St. Burleson, Texas 76028

They had the appropriate designs, specified Grade A Granite and they described a very well run process; art generation, approval, cemetery approval, delivery, and would arrange the installation.  I was to be engaged of every step. Everything a dutiful son 1300 miles from home needed and for much less than Mr Memorial Granite too!

So I paid, this was last May, the entire process was to be completed no later than August at the very latest.

So starting in the late summer, when there was no stone or no word, I started to call; first weekly, but nothing happened but empty promises. Only when I finally started making daily calls and intimated that I was preparing to take action to recover the payment did I even get the artwork for approval and an assurance of delivery by “early” September.

In the mean time I take a new job and move to Denver, where I am immediatley swept up in my new work, finding a house, etc. etc. when I get word from my Brother on Oct 23rd that there’s still no stone.

So I call the installers, out of Bloomfield, CT it’s late there and leave a message, but  Burleson is still open.  Burleson swears they delivered it and they’ll get right back to me with the details, tomorrow morning.

The next day the installed calls me back and informs me that they have had the stone; for three days.  They feel bad about the delays and they promise to have it installed by Friday.  Yesterday, Thursday I get a picture of the stone installed.

Thank you Daley Connerton Memorials of Bloomfield, CT for your courtesy, and service. If I had known of you and how you work I would have done everything through you.  If you find yourself needing their services in Connecticut I would heartily recommend you.

To anyone considering Burleson Monuments, I urge you to think twice, three time before siging a contract.  While the material and workmanship is great, but the service is horrible , the emotional cost is just too damn high and their vaunted “garuantee” is nothing but empty words. 

I am still waiting for them to call me back.

Doing it for love…

September 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, I went ahead and pulled the trigger today, resigned my position here in Kansas City, Missouri to take on a new and amazing challenge with a firm in Englewood, Colorado.

There was a time, some years ago when this wouldn’t be such a big deal.  Offer me a new job, a new challenge, well smack my butt and  call me the Poster Child of Change, I was there!

It’s so very, very different now.  As a Husband and Father I thought about the risk, the effort to move a home, the challenges my family will face in order for me to be happy.  It’s true, a person can deny and bury their own needs if they think it necessary to protect the people they love.

But when you’re grumpy, stressed and distant are you really protecting the ones you love, or are you projecting.

In the end, my wife is embracing the change, even though she will have to recreate a whole new nest,  find new friends and adapt to a whole new environment. 

This isn’t the end, it’s a new beginning.  Say I can see a new house from here!

Categories: Change, Family, Life