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You Just Never Know

20 Aug

We finalized a contract on our former house earlier this week! Yeah!

We’ve been working with a realtor. He got a commission as our buyer’s agent and agreed to reduce his commission from 6% to 4% if we let him be our seller’s agent. In doing so, he’d give the buyer’s agent their full 3% and only take 1% because he didn’t want to discourage other realtors from showing it.

He got it posted on all the sites, the sign in the yard, took pictures, etc. I asked about info sheets outside and he said people really didn’t do that anymore. (I still see them all over the place). Nor did he print any and put them inside. He also said open houses were a thing of the past, yet I saw a list of open houses every week.

Finally, I told him if he didn’t want to man an open house, I’d do it and just say I was the host. I printed info sheets for inside. He left the signs in the garage. We got balloons. Hubby put signs and balloons out then went to the gym while a friend and I “hosted” the open house two Sundays in a row. For open houses to be out of fashion, we had a lot of traffic and several interested buyers.

Once we started the open houses, the regular showings also picked up. Go figure.

It worked fine, me pretending not to be the owner until I opened the door to a couple that looked very familiar. As it turned out, they’d lived two doors down from us when we moved in. They’d over downsized when they left the neighborhood about eight years ago and still had a lot of friends in the area. We really liked them. They already knew the neighbors, and we all felt they were the right fit–we just had to work out the specifics.

They said if we’d not had the open house, they wouldn’t have dropped by.

I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch. We haven’t closed and I know all sorts of things can happen between now and then, but from the time they walked through the door, I felt they were home.

So, since the house was staged with extra furniture, the next few weeks will be filled with culling, selling, and moving AGAIN. I’m not looking forward to that part of it, but I am looking forward to having all of our plants under one roof (it makes watering easier) and to getting everything in this house so I can finally feel settled.

One more thing to check off the list!

~ Kay

 
 

Killer Nashville

18 Aug

It’s mid August in Nashville and that means it’s time for my favorite writing conference: Killer Nashville.

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The conference is Friday through Sunday with a few pre-conference events on Thursday. Sessions and activities are crammed into every minute. This year’s guests of honor are best selling authors Lisa Jackson and William Kent Kruegar.

 

There will be book signings, agent/editor round tables, breakout sessions on all sorts of subjects, a fake crime scene (or is it real?), a wine tasting, and much, much more.

 

I’m going to be sitting on two panels. Joining me to talk about cozy mysteries will be Jenna Bennett/Jennie Bentley, Caroline Fardig, Jackie King, and Nancy Parra. I’ll share the Southern Fiction panel with Cathy Pickens, Heather Haven, Dee Phelps and Rosalyn Ramage.

 

BUT, you have to register to attend, so hop to it. Information is on the KN website.

 

~ Kay

 

 
 

I HATE COMCAST!!!!!

11 Aug

I don’t use my blog as a forum to rant and rave–okay not often–but today, please indulge me.

In case you missed the title: I hate Comcast. But I’ve had the same e-mail address for 12 years. It is tied to so many facets of my life that it would be difficult to switch. I do have gmail accounts, and I even check the one I use for my writing. Maybe I should start transitioning what I have on Comcast to a non-writing g-mail account or to my “me” account on the cloud. It’s something to think about.

We have cable TV, phones and Internet with Comcast. When we moved two months ago, I dropped the TV and phone at the other house, but kept the Internet for the security system. Then I found out the security system didn’t need the Internet so I dropped it too. I took all of the little boxes to the local Comcast store (got receipts) and all was right with the world.

Well, not really, because it was a bitch getting these services installed at the new house. Part of the problem stemmed from the fact that it was the installers second day on the job, and he didn’t have any backup (we live waaaay out of town now). The other part was because the previous home owners had pulled the cable out of the wall. If we’d known they wanted a piece of cable that badly, we’d have bought them one. In ripping it out, they bent the conduit. Hubby couldn’t thread new cable through the opening. New cable guy couldn’t thread it. I finally had to call an electrician who cut five (5) holes in the wall. Then I had to call the painter who had to fix five (5) holes in the wall. Almost $500 later…Yes, I would have gladly bought previous owners a piece of cable. But that wasn’t Comcast’s fault.

What was the Comcast installer’s fault was he was 4 hours late for his appointment, without a call. When he did call, he said he didn’t have the television equipment I’d ordered and asked whether I want to reschedule or wanted him to bring different equipment (not as good as what I’d ordered but would cost the same). If I made another appointment, I asked, could he guarantee they’d have the equipment then? He couldn’t, so I told him I wanted my Internet that day, as promised. I told him not to worry about the TV equipment–to bring what he had. It was obvious he didn’t want to come. He said I’d have to pay an additional installation charge if I changed to the other equipment later.  I knew I could talk to whomever I had to talk to and explain if what I ordered wasn’t available when promised it should be installed when it was available at no charge to me, and of course that’s what happened. Make another appointment, indeed!

Our subdivision is new and our street is even newer, so I had to talk to the installer several times to get him here. When he made it, he was sweating bullets. That’s when I found out it was his second day on the job. I was nice to him — really I was — but frustrated with Comcast for sending someone so inexperienced to do the job. Later, when a different installer came to bring the upgraded box (at no charge) he just shook his head as he neatened up the cabling mess his predecessor had left behind. But I got service at the new house and, for the most part, it has worked fine, so I’m not complaining about that. Well, I guess I am, but that’s not my BIG complaint.

My BIG complaint is when new guy installed new service, I apparently got a new username for the Internet. BUT HE DIDN’T TELL ME!!! My old username–which was my e-mail address worked just fine, so I was none the wiser. However, over the weekend, my e-mail stopped working. I couldn’t log into my account. You can guess where I’m heading, right?

I thought it was probably something simple, so I tried to resolve during an online chat with Comcast. This is when I found I had a different user name. I told him I wanted the old one back. He said it was still tied to the old account. I said the old account had been closed. He said it had a balance, and until I paid the balance they couldn’t transfer the username. WHAT????

Going back two or three weeks ago, when I called to disconnect the account: I was told I had a CREDIT balance which would be put on my new account. This probably would have been a good time for the rep to have told me I had thirty days to transfer the user name to the new account or it’s gone forever. Luckily, I’m still within the thirty day period. Rep Saturday night said no credit balance — past due balance. I said I hadn’t gotten a bill. He said it’d been sent to the new user acct. I reminded him I didn’t know about that account. I asked him the due date. He said Aug. 20. I said my calendar said it was August 9, how could it be past due? He said because the account was closed.

I couldn’t handle that by online chat. I had to talk to someone who could hear the emotion in my voice. By then, it was after midnight. I called and talked with a young man with excellent customer service skills (Jason), or I probably really would have blown a gasket.

So, back to the balance. Where did it come from? Equipment. They think I have equipment from the old house. I don’t. I have receipts from where I turned it in. Jason said it must be their mistake, but they couldn’t rectify until Monday because that department was closed until then. Okay, I tell him, I’ll pay what Comcast says I owe and straighten it out on Monday. They can credit it against future bills. Nada. The billing department was closed too. ARRRRR!!!!!

So, since Saturday, if you e-mailed me, it bounced back as though this 12-year-old account didn’t exist.

This morning, first thing, I called and talked to customer service. I think I reclaimed my e-mail address. I say think because they said it will take 30 hours to transfer from the old address to the new address. They said any e-mails sent wouldn’t bounce back, they’d be held in queue until I could retrieve them. Can you believe I believed them? I’m so gullible. I e-mailed myself from my g-mail account and guess what! It bounced back. I called back and talked to technical support. They said I should have access within 24 hours. (It had been less than 30 minutes since prior call, not 6 hours.) He said they shouldn’t bounce back so I asked him to e-mail my address. Of course it bounced back to him. He assured me once it cut to the new address all would be okay. I used to work in telecommunications. I know it is possible. All I can do is wait 24 hours and see what happens. Funny thing, they did all of this without mentioning a past-due account–the reason given for why it couldn’t be done Saturday.

Regardless, I asked the technician to transfer me to billing. I’m pretty smart, but the billing guy talked in such jargon and double talk that I have no idea what he said. What I think he said was Comcast would investigate (investigate what???), and within two billing cycles, the equipment I turned in should be credited to my bill. He said he’d escalate it to a senior somebody or a manager or a blah blah blah blah blah and someone would call me with a disposition sometime. I’ll just watch the bill and see what happens with that too.

I’m trying to sell a house — that’s the e-mail address I use with my realtor. That e-mail address is tied to some important, time-sensitive non-writing business deals. That is the e-mail address used by most of my friends and family. My primary Facebook page is tied to it. This blog is linked to it. You get the idea. It’s important.

Here’s what’s really gotten my panties in a wad:

  • they gave me a new user name without telling me
  • when they issued the disconnect they didn’t tell me I’d lose my user name (which happened to be my e-mail address of 12 years) or suggest I transfer it to the new address
  • I’ve spent several hours trying to resolve this and I’m not sure whether or not it is resolved

 

I feel like I’m on double secret probation. What’s next?

Anybody out there have Comcast stories to share? Misery loves company!

~ Kay

 
 

A happy godchild

31 Jul

Though I’ve not been blessed with biological children, I have 3 stepsons, a grandson, (another grandchild on the way), 2 nieces, a nephew and a plethora of godchildren.

 

One of my beautiful goddaughters graduated from high school this year. It was a tough year for her. Both her grandfather and great grandfather passed away. Later her grandmother, her aunt and two cousins moved in with her family. Yet, she still finished in the top 10 of over 300 students at her high school. That’s not 10%, that’s top 10!

 

One of the things we share is our love of Dancing with The Stars. When I learned Derek and Juliane Hough were bringing their roadshow to Nashville, there was no question what she was getting as a graduation present. I told her mom, to prevent duplication.

 

Here are a few pictures. First of her reaction when she opened the card and then when we went to the show.

 

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~ Kay

 
 

When Mars and Venus Stage a House

28 Jul

In my last post, I included some photos taken by our realtor of the house my husband and I have on the market.

Being a tad compulsive, I also staged the inside of closets and pantries. Hey, they do it in model homes!

I left a couple of dresses, hung neatly, one of Hubby’s suits, a casual outfit…you get the idea.

As I cleaned out the food, I checked expiration dates. If it had expired, I left it behind. Brilliant, I thought. I did this with the pantry and the freezer. I didn’t have time to do the refrigerator.

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Hubby was at the house one day and asked if I wanted him to clean out the refrigerator. In his defense, I didn’t ask him to “stage” it though I had shown him my handiwork in the other areas.

The next time I dropped by I anxiously opened the fridge to see what he’d done and this is what I found.

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Moral: Mars and Venus stage differently.

 

~ Kay

 
 

The world is a stage

24 Jul

1 Front
And so is a house…at least when you’re selling one.

We waited several weeks after our move to list our house so we could shampoo carpets, paint, deep clean and stage our old home so it’d present as well as possible to potential buyers.

Since we were downsizing we had extra furniture we could leave behind. I knew the rule was “keep it simple” so potential buyers could see themselves in the home.

We completely emptied the top floor–who can’t imagine unfurnished bedrooms and a bonus room? From the main floor, we moved the furniture we needed to the new house then relocated our breakfast table to the dining room, put a bench in the breakfast alcove which made the kitchen seem bigger, flanked a television with a couple of bookshelves adorned with only one or two items per shelf and left two wing back chairs. We moved a queen-sized bed to replace our king-sized bed and filled in with an odd dresser and occasional tables here and there.

There’s a finished basement we are marketing as an in-law suite…or nanny suite…or studio apartment. We sat up a table and chairs, a living area with a sofa, chair, coffee table and television, and a sleeping area with a kingsized bed with short book cases on each side. On the other side of the room we set up a ping pong table in case the buyer would prefer a rec room.

I based my vision for staging on model homes we’d toured during our search for a new home. My realtor took some photos for the listing. Here are some of his pictures:

6 Foyer
Liv 1
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3 Dining

5 Kitch

4 Kitch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Master 9 Master bath 8 Master bath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Rec

12 Rec 16 Deck

My next post will show how men and women view staging differently.

~ Kay

 
 

Our first post-move guests

11 Jul

Every other year I host a group of girlfriends for a night or few during the summer. Of course, this year, the year we moved, was that year.

In our former house, we could sleep ten guests. In this house, we will have two guest bedrooms…eventually. Currently one is set up as a bedroom, the other is filled with yet to be unpacked boxes. We left some of our furniture in the other house for staging purposes.

As it turned out we had no more than three overnight guests on any one night…not necessarily the same three, but three max, so we were good to go with the current bedroom, a comfy sofa, and a new deluxe air mattress.

Some of us have known each other twenty plus years so sharing a bed isn’t a problem. We’ve shared worse. A couple of the ladies stayed in a hotel. I think they had visions of sleeping on the floor which, fyi, would not have happened. We always could have used the two bedrooms we have staged at the other house, though it would have been difficult to have a house party when the locations are thirty minutes apart.

There was a time in my life when I would have been stressed because all the boxes weren’t unpacked, pictures hung, drapes up, etc. (We’ve hung NO pictures or drapes, by the way. Thankfully blinds came with the house.) At least all of the boxes were in one room so my friends didn’t have to dodge or sit on them.

This year, throughout the week, there were seven of us. Some years we’ve had more; few years have we had less. It’s not always the same group though there are four or five who are always here.

The seven of us this year spanned four decades in age and went to six different universities. We live in Tennessee, Mississippi (2), North Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, and Canada. One might wonder how we even know each other, much less became such good friends. What’s special about this particular group of friends?

We’re sorority sisters. We know each other because we’ve all been volunteers for our college sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, since our graduation. A couple of us were actually on staff for a few years but that’s a different post. Our paths crossed because we worked together somewhere in the volunteer structure.

One example started with a collegiate chapter president, her chapter adviser (who had graduated from a different university) and their regional director (who graduated from a third school.) I was the regional director. The chapter had some challenges so the three of us talked…a lot. After the chapter president graduated, she maintained her relationship with her former adviser and with me. That was over twenty years ago.

None of us can remember when we actually started this every other summer gathering, but we have pictures going back at least ten years for the group, and I found a water bottle for a 2001 event.

The sorority holds a leadership conference in Nashville every other year, so we do it in conjunction with it. “The girls” are going to be here anyway, might as well  tack a day or two on before or after for some intense sisterhood time.

Some of the things we’ve done in the past include spa days (at least twice), a salt cave, touristy things like the Nash Trash Tour, a tea party…and we’ve shopped, antiqued, and rescued stranded Canadians from the airport when their flights were grounded. We did have people sleeping on the floor that year!

Our tradition always includes a “happy” of some sort. One year it was a bejeweled crown and sunglasses. This year it was a framed photo from last year and a memory book from the last ten years. These are friends of a lifetime and for a lifetime. I’m happy they are some of mine.

This year:

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Prior Years:

 

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I love my friends. Keep smiling…

~ Kay

 
 

CELEBRATE

04 Jul

OUR FREEDOM

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY

 

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MIDDLE SON AND GRANDSON

“Daddy returns from deployment”

~ KAY

 
 

Movers — Not my new best friends

23 Jun

We were fortunate we didn’t have to sell our old house before we purchased our new house. We could move first, then stage the old house before we put it on the market…at least that was the plan.

That meant we were leaving some of our furniture in the old house for staging. We planned to stage the basement as a mother-in-law or nanny’s suite and the main floor. The upper floor, with two bedrooms and bonus room would be left empty.

We’d planned to move in one day. Well, that didn’t work out. One mover was hurt. We’d packed and labeled boxes and told them which furniture was to come. When they first arrived we went through the house with them so they could plan their load accordingly, but they couldn’t fit everything on the truck. They said had they arranged things differently, they probably could have…huh?

So, we had a second day of moving. On the second day, I stayed at the new house unpacking while Hubby supervised at the old house. They arrived at the new house with a half empty truck. I’d told them they could bring my art work if they’d be very careful. (I’d planned to move it myself). They didn’t even wrap it.

The next day I went back to the old house and I could have strangled the movers and Hubby too. (He’d actually been working while they loaded.)

Remember the top floor which was to be totally empty. It had boxes and pillows and lamps and other things…about four or five van trips worth.

Plus, they’d asked us to provide power aid for them. There were half drunk bottles of power aid all over the house, not in garbage cans, but in the floor. Boy, did that set me off!

To top it off, it I asked them to carry something upstairs, they’d sigh. Or, if during the initial move I told them something was moving, they acted like it was an imposition to move it.

I saw one of them toss my door wreath out of his way…toss it! They dropped shelves on my hardwood floors; they dropped lots of things. Two of my favorite casserole dishes were broken.

When the house sells I’ll have to do another move. You better believe I won’t be using these guys, and I hope my realtor takes them off his website as one of his recommended movers.

I know moving is seldom pleasant, but this was ridiculous. Do you have a moving story to share? Misery loves company!

~ Kay

 
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Why move?

20 Jun

About a year ago, Hubby bought a little red sports car about the size of a lawn mower. It was to replace the sedan he’d been driving, or so he said. He told me to sell the sedan, but I dragged my feet. I could see him going on a business trip where he needed to drive, taking my SUV and leaving me with the lawn mower. No thank you.

After a few weeks, even he admitted, little red car (LRC) was best on back roads because it was pretty intimidating on interstates when you could see underneath big trucks. He learned new routes to work and enjoyed it until it got really, really hot. Then he went back to the sedan. Fall was perfect for LRC, but we had a rough winter and come spring he admitted he was glad I hadn’t sold the sedan.

However, we only had a two-car garage and he didn’t like keeping a car outside a garage so maybe, just maybe, we should look for a house with a three car garage. Huh?

Well, I love to look at houses. When we first got married it was one of our favorite past-times, so I was game. But, to keep us in check, we made a list of priorities of what we wanted in a new home, should we buy one. Number one: three car garage. Number two: garden spot, Number three: a great back yard, etc.

We went to some new developments and met a realtor who swamped us with listings. I went out of town to visit my sister and Hubby met me at the airport with the news we had an appointment to view a house that afternoon (after I’d taken the redeye from Seattle). We got to the house which had just come on the market that day and it already had two offers. It was a great house…a little far out, but a great house. It had a three car garage, a wonderful back yard with a salt water pool. We made an offer, but didn’t get the house.

I went to bed (redeye, remember?) but Hubby stayed up to make a plan. The next morning he announced we could sell LRC and the sedan and buy a “big” convertible–would I be ok with that? I didn’t know; I’d never driven a big convertible, but as it turns out with a hard top, it’s just like a real car so that worked for me. We proceeded with the car reduction plan which meant we no longer needed a three car garage, but…

We kept getting those listings. Then our youngest son and his wife said they might try to start a family soon so all of a sudden the house search moved from east of the city to south of the city where they live. We want to be near our yet to be conceived grandchild. Houses here are more expensive and we bought a house with about 800 less sq ft that cost about 100k more.

The garage is smaller than at our other house. We could probably put a small garden in our fabulous back yard. It’s an open floor plan, and we’ve been sleeping here a little over a week. Although there are still boxes to unpack and no art is hung (on the limited wall space), it does feel like home. It seems like it is going to be easier to keep neat–of course I have to get it neat in the first place.

We got great patio furniture and I’ve taken lots of work breaks out there. The neighbors are wonderful. (Our old neighbors were great too.) Next on the agenda is to get the other house on the market…that saga will be the next blog.

~Kay

 

 
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Posted in All About Me