Three Week House Update

January 29, 2008 at 10:30 am (Pre-Move Updates)

It’s been three weeks since our house was listed.  We’ve had one very successful open house and one dismal one.  We’ve shown the house privately twice.  And we’ve managed to keep it clean with a capital “c”.

This house is considered our main competition.  This weekend they lowered the price to $269 (ours is at $279).  Yesterday we got an email from our agent wanting to know whether we wanted to lower our price.

I admit, I was quite peeved she would even ask this.  I know that we listed the house higher than what she would have liked, but it’s been three weeks – and in this market we are expecting to sit on it for sixteen weeks.  The comments that we’ve gotten is that the other house (the first one listed on the link), has a larger master bedroom.  I viewed the house during an open house and had the agent whip out her measuring tape.  The bedroom is square where ours is rectangular, and obviously it isn’t a converted garage, so while the square footage is the same, you can get a king-sized bed and two nightstands in in.  As for the rest of the house, the other two, not three, bedrooms are slightly larger and things have been updated but not with the finishes we have.

But I understand – if what you want is are bigger rooms, you aren’t going to care if it’s new tile vs new vinyl.  I get that.  What I don’t get is Rosie’s thought that by keeping our price $10K higher, we are just “pushing” people to that other house.  That house has been on the market since at least Thanksgiving – NO ONE IS BUYING IT.  And, if we lower our price by the same, aren’t we still just “pushing” people to that house?

In my mind, it’s best that they lower their price and get the house off the market completely – making us the best place around.  Quite honestly, I feel that if someone was really torn between the two houses, ours being $10K more, then they would offer us $10K less and see what we did.  No one is making any offers, to us or anyone else, and in this market, offering $10-15 under the listing price doesn’t seem unreasonable.

Also, it’s annoying that Rosie isn’t doing anything to sell our house.  You wouldn’t believe what Tom has done.  He created an html Craig’s List listing.  It’s a regular Craig’s Listing that he inserted code to make it look like an html page and all pretty.  He created a Virtual Flyer that gets listed at other real estate sites, and he got Google to list “updated Auburn rambler” first.  Rosie took some pictures and created a flyer in Publisher (um…hello!) and that’s it.  It’s really disappointing that Rosie just doesn’t get that people who would purchase our house are going to find it online.  They aren’t going to run to the grocery store and pick up the latest South King County For Sale booklet.  The world has changed.  And now she wants us to lower the price.

Tom and I had talked about lowering the price every four weeks until May.  But I’m beginning to feel we should just hold tight until we see some movement in the comps.  What good does it do to lower the price $5k when our competition, at a lower price, isn’t moving either!  It’s only $5k, not like $100K.  If they really wanted it, wouldn’t they just make a lower offer?  My fear is that we lower the price $5k each in February and March and then in April when the traffic picks up (hopefully), we’ll be at $269 and then they’ll make an offer of $10k less.  Makes more sense to hold at $279 until we see some movement, or if in April we notice more traffic, lower the price by $10K hold another open house and create some “new” buzz.

But, we’ll see.  Otherwise, things are fine and we’re all adjusting.  The dogs enjoy sleeping on the spare bed and every morning it’s interesting to see what kind of damage they’ve done to the sheets.  Tom and I miss our couch terribly, neither one of us is comfortable.  I miss not having a chair to read in one of the spare rooms, but overall, it’s pretty minor.

And, I’ve decided that I hate the media and I believe we’ve hit a recession.  If I vote for Romney, will he fix the economy for me?

OH!!  So I was all set to vote in the Democratic primary because as we all know, WA is going to go Democrat and likely choose Hilary, and if we have to have a Democratic president, I’d rather it be Barack, preferably with Edwards as Vice.  Anyway, I thought I would use my vote wisely and try to influence the Democratic primary.  Turns out the delegates from this state are selected ONLY from the caucus – not the primary!  Why they have both then is really dumbfounding and I’m really don’t want to spend three hours caucusing – but it’s a really important cause, keeping Hilary and Bill out of the White House.  Stupid system.


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Won’t you be my Friend?

January 27, 2008 at 8:09 pm (Playtime) (, , , )

Lola is not a friendly dog. You may have noticed this. She’s a fear barker and HATES big dogs. If she sees a big dog, she’s going to bark and growl and try every intimidation tactic to keep them at bay. Her efforts are usually mitigated by Spice’s frantic whining and straining on the leash, begging to rush over to any dog big or small (she the non-discriminatory type) to become friends.

On the beach I’ve seen Lola chase down two standard poodles (what? No poodle love?) with Spice hot on her heels trying to become said poodles new BFF. But, for the first time, Lola asked oh so plaintively to befriend a dog on the beach.

She strained on the leash, made noises I’ve never heard before, and her whole body trembled with the prospect of meeting a new potential playmate.


I think Lola was seized by the need to go and meet this dog because first, she was looking fierce in that pink ensemble and secondly, because the dog reminded her of Jax – tiny, her-sized and therefore not intimidating. Which I find mildly interesting because whenever Jax and Lola and got together, Lola seemed to tire easily of Jax’s enthusiasm.

But, meeting this lovely pup was not in the day’s plan. It was hard for Lola to understand, because after all, who would want to get up close and personal with this….


We continued ambling along and eventually found a deeper runoff where Lola attempted to get clean.


But, in the end, she was simply too disgusting for words.


Perhaps she should have put her sweater on.

Spice just wants to know when I’m going to get different photographic subjects. Yeah, keep dreaming. When I’m done with you and I can leave your smelly butts in the car and go to dinner. But I promise to bring you back some Chicky-Nuggets.


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Sit, Ubu, Sit. Good Dog.

January 25, 2008 at 3:01 pm (Vacation) (, , , )

Look at Lola sitting so pretty. How did we get her to sit so patiently, so quietly, so nicely?


It was easy. Tom stood 15 feet away and called for her. Yep, he stood there, camera up to his face, and called for her repeatedly. We wanted a shot of her coming straight on, and this is what we got instead. If she could have crawled into my lap, she would have. Didn’t take us long to realize we need to work with what we’ve got, when we’ve got it, so we added Spice.



How cute. Look at how hairy Spice’s toes have gotten!

Lola still has a look about her – “Don’t make me go to Dad!”. Seriously, I don’t know why she’s a brat sometimes.

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The Nose that Knows

January 23, 2008 at 2:07 pm (Vacation) (, , )

This is the nose that knows. How she knows, or even what she knows, is up for debate. But through great deliberateness and determination, she knows what she knows.


Lola loves the beach. At the beach, her chronic case of selective hearing flares up and as she travels further and further away, her human minders become increasingly less influential. For that reason, I’ve stopped calling for her and have abdicated that responsibility entirely to Tom. My shrill voice catches on the wind and is whipped in the opposite direction, whereas Tom’s manly voice stands a chance of registering in her tiny little brain.

But who can blame her when there are so many important things that must be sniffed out, investigated, and in many cases, marked. Ya’ll know what I’m referring to.


When left to her own devices and explorations, Lola is very thorough. The entire area must be sniffed. Oddly enough, during this time she’s silent. No barking. Perhaps her nose stops working when she barks.


Eventually she gets far enough afield that we need to call her back or risk losing her altogether. Sadly, it’s never her idea to turn back. I think she would happily explore all day and into the night.


Ears a-flappin….


And eventually she returns.


Most often Lola doesn’t come running back, more likely she’s ambling back taking her sweet time and filling her little lungs with the salty-fishy air.


But any way you look at it, Lola has a great time.

And now for a few stylistic notes: these pictures have all be retouched, so if something looks really annoying to you, mention it. The last photo I cropped/zoomed because she was just a tiny speck in the original. Did the best I could, but obviously the resolution suffers. Is it worth it? Secondly, Lola is wearing her sweater not because it was cold, which is was, but because the sweater covers her belly quite a bit, and you should have seen the mess the day before!! Disgusting.

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Create a mood when none exists

January 18, 2008 at 2:58 pm (Photoshop) (, )

More Photoshop results. Here’s the original. Uninspired and more importantly, a jpeg. There was no raw file for this photo so I made all the adjustments using a jpeg….which means that I can go back and greatly alter some of my favorite photos. Anyway, the dull original.


And, afterwards, the Sunset Villa Picture:


Heh, look at that. Totally new picture. Granted, I might never want anything this extreme but within 21 lessons, the author is attempting to demonstrate as many techniques and applications as possible. There are some good ideas in this lesson that I’ll apply, singularly or in a group, to other photos. And I’m thinking now of some of my wedding pictures but I’ll wait until my skill level improves a bit.

Tell me what you think of the placement of the picture in this post. Big thanks to Dad for telling me how to resize photos inside Photoshop. Do you like them in this larger size underneath each other, or would you prefer two “thumbnails” side by side?

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First Photoshop Attempt – That I’m willing to share

January 15, 2008 at 2:42 pm (Photoshop) (, )

I’m plugging away at my Photoshop lessons. Today I learned how to use the “clone” tool, the nifty feature that will do as it’s name implies. In this case, I sampled a good section of the flower and then used the clone tool to replace the leaves that had little bug bites. Cool stuff. I already know exactly how I’ll use this in the future – to remove the tip of Lola’s tongue! She’s always got just a tiny tip sticking out.

Anyway, here is the original (click to enlarge):


I followed the lesson to increase contrast, repair the image, sharpen, blur, darken, lighten, etc, and this is my result.


One thing I have noticed is that I have a different aesthetic than the author so where I might have stopped tweaking, he went further, but it’s still an interesting change. Comments are appreciated because you all will help me train my eye. This stuff needs to be subtle to look authentic and that’s more difficult to achieve than one might think.

Here is the original picture of Spice the Demon Dog:


Here is the touched up one. Notice anything missing??


I’ve amputated her foot!! And I changed the contrast slightly. Better?

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MN House Update

January 10, 2008 at 10:00 am (Pre-Move Updates)

The Red Shutter Home went into escrow this week.  We were alerted that there was a low-ball offer, $303,000 from $317K, and it looks like they reached a deal.


The Centex home is going to be reduced to $299,900 this weekend, down from $319,000.  Wow.  That one should go fast.


Our broker open house is today.  Wonder if we will get any feedback.  Our first open house is this Sunday.  The dogs are having an easier time finding their toys, but we’ve yet to find a good equilibrium for the Glade Scented Plug-ins.  Currently, they are are unplugged until the house airs out a bit.

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Movie Review: Shoot ’em Up

January 9, 2008 at 9:18 am (Movie Reviews)

Shoot ’em Up was an excellent movie. It provided exactly what I wanted it to – lots of mindless violence with a semblance of plot. As a bonus, it has two decent actors – Paul Giamatti and Clive Owen.

On Sunday Tom and I spent nine hours cleaning every inch of the house, inside and out, and putting all the finishing touches on any surface that needed extra attention. Needless to say, by the end of the day I was exhausted but in that way that is still difficult to relax. What helps you relax? Red wine and a mindless movie! Copious amounts of wine later and I was enjoying this movie probably more than I would have sober.

The premises is pretty silly, Clive Owen is protecting a newborn from Paul Giamatti that he helped deliver during a shoot-out. There is some creative firepower in this movie and Monica Bellucci delivers a line that I thought was absurdly funny – something about a bullet-proof vest being a better investment than a crib.

The movie was less than an hour and a half and was amusing. I recommend it.

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Faces of an Angel

January 8, 2008 at 8:05 am (Dog Update, Uncategorized)

Hi, my name is Spice.


Some people *ahem – Aunt Andrea* think this site should be devoted to my sister 24-7. But I beg to differ. Can’t you see that I’m the perfect one?


Sometimes I’m a goofy girl….


But I’m always at attention and ready to please you…..


I confuse easily….


But mainly I’m just a sweetheart.


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All Lola, All the Time

January 7, 2008 at 2:47 pm (Uncategorized)

Lola has assumed position on the new love-seat.  img_1766.jpg

This weekend she got her new Pookie, FleaBag.  Action Shot!


Note she’s drawn first blood.  In less than 2 minutes….


But it’s okay because this is a dog with a mission…




I have got to get better at this camera thing.  Took a half-dozen shots of Tom and Joshua in their Seahawk paraphernalia after the game outside and was using the dark mode – none of them turned out.  Every single one was blurry.  Arg.  Hope Judy got a decent one off of her camera.

Tune in tomorrow for the Face of an Angel!

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