Tuesday, May 10, 2016

New is not necessarily better......

Lately, in my experiences, I have discovered that NEW is not necessarily BETTER.  I will explain how I came to that conclusion - but first, I want to make known a few things.  For my job as a REALTOR, when I go into homes, I love to see wood burning fireplaces and gum wood molding, claw-foot tubs, built-in hutches with leaded glass, pocket doors, ceiling medallions and especially hand-blown glass windows with all the delicious little air bubbles and wavy appearances.  All of those are old fashioned, and I have always held a special admiration for the way things were built and designed in yesteryear.  In this day and age, a touch of the old coupled with the everyday conveniences of the new, is what is attractive in a home, and makes it charming.  But, that's not what I'm talking about today.  We are going deep and taking it down, down, down.....to the kitchen.
Today, I want to discuss the coffee maker and its loyalty until death mentality.

Each morning, when my alarm jolts me out of bed, my consistent routine begins;  Once I come downstairs to the kitchen, with the dogs at my feet and the cat meowing non-stop, the first thing I do is pour eight cups of cold water into the coffee maker, measure out the coffee and hit the button.  Only then do I feed the wailing cat, bring the dogs outdoors and hook up their leashes, run back upstairs and uncover the squawking bird and then proceed to wake up the sleeping child, all while the delicious black gold is brewing.  Then, I fix myself a cup, take a sip and carry on making lunch for the little one and preparing an awesome breakfast which always includes apples and peanut butter.

All pretty normal stuff, right?  Right.

Now I ask;  "What happens when the coffee maker breaks?"

This is where my story truly begins.  After coming back inside, and not smelling any gorgeous aromas, my antennae went up.  Upon inspection, I unearthed the truth.  The coffee maker was lame.  No brew....no aroma....no coffee....no nothing!   Ugh!  As much as it stunk, and skewered my morning, I am a resourceful gal, so after we walked to the bus stop, I stopped in to Home Market, the convenience store on the corner, and watched in horror as the man picked up a quarter-filled glass coffee pot and poured me a large styrofoam cup of morning jolt.  He asked me what I wanted and I said cream and sugar please.  As I walked toward home, I took a big sip.

 BLAH.  It was terrible. I therefore discovered an even deeper appreciation for the easy push button coffee maker that created the lovely nectar.  I promised myself a trip to that coffee store that has the really strong stuff, muscled through getting ready and off I went.

This particular day had me hopping from morning until evening, so I asked Joey to please stop off somewhere and get a coffee maker.  Oh boy.  You have to know Joey.  When he moved in with us, he came with cast iron frying pans, a pressure cooker, and all kinds of gadgets that none of us knew how to operate.  They were cool gizmos, a lot of As-Seen-On-TV things like the advocado peeler/cutter and the no handle can opener that nobody but Joey knows how to use.  We found room for everything, but half the time I would pick something up and stare at it with a blank expression on my face not really sure what its purpose was. 

Flash forward to the coffee maker day.

I came home from running all over creation to a big peanut looking thing sitting on my stove.

My little girl was laughing hysterically and Joey, while trying to keep a straight face said "What? It works the same and it makes 18 cups!"


I said "Absolutely not.  No. No. No." I may have even stamped my foot simultaneously.

Joey, trying desperately not to laugh, tried to plead his case that this peanut looking thing would fit perfectly in the spot where the old coffee maker was and that it makes coffee just like the other one.  He was explaining that all we have to do is boil water and pour it over the coffee and whalla - coffee.

Okay, I know I said I like the old stuff, but this is ridiculous.  Just looking at this beast-like silver lump, all I could think of was making coffee for a get together for a wake, or a stake out;  not for every day use.
Where did it even come from?  How was this thing around and I'd never seen it before?
My heart sank in my chest. This was not a joke.  He truly did not buy a coffee maker.

I refused to use the giant peanut.  I put my foot down.  Joey couldn't even argue with me because he was laughing too much.  It's pretty hard to argue your case whilst laughing.  Imagine? 

I started to open cabinets, to look for some other gadget that was tucked away gathering dust. " AHA!"  I exclaimed as I picked up this contraption to the right and asked "What about this one?  It's small and it doesn't look like we are hosting some sort of function!"

"That's an expresso maker."  Joey deadpanned.

Seriously?  Why?  Why do we have an espresso maker? I silently shrieked.
My expression made him laugh again. 

Determined not to be thwarted and begin my day angrily staring at the newly acquired enemy;  I rummaged through some more cabinets and came up with this elderly percolator.
"How does this thing work?"  I asked Joey.  He gave me a quick run down - first you boil water (only two cups) and then when it starts to boil, you put the coffee in the filter-type thingy, three table spoons, and then watch the top and when the water turns to rotating coffee, it's done.   Okay fine.

The next morning rolled around and I figured I could have the water boil while I made lunch and breakfast.  It went off without a hitch.  The coffee was super hot, so it took a little bit to get the full taste of it.....but, when I did....it was GOOD.

Wow.  Really good.  Have you ever made a pot a coffee and sometimes it comes out as the best cup of coffee ever?  Well, that happens to me sometimes, so I chocked the whole percolator thing up to one of those experiences and I went on with my day.

At some point during the day; I stopped and picked up this beauty plug in coffee maker.  Excellent.  Our days with the Pilgrims were over, we were back in this century.  One day lost, no biggie.....back to normal.

The next morning arrived.  I put eight cups to brew in my new, easy to use, plug-in coffee maker and continued with my rituals.

When I fixed a cup of the dark liquid and added my touch of this and touch of that, I was very excited to drink it.  It was convenient and familiar and smelled good too.

The moment of truth arrived and I drank.

To my astonishment, and incredible dismay, the percolated coffee was far superior.

Yes, I said it - Old Percolator Coffee was Far Superior than the Fancy Shmancy easy plug-in one.

I quickly made a batch in the percolator to compare.  It was a no-brainer.  The Percolator made better coffee.  Way better coffee.  Even a seasoned Barista with Starbucks commented that she could taste the different notes of the coffee.

O.M.Goodness.  How Ironical. 

Wasn't that a great opportunity to learn?  Right?  Because that's the first thing I thought of too.  (heavy sarcasm intended).  But, learn, I did.  Learn what, do you ask?

Humility, Truth, Admitting I was wrong for starters.  Most especially, since it's the one I went with, embracing the fact that women change their mind on a whim and since I am a woman, I am perfectly within my rights to choose the percolator.

Now, how to tell Joey?  Imagine the smugness.  The gadgets that will appear out of thin air.  All the new things I will have to try because "maybe it's like the percolator......"  That's right folks, I imagined it all.  I asked myself....."is it worth all the hub bub?"  My answer was and remains; Yes.  It's worth it.  It's deserved.  Like gum wood and pocket doors, the percolator was better.  The turtle with his slow and steady wins the race .....had won again.

Seeing as the next morning was a Saturday, and Joey usually makes coffee and breakfast on the weekends, I knew there was a full pot of freshly brewed coffee in the plug-in easy maker.  Since I had made such a big stink about the coffee maker and all the ancient gizmos laying around, I was finding it a little difficult to save face AND get myself a big cup of percolated coffee.  I really didn't have a plan.

So, casual as you please, I sauntered into the kitchen, poured some of the machine coffee, fixed it appropriately, took a big sip, looked Joey right in the eye and said "Actually, I like the percolated coffee better."

He burst into a hearty laugh, and then still chuckling, he took the percolator and started to fill it with cold water. 

He is still laughing.  Every time I say "Percolator", he laughs.  I'm sure he is imaging my using the funny looking can opener thingy next or cooking our entire meal in the pressure cooker in five minutes! 

Meanwhile, I have now integrated the percolator and all it's glorious black gold into my morning routine.  #oldfashionedstyle 

Don't knock it til you try it.

Me and my coffee are out. :)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

It's always stressful when the real estate market shifts.......

As a REALTOR, it is my job to keep my finger to the pulse of the Real Estate Market.  What I have been witnessing this year is absolute mayhem.  One month the houses are flying off the shelves - multiple offers - high prices - - disappointed buyers - - and then a short month later, houses sit longer - sellers start to panic and ask "what's wrong with my house?"  The answer is - NOTHING!
The Real Estate Market is like an ocean wave.....timing is everything if you want to be at the tippity top of the wave.  Sometimes it begins so quickly that by the time the dust settles, everthing is gone and those sellers and buyers are happy. 
What about the rest of them?  What about the couple who watched the house across the street go into a fervor of Saturday and Sunday activity? They watched as cars drove by slowly at all times of day and night.....and then two days later the sign "Under Contract" got hung up.  Very Curious.  A few days go by and then one morning, Neighbor Seller sees Neighbor Curious and says "Oh my goodness, it was unreal!  Seven people wrote offers!  It was so competitive, but I feel really great about the buyers who won..." You get the picture.  
How do you suppose Neighbor Curious feels?  A lot of times what happens is....people get motivated to sell THEIR house and do what the neighbors did.  So, they paint, and clean out the basement, and fix the front steps, and replace the door, maybe repair the doorbell.....let's say for two weeks Neighbor Curious works on their house.  Then they call a REALTOR, and the agent comes to the house and walks through and does an analysis (a lot of stock is put into the price of the house across the street).  FINALLY, a month and a half later, Neighbor Curious's house is ready to come onto the market. Neighbor Seller across the street is getting ready to close on their property.  Now, after all is said and done, Neighbor Curious is ready to step into the Neighbor Curious Seller role (NCS), and their expectations are HIGH.  They can't wait to watch the crazy come and witness people fighting over their home.  Their ideas and imagination have been growing since they made the decision to work on their home to put it on the market. 
The REALTOR comes in with the photographer who is sure to capture the best qualities of the home in order to set up an excellent marketing plan.  NCS's home goes into MLS on a Wednesdaty night, with a broker tour planned for Thursday, and open houses for both Saturday* and Sunday (just like across the street). 
Thursday's broker tour is healthy, a lot of agents show up, have some lunch, chat about the home, and then go to tell their buyers.
Saturday comes and only a handful of people show up.  Sunday there are a few more, but just trickles.  
No offers on Monday, no requests for showings on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.  What is happening? 
No one can answer that question.  The ocean wave effect strikes again.  
Now, all the great feelings that NCS had while preparing their house, and all the different imagined things that their big money can buy have come crashing down, and hard.     (Can we agree that NCS already has a number in their head?  Can we agree that the number is probably higher than the house across the street?  Why is it higher?.....because while NCS worked on their house, and put forth the effort, in their head they tacked on dollars to the listing price.  
Suddenly, the excitement and unknown is a heavy blanket of negative feelings.  Resentment is born.  Why doesn't the frenzy come to my house?  What did my stupid house do to mess up my awesome plan?  Not a single thing.  It is very difficult to erase or re-direct the *high expectations created by the circus that was witnessed across the street!  And their house wasn't even as good as mine!  Like an etch a sketch, you have to erase those thoughts.  Turn it around.  Listen to the advise your trusted Realtor is giving.    
Sometimes the market just slows down a little bit.  A lot of times, in my opinion, the buyers who were caught up in that tornado-like frenzy, who did not win house A, or house B, maybe not even house C, become completely exhausted and discouraged by their stress filled experiences.  Imagine ten people vying for the same home.  Only one person is happy. Nine people have to mourn the loss of the house they so desperately wanted and find another one just like it.......only to fight (probably the same people) to win again.....so, then there were eight.....and so on and so forth.  Sometimes people buy a house in that situation and it's not even the house they really wanted.  Anyhow, back on topic - - It takes time for people to lick their wounds and contemplate from the comfort of their pajamas, if they really want to go back into that crazy.  That creats a lull.  
Back to NCS and their situation.  Just because the house hasn't gone under agreement in the first week, does NOT mean the house isn't going to sell.
We, especially in Boston, are so spoiled by a healthy (IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION) market, that it taints the experience when imagined or created expectations aren't met so early on.  Buying and Selling a home is a very stressful experience.  It's personal.  It's emotional. Add the unrealistic expectations crashing down and you have a recipe for deep depression.  
It doesn't have to be that way. Sometimes it just takes a little longer.  Re-evaluate price and market plan and sometimes you just have to Wait It Out.  Be patient with the process, with the experience, with yourselves.....and especially with your AGENT!    
Market dictates price, and sometimes it makes a slight correction after the frenzy brings prices too high..... it's as simple as physics. 
*Usually Sunday is open house day - the only time Sat and Sun open houses usually occur is when there is so much interest in the house that it would be too crowded for showing on one day.

written by Kim Augusta 11/5/15
CHECK OUT MY WEB PAGE AT  -  kimaugusta.com