Friday, April 30, 2010

We Don't Have Enough Problems With Tourism


Tourism is down. First it was the world economic crunch, then volcanoes erupting, and now add to the mix, another budget airline leaving the country.

Today's headline Ryanair decides to quit Hungary. Click on the title for the full story, but who is to blame? The local airport with their lack of willingness to negotiate fees that are driving all of the budgets out of here. Soon Ferihegy I, the airport servicing the budgets and remodeled at great expense specifically for that purpose, is going to be a vacant building at this rate.
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Two Shakes of a Lambs Tail and Internet Magic


Here is the next phase, deciding on an appliance store. My first thought was Sears. Has any American grown up without a Sears Kenmore product in their home? I would think you are in the minority if you had. My grandparents as well as the next generation swore by them. However, when I mentioned it to the property manager, he said they were overpriced and I should use BrandsMart, a local chain. 

I had concerns about whether or not the appliance store would let me order online. There is the credit card issue, living in Europe, but using American issued credit cards can sometimes be difficult.The property manager said they would not accept my card. Mike, my friend on the ground called the local store and they said yes they would. I found that they would on their web site, but e-mailed them to confirm it and they said no, they would not. Talk about mixed messages. 

I could have sent a check to the property manager with my wish list, but I was not sure how much tax and delivery would be, but the bigger issue was getting my frequent flier miles. I want everyone I can get.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I shopped the Brandsmart web site like I was buying today, which I was if it would let me. I picked out the largest of what would fit into spaces in case they rent to a family: My choices were a: 
Hotpoint 3.2 cub. ft washing machine
GE 7.0 cub ft dryer
GE 5.3 cub ft Electric range (I hope it is large enough for a good sized Thanksgiving turkey)
GE 1.5 cub ft over the range microwave
Frigidaire 18 cub ft top freezer/refrigerator

After arranging all of these so nicely in my shopping cart, making sure no edges were sticking out that would slam into any other shopper or their cart, I called American Express.

I had my billing address temporarily changed to my friend's home in Santa Fe, NM. Then I went back to my shopping and registered for an account. 

Dum-de-dum-dum...the moment of truth...will he or won't he be able to make this purchase. Praise be to capitalism it was successful. The store swallowed up $1,911.72 like a compressed sponge soaks up water. Sluuuuup. Delivery date is set for May 5th. Ta-da!!
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Fun in the Sun Via the Internet


How to buy an apartment online. Perhaps I should write a little booklet.

Closing was on Tuesday. Check that off the to do list.
Hired property manager on Tuesday. Check! 
Hired painters on Tuesday. Check!
Painters arrived on Wednesday. Check!
Picked out appliances to be ordered on Wednesday. Check!
Created online account with Florida Power and Light on Wednesday. Check!
Moved electric service into my name on Thursday. No Check! Tilt! Nada, Nincs, No way Jose.

Their online form would not accept our address as a valid one. Sent an e-mail to our association manager who suggested six different ways of entering the address, most of them not using the name of the street as McNab, but rather 15th Street. I have not cared for the name McNab anyway. It sounds like the name of a pickpocket at a fast food restaurant run by clowns. Still nothing, so today I called Florida. 

When you hear the initial message warning about how overworked they are taking other callers just like you, so please stand by, I just want to scream "HIRE more people if you are that busy." But before I could form the words, a live person as speaking to me. Within minutes she opened an account in my name and after asking for my social security number, she informed me that due to my "excellent credit" I would not need to make a deposit. Left me wondering what else she could divine from those nine SS digits. Kind of scary! So we were moving along nicely when her computer refused to cooperate. It seems that their software requires a middle name or bare minimum an initial. Sorry, I don't have either. Sorry, the computer will not let you move on to the next level in this game called FPL. What I was informed I had to do was fax in a scan of my passport or birth certificate showing I had no middle initial or name. Temptation crept in prompting me to say "Gosh darn it. I had forgotten about that F. that sometimes appears between the Ryan and James at rare times. However, if I had, it may have messed with my excellent credit. 

When I feigned ever seeing a fax machine in this foreign country, I was transferred to another woman. She too was super professional, asked me what the problem was. She put me on hold for a couple of minutes and came back to say they would by-pass the computer code and open my account.  How many parents living in Florida are feeling obligated to give their new born a middle name, because per chance that child may need electric service of their own.

Had I known when I changed my name legally from Richard James French Jr. to Ryan James that I may one day need a middle initial or name, I would still wouldn't have done it. That was in 1978 and this is the first time it has ever been an issue. Go figure.  

So now 4035 15th Street, 203 has electricity. I hope to hell that is either 4035 McNab 203F or 4035 15th Street SW. If not, I hope whoever it is knows what being GREEN is all about.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Done Deal


It only took 1,493 e-mails, but it is done. We now own a condo at 4035 W. McNab Rd. # 203F in Pompano Beach, FL 33069 or the alternative address that the electric company seems to prefer is 4035 SW 15th Street, Pompano Beach, FL 33069. The closing was completed today at 9 am Florida time.

I hired a property manager who will start on May 1st. The painter I hired will start tomorrow. When that is done, the order for the stove, refrigerator, microwave, washer and dryer will be placed and delivered. We will be all set to open for the business of renting.

If Mike G. should ever read this, I owe him a humongous debt of gratitude for being my eyes on the ground and reporting back to me everything he observed. He went above and beyond a long-term friend, but since I have only known him from e-mails and than only since February, he is incredible.
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Sunday, April 25, 2010

There is No Racism in America, Repeat After Me. There is No Racism...


This was forwarded to me by friends. I tried finding the original site where it was posted, but could only find dozens of other places where it had been posted already. It relates to my comments from yesterday, plus it is pretty damn appalling coming from "the greatest country in the world". For those of color that want to live the American Dream,  sleep on it to see if that dream repeats itself or turns into a nightmare.

"Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black" - Tim Wise

Let’s play a game, shall we? The name of the game is called “Imagine.” The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure - the ones who are driving the action - we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead. The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

So let’s begin.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

Imagine that a prominent mainstream black political commentator had long employed an overt bigot as Executive Director of his organization, and that this bigot regularly participated in black separatist conferences, and once assaulted a white person while calling them by a racial slur. When that prominent black commentator and his sister — who also works for the organization — defended the bigot as a good guy who was misunderstood and “going through a tough time in his life” would anyone accept their excuse-making? Would that commentator still have a place on a mainstream network? Because that’s what happened in the real world, when Pat Buchanan employed as Executive Director of his group, America’s Cause, a blatant racist who did all these things, or at least their white equivalents: attending white separatist conferences and attacking a black woman while calling her the n-word.

Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, these are things that Rush Limbaugh has said, about Barack Obama’s administration, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, a fight on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois in which two black kids beat up a white kid, and about liberals, generally.

Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.” This is, after all, what Pastor Stan Craig said recently at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?” After all, those are among the things said by radio host and best-selling author Michael Savage, predicting white revolution in the face of multiculturalism, or said by Savage about Muslims and liberals, respectively. And it was Congressman Culbertson, from Texas, who praised Savage in that way, despite his hateful rhetoric.

Imagine a black political commentator suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead. This is, after all, what Anne Coulter said about Tim McVeigh, when she noted that his only mistake was not blowing up the New York Times.

Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”

Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.

In other words, imagine that even one-third of the anger and vitriol currently being hurled at President Obama, by folks who are almost exclusively white, were being aimed, instead, at a white president, by people of color. How many whites viewing the anger, the hatred, the contempt for that white president would then wax eloquent about free speech, and the glories of democracy? And how many would be calling for further crackdowns on thuggish behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of those same people of color?

To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

Game Over.

Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the U.S. Wise has spoken in 48 states, on over 400 college campuses, and to community groups around the nation. Wise has provided anti-racism training to teachers nationwide, and has trained physicians and medical industry professionals on how to combat racial inequities in health care. His latest book is called Between Barack and a Hard Place.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Wild West Reruns


Jumping out of the news headlines yesterday was this article and others similar, all in regard to Arizona: Arizona's Immigration Law May Spur a Showdown. Talk about a return to the wild and woolly days of the ole fierce and free shoot'um up Western style of law and order. Well pard'ner if that there fella in the Oval office cannot get this here bit done, we renegades out here in the boonies of ArI-zona will show ya how it is done right and good. Next thing we will wanna be do'in is branding a big "I" on each and every imm-E-grunt we catch being e-legal like, so we can save time later identifying them when they try sneaking in again. Somebody said some guy Nat Hawthorne had this same idear with the letter "A" for those dang woman who could not keep their britches up where they belong.

As an outraged citizen, I believe that if they want to snub the federal laws by imposing these inane state laws, they should also be barred from receiving federal funding. It does not take intensive critical thinking or scrutiny when reading comments from Arizona politicos to recognize the inherent racism, not only with the immigrant issue, but also in regard to our president. It is events such as these that make me loathe being a US American. 

What they are establishing is first a vigilante system, which is going to (pardon the pun) rapidly migrate into a racial profiling situation where anyone of color is stopped and investigated to determine their legal status. Is the Arizona State budget so prosperous that they can afford to waste the resources of their state and local law enforcement officers to deter them from more serious crime prevention? Does the irony escape anyone that the state receives federal funds and then spends state funds in lawsuits fighting the federal government?

Even former Gov. Mike Huckabee said in an interview (link to interview) that he is concerned about the number of lawsuits that this will instigate on a federal level, by civil groups, and individuals that are profiled.
If anyone would bother to check, they would find out that the Mafia originally started as a positive group of Sicilian men who were out to curb injustices. 

The suggestions I would like to promulgate are the following:

1. Tourists both national and international should avoid Arizona.Hurt the economy, wake up the politicians.
2. Don't buy any product, fruit or vegetable that was planted, cared for, or harvested by migrant workers. After all, if you don't like illegal immigrants, you should be willing to pay the price of not having them.
3. Write to the State of Arizona to tell them to get all of those lazy white people off of state benefit programs and put them in the fields to harvest the produce. 
4. US American should write to their own state and federal representatives telling them that they abhor what Arizona has done and will not tolerate replication in their own state.
5. Unless you are 100% Native American, US Americans should look in their own ethnic closets to see what skeletons are hidden in there. How legal were your ancestors?
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Precious Multiple Tongues


My former doctoral dissertation adviser and mentor sent me this link to a video that someone had sent to her. Although I have known about international schools, both the "American" and the British, for years, what did not occur to me was the ESL aspect of it. I just presumed that all children had to pass English exams to be admitted. All of the children I knew who attended the American International School here in Budapest, were those of Embassy employees. Speaking with these kids, I did know the classrooms were mini United Nations, but using native languages did not creep into my conscious thoughts. 

I have been an advocate for multilingual education for decades, but this video was especially eye-opening in regard to the international schools. My hope in posting it here is that it is as consciousness raising for others to see the need for multilingual education in all schools. Not only do we need to promote the teaching in native languages, but also teach "foreign" languages. 

There is something about the phrase "foreign languages" in a school system that sets me on edge. The "foreign" sets us up for the us VS. them paradigm that so desperately needs deconstruction. 

“Research shows that language immersion and other world language programs promote academic achievement for English Language Learners as well as English-speaking students,” Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson said. “Students with a global perspective have a better understanding of the world around them, the language skills to communicate across cultural boundaries, and a deeper knowledge of the connections that link our community to those of the world at large. These skills help our students and our country to thrive in an increasingly global society.”  This quote comes from this article.

Watch and enjoy!

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Now That is Rank


I was just discussing American slang with my students yesterday, so I thought I would have some fun with the title post. I stumbled upon some rankings for this blog. Out of 1000 of the top sites monitored by Feedjit, these are my blog rankings. It doesn't specify which Jacksonville, so how many do you think there are in the US? The answer is below.

You Rank #85  in:      Aalborg, Denmark
You Rank #175 in:     Jacksonville, United States
You Rank #390 in:     Lőrinci, Hungary
You Rank #401 in:     Budapest, Hungary
You Rank #584 in:     Bangkok, Thailand

There are eight: Florida, North Carolina, Arkansas, Illinois, Texas, Alabama, New York, Oregon
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Born Too Early


When I was younger, everyone would grab my hands and tell how beautiful they were for a man. I always had a fantasy of being a hand model. Back then though, they were not in such demand. If I were only born later or used rubber gloves when washing dishes for the last few decades, perhaps I would still have a shot at it. Maybe someone needs a hand model for a Geritol commercial? If so, call me.
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Seal and Burp


If you happen to be American and in my age range, chances are you are very familiar with home parties. One of the oldest is Tupperware.How often I remember my mother agreeing to host a party so that my Aunt Polly would get enough points to get the prize she wanted for hosting a party after Aunt Joy's party. It was like acceptable incestuous relationships. I will come to yours, you come to mine, we will go to hers so she will come to ours. Everyone got a little or gave a little to someone else. My favorite part of Tupperware was the seal. Close the lid and "burp" to get the air out.

As luck would have it, I happened across an article about how the economy is metropolitan areas of the U.S. is not picking up at all, but along the way, there was this video.

If I could only pull off the shtick, I too could earn a living. What really caught my attention was that the "movie producer's" name is K. Ryan Jones. Fearful some may see it and confuse Jones with James, I had to include it here for a nostalgic chuckle and disclaimer.

Am I giving "Aunt Barbara" free advertising? I certainly hope so. He deserves it.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

This Commercial Break is Brought to You...


A commercial break as in consumerism, business and leisure travel has been severely interrupted by a volcanic explosion in Iceland. When volcanoes spread their ash, it goes beyond countries and covers continents. Winds prevailed in sparing the capital city of Reykjavik in addition to other more populated areas. Considering this is Iceland, those populated areas would be those with more than one hundred people. Icelandic experts say the activity of the volcano is not letting up, which means that further traffic chaos is in the offing. Interestingly, commercial flights are able to make it to the US, due to direction of the ash coverage. Most countries in Western and Central Europe have closed airports. Budapest airport was closed as of noon today and was waiting for further reports. However, if other European airports remain closed, whether or not this airport is open will not determine who is going to fly.

MÁV-Start the Hungarian railroad system has been providing extra cars on trains bound for Zurich, Munich, Berlin and Bucharest on Sunday night to accommodate travelers stranded by the closure of the airport. The rail company said that it will steadily monitor rail traffic and the sale of international tickets and provide more international trains, if necessary.

The concentration of pollution particles rose fivefold in Budapest in a matter of hours when ash from the volcano reached the city, but other areas of Hungary have had it up to eightfold.
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Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover


I had a preview of what the cover of my new book was going to look like and I did not like it. I had hopes it was just a big mistake, since it looks like an electri-FRIED version of the current cover. After seeing some of the other covers from other country editions, it is comforting to know it is not just mine. 

Frommer's was running a photo contest for quite some time. Winners were selected for future book covers as well as pocketing a $5,000 prize. The absurdity of this prize compared to writing the book is beyond description. If I had been eligible, I would have snapped my heart out. Multiple submissions were encouraged. What I should have done is sent it out to all of our photographer guests with a contract stipulating a finder's fee. We have had a few professionals, so my chances would have been fairly good. Regardless, the end of the contest was after this edition went to print.

Supposedly, this edition was to be released on April 16th, but after checking with and Frommer's online bookstore, it is still classified as Pre-order. Frommer's shows it as May 3rd; I do know it will come out 6 weeks later in the UK and the rest of the English speaking world. 

I do love what Frommer's put in their online blurb. You win some, you lose some, but I did not have any control over either the cover nor the blurb. Pleased I am with their marketing foresight.
Whenever you read the New York Times travel archives for any country, it is Frommer's you are reading. Thus, if you were to search the NYT for Budapest restaurants, what you will find are the reviews from my book. 

Frommer's also teams up with a number of other sites. I have seen my writing in other places. Strangely, I used to write some for Nile Guide and now they are incorporating all of Frommer's books onto their site.
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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Customer Service Stupidity - Bank of America


When friends tell me who great customers services are in the US, I wonder which planet they are really living on.When we were in CA, I spent at least 3 hours a week on the line with some customer service agent and that was only for personal reasons. For work, you could multiple that number by 3 again.

Even here, I am not immune to the stupidity of customer services in the US. This is an actual transcript of my latest attempt to get information from Bank of America. Just in case, this s real live person, I changed his name. However, I have suspicions that is a computer program that finds key words to send canned responses. I had to give my full name to sign in and then again I was asked for my last name, but notice that he addresses me as James, not Mr. James. Later, he asks again what my last name is and I type in James, but he still refers to me as James.

Chat Information Welcome to an online chat session at Bank of America. Please hold while we connect you to the next available Bank of America Online Banking Specialist. Your chat may be monitored and recorded for quality purposes. Your current wait time is approximately 0 minutes. Thank you for your patience.

Chat Information Thank you for choosing Bank of America. You are now being connected to a Bank of America Online Banking Specialist.

NK: Hello! Thank you for being a valued Bank of America customer! My name is N.
NK: Welcome to online Chat. How may I assist you with Personal Checking and Savings accounts?
You: My account is in CA, but we are buying a condo in FL that will be run by a property manager. How can they make deposits by mail?
NK: I completely understand your concern regarding the deposit by mail.
NK: I will surely provide you all the information.
NK: To begin with, may I please have your complete name and account last four digits?
You: Last name is James, but you will have to wait for me to get my check book for the digits.
NK: Sure.
NK: Thank you, James.
You: or maybe is it
You: never mind, that is the check number
NK: Its correct last four digits.
You: It is 9709
NK: James, deposit can be make through Bank by mail.
NK: Bank by mail is the service that helps deposit checks to be deposited in the accounts when the customer is not in U.S or from other state.
NK: Let me provide your Bank by mail address.
You: What about deposit slips?
NK: Let me check this information.
NK: James, if deposit make through Bank by mail is not mandatory.
NK: Your Bank by Mail address is: PO Box 29966, Phoenix, AZ 85038-0966
NK: The customer can endorse the back of the item with their signature and account number .
You: Do you mean if it is done by bank by mail a deposit slip in not needed?
NK: Yes, you are right.
You: The issue is that I don't live in CA any longer. I live in Europe. I want them to be able to send the check directly to my CA account. I will not be around to sign the check. If I were there, I could deposit it myself.
NK: James, there is one more alternative for you.
NK: You may utilize Bill Pay to make a payment to an individual.
NK: The individual payee will receive a check at the address that you have entered for that payee.
You: That does not make sense. I am not trying to pay a bill. I want to deposit money.
NK: Sorry for the confusion.
NK: From out of us Deposit can be make through Bank by mail.
NK: Deposit slip is not required you can endorse the back of the item with the signature and account number .
You: We are back to the issue of my NOT being able to sign the check since I live in Europe.
Last text message received
NK: Please tell the depositor to make the deposit in any of the nearest bank branch in any state.
You: That works. Thanks, but I will call the bank to speak to a live thinking person, if they still hire them.Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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Our New Investment


We will be having closing next week on our new place. It took the bank what seems like forever, because this was a short sale. What I have learned during this process is that a short sale is when the bank realizes the mortgage holder is not going to make good on their contract. The bank in this case can either sit on the property or they can sell it for much less than what is owed on it. Since financial institutions don't want to be property managers, they have a tendency to approve the sales eventually. The thing about a short sale is that you cannot get a loan for the property; it has to be paid for in cash. Before the institution will start the paperwork, you have to provide proof you have the money.

When I first Googled this particular property, I found the site that had the initial offerings when the complex was new. The units were advertised for $300-350,000. With the tanking Florida economy as well as country-wide, I can guarantee you they are no longer that price. Bargains are to be had and there are still plenty of people wanting rentals even if these properties are being sold by snowbirds.

It is a 3 bedroom - 2 bath unit with a garage and 2 assigned parking spaces. It is at 4035 W. McNab Road in Pompano Beach, Florida. Four of the seven property managers I contacted as possible hires, declare we can get between $1,100-1,300 a month for it. I am not giving the unit number, because I know how generous you all are and I just don't want you rushing over with housewarming presents, since we won't be home that day.

Photos of the place pre...
Pre - painting
Pre - getting the new refrigerator, microwave, stove, washing machine and dryer put in
Pre - replacing the kitchen tiles

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If You Are Persistent, You Condo It


Did you notice the pun in the title? Fantasy is starting to turn into reality. After more than a few false starts with underachiever real estate people, I finally found one who was willing to do some work. Wow, you would have thought the Florida economy was busting at the seams the way they reacted (or not) to my inquiries, but since things there have all but imploded, they should be courting me. 

The first referred Realtor was from a blog reader. This was like playing the old TV show The Dating Game.  It first aired in 1965 and is in its umpteenth incarnation still on TV.

Realtor #1, if I were a home, what type of home would I be? I am sorry, Realtor #1, but I cannot hear your answer. Oh, I see, you are ignoring me. 

The second referral, a woman Realtor, was from the same source as #1.
Realtor #2, if we have X amount of cash to spend, where do you see us buying a property?
"Hello! My name is Christine. Thank you for contacting me. I hope to assist you in all of your real estate needs. What can I do for you today?"
Um, Realtor #2, if I were a condo, what would I be seeing out of my windows? 
"The real estate market in the Fort Lauderdale area is booming with opportunities. How can I assist you in getting your dream home?"

After writing to a couple of social groups in the area, two different people were courteous enough to suggest other Realtors. 

Realtor #3, we live in Hungary and plan to stay here, but we are anxious to see what you have to offer. How can you entice us with your goods?
"When do you plan on moving here?"
Realtor #3, we are looking for investment property, not to move there.
"When you move here, I will be happy to take you around to see what is available. Until you move here, it is impossible to say what will be on the market."

Realtor #4, you were referred to us by a Budapest, Hungarian who has only relocated to Florida five years ago. If we were spacious living space, how many rooms would we have?
"Oh, you would have hundreds of rooms. In fact more rooms than you have cash for. You really should get a mortgage. Here is the name of a Bank of America Loan Officer."
Realtor #4, we have done our thing with your friend the loan officer and he has given high approval ratings. Can we all get it together now and see where it leads us?
Realtor #4, are you there? Realtor #4?

Finally, after browsing through dozens of real estate "alerts" from three different real estate agencies including Multiple Listing Services, I came across the property we are buying. I contacted the selling agent directly. She turned out to be the ONE! It was worth the wait for the incredible help she has been.  

Century 21 Tenace Realty, Inc.
1835 University Drive
Coral Springs, FL  33071
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Friday, April 16, 2010

Drawing More Than Conclusions


What does a teacup, a sponge, and a journal have in common? If you try to draw any conclusions from this, you are getting warmer. Those are the first three things that Ron had to draw during his first art lesson.

There is an ex-pat teaching art to adults. Ron is has not had any training has always been an exceptional artist, at least for as long as I have known him. He had talked about taking drawing lessons before, so when I saw the ad, I convinced him the time has come. The 'course' is for six weeks, once a week for 1 1/2 hours. Last night, there were only 2 students in the class that was supposed to have 4. 

I had so much fun shopping for his art supplies, you would have thought I was taking the course. I took drawing in college as an undergraduate, but realized that fiber art is more my speed. I wound up with an Associate of Arts degree in Art. However, it has always been my dream to be able to draw well. If I get to do it through Ron, that will satisfy my needs just as well.
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