This is the toughest time of the year for me with respect to my garden. Except for the daffodils, nothing's yet in bloom. The trees are bare, and the ground cover that died back last fall has yet to return. My impatient inclination is to run to the nursery and fill in the holes, forgetting that what lies beneath the topsoil has yet to emerge (but soon will. . . . ).
"This will be fun," the Seller's email said. "I'm manifesting good things."
Wow. (Thank you.)
While I think everyone would agree that "manifesting good things" is the goal not only for our business transactions but for life in general, it's much harder to adopt that attitude in the face of the unknown. It's difficult to establish trust when fear, stress, and anxiety are the prevailing emotions. For all of us, no matter the journey, the future is a GREAT BIG question mark?!? (You only need to turn on your TV to confront a veritable %^& storm at every turn. Prozac anyone?)
Happy Lunar New Year! It's the Year of the Dragon. Per my online research (I dug deep on this one), Dragons are powerful, endlessly energetic, full of vitality, goal-oriented yet idealistic, romantic, and visionary leaders. They know exactly who they are and possess the keenest sense of 'self' among the 12 zodiacs of Chinese astrology. Dragons are upright characters, scorn any hypocritical or dishonorable behavior, and have a self-respecting pride that’s matched by their wisdom, generosity, vigor, and talent . . .
"I'm torn about what nursery school to send my child to," my Buyer said. "You're a mother, should we be looking at language emersion, Montessori, or free play?" she asked with all due earnestness.
"Oh," I said, bursting her bubble, "it's unlikely to matter . . . "
The Spring Market is upon us and the question most often asked by prospective Sellers who are contemplating a move is: "What's the best return on my investment?" (Not surprisingly, Sellers are often resistant to our initial suggestions, but DO want the highest selling price.) To be blunt, your results are often dependent on the health of the house, the improvements we make, its underlying condition, and the price we set. No amount of staging, no matter how masterful, will overcome an overpriced house. (Clear?)
No sooner does the new year begin, then we're hit with estimated quarterly taxes. (Ugh.) As self-employed individuals, Cliff and I need to squirrel away enough "green" to keep us in the black, and that certainly puts a big hole in our savings account. Moreover, "estimating" what we're going to make in the coming year can be a total crap shoot. As independent contractors, it's impossible to know exactly how much work is going to surface. Not that that matters; Uncle Sam demands to be paid. (Please keep those referrals coming, they're most appreciated.)
I'm not necessarily the gal that believes that "everything works out for the best." I fall more into the category of "everything works out in the end," but that's just me. (Sarah is my perpetually optimistic partner.) That being said, making the "best" out of whatever circumstances we face is the challenge for us all - both in life and most certainly, when it comes to real estate.
Bonne Annee! We've returned from the Cote D'Azur having had a truly wonderful trip in the South of France with our grown kids and their significant others. Jill's daughter, Anna, found us a fabulous 6-bdrm house in the heart of Menton Village and we quickly mastered the little town and its corresponding train system, which meant we could easily visit the nearby sites of Eze, Nice, and Monte Carlo, not to mention Bordighera, and Sanremo just across the border - all of which I highly recommend (breakfast in France, lunch in Italy). "Bon jour et buon giorno!"
Having never been much of an an intrepid winter tourist, Europe in December was a revelation . . .
I've been on a STRICT diet for the past five weeks which means no carbs, no sugar, no juice, no rice, no dairy, no starch, no grains, no cookies, no doughnuts, no fun, no joy, no LIFE . . . It's supposedly short-term sacrifices for long-term gains. BUT I'm starting to wonder as the pounds slowly come off (too slowly), if I'll need to eat like a rabbit for the rest of my life. (Is there ever going to be a baked potato in my future?)
No sooner did we clean up from Thanksgiving than the holiday decorations began popping up here, there, and everywhere. (Some folks didn't wait for Turkey Day to pass before going all out.) For many, it's an annual tradition, and why not? The holiday season is upon us, which means it's time to start stringing the lights, trimming the trees, and dusting off the menorahs. Whatever you celebrate, our homes create the perfect backdrop to display our holiday spirit.
But have you ever wondered why we go to such great lengths to decorate during this time of year? . . .
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 18 years and has published more than 750 humorous but always informative, essays on life and real estate.