Thursday, August 28, 2008

Knitting Wisdom

Tuesday I found out that my office is closing. I just moved to this office after my old company closed the office I was at. I had barely moved-in and now I am faced with the decision of where I want to go. I thought that I really looked into the situation carefully the last time I moved. I interviewed with a lot of company's, asked for referrals and took my time carefully thinking about what I wanted and where I should be. My current manager came very highly recommend - but through no fault of his, in fact he is credited with decreasing the debit by a whopping $250,000 , the office is closing. The office was huge - and literally vacant most of the time, because most agents are working from their homes or on the road. It doesn't make sense for a business to hold onto a building when no one is there most of the time. I only go into the office for client meetings and office meetings. During the summer when my kids are home I work from home.

Regardless of the reasoning and logic of the decision I am still left thinking, "Now what do I do?".

Wednesday I went to a class about REO's - real estate owned, aka, bank foreclosures. Most everyone has heard of the glut of properties ( we don't call them homes when they are owned by the bank), the most common myth is that these houses are the greatest deals in Real estate. They aren't. REO's are a difficult to buy and often a complex and mysterious process. Even following the banks specific instructions ( you must go to special web sites to down load extra forms), there is till no guarantee that you have a bought the house. Have you ever tried or rather been lured into bidding on EBay? The opening bid was $1 or $10 or some amount super low and the auction was open for 10 days. So every day you carefully watched your item and every day you imagined how great it would be to get "it" at such a great price. Then the last day arrived and suddenly bidders showed up. The last hours came and you were out bid over and over again, and the price kept going up until you thought, Hey, I could have just bought this thing a week ago and been done. But now your caught up in the bidding and wanting to win. You lose the bid and the final price is at least a typical sales price or more. Was that a deal? I don't think so.

REO's are a lot like EBay. They start out with a great teaser rate and the offers roll in, fast!. I saw one property the day it came on the market and by noon the next day it had 30 offers. A week later there were 50. Why did they all want the house? It was great and they were dreaming. I tracked the close and sure enough it sold $50k above list price. It sold at market price, - what houses typically go for in that neighborhood.

Well, the prediction is that this REO and short sale market will remain strong right into 2011. That's three years of this nonsense. Which makes me think - Is this what I want to do? I started out wanting to help people, believing that my honesty , integrity and determination were valuable talents and needed. Real estate agent are very optimistic people - and a lot of them are really nice. Everyone in both offices I worked at were generous with their ideas, energy and time. They were sincere and kind. I am always told to never , never give-up, and since I am not a quitter I buy into that mind set, however, there must come a time when the writing on the wall is clear enough to say - move on.

Usually when my mind is full of life's' thoughts like these I busy myself with cleaning or gardening or knitting.

And I have been happily knitting my "Free Pattern" sweater. I have a back almost finished. Knitting is slow because my hand still aches, but I take breaks and massage it and then readjust my hold on the needles, which seems to help. I found a few mistakes and I almost took the whole thing apart. But I decided that the yarn creates these small holes and that I was going to have to live with this special feature. I have carefully counted rows and stitches and I am on track with the pattern so I should be okay. Because when I look at the whole piece it is really quite nice and I love the yarn.

Well now I think I may have stumbled onto a thought.

Knitting wisdom for today - look at the whole piece not the holes!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

No Cheese , PLEASE

It used to be that when you ordered a burger you had to request cheese. It was an extra ten cents. Now no matter what window you pull up to the voice always says, Would you like cheese with that? I know all about up- sales and how employees need to meet quotas. I understand the value of service and giving the customer what he wants but I Don't want cheese, or should I say, I don't want a piece of process food product that looks and taste more like plastic blow dried onto my burger. I specifically said - no cheese, I repeated at the end of my order, Please, no cheese, yet what do I get - Cheese. Gooey icky yellow stuff. Yuck that is not cheese, no matter how much they want to believe it is. I know what real cheese taste and looks like - it's creamy and yummy and soft and not shiny.

So, anyway there I was at the speaker box calmly declining cheese on my burger, fries or pie, but what do I get - CHEESE. I checked the burger and cried out - NOOOOOOOO. Three hunger boys, one starving woman and disgusting slimy fake cheese staring back at us like a yellow goo. No longer calm and with great angst I stepped-up to the window and said, " You got my order wrong. I said NO cheese and I got cheese on everything, look it's even stuck to the bag. You also over charged me". Please fix this and fix it fast.

Now usually I don't encourage fast food restaurants to work even faster. It just doesn't seem right to ask over stressed, underpaid, usually ESL employees to work faster. Besides I would rather wait and give them the chance to get it right. But, I was hungry so I push and anyway I got my food and left and we ate and everyone agreed that from now on we go to In-N-Out for burgers 'cause they have like a hundred people working there and they know how to get orders right and I think they use real cheese.

Thanks I needed that!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


The good news is that I don't have carpel tunnel syndrome. My friend had surgery for this problem and she kindly explained all of the symptoms; tingling in the fingers, stiffness and throbbing. Although I have two of the three the first one is the most significant indicator.
I probably just have a case of very sore hand - No big deal. So after a few hand stretches and a little message, I started knitting again, but not before I frogged every single stitch in my completely finished sweater. Yes, I took the entire sweater apart - because it doesn't fit. The one serious flaw with knitting is the inability to correctly gauge size. As I knitted I frequently did a mock fit and everything seemed to be okay. As much as I could imagine the sweater would fit but just as I was finishing the shoulder seams on the back piece I realized that this sweater was too short and the neckline dipped too low. If I were a 14 yo it would have been fine but ...I'm not, soo I pouted over the outcome and then tore the entire sweater apart. Back to the drawing board.
Knitting often seems a metaphor for life for me. How many times have I worked tireless, inspired and motivated, only to discover that after a closer look everything wasn't the way I had imagined and I wasted my time. At that point I have a choice, give up - toss the project and move on, or try to fix it. I am a stubborn and determined person and so I analysed the situation and made a plan. I needed to add an extra row at the bottom. Simple. So I knitted away with a satisfied feeling but.... Well I don't think that is going to work either. Actually I think what I need to do is add maybe three or four rows to each segment in order to increase the sweater length properly. Either way I am too stuck , and too disgusted to think about this anymore, soo I have moved on to "Free Pattern", and it is moving along quite nicely.