The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Yearly Archives for 2006

Warner Ranch Listing

Yep, I know it’s been awhile. October has been the month that Fate designed as a reminder to me to not take on more than I can handle. We had the reunion the first weekend (don’t worry, stories and pictures to follow), a family vacation to California to watch my sister finish her second marathon the next and a wild, adult-only jaunt down to Rocky Point that we just got home from (oh and I definitely have pictures of that one, just wait until you see the mechanical bull riding that took place!) the last. Throw in a family-wide bout with the flu, the closing of my house on Jupiter Way and like five soccer games and you’ve pretty much gotten a clear picture of my month so far. So excuse my absence.

Anyway, I just wanted to pop on and post some pictures of my latest listing that went up just last week:


This is 6091 W. Shannon, Chandler. Such a cute house! The owners (James, Brandy and their cute little dog, Karma) are moving to Portland for work and therefore have to sell.


Before they put it on the market, they re-tiled the kitchen and baths, re-carpeted and put in granite tile counters. It’s gorgeous!




Don’t forget the pebbletech pool in back!


We are asking $390,500. It’s a great family neighborhood and a dream of a layout. Call me to see it!

Those Twos, They’re Terrible

Yep, that’s right, we’ve hit a milestone: Gray is officially a terrible two. Want to know how I can tell? He’s spent all day today so far trying to figure out what activities will make me the craziest (I can actually see the little wheels turning in his head). Here are the ones that have been most successful:

1. Pushing his high chair over to the kitchen bulletin board so that he can climb up and pull tacks out and bring them to me.

2. Poking the cat until the cat scratched him.

3. Coloring on the wood floor with a green crayon while I was on the phone with a client.

4. Taking off his diaper and screaming bloody murder when I put him in timeout for coloring on the floor.

5. Biting himself.

6. Biting me.

7. Unlatching his seatbelt while I’m driving.

8. Trying to put a metal screw in a power outlet (I’m pretty sure this one was a bluff, he was waiting for me to walk into the
room to move the screw toward the outlet).

9. Chasing me around the house with his toy lawn mower (which sounds like a real lawn mower) while I was on the phone with my manager.

10. Throwing the grilled cheese sandwich I made him on the ground at lunch.

And oh my lord it’s only noon. Shoot me.

Another Chandler Cutie

Have I mentioned that I have a new listing? No? I totally do!

Check this baby out:


It’s a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath in West Chandler (Rural and Chandler Blvd., just South of Intel). It’s one of those houses that had the faulty plastic piping that leaked and was replaced with copper piping under a lawsuit a few years back. It also has decent sized bedrooms and a nice grassy back yard. We are asking $268,000. Call me if you want to see it!

Hook, Line and Sinker

I did something dumb a week or so ago. It was real dumb. So dumb, in fact, that I’m a little afraid if I tell you this story you’ll lose all faith in my intelligence and my ability to protect you along the danger-ridden road of real estate transactions.

I’m going to tell you anyway, however. I’m going to tell you about this dumb thing I did and all of the steps I’ve had to take to cure it so that you can learn from my mistake. Maybe you will think I’m a moron, but at least you won’t fall into the same trap I did.

So you know how I’m on my 10-year high school reunion committee? Well I’m actually kind of the treasurer of the committee. I opened the bank account we’ve been collecting the money in and am the one all the checks have been sent to. I also opened a Paypal account so people could pay online if they want.

The reunion is in less than a month, so we have almost $13,000 in the bank account in my name waiting to be paid out to our venue. Last week I got an email from Paypal asking that I update my account info to ensure that no unsecured third party was able to access it without my approval. Big words and statements crafted by legal types tend to lull me into a compliant coma, so I clicked on the link provided at the bottom of the email and proceeded to enter my Paypal recipient address, the password, my name and personal address, oh and just for kicks, the bank card number, expiration date, pin and verification number associated with the account. Yep, I did that, and then two days later when I got a similar email, I thought only to myself, “Wow, Paypal is really taking lots of steps to insure that my account isn’t being broken in to,” and entered the info AGAIN.

So some of you Mensa members out there might see where this one is going. It turns out that those emails I was getting weren’t actually from Paypal. Even though they had the cute little Paypal logo and even a ‘Case Reference Number’ and tons of legal jargon, they were part of what’s called a ‘phishing’ scheme. And I’m what we like to refer to as batter-fried halibut tacos, freshly caught in waters of the world wide web. I didn’t even figure out this was the case until I mentioned that I had been ‘updating’ my Paypal account to my scheme savvy husband, who immediately freaked out, both because of the possibility of lost money, and also because he had married a woman so stupid as to get caught by something like that. Let me tell you that was not a fun night. Not only did he give me an earful about how shocked he was that I didn’t know that, but I got the same reaction and speech from my parents.

Anyway, the point of all of this is it’s very important to know one thing:

NEVER EVER click on a link from your bank or lending institution and enter account or other personal info. If you think your bank is requesting updated info, type in the site on the address bar and see if it still requests it, or better yet, call them.

I changed my password to Paypal immediately and called and canceled the bank card and had it marked stolen. I also went into the bank and put a Secret Password on to all of my accounts so that no one can access them without knowing that my favorite Doodlebop is Moe (Darn it! Now I have to change it!). We were lucky, no money was stolen. I talked to another gal at my office a couple of days later, though, and she said she had a similar thing happen to her with her Wells Fargo account a year ago. Her account was wiped out the next day.

So make sure you’re smarter than I am. If you ever get a letter like this, don’t be a dope and give them all your information:

Dear Sir,

PayPal is committed to maintaining a safe environment for its community of
buyers and sellers. To protect the security of your account, PayPal employs
some of the most advanced security systems in the world and our anti-fraud
teams regularly screen the PayPal system for unusual activity.

Recently, our Account Review Team identified some unusual activity in your
account. In accordance with PayPal’s User Agreement and to ensure that your
account has not been compromised, access to your account was limited. Your
account access will remain limited until this issue has been resolved. This
is a fraud prevention measure meant to ensure that your account is not

In order to secure your account and quickly restore full access, we may
require some specific information from you for the following reason:

We would like to ensure that your account was not accessed by an
unauthorized third party. Because protecting the security of your account
is our primary concern, we have limited access to sensitive PayPal account
features. We understand that this may be an inconvenience but please
understand that this temporary limitation is for your protection.

Case ID Number: PP-046-631-789
We encourage you to log in and restore full access as soon as possible.
Should access to your account remain limited for an extended period of
time, it may result in further limitations on the use of your account or
may result in eventual account closure.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Please understand that
this is a security measure meant to help protect you and your account. We
apologize for any inconvenience.

To keep your account active, click here:

PayPal Account Review Department

PayPal Email ID PP576

(Looks so legitimate, right? I know, you totally would have done it too, huh? Thanks for making me feel better.)

Day One: No Casualties

So we’re trying something new this weekend: No TV and no Internet before 8 PM. We have a lot to accomplish around the house (master bath remodel is almost done, and next in line are the backyard and kitchen…) and Jason and I both tend to be easily distracted by mindless surfing of both the web and TV.

I consider the experiment a total success already. It was a little weird this morning to get up and make breakfast with the kids underfoot in the kitchen instead of distracted by SpongeBob, but also a little nice. I think we genuinely had richer ‘family time’ all day because of this, plus, I got more cleaning and reorganization done and Jason is this close to completing the bathroom. It’s definitely an adjustment, though. I usually read while I brush my teeth, and I must admit, by 7:15 PM I was exhausted and trying to figure out how I was going to get through the next 45 minutes without passing out on the couch and staring at the blank TV. What can I say, I’m addicted to my Prime-time down time and the withdrawal symptoms are harsh.

Anyway, one of our non-plugged in activities today was Ben’s first soccer game of the season. This year we went with the AYSO league that’s right next to our house and it’s a huge improvement to the one we did last year. We are members of The Lizards:


The coach is energetic and knowledgeable and the kids are super cute. Four of them are quite talented. Ben’s… well… Ben’s a newbie. He just hasn’t had much coaching at this sport and wasn’t born with a foot that just knows how to kick, like some kids are. Suffice it to say that he’s not a World Cup Pro yet. We’re not ruling it out for 2020, but right now he’s still in the early stages.

For instance, before the game started, the kids were lined up on the field waiting for the ref to blow the whistle to begin the game. We were up against The Killer Bees. The kids were ready, the coach was poised, the parents were on the edge of their seats. All of a sudden, Ben starts running in circles. It becomes apparent that he is being chased by a large bug:


The ref finally runs over and swats the bug away before blowing the starting whistle. My dad, sitting next to me remarked, “It seems unfair that the other team is using actual insects in their defense.”

Sadly, Ben’s only other contact with the ball during the game came when the ball was kicked so close to him he almost couldn’t avoid kicking it. He bravely stepped up to the challenge, swung his leg back and let it fly… his shoe that is. The poor kid’s shoe catapulted off his foot and up over his head and landed about 10 feet behind him. Jason and I really need to take quite a bit of responsibility in this one. We had a discussion before the game about which shoes he should wear: the ones with little traction that fit well, or the ones that were a bit big but could grip the earth a bit better. Obviously we made the wrong call.

So that’s the Newlin Saturday in a nutshell. I’m off to watch some TV. Woo hoo!

The Credit Road Map

I took a class yesterday on credit. It was taught by Patrick Ritchie, author of The Credit Road Map, and Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction Nominee. He is an animated man; passionate about a seemingly unexciting subject. It was a great class and I recommend taking the opportunity to hear him speak if you get it. The title company who set up the class did a drawing midway through the class for a copy of his book and I won. So I will let you know what he’s like in prose vs. person.

Anyway, I want to pass on a few nuggets of interesting info about credit I picked up:

1. Opening department store credit cards can ding your credit, but so can closing them. Your best bet is to stick with what you’ve got.

2. 1-888-5-OPT-OUT is the number to call to have your name taken off of lists to be sent preapproved credit card offers. It’s not a flawless system, however. If you opt out using your first and last name, they can still send you offers with your middle initial included.

3. To keep your credit at a maximum number, you never want to charge more than 50% of your limit on to any one credit card. You also don’t want to charge more than 80% on your home equity line of credit.

4. is where you go to get your free annual credit report. This will not give you a credit score. If you want that you’ll have to pay for it.

5. Even though your accounts may charge you a fee for being ‘late’ a few days on your payment, they cannot report that you are actually late until 30 days after the due date. So it might cost you $30, but at least getting that check in the mail a few days late won’t cost you 30 credit points.

6. 720 is what you want your credit score to be. This will allow you the best rates and programs for loans. There is no financial advantage to having a credit score higher than this, but if you shoot for 800, when something small inevitably goes wrong and drops you down 40 points or so, you’re still in a range that will allow you the best products.

If you have any specific credit questions, you can email the author and instructor at

Charles-Manson-Eyes Don’t Inspire Confidence?

So my head-shot is outdated. It’s weird to me that this is an issue; a photo I had taken 18 months ago looks too little like me now that I can’t use it on advertising materials, but apparently it’s true. I went on a listing appointment a month or so ago that I scheduled because of an ad I run in a neighborhood paper. When I showed up at their door they looked at each other confused and said they’d expected me to look different.

The big problem is that I had just cut my hair short before I had that picture taken. I probably haven’t cut it since and now it’s pretty long. It makes me look younger, I think. On my business cards I can pass for someone who’s been in the biz as much as 10 years, I think (it’s a tiny picture) but in person I think I often come off looking closer to high school age.

I’m going to schedule professional photos, but until then, Jason and I tried to capture a decent professional looking photo for an ad he was putting together for my high school reunion’s memory book. It did not go well. I was conscious of the fact that when I smile big my eyes get very small, so I was trying to keep them open. It ended up looking a little serial killerish. Plus the flash and indoor lighting projected a sweaty sheen on to my face.


Hott, right?

It didn’t help that I had a little urchin clinging to my legs the entire time:


Man, I hate having my photo taken. Sigh.

Listings! Updated!

OK, no blood (or pictures of blood) in this post. But I have been meaning to do this for awhile:

1. This cheap and cute Chandler listing:


is under contract to close on Thursday. Woo!

2. This nice one also in Chandler:


just went under contract this weekend, and real estate gods willing, will close September 7th.

Those are just to let you know that when the papers say that the market has bottomed out and nothing is selling, they’re wrong. The market’s feeling a bit lazy, but those buyers are still out there for the right price and the right house.

3. This East Mesa charmer:


is still hanging in there but has be dropped even further to $214,900. It’s a great deal!

4. I have a new listing as of this morning.


Such a great house! I’m thrilled to have it in my repertoire. It’s 2366 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths and a 3 car garage in Gilbert (Guadalupe and Lindsay). The subdivision it’s in is a unique little 60 home neighborhood with privately owned streets. It used to be a pecan grove and most of the lots still contain one or two of the now massive, 80-year old trees. The landscaping is lush and perfectly manicured and the lots are all over-sized with nice big RV gates. They have a huge diving pool in back and a 12-seater in-ground spa in the back. We’re asking $425,000.

Check out the pool and spa:


Call me if you want to see it!

It’s Gross and You Love It

I know, I know, I’ve totally turned into one of those bloggers I hate. The ones more blah than blogger because they go weeks without posting.

OK, so in attempt to win you back, I have a gross story for you (because everyone loves gross stories, right?).

Last Thursday Jason was working from home (he usually works from home Thursdays) when he got called in for a meeting. Ben was at school (first grade! Can you believe it?) and Gray was following me around taking notes on what drives me more insane: when he flushes toy cars down the toilet when I’m on the phone with a client, or when he pulls my faxes off the fax machine as they come in and dances on them. He’s writing a self-help book for toddlers. The working title is “The Day My Mom Lost All Her Marbles: The Dissertation of a Journey to Crazy”, but we think it’s a little long.

Anyway, I was talking to a potential client about a listing presentation I was preparing for her and pacing around the house. (I pace, it’s weird, but I can’t not.) As I was walking through our bedroom I stubbed my toe on something under the edge of a giant pile of laundry that’s threatening to take over our bedroom. It hurt, but not that bad and I didn’t want to interrupt my conversation. I picked up the laundry and saw that it was the claw end of Jason’s hammer hiding under there in wait for my baby toe. I made a mental note to have a conversation with Jason about where his tools do and do not belong (and also to avoid the fact that the laundry I hadn’t done was an accomplice to the crime) and hobbled out into the living room.

I was still wrapped up in my conversation when Gray ran over, poked me in the thigh and said, “Mommy, what wrong? What wrong?” I looked down to where he was pointing on the floor and saw this on the floor under my right foot:


Yep, my stubbed foot was bleeding freely from some wound I couldn’t see under my foot. And, well, bleeding quite a bit. Like more than I’ve ever bled from a wound before.

I need to stop right here and explain that I’m not so good with injuries, mine, or anyone else’s. I’m actually pretty OK with pain in general, but blood, cuts, open wounds of any kind are pretty much my panic button. Jason’s always cutting or bashing parts of his body cooking or working on the car and I think my hysteria over the situation is probably the big reason he’s been to Urgent Care three times in the last year.

So, you can imagine that even though my foot didn’t hurt that bad, the sight of my life force draining out of the bottom of my foot onto our hardwood floors sent me from work mode to oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-die mode in nothing flat.

I pretty much hung up on my client and hopped into the kitchen to grab a towel, leaving a trail of blood drops the size of quarters behind me. It was like a CSI scene, I swear. There was spatter and I swear to God you could even tell which direction the victim, ahem, I mean I was moving by the length and shape of the blood drops! It kind of made we want to email CBS and say ‘Good job on the realistic looking crime scenes!’

At that point I was sitting on the floor of the kitchen with my phone still in hand and Gray standing next to me freaking out in his own cute two-year old way (What wrong, Mommy, what wrong?) and I had a little bit of a brain freeze freak out. I just didn’t really know what to do. I was worried that my toe was going to fall off or something and equally so that Gray was going to start finger painting with the gore on the walls… So I called Jason.

He was already annoyed in general with work and not thrilled about the idea of turning around mid-drive and coming home. But he did, and when he did, he just stood in the doorway for a minute and marveled at the scene. I wish we had better pictures of the room. We didn’t think to take them until most of the mess had been cleaned up and only the big puddle remained.

Jason cleaned my wound and said it wasn’t that bad (I couldn’t look, still too freaked out). He bandaged it and said we would look at it the next day. He started cleaning and I got up to help him. About two steps in to helping the bandage on my foot was soaked in blood and dripping on the floor. GROSS. I began freaking out anew and I think Jason did a little too. We decided I should go to Urgent Care (or as I like to refer to it, our second home).

Because Jason was busy with work I called my dad to see if he could take a quick break from work to drive me in. He did and we showed up, bloody towel wrapped around my foot and all. They got me in quickly, gave me a tetanus shot (EW, rusty hammer!), said it wasn’t that bad and re-bandaged it. The doctor told me to keep it up for a few hours. This time the bandage stayed white.

Later that evening after I was much calmer I actually looked at the cut for the first time. It’s about a centimeter long under my foot between my pinkie and next toe. It barely looks worse than a paper cut. So basically, I dragged my husband AND my father out of work for a tetanus shot.

Gray’s pretty sure his book’s ready to come to it’s conclusion.

The Great MidWest

I’ve been out of town. It was the big trip of the year, and it involved quite a bit of planning, packing and finally, flying with crazy, exhausted children. I’ve actually been back since late Monday night, but it’s taken me a few days to get back in the swing of life. I think I’ve finally gotten enough sleep to think straight and most of our mountains of laundry have been done. Anyway, this trip had it’s ups and downs, which I tend to think that most trips do. It was a full week from the time we left our house until the time we walked back in the door and a week away from our house, and normal sleeping and eating routines was bound to throw us out of wack at least a little. Here’s the basic rundown:

The Ups:


Visting the cutest little Amish town and riding on a horse and buggy (plus I scored with some beautiful locally spun Alpaca yarn).


Riding ATVs through rows of apple trees, blueberry bushes and corn. It was easy to feel far away from stress of all kinds riding on the back of an ATV when all you can see is soy bean fields and queen anne’s lace.





Learning that the beach at Lake Michigan really isn’t that different from the beach at San Diego (weird!).



Spending time with family.


The Downs:

One of my new listings canceled on day two of our trip (I hadn’t even posted it here yet). The wife called me and said that due to family problems, they needed to take it off the market. Two hours later I got a call from an agent wanting to make an offer. Oh bitter irony!

We had decided to try the red eye out to Michigan from Phoenix. What a mistake! No sleep was had by anyone but Ben, because he could nap for a couple of hours through his little brother’s screaming. We went roughly 40 hours with no sleep when all was said and done.

Bugs. ‘Nuff said.

One bathroom, 10 people. Also, ’nuff said.

Our travel home got totally screwed up in so many ways it’s hard to describe. There was weather, airline error, and traffic. Suffice it to say that we ended up taking a 4 hour bus ride (where we actually had to get off and change busses with the kids and our 800 pieces of luggage halfway through) and finally missed our connecting flight in Chicago and had to stay an extra 24 hours.

Which brings me to one more final good:

We were lucky to have two dear friends who just happen to live outside of Chicago to come pick us up and let us crash for the night. It was so great, because I’d been wanting to get out and see their house and meet their new boyfriends and it was the perfect opportunity.

Check out the midwestern glory:


And how cute are they?



So we survived it all. And we even got to visit the horse farm I lived on as a child. But that’s a story for another day.