Monday, September 21, 2009

Meet Nick Vujicic

I meant to share this Australian's story several weeks ago. He was a featured motivational speaker at Keller Williams Realty's "Family Reunion" this summer in Orlando.

Our Team Leader found this video on YouTube and sprung it on us at our usual Tuesday morning meeting. It is very moving, particularly as he addresses youth in what appears to be a private or parochial school setting. Share it with your kids or parents you know.

Here's Nick.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Just Back From Diving Expedition!

It was such a thrill to get back into deep see diving this weekend. I hadn't done any for several years and at my age it's starting to get a bit risky. Plus, I'm in terrible shape; looking okay, more or less, but feeling a little shabby--as well as flabby, here and there. Mostly there.

The dive started, at my suggestion, at a house a friend of mine had purchased, sight unseen, at a foreclosure auction on the Multnomah County Courthouse steps about six or eight weeks ago. Now he's a commercial realtor and investor, and I'm a residential realtor in Portland. When he was talking with his representative at the auction, while we were having breakfast, I said "Man, are you nuts? You haven't even seen this place! It could be total bulldozer-bait!"

He was on the phone with the Vestus Foreclosure rep, who had cursorly scouted the place from his car and put together some comparable prices. My friend said something like, "Okay, I'll go up to $130,000; maybe around $134,000. It can't be too bad." (Unoffered comment: "You wanna bet?")

So he won the bid and took possession of the house, legally but not in a practical way. The deadbeat, gun-runner, previously busted by Portland Police and Federal agents, was camping there and wanted 45 to 60 days to move out. My friend bargained for 10 days and paid a bonus of $1,200, which is not an uncommon approach, especially if you want to get in and start working. It's just another risk you budget for going in.

NOTE: Sarah Palin, ex-governor of Alaska, borrowed from the expression, 'putting lipstick on a pig,' which describes what you try to get by with on properties you plan on flipping. Investors refer to putting lipstick on their houses as four essential jobs and expenditures: They are 1) upgrading the kitching, 2) painting in and out, 3) re-finishing, tiling and/or carpeting the floors, as needed and 4) landscaping. Roofing, extensive repairs, remodeling are more than lipstick can cover. By the way, I'll be happy to buy you coffee to share foreclosure opportunities with you.

So far, you've got to be thinking: What does this have to do with diving? Ah ha! Hold on. We're going somewhere.

My friend, aka realtor, investor, property manager and horse-trader and I toured the house after the former owner moved out. At this point, savvy investor friend had been inside once and told me something along the line that he thought he 'bought into a little more work' than he had bargained for. Then I saw the house.

"A little more work!!" Holy Cow, there aren't enough exclamation marks left in this computer to do justice to that statement. How about 16 tons of work. (Listen to the song if you've haven't heard it in a few years.)

Anyway, I talked him into getting a large drop box--I still call them "dumpsters" from my days back east when some company named Dempsey had a corner on the market for, appropriately, Dempsey Dumpsters. He'd been thinking he would save a few bucks and simply load up his little Fred Meyer trailer, make a few trips to the dump, and be ahead of the game.

By the way, this guy found out, after the purchase, that he has prostrate cancer--maybe a little advanced--and is going in for surgery, tomorrow morning.

Given that and just the general dismal depth of stuff I was standing in an on, I expressed my doubts about his sanity in crass terms, I'm sure, but he got the point. I even threw in my services to pick up some labor from the casual labor site on NE MLK Boulevard and to supervise them for the few hours we thought it would take to clean out the house. You can call for tips on this resource, too.

Did I say 'a few hours'?

We both work on commissions. I owed him a little something on a referral fee I forgot about on a recently closed sale. This seemed like an equitable way to repay him $1,000 or so, which he had already told me to just forget about it. We always make the money part work out, eventually.

I should have listened to that part where he said 'forget about it.'

Do you remember in the movie "Pretty Woman" where hooker Julia Roberts was impolitely asked to take her 'professionally attired' body and leave an exquisite boutique on Rodeo (as in Ro-day-0) Drive, only to drop by the next day, dressed to the hilt and, supposedly, toting several megabucks worth of designer outfits in shopping bags? She asked the saleslady (still impolite saleslady) if she worked on commission, to which the B-lady said "Yes." Julia jiggled her bags a little toward the lady and said "Big mistake. Huge mistake!" and left. A great scene. And lesson.

At the end of Friday--big mistake #1--I was bushed, totally. Eight hours. A year of sitting in front of a computer didn't help, either. I slept 10 hours Friday night and sat around most of Saturday in my pj's and bath robe, which I never do. Yes, I did. And I watched Oregon, Oregon State and West Virginia (home boys). Two wins and one loss.

Today, I called my friend and told him I would go back to the house (huge mistake #2) in SE Portland to make sure some scrap metal collectors came back and picked up what I left out for them. I also took a few treasures--more metal, twin boxspring and two priceless speakers--from my house to offer as sacrifices to the Dumpster gods. A little aside: There are Dumpster gods, locally. The most awesome ones hang out at the waste transfer station in Oregon City. They run back and forth for 8 or 10 hours every day, trapped in a big pit, groaning, crushing and devouring every bit of garbage tossed at them, whether kitchen cabinets, mattresses, boards and beams with lethal arrays of protruding nails and hanging chad--nothing is indigestible for these spiked and armoured leviathans as they pounce on the up-chuck of endless Dumpsters and drop boxes as fast as they can spread their sacrifices into the pit. It's an awesome, and sad, event to watch, but a must-see, at least once in your lifetime. Put it on your "bucket list."

The Diving! So, today, I went to the house and, damn!, some jerk--probably "jerks," they always seems to maraud in pairs--had dumped two small trailer or SUV loads of their personal garbage at my newly established, work site. What to do?

The only thing I could see to do was to dive in and start swimming. I said 'dive in.' Did you get it? Well, to make room for the neighbor gleaners--thanks, by the way--and for my own stuff, I had to jump in to the Dumpster and see what I could push and shove, jump on, lift, reposition, crush, cut and jump on some more to make more room. A few hours? I'd be embarrassed to tell you how many. Dumpster Diving can be very tiring and not very rewarding, even for sport. Just think about those who do it for a living. I felt more humble for the experience.

Eureka! I did find one genuine treasure. Unlike the "Big Wooden Box a-floatin' in the bay," this was a find I could be proud of, once I cleaned it: A shallow glass or crystal punch bowl, similar to this one, maybe 14" to 16" in diameter, with a 1" cranberry rim around it. I've no idea how it made it that far without getting smashed into little pieces, or even why the Latino laborers didn't set it aside!

So, that's it! My big, wild see diving experience for the day. I hope for all time. BYW, if you are in the neighborhood, drive south off Powell on 60th Avenue--you may find the steal of the year still sitting in the yard, looking at you with cries of "Take Me! Take Me! I'm Free." But don't go looking for the cranberry-rimmed punch bowl.

Signing off with my new handle (and crazy music video):

Dumpster Diver.

aka: Darryl Love

Monday, August 24, 2009

KMF Takes On The Real World: The Life and Death of Kristen Forbes

KMF Takes On The Real World: The Life and Death of Kristen Forbes

I wish I could hang on to the basics of how this blogging business works. I just don't get it. Maybe AARP can help me. You see, I am AARP, in a sense. Probably a bit too liberal for most AARPies. But I share the same learning curve when it comes to 21st Century phenomena like blogging.

My intent, here, is to share with Kristen Forbes, part-time writer, how much I enjoyed her blog ( which I was tempted to log onto from an article she wrote for the Beaverton Valley Times. Browsing through her blog entries, I came across her discovery that there were at least six other women with whom she shared the same name. At least, that was her finding via facebook, the social web site of gigantic size.

What she found on facebook that took me a step further into her world was that one of the Kristen Forbes had died of cervical cancer at the age of 23. Her thoughts on the shared-namesake, whom she never knew, were moving. The girl's father, Kirk Forbes, finished her journal as a book which is now available: Love, Kristen.

I haven't read Love, Kristen and I doubt if I will. Just knowing "the ending" would make her journey too much for me to handle, emotionally. However, I think I will buy it for my two daughters: one, the mother of my 13-year old grandaughter, and the other fighting her own battles with a form of lupus at just three years older than Kristen Forbes, the cancer victim.

So, thank you, Kristen Forbes, young aspiring writer in Oregon, who writes about everything, mostly herself, she admits, and always about cupcakes. I didn't get that far so you'll have to explore that for yourselves.

Now, I'll post this, I believe. An orange button below says "publish post" but all I started out to do, so I thought, was to respond or post to Kristen Forbes' blog, somewhere in Beaverton, which is where I work. God help all AARPies. Even those who aren't members, like my wife and me.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The first step: Reach Out!

Actually, this is my first blog step, . . absolutely no clue about what I'm doing. I think I have a less vague idea about why I am starting to blog, as well as sign up for FaceBook, Twitter and a few other social networking sites. It's in that song, Reach Out!, from 30 or more years ago. I think it went something like "Reach out! Reach out, little ol' man."

Well, that's me. I'm old; older than a box of rocks but I'm still feeling and doing well, daily, in Portland, Oregon, USA. I need to reach out. I'll get this to all my long-time friends and acquaintances, somehow, but I certainly welcome anyone to jump in. Bring up anything you want--just keep it clean, please. (I may moderate posts until I test the water.)

I'm in real estate, mentally and physically, in a big way and time-wise, but a huge part of me wants to be somewhere else. So, I struggle with that all the time, even weekly--I don't have to wait for another birthday to come and go to reflect on where I spend my time.

What's On My Mind

Reaching out at this juncture has to do with having a few things to do and knowing that nothing is going to get done flying solo. I need several co-pilots and a jumbo jet full of contacts, people, supporters, passers-by and even activists. For example, I want to start a "village" for foster children somewhere near Portland, preferrably in a rural setting. That can be difficult in Oregon because of our land-use laws which tend to keep current uses in place for long periods of time--20 and 40-year increments, perhaps. That leaves little room for finding the zoning for setting up, say, a community or grouping of four to six, or more, houses where there is also room for some small-scale farming experience. However, the impossible is possible--it just takes more time and effort.

"Take Out The Papers and The Trash!"

Talk about the impossible, my wife is after me (again) to get rid of some of my junk. Impossible! Why is my "stuff" always junk and her's isn't? I mean, is five turntables--machines that play vinyl phonograph records--too many to have around? What if one breaks? That only leaves me one that still works! Cutting it pretty thin, don't you think? She doesn't bring it up, much, but I'm pretty sure she wants some of the 33 rpm records out of the way, too. One of my daughters may be interested in the rock 'n' roll records, but she has no interest in jazz, classical, swing, etc. And I can't blame her. After all, would I even consider collecting Backstreet Boys or Jewell? Not!

"Well, Hello, Dolly!"

Talk about collections and nightmares, here's a real combo. I have a sister, 75, in Ohio who has hundreds of dolls--maybe several thousand--which she can't sell because of the lack of a market for collectible dolls right now and because of her health. She sold a few things on e-Bay through a daughter but that was very slow and physically grueling. Then around the first of the year she fell down her basement steps and broke her hip. One of her girls went over when she hadn't checked in after, supposedly, having gone to see her doctor. She had been lying at the base of the stairs for eight hours. She's also high-risk diabetic. She had hip repair surgery and was doing surprisingly well when she fell and broke her ankle. She's still doing well, just temporarily down. I'm not certain, but I bet if there is anyone willing to check out a doll collection in Athens, Ohio, she would make you a decent deal. You're gonna need a bigger truck!, to paraphrase from "Jaws."

That's it, for now:

There are other struggles and tasks we can talk about later. I'll try this blogging business for a few weeks or months to see how it goes. I look forward to experimenting with some of the formats--this one is pretty "blah!" And I'm shooting for at least a weekly update but I don't have any special message or compelling need to write about anything in particular. So don't stay glued to your seats. It will take me a few days to learn a decent page layout and so on. Tips are welcomed.

So, whaazup with you?