Julie’s Job Was the Toughest on the Love Boat

Planning Travel for Dad and I

I have been acquiring airline tickets, pricing car rentals, and Pricelining hotels for this trip to Florida and it’s stressful!  Geez but you hope that everything goes well, the car is nice, and the hotels are pleasant in good areas of town. Priceline is pretty awesome and I’ve had great luck bidding for my rooms.  This is the first trip that my dad and I have taken on our own and we’re doing pretty well and having fun! We’re also trying to decide what to do with our time tomorrow.  My vote? Cape Canaveral!  We’ll see what he ends up agreeing to but, as far as I’m concerned, bring on the Space Coast!

Planning Big Travel with Frosty and Samira

Added to that, I’m working on two different trips- one to Australia (end of Feb/Beginning of March) with Frosty and another to China (end of March/Beginning of April) with Samira (which is not her real name and means “Pleasant Company” in Arabic 🙂 )

China requires so many decisions with complexities like getting a visa, which you can’t mail in, and then need to get travel insurance. We have also had some challenges figuring out which tour companies are both trustworthy and a good deal- hopefully we’ve found the right combination!  Yikes!!  So much to decide all at once!!  But it’s going to be so awesome that my biggest worry is currently the restrooms aka “Squatty Potties”.  Don’t know why I’m dreading them? Check this out: http://www.squidoo.com/squatty-potty I can live dehydrated for a long, long time.  Or at least long enough to get back to our five star hotel!

Captain Stubing just had to drive the boat.  Julie had to entertain and vet the destinations.  Driving the boat is far easier!

Tampa and the Florida Foreclosure Market

It’s cool and cloudy here today in Tampa.  I know, it’s near-tragedy that we should have to suffer through 65 degree highs here in Florida but, somehow, we are coping.  Yes, I know it’s negative degrees back home and hopefully you know that I’m joking about how unacceptable the temps are. 🙂

Dad and I came down to check out the red-hot foreclosure market down here and see if there were some super-awesome deals to be had.  Given that this is my first foray into this kind of real estate, it’s been eye opening.  Some of my observations:

  1. You really can buy homes for much less than you could have built them for.  Some of the houses are going for less than half of what they cost new.
  2. There are  lots and lots of houses for sale here- more than in Ohio, and at better prices.
  3. Pictures can be so deceiving.  (Hopefully this means an end to my parents’ obsessive viewing of the Florida Real Estate Auctions on TV, starring the annoying Jeremiah.)
  4. Some people, when losing their homes, commit absolutely criminal acts when departing the property.  One home we went through yesterday had shattered glass all over the floors, reeked of urine, and had been beaten up in ways that were surely intentional.  I get that people are upset to be losing their homes; I do not get why they would destroy the home. After all, the mean old bank is going to have a big old punishment when they get the property that is worth far less than the loan on it regardless.  Most folks in foreclosure have effectively gotten free rent for over a year which feels like a pretty nice parting gift to me.  Were it I running the banks, I would invest in criminal prosecution for this wanton destruction because it is just wrong.  It really upset me and was indicative of how perilous a moral state we are in now if it is a reasonable response to destroy the property you are letting go back to the bank after months and months of no payment.

I think that the market prices on foreclosures are going to go lower before they nose up because:

  1. There is a huge backlog of foreclosures waiting to flood the market- our real estate agent down here told us they expect 30% more foreclosures to be listed next year than exist today.  You can see the evidence of this backlog as you see so many abandoned, overgrown homes in the neighborhoods you tour and in the headlines of banks that are not being allowed to complete the foreclosure process.
  2. Mortgage rates are expected to go up, which typically retards price inflation.

So there you go… travel updates.  My business stuff is currently in a stealth development mode so I’m not discussing its nuances, but they are really great!!

Final Valentine’s Day Warning, Y’all

Valentine’s Day is MONDAY. As in, three days from now.  If you have or aspire to have a Valentine, it’s time to get cracking on that perfect gift, card, and sentiment if you’ve not yet done so.  Oh, and don’t send red roses if you don’t mean it! 😀

Make it a great day!

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