Friday, August 29, 2008

The New Playroom

So, above are the before pictures. I thought of taking pictures after I took down the wallpaper border that was along the top. This is now the THIRD time in 7 years that we have repainted this room. When we first moved in we painted in a cornflower blue color and had a wallpaper border along the top. That didn't last that long because we didn't like it too well and then we painted it this brown color and put up a different wallpaper border and that was how it remained for about 5 years when it was our bedroom and then as a guestroom.
And now it is painted again and is a playroom for Isabel. Yes, that is a red light in the background. I thought that seemed more fun. This time we didn't do a wallpaper border and just primed and painted and then brought in all the toys. Isabel is very happy to have this playroom in the basement. I still have an area rug to put down in the middle which will be nice in the winter to give an extra layer against the basement floors.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Star Tribune Has Bad Customer Service

Today is my day to complain.....

So, before we moved I went online a started a Sunday subscription to the Star Tribune (a Twin Cities paper). That was at 8am on Saturday morning and I selected "When to Begin Service: Immediately". So, I figured immediately meant I would get it that Sunday. NOPE.

So, I called that Monday and asked and they said that online orders are only processed M-F during work hours. So, I understood and they said I would get a paper on Sunday.

Sunday came and there was NO paper at 8am (neighbors had one so I knew they delivered them.) I called and reported this and was assured that they would deliver a paper to my doorstep right away. We left and came back at 12:30 and there was NO paper. I called again and they said the only thing they can do now is credit my account because the cutoff to report non-delivered papers is noon and it was past noon. I told him I already reported it wasn't delivered and I was supposed to get one to my door & this was the 2nd time that day I did not get my paper.

He said there was nothing he could do about it. I got this sad excuse for 'Sorry for the inconvenience'. There was no offer to make it up my giving me a free week or anything. So, I cancelled my subscription and said I was going to go with the Pioneer Press (the St. Paul paper) and his reponse 'do what you need to do'.

Now today I get a call from the same customer service rep that promised to have it delivered to my door asking if it was delivered (yes, 4 days AFTER!). I told her it didn't and that I was very upset about all of that and how I called again at 12:30 and they wouldn't do anything. I just wanted a damn paper! She asked if I lived in an apartment or townhouse and it went somewhere else. I said, "Nope! I have a very large Victorian house that you can't miss." She aopolgized and assured me it would be there this weekend. I told her I cancelled my service last Sunday when they did not deliver my paper two times and she said "Oh, you cancelled. Ok, Bye." And then she hung up the phone.

I still haven't called the other paper and not sure that I want to.

I will have to think about if there are some good customer service things I can post or at least good reviews of products to balance out the bad reviews.

I Will Never Do Business with Coldwell Banker Again

So, our first relator was from Coldwell Banker Burnet and while she was nice and communicated with us a lot, she had a small office and just couldn't do much to advertise our house. The next Coldwell Banker Burnet office was AWFUL and we should have cancelled with them a long time ago. Here is the short list (yes, there is a long list) of why they were AWFUL:
* Didn't call us after open houses
* Didn't call us after private showings
* Didn't get info from people coming to open houses
* Never sent copies of ads to us as promised
* Typos & errors in the listing
* Didn't keep brochure box filled (was always emplty when we visited)
* Wouldn't return our phone calls or emails
* Poor at following up with prospective buyers
* Let our listing EXPIRE & we had to call them!
* Took several days to get us the cancellation paperwork
* Left their signs at our house for 2 months!!!!!!

The last is what I am complaining about today. The guy who they rent the solar sign from came today to retrieve to pick up his stuff & all the rest of their signs that they had planted. He was apologizing profusely saying he never got a call 2 months ago when the contract was cancelled or last week Monday when I called or this week Tuesday when I called again (all these calls were to the relator office.) What made him respond was the email that I had Andy send to him (since he has his email on a sticker on the sign.) After he got that email he called the relator office & they said "Oh, we meant to call you about that."

But you know what the office told me - they said they called him last Monday & on Tuesday this week. I don't believe that shit for one second considering the reputation of the office to not make calls in the first place.

When I called the office on Tuesday I told them if it wasn't removed in 24 hours I was reporting the property as trespassing to the police and then the signs would be removed by a garbage collector at THEIR expense (I knew this was the protocal as I had to call the police about a trespassing issue previously.) This is exactly what I had Andy email the sign guy & also that we had called the relator office several times & what they said.

The sign guy was very sorry and upset with the office, but at least someone does what they are supposed to do and he was apologetic, even if it wasn't his fault.

This particular Coldwell Banker Burnet office has left such a sour taste in my mouth that I will never list a house with them again and will NEVER recommend them to anyone else. If someone is interested in knowing what particular office & relators this is, please post in the comments. I will be glad to tell you which office in the Twin Cities it was.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Back to MN

Well, it's final. Andy accepted a job offer back in the Cities and we are moving back in our house and taking it off the market.

We are sad to leave all the wonderful friends we made here in the Mke area, but it is finally good to have a job & house in the same state.

We honestly didn't think our house was going to sell at this point and we were just going to be squandering away our savings trying to make it happen and we could end up still being stressed about the house & the lack of funds we have.

He put in his two weeks notice today and we will head back to MN after that. We haven't decided on the exact date we will move back, but shortly thereafter. It's time we stop being freeloaders.

We'll have some time in-between jobs to be a family and relax. But he'll start at the end of August so our benefits with that company will start on Sept. 1st so that we don't have any gaps in coverage.

So, that's it. It's done and may be we can catch our breath.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Kitchen Re-Do

If we move back to MN, the first thing we are going to tackle (& by we, I mean mostly me) will be the kitchen. We won't have a ton of money to re-do it, but look at the difference some paint can make. This lady used $30 in paint and completly transformed her kitchen. Check out the

What we would do would be not too different. We would take down all the wallpaper (huge difference just in that) and paint it a nice solid neutral color. Then we would paint the cabinets (Andy says white, but I am not sold on white exactly.) We have all nice new white appliances, so I think those will be just fine. Next we will take down the other 2 brassy light fixtures and paint them black like I did over the eat-in space.

The next part will cost a bit of money because we REALLY need better functioning countertops. The small tiles don't work for making bread or rolling out cookies and it's a pain in the arse to clean in between the grout lines. We certainly wouldn't be doing anything fancy, just neutral & functional.

And I would really like to have better hardware for the cabinets. I like what I have on the drawers, so those will stay, but I think I can come up with something clever to make for handles so I don't have to spend a small fortune since there is so many to replace.