Social media should not be real life

There is a veil of allowance to express yourself on social media. Being the conditioned politically correct puppets we have to be in the workplace doesn’t allow you to be “you”. It is a rare occurrence to encounter an Account Executive presenting photos of his toddler dressed in camo, holding a shotgun at a meeting with a prospective client.

Facebook allows a hidden personality to troll around the town square in their underwear. Think about it – a casual acquaintance becomes your Facebook friend. He may be a neighbor or work associate. You know them in a casual or professional set of  circumstances. You have never seen their Christmas tree, swam in their pool or broke bread at their table.

Workplace superiors, presenting themselves as control freak, power happy sharks post their controversial political views and off color jokes. The entitlement of rank appears to convey preeminence in online chatter. Walking a fine line is often exhibited to maintain “control”.

Religious practices and promotion are prevalent among Facebook postings. In an about face, quite a few confessions of being an atheist and agnostic pop up from time to time. It is a rare occurrence for break room conversation to erupt into someone proclaiming they don’t believe in God. No one wants the bank tellers or cosmetic counter manager to return to their stations all shook up. Mama always taught us to not talk about sex, religion or politics, but social media is a ripe forum for it.

Neighbors never fail to surprise. is a community site available to a neighborhood to post info of interest to the residents. Every once in awhile a comment in reference to a playground will erupt with a posting in reference to some people should not have the right to have children! True or not, the statement is going to offend some folks. Instead of posting – “your neighbor parades around in their birthday suit with the blinds up”, go next door and tell him yourself.

Unfiltered assertions published from the comfort of your phone, tablet or laptop should be qualified with the validation, “Would I make that comment to my friend, co-worker, neighbor, relative face to face? We should always feel free to express ourselves, but repercussions can also slam your ass when you least suspect it. We are all aware of the school teacher posting her semi nude photo at a beer bash. Drunk posting is as bad as drunk dialing. Unless you frequently break bread with your co-workers or neighbors, is it necessary for them to know every intimate philosophy or activity you participate in?

Delusions of grandeur are portrayed with banners, videos and attachments. If you think or believe otherwise, you are deemed an idiot. Why don’t you tell me how you really feel? These are the comrades you are riding cheek to cheek next to in the commuter van! Now, you know the PTA president would think you’re an imbecile because the “Rainy Day Plan” is the most ridiculous waste of time you’ve ever been roped into.

Before social media, we actually talked to each other. We didn’t text. We either met in person or spoke on the telephone. The human voice infers pitch to convey emotion. The human face conveys expression. We were able to gauge acceptance or annoyance with our conversation. We had a circle of friends for the “shooting range” and another set of friends for discussing analytical algorithms.



In an “about face” – I may not like what you have to say, but I will defend your right to say it till my death.” All I am saying is to “think” about what you are posting. Remember who your audience includes.

How many of your “friends” on social media would really be your friends if you were on a a deserted island together? Social media should not be real life. Real life should be a human exchange encompassing respect and compassion. Think – Woodstock!


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Fascinated by home seller presentations

When my siblings and I were teenagers and ready to sell our first cars, Dad taught us a clean car sells fast. I’m not talking about running it through the $1.98 car wash. Cotton swab, white glove inspection clean to be specific. The engines were steam cleaned. The inside of the bumpers were spotless, graduation tassels removed and all Exxon tiger tails retired. There was enough Rain Dance and Armor All used to buff a Carnival Cruise Liner. The vehicles always sold fast and for the asking price.

The same can be said about listing a home for sale. I am presently searching for a home along the Texas gulf coast. The houses I’ve viewed have kept me awake and freaked out at night. A prospective buyer does not want to see cabinet doors hanging from bent hinges or your foundation garments hanging from a door knob. At least hang the pretty bras out – not the dingy ones. If you don’t own a vacuum cleaner, it would be wise to borrow, rent or steal one. Improvement would be evident if some of the carpets were swept with a broom.

Depersonalizing the home is as integral to cleanliness. Walls of family photos are important to the owners but not to potential buyers. I am haunted by a professional photograph of an older woman with a crown, like Queen Elizabeth’s, on her head. She may be some type of royalty but the home was no castle. I would rather see the hideous red velvet wallpaper than a wall full of hundreds of family photos. Yes, the dog is cute and the babies are adorable but I want to see what type of dynamite it is going to take to remodel the room.

Knickknacks, tchotchkes, trinkets, miniatures, collections and doodads all need to be put in a box and removed from the home. Statues, glass collections, paper weights, CD/DVDs, magazines, newspapers minimize the size of a room. I was afraid to turn around, with my handbag on my shoulder, for fear of knocking something off of a side table. By the way, there were multitudes of small tables in a few homes.  There were enough ducks, geese, eagles and cardinals displayed to represent the Audubon Society. Dead wildlife suspended above every doorway, fireplace and portal are, especially in the wild west, trophies of achievement to a specific fan club. Your prospective buyer may be a member of PETA. A neutral environment will enable a buyer to picture themselves living in your house. A Disney theme with Mickey, Goofy and “It’s a small world” piped in throughout the casa will not cut it.

As a home buyer, when I exit your home, I should have zero knowledge of your:

  • College affiliation
  • Religion
  • Pet preference – unless you have a built in wall aquarium or a farm/ranch property
  • Political views
  • Hoarding
  • Collection passion – e.g.: antique dolls, weapons, porn anything, dead plants, etc.
  • Smoking

“Know your selling audience” is an understatement. Your private abode will become a public forum when your home is listed. Remember, photos tell all. Understand your communities tolerance for stripper poles, trophies from the Swingers Club, bondage equipment, etc. If applicable, it would be best to put all of your toys away!

Less really is best. Fewer pieces of furniture and a minimum number of items displayed allow the seller/home owner to maintain a super clean environment with ease. It is an arduous task to ready a home, you and your family are currently living in, for a real estate viewing.

You probably don’t live in a model home. Model homes are staged environments. There isn’t anyone dropping butter bread on the carpet or leaving wet towels on the floors. Trash is virtually non-existent. Mold will not grow on a shower curtain or glass door if the home is uninhabited. Real folks live in resale homes. Develop a routine when the house is posted to the MLS.

Instead of frying fish and cabbage, keep the food smells to an infinitesimal amount. Cereal and salad usually have no smell. If you need more than two hours notice to take Barkinowski and Miss Kitty Lion for an outing and remove all pet hair in the process, pet accommodation can be included with Agent Remarks for the listing. My dog was sent on sabbatical to a relative’s home to sell our residence. Our home had multiple contracts within seven days. Alleviate any circumstance for a potential buyer to say, “no”.

Bribe the kids. Cajole your spouse/partner/roommate/other half/better half/significant other/soul mate/lover into being on your team. Be detail oriented. Mow and edge the lawn.

Curb appeal is as important as interior presentation when selling your home.

Curb appeal is as important as interior presentation when selling your home.

Pick up tripping hazards. Dust the ceiling fans and chandeliers – including the light bulbs. Keep laundry to an extreme minimum. There is no joy in dirty sock smells.  If you can pluck your eyebrows while peering intently into the kitchen sink faucet – you are on the right track.

(Please don’t steal a vacuum. This article was written with a hint of humor by an active Realtor®. Examples and experiences are real.)











The preacher’s kid

A conversation last night with a new acquaintance led me to think about the preachers kids I have known in my life. There is a common thread with each one of them. Different views at each level of my life have left me with the same conclusions.

I knew Trudy in high school. Why I remember her name is a miracle. Her parents named her Gertrude after a grandmother, who I am sure was a saint because no one in their right mind would name a child Gertrude. Trudy was the proverbial blonde haired, blue eyed, golden girl. Everyone circled around her charismatic personality and charm. Her daddy was the pastor of the Presbyterian church. In a WASP, steel town, blue collar community, this was a big deal. It is as though there was built-in celebrity status. She wore the latest trends in fashion, drove a new car in 11th grade – I believe it was a Mustang, and was invited to the upper echelon homes for dinner. I remember thinking that new car came from the dimes and nickels little kids took to Sunday school for their church offerings. My siblings and I shared a Chevy that was 10 years old when we received it. Trudy was a flirt. She danced on the edge of bad girl status. She never got into trouble for “necking” in the halls at school. She was never wrong when confronted about the flag being stolen off the big flag pole in front of the high school. Her reputation was sterling because no one had balls enough to question it. She ended up marrying some old fart right out of high school and was rarely heard from again.

John was a child who lived across the street when we were first married and raising a young family. John’s father was saturated in faith at the Lutheran church, where his wife was a teacher at the Lutheran school. John attended the Lutheran school and was a Boy Scout sponsored by said church. He was not allowed to associate with “outsiders”. Our innocent son, at about age 9, asked if John could go to the community swimming pool with us one morning. When his mother was asked if John could go, she informed me she would have to call his father at work to ask permission! Permission was denied because the last time they went to the pool, there were black kids there and this was not the element they wanted their child exposed to. It has taken me 20 years and I have never gotten over that statement. John grew up in his cocoon environment with the morals and upbringing of a caged dog. When he was 17 years old and a senior in high school, he came to us because he was seeing the 21 year old “assistant youth pastor” in the evenings at her apartment. God knows what he told his parents he was doing – bible study, choir practice, sharing the good word? He obviously was sharing un-church-like conduct. John was very upset because the assistant youth pastor was pregnant. He came to us because he stated in no uncertain words that if his father found out, he would kill him. I believed him. He came to us for guidance – the worldly heathens. After extensively discussing all possible options, John and the assistant youth pastor attended counseling sessions and an abortion was performed. This became “our little secret”. One thing heathens and worldly people are known for is keeping confidential information, confidential. We don’t write the daily news in the church announcements and ex-communicate people for mistakes.

I recently met a young lady, Carol, who lives on the same street as her aunts, uncles and grandparents. Her father is a preacher and according to her, they live a “good” life. She describes her father’s passages of faith as old school baptist. Carol and I were discussing the fact she is in her mid twenties and her mother wishes she would find a good man to marry. I made the off hand remark that it would be better to just live with a man you’re committed to instead of a formal marriage agreement. She promptly informed me her father would forbid that. Their morals are extremely high. I took this as a judgment of my morals. I asked her what is the difference between a personal commitment to another human being, to love them and cherish them forever and a $75.00 marriage license and a $100.00 fee to the preacher? I received no answer. I also left unsaid, when was Carol going to grow up and make decisions for herself? She’s a sweet girl but I am afraid she is going to live with mom and dad until she’s 50, unless they can find a programmed robot for her to marry.

Paul was the pastor’s kid at the church I attended when I was young. He was ornery and real. He was in my Sunday school and confirmation classes. During choir practice he would be accused of “not trying” because the poor kid could not carry a tune. He did sing loud and excruciatingly bad. Paul and I were always put in the front row for church services. We were both habitual talkers and at times, his dad would stop midway in the service and tell Paul to be quiet. This was an unpretentious family without regard of holding up a front or being something they were not.

There appears to me to be a lot of leaning on religion. It is an excuse not to think for yourself. The religion thinks for you and human beings can not always follow the rules. If a rule is broken, you are judged, ex-communicated and not allowed to take communion. Yea, baby, that is taking care of your own. Don’t get me started on the Catholics.

Reflecting on my own previous observations, it appears to be a money making machine. I know it is big business. Follow the scriptures and you will follow the money. I know young families almost starving to death due to the economic collapse, unemployment and recent recession, but they still “tithe” to the church. Their children don’t have decent clothes to wear to school and soap is a luxury.

During the initial collapse of US Steel in Pittsburgh, every church sermon was geared around getting my friends and neighbors to come to church. If money was not put into the offering, the church would not have enough bucks to pay the electric bill. My relatives and friends had been laid off from US Steel. Their homes were being foreclosed on, they were standing in food bank lines and their cars were being repossessed. I don’t think they were worried about the church’s electric bill. They were already sitting in the dark at home. They didn’t have money for gas or a vehicle to get to church. A church is only as strong as the membership. I quit going to church so I could get additional hours at work and a second job to assist my family members.

Don’t assume people who do not participate in organized religion are “bad” and “immoral” people. Get off the pulpit and open your mind. God doesn’t judge – Why do you?





Cable Cut – Dish Cut – Cost Cut

Extensive research has revealed there are a lot of people cutting the cable and disconnecting the satellite dish. The numbers vary depending on the data source. It is a huge decision because it changes your routine, habits, lifestyle and psyche.

When our children were young, we moved into a new home. A demanding job did not allow me the luxury of making an appointment to have the cable company set up service immediately. You would have thought someone ripped our 9-year-old’s heart out without an anesthetic. The cable company would not give a specific appointment time. It was a block of time which spanned morning or afternoon. I had been a previous victim. Taking a day off of work for a no-show technician did nothing but set me off like Sputnik. Our 9 year old did not receive the “luxury” of cable/satellite, again until he was 14 years old. The only reason he then received the gift of hundreds of channels was because his older brother was on a ship in a war zone and we became extreme news junkies.

By the way, when the satellite was installed, I had to call the billing department every month for years because the billing was incorrect. A credit would be issued, but the problem persisted. Every time it rained or the wind picked up, the service was “iffy”. I called customer service so many times, I eventually could re-program and re-position the satellite dish, with someone on the roof to scream instruction to,  without their assistance. Hurricane Ike blew the satellite off of the roof. My relationship with the satellite dish was starting to fray.

When you have a satellite/cable service – the family takes it for granted. The majority of the viewing, to my observation, were channels we were able to access at no charge with a homemade antenna created from leftover ceiling grid in our attic. The billing statement reflected a fee for HD access. When the televisions were on the antenna, we had HD at no charge. The satellite provider scrambled the HD and we were paying them a fee for HD to be accessible through their service. We were also paying to access local programming for which we were able to access “FREE” on the antenna. For an outrageous total charge per month, we could watch repetitious commercials, a whole lot of shopping channels, MTV that wasn’t the MTV I had loved and every single time I turned HBO on, they were showing “Somewhere in Time” starring Christopher Reeves. It didn’t matter what day or what time – that movie was on. Christopher will always be Superman to me – and dearly missed.

The 14-year-old grew up and graduated from college. A decision was made to stop the tv service madness. At the time, we lived outside of Houston. There were 54 channels available through the antenna. Now, some were in languages I had always intended to learn and a few were extremely religious. Most were in HD and reception was crystal clear. The same can’t be said for living outside of beautiful Paris, TX. Our antenna access amounts to CBS, Fox and 2 limited Oklahoma PBS channels. If anyone with money is in Oklahoma reading this – please contribute to your PBS station. The programs showing now were seen in Houston a long time ago. That said, my interest lies in access to local weather which can be seen on the CBS channel.

Any television viewing is now accomplished by switching over to Roku. World news, national news, Pandora, Netflix, HuluPlus, etc are here to entertain, educate and teach me how to make my own creme fraiche. Netflix is better at less or no commercial interruptions than HuluPlus. It was a fantastic to watch 4 seasons of Mad Men without any commercials. Continuous story line and actual use of the 18 minutes, average, time in my life to do something constructive – instead of multiple and redundant commercials to stop hemmoroid itching or to lose weight. By the way, we didn’t do the Mad Men marathon where you start the gig at 10:00 am, in your night clothes and watch continuously for 20 hours at a time! No, we watched the episodes in the evening over a period of weeks!

Instead of watching mindless prattle available for a fee, we are now able to choose exactly what we want to watch and when we want to watch it. It was not a hard habit to break. Think of how many hours your children and family members are glued to the tv out of habit. Ask them when they last saw a movie or program on a premium channel and discuss the subject matter. You will be amazed by the feedback.

If you subscribe to Netflix, HuluPlus and assorted other programs accessible through the internet, your savings can amount to over $1,000.00 per year by cutting the cable/satellite service. This depends on your current expenditure and your future decisions. The most valued benefit we have received is time.



Book Club

Visiting allows you to view a town with a tourist attitude of entertainment. After the shock of moving and being able to find Walgreens, I have noticed a huge religious culture in northeast Texas. There are far more churches than retailers, restaurants and recreation/arts facilities. A dry county has meaning to me, now. . Beer and wine are now sold in select stores, which is “new” to the area. It is a road trip to obtain vodka to make a shaken martini.

A discussion this week has led me to believe religion is the focus of the communities surrounding me. Trying to understand the inherent population likens it to being a “book club”. The glue of the community is obviously the bible. Numerous ways and means are developed to gather and discuss a book. The local newspaper advertises a directory of places to worship. There are multiple flavors of Baptist churches. Not a mention of Greek Orthodox or Missouri Synod Lutheran. Advertising for local businesses supporting places of worship is also featured. Chick-fil-A wears christian beliefs on their sleeve. Intentional or innocent,  there can be repercussions for personal expression within the business/corporate arena.

My concern lies in the fact that extremes are never a good thing. Diversity and exposure to additional facets of the world will educate and teach you to think beyond yourself. Baskin Robbins may not have been a business success if they only offered plain vanilla ice-cream cones. What would life be like without a birthday ice-cream cake or sprinkles on a Cotton Candy Ice Cream cone. Continuously staying in your comfort zone is nothing more than a repetition of the same – nothing gained. It hampers growth. Is there a fear associated with a walk on the wild side?  Wild side interpreted as listening to a democratic view for a minute without preaching?

The house next door was recently purchased by a lovely mature couple. Before the house was “closed”, we had a few conversations with them. Within minutes we learned the mister had devoted a major portion of his life to missionary work. This is a commendable feat and worthy of one’s elevator speech.  After they closed on their home, we were informed they based their decision to purchase on the fact that we, their new neighbors, appeared to be like them. Assumptions and perception are a tricky passage. We all want to fit in without the pain of conflict or conversion.

My previous work partner asked me where  the night clubs and party places are when I showed him this area on Google. I don’t “club” anymore – due to wanting to wake up with my head on my shoulders and knowing where my vehicle is. It wasn’t an important factor when deciding to move here. Visiting a “night club” will expose you to individuals from one end of the spectrum to the other. Night clubs are not always one in the same folk, wearing a uniform and singing the same old tune. Night clubs can be cafe’s, coffee shops, disco dance halls, square dancing, two stepping, beer gardens and wine bars.

Connecting with people sharing a common denominator may be a challenge. I would never join a club that would have me as a member. I don’t want to be like everyone else. Never did. That said, we all have to have a shared feeling or view to “get along”. Getting along can be disconcerting when you see the world through a telescope and everyone else has a microscope. I know this jukebox has more than one record in it!

It is all part of the journey.