THE SECOND STORY | April 30th, 2009

Surprise! A French bakery….in my own home!

(Home-baked croissants right out of my antique home oven.)

Many of my clients have heard me say time and again, with respect to real estate transactions, save the surprises for birthdays – we do what we can to keep them out of real estate.

Our kids knew from way back that Carl and I weren’t into Hallmark holidays. We would probably have been considered extremists since we carried that thought into creating ‘special days’ instead of birthdays. That meant that anytime, for any reason, even more than once per year, we could celebrate the goodness of each other, anytime, anyway. A real surprise sometimes. And there were times when the kids chose the day they wanted to have as their Special Day.

There were some interesting side effects and side benefits of this. First, invitations wouldn’t mention birthday. It was a gift of a party for friends. Second, the mentality that many kids carry with them for months prior to their birthday of ‘me, me, me!’ shifted into planning and thinking about what he or she wanted to do for the friends. Third, a Special Day was calmer and avoided the hype, unmet expectations, tears, and grabbing of presents. Fourth, parents would ask if it was a birthday party, and we could all say ‘no!’ with a bit of an explanation. I think we even said ‘no gifts’ on the invitations – just come and have some fun. (They may have thought of us as looney or psychological child abusers but the kids turned out better than okay!)

The most unexpected and lovely side benefit was this. Guests would come to the door, and often hand a host or hostess gift to the Special Day kid. Talk about surprised! This was completely unexpected by all of us! The guests and honoree learned what host gifts were, how to offer them, and then proceed with the activity. Such gifts were simple, inexpensive, and well-thought out. It was so sweet! And we didn’t have over-tired kids at the end of the day because they were in the moment the whole time.

So in our family, we tried to have gifts from the heart and not because of guilt or commercial pressures. That’s just we way we were, and I continue to be.

BUT! When an unexpected box showed up yesterday, ‘perishable’ written on it, I couldn’t remember what I had ordered. That’s because I didn’t order it.

Evan and Erin had shipped ready-to-be-baked croissants in honor of (and well ahead) of Mother’s Day. So I set six of the 15 in the box, out to rise at room temperature for nine hours, then baked them up tonight. Sutter (up from down under in New Zealand) and I enjoyed some of them tonight. The smell! The taste! Glorious! So thanks E&E for the surprise gift and one that was designed to be shared. Wish you were here!

And to Sutter, I’m so glad you choose to come a few days before and stay a few days after the annual meeting you have in Boston. The gift of your presence and time when you fly to San Diego for a visit with E&E, and then you and Evan driving to Irvine to visit your Grandfather and his wife before you fly back to Oakland, is priceless. And your local friends enjoy the hours you set aside for them so you can catch up. And I love the process cleaning the house so all is hopefully nice for you here. Really. I really do. What a great family. How blessed we all are!

Alameda real estate this week….
My client closed on her sweet home at 538 Haight today. It’s a nifty one bedroom bungalow with a small yard with southern exposure.

My clients at 31 Oak Park have an accepted offer on their home as of Tuesday.

Active listings 159, 160 last report
Pending listings 60, 83 last report
You’ll see there are quite a number of closed sales this week.

Tuesday tour
12, with 3 repeats

Highest priced new listing
Lowest priced new listing

New 12 (some have been on the market previously and not sold)

BOM (back on market) 0

Price changes 10

Pending 7

Sold 17

Expired 2

Withdrawn/cancelled 5

Real estate awards this week….(remember this is only my perspective!)

Winner I really liked the light in this HBI home and the slightly raised backyard along the lagoon path.

Get me to rehab major work here. May need to be all cash offer.

Bank for the buck, Got me a makeover In Ballena Bay, but not on the water.

Cute, Get me a facelift needs work but a cute bungalow

The rain is coming again! Good! Have a nice weekend!

Carry on! marilyn

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I arrived in Alameda in 1973, as a new bride...with husband Carl Schumacher, both of us from Newport Beach. He was embarking on his career as a Naval Architect (i.e. yacht designer) under Gary Mull. Please see the 'ABOUT ME' page in this website! to see how it has all turned out! I'm so blessed!