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A Real (estate) Extraordinary Guy – Carl Head

Because I know by the end of this email you are going to need to know how to find Carl, you can find him at his Century 21 Facebook Page located http://tinyurl.com/24bmq3m .

So, here’s the story.  Last summer, at the last minute, literally days before Florida schools would have been in session, we decided to move.  We were just going to pack up, hit the road, and begin a new adventure.  Having not lived in the Orlando area for a long time, we weren’t sure about neighborhoods, schools, or things along those lines.  As anxious as we were, we could have sent them to Dr. Nick’s School of SMRT Kids and probably been fine with that – at least for the school year – but we thought we should do a parent’s due diligence and scope out the lay of the land.

Because we were so late in deciding to do anything, renting seemed like a good idea.  We were driving around neighborhoods that we believed to be good, and in passing through, found a police car.  Jim, being the sociable being he is, pulled into the parking lot to ask the guy what he thought of the neighborhood.  In his honest opinion, he didn’t know anything about the neighborhood, but he did give us the business card for his buddy, Carl.

Carl knocked himself out last summer, trying to find our temporary Florida home, and when we finally found one, it was through no fault of his that the people renting it put oddities in their contract – including things like “If our air conditioner stops working, you have to replace it”.  We always knew that when the time was right again, we’d find Carl and work with him.

This was going to be the year to move.  I was planning to have surgery early in the summer, so by the end of the summer, I was in good shape, house hunting, and ready to go.  Unfortunately, I didn’t bounce back as quickly as I had hoped, and after a week of house hunting and not finding anything, I became sick and had to return to the hospital in NJ.

Carl never wavered for a moment in working with us, and provided us mountains of information and dozens of housing options.  He’s been great at scouting out areas with the best schools, and pointing us in the direction of the right house.

If you are ever in the Orlando area, looking for an agent that will find you what you need, check out Carl.  He will eventually be the agent who sells us our Florida home.

As the Wound Turns – The Continuing Saga

Because people are sending me messages and asking ever so politely (like the one “What the hell is going on with you??”) why I haven’t updated my status and what’s going on with me, here’s the latest and the greatest.

First, no one is to feel sorry for what’s going on.  I am not the world’s best patient, by any stretch.  When I was supposed to be home, sitting on my arse, recovering from the initial surgery, I was reaching for things I couldn’t reach, taking car rides I didn’t need to take, and doing way more bending and lifting than I probably should.

Then when my surgeon expressed concern over a 10 day trip to Florida while I had an open wound, I gave him big puppy dog eyes and batted my eyelashes.  When he wasn’t impressed by either of those things, I begged, pleaded, and promised video conferencing if necessary.  He finally consented, against his better judgement, and we all know how that turned out.  I got infected with germs known only to alien space rangers inhabiting the far reaches of New Mexico in government secured facilities, and ended up spending nearly a week at the lovely Paoli Hospital and Day Spa.

Obviously, some of this is my own fault.  And really, it’s not all that bad.  I am not in a tremendous amount of pain; the nurses like to remind me that I shouldn’t be pushing, pulling, or lifting, so I’ve had quite the reprieve from housework and other daily chores; and my doctor is a cutie, so weekly visits to see him aren’t even all that painful.  So don’t feel sorry!!

So where am I now?

Let me introduce you to my significant other – the wound VAC.  This fabulous little device hangs around my neck, cleverly concealed in an oh so stylish black canvas bag (Louis Vuitton eat your heart out), and continually sucks stuff out of the wound.  The nifty and convenient canister holds all of the bodily fluids that my body apparently doesn’t need, and it improves circulation in the area of the wound to promote healing.  It reduces healing time by up to 60% on average.

And you thought I was just another imperfect face!

The nurses and my doctor seem really pleased with how well I am healing, although the one wound nurse that is an expert in this field estimates I probably have another two months committed to the wound VAC.  My goal is to be wound VAC free by the time of our Moms Panel October reunion.  Fingers crossed.

In the grand scheme of things, life is good.  I am well on my way to recovery, down about 15 pounds from where I was before surgery, and fitting more comfortably in a smaller size (or two, depending on the clothes).

Tune in next week…or whenever I get around to it…..to see the next chapter of As the World Turns!

215-944-8989 Spanish speaking calls

Have you gotten a call from 215-944-8989? Here is the information you need. These calls are short, include noise or clapping or a cash register chinging in the beginning, followed by a woman speaking Spanish.

If you have gotten one of these calls, please let us know below.

This is an illegal telemarketing activity dialing random numbers to lure in Spanish speaking US citizens and steal your personal information. There is no contest to win, and these types of boiler room operations only serve to do you harm. They wants your name, credit card information, and to do you nothing but harm.

Why is there no pause or delay in the call? Thats to avoid wasting time leaving messages on voice mail or answering machines. They want quick immediate responses as part of this smash and grab operation.

Why Spanish? Its who they are targeting. The US has a large Spanish speaking population. How large? According to the 2007 American Community Survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau, Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by over 34 million people aged 5 or older.

And what about people learning Spanish? There are 6 million Spanish students based on that 2007 survey.

For that boiler room operation, that is a huge audience to target.

Ways to tell these calls are not legit? Why no message at the end in English and Spanish telling you where they are from? Why call hundreds of numbers all over the country at random? Simple steps and common sense that illegal operations don’t want to do. Its one criminal offense to run these types of operations. It is another series of crimes to provide false or inaccurate information to deceive or lure you away from their true address and information. The criminals know this so they don’t risk multiple offenses. If the crimes they commit are low in number, or harder to prosecute, it makes law enforcement move on to another criminal.

Walt Disney World Moms Panel – It’s Almost Time!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  No, not when the kids go back to school!  No, not when you can put away your bathing suit (and the multitude of bathing suit covers that hid all the stuff you didn’t want people to see on the beach all summer long).

It’s time to gear up to apply for the Walt Disney World Moms Panel!  In just a very short time, you’ll be able to log in and apply for the job that will change your life.  Well, it changed mine anyway, and only in fabulously positive ways.

I’ll post a much longer post (because you all know that brevity is not my strong suit) about how much this has all meant to me, as I quickly and sadly approach the end of my tenure on the panel, but for now, BE EXCITED!

Keep your eyes peeled right here – http://disneyworldforum.disney.go.com/recruiting/the_program_is_closed.aspx

Golden Corral – Punishment for When You Can’t Decide Where to Eat

Golden Corral

Audubon, NJ

Today was a busy day for us.  It was my first visit back to my surgeon since my hospitalization, and it seems that the nurses, even Nurse Ratched, are not lulling me into a false sense of security when they tell me my wound is looking good.  I have one damn sexy wound.

We drove out to Medford to pick the girls up, and having already been up since before six this morning, while I answered questions for www.disneyworldmoms.com, Jim took a nap.  We then left for his 4:45 appointment with the family doctor, just to see how he is and check on his blood pressure.  To top all of that off, we’ve been filling out disability forms that are really enough to drive anyone to mental illness, therefore qualifying them for disability.

So when we left the doctor’s office at just after 5, the thought of actually cooking dinner was appealing to no one.  When Jim offered to get something for dinner, I couldn’t decide what.  Granuaile wanted the diner for their SpongeBob special (fish sticks).  Eilis was happy with McDonald’s.  I couldn’t decide.  As a result of my indecision, we opted for Golden Corral – a chain buffet restaurant.  Surely they would have something for everyone.

And they did.  If what you were looking for was sticky tables, empty buffet stations, cruddy floors, nasty bathrooms (no, these bathrooms were beyond nasty – with an overwhelming odor of urine, filthy floors, and inadequate hand washing supplies), and dirty trays and utensils – they had it all.

The food here is basic American buffet fair.  You’ll find an abundance of fried food and starches; meats of some sort (on this particular evening, there was baked ham; pot roast; meatloaf; Bourbon chicken; Mongolian beef; and ribs); and something resembling a form of seafood – tonight being four different kinds of fried shrimp; fried catfish; and shrimp in lobster sauce.  It’s not good food, but it’s not bad food.  It’s mediocre food, all you want of it, cheap.

I’m not knocking Golden Corral – it is what it is, and it doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t.  But it should at least be clean.  And it isn’t that.  On a night when there was no line waiting to get in, plenty of empty tables, and no packed buffet line, you have to wonder how bad it would be on those days we’ve driven past and the place is mobbed.

And next time, I’ll be quicker and more decisive so we don’t end up here again.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation – The Plastic Surgery Road Trip

Beautiful Pennsylvania!  The air this morning is crisp for a day in August, starting out at 64 degrees.  There’s a gentle breeze blowing the leaves on the trees that are part of the stunning view I have outside of my window.  What a great way to wake up on summer vacation!

After admiring the sunrise, I grab my room service menu so I can order my breakfast.  Not too hungry this morning, and trying to watch my girlish figure.  A banana, some yogurt, and some granola sounds good.  And a cup of piping hot tea.  The air conditioning in my room was turned down a bit too low last night!

Then the real fun begins.  Because my “summer vacation”, as you all know, has so far been spent recovering from plastic surgery.  We won’t bore you with the details – here’s the Cliff’s Notes version – Weight Loss Surgery, Excess Skin, Tummy Tuck, Infection.  And the next turn on the road of summer fun we’re having so far takes me back where it all began.  Paoli Hospital.

I’m not even gonna post pictures of what my wound looks like.  Ewww.

So how did I get here?  Bad travel agent?  Cheap GPS?  Didn’t book through Travelocity?

This is what happened – a perfectly well thought out plan occurred.  I’d have gastric bypass surgery; lose a bunch of weight; have plastic surgery to take care of the ugly remnants of my former self; get a contract with the Ford Modeling Agency for Rapidly Aging Mothers; and if nothing else, at least not have to sweat my ass off in Spanx (God love them) every time I go to FL.

When I researched my surgery ahead of time, like a diligent non-emergency surgical consumer should, I thought I did a great job.  I checked out doctors and their credentials.  I looked into costs and variations.  I looked into the different types of procedures that might be available to me.  And I checked out hospitals and their spa like surroundings.  I had all of my pre-op ducks in a row – making sure the will was up to date, the kids were taken care of, and I had a ride to the hospital and a way to get home.

But the one part I sort of glazed over was the “risks and complications” area.  Because, after all, I’ve had a number of surgeries, and I bounce back really well.  I was up and caring for babies within hours of two of my c-sections.  I was playing on the floor with a not quite one year old Eilis the day after my gall bladder was taken out.  I was back in the car line for school one day later when my kidney stones were removed.  And how many times do you have to hear that I did Disney World 10 days after gastric bypass surgery?  I tell everyone that!  Who would think there would be risks and complications?  That just doesn’t happen to me.

So now that I have risks, complications, and at least four different bacteria – all bad – living among my bits and pieces (including a staph infection and a gram negative bacteria), I want you guys to know that you have to be better researchers than I was.  I am learning the hard way there is no such thing as being Unbreakable.  And I learned that I need to better follow doctors’ orders.  But if you’re a mom, you know how hard it is not to do the things your family needs or wants you to do.  You have to do it.

That’s my trip report on this summer’s journey.  Not as fascinating as a trip cross country.  Not as exciting as a cruise through the British Isles.  Not even as interesting as a trip to Milwaukee for Irish Weekend.  But you can consider this my Public Service Announcement of the moment.  Before you embark on any journey, remember not to just focus on the destination.  Make sure you map out all the twists and turns.