Archive for July, 2007

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It’s All Psychological

July 20, 2007

A local reporter writing for the Sacramento Bee was commenting on the changing real estate market in Northern California. Currently, parts of the Sacramento region are seeing some of the largest price drops in the state. At the same time, other parts of the region are seeing little lowering of the price. What I caught was the comment of the reporter who concluded, “Part of this current real estate market is psychological and not based in reality”.

I have several observations on that comment. First, almost every aspect of the real estate market is psychological. Someone might say that the part that isn’t involves the cost of materials and labor. But that isn’t even close to being true. I remember visiting a friend in Evanston, Wyoming in the early 90s, when the oil industry was tanking. That entire town survived on higher gas prices and prices were staying very low. 2,000 square foot houses were selling for less than $30,000. I guarantee you that this cost is well below the materials, labor and land value. But as soon as everyone got a whiff of the price plummeting, they all wanted to sell no matter what they got. Now, you can pick up that same 2,000 sq. ft. home for over $200,000.

Every aspect of real estate is psychological. If people sense that they won’t be able to buy a house, they will pay more. Conversely, when the same people years later fear they won’t be able to sell their house, they take less. The common soulish reactions to anything are all involved in real estate: jealousy, pride, fear, risk, greed, prejudice, tiredness and anger.

Second, what does the reporter mean by “reality”? Is she referring to the price people feel they ought to get, the price the Country assessor would like to see or the neighbor next door who has a fetish with the grass growing to heights of 18 inches or more? What reality? Every macro-market in the history of our country has been based upon how all people perceive their lives are doing. Post World War 2, people were tired of being poor, depressed and afraid. So they sunk all their fortunes into a house. Thus were suburbs born. After the sky-high interest rates of the 8os, people resolved never to get caught up in untenable mortgages again, and more people put at least 20% down on homes. At the turn of the Millennium, as the next generation grew up who hadn’t experienced the pain of 15% mortgages, we went through the cycle of rising prices fueled by a group that thought they could survive forever on Adjustable Rate Mortgages and no down payments. All that is called Greed.

I remember telling a close friend to ignore the trend and go with a 25 year fixed mortgage. I said that low mortgage rates wouldn’t last forever. He quoted three other friends (all coincidentally in the real estate or financing business) who assured him that he would be safe for at least ten years before the ARMs went up again.

Last year, he had to sell everything and move into an apartment. For some reason, he blames the economy, the government, the mortgage company and his parents. I haven’t heard him blame himself yet, and I don’t expect to. I guess blame is another one of those components from psychology that applies to real estate.

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The Next Crusade? (I certainly hope not)

July 11, 2007

Apparently I’m in one of those silly moods today. But this article in the Calgary Sun just took me by surprise. It’s a story about a Christian Paintball park in Wisconsin. They have rules like “don’t swear if you get hit in the head” and “no spiteful players” (I guess that means you have to feel repentant after slaughtering another player).

But I love the conclusion of the player interviewed by the reporter:

While glad to save the Promised Land, after a day embedded with God’s play-army, I have lingering questions — which I ask Ohio Christian player Dan Skinner. Would Jesus play paintball? And how well?

“The Bible talks about Jesus wrestling with his disciples,” he answers. “I believe if he played paintball he would play just like anyone else.

“He wouldn’t use his divine power to win, because that would be cheating.”

Read the rest here.

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Hospital Charting Bloopers

July 11, 2007

Every profession has their own bloopers. I love to look at church bulletin bloopers and Psych chart bloopers. My wife the nurse collected these hospital charting bloopers. Enjoy!

1.The patient refused an autopsy.

2. The patient has no previous history of
suicides.

3. Patient has left white blood cells at another
hospital.

4. She has no rigors or shaking chills, but her
husband states she was very hot in bed
last night.

5. Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left
side for over a year.

6. On the second day, the knee was better, and on
the third day it disappeared.

7. The patient is tearful and crying constantly.
She also appears to be depressed.

8. The patient has been depressed since she began
seeing me in 1993.

9. Discharge status: Alive but without permission.

10. Healthy appearing decrepit 69-year old male,
mentally alert but forgetful.

11. Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia
for lunch.

12. She is numb from her toes down.

13. While in ER, she was examined, x-rated, and
sent home.

14. The skin was moist and dry.

15. Occasional, constant infrequent headaches.

16. Patient was alert and unresponsive.

17. Rectal examination revealed a normal size
thyroid.

18. She stated that she had been constipated for
most of her life, until she got a divorce.

19. I saw your patient today, who is still under
our car for physical therapy.

20. Both breasts are equal and reactive to light
and accommodation.

21. Examination of genitalia reveals that he is
circus sized.

22. The lab test indicated abnormal lover
function.

23. Skin: somewhat pale but present.

24. The pelvis exam will be done later on the
floor.

25. Patient has two teenage children, but no other
abnormalities.

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Getting the Most out of a Hot Summer’s Day

July 6, 2007

I was speaking this morning with a friend and they told me how little they get done on, and how little they enjoy, scorching hot days like Sacramento is currently experiencing. I shared some of the things I have learned over the years that have helped me. See if they don’t help you. Also, if you have other ideas, feel free to add them to the comments.

1. Shift your Time Clock: Since the only time of the day you can really get work done in the yard without sweating to death is between 6 and 8 a.m., you might consider going to bed a little earlier and getting up earlier in the summer. Unfortunately, most people do the opposite. The sun is up later so they tend to go to bed later, which causes them (especially on the weekends) to wake up after it is time to get outdoor chores done. Also, because you are getting up during the heat of the day, your strength becomes sapped so much more quickly.

2. Keep Hydrated: Studies were done on workers in the forest industry concerning how much water was consumed versus how much work got done. They broke the group into three parts: A group that drank every hour, a group that drank every fifteen minutes, and a group that drank whenever they felt thirsty. The group that got the most work done was the one that drank water every fifteen minutes. The more hydrated you are during hot days, the more you will get done (even accounting for the time it takes to chug some H2O). The ones who could drink whenever they got thirsty only drank every 3-4 hours. And they got, by far, the least amount done.

3. Watch the temperature changes: If you keep going from very hot to very cold conditions (under 75 degrees) you will experience a lowering of your immune system’s effectiveness. The drastic change in temperature signals your immune system that a crisis is coming and you tend to lose energy. It is best to put the A/C at 77 degrees or higher when the temperature outside is over 100.

4. Get at least 15-30 minutes of sun a day: The temptation at this time of year is to stay out of the sun because of the heat. But moderate amounts of sunshine will boost your spirits. Some people in warmer climates do not get enough direct sun in the summer and actually suffer from Seasonal affective symptoms because of it. A little sun will get rid of the blues.

5. Reruns weren’t that good the first time: During the summer, there are very few good things to watch on television. Use the time you would normally spend in front of the tube to read, close your eyes, play a game or pray. Do it outside in the evening when the temperatures begin to drop. Remember to hydrate if you’re going out of doors.

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