International Overdose Awareness Day

Until 2015 I was unaware of International Overdose Awareness day, which is today August 31.

“International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is a global event held on August 31st each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose”.

My nephew died of an overdose of heroine mixed with fentanyl and other chemicals in October of 2015, less than two months before his 21st birthday. During the weekend of my nephews overdose there were a record breaking 74 overdoses in the area that were reported. Authorities said that heroin laced with fentanyl was the reason. We believe that my nephew’s overdose was an accident. Fentanyl, which is a drug that is used as an anesthesia was found in his system along with heroin.

My nephew lived in an Illinois suburb about 30 minutes from downtown Chicago. The heroin epidemic, and it is an epidemic, has hit suburbs and small towns from coast to coast. Prior to my nephews death I did not know that there is a Heroin epidemic and it often starts with addiction to prescription opioid pain killers. There is an antidote for opioid poisoning called Narcan. 

I used to think of Heroin as a drug that people used in the 1970’s and had no idea that it has made a huge comeback. We tend to punish heroin addicts rather than treating them like we would treat any other person with an illness.

Never  did I ever imagine that a family member would die of a heroin overdose. I can not even describe the grief that he left behind. A family has been forever changed and his parents will grieve for him for the rest of their lives.  We will always wonder about what might have been and if we could have somehow saved him.  #OverdoseAware2017

Take a few moments today to learn more about heroin overdoses in your community. There were 402 opioid related deaths in Minnesota last year and that number will be higher in 2017.

There is no time like fair time

Today is the first day of the Minnesota State Fair,  The last day is September 4th. If you have never been to our fair you need to go. The MN state fair is the largest in the country as measured by daily attendance and the second only to the Texas state fair when it comes to overall attendance. The Texas State fair runs for twice as many days.

What I love about the fair is that it hasn’t changed all that much since I first went as a child, a long time ago. 🙂 Foods are added every year usually deep fried and on a stick and lately more bacon has been added to the menu.

The best way to get to the fair is to take one of the many buses that run from large parking lots to the fair about every 10 minutes.

minnesota state fair
Minnesota state fair

Take advantage of back to school sales

silver maple
Maple leaves

School starts in a couple of weeks. There are a lot of sales and it is a great time to buy office supplies, computers, small electronics, bedding and other household items.

Last year I took advantage of the “college” section in one store and scored a pretty nice toaster and a new crockpot. Both were on sale. August seems to be the best time for sales on items that might be used in a dorm room.

Next month I’ll be buying a new computer for my business. I have an excellent desktop computer and a tablet but miss having a laptop computer.

September is the month for buying office supplies. My business is fairly paperless but I do use some office supplies and this is the time of year that I stock up for the whole year. I’ll buy paper, pens, notebooks, folders and art supplies.

My own offspring are beyond school age . . which means I have more money that I can use to buy school supplies to be donated to children who need them.

Ten years ago during the buyers market

This is from a blog post I wrote here back in August of 2007. It was the beginning if a home buyers market that would last a few years. It was just before the housing market crashed and before we knew there would be a great recession.

There are some things about that time that I don’t think we should never forget. One of them is that home prices can go down. We have proof.  Many people are one job or a few paychecks away from financial calamity. Many of us were hurt by the great recession. For some the recession and housing market crash changed their lives forever.

Here is what I wrote on August 22, 2007:

“Sellers says:  I want my home sold as quickly as possible.

Buyers say: We are in no hurry.

Seller says:  I need $$$$$$ for my home.

Buyers say:  The homes are all over priced.

Seller says:  My home has been on the market for awhile now, people are looking at it, why isn’t any one buying it?

Buyers say:  Maybe we should wait until spring.  We just don’t know what to do.”

I think we could all feel the market shift back in August of 07 but we had no idea about what was to come. It is probably always a good time to pay down debt and save up a little money.

Buyers expect to haggle a little

Buying a home isn’t like buying most other items. Home buyers expect to negotiate with the seller for acceptable terms. It is actually fairly rare that a property sells for the exact amount it is listed for in the MLS.

Lately sellers have started rejecting offers on their homes without negotiating if they offer isn’t exactly what they had in mind. Last month I had an offer rejected with no negotiation. After a week with no other offers we were able to get the seller to negotiate.  It was a slow painful process but ultimately the seller ended up with close to the asking price and the buyers were happy with the terms.

Last March one of my clients made an offer on an over priced property. The sellers rejected the offer with no negotiations. The property is still on the market and after all these months and the price has been lowered twice. The buyer has moved on and closed on a similar property about a month ago.

It is very easy to counter an offer that a buyer has made. It takes little effort and doesn’t cost a dime. It doesn’t even take that much time. I can not think of any reason why a home seller should not negotiate. I can think of all kinds of reasons why a seller should negotiate if they are interested in a faster sale and a higher offer.

yellow flowers
Brown eyed Susans