Tuesday, January 29, 2008

MAR Foundation Logo (Finally) Registered

Suzanne reports: We’re registered! In December 2007, the United States Patent and Trademark Office finally completed the registration of the Maine Association of REALTOR Foundation’s trademark. The application was first filed in March 2005. In November 2006, the National Association of REALTORS and MAR entered into a consent agreement for use of the REALTOR mark within the trademark of the MAR Foundation.

So, here’s the first “official” unveiling of our new look: “Bridging the Gap to Affordable Housing”. The houses form a visual destination with people celebrating. That’s what we do at the Maine Association of REALTORS Foundation. We provide funding to organizations to bridge the financial gap for the creation of affordable housing. We move families into better living situations. What’s not to celebrate?

Does your company participate in the REALTORS Affordable Housing Fund? Go to our website to check the list of participants, to download the enrollment form, and to learn more about where grant funds are spent throughout Maine. For additional info, please contact me.

Note: Suzanne Guild is the Executive Director of the MAR Foundation

Creating opportunities for positive messages

REALTOR Linda DiTomaso (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Saco) walked into a MAR meeting wearing a large button with this message "Ask Me About My Homes for Sale". Asked Linda to explain: "I pulled this button out of the moth balls. I had it when I first sold real estate in Massachusetts. Believed that if I wore it now I'd be taking a proactive approach to the present market conditions and help to change the perception of the market - even if it's one person at a time. And guess what - it works -especially in the supermarket. This button creates plenty of opportunites and may end up being a permanent part of my attire!"

Monday, January 28, 2008

Courage, Brains and Heart

Because it takes courage, brains and heart to practice real estate, the MAR Convention Committee thought it only fitting to have a "Wizard of Oz" theme this year. Entitled "There's No Place Like Home", the convention features GRI-105 (finance and technology), an "Emerald City" (black tie encouraged) REALTOR of the Year banquet, a "Wicked" dance party, popular national/state speakers (only now being invited), and more.

The 2008 MAR Convention is scheduled for October 7-9, 2008, at the Samoset Resort in Rockport. All convention hotel rooms and suites must be requested through MAR as part of registration, which opens in mid-June 2008.

The Maine Chapter of CRS will offer CRS 202, "Effective Buyer Sales Strategies" all day Monday-Tuesday for a separate registration fee.

In the meantime, watch out for those lions, and tigers, and bears ...

Convention Committee: Attending - (pictured) Chairman Linda Coron, Esther Bolen, and Linda DiTomaso, Ed Getty, Heather Gottlieb, Mike LePage, Steve Winkler, and Patti Lawton

Saturday, January 26, 2008

5 Things I Learned at Spokesperson Training

MAR's blog will feature guest bloggers who participate in MAR activities, meetings and conferences. Bangor Board President Mary Kuykendall was among local presidents who participated in MAR Spokesperson Training on Friday:

The five most important things I learned at Spokesperson Training:

1. Think in three’s. That sort of goes against the “Five things I learned at Spokesperson Training” premise. People tend to go with and remember things if you give it to them in three’s. Three Musketeers; Three Little Pigs; Three Blind Mice; Father, Son and Holy Ghost; Kukla, Fran and Ollie; Executive, Judicial, Legislative. You get the idea.

2. Don’t speak on a subject you aren’t familiar and comfortable with. Defer and refer. You don’t have to be the expert on everything.

3. Use your voice and body language to get points across. Remember that people have come to hear you. They want you to succeed in getting your message out. Otherwise, you have wasted their time as well as your own.

4. The two primary reasons you will be speaking as representatives of your organizations are to inform and to persuade.

5. Nervousness is not necessarily a bad thing. Just get those butterflies flying in formation, and you’ll be fine.

Friday, January 25, 2008

What's changed in the last 14 months?

It wasn't difficult to make the list of changes experienced in the real estate industry and our firms/members in the last 14 months; when MAR's 2007-2008 Strategic Plan was developed. Today the MAR Strategic Planning Committee tackled what MAR's response should be to industry changes and recommended revisions and additions to the Plan. Focus Areas include: Legal/Regulatory/ Governmental, Professionalism and Communications, Industry Concerns, Market Forces and Technology. Many great ideas that now make their way to the MAR Board of Directors for consideration.

Participating: (pictured) Andi Sawyer, Brenda Fontaine, Kelley Craig, Pauline Rock, and Jack Taylor, Mike LePage, Patti Lawton, Cathy Pendergast, Rita Yarnold, Mikie Perry, Jeremy Payne

"All Together"

On Thursday and Friday, MAR President Patti Lawton brought the local/council presidents together, along with the MREIS and MAR Foundation presidents. Purpose: to identify how we can work "All Together" to improve information and services to our collective membership, enhance professionalism, discuss emerging issues in the industry, and to ramp up public information efforts for more accurate and good news about the real estate market. Many presidents also participated in 5-hour spokesperson training sessions with trainer Peter Mosca; and enjoyed networking and idea sharing.

Attending: MAR President Patti Lawton, President Elect Rita Yarnold, MREIS President Marie Flaherty, MAR Foundation Chairman Sherry Gregory; Local Presidents - (pictured) Merrymeeting - Kyle Rogers, Androscoggin Valley - Georgia Chomas, Greater Portland - Mike LePage, and Bangor - Mary Kuykendall, Hancock-Washington - Terry Morse, Kennebec Valley - Steve Roy, Lincoln County - Howie Barter, Maine Commercial - Drew Sigfridson, Mountains - Mark Schoenthaler, Acadia - Candy Collins, Mid-Coast - Esther Darres, Coastal Mountains - Annie Kassler, York County - Pete Clark

People Need Homes

The Merrymeeting Board of REALTORS presented a check for $9,275 to the Tedford Shelter at their membership meeting on Thursday. Includes Matching Grant from MAR Foundation. Tedford's House Manager explained times are tough with state and federal funds, and the importance of the long-term commitment given by the Board. Merrymeeting President Kyle Rogers presented the check, along with REALTOR Dot Ollier. Dot relayed the vital role of housing for homeless, and role of housing in changing lives and building communities.

MAR Foundation Prepares for Grant Awards

The MAR Foundation expects to award nearly $44,700 in competitive grants during 2008 - and an additional $81,600 in Matching Grants for local board/council affordable housing efforts in Maine. This year's competitive grant announcement postcard mailed to housing-related organizations in Maine with grant applications available online. Deadline to apply is February 6 at noon.

MREIS donates its fine income to the MAR Foundation's REALTORS Affordable Housing Fund.

Media Coverage - Habitat Build

Television stations WCSH (6) in Portland and WBLZ (2) in Bangor interviewed Paul Trowbridge and Steve Joy on tonight's news. Video also posted on their sites. Includes pictures and videos Paul took during the Build, and great display of our REALTOR blue shirts!

The Camden Herald (1/24/07) included a front page photo of Vicki Doudera, Marsha Steinglass, and Pete Wood from the Habitat Build.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

MAR Legislative Committee Considers Bills

Today MAR's Legislative Committee discussed pending legislation and recommended MAR position and response. Issues included drinking water, predatory lending, historic property tax credits, tax reform, vernal pools, floodplain designations, shellfish resources, natural resource protection, timing of property tax bills/liability. The Committee weighed in on MAR's strategic plan initiatives and established an upcoming MARPAC fundraising program.

REALTORS attending: (pictured) Chairman Sherry Gregory, Mikie Perry, Gail Rizzo, Barbara Berry, Michelle Flaherty, Wayne Syphers, Linda DiTomaso; also attending - Wes Cook, Shawn Roy, Nathan Goldberg, Annie Parker, and Joe Wright.

Media Coverage and Message from Gail

Here's a recent media report in Camden featuring local builders and sponsors.
This message from Team Leader Gail Rizzo: To our Sponsors - thank you for making the dream a reality. To the REALTOR team - I was amazed and grateful how 19 people who did not all know one another at the start, worked side by side with so much success. Building from the slab up, we turned a concrete slab into a home. Thank you for being so great to work with - and for the care and hard work you put into the Build. This is one trip that will be remembered for a lifetime for me, and I hope for all of you.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Media Coverage

The Mobile Press-Register newspaper has front-page story in Sunday Real Estate section entitled "The Maine Event", relaying the Maine Association of REALTORS Habitat builders, plus 3 pictures - 2008 MAR President Patti Lawton, Debbie Marathon and Carol Minnehan-Lee.

Homeward Bound and Congrats

JoAnn reports: I was one of the unlucky people who had their Saturday flight through Atlanta canceled, so stuck in Mobile until Sunday at 6:45AM. Carol and Paul rescheduled to 10AM Sunday so we had a rainy day in Mobile with no car. Took a cab to see a movie and walked a half mile for dinner at Panera Bread.

At the airport I bought a Mobile Sunday Press-Register newspaper because front page of the Real Estate section had an article on our Build. Found other interesting articles - one on a Habitat house being built for a Headstart preschool teacher by high school students. Several articles about Mardi Gras - one gave information about the expense these mystic societies incur putting on parades, mostly for "throws" which are beads, stuffed animals, moon pies, or commemorative coins. Oh yes, and the ball that Deb got smacked with. Apparently the paper has an ongoing feature called "Eyesores of the Week" showing pictures of properties with excessive trash/junk AND naming the property owners!

Atlanta still had snow on the ground but planes flying with no weather issues. About 25 minutes to flight time, I realized at wrong gate - made a mad dash and made it. Arrived in Bangor and learned a troop plane there - so looked for my friend Kay Lebowitz, who's a troop greeter. Kay is there day or night when a plane comes in and she is 91! I stood with her as we applauded troops back to their plane going to Texas and home!

I've been hearing from many people who have followed our adventure through the blog. And what an adventure it was. I met a lot of great people from a lot of different places: fellow Mainers, Kevin from Australia, the Habitat crew from Mobile, the Americorp kids from many places, members of the Alabama and Mobile Associations of REALTORS who wined and dined us royally, and Habitat families who will live in the houses including our Habitat mom, Natasha.

It was hard work but it was fun work. And very meaningful work. It's one thing to send money to help, which is important, but to be able to do something to help hands on is great! We got thank yous from so many people not involved with the build. My cab driver yesterday morning said it was a blessing that we came down to build a house for Natasha and her baby.

Thank you so much to everyone who made if possible for us to do this and for me to be a part of it! My mother has watched me do projects and keeps telling me I could probably build a house. Now I know I could, with a lot of help from friends. Beware if Mary invites the Habitat team to come visit her property in Lubec and suggests we bring hammers!

From Ken DelVecchio, President of the Connecticut Association of REALTORS: Would you please pass along this CONGRATULATIONS to the entire Maine Habitat Team for the job they just accomplished in Mobile. I have enjoyed reading all their comments and seeing the pictures of the work at “their home” in Alabama. It brought back so many wonderful memories of a year ago. They have just accomplished something that so few actually ever get to do, help someone else in need. I am sure their memories and the new friendships they have made will last with them forever. For many this will be a “life changing “experience. My best regards to all.

Note: MAR thanks Ken too for sharing his advice and experiences with our team before the trip.

Bart reports: I'd like to reiterate Mary's thoughts - this was an absolutely AWESOME journey the 19 of us shared. Having had the opportunity to travel extensively in my life, this particular trip will rate very high on the remembrance scale! I too would like to heartfully thank my family and sponsors for allowing me this opportunty. Without their patience and support this would have been much more difficult.

I awoke Friday to undertake my side trip to sunny Florida only to be greeted by torrential rains and wind. Eventually I staggered downstairs with the luggage and out into the rain. I stopped briefly to chat with Patti and Deb. Deb had driven from Maine and was procrastinating a bit about the morning drive in such terrible weather. I underestimated how far it is from Mobile to Tampa and quite dismayed to learn it's 500 miles - so much for advance planning! Arrived in time for a tornado watch. Seems like many of us will remember this experience for some time to come -and that includes the travel woes.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Journeys and Destinations

Mary reports: Friday dawned sunny and bright and nippy. We gathered in the lobby, munching on the bagels, boiled eggs, juice, coffee and cereal we'd enjoyed all week and tried to focus on the day ahead and not on the fact that this was our last day of work.

We got to the site a little earlier than usual and began finishing up some chores from Thursday while awaiting the arrival of the shingles which would be delivered via conveyor to the roof. Once they arrived and were stowed along the ridge line the roof crew went up to begin, what turned out to be, for me at least, the most fun job of the week--nailing on the lovely gray architectural shingles. We began with a line of about 12 of us laying and nailing (6 nails per shingle) courses of them starting at the edge and moving backwards up the roof. Once we got the first 6 or 7 courses on we had the option of changing sides from sliding backwards on our rears up the roof or moving to the downward side and working on our knees facing the shingles. I tried the downside for three courses but found that, being left-handed I was constantly working across myself as the nailing was going left to right. I changed and finished my stint of nearly four hours on the upper side. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The siding was beginning to go up, and everything was looking really good. We had been told by the Habitat supervisors on site that we had done excellent work all week.

About 10 o'clock the first of our group, Tom, Vicki and Pete, were taken to the airport by Gail. We waved to them from the roof and began to feel that we were actually going to have to leave this place which had become so familiar to us during this week and which we had begun to refer to as "our house".

After the lunch break Gail took Joanne W., Callie and me back to the motel to shower and gather our things in preparation for getting a cab to the airport for our 2:40 flight.

I really hated to leave, as did the other early departers. We had tried to change our tickets in order to stay as long as we could, but things didn't work out so that we could do that.

As we got into the Friday midday traffic, Gail was fearing for our ability to get cleaned up, catch a cab and get to our plane on time; so she declared that if we could do all we needed to do in the motel and be back out front in "Fifteen minutes, ten would be better", she'd wait and take us to the airport. I don't know about the others, but I have little or no memory of the burst of energy which propelled me into my room and shower and somehow had me stuffing my suitcase in the back of Gail's car in the time she'd given us. We weren't sure that the fact that Gail had not removed her hard hat during the trip in to the motel and was still wearing it was any indication of the kind of ride we were in for or not, but she got us there with time to spare, and we made our flight to Atlanta.

This proved to be the easy part of the day.

We arrived in Atlanta and saw Callie on her way. She had a flight to Portland from there, but we were scheduled to go to Detroit, then to Bangor, arriving in Bangor at 11:05 pm. Wanna bet?

Walking down the line of gates we passed Pete going the other way. He was, it turned out, on our flight to Detroit. After getting something to eat, we waited for the flight to Detroit.

On arriving in Detroit, Joanne and I checked with the attendant at the gate for directions to our connecting flight and were told there was no problem in our making the connection and given directions to the gate. When we got to the gate, Pete was there as well as Tom who had arrived from his flight to Houston!

All was under control, we were assured. No one had announced our flight. Pete had been there for ten minutes and Tom for 15-20 minutes. After waiting for about ten minutes more, the lady sitting down the row from Pete asked if we were going to Bangor, and when we said we were, she said, "That flight's already gone."

Anyway, everyone can tell horror stories of traveling these days, and we won't cry on your shoulder. The upshot of it is, we spent the night in Detroit, courtesy of Northwest Airlines and arrived, rested and resigned, if a bit ragged around the edges, at 3:30 this afternoon.

The week was, and those of you who know me, know I rarely, if ever, use this term---"Awesome"!

I heard several people say it changed their lives. It is hard to put into words the emotions that were experienced and the depths of ourselves that we discovered.

I want to sincerely thank everyone who sponsored me and supported me with your thoughts and encouragement and prayers and financial backing. Thank you also to MAR for giving us all the impetus to do this work and to NAR for challenging us to do it. And I thank Habitat for being there and for helping me see what I could do when motivated and when I truly have a purpose.

Mary Kuykendall is 2008 president of the Bangor Board of REALTORS

Friday, January 18, 2008

Day 5 - What we accomplished

Sweet Home, Alabama

Our Team Leader: Thank You Gail

Special thanks to Gail Rizzo. As 2006 MAR President, she accepted the NAR challenge to raise $70,000 for a "Maine home" for a Katrina victim. She agreed to be a Global Village team leader, went to meetings in DC, organized fundraising, found sponsors, coordinated with Habitat and NAR, collected stacks of forms, shopped for supplies, and participated in the Build. One yes ultimately led to Natasha's new home.

Note: Gail is a REALTOR in Belgrade Lakes

Day 5 - We made a difference ... and departures

Bart reports: WOW, what an experience this has been! From an extraordinary group of 19 individuals with little in common other than being Realtors (or connected to Realtors), and dedicated to making a difference for at least one family, we HAVE made a difference.

A tough day for those of us with a minor fright of high places! I spent almost the entire day on the roof installing shingles - a new experience for me (and a bit painful). JoAnn spent the day above as well, and Mary too before having to head for home. The rest of the group stuck to both feet on the ground installing siding and trim and such. Our little group became smaller during the afternoon as half of the group had returning flights. We missed them!

The remaining 10 of us trudged home later than normal and a bit more tired as well, but it's a good tired - the accomplishment tired.

Five of us ventured into the heart of the city to witness Mobile's Mardi Gras parade. It turns out that Mardi Gras began in Mobile, not New Orleans (did any of you know that?) The parade and excitement around it were fantastic. Streets filled with thousands of rowdy fans and lo and behold a young lady right beside me will be working on "our home" soon. She's a high school sophomore here in Mobile and will earn community service hours for her college applications - such a small world.

While downtown the bad news started - several members had flights canceled tomorrow due to stormy conditions throughout South. Working on getting new flights.

That's it for now - An incredible week with an incredible group of new friends working together on an incredible project. Who could ask for more!

Day 5 - Leaving Our Mark

Sherry reports: Met our homeowner Natasha who works at Sears parts department and sends many things to Maine. From Krista, a hardworking Americorp Volunteer, to Justin and Craig, our local Habitat leaders on their 1st solo house - working alongside REALTOR diehards to the end. Here's picture of graffiti left above front door inside. Maine Association of REALTORS - 1/13/08 - 1/19/08.

Note: Thanks Sherry Gregory, photographer for many photos. She's 2008 president of the MAR Foundation; and a REALTOR in Winthrop.

Third Group Pic - with our homeowner Natasha

Day 5 - Last Day and Meeting our Homeowner

Jeremy reports: Entire trip was very rewarding, from the general feeling of helping others to actually being able to do more around my own home. Met the homeowner today, a very warm young lady (and new mother) Natasha who was helping clean up around the home. She already met her 500 required hours to move into a Habitat home but there to help.

Worked on siding all day; and used a nail gun for 4-5 hours. The siding we put up was some kind of cement so a nail gun is the only thing that would penetrate it; and after a few early mishaps we really got the hang of it and were commended by the Habitat crew for accomplishing as much as we did. Unfortunately, one of those commending us was wearing a NY Yankees t-shirt. I think it's safe to say he regretted that decision.

Getting to meet and bond with a dozen or so new Realtors was great bonus I never counted on; and there's no question that a group of 19 people who are motivated and hard workers truly can accomplish a lot.

I think for all that we gave to Natasha, the experience provided us with so much more - learning about each other, learning how a home is built, learning how to work together, and maybe even learning that Alabamians (or whatever they call themselves) are willing to fry anything that will stay still long enough.

Day 5 - Early morning reports

Bart reports: Good early morning all - Day 5 is here and we wrap up today. It appears to be sunny out there but on the cool side again. Rain predicted for late today with snow just an hour north of us. It will be the last push this morning for a number of our Team but the rest of us will stick it out to the end of the day. Not sure what exactly is on the agenda today but suspect it involves siding and roofing. This has been a truly worthwhile endeavor and a wonderful bonding session with my fellow dedicated Realtors.

Time to put on those boots with their red stained soles - amazing what this red dirt/mud does to you!!

Jeremy reports: Today we will continue to work on the roof, to include shingling and the like. About half our team from Maine is heading home today but still coming to the jobsite to help until the last possible minute. The Mobile Association hosted as us at their gorgeous building last night; and we were told the only way to "insult the cook is to not go up for seconds or thirds..."

Note: Bart Stevens is a REALTOR in Winslow and past treasurer of MAR. Jeremy Payne is Government Affairs Director for MAR.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day 4 - What we accomplished

Mary and Bart hammer, Mobile buffet

Day 4 - Staying on Target

Mary reports: Well, today was a big day. We arrived at the site a bit earlier than usual and in very chilly weather. Those work gloves and carpenter's aprons provided much-welcomed extra warmth.

We broke into teams of 2 and began putting baffles up under the eaves and doing other chores including cutting out the doorway 2 x 4s so the nearly 2 inches of rain collected there yesterday could be swept out in an attempt to start the drying out process. Drip boards were installed around the edges of the roof. Who knew this would be such an exacting job?

Bart and Paula did a tremendous job and showed us all what the term "patience of a saint" really means.Vicki and I finished the fiberglass wrapping of the rear exterior wall above the porch and shed. Those extension ladders go up really high, I discovered. It was fun and a real sense of accomplishment overtook me when I finished.

The Habitat crew kept us busy with a variety of tasks which took us up to the lunch break. Mark was right "on target" following lunch, and good-naturedly kept us laughing well into the afternoon. (Note: red clay really does stick to everything.) The home-made fudge I brought disappeared quickly as did crackers and yogurt snacks.

We got the roof sheathing finished and the tar paper on top of it all installed. All of the windows are in, and it surely looks like a real house now. The siding had begun to be installed by the end of the day and should be finished tomorrow. We think the doors may go in tomorrow.

The most fun thing of the week happened about 3:30 when we all went over to the next street to take part in and observe the dedication of 4 homes there. Seeing and meeting the new owners and local Habitat officials and taking part in the ceremony was extremely moving and brought everything into perspective for us all.

These are the first 4 of 32 homes scheduled to be built in the area. Local media was there, and we'll be on the evening news.

Tonight we went to the headquarters of the Mobile Association of REALTORS for a delicious dinner and some fellowship with their officers. It was quite pleasant, and, thanks to Deb, we all wore several strands of Mardi Gras beads. We were very festive, if tired.

Happy and relaxed and full of terrific food, we returned to our motel about 8 and are now winding down for our final burst of energetic building in the morning.

Some of us will return to Maine tomorrow while others will depart on Saturday. It has been a truly inspirational week. We must do this again. The next time, you come too.

Note: Mary Kuykendall is president of the Bangor Board of REALTORS

Day 4 - Reflections on the Build

Steve reports -

The work: Demanding
The bonding: Terrific
The spiritual feeling of giving: PRICELESS!

Note: Steve Joy is a REALTOR in Ellsworth

Attending Another Home's Dedication

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Day 3 - Needle rain and throwed rolls

Mary reports: We all suited up this morning dutifully, and were at the work site at 8 am. It was, as predicted, pouring down rain. I will spare the more squeamish of you the metaphor our foreman used to describe what the gorgeous paprika-red Alabama clay turns into when it's wet, but anyway, he gave us some suggestions for activities we might enjoy in the area since we couldn't work.

My group, consisting of Deb Marathon, Gail Rizzo, Sherry Gregory, Patti Lawton and myself chose to drive out to a spit of land which juts out into the gulf and saw some lovely multi-colored beach houses looking like wedding mints. We also saw some oil rigs, Fort Morgan, and photographed each other trying to stand upright in the gale force winds and rain which felt like needles when it hit our skin.

Having had enough of the wind and rain, we retired to Lambert's Cafe, a real experience. It's the home (for those out of the loop of high gustatorial experiences) of the "throwed rolls". It's a lively, friendly place with outstanding food and a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend an hour or two and gain another 6 or 8 pounds. The only accident of the day came when a misfired roll aimed at Gail, hit the lady in the booth behind us. They are not only delicious and a little hard to catch, but quite hot when you do.

Lambert's is full of flags from every state. You can imagine our delight when right inside the door we were greeted by the Maine state flag. Of course, we posed for a group photo under it.
After touring a quaint area of downtown known for its Italianate and Victorian architecture we began our search for a place to purchase Mardi Gras trinkets. Came away with beads, tiaras and various feathered things.

We're back in the motel now; settling in and resting up for tomorrow when we will have to play catch up for the day's work missed today.

OK, here's a challenge for you all. How many songs can you think of which have the word "Alabama" or "Mobile" in their title or lyrics? I'll be expecting some answers soon.

Wind and Mardi Gras

Deb reports: What does one do on a rainy day in Mobile? Easy ... simply added a little color to your life ... afterall, Mardi Gras is just around the corner! Sherry, being just as creative, discovered that a blustery day at the beach not only allows you to fly a kite .. you can actually become one .. ready for lift off?

Note: Deb Marathon is a REALTOR in Ogunquit.

Day 3 - Notes from Road Warriors

Bart reports: Well 9 members of our illustrious group have completed the bonding process and assumed a new identity - "The Road Warriors"! Despite the disappointment in not getting to pound all those nails we have all come to love (and respect), we made the best of an extremely miserable, rainy day. It literally poured buckets most of the day here.

The Road Warriors - Steve Joy, Pete Wood, JoAnn Higgins, Mark & Paula Schoenthaler, Marsha Steinglass, Vicki Doudera, Callie Pecunies and yours truly set out to see what the south has to offer. By the end of the day we had covered nearly 200 miles stretching from Mobile to Biloxi, MS to Gulf Shores and back. It goes without saying what happens in Alabama (or Mississippi) stays there, but I can share we saw astounding results of Hurricane Katrina in Biloxi, checked out a casino (first time for a few), had a great lunch on the Bayou in MS, saw downtown Mobile by daylight, and trekked to Gulf Shores.

Not sure what the other 10 did today but sure we'll stack our day up as a Great day. We're safely tucked in and resting up for a FULL day tomorrow. It's safe to say we'll be back on task tomorrow and will all work hard at making up for lost time.

On a personal note, it's been terrific getting to know these fellow Realtors (plus 1 spouse). I'd never met several before this trip but wonderful respect for each of them - It's been great so far gang!! Until our next road trip let's get this house finished!!

Day 3 - Early Reflections on a Rainy Day

Bart reports: Day 3 finds us rained out. We went to the site but were set free to explore for the day. As can be expected with 19 Realtors much discussion about what to do and where to go today. With only 4 cars and 19 opinions -- well? We are settled and heading out in different directions shortly. Two cars, mine and Mark Schoenthaler's are headed over to the Gulf Coast in Mississippi for the morning to see other Katrina areas; two cars (Gail's and Jeremy's) are headed to Dauphin Island to explore. We're all meeting up for dinner at Lulu's (Jimmy Buffet's sister's bar/restaurant). Tomorrow we report for work earlier than normal to try to make up some time. Keeping fingers crossed that we don't get rained out again on Friday (60% chance right now).

JoAnn Higgins reports: It's raining cats and dogs outside. Everyday we make the drive to the site, I remember my family building our first home 32 years ago. We bought a Sherman home that was built for us in Glenburn. After work, we would drive out to see the progress. We don't know anything about our Habitat family, but they may be coming every day to be amazed and excited about our progress. Hope they won't mind the rain delay today, in light of our progress in the last two days. It certainly won't be like the delay my family experienced for nearly 2 weeks when our build reached deer season!

Note: Mark Schoenthaler is the president of the Mountains Council of REALTORS. JoAnn Higgins is a past president of the Bangor Board and currently on MAR's legislative committee.

Day 3 - Rained Out

More Builder Pics

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Day 2 - What we accomplished

Day 2 - "Fried, Stewed, and Nude"

Bart reports: Well another day has come and almost gone. We just came back from our dinner with the Alabama Association (3 of them) at Wintzell's Oyster House - "Fried, Stewed and Nude". Wonderful dinner with lots of new and interesting foods, good company and some laughs. The Alabama hospitality has been outstanding all along. Great end to a busy day.

Day 2 started off on the cool side again but rapidly warmed up. The predicted cloudy skies never materialized until the end of the day. Tomorrow calls for heavy rains - up to 2 inches, but we report for duty anyway and take it from there.

Today seemed to go just a little slower but I think it was because we were above our heads most of the day. Day 2 saw the roof trusses go up (all by hand), over 50% of the roof sheathing go on and most of the house was wrapped with lovely Lowe's gift wrapping (Tyvek or Typar actually). I had the pleasure of working with the Joannes today. Joanne Webber and I spent most of the morning on ladders installing tie-downs to the roof trusses and then the afternoon saw JoAnn Higgins and I cutting and passing the roof sheathing up to those above.

Gail, Patti and Paula became quite adapt at installing hurricane tiedowns. It should be noted they became quite proficient with power drills and wrenches!!