Surprise! I'm a single parent

selling the place myself
December 30, 2012, 5:45 pm
Filed under: community,economy

I successfully sold a house on Trade Me myself.

It took a while but it sold. Real Estate agents are not really required these days but people think they are. They don’t offer a lot if you think about it.  And if you think they will get the best price for your house think again.The 4 percent they will take from the sale price will probably negate extra that they might have negotiated. There is also evidence that agents don’t hold out for the best price because they want turn over. In a freakonomics chapter the authors outlined a study which showed agents take much longer to sell properties they personally own so they can get a better price.

I had a lot of real estate agents contact me wanting to sell the place. I asked them what they offered that I couldn’t do myself. Many offered up that the negotiation process was ‘uncomfortable’ for people. That’s probably true. But you know what your bottom line is. You know what you have to get for a house to buy the next one. Are you really going to agree to a price you can’t afford? Unlikely.

Another thing agents told me was that they knew the market. This is pretty easy for you to know too. You can look on trade me for similar properties and see what they are lited for. You can follow the links to recent house sale information. You can read detailed information that a lot of agents won’t have – they skim the surface of the wider area but you can go deep.

They don’t take a lot of time getting to know a potential buyer but you can find out a lot more about them.

In my case the buyer was going to be my neighbor for a long time so it was in my interest to sell to nice a reasonable people. That isn’t probably someting most sellers would be interested in but some people might be selling an apartment they own in the same building or, like me, a house in the same street.

Agents don’t know the local ammenities well but you do. You can tell potential buyers where things are that they need and what you like about the area. While I was building up to selling I visited a lot of open homes and I frequently asked agents if the house was in a particular school zone. They didn’t know. Or else they did know and the answer was negative so they didn’t want to tell me. This is such basic information. But an agent is dealing with 5 – 20 houses so they don’t know much about it. Their relationship with the house is hopefully going to last a few weeks so they don’t want to understand it.

I got quite a few people trying to test my vulnerability. A common test was to ask me to show them the house at a very unreasonable time.  I think the reasoning is that if I’m desperate I would show it. I had a few back up times organised with my tenants and I never budged from these. I also had lots of extra photos I offered to send to these people so they could work out if they were interested. These people want to see if they can get a cheap deal from soemone and they often asked why I was selling. They want to hear the d word. (Divorce).  While I never hid the information that my partner and I had split up, I never let on I was desperate to sell. In fact I’d tell people one of our options was for one to buy the other out of the rental property. This was in fact true.  My preference however was to sell and get my mortgage down on the house I live in.

There were a few people who were keen to buy the house. Two couples and two singles. The two I most preferred had properties they needed to sell before they could buy mine. I did something a real estate agent would never have done: I went to their open homes, I said positive things about their homes to other potential buyers. I took better photos of their homes and gave them to their agents. I added links to my advert as ‘similar houses’. I used the networks I’d built as a seller to redirect to their properties. Eventually the domino effect happened. The nice couple I wanted most to buy my house managed to sell theirs and then they bought mine. Yay!

I had tenants in the house while I sold it. They were new tenants and I told them the rent was low because it was on the market. They went into the tenancy knowing it would be sold and they would have 6 weeks notice. I also asked them if I could come in and clean before I showed it. So – they got a cleaning lady! I deliberately picked tenants I thought would be tidy. I left them fresh flowers and/or baking each time. I still run into them and they tell me I was the best landlady ever.

feed a family on $130 a week?
July 17, 2012, 9:54 pm
Filed under: economy

Flicking through the DomPost I see Sofie Grey (of The Destitute Gourmet) is criticising TV show Masterchef for creating unrealistic expectations of what we should be dishing up at home.   Good call. I don’t watch it myself but just from the commercials I can tell those chefs shop in aisles that I rarely slow down in. Still, of all the rubbishy reality shows out there I would put Masterchef well on top of the pile and also way ahead of all the mockumentaries. Cooking is a skill and it seems a good idea kiwis are watching and, maybe, learning.

On the same page a woman in Hamilton – apparently a single parent like me – is revealed to be spending $130 a week feeding her family. They are meat and sugar low and dairy free, bake their own bread, use home made cleaning products and grow a lot of their veges. And they have chickens. The chickens sound like the only fun part quite frankly.It is also ironic that in a country that exports meat and dairy we have people cutting these things from their diet to save money.

I’m pretty sure I could manage on $130 a week too. I don’t make my own cleaning products – I just clean less. A big saving at my house is porridge for breakfast – tasty and cheap. I take leftovers for lunch and don’t buy coffee often. I buy fruit and veges in season. We have a lot of pasta and rice. We bake potatoes. When I make a casserole it lasts a few meals. A topside roast like my mum taught me (but recipe is in Edmonds). But often I splurge. We like watching Glee and eating a block of chocolate on a Friday night. I will buy 2 for one biscuits. I don’t bake much – I work full time and do volunteer work, there isn’t a lot of time for that. I do make pizzas though – often frm scratch because dough smells great and it is much cheaper.

I’ve just been reading the undercover economist’s blog.  He was explaining about poverty lines. How they are inately subjective and change over time according to our current understanding of what is required to participate in society. Now wifi is on the British list of essentials. I don’t disagree. Sitting at home surfing the net is a lot more informative than surfing TV channels. The net to me is a very egalitarian place in terms of content. It is interesting though that wifi is on the list but saving for retirement isn’t. This seems extremely important to me and I worry we are heading for a wide rich vs poor gap in our increasingly large aged population.

One of my favourite books on the subject of low wage survival is Nickel and Dimed in America. In it a journalist travels America and works low wage jobs. It’s very readable and made me so grateful for my education, home and family support. I sometimes fantasize about low wage jobs where delivery might be less stressful (my job requires a lot of brain work and review and response to review…) but the book shows the stressful reality of counting the cents. This recession has hurt my pocket but if I’m truthful I have to say I can ride it out – I can spend a little more than $130 a week at the supermarket. I can buy the odd coffee and even a pair of new boots last month.



selling for myself
December 8, 2009, 2:47 am
Filed under: economy

It was a dark and stormy recession.

It started with oil prices – they got higher and higher. It got to the stage where every night on my street cars were having their gas caps prised off to siphon the petrol.

Then it was food prices – everything has to travel and so everything cost more. A vegetarian samosa went from $3.20 to $3.60 to $4.29 and the size of the samosa got smaller.

And then the banks started folding and before you knew it the good old kiwi investment stable – bricks and morter – started to crumble in value. All arund the world the housing bubble was popping and bursting, listing and sinking. Property was worth less and there were less lenders around to give would be buyers a loan.

And that’s when I put my house on the market. The house that belonged to my ex-husband and I. The house we had subdivided off my back section. The house that was at the bottom of  my garden.

If I was going to get less for my house I reasoned I didn’t need a middle man. I thought – I’ll put my house on Trade Me first. Worst comes to the worst I’ll hand over to an agent but at least I will try first.

I put my house in Trade Me having worked my way up from once selling a couch. I looked through the property press and thought about the kind of pictures that would make me interested in coming to see it. I also thought I shouldn’t raise expectations so people wouldn’t be disappointed. Trade Me is forgiving – you can take down photos you don’t like and put up others. And people give feedback – they asked for more pictures of the bathroom and exact dimensions of the garage. I added more info.

Next hurdle – the open home. I do my best cleaning and tidying ten minutes before guests are about to arrive – so I opened up ten minutes early and got cleaning. Would anyone turn up to my party? Then I took the paper and read and acted really casual when some people cooee -ed up the stairs.

My first open home 3 people came round – and one was what I’d call a neighbourhood tourist. The next week 3 more people but one was a repeat. Tony.

Tony made me an offer. We haggled. We verbally agreed on a price. Then the bad news – he had to sell his place first. There was a person interested in Tony’s place but…. he had a place to sell too. Suddenly I saw the real estate world as a serious of housing sales dominoes waiting to fall if only someone who could buy could set them falling.

Tony wanted to sign a sales and purchase agreement that would give him six weeks to sell his place. He didn’t have a deposit. I said no.

More open homes followed. The next offer came from a woman. When I told her that her land extended beyond the fence line she said she would get her area fenced in immediately. Her offer came from her lawyer to mine. The offer was a lot lower than I wanted. When I rang to talk to her she told me all about her ex-husband. And how she felt. And her ex-husband and his legal secretary. And how she felt about it. I imagined her coming over to my house for more chats. I declined the offer.  

Sometimes people rang to say they were just in Wellington for a few days and could I show the house. I grew to understand they were people who were trying to see if I was desperate to sell. They saw how long the house had been on the market and figured they might get a low low price.

A single parent offers me a rent to buy opportunity which has nothing in it for me. More mysterious investors from Auckland want inconvenient viewing appointments.

A few months go by. I go to the open home. Tony shows up with coffee. We read the paper. He takes newbies around and talks about his vision for the place.

My ex-husband makes noises about contacting the low price lady. He says he thinks we should call a real estate agent.

Then all of a sudden two new buyers arrive. One is a couple who live around the corner. She is a historian and he is a furniture restorer. They have a small son. They are lovely. They have to sell their flat but – it’s cheaper than mine. I help them with their photos. I seriously think about

At the same time Darren the drummer and his girlfriend also make an offer. They just need her dad to come down from Napier to make sure its OK. And he’s putting in money. Their offer is the same as the delightful couple. But its never convenient for the father in law to come to wellington. I am now thinking not just of the money but the quality of the neighbours.

I sign with the historians. They have six weeks to sell. Darren the drummer emails me everyday reminding me he is a cash buyer. I say yes but you have to wait till the end of lambing season. Can’t he get a different building inspector? Six weeks elapse. It seems the historian and the restorer won’t get the house. Darren thinks it’s a shoe in but he still isn’t moving to get his inspection done. I wonder how the sound of the drums will carry.

The historian emails me every day. She is doing all she can. She gets a lower offer and she wonders if we can drop the price a little. I ring the drummer. He is still wanting his father in law to come. He keeps saying he is a cash buyer and alludes to a place in another suburb he might turn his attention to. I go back to the historian. I say howdy neighbour. We sign the papers at our respective lawyers. The whole transaction has cost me under $500 without an agent instead of several thousand with one. But I have gained something of much more value – lovely neighbours and some new friends.

Free Separation Agreement
July 19, 2009, 12:28 am
Filed under: economy

I am now the proud owner of a $1001 document that outlines who owns what between my ex and I. That’s cheap! But don’t think it didn’t hurt to transfer the money into the striped suited ones account.

We had waited six months for his lawyer to write a draft. Six months! If I was writing these for a living I’d have a basic template and a basic interview and I’d knock ’em out like buns in a bakery.

To get things moving along I surfed the net to find out what was required and wrote up a draft. Then I got the ex to read it and made some changes. Then I consulted the list of lawyers my colleagues had recommended and contacted the one with the best parking. I told the lawyer I didn’t want to waste money. We set a price. We added a few extras like some arrangements about what we do about Christmas.

Then off it went to his lawyer. A month passed. My ex came up with a change – the sentence he’d contributed to the document wasn’t what he meant. We made the change. Finally word came that the agreement was signed and ready for my X. I drive to my lawyer. Reading through it I saw that my ex and his lawyer have signed the earlier copy. If I’d signed it it would mean an extra ten thousand dollars for me.

I pointed it out. Yeah, I know.

We printed out the right copy I signed that and we sent it off to the sink hole of time management his lawyer seemed to be.

Thursday I heard that the document was completed. Anticlimax. Now we follow the agreement and maybe by the end of the month my house will be mine (and the banks). ‘

If you want a copy of my agreement to use to draft your own just let me know.

put this in your easter basket
June 9, 2009, 2:21 am
Filed under: economy

or Christmas creeps up on Easter

or I thought I’d blogged this but apparently I never got around to it (blush)

here goes:

Just before Easter an American church group was making a plea for contributions to poor children’s easter baskets. The camera panned to such a basket and there in non-recyclable plastic were a collection of toys and, presumably, chocolate goodies.

What the? Stop the insanity! Why would you encourage the children of poor people to think that three or four months after crippling consumerist Christmas there’s another credit card celebration. Come on! It’s bad for kids to keep getting something for nothing. It’s bad for parents to have to respond to another financial demand. And why would a church group of all things be promoting the blurring of Christmas and Easter???

Capitalism is built on exponential growth. Exponential growth is highly
unstable…. so, therefore, is capitalism.

There is a lot of evidence that Christmas does us more bad than good. Family violence rises, and people report higher levels of debt, loneliness and depression. Interestingly domestic violence has shown a regular decrease in April for a number of years:

So I think there is a case to not mess with Easter until we know more about why there is some correlation with a positive indicator. In fact rather than buying into yet more consumerism maybe we should be winding the clock back a bit. I’m writing this the day after Good Friday in which I successfully did not eat chocolate. You read it right! Largely this is because I’m feeling blobby enough: having succumbed to impulse purchases of chocolate on and off since Christmas as that’s when the eggs come out. Just as October sees the first bloom of tinsel at my supermarket, New Years day seems to spark a laying out of the Cadbury cream eggs (actually I like caramel).

I’m a person who drives more than she should. I barely manage to keep up with burning the calories I consume at breakfast, lunch and dinner. These eggs and other treats that come my way at work morning teas and get-togethers seem to settle round my midriff like a sort of anti-life preserver.

The effects of Easter haven’t just registered with me. A nutritionist is complaining about the size of some of the Easter eggs on sale:


Easter, as I understand it, has it’s origins as a spring ritual. It’s about looking out the window after the hardship of winter and celebrating survival and new birth. The egg is symbolic for its promise of new beginnings, new life and fertility. And then the chocolate industry got involved. Easter slotted in rather well with the Christian celebration of Jesus death and (new life) resurrection. A few thousand years of paganism, a few of christianity and somewhere in there the happy advent of the hot cross bun as a result. But lets leave it there. I’m all for fun rituals that remind us of something but those which only encourage empty expenditure need to be questioned. We have had enough credit trouble lately. 

crunch crunch crunch
March 10, 2009, 2:39 am
Filed under: economy

Is credit crunch real? Well it’s a word. Officially! It’s been added to the Oxford Dictionary. It sounds like some kind of bad tasting cereal . As far as I understand it the credit crunch began when overseas banks became too nervous to lend to humans and to each other. At the heart of the problem were borrowers with mortgages built on metaphorical sand.  Just a little over two years ago I first heard the words ‘sub prime’. For a while I thought sub-prime mortgages was a sort of company  but no its a sort of risky investment.


Prime mortgages are ones which banks give to people with excellent credit ratings. Sub-prime mortgages is lending to people who do not.  This is a harsh life lesson we all learn at some stage when we lend money to a friend and then we don’t get it back.  We get a little savvier about assessing credit risk. Well apparently there is a lesson to learn at the corporate level here too and the global economy is just cottoning on.

The idea was that the value of houses would increase and so would peoples equity in the houses.  If they ran into trouble they could borrow more against their house. But the bubble burst. Hmmmm It was a pyramid scheme of sorts. Layers of banks we’d never heard of emerged in the public domain and there was a crisis of trust in the banking economy.

How did we go from credit crunch to global economic downturn?

During the hey day of investment in dodgy borrowers debt was onsold to investors. Mortgage-backed securities went into hedge funds who thought they were a sure thing. But the bubble broke, mortgage holders started to default on their loans and the peculiar 20th century culture of ‘BECAUSE YOU’RE WORTH IT’ became BECAUSE YOU’RE WORTHLESS’’.  

The rapid freefall of the American economy is impacting on American consumers, businesses and markets.  Jobless rate are at their highest highest point in a quarter century and consumer confidence is low. The value of stock investments  shrivelled. The burgeoning retiree market is in tatters as retired people must cut back on sending. For others retirement is now much further off unless it is enforced by unwanted unemployment.

Economists see the stabilising of the credit market as what is needed to stop the slide. New Zealand economists are still debating what the effects will be here in Godzone. On the national radio recently Jim Morah and friends were saying is it really happening here? Jim and co clearly hadn’t had to sell a house last year for 100 thousand dollars less than it was worth the year before and they hadn’t looking at rising unemployment figures. However on the whole I found this quite refreshing because most of the other media commentaries are gloomier than Paris Hilton in flat heels and you find yourself wondering  if this doom mongering might not be contributing to the economic downturn.

Just about every major metropolitan newspaper has published their top ten or 12 or twenty tips to survive a depression. Most of it doesn’t seem worth the surfing energy. Ive read The observer, The Times, The Telegraph, The Listener, and to save you the bother here are my favourites:

1.       Don’t take on more debt. Well I never. So obvious but every good list mentions it.

2.       Cancel the gym membership and the cleaner and gardener. OK its clear that people who read The Times are still living in Mary Poppins land and if things get worse they will possibly fire the nanny.

3.       Don’t buy a 2000 pound exclusive Louis Vutton bag as sported by Madonna as it can be hired for as little as sixty pounds a month!!!! Yeah right. I really read this in a serious list. Perhaps the serious translation of this is now isn’t the time to buy even if you can get credit – maybe rent for a while and see what happens.

4.       Freecycle – this is actually a good tip – get out of the false economy and into the community economy. You join an online group based on your geographical area. Regular newsletters tell you what people want to get rid of, what they want and what’s been taken.  So far Ive gotten of an old aquarium, broken barbeque, a chest full of old video tapes, music stand, .. and Ive gained the dvd player Miss 7 got for Christmas, some garden furniture and organic tomatoes. The other thing I’ve gained is some interesting new community contacts.

5.       Switch broadband – overseas there is a lot of competition for new clients with attractive rates for new customers. OK I don’t know about this one here but the basic idea is query what you are paying when there is a choice and probably with competition hotting up there could be some bargains to be had.

6.       My tip: Beware the sites that say they will find you best and cheapest service! The other day I was looking for a miniskip and entered my details in a site which said it would compare all bin hireage in my area. The skip they selected and said I could book online was  $165 but when I called a company direct I got what I wanted for $135.

7.       Get a flatmate. Other sites recommended a boarder to help share your costs – in my experience this can be hard to achieve but if you aren’t eating out any more its nice to ahve someone else who cooks the odd meal and breaks out the vacuum cleaner and can split on a dvd new release instead of a movie.

8.       Get walking! The global economic crisis has outshadowed the bloat of the You Deserve It culture that was creeping into the country and had snuck at least 3kgs on my frame. Any day now me and the kids are planning to walk to work. Any day. Some day soon. One of these days. ….

9.       Get to know your neighbours. Your family and your neighbours are your backstop in a crisis. The me me culture distances us from the real treasure of our human relationships. The TV program Dallas might have brought the Berlin Wall down but greed has also seen people evicted and lost

10.   Joanne Black at The Listener last year wrote a piece on the new frugality. I think she is on to something there – there is no shame in buying second hand, making do, and waiting before you buy. Now more than ever nobody is going to think you are a loser. In fact it’s cool.


power – use and abuse
September 1, 2008, 4:07 am
Filed under: economy

Last month my power bill was $469. Ask my kids – I said it so often they know the number off by heart. Bills like that just make me want to … blog. (lol) I checked and last year at the same time and my bill was $100 less. My first thought was that it was caused by a friend who came to stay for a week with her teenagers – the two kids completely drained the hot water tank some nights with their showers. Then my ex came over and I asked him could he please take away his hunting fridge. He looks inside and there are two peices of venison now horribly rotten in an iced up expanse. I think we found the problem!

So it was a stinky job cleaning out the fridge but now it’s done. And, importantly, an energy sucking leach of an appliance is now unplugged. As if to prove its malignant drain on my finances the next power bill came in today and its 240 less. Of course Im taking shorter showers, switching stuff off and not using heaters as much now but… I still blame that freezer.

It has rained so much in my town this winter that I feel like I could have had some sort of hydro power device coming off my roof line. A friend went to solar power last year and even through winter its been supplementing her use of the national grid. Its just a shame it costs so much to get that installed. Hers cost about 7k. Grid power costs me about $2500 a year. I wonder how much solar offsets your power bills? But maybe I shouldn’t be looking at it just from a cost perspective – it might just feel better to be more energy independent.

Divorce – makes my head spin (slowly)
August 6, 2008, 3:37 am
Filed under: economy

Divorce in New Zealand takes at least two years. This is an excessively long time so my advice to anyone thinking seriously about leaving their partner is to get on and do it. You really can’t procrastinate or think things will get better. It took me about 6 years to decide to leave and it was kind of insulting to find the law adds another 2 on for good measure.

I suppose they want you to be really really sure – perhaps they don’t want people getting divorced and then getting remarried? But surely weddings are good for the economy? Unlike investment properties which supposedly stagnate domestic turnover, weddings provide employment and expenditure. And marriages are investment in hope, well being and family. So why drag the chain? And what about biological clocks? If I met someone who wanted anotehr child I’d have no choice but to sprog first and nuptual later which – though really I don’t mind – seems a bit unfortunate for those who do.

In my case however it doesn’t matter whether Im not married or not because the glacial speed of my financial decoupling is the main thing I fret over.  

Recently I applied to a bank for a loan. Well, permission to borrow should I get into the happy position that we are financially seperate enough that I need my own mortgage. And here’s when bureacracy became entangled like a mobius strip of logic. For a few days there, it seemed the bank needed assurance I had no shared debt with my ex-partner before they could lend me swag loads of money to be out of mutual debt with my ex-partner. It was perhaps fortuitous I had another 13 months to go on my marriage to work this one out. 

Kiwibank suggested that a seperation agreement was the magic ingredient to loosen the bureacratic knot. Hmmmm well I have friends who have spent thousands on lawyers trying to get one of those sorted and I wasn’t going to start paying one if I had to. What was the essential information they were going to glean from this paper I said? This was a good question and with a  bit of email activity we agreed that a co-signed letter about our intentions around the mortgage and future ownership of the house was all that was required. No lawyer needed. Phew because – and its another mobius strip moment – I can’t afford a lawyer to help me get divorced until Im divorced.

Porridge days
May 25, 2008, 12:10 am
Filed under: economy

The funny thing is that while I feel like I’m suffering my own little economic downturn the country seems to be coming along for the ride too. Petrol prices and interest rate rises and all the flow on effects of those things are hitting everyone hard. Every week there are stories in the paper about how to cut back and save money. Unfortunately there is not usually much advice I haven’t already given myself. These are my porridge days. Having just cleared the credit card of the debt my husband and I had when we split up I was feeling marvellously financially secure. In my mind I was thinking about my kids birthday in September and the bright shiny bike I would easily buy her. A friend of mine was telling me about his financial problems and I offered happily to lend him next months rent. It felt soooooo good to help someone else and not be the person who might need help. There’s a tree in the garden who’s roots are blocking a drain and I was going to get it out before winter and the lawn becomes a bog again. I am doing really well I thought. Then last week happened – it happened gradually. The dog got attacked by another dog and the first vet bill was $240. The same day the dog registration fee came in for over $100. The day after the school sent a bill for over $500. It was still kind of ok and manageable and I was seriously intending to pay the ‘optional’ school fees I have always paid. But then came the biggie – a three thousand dollar bill that I wasn’t expecting. OK you got me now! I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that my 3k surprise bill came from my ex. And now he wants to engage lawyers to settle up our affairs. How much will that cost? The thing about porridge is it really isn’t that bad – in fact it’s quite nice. And at something like $3 a packet it’s a really cheap breakfast compared to the cereal I usually have.  But eating porridge and cabbage and pumpkin isn’t going to help me straight away – I need to borrow money or break into my retirement savings. Writing this down I just realised how lucky I am though. I’m lucky I have a friend I could ask to lend money from. I’m lucky I have some retirement savings. And lucky I haven’t already used the savings up! The place I want to be is financial independence. It’s a place where I’m no longer tied to my ex-partners finances, where a 3k unplanned bill won’t materialise unexpectedly. A place where I do porridge out of choice and preferably in advance. Disentangling myself from my relationship seems to be a continuous thing that sometimes I feel like that Greek mythology character repeatedly rolling a rock up a mountain. (or whatever) only in my case its repeatedly paying off three thousand dollars.

April 4, 2008, 2:32 pm
Filed under: economy

I’ve noticed that there are little advertising banners up the top of my entries. And – perhaps sinister – perhaps intelligent – they RELATE to what I’ve been writng about. I’ve had a few thoughts about this:

  1. There is no evidence anyone else is reading this blog except a little advertising program that must link key words in my entry to its selection. Ergo – this program is my number one blog fan :-)
  2. If I used interesting words like… um …. vegemite, umbrella, corset, topiary, cutlet or junket – which would it pick to relate to advertising?
  3. This must be a pretty interesting programme to write. In terms of the logic and trade offs it uses.
  4. Am I making someone money?
  5. Is there a way I could have some?

At this stage it is just interesting – not annoying. Its also been slightly helpful. The makers of the advertising program and the advertisers themselves might be interested to know that after I blogged about a certain outdoor household appliance and my issues with the back yard I saw a little add for Consumer pop up which led me to go compare prices and performance at their site. So – even if nobody else goes in and reads the ads the blogers themselves might be doing it. On a limited level they are working!

Footnote: the advertising didn’t change from this entry – I will keep watching – maybe my advertising fan has grown bored and stopped reading?