Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again...For Now

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend.

I spent the weekend in Lake Havasu/Parker and my experience put all the "green shoots" hogwash to rest.

I've been going to The River since I was about 15 years old, and I have never--NEVER--seen a holiday weekend as dead and eerily quiet. Hell, I think Thanksgiving weekend is busier. It was bizarre.

On big weekends like Labor Day, you can pretty much forget about safely waterskiing or wakeboarding on The River. This weekend, we had no problem whatsoever. None. For the most part the water was wide open.

And the sheer amount of For Sale signs was pretty astounding. And not just on houses: Cars, trucks, trailers, golf carts, boats...people are being hit hard and they are shedding toys.

The stories are no longer about who bought that sick Eliminator down the way, they are about who is trying to short sell and whose property has been taken back by the bank.

The waterfront place right across from where we stayed in The Keys had recently been foreclosed, and the former owner decided he didn't want the bank to be left with much when it took the house back. So sledgehammers were applied to the granite and tiles, and the rooftop air conditioners were removed. And by "removed," I mean they took them off the mounts and pushed them off the roof onto a pile of old tires (there ostensibly to break the fall).

That plan was an epic FAIL. The AC units were smashed into bits, and the former loanowner, admiring his worthless vindictiveness, peeled out and made the extensive damage someone else's problem.

You have to remember how many property owners are (were) construction workers and contractors. When all that residential and commercial contruction work dried up, it's no surprise those who HELOCed the shit out of their two-bed, one-bath in Riverside or wherever could no longer afford their 32' Skater and F-350 turbo-diesel.

People just no longer had the money for a relaxing weekend in the sun. And don't forget, gas is $1.00 cheaper than this time last year!

It was really sad. And eye-opening. It makes me want to ignore the data and the unemployment rate and just believe things are on the mend and our economy will rebound soon. But in light of what I saw this weekend, it's difficult.

My work travel schedule has been (and continues to be) unrelenting, so I apologize for the lack of regular posts and what is sure to be a continuation of that trend this week.

How was your weekend?


  1. Welcome back, El Bee! Glad you had a peaceful weekend.
    The gf and I spent a lot of time cleaning up her garage. Her deceased husband was quite a pack-rat, and collected "collectible" stuff as his "retirement plan".
    We have several HUNDRED X-Men, Superman, Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars and Star Trek "action figures" to dispose of, along with thousands of baseball cards and pins. From a quick scan of eBay, it looks like most of the stuff is going for $5~$25, so we might wind up with a little cash to help the "Add-A-Room" fund. We also dug about 50 PEZ dispensers out, and we were stunned that those things go for $50~$400 each, even in this rotten economy.
    Oh, and she has 3,875 comic books to dispose of, too.

  2. My weekend was one to not remember. I was partying in the LBC on Friday night, Saturday night, and Monday night. All at friends homes.

    It is good to know that there is some more anecdotal evidence that the green shoots are more like green shit.

    It wasn't too long ago when my wife and I hit the Outback steakhouse for some crab legs on a Saturday night around 7 - 7:30 PM. Place was EMPTY. We were seated immediatley walking in. That would never have happened in the past.

    I golf a LOT, and I have noticed many more e-mail specials as well as courses with much less traffic. I have been able to walk onto Mile Square basically at will.

    Also, a few weeks ago I went to Target and Macy's in the same weekend. Target was busy while Macy's, not so much.

    Of course, this is all California. I wonder if the same stories could be told nationwaide.

  3. Hi El Bee,

    My weekend was sad and depressing, because when I went to ready my daily Long Beach RE blog, it was not there. =-(

    Seriously though, it's always nice to have time off, and personally I am working full time with 3 night classes, so my schedule is pretty full.

    As for the blog, this might sound kinda harsh, but I'm actually pleased to see the suffering that is going on, in our country.

    Too many people of this generation have the entitlement mentality, and these little spoiled brats are gonna have to learn that the suckle runs dry at some point, and you're actually gonna have to go out there and face the REAL world.

    Maybe people will stop voting all these leftist socialists into office (some of them are big government Republicans too), if they get tired of suffering.... then again, maybe not.

    Look at California, yet people keep voting for these socialists in the State Legislature.