2009-08-12 / Opinions & Letters

Midwest Memo

Blue skies
by Alan Shultz

It used to be that when a house got listed for sale the real estate agent took a black and white exterior photo of the place for the listing sheet. More often than not, the photo was the equivalent of a jailhouse mug shot taken on an old Brownie camera.

Well the old days are gone and so are those black and white exterior shots with the "for sale" sign out front. These days home buyers want virtual tours, narrated movies and slide shows with music scores showing all the interesting rooms inside the subject residence. Unfortunately, with wide angle lenses and airbrushing at the photo-lab, the movies and slides and photos all tend to look better than the actual space offered for sale.

At the real estate firm where I sell, we use one particular agency to do our photo shoots. We get to request a particular photographer out of the many who work at the agency. My favorite is Renee. Renee is talented and honest and has a sense of humor. Sometimes you have to work around the homeowner's collections of dozens of snowmen globes or herds of ceramic giraffes. That's when the sense of humor gets the job done.

Recently I was hired to sell a vacant apartment. On the inside it is impossible to get a good picture. The walls are white, the floors are a white porcelain tile. The ceilings are white. There's not an interesting shot or angle to be found inside.

But the views from the apartment are spectacular. "Let's wait until a sunny day," said Renee when I phoned her to make an appointment.

And we waited, and waited. Two weeks went by and the sun played hide and seek with us day-after-day. When Renee and the sun were available, I was not. When I had time and the sun made a brief appearance, Renee was busy.

And so it went.

Yesterday I got an advertising piece announcing a new program from my account manager at Renee's firm. Apparently there are lots of us playing hide-and-seek with sunny days and lovely clear sky days. So from here on out for $20 we can order the "Blue Sky Upgrade" where the firm will "pop" a "beautiful blue sky into an otherwise gray dreary picture."

As a wise man once said: "Ain't life grand?"

There's some philosophical truth behind the idea that we can choose the hue of the sky under which we live. Faith, and attitude and what we choose for influences and surrounds, these all add or subtract blue from the sky we see above.

My wife and I went to the movie house at the mall over the weekend to see "Julie and Julia." It's a delightful whimsy of a film telling the story of chef Julia Child's life and career and, at the same time, the true tale of a blogger in New York who cooks through Julia's cookbook over the course of a year.

While I enjoyed our movie pick, I squirmed in my seat during the movie preview segment. Three simply horrid "gray sky" films were previewed leaving me to ponder the hues with which we surround ourselves.

Return to top