Last weekend Melody and I went to a lunch downtown to celebrate the 500th client for PRESS, which is a real estate referral service. We became clients when we bought our home in 2002 and it worked out well for us. Jim Stacey referred us to a great agent, loan officer, and inspector, and then tagged along at the inspection to give us yet another point of view of the condition of the house. Since then, he's been a good sounding board for us when we've had questions about home maintenance or even doing a short plat with our neighbor (a topic for another post).
The most interesting thing about PRESS is instead of the customer paying a fee, the agent you use happily pays a referral fee (referrals in the real estate industry are always good). From what I understand, that one fact is the biggest stumbling block for potential clients - how can the service be useful if you don't have to pay for it? We did examine it very thoroughly and in addition to being happy with the service, after all these years we still consider Jim and Mel as friends. The company has been taken over by Brett Clifton, and it was he who hosted the lunch this past weekend. He's energetic and very good with people, and seems to have kept the business thriving.
It was fun to hear some of the stories told by the clients, ranging from finding a pot roast left in the oven by the previous owners to finishing work on a roof and having a neighbor climb up with a bottle of champagne to celebrate ("Where were you when I needed help on the roof!")
The restaurant was right next to the Olympic Sculpture Park (part of the Seattle Art Museum) so we looked at the lower part of the park before lunch and the upper part after. I unfortunately didn't have my camera with me, but the next time we go I'll post some pictures.
The most unusual exhibit is the Nurse Log in the Neukom Vivarium, which stretches the boundaries of mixed media installations by centering around a 60' log in a custom greenhouse. Many different forms of plant life are growing on the log - there are lots of ferns and fungi, and even some new trees (the docent exclaimed she didn't know what they would do when the saplings grew taller than the greenhouse).
Another exhibit is a series of safety cones which it ends up we just caught (they will be removed next weekend). There are about a half dozen of these giant cones (which must be close to 25' tall) sprinkled all around the park. We also enjoyed looking at the landscaping, recognizing many of the plants we had decided to put into our yard. There's an aspen grove with a meandering path cutting through it, with stops to view artwork, and it's the right time of year to enjoy the noise the wind makes through the leaves.
We lucked out and it was a clear, sunny day without a lot of people milling around. It was a very peaceful place to visit and a good way to wind down from the party.