Ask Luke’s Mother-in-Law: Stupid Real-Estate Questions and Yam Soup


Martha Boyd is not just Luke’s mother-in-law – she’s also an ex-cop, a landlord, a self-described crazy cat lady, a major Star Trek geek and the widow of a green beret. So go ahead: ask her anything. And we mean anything.

Hey Earthlings, and those of you who are just stuck here for the time being:

Okay, here is my soapbox for this week. Well maybe not a soapbox but this totally falls under “how stupid can they really be?” As most of you know, I am a real estate appraiser, and I got a couple of real doozies of requests/questions this last week.

1) A request for evidence – with a color photo – that the smoke and CO detectors are functional.

Now, mind you, the report has the required photos of the smoke and CO detectors. How do I evidence that they are functional? Appraisal reports don’t contain sound files. My digital camera does not take pictures of sounds. If they are functional they are either quiet or screaming at you as your house is burning down or filling with clear carbon monoxide. Really ???? Did you think before you wrote this?

2) The property is a manufactured home.

Many lenders do not loan on manufactured homes. Lenders normally have in the orders that if you find the property is something different than what was ordered, stop and advise immediately. Got an order from a lender that, in all of the years I have appraised form them, has never sent me a manufactured home (I do appraise this type of property). I always run data on the house, per county records, if it is a manufactured home and not a single family residence as ordered. In California, a single family is a stick build traditional construction, not manufactured or modular construction.

I stopped and called the client to ask if I should proceed with the file. Do they loan on manufactured homes? The person I reported to said they would need to check and get back to me. OK, I buy that. Three days later, still no answer and I have checked every day since I got the order to see if they had found the information. Day four, I get the answer: “As you will not be able to make the due date and it may take longer to obtain your answer we are canceling the file and going to re-assign.” Scratching head on this one: either they do or do not loan on manufactured homes – makes ya wonder.

3) The underwriter requests that you remove the comment on financial assistance from the report.

This report is for a purchase of a property and the seller is giving the buyer a credit (this is financial assistance). I am required by law to report financial assistance. But the underwriter wants me to commit fraud on the report. Methinks we need a new underwriter. The day after I pointed this out to the lender, they decided the report was just fine with my comment left on the report.

Kitty news. Heard a loud crash in the kitchen and went to investigate. Mr. Frizzy, Pirate and LoveBug were in the cabinet under the sink. Well, this was a new adventure. Got everything back in the cabinet, closed the double doors and waited. About a half hour later another crash. Pots and pans all other the floor. Mr. Frizz is the ring leader on this one. He puts his paws on the top of the door and steps back just a bit. LoveBug gets her nose in the opening and bingo, the door is open. It was fun watching them work together on this adventure. So for a temporary measure, I put a curtain bar between the handles; all three of them were working on removing the bar, but luckily it got stuck on the wine cooler. Julia wasn’t this bad when she was little. Guess I will be buying kiddy latches for the cabinets again. Have attached pic of the temporary solution.


Thinking of also picking up How Star Wars Conquered the Universe by Chris Taylor (Sept 2014). Heard him Sunday morning on Coast to Coast, and the book sounds pretty good. I have Coast to Coast on all night in case I wake up, so there is noise in the house. It is amazing what you can listen to in the early morning hours. Let me know if any of you have read the book and is it worth the buy.

So anyway, with that said, let’s see what you have for me this week


Since I suggested you should be a classic Batman villain this week, what would your crazy cat lady death trap for Adam West be? Don’t worry about killing him – he’d obviously find a miraculous way to break out.

As I am the crazy cat lady, I would need to maybe join forces with Catwoman. I would be her mom and now in semi-retirement. However, she would need help in trapping Batman for her latest caper, and call on mom for extra help. I would trap him in a large ball of catnip and have hundreds of my kitty babies lick him to death and they would all be seeing things and acting crazy due to the catnip. Then if he did not escape we would bury him in tons of used kitty litter.


hi hi mamasan
do you drink beer? if so, what is your favorite?

Is that your little one in the picture? We used to have a black and white one named Roydie. I have never seen any of the brands in your pic. But hey, I live in the mddle of nowhere. I am not much of a beer drinker, but when I do it has to be really cold. I like a drink called Shandy; it is beer and lemonade (British thing). A good Corona with lime is alway nice.


Do you like ham for Easter? If so, do you prepare your own or do you get it all ready to go?

Love ham for Easter and I generally buy a couple of extra and put them in the freezer for use later in the year. They are alway on sale at Easter, and I have always baked my own. We don’t have anything like Honey Baked etc anywhere near where I live so it is either my oven or nothing. I generally do 2 different meats as Luke is not a ham fan so I have ham for those who love and chicken or pork for those who prefer something else.

I like to slice the top of the ham into squares and season with coarse salt, nutmeg and ginger. I glaze with agave syrup. If you don’t have agave, maple syrup is good or pineapple.


Since you mentioned your positive experience at an ATT store, I’d like point out as an FYI that you can pass along to readers, that at least for employees who work at call centers, a survey rating of 8 or less is considered a bad thing. Also, for people dealing with customer service on the phone, if you have a good experience with a person and you aren’t super busy, take the time to see if you can talk to a manager/supervisor to compliment the service rep. Call center work is a grueling, soul crushing profession and any bit of positivity can make a huge difference in a person’s day.

Now for a question:

You’ve mentioned before that you’re into UFO stuff. What are your favorite movies that deal with the topic? Which ones do you dislike or hate? Is there anything you’ve wanted to see in a UFO movie that hasn’t been done before?

I always do the survey when I get good service. I know they are generally working minimum wage jobs and most of the time people are bitching at them, so I always take the time.

Yep, UFO lover here. Living out by a base I have seen so many unexplained things in the night sky. I’m sure many of them are things the base is playing with, but gosh, it would be fun to meet an alien. I have more than an ample back yard for safe landings. I love the old 1950’s SciFi movies – they are just so much fun. On a more modern note I love ET and Close Encounters. Not a real fan of Alien.


Loved the Batman, cat-woman cartoon you posted. It made me smile – thank you so much. I love my kitties; they have been such good friends and comfort since my husband died. I’m not sure what I would do without them.


The Marines are having bombing practice – shooting off some big real window rattlers this time. Glad I only have to listen to this from time to time and know they will not be hitting my house. I feel so sorry for those in other lands who live with this on a daily basis and never know when they will be hit. On the lighter side, this week’s Mr Frizzy pics are of him using a rock as a pillow. He is up against my French doors, which are on the sunny side of the house – it was a good tummy warming spot. Also, yes that is a set of horns behind him – have to hang those some day. My house has a lot of dead animal parts.

I even found time to make a new soup in the crock pot. Yams (1 to 1.5 lbs) , chicken stock (1 cup), white beans (1 small can), bacon (1 lb) , ginger (to taste), chinese 5 spice (to taste), salt (to taste) and cream (1/2 cup) – turned out really good. I have attached a pic of it in the crockpot. You can also add butter and sour creme if you want.


Hope you all have a great Easter if you celebrate. Be good to each other this next week and as always HUGGS!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep those questions coming! Any questions submitted in comments below will be included in future columns.