October 2014 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com

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October 31, 2014

Signing with a former Airline Captain

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 8:18 am

NOTARY: Hi, my name is Captain Ronnie, and I’ll be your notary signing agent today. I’m experienced in the airline industry and will make sure your loan lands safely.

BORROWER: I’m more concerned that my loan gets off the ground at this point. By the way, love the captain’s hat.

NOTARY: Well, don’t worry. We’ll begin boarding procedures momentarily. They’ll make an announcement. I’m sorry that I couldn’t have been earlier, but, I was standing for five minutes in the parking area waiting for a shuttle. Then it dawned on me that there are no shuttles servicing your driveway with direct service to the check in area. Silly me!

BORROWER: That’s okay. Which way is the gate? We’re in the hallway now, so should I go into the living room or the dining room?

NOTARY: I think the living room better be the gate, because the dining room will be the plane.

BORROWER: I think I better go out for a cigarette before the captain turns on the no smoking sign.

NOTARY: Good point. I didn’t think of that.

BORROWER: I was instructed to show my identification and boarding pass when boarding the dining room table, and that the names on both must match. Is that true?

NOTARY: Yes, let me see that? I’ll record that information in my journal. Okay, now please remove all metal objects from your pockets and let me scan you.

BORROWER: What about my pen that says Chase Financial?

NOTARY: You are allowed to use that pen, but I’m not allowed to bring a pen with the name of the bank. By the way, I can’t let you into the dining room until you explain what that huge chunk of metal is in your head.

BORROWER: Oh, I had an accident as a kid, and the rest is history.

NOTARY: Got it!

(5 minutes later)

BORROWER: I’m back and all nicotined up — ready for take off. I hope I don’t get jet lag after this signing.

NOTARY: I wouldn’t worry too much about that unless you’re going to a different time zone. But anyway, first let’s get our luggage in the overhead compartment.

BORROWER: This is my dining room. There are no overhead compartments and I have no luggage.

NOTARY: That makes it all the easier.

ANNOUNCEMENT: The captain has turned on the seat belt sign. Please return to your seat and put on your seat belt.

NOTARY: The emergency exits are (making hand gestures) to the rear of the plane and also to the front. In the event of an emergency, calmly walk to whichever exit is nearest to you. If those exits are blocked, please move immediately to the closest window and jump out. Please bring one of the safety cushions below your seat to break your fall.

BORROWER: There are no safety cushions!

NOTARY: Feel under your chair.

BORROWER: Oh my god! There really are safety cushions. You might as well put a barf bag in the folder to my right, just to be true to your profession!

NOTARY: I brought my own safety devices. See this? It is a self-inflating notary seal. Great for crash landings as well as no-signs! Ooops…

(the self inflating seal popped and inflated itself as fast as an airbag.

BORROWER: Wow, that’s huge. I haven’t seen anything inflate so fast since I visited my neighbor’s teenage son’s bedroom and he showed me his… never mind.

NOTARY: I brought you one too. Yours is an oversized rubber ducky. You can ride if we have an emergency water landing. The experts say we are due for a tsunami sometime in the next few years, so it never hurts to be prepared. But, let’s not accidentally inflate yours too. They are so hard to fold back up.

BORROWER: Gee — thanks. Not exactly what I was expecting, but it is the thought that counts.

NOTARY: Now, we’re ready for take off.

BORROWER: Are you like that comedian who did a take off on take offs?

NOTARY: That was funny. I never thought of that.

BORROWER: This is hillarious… ha ha ha ha ha

ANNOUNCEMENT: The captain has turned off the no laughing sign. You are free to laugh around the cabin.

BORROWER: You are too much.

NOTARY: You think I am too much, wait until you see your APR. It is up in the stratosphere.

ANNOUNCEMENT: The captain has announced that we have successfully taken off. Please grab your pens and commence by looking over the Deed of Trust.

BORROWER: I think I need to use the bathroom. I hope there isn’t a line!

NOTARY: If there is, just use the bathroom towards the cockpit. It’s usually empty.

BORROWER: Okay, I’m looking at the Deed. It has my address correct, the lender information is correct, and the loan amount is correct. I feel like I am on stable ground.

NOTARY: Well, we’re in the air now, but glad you feel stable. I need you to initial each page on the small line in the corner, and sign at the end.

BORROWER: If I don’t like my rate, I’m going to make a paper airplane out of my Note, what do you say?

NOTARY: I think that is a bad idea, as Notes are not up to FAA standards.

BORROWER: I never thought of that.

NOTARY: Now, you’re beginning to sound like me. Now, let’s look at the Truth in Lending

ANNOUNCEMENT: The captain has announced that there will be turbulent weather ahead. Please firmly attach your seatbelt and finish your drinks.

BORROWER: No offence, but how come you didn’t offer me a choice of root beer or Pepsi and those airplane peanuts.

NOTARY: Oh I do, I usually wait until we have been in flight for about twenty-five minutes.

BORROWER: Okay, the TIL is not that bad. Why is my APR higher than my rate?

NOTARY: That is because of FAA regulations which require APR’s to fly at a higher altitude unless it is a loan that doesn’t include fees.

BORROWER: I never heard it explained that way, but I must say that I like your explanation.

ANNOUNCEMENT: We will be serving drinks and refreshments in a moment. Please adjust your seat to an upright position.

BORROWER: Okay, now it is time for peanuts, right?

NOTARY: We offer a snack pack for five dollars. Due to tight profit margins in the airline industry, we can no longer afford to give free peanuts.

BORROWER: No free peanuts? What kind of a Notarial airline is this?

NOTARY: Just kidding! Here are some peanuts, and pretzels. I brought some lemons and sugar too for fresh lemonade!

BORROWER: You are the best.

NOTARY: And don’t forget not to spill your drink on the loan documents! Keep it on a separate tray or chair as a safety precaution.

BORROWER: I would if the guy in front of me would put his seat in its upright position. BTW, Is that FAA mandated?

ANNOUNCEMENT: We will be landing in twenty minutes. Please finish your loan signing by the appointed time as the captain has another appointment immediately after landing.

BORROWER: Well, I don’t like to be rushed, but I do have a three day right to cancel if I find any issues with the loan after we are done.

NOTARY: Correct, and your borrower copies are in the overhead cabinet or under your seat.

BORROWER: Got it. Above the safety flotation device. Okay, the other documents seem pretty straight forward.

(10 minutes later)

BORROWER: Okay… I’m done signing.

NOTARY: Just sign my journal here, here and here. I’ll put the journal on your tray once you get the remains of your peanuts off.

BORROWER: Okay, here we go. (bump) Ooops. There was some sudden turbulence, and my signature went off the page.

NOTARY: That’s okay. It’s my journal. Just sign again above it. The county clerk only looks at your recorded documents, not at my journal.

BORROWER: Got it. Okay, done…

NOTARY: I need a thumbprint for the recorded documents as well.

BORROWER: I’m all thumbs. Here we go.

ANNOUNCEMENT: The captain has announced that we will be landing in one minute. Please return your seats to their upright position and keep your seat belts on. Please refrain from visiting the bathroom at this time. In the event of a crash landing, please lean forward.

BORROWER: Okay, thanks for the signing. Can I go home now?

NOTARY: You are home. We’ve landed at First American International Airport, and I have to go to my next gig. Enjoy the rest of your lemonade!



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October 27, 2014

The Joy of Saying NO

A call comes in from SSS (Sleazy Signing Service) asking if I was available to do a notary job. “Yes” I reply; please tell me more. The job is “precisely” 1.3 miles from your location. It has a single “tiny” PDF. There are “about” 12 pages, and we will provide a return account number for making a UPS label, at no cost to you. I am starting to get the feeling that this is a bottom fisher, but am curious as to the location. Where is the signing to be done? They give a location in the middle of Manhattan, the absolutely worst place for traffic. Mass transit also goes there but the service is quite slow and the waits for bus or train are lengthy. The subway train is faster, but the platforms are not air conditioned and it’s like standing next to a pizza oven.

“Shall I send you a confirmation and the docs?” You can, but first you need to understand how I run my business. I am the seller of the service and set both the price and the payment terms. My fee is $150 (much more than I usually charge, but I had a bad feeling and wanted to get rid of this particular SSS); and that is payable within the next 10 minutes on my site, via PayPal, prior to my printing of the documents.

We don’t work that way, we are willing to pay $40, and you will have to include an invoice when you return the completed documents and we will send a check during our next disbursement cycle; are you interested? No. I didn’t hear you, please repeat what you said. No. Dial tone.

Of course this is an extreme example. Their offer of $40 would entail at least 2 hours of effort, and the expenditure of over a gallon of near 5$ fuel. You know the components of doing any notary work. Calls, printing, travel, record keeping, trip to UPS, dunning for peanuts (in this case), etc. What I can’t understand is the (feigned?) surprise at SSS when I declined their offer. Are there notaries out there who will jump for any lowballer offer? I sure hope not.

However, NO is not always the best answer and you can’t say that “perhaps” or “maybe” you will take the assignment. But you CAN tell them you will be accepting the assignment – AND – will be checking their reputation. If you find they have a negative or no reputation, you will be requiring that they pay “up front”. Some might never mention that process, and will choose to do their “credit checking” as soon as they can get to a computer. If they have a good history, just do the job. But, if they have a bunch of negatives – call and “require” payment in advance.

Back to the fee amount. You know what you must charge to earn a living. Isn’t it about time that you put your foot down and declined lowball offers. Some notaries are out there taking the low fees; and the SSSs in this world have endless phone time to find them. Are you fed up with finding on the HUD that the SSS received $250 and your share is $75? I work with several very honorable Signing Services that take 25$ to 50$ “off the top”. But I always receive the majority of the fee. The reason you don’t is that you have trouble saying NO. Practice, look in the mirror and repeat NO NO NO – I refuse to allow anyone to take advantage of me.

I’m sitting at my PC typing this for you. I am exceedingly happy that I do NOT have a toxic receivable of $40 to chase after putting in 2+ hours in midtown traffic. I prefer to try to influence my fellow notaries to just say NO to the lowballers. You can do it, think: NO NO NO. After you decline the first lowballer you will feel great, and will be ready to “dump” the ones that follow.


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October 17, 2014

The Last Resort: a Notary Spa

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Virtual Comedy Themes — admin @ 6:28 pm

The Last Resort a Notary Spa
Welcome to The Last Resort, where all your notary fantasies come true. Finally, there is a place for notaries to live the life they have only fantasized. Not only will all your wishes come true, but we also have some delightful surprises in store for you. Here you are among friends, not competitors. The Last Resort is run by and for notaries; with every convenience you can imagine and some that you dared not even wish for. Read on, here you will find true notary heaven.

The Last Resort is located in AnyState, a special place designated by federal law to be in your jurisdiction. For the Venue just enter AnyState as both the State and County. Did you notice the activity board when you checked in? On it we list the dozens of signings available. We have a standard fee of $250 per signing and the docs are available at the concierge desk. Dates are flexible, process when the mood strikes you. But, prior to doing any work, please stop at the gym for reinking your stamp and complementary cleaning and polishing of your embosser.

When you wish to meet with the borrowers they will be waiting in the Marquis de Sade signing arena. In this lavishly equipped torture chamber your borrower will be “rack mounted” ready for you to “stretch them” a bit, until they are willing to sign. Most sign quickly, for others the “feet to the fire” always works. While they ponder, marshmallows are available to use with the fire.

Collecting your fee is never an issue. Signing Service owners are offered the choice of writing a check “on the spot” or partaking in the guillotine. Very few choose to lose their heads! Title and Escrow use the “dunking stool” and remain under water till the checks are signed. But all is not work at the Last Resort, once you have a few thousand in your pocket it’s time for relaxation.

You are invited to partake in the Unique Notary contest. Here we award prizes to the largest and smallest notary stamp, similar for embossers. Perhaps you have the most illegible hand writing. That will earn you a free visit to our popular commission renewal bathroom, fully automated; just do your “business” and leave renewed! The highlight of this evening’s notary dance will be a repeat of a favorite: Pin the Tail on the Lowballer. After complaints of the pins falling out, we have six inch long straightened fishhooks; that should “stick it to them” properly!

There is never a problem with affiants not have proper ID at the Last Resort. Our custom ID generation machine instantly photographs and generates “Govt. Issued Photo ID” in seconds. All affiants are legally citizens (while on AnyState grounds) so the IDs are “Kosher” for notarization. Of course hundreds of notaries are available as witnesses (for a slight fee) – just take care to be sure they don’t use their stamp and embosser when they sign the witness section.

And the rooms! Yours will be a lavish suite with either a black or blue motif, depending on the ink color signature requirements of your home state. The mini bar is fully stocked with loose acknowledgments, affidavit of single status, and various POA forms. AnyState local laws take priority over your home state and you are required to select the proper form for the affiant, no waiting for them to choose from what they know nothing about. There is only one rule at the Last Resort and that one is strictly enforced: When you wake up in the morning you must go back to being the law abiding, careful and honest notary you were before you slept and dreamed about your stay at the Notary Last Resort.

(1) The borrowers will be “rack mounted” ready for you to “stretch them” a bit, until they are willing to sign.
(2) Welcome to The Last Resort, where all your notary fantasies come true.
(3) Collecting your fee is never an issue. Signing Service owners are offered the choice of writing a check “on the spot” or partaking in the guillotine.



October 16, 2014

The Right to Cancel done Wrong

Filed under: (4) Documents,Ken Edelstein — Tags: , — admin @ 8:10 pm

The Right to Cancel done Wrong
It’s easy to make errors on the Right to Cancel, also known as the Right of Rescission form. Unfortunately this form must be free of errors prior to funding. There are several ways to make a mess of it. This entry will cover a few of the more common errors; I’m sure some creative notaries out there will comment on the aspects that I neglected to mention.

Perhaps the most blatant error is to have to applicant sign in the “I wish to Cancel” area and not on the “I received two copies” area. Sounds silly? But, it does happen. This is a real show stopper as escrow and lending are faced with a cancellation that they cannot ignore! You cannot just line thru to improper signature (redact/initial) and have them sign in the proper place, the page must be replaced and signed *only* in the proper place.

“Three Business Days” that’s the standard. But, like so many things that sound simple it has some not so obvious gotchas. Those three days, when crossing a Saturday, have different meanings to different lenders. Thus, that “right of rescission” calendar that you carry stands a good chance of being wrong. Some count Saturday as one of the three days, some don’t. Of course if it’s filled in, along with the correct signing date; no problem. But to be sure, when a Saturday is involved you have to ask the proper authority for them to supply the end date of the rescission period. Your calendar “might” be wrong!

Each borrower is supposed to receive two *executed* copies of the RTC. They are not executed by merely being in the borrower document set. It is required that you “fish out” these pages and have the borrower(s) sign as received and the proper dates are on the top portion of the forms. You don’t do that? You have done many packages without a problem. Well, if you want to be a perfectionist, leave the borrower(s) executed copies (2). Often there will be only one RTC per borrower – so go the extra mile and be sure to return two executed per borrower with the docs.

Sometimes the signing gets pushed back a day or so. The RTC must be changed to reflect the new signing date and the correct end of the RTC. If there are preprinted entries they get a thin line thru them and the borrower initials the end of the line, not you! Then, the correct dates are entered, neatly please. The same procedure for the borrower copies. Two borrowers? You need to correct and have signed four forms. It’s a good idea to print a few spare forms…..

On rare occasions I have been asked to have the borrower(s) *only* initial the date areas that will need to be changed, with no dates entered. I do not feel comfortable with this. However, if you do this; be sure to do exactly the same process on the borrower(s) copy.

Often the “checklist” will mention the RTC but it will not be included in the package. It’s only relevant when the security for the loan is the borrower’s primary residence. Thus, if the property in question is for investment or a second home; there will be no applicable RTC forms.

Always pay extra close attention to the RTC, it’s a federally mandated form and must be perfect or you will get a request to visit the borrower again. This is the one case where you cannot swap out the borrower copy page to correct a flaw; as that page too must be perfect.


October 13, 2014

Notary Pricing Structures

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , — admin @ 8:52 pm

You won’t find any suggested notary fee dollar amounts in this entry. Rather, what follows will be a (hopefully) intellectual discussion of alternative ways to charge for your services. Sometimes you will have to be flexible and choose a different pricing scheme; one other than your usual choice. I will try to cover the pros and cons of some alternatives that are probably widely used today.

The most basic is “by the piece”. That works great if you have a large client base that “goes to you”. Picture selling newspapers, many are sold with a small markup. Not so practical as a basis for charging for mobile notary services. Here in New York State, the mandated basic notary fee is two dollars. Any travel to do few notarizations would probably not pay for the gas used.

Our callers love “flat rate” pricing. They describe the work to be done, we name a “cast in stone” price to go and do the job. The issue here is that the caller rarely knows how many notarizations are required, must we supply forms, will there be other delays; waiting time, etc. Sometimes flat rate is the only choice; but be sure to get the details, even if they are not available in the initial contact. That too, is a double edged sword. They want “the number” the first time or might move on. Expect to spend a lot of time if all they tell you is that they have “some papers”.

A blend of flat rate and by the piece often works well. Set a fee for what they describe, ie: two people signing a POA. Include in your fee discussion that the quote is for only two signatures being notarized and that the appropriate state mandated fee will apply beyond the two. You will be surprised how quickly those additional fees add up. It’s also music to the caller, to hear a low starting “base fee” and a trivial addition for extras. Some take it a step further, they define the initial fee as for “going there”; and levy a by the piece for each notarization. I like to include a few in the quote.

Really big or lengthy jobs can be based on time and expenses. If a contract is being negotiated and you are asked to wait till the parties agree; go with time and expenses. Quote an hourly rate for waiting, plus your “going there” fee. The idea is to be “open ended”; the more they take of you the more they must pay. It’s fair to you; and seems to “speed up” the process; because it costs.

Loud, long, and often I have advocated payment in advance. Far too many feel that if for any reason you are unable to notarize “you didn’t do anything”. You should never go to an assignment without both sides having a very clear understanding of how your fee is calculated. If the bottom line can fluctuate, receive via PayPal, etc.; a retainer. That’s what my attorney does, shortly to be followed by a bill for more. The retainer ends “price shopping” while you are in route to the caller; and a possible call advising you that the job is cancelled.

There are as many ways to charge as there are different situations to charge for. I never go anywhere without fee agreement. I rarely go out of the immediate neighborhood without a retainer for my travel fee. On site any overage “but they’re just copies” is paid with cash. There is a real epidemic of people playing “beat the notary”. Some are coached to represent a full loan package as “it’s just one document”; despite the 187 pages requiring 28 notarizations!


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October 10, 2014

Notary frequent flyer miles

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 8:01 pm

I met a notary who had the best marketing scheme I had ever heard of. He offered frequent flyer miles to his members. He would give his regular clients a rewards card. And every time they did a notary job with him they got points. Keep in mind that if you only do loan signings, you are working for different borrowers and different signing companies every time. This guy had his own clients that found him in the Yellow Pages and on 123notary.com. Here are his rates:

Acknowledgements: 300 miles per signature
Jurats: 400 miles
Loan Signings: 1500 miles per package, and extra if there are fax backs or delivery charges.

His offer was that if you accumulated 400,000 points that you got a paid trip to Paris. He never imagined that a customer would be loyal enough to him to rack up so many points. So, his client cashed in his points, and demanded an airline ticket. The notary thought, “Now, what am I supposed to do?” He thought for a few days and came up with nothing. He didn’t have much money saved up, and this was exactly what he didn’t need. So, he talked to a few friends. The friends were thoughtful people, and came up with a few interesting ideas.

Restrictions apply
Friend: “Did you tell the client that restrictions apply?”
Notary: “No, I never thought of that.”
Friend: “Well, that is fairly common in most rewards agreements. They won’t pay for a peak season ticket, and won’t pay for extra baggage. They’ll only pay for certain days of the month during the dead season. It is a standard thing.”
Notary: “Hmmm. Well, tickets to Paris are running about $1000-$2000 now. But, in the dead season it is $700. Maybe I should just offer the guy $700 and tell him to buy his own ticket at whatever price he wants. I don’t think he will argue.”
Friend: “Honestly, you need to have this content in the contract before you sign people up on your program. Think ahead.”
Notary: “In hindsight, you are correct, but now I’ll have to fudge it…”

Customer: “Yeah… where’s my ticket?”
Notary: “Hi, about your ticket. Did I mention that restrictions apply?”
Customer: “What restrictions, you never said anything about restrictions.”
Notary: “Never said there weren’t any…”
Customer: “Well what are the restrictions, because I already bought my phrasebook and I’m ready to go. Allons-y!”
Notary: “Yes, well you cannot have a 1st class ticket on the most expensive airline. You cannot get a ticket during peak season or peak days. You cannot…”
Customer: “Okay, cut the nonsense, just tell me what you can do.”
Notary: “I’ll pay for the least expensive ticket’s value and just forward you the cash. You can buy whatever ticket you want with what I give you. You can fly during low season or pay the difference and get a private cabin on Air Emirates for whatever the sheikhs are willing to pay for that.”
Customer: “Funny you should mention that, because my friend Sheikh Ali-Hassan just bought a ticket to Paris for $10,000 with private cabin and I am going to hold you to buying me the same thing. That’ll take quite a few Acknowledgments to pay for buddy!”
Notary: “Sorry, but I don’t have the kind of money.”
Customer: “I’m just kidding. But, I’ll take the $700 you offered me for the dead season travel. Sounds reasonable to me.”
Notary: “Super”
Customer: “And one more thing.”
Notary: “Yes?”
Customer: “I need a notarized permission to travel form to take my nephew with me.”
Notary: “Okay… But, I’m changing the frequent notarization miles. Now, I’m giving 10 miles for every mile I travel. How many miles away are you from me? ”
Customer: “According to Google maps about 13.4 miles.
Notary: “You also get points for the Acknowledgment, and now you get extra points if you don’t make me ask twice for your current identification, and if you are on time.”
Customer: “I am always on time. When is check in?”
Notary: “I’ll come on over right now!”


October 3, 2014

Modern Family: An Affidavit of Citizenship & Affidavit of Domicile Notarized

GLORIA: Jay, you know what I have a craving for? And before I answer that, get your mind out of the gutter.

JAY: Not everything I think about is in the gutter, especially when you ask me to do chores like cleaning the gutter.

GLORIA: I was thinking, I would be nice if invite everybody to have dinner with us?

JAY: Well, what would we cook?

GLORIA: No, I don’t want to cook. I want to go and introduce everybody to my culture.

JAY: I think you’re doing a good job of that already. Remember when Jesse knocked on our door last night at 10:15 and you answered the door waving a machete at him?

GLORIA: Well, it was after 10pm, and you can never be too careful! But, I want to invite everyone to go with us to a restaurant from my country.

JAY: Last time we went to one of those places, the food kept repeating on me.

GLORIA: That is because you are not used to it. I have been living in your country for years, and I feel like I am drowning in your culture. I would just like that for two hours, we immerse ourselves in my culture.

JAY: Honey, they way you are built, you can’t possibly drown.

GLORIA: Ah-ha-ha, very funny. So, when can we invite everybody?

JAY: Well, don’t we have to pick a restaurant first?

GLORIA: There is one problem with that. All of the Columbian restaurants that I really like are back in my country.

JAY: Well, we’re going to have to find something a little closer than that. How about Acapulco?

GLORIA: You are right. Acaupulco is much closer than Bogota.

JAY: No, not the city, the restaurant. They’re the most famous Latin restaurant in town.

GLORIA: You’ve been married to me for all these years and you don’t know the difference between Mexican food and Columbian food?

JAY: I didn’t know there was going to be a test. But, honestly, I need to get a few documents notarized before I do anything else.

GLORIA: Oh, come on. When was the last time we did anything fun?

JAY: Okay, you can pick a restaurant and invite people. In the mean time, I’ll get those documents ready.

GLORIA: Can you get one neutarized for me too? My Affidavit of Citizenship?

JAY: I don’t think that even a document can feel neutered around you. You can come with me. But, you have to personally appear before the notary.

GLORIA: Why does everything have to be so personal. Can’t you appear on my behalf neutered?

JAY: Just invite everybody and we’ll go to the Notary in an hour. Just make sure you have your document and your ID. My Attorney drafted it for you, right?

GLORIA: I think I have it, but I don’t understand it.

JAY: I told you he was a good lawyer! Even I don’t understand half of what he writes!

(meanwhile — Gloria decides on a restaurant based on where she has been with a few friends in the past)

GLORIA: (calls Eric & Jesse) Hi, Eric. I am inviting everyone to have food from my country tomorrow night. Would you and Eric like to come? We would meet at our house, and squeeze into one SUV.

ERIC: I would love to. I love trying food from other countries. It’s so exciting, but I’m not sure we’ll all fit in your car.

GLORIA: Oh, don’t worry about it. That adds to the experience, because that’s how we travel in my country.

ERIC: Well, that might work if I brought my clown outfit.

GLORIA: Okay, thanks. I have to call Claire and Phil now.

(ring ring)

CLAIRE: Hello?

GLORIA: Oh hi Claire. We wanted to invite everybody to go out to Columbian food with us tomorrow night. Do you think that would work?

CLAIRE: Sounds like a possibility. Let me run it by Phil. I’ll call him at the office and let you know.

GLORIA: But, let me know in the next two hours, because we need to know how many people are coming.

CLAIRE: (calling Phil) Honey, how would you like to go to a Columbian restaurant tomorrow with the gang?

PHIL: Ooh, that sounds like a lot of something I want to get out of.

CLAIRE: I’ll tell her we’re busy.

(Claire leaves a message for Gloria to let her know that they’ll be busy.)

GLORIA: Okay Honey, I found my Affidavit, and my ID and I’m ready to be neutered!

JAY: You neuter a cat, you notarize a document.

GLORIA: Don’t be silly, the cat would be licking that Notary seal the whole time.

JAY: Unfortunately, his website says that he leaves at 4:45, and we don’t have time to get there today. We can either call a mobile notary that we found on 123notary.com. They charge an arm and a leg. Or, we can go tomorrow afternoon.

(The next day — Jay & Gloria arrive at the Notary office. But, there is an unexpected delay, because there are several people lined up to see the Notary. After ten minutes, the door opens, and Claire walks out.)

GLORIA: Oh hi Claire. I didn’t know you weren’t a citizen.

CLAIRE: What are you talking about? We’re having a permission to travel slip notarized for our daughter to go to Acapulco.

GLORIA: Funny you should mention that because I asked Jay permission to go anywhere but Acapulco.

JESSE & ERIC: Well look whose here! We just got our Affidavit of Domicile notarized!

JAY: We weren’t expecting to see you here. The line for the notary was longer than the line to the woman’s bathroom.

GLORIA: Funny you should notice that!

ERIC: These days, with the ambiguousness of the gender symbols on the bathroom doors, who can tell which is which?

GLORIA: So, are we all ready for a wonderful dinner? We’ll drive you all.

JESSE: (to Eric) What did you get us into?

ERIC: Well, up until now, you always enjoyed being in tight places.

JESSE: (whispering in an agitated voice) Where is she taking us?

ERIC: (softly in a positive excited voice) She’s taking us to have Colombian food!

JESSE: I can’t eat that. Especially in a public place where people might notice if I …. where people without colds have enhanced olfactory senses… hmmm?

ERIC: I’m getting the picture. So, just have a salad. This is a big night for Gloria.

CLAIRE: Didn’t you get our message? We have other plans tonight.

GLORIA: Oh that is too bad. We’ve been looking forward to this for such a long time.

PHIL: I guess we could go. That scrabble game we planned can wait.

GLORIA: Oh good. Meet us at our house at 6pm sharp.

(All six of them squeeze in the SUV. Eric & Jay in the front, and everyone else in back.)

JESSE: Gee, I haven’t been paying attention for the last fifteen minutes. But, by chance, would we happen to be in South Central right now?

JAY: Toto, I have a feeling we’re not at Acapulco anymore. Don’t worry, it’s right off the highway and has secured parking. At least that’s what their website says.

CLAIRE: You mean you’ve never been there before? I tend to lose my appetite when I’m fearing for my life. This is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the entire city!

GLORIA: In my country, this would be the good part of town.

JESSE: I really feel like we are in danger here.

GLORIA: Oh don’t worry, if anything happens, I have my machete.

JAY: And she knows how to use it! Hey, the restaurant is not where Google maps says it is. We’re lost!

GLORIA: I’ll just ask those guys over there? Pull over!!! (to guys) Hey guys, do you know where Casa Medellin is? I was there four months ago, and it isn’t here any more.

NEIGHBORHOOD GUYS: Hi bonita. Que quiere? (Translation: Hi beautiful, what do you need)

JESSE: (Elbows eric & whispers) There are eight of them, they’re all huge, have neck tattoos, and they look like they are in MS 13, the Salvadorean gang.

ERIC: No dummy, these are the guys who took out MS 13.

CLAIRE: I think I got the wrong document notarized. It should have been my Will.

GLORIA: Hola guapo. Donde esta Casa Medellin? Es circa de aqui? (Translation: Hi handsome, where is Casa Medellin?)

NEIGHBORHOOD GUYS: They moved. (making a hand gesture of cutting his throat)

JAY: Oh good!

GLORIA: Where did they move to?

NEIGHBORHOOD GUYS: Oh, just two blocks up and around the corner.

GLORIA: Oh, that’s really close. Thank you…

(During dessert)

GLORIA: (Toasting) Thank you everybody. This was the best meal I ever had, and with the best people I’ve ever known. Thank you for making me feel so at home. I feel so at home in this type of environment.

FRIENDS: Home! Great idea.


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