Category Archives: Life

Another One on The Way

Another One on The Way-1I’m sure you’ve already guessed what my first job this morning was.  Yes, you’re right, it was back to shoveling.  I don’t know who was doing the measuring when they said we received 7.8″ inches, and by the way that was a record breaker, because I was shoveling more like 8.5″ or more.  Some are now beginning to think that when Spring finally does arrive, we’ll enjoy perhaps a week or two and then move right on into summer.  It’ll be very interesting to see what happens with our weather during our warm months.  I’m getting fearful there’s going to be more raging storms accompanied by those destructive straight-line winds.

Most of my day was filled with dis-appointments with fellow Realtors for not getting back to me when they promised, and a no-show of a rental housing appointment.  One of the most annoying things about real estate is when a prospective buyer or tenant doesn’t show up at a home for an appointment they themselves scheduled.  Any time someone does that to me, it gets filed away in my long-term memory because it’s just plain rude and definitely a character flaw.

I’m pretty much set for a closing I have coming up the end of this week on one of my listings.  Wishfully thinking, I’d be in 7th Heaven if I had a dozen more homes to sell just like it.  The seller is a perfect example of the breed of homeowners who takes exceptional care of their homes to where no matter where you look, everything’s well maintained, neat and tidy, and above all, spotlessly clean.

Some may think it a great feat to keep a home is such condition, but in fact, if one continues to take an active step so to keep ahead of the untidiness, cleanliness, and maintenance on a daily or weekly basis, it really not that hard.  There’s many of you who’ve seen absolutely filthy kitchen sinks, bathtubs, vanity basins, and step-in showers, and immediately think, “How can someone live like this?”  Well, it’s the turning of blind eyes and then slowly growing used to it to the point where they believe it really isn’t so bad.

A well known mentioned over the weekend how crazy it is to see the toilet bowls of many containing black rings at their water lines.  She emphatically asked, “Don’t people know that if they don’t clean their toilet bowls at least once a week, they get like that?”  All I could say was, “They may have known it, but in these times of leisure hours being paramount, household chores get dismissed as being too tedious and time consuming.”  I’m believing all the more that some think the act of cleaning is far below their socio-economic levels.

One of my clients stopped by today for a chat about this and that.  We somehow ended up on our societal tabu subject of religion.  We freely shared out thoughts about the direction religion is moving in our community of faiths.  Up until about 10 years or more ago, our main-line churches seemed to be growing all the more ecumenical to where they’d evolved to become soulfully respectful of each other’s forms of Worship.

It seems in these times, those that have broken away from their “main-line” doctrines, are developing more of this “all about us” mentality to where some are even considering those on the outside of their circles of Faith to be nothing more than apostates. I’m afraid  going to church to worship is out, and being replaced by going there to be religiously “entertained” is in.  I’m glad he and I were on the same page of thought along with hoping we’ll all some day be back on the path of ecumenism.  Excuse me, and correct me if I’m wrong. Don’t we worship the same God?

One of my customers mentioned this afternoon that she heard on the radio there’s another one on the way and should hit some time on Sunday.  I hope it’s not another repeat of yesterday’s snowstorm, because if I have to shovel anymore snow, I’ll soon be referred to as the “Stickman”.

Tonight’s one-liner is:  “All things are delicately interconnected”.

This 8th Day of April, 2018

This 8th Day of April, 2018The first and foremost job for me this morning was to drive to my office and get myself prepared for my scheduled playing of the organ and piano for the Sunday morning Service at St. Paul Lutheran Church here in Mason City.  I normally try to arrive there early enough so to run thru all their hymns and service music before congregants begin arriving.

The list of hymns that were given me last week didn’t contain even one I was familiar with, so I went over to their church office and made copies so I’d be able to learn them during my free time.   As chance would have it, there was one that even YouTube didn’t have as a video.  The only reason I look there on occasion, is that it helps me to be certain I’m playing a given piece up to tempo since most don’t have meter listed on their pages.

After attempting to play it a half dozen times, I grew frustrated, determined, dis-appointed, and even a bit angry with myself for not being able to get it to where it felt rhythmically comfortable.  Alas, after playing it about twenty times, I got it.  So this morning, I was pretty proud of myself for having learned it, and all was going to be good, but wouldn’t you know it, about 10 minutes before their Service started, I was informed that the difficult piece I spent so much time learning, was incorrectly given.  Instead of that one, there was another they wanted played.

One of the clergy gave me the number of what he wanted, so off I went to run thru it.  Never having heard that one as well,  my fear factor started burning within. Thank goodness, I was able to run thru it several times and believe it or not, it sounded just fine.  I think my not so perfect sight reading skills kicked into over-drive due to my being overly pressed for time.

After their Service was over, several from the congregation came upstairs to thank me for playing and mentioned how well all the music sounded.  I couldn’t help but reply, “Well, I got a good lesson in complacency today, because I didn’t think I had it in me to play something I’d never heard or played before, but found myself able to crack it within a ten minute or less time frame.”  I drove away reminding myself that it’s good for us all to be challenged on occasion because that’s what kicks us into gear to become all the better.  But on the flip side of my belief, is that when too many challenges are given, most will normally lose heart and walk away for good.

One of my clients wanted me to stop by a rental he owns so to give him some pointers on things he could improve to make it more rentable.  When I got there, he was busy cleaning oven racks from the kitchen stove.  I could tell he was not the least bit happy.  Looking at those racks, I couldn’t help but say, “Did your tenants think those racks were to be used like grills of an outdoor barbecue?”  Excluding a few raw words, he said,  “I’m finding all the more younger people placing frozen pizzas on these racks without using pizza stones or tins, and when they heat up, they drip down on racks like these and  get all the more baked on after continued mis-use.”  I couldn’t help but say, “The parents of those young ones should have their ears chewed on as well.”  Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if all the more have been raised by wolves.

Our predicted snowstorm arrived today at nearly the precise hour, and here we have well over 5 inches and it’s still snowing.  They say this is going to be our last, but we’ll see.  Remember the heavy snow we received in May about three years ago?  We’ve got quite the winter landscape on this 8th day of April, 2018.

My one-liner tonight is, “Action causes more trouble than thought.”

Thought Provoking One-liners

Thought-Provoking-One-linersMorning greeted us once again with single digit temps before the sun started coming up.  Even though it was sunny, that cold northwest wind managed to keep our afternoon in the 30′s. Looks like we’re going to have to brace ourselves for another round of heavy wet snow that’s going to get dumped on us tomorrow.

While visiting with one of my dear friends this morning, she mentioned how quickly her bird feeders were emptied by all those hungry birds living in our area that aren’t getting enough to eat due to the snow cover, along with it being abnormally cold.  It looks like global warming is evolving into more of a climate change.  Perhaps Mother Nature is preparing us for another ice age.  You know that’s all it would take is for something natural or manmade to darken our atmosphere, and then the chain reaction would begin.   An eruption of a super volcano would be the natural one, and I’m sure you all know what man has created, which with the push of a button would start the other.  Let’s hope neither happens, because if it does, we’ll be seeing some sweeping changes that would last for a great many years.

One of my of my pending sold listings has me worried a bit due to the slow progress of their lender in getting it approved.  Every time there’s a buyer wanting to use an out of State lender, I grow all the more worrisome.  There’s several online lenders people use who also make me cautious.  When I’ve had to deal with them, there always seemed to be un-necessary duplicity taking place.  I think it’s because there are too many fingers in the whole process.  The days of one banker making the final decision on a loan with only two requirements being, an acceptable appraisal and a clean title, are just about gone with the exception of what still takes place in smaller hometown banks.

Personally, I’d rather pay a little higher interest rate than be run thru a grueling mill, along with being asked a thousand questions and multiple requested copies of financial and employment verifications.  Sometimes I think the bigger banks look for the smallest of reasons to hold up the processing of loans.  Even after we’ve closed on them, we get call backs.  About a week ago, I had to drive to a bank with my notary seal and re-stamp a transfer document simply because when they e-filed it, the courthouse couldn’t read that internet-filed document clearly enough.  I couldn’t help but be a little sharp-tongued by saying, “So your closers don’t even get in their cars and drive to the courthouse and personally file them?”  The weak answer I got was, “Well you know, our processing center isn’t in Mason City.”  Pretty weak answer don’t you think?

After reading an article about “artificial intelligence” and “the internet of things” in The Economist this week, we’re all going to be living in a world far more controlling than what we long ago read in George Orwell’s “1984″.  As I grew closer to the end of reading it, I felt myself becoming nauseated.  There’s no other reason anyone can give me for why this is happening other than those handful of mega-corporations and big governments greedy lust for power and control over all humankind.  It brought back to mind once again when my mother while she was alive fretting over the ways in which our world has turned.  As I said before, all I told her was, “You won’t see the worst of it because you won’t be here to see it.”  Now please, don’t think me one of those religious crazies, but I still sometimes think her great power of prayer kept her “finger in the dike” of today’s technological evils from being flooded upon our world.

Yes, we’re always concerned about ourselves, and that’s human,  but we must become all the more so for our following generations.  I believe even the innocence of childhood will be destroyed if our world’s “powers that be” continue forward with their research and deployment of these two very dangerous fields of computer technology.  By the way, Amazon is now at the forefront.

I’ve decided to finish off each one of my evening’s article for the coming days ahead with a thought provoking one-liner.  Tonight’s is, “Abuse of power comes as no surprise.”, and do please watch for tomorrow’s and those following.  I believe all of them will put your lazy brains, as well as mine to work.  Have yourselves a delightful Saturday evening.

Confirming Studies

Confirming Studies-1Oh Mercy!  The wind today was strong enough to blow just about anyone into the next County.  And with it being such a cold wind, made it all the more troublesome while outdoors.  Believe it or not, I was dressed in my high winter togs, and glad of it.   It was so bad, I was compelled to drive everywhere I needed to go, including  places I normally walk.

Even after looking twice, I was still in dis-belief after reading we’re supposed to get six to eight inches of snow on Sunday.  Keep in mind, that storm will arrive on the 8th of April.  How much more crazy can our weather get? Well,  our overnight temps tonight are to be dropping down to 10 degrees or colder.  Those poor robins flying around town are looking all the hungrier these days.

As I driving out on the southwest side of our City, I noticed a dead crow lying in the snow, and two other live ones standing nearby that were likely in their crow “state of mourning”. Someone told me several years ago that if you kill a crow belonging to a group/family in the area, and they happen to see you killed it, they’ll curse at you from afar in their crow language for an overly-extended period of time.  I pretty much suspected that from many years ago, but just recently read how they’re so very much tied to their family units, to where they actually go into a state of mourning/vengeance.

My mid-afternoon was spent showing a number of Prairie Place on 1st condominium units.  Since the buyers had never seen them before, I gave them the entire tour of the complex.  As what seems to always be the case, they were very much impressed with what they saw and heard.   Having never met them before, I’d say if they do decide to purchase one of them, they’ll be yet another good “fit” for that wonderful community of existing residents.  I won’t be surprised if I get a call back asking me to schedule another showing of whatever floor plan they like the most.  The husband mentioned while walking out, “I sure got an information over-load today.”  That’s a good thing because I’d rather have buyers more in the known than in the dark.

One of my later duties was to attend a visitation of a gentleman whom I’ve know for a number of years.  As always, I ended up seeing more people there whom I knew, which kept me in that space much longer than my planned going in, leaving a card, viewing the deceased, and lastly, extending my condolences to immediate family members.  What always makes me a little sad, are those memory boards of photos and memorabilia nearly all families put up for those in attendance to view.  It always makes for me a creepy sort of visual walking back in time to where you want to say, “Is this all there is to show for all of his or her years on earth?”

I’m not so sure when and who got that all started, because when I was young and being forced to go to visitations with my parents, I don’t remember anything like that being done.  There were only open caskets, flowers, but nothing more.  I believe those “tribute” stands that are stationed around, are a bit much for the general public and extended relatives to see.   A few years ago I was at a visitation which also had those tribute boards and memorabilia placed about which I thought at the time, if the decedent were still alive, would’ve vehemently frowned upon them.  Oh well,  it’s a fad that was started years ago, yet still alive and well.

Speaking of fads, I’m still waiting for that disgusting “drop-crotch” fashion to permanently go out of style.  And the other one close behind is all the wild and un-tamed facial hair so many of our men are growing.  Seeing it on the young ones is bad enough, but when finding it on older men who have more hair on their faces than on their heads causes them to appear all the more upside-down.

I’m still of the belief that if everyone would soulfully work at looking their best, they’d feel all the better about themselves, and I’m sure there’ve already been confirming studies done on it, but those researchers are afraid to release their findings due to everyone being forced into this “politically correct” nonsense.

Boutique Bakery

Boutique BakeryTwas another cold one here again this morning.  Thank goodness it was relatively calm out, or that 16 degrees would’ve felt much colder with an accompanying wind chill.

Just out of curiosity, this morning I counted the number of days that have passed since the Winter solstice, and then started counting back the equal number of days behind the solstice.  Not surprising, I found this crazy cold and snowy weather would be just as if we were having similar days on the 8th of September.  After seeing that, it’s no wonder the climatologists are saying our temps are 20 – 30 degrees below normal for this time of year.  If we do get another dumping of snow on Sunday, it’ll take all the longer for our soil to warm up because of our sun’s warming rays being reflected off that shiny white snow.

It appears there’s a renewed interest in Prairie Place on 1st condos with there now being three different showings scheduled within four days.  It’s not surprising when knowing how brutal this past winter has been for our elderly.  Every time I’m over at those units, I find them toasty warm and all the more inviting.  Since I’m a sun worshiper, I’d much rather have one of the units facing south instead of north, but as we all know, everyone has their own preferences.

The bulk of the phone calls today have been from people living out of State looking for rental properties here in our City.  I’ll not surprise me if those numbers increase since our housing market is getting all the more tight with available homes for sale.  After inspecting a home belonging to one of my clients which I just posted for rent today, I couldn’t help but say, “Have you ever thought of selling it instead of renting?”  Knowing how few homes are available in that particular price range, it wouldn’t surprise me if it sold quickly, and for a good price.

One of the little errands I had to run today took me out to a dear old client’s home to drop off some information on the Prairie Place condos which she wanted to pass on to a relative who’s been thinking about moving back to the area.  I always enjoy seeing her because of her old ways of cooking along with how she maintains her home.

To my surprise, while walking thru her front door I immediately noticed the smell of baked bread.  I jokingly asked, “Now what culinary delight are you baking today?”  She dismissed it as nothing more than a simple loaf of German rye bread from a recipe out of her grandmother’s collection.  From some of her past stories, I’m sure her Germanic ancestors were the most hard-core you’d ever find.

After giving her the information she wanted along with a short visit, I was compelled to ask about seeing her newly baked loaf of bread.  She got up and motioned me to follow along to her kitchen.  When I saw that wonderfully smelling and beautifully crafted loaf, all I could say was, “My gosh! It looks like something you’d see in a boutique bakery in a big city’s ethnic neighborhood market.”  It was about 8″ across and about 5″ tall, and oh did it smell ever-so-good. She insisted I wait for her to cut an end slice, so there I waited while my mouth continued to water. Before she started cutting I asked, “Since my camera’s in my car, do you mind if I run out and get it and take a photo?”  She shook her and said, “It’s only a loaf of bread, but if you insist, go ahead.”

After many thanks, off I drove with my big slice of German rye bread containing caraway seed, a couple cold slices of butter, which were all snugly wrapped in wax paper and slid into a small paper sack.

When I got back to the office, of course the first thing I had to do was have myself a delicious treat of boutique bakery rye bread that was created by yet another one of those hidden gems of people living right here in River City.  It even tasted even better than it looked.  I’ll have to lift her all the higher by sending a thank you card.  Doesn’t the above photo I took of it make your mouth want to start watering?

The Chills

The Chills-1Just before leaving home this morning, I glanced to see what the temperature was outside.  I can’t remember a year when it was 5 degrees outside with a windchill of -5 below zero in the month of April.  It’s no wonder everyone’s getting cranky from being held hostage by their cabin fever due to our extended winter.

The four inches of snow we received was enough to get me out first thing to and at shoveling the front of my office before those early morning pedestrians started packing it down.  Speaking of snow, I happened to cross paths with a business owner down the block from me.  With him being on my planned call list, bumping into him saved me the effort.  He may not have liked what I said, but after this winter’s snow, I told him once and for all, “If I should your snow removal people having pushed any more piles of snow on the back of my lot, I’ll call the City and have them deal with you and your workers because I’m sick and tired of people freely piling snow on the property of others.”

He seemed a bit shocked while asking, “Well what am I to do when there’s so much of it?”  All I said was, “Have it hauled away like other businesses do, or pile it in one big pile on your own parking lot.”  He thought he was going to make me feel sorry for him by saying, “Do you realize how much it costs to have snow hauled away?”  Not wanting to debate something not worthy of debate, I replied, “I don’t know, and really don’t care because your snow problems are not mine.”  We’ll see what happens next winter after today’s resolution.

Most of the rest of my day was spent working on the first of the month accounting along with making sure my closing files were in order.  For being stuck most of the day at the office, I was surprised to find how quickly the hours passed.  It was just another reminder to me how time passes all the faster when focused on productivity.

As with most families, whenever their last parents pass, it’s normally the case for their children to be given back any personal items that were gifted to them while living.  With that said, I’ve had in storage for almost two years a beautiful print which I gave my mother some years ago which hung in her living room.  It’s a winter farm scene that was professionally matted and framed.

Just these past weeks I’d been pondering the idea of donating it to Prairie Place on 1st so to be hung in one of their common areas.  I shared my thoughts with the Director of Good Shepherd along with telling him what it looked like and its size.  He thought it would make a nice addition to Prairie Place, so that was another green light. Several more weeks passed, and then yesterday arrived when my decision to gift it was made. After making sure the frame and glass was thoroughly cleaned, off I went to place it where I thought it would best fit. When I got back to my office, I called my contact at Good Shepherd to tell him where it was so he could have it hung.

As chance would have it, I was over at Prairie Place twice today for showings.  When I stepped off the elevator on the 2nd floor, there it was, beautifully hanging just as though it had been chosen by a professional decorator.  It gave me a chill or two to find the colors in that print coordinating with the wall color of that hall. Even its oak frame was a near perfect match to the baseboards and trim.

What almost brought tears my eyes, was when one of the 2nd floor residents called me late this afternoon to thank me for donating such a beautiful print.  Before hanging up I said, “I hope all of you enjoy it as much as my mother did.”  She assured me they would.

Her call today, once again re-affirmed my belief that are certain choices we make which are mysteriously meant to be, and most times they’re made for the enjoyment of all the many more.  I’m sure my mother’s spirit is happy I gifted it to them, because when I saw it hanging there for the first time, I had an big, yet positive dose of the “chills”.

The above photo is one I took of more deer in our City!

Do You Like Butter

Do You Like ButterWell, it looks like winter is back at it again.   The streets around the City were exceptionally greasy to where I almost got broad-sided while driving thru a 4-way stop.  The person at the crossing street was doing everything she could to get her big SUV to stop, but she just kept sliding towards me.  Thank goodness I got past her in time before she finally came to a halt in the middle of the intersection.  After that near collision, I’m sure she was all the more careful the remainder of the day.  I do thank the City workers for keeping much of it plowed off.  With our overnight temperatures looking to be down near 10 degrees, it’s a good thing they’re working at it before it’s frozen solid come tomorrow morning.  It was confirmed again today that there’s another storm on its way this weekend.  Our world’s weather patterns  are certainly becoming all the more funky.

Two of my appointments today were to take a look at several homes belonging to sellers who are getting ready to list them once they’ve made a few pre-listing improvements. The first one I’d already inspected several years ago, but the sellers for whatever reason, decided not to list until this year.  Once they get all the excess of personal items removed and a little more painting done, they’ll be ready.  It’ll likely sell because it has four bedrooms and a bath on both floors.

The second one is a home I sold to the owners about ten years ago.  When I walked in, I had the same feeling for it as I did back when I sold to them.  It’s a grand home with oodles of oak floors and woodwork.  I can’t wait until they get their finishing touches done on it because I know there’ll be some interested buyers wanting to see it.  I soulfully announced to those sellers today, “For me, your home is like a place where I’d go to have a soft metaphysical landing after a long day’s work.”  Whomever had it built, spared no expense to have what they wanted in spite of the cost.  I was even treated with a freshly baked cinnamon roll.  It certainly brought back memories of my mother’s homemade cinnamon rolls.  You do remember me telling you about our olfactory memories being the most acute.

Speaking of smells, I’ve got a little test for you. I’d like for you all to think of what a dill pickle smells like, and then go find one to sniff.  Continue on with the things you’ve eaten, those you’ve sipped, and even certain flowers you’ve smelled.  You’ll be amazed at how near perfect your “smell” memories are when comparing them to the real things.  The two flowers which I can “vividly” remember their scents are, irises and roses.  How about you?

Speaking of memory, one of my delightful clients has a way of invoking memories of long forgotten weekly TV programs and movies by humming their theme songs.  There was a need for me to call him today, and wouldn’t you know it, he started humming the theme song from “The Adams Family”.  I got a good laugh out of it, but then later I couldn’t keep from hearing it repeating in my mind. “They’re creepy and they’re cooky…”  Yes, that weekly black and white TV serial was quite the rage when I was a young and very impressionable pre-teen.

My “sight for sore eyes” today, was catching a glimpse of a dandelion trying to bloom alongside the foundation of a building in the midst of this snowstorm.  Thus, I was compelled to take a photo of it to share with you.  What I was seeing, was a confused dandelion trying to make sense of this weather.  Remember what we used to do with dandelions after picking them?  We’d hold them under each other’s chins while asking, “Do you like butter?”  Such comical things children can think to do while curiously exploring Mother Nature’s magical world.