Category Archives: Mason CIty

Wooly Warm Wrap

Wooly Warm Wrap-1As I suspected, today’s weather has been the center of attention for us all.  While driving to work this morning, I had to be all the more careful on our streets and highways due to last night’s drizzle having been frozen overnight.  And of course, with it snowing and the ever increasing wind speed which over the day, was creating poor visibility and making it all the more difficult to navigate the roadways.

I figured I’d best close up early so to make it home before the sun went down.  I couldn’t drive any faster than 20 miles per hour, or that blowing wind would cause my vehicle to begin swerving.  Thank goodness we don’t have much for hills in and around Mason City, because coming up over a hill with such wind can cause a driver in less than a second to loose control.

I’ll never forget one of my colleagues years ago having been blown off the road while driving over a windy hill, but luckily only running into a gatepost at a field entrance rather than being thrown headfirst down into a deep ditch.  Just thinking about winter driving brings back another memory of vehicle pile-up that took place near an on/off ramp of I35 near Ames.  It was weather just like this where it was snowing and blowing, and in spite of the size or make of  those vehicles, they were spinning around like bumper cars in a cheap circus.  Thank goodness I got off the Interstate just before those vehicles went out of control.  That was the night I discovered 4 wheel drives are just as accident prone on ice–and from what I saw, possibly even more. I can still see that handsome BMW SUV in my mind spinning like a top.

One of my appointments today took me out to preview a home owned by a dear lady whom I’ve known for many years.  She’s decided it’s time to give up her home and move into senior housing.  It always makes me sad knowing that nothing stays the same when people we’ve known for so long reach that stage in their lives.  Thank goodness she has immediate family in the area to help her with another life transition.

After visiting with a well known today, we’ve both come to the conclusion that there seems to be more older couples either separating or getting divorced.  Over these many years, I’ve seen some very unfortunate men and women getting sucked into toxic relationships after either a divorce or death of a spouse from their first marriage.  I personally knew a woman some years who was sucked into one of those by a man whom I could sense had nothing more in mind than to have a built-in cook, maid, and bed companion.  That poor soul endured far too many hardships just so to keep peace and/or appearances.  I prayed for her all the while she was being preyed upon by him.  If Hell really does exist, I believe that wicked codger is now in one its sub-chambers serving an eternal life sentence.

As chance would have it, I had my camera with me when I happened to see a sun dog in our late afternoon sky.  That’s the first one I’ve seen this winter. At least there was something beautiful borne out of this beastly weather.  I mentioned to a client wintering down South who called earlier, “The weather we’re having outside today isn’t fit for man or beast!”

Stay warm and safe, while my hoping you’ll be spending some well-earned time comfortably seated in front of a crackling fire with a good book, a cup of hot tea,  and a wooly warm wrap.  Now that’s my idea of a pleasant winter’s evening.

Parting Company

Parting Company-1It was sad to hear about the accidents that took place this morning.  People have got to learn what happens to roadways when we have these drastic temperature changes. While driving to work this morning, it didn’t take me long to discover how slick the highways were, and then proceeding accordingly.

I’ll never forget hearing a man recently tell his story about what happened to him on a slick highway with poor visibility.  I don’t even want to think about his near death experience and the agonizing weeks that followed.  After several years of re-constructive surgery, he’s alive, but unable to do the things he once did prior to that near fatal crash.  I can’t imagine what lingering thoughts he must still have regarding that wintery day when he decided to take quick trip to Mason City to pick up a few things prior to a holiday.

Everyone must continue to be reminded, and especially the young who’re so glued to their cell phones, how their futures can be permanently altered in split seconds. Just this past year I’ve seen far too many drive right thru intersections without stopping, and even if there be a stop sign or red light in clear view.  There was a young lady just about a week ago who drove right thru the stoplight at the corner of 3rd NE and N. Delaware without even looking both ways or slowing down.  I could see she was mindlessly busy with her smart phone when she drove past me.  This addiction to smart phones is becoming all the more dangerous to our public, and it’s getting worse.

There were only three appointments away from my desk today, which gave me enough time to get the hardwood floors in my office scrubbed free of salty white “cat tracks”.  I’m not complaining because I’d rather see them truly clean than have wall to wall fibrous material.  Carpet never gets that clean because of all those multi-million strands that are holding disgusting matter and particulates.  Someone said today that steam cleaning does the trick with carpet, but I’m certain they’re not completely clean. And of course, once my office floors were dry and shining, there were three random visitors with salty wet snow on their shoes.  Three more times I went back over the areas where they walked, stood, and sat.  Oh well, that’s the price we must pay during our winter months when having to deal with the salt the City spreads on our streets and then tracked into our businesses.

Early this morning I received an email stating that another one of our Realtor’s decided to make a change in office affiliation.  That’s the second one in less than two weeks.  It’ll be interesting what takes place in our market this year with those changes because I know very well how a given agent’s office affiliation can re-draw the lines of a given office’s market share in the months a years ahead.

Since becoming a Realtor 37 years ago, and the three office changes I made during those years, I’ll never forget two of those office owners not being civil with me after announcing my decision to leave.  Each of them told me during those times that they’d make sure I went out of business more sooner than later.  Parting company is always hard without having such mean-spirited wishes of failure placed on an exiting agent’s head.  Personally, I wish every agent who decides to switch the best.  Don’t you think in the long run it to be a higher road to take?

The Gorilla Glue

DSC_5229Oh what a delight it was to be able to go outside without covering nearly every square inch of one’s body just to keep from getting frostbite.  I normally have to cover my nose and mouth so to keep that really cold air from making me cough.  It has a near strangling effect on me which is likely one more genetic predisposition some of us have to endure.

Early this morning I had a quick chat with one of my well knowns who was making me laugh about a gag gift he received several days ago.  The more we talked about possible uses for it, the more we laughed. It’s always good to get as many good belly laughs as possible in these times.  It helps to keep us from turning all the more inward.

DSC_5234Having my afternoon free, I spent nearly five hours working on two menial jobs, and one of which is my on-going little-big project.  It’s amazing how quickly time goes by when in a mild state of hyper-focus.  That’s one thing I discovered about myself a very long time ago when someone nearly caused me to fall off a ladder because I wasn’t paying the least bit of attention to my surroundings.  A very naughty monkey Realtor who’s now retired thought he was funny by grabbing my leg which caused me to bolt.  People can do the craziest things to others which they believe to be funny, but had I fallen on the pavement, I would’ve likely broken something.  I wonder how many unreported accidents are caused by someone trying to be cute, but never reported.

With this being my Sunday to play for St. Paul Lutheran Church, I made sure to get over there about an hour before their Services started.  This was their Holy Communion Sunday which has more Liturgical music to be played, and thank goodness I was comfortable enough playing those extra pieces.

DSC_5233Another reason I went early was to have time before the church started filling so to take some photos of its interior while not interrupting any of their early arrivals.  There are always those communities of faith who have members who prefer to pray quietly alone before their Services begin, and I can fully relate to that.

The main photo I wanted to take was of the Cross that hangs in their Sanctuary which I’ve always considered a beautiful work of religious art.   The person who created it did a beautiful job with the representation of the Risen Christ which I believe gives more meaning to the concept of eternal life.

The three windows behind the altar are also captivating because below them is written, Faith, Hope, and Charity.  What a wonderful triad of inspiration for everyone to see.  The other set of windows I took a photo of are located in the right hand transept.  Being a real fan of art contained in stained glass windows, I’d say whomever created them was a master. And lastly, the “big” window is the one filling the back of the gallery.

DSC_5232-EditSince nearly all my time at St. Paul’s is spent up in that gallery, I have a bird’s eye view of the movements below.  With that said, I’m convinced their congregation is a great example of a Community of Faith who’ve freely made a commitment to be there each and every Sunday.  Faith is not going thru one’s religious motions once a week and calling it good, but rather being a time when everyone’s faith comes alive and subsequently shared with each and every one in attendance.  Now that’s what I call a living and breathing spirituality!

This is why I’m a firm believer that everyone should be a part of some religious community whether it’s big or small, because a community of faith is the gorilla glue that binds a city or town’s secular components so they continue moving in an upward and moral direction. Am I making sense?

I hope you all enjoy these few photos of St. Paul Lutheran Church’s interior, and I’m not exaggerating by saying it’s a charming church belonging to noticeably wholesome members.  Wishing you all a delightful day tomorrow.

Outdoorsy

Outdoorsy-1I’m sure many of you are happy it’s the end of our short, yet brutally cold work week and now able to keep closer to home and out of the chill of it.  It sounds like for the first time in weeks, it’ll be hovering around freezing on Sunday.   Hopefully, it won’t be so cold out tomorrow for my public open house located at 1034 Park Lane here in Mason City which is scheduled between 1:00 – 3:00 pm.

If 1034 Park Lane had been listed before winter hit, I’m sure it would’ve been sold right out of the gates simply because of its location,  being a newer 3bedroom ranch with a double attached garage, and its pricing.  There were a number of similar homes that sold this past year which were in the same range which sold within days of being listed.  Hopefully the buyers will be out in full force tomorrow and it’ll get sold.

While working on some accounting entries, a gentleman I hadn’t seen for quite a number of months arrived with a few inquiries about rentals.  After answering his questions, we had a good chat about a number of recent happenings.  I’m finding all the more of our residents doing a sort of hunkering down by not being as normally interactive with our community.  I only wish there’d be more of our recently retired seniors actively seeking charity work so to get themselves out of their houses and putting their minds and bodies to work on civic-minded projects.

Once in a while I happen to drive past a home occupied by a couple who recently retired, and just recently I noticed they’d installed the most monstrous television that’s mounted on their living room wall which has been on whenever I happen to be driving down their street.  I guess they’re just another one of the statistics where couples retire, hole themselves up in their homes, sit around watching television while waiting for God.  It’s creep scary as far as I’m concerned, because I’d be ready to climb the walls if trapped inside my home all day with a monster TV continuously playing.  There are some I know who have to have a television on in their bedrooms all night just so they can sleep.  Now how did that get started?

Early this afternoon I went out to a clients home to go over a few items.  I was glad she called because I hadn’t personally seen her since announcing her pregnancy, and carrying twins mind you!  After we went over what was needed, I soulfully said to her, “Because I know you well enough, I’m convinced you’ll be a great mother.”   I couldn’t help but share a story with her about one of my dear sisters who chose not to have children in spite my badgering her when young regarding my belief she’d make a wonderful mother because of knowing how kind and gentle she was towards nearly every living thing.  I actually became a little teary-eyed while making comparisons.

After looking at my appointments scheduled for tomorrow, I’ll likely be a busy bee nearly the entire day.  That’s just fine by me because I’d rather be active during these cold and dark days rather than having the weights of time heavy on my hands.  Since I’m not one of those winter outdoorsy people, I have to find things to do within.  Wishing you all a warmly pleasant weekend!

Biological Assault and Battery

Biological Assault and BatteryIt was certainly a surprise to find more snow on the ground this morning, and certainly enough needing a shovel.  The love/hate relationship I have with winter has been a repeating annual event.  On a positive note, I’m getting all the more exercise with my seemingly endless throwing of snow.  I shutter when thinking about building those tall hills of winters past.

Only two appointments were booked today which gave me more free time to continue on with my year-end duties.  I have several more to finish tomorrow and after that, barring something overlooked or forgotten, I should be ready when flipping my calendar to January.

There were several homes I had to do a walk-thru for owners that have moved just to make sure the furnaces were working and all was well.  One had not yet been shoveled so I grabbed my scoop from my car and did quick-over their sidewalk.

Several people asked me about my plans for New Year’s Eve and the following day.  My answer was that it would pretty much be a repeat of Christmas.  As chance would have it, one of my favorite clients/customers mentioned his having been a similar time for reflection and contemplation.  Because this past Christmas was so much different than previous years, it’ll likely be clearly remembered.

I’m still a bit in shock why 422 S. Tennessee Place has not yet been sold.  You can’t find a better condo in a better neighborhood for a lower price.  Perhaps now that our City’s inventory is low and likely staying that way for this coming year, it will finally get purchased by someone having realized that it’s as good as it gets when it comes to units from which to choose.  With it being an upstairs, one would think it would be a great attraction for a young professional. Put the word out on it whenever possible.

One of my well knowns stopped by my office this afternoon just to have a chat about this and that, along with holiday happenings.  It sounds like if all indicators are correct, she’ll be on track to have an exciting year ahead.  Since we’ve know each other for such a long time, we can freely speak without having any “filters” blocking random thoughts. It’s too bad more people don’t just say what’s on their mind instead of beating around the bush with vague remarks clouded with innuendos.

After a conversation today with a client who lives in a metro area, it sounds like the flu that’s starting to get passed around is all the more wicked than last year’s.  What frightens me the most, is the possibility of something as globally deadly as the one that killed between 50 – 100 million people back in 1918. Viruses are continually mutating to where a few microbiologists believe it’s like trying to put out a forest fire with a squirt gun.

Just these past several days I’ve noticed people in public sneezing without covering their mouths, running noses, and incessant coughing.  I wonder what one of them would do or say if I’d walk up to them and insist, “Do you know that you are likely committing biological assault and battery on those around you?”  When you think about it, that’s pretty much what they’re doing by having so little regard for the health of others.  Containing an epidemic starts by staying home when a cold or the flu hits until fully recovered.  Just remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Formidable Force

Formidable ForceJust another one of those rare days happened where it seemed where anything that could possibly reach its time of planned obsolescence, it did.  From a furnace component going out, a car battery going dead, and even an internet service suddenly deciding to no longer offer a tried and true service.  It’s amazing how much time and frustration a day can be filled with when confronted from all sides.  Oh well, I did get thru it without getting too hot under the collar.

Once again I was reminded today how some believe that just because I have graying hair, I’m either illiterate to modern technology, or incapable of remembering what someone said regarding what they can and cannot do.  I’m sorry to say I could likely run circles around many who are half my age when it comes to time management and problem solving.  Sometimes I deeply wish every cell phone in the world would die for about 21 days to where the masses would finally realize that they’re the ones that are slaves to technology.  Someone actually had the nerve to tell me in a not so kidding way that I’m still living in the 19th and 20th Centuries.  I let it pass but sent it to “save” in my long term memory.

With there being only two more business days remaining to 2017, I was also busying myself with end of the year bill paying, tax paying, and sending off charitable contributions.  Someone once said that if it doesn’t hurt a little when giving, then we’re not giving enough.  I’ve always been a big proponent of freely giving because I’m convinced it helps to keep us from becoming all the more selfish in our world of greed.  It’s really becoming quite the socially acceptable mindset of taking all we can from the world, but not giving a pfennig back.  In truth, no strings attached giving is what keeps our souls healthy and our brains and hands working and building.

A young man I’ve known for some years who I see working around town, stopped for a moment or two at my office to tell me he broke one of his molars while eating some sausage he purchased at a local grocery store.  I couldn’t help but say, “Oh, you must’ve bit into a piece of bone.”  Of course that’s what it was while proceeding to tell me that when inspecting the rest of it, he found several other pieces.  I brought him up to speed how in todays automated world of food processing, the bone saws they use are high speed and often times throw splinters of bone into the meat they’re cutting up.  He was surprised to hear it had also happened to me a few years ago, but fortunately it just broke only the top corner of a molar.  With that said, be all the more careful how you handle processed and cuts of meat, and always thoroughly wash anything that’s got a bone in it because there could be small pieces lodged in what you believe to be such beautiful cuts.

One of my dear friends who’s staying part of the winter out West sent a message today regarding how wonderful the area is where she’s staying and how progressive their community is. I couldn’t help but agree with her when she said how much worse Mason City is when comparing the two.  Her biggest concern is the growing drug problem we have in North Iowa along with the rising number of rental barons who could care less who they rent to as long as they get their monthly payments.  All I could say was, “I’m hoping that our new up-and-coming generation of high-reaching young will start making a big difference in many small ways.  I’ve spoken to a few already with such mindsets, and I believe they’ll become a very positive yet formidable force to be reckoned with in the months and years ahead.

Minds into Action

Minds into Action-1Hopefully everyone is settling down after their last days of fussing about while buying last minute presents and groceries.  I’ve actually been very good about not getting pulled into the drama of it all.  As I mentioned before, I’m only gifting to those who’ve done selflessly good things this year along with those truly in need.  I’m getting a better “feel” of Christmas while refining that delicate art gift giving.  Too bad I’d not realized years ago there was a better way.  I’m rapidly steering away from that un-pleasant form of giving which always leaves a very bad taste of beholding or what’s socially expected of me.

One of my well knowns called late this morning returning a call that I’d placed earlier in the week simply to ask how he’s weathering the Holidays.  He and I are kindred spirits of sort when it comes to the whole Christmas experience.  Sounds like he’s also getting thru it with less stress by keeping everything in perspective while dealing with those little episodes of Holiday “darkness” in a more pragmatic way.

Since he and I give back to our communities in varied musical forms.  We had our giggles about some of our area musicians who consider themselves “prime talent”, and work very hard at making sure everyone knows it.  We also talked about how different yet similar music and liturgies are in our area churches.  This past year I’ve come to all the more realization who many hymns have been “re-skinned” by changing titles and words yet keeping with familiar melodies.  I shared with him how these past months I’ve heard more songs and hymns being sung and played which I’ve never heard before.  After listening to them, a great number need to remain obscure.  It’s unfortunate that some beautiful religious thoughts have been put to really bad music.  “Why aren’t religious communities of today remembering that the bulk of their congregations contain very few good singers who can read and follow syncopated music?” I exclaimed.  He laughed and said, “Yeah. Even I have to go over some of them many times before reaching a level of comfort.”

Speaking of shopping. I had to make stops at two different grocery stores later today, and was in near shock seeing the number of people in their check-out lines.  Every line in Fareway was full.  Needing a dozen free-range eggs, I went to the case and found only one carton left and indeed knew why–one egg was cracked.  When I finally got thru one of their long lines, the checker said, “Did you look at your eggs?”  I smiled and said, “Yes, and there’s one that’s cracked but doesn’t matter because this was the last one on the shelf.”  She excused the situation by saying, “I’m sorry for your inconvenience, but just so you know, there are no eggs left in our back storage area.”  Not to worry about me, because it was all good.

According to predictions made by our National real estate market watchers, they said in an article I read today, it looks like we’re going to be encountering a “bump” in housing sales next year because our inventories are running on fumes.  With the Millennials and Baby-boomers continuing to enter our market,  there’ll be some pockets in our Nation that’ll be desperately short of available inventory.  I’m hoping all those many young buyers will finally get over wanting everything perfect in a home, and step up to the plate and start developing home improvement skills.  Perhaps my favorite old saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” will become fashionable again.  Let’s start kick-starting some lazy renaissance minds into action.  What do you think?