Category Archives: Life

Past Histories

Past HistoriesAfter reading today that our weather is similar to our winter of 2014, I begged to differ a little since there’s no doubt this winter has been far windier than I can honestly remember.  Thinking it was finally going to be a calm day, I was proven wrong when noticing it beginning to blow again once the sun came up, while continuing on until it began to set.  I’m sure our meteorologists have their own reasons as to why we’ve had so much more wind this winter, but keep in mind, when it’s cold out to begin with, the wind chill is what really makes us all the colder.  In spite of what they’ll say, I’m still betting on it being the fault of the Russians and/or Chinese.  We’ve recently read that whatever country comes up with real honest to goodness artificial intelligence will rule the world, but I’m more convinced that whomever discovers a way to control our world’s weather patterns will indeed rule our world.

With there not being many calls today, along with no scheduled appointments outside my office other than a run to the bank and Post Office, I found myself busied again with my year-end accounting.  When finally realizing it was time for me to stop, I discovered I’m nearly finished with my annual annoyance.  I really don’t mind performing accounting tasks, but I’d rather be given those that take about an hour or so from start to finish, instead of something requiring all those many hours.  Yes, we all have personal jobs we intensely dislike, but the secret, is to just get started and keep at them until they’re finished instead of leaving them to stare at you each and every day.

One of my calls today was to one of the people I met with on Saturday who live out of town.  After going over with him the things I was calling about, I couldn’t help but change the subject and say, “I do hope you don’t think me to be the type who goes around bashing people on a regular basis, because I thought about our conversation while driving back to the office and thinking I’d crossed the line when sharing a bit too much with you.”  He laughed and then said, “Not to worry because it looks like we’re both good judges of character.”  In spite of his comment, I’m still glad I clarified myself as not being one who’s always bashing someone.  I was also wishing I’d not started speaking of that particular family because it resurrected all the more personal bad memories.

If any of you know of someone within a 20 – 25 minute drive of Mason City who owns an acreage, please let me know because I have a couple who’s looking for something in the country.  It doesn’t have to be a “gentleman’s” acreage because these folks are fully capable of turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse.  The big requirement is that it not be on anymore than a 1/2 mile of gravel.  There’s one acreage within their preferred driving distance that would’ve fit their bill, but there’s more than a 1/2 mile of gravel, and the house that’s still standing is beyond the point of restoration due to poor re-modelings over the years, and all the worse maintenance and upkeep.

When I showed it to them several months ago, even jaded me was a bit creeped out by that house.  It continued to feel “icky” the entire time I was there.  Even my buyers were ready to bolt before we were finished.  Now that’s a country home which contains walls that if could speak, would likely tell some hair-raising stories.  I now remember as I was getting into my car when leaving and saying to myself, “Now this is one acreage that reeks of great sadness and discord.”  I hope to never cross paths with anyone who’s lived there in the past, for fear they’ll tell me something about it I really don’t care to know.  Sometimes, it’s just best we remain silent to dysfunctional past histories of certain homesites.

On a much lighter side, the above photo is one I took early this morning of Mason City’s eastern sky.  Quite pleasing to the eye, don’t you think.

When the Snow’s Gone

When the Snow's Gone-1The first and foremost job I had today was to go over to St. Paul Lutheran Church and play for their 9:00 a.m. service.  I went early enough so to have time to run thru all the music I was to play.  I chided myself after playing the first piece for not getting over there sometime last week to re-familiarize myself with their piano.  Unless one is exceptionally gifted on a keyboard, each and every instrument requires some getting used to before being able to comfortably play it.  In spite of my having an upright piano I use for practicing, it’s enough different,  just as every other make and model of pianos are.  It’s sort of like stepping into someone else’s vehicle and driving it off to the grocery store.  You know you can drive it, but it’s just enough different.

All went relatively well with the exception of my not paying close enough attention to the order of their service.  I found that I’d nearly forgotten to play a song when it’s time arrived.  Believe me, I jumped out of my pew and over to their piano like greased lightening.  What made me all the more angry with myself was that I’d started it in a different key signature.  Thank goodness I migrated over to the appropriate key without having to stop and start all over.   I definitely learned several lessons today that are now permanently hard-coded into my memory.

They really are a delightful group of people over at St. Paul, and I certainly don’t have a problem playing for them from time to time.  What I’ve found to be touching, is that they’re all so personable.  One of them mentioned before their services began how surprised she was to see how early Easter will arrive this this year.  I mentioned that I figured as much since Ash Wednesday is this week.  I can’t ever remember Easter Sunday being on April Fool’s Day.  Do you? Seeing how our winter weather doesn’t seem to want to warm a little, it wouldn’t surprise me if we still have snow on the ground that day.

I’m sure many of you are watching the Olympic Games which recently started.  I normally watch them, but as I said before, I’m not going to pay any attention to it this time around due to all the political maneuverings that are taking place this time around.  If it’s not the Russians, its the North Koreans.  I’m still very disappointed with the Olympic Committee for allowing the Russians to play considering all the doping they did with their athletes at the last Olympic Games held in Sochi.  Looks like it’s all about money and power instead of fairness.  Many believe the Russian athletes are getting a bad rap, but why aren’t people talking about all those many athletes from around the world who played fairly last time and lost because the winning “decks” were stacked against them by the Russians?  If I were one of those Russian athletes who won unfairly, I’d be exceptionally ashamed of myself all the way into perpetuity.

While working this afternoon on another project, I wasn’t surprised to receive several calls from Realtors asking about the availability of several of my listings.  Both times I had to say, “Sorry, it’s sold.”

Before St. Paul’s services started, a gentleman whom I know mentioned that he and his wife are causally looking to “bump up” in housing, but can’t seem to find anything in their price range.  He’s finding that selling his home won’t be a problem, but finding one they like in their price range is going to be the hard part.  It looks like there’s going to be another shortage this year with homes in certain price ranges.  Let’s just hope the market starts opening up when the snow’s gone. Do have a pleasant evening.

New Reels

New Reels-1In spite of the sun shining, it was yet another one of those bone-chilling North Iowa days.  I really felt the effects of it when having to drive out of town on an appointment and finding that in spite of my car’s heater running at full blast, I could still feel the chill working its way within.  The winter landscape was absent of life with the exception of two monstrous crows pecking away at a deer’s carcass in a ditch, and believe me, that wasn’t a pleasant visual. Now just a reminder if you’ve forgotten, I despise crows!

Only on rare occasions do I become so dark with this cold, which I’d consider being like most men on winter weekends where they’re lounging around inside while attempting to appear constructively busy at something significant, but in reality, they’re either on their computers, smart phones, or watching something on their million-channel cable set-ups.  Envisioning it as I now speak, I race back to reality knowing fully well how much I hate idleness along non-productive time during an entire day.  It’s almost as if an even greater darkness creeps within when time is overly-heavy on my hands.  I mentioned something today to one who’s attempting to loose some pounds by saying, “If you’d make a point to be physically busy as much as possible during your entire waking hours, you’ll find yourself having burned all the more calories on a daily basis.”  After getting a weak acknowledgement, I’m sure that suggestion was dismissed as soon as it was registered. Oh well, I guess that person’s on one of those sluggardly weight loss programs.

After getting my out of town business taken care of with some clients, we had a good visit about the recent happenings in their community.  Somehow, a particular family’s name came up, and yours truly certainly didn’t hesitate a moment to tell his story about that clan.  After sharing but a handful of past interactions with my clients about them, they opened up all the more regarding things they’d first experienced first-hand with them.

I’ve always considered it very strange how “funked-up” families can convince themselves on a daily basis how great and wonderful they are, when in reality, they’re borderline bullying control freaks, who seize every opportunity to use everyone they can for the sole purpose of taking everything and everything they can from others.  Since I was familiar with three of that family’s generations, I consider it to be another prime example of “morphic resonance”.  What confirmed my suspicions, was seeing how even a daughter would be of the same mindset as her brothers as well as her father, and after having interacted with her enough, I’d say her personality traits were far beyond that of a learned behavior.  I’m convinced it’s in their genes.  Now I’m being mean while saying, I did happen once to see a family photo of an even older generation of that family, and the first thing when seeing it I thought of was that they must’ve been set from Europe to America on a prison ship.  Very scary.

After I left, I’m sure they were sharing with each other all the many more confrontations they had with them while growing up in the same area.  It’s funny how those “news reels” in our minds can start playing with only the mention of a family’s last name.

My public open house  didn’t have as many visitors as I’d expected, but with this cold weather, I doubt many people felt like venturing out.  Those that did come were pleased with what they saw, so maybe it will get sold all the sooner.

I’m hoping for a better all-round day tomorrow where I can get the lion’s share of my accounting completed so I can move back to my little-big pet project.  After a hard week’s work at real estate sales, it’s always good to quiet down with my favorite pastime.

Wishing you all a cozy evening and a delightful day tomorrow.

The Hungry Heifer

The Hungry Heifer-1Last night’s snowfall was likely the greatest amount we’ve received from one storm so far this year.  Thank goodness it wasn’t that heavy wet stuff.  For sure I was out at my front sidewalks long before the pedestrians started packing it.  By the looks of it, I think my walks are the cleanest in the Downtown.  I even made sure to create a walkway out to the street thru the snowbank the City plows created.  I absolutely couldn’t believe there to be not one business on my block that created an opening other than me.

While out there again this afternoon sweeping the snow away that had fallen from my building’s parapets, some heavy-set guy was walking towards my office and began saying, “You need to create a path to the street.”  I looked up at him as he drew closer and pointed while saying, “There is one here.”  I guess he was really itching to chide someone for there not being openings created.  There sure are those that really have the “eggs” to speak before they either think or look.

Even the beer truck was hauling cases of giggle water thru my opening down a half block to that tavern.  It annoyed me greatly seeing his cart had made two white tracks of snow down my section of sidewalk, so back out I went after he left to sweep those marks off.  I’m sure when I arrive at my office tomorrow morning, I’ll be seeing many “cat tracks” created by that bar’s patrons around that opening, and down the sidewalk in that direction.

I’m hoping my public open house at 122 – 11th St. SW is going to be a success tomorrow to where there’ll be an interested buyer.  It’s definitely time for it to be sold with our days getting longer, and hopefully the temps rising.  The above photo is of its exterior.  I just love the double-decker porch it offers.  What wonderful views there must be from up above during our pleasant months.

While driving home, I was reminded it was Friday night when noticing all the cars in the parking lot of the Knights of Columbus.  This is the evening where they have their all you can eat fish and chicken fry. I just don’t get it with people going to such places.  What type of enjoyment does anyone get out of shoveling dump truck loads of food down their pie holes?

This business of all you can eat has become a dirty habit for many North Iowans, and those businesses are booming because of it.  I don’t know how many people have told me how I really must dine at Pizza Ranch or China Buffet because you can eat all you want of nearly everything in their trough lines.  And we wonder why so many Americans have serious weight problems.

Over the years, I think I’ve been in them maybe two or three times, and went only because I was pressured into going by those who absolutely wouldn’t take a strong negative hint.  Oh well, those were experiences that’ll remain embedded in my memory.  Those are the eateries that are high on content but low on quality.  I’m sorry, I still prefer smaller, yet wholesome portions of food over those, “everything tastes the same” greasy quantities.

Speaking about these places tonight has caused me to remember that weekly television show “Cheers” which aired a great many years ago.  I can’t remember all the names of the characters, but there would be times when they’d be talking about one of those very same “all you can eat” food bars where several of them would go and pig out.  If my memory serves me, I believe it was called, “The Hungry Heifer”.

Now please, don’t any of you get any ideas of opening one here in Mason City. We have more than enough.  By the way, did you know “The Good Life” has returned in our Historic Downtown under new ownership after so very many years?  I’ll have to stop there some early evening just to have a look.

Stumbling A’Round

Stumbling A'Round-1It seems every day this week, my first duty after arriving at my office has been to remove the snow from the front sidewalks.  One of my customers happened to drive by this morning while I was out there with my broom yelling, “You’re there already!”.  Many may believe me to be somewhat of a fanatic about keeping that snow removed, but I have my excuses.

There are several reasons for my being quick to get it removed as soon as possible.  Firstly, I certainly wouldn’t want anyone slipping and falling out there from packed snow having turned into slippery ice.  Secondly, I do all I can to keep snow from being tracked into my office where my precious original wooden floors are contained.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m exceptionally happy to have those beautiful floors for people to admire, but melting snow that has salt in it, does dry to white powdery spots that are very noticeable.  My office floors are due for another good scrubbing, so to be presentable for another week or two before needing another.

One of my office listings did get sold today, and if the other transaction I’ve been working on for days gets put together, there’ll be two for this week.  Yeah!  If it does get sold, I’ll for sure have to get back out and beat the bushes for new listings.  A new batch is always fun.

I’ve scheduled a public open house for this Saturday at 122 – 11th St. SW here in Mason City.  I’m still a bit surprised it hasn’t yet sold, but I must continue to remember it was listed around our slow period during the Holidays.  It’s beautiful new kitchen, main floor laundry, and double garage brings it in strong competition with other homes in its price range.  It would make a perfect first home for a young family with it being located across the street from a charming neighborhood park. Tell everyone you know about it.

This afternoon I somehow found myself in debate with two great minds in our community regarding the core of evil.  After about a half hour of back and forth challenges, I’m pretty convinced they’re in agreement with me that the essence, or core of evil is FEAR.  As I said to both of them, “Just think about all the evils in this world, and from which “mother” root they’ve sprouted.  No matter how much you try to convince yourselves otherwise, fear is the mother.”

The first and foremost, is fear of failure, then fear of the unknown, fear of not having enough money, fear of growing old, fear of not being the center of attention, fear of not having control, fear of death, fear of being controlled, fear of not being talented, fear of starvation, fear of no longer being physically attractive, and the list goes on. Now think about all the evil things people do to mollify or should I say “suppress” those fears.

Just from the types of fears I’ve listed above, you’ll certainly recognize them to be those belonging to our seven deadly sins. With the stock market being in a crash mode these past days, I can assure you there’ve been some evil decisions created out of fear. There’s one segment of our stock market which I greatly despise, and that’s the options market.  Who in the world could justify making money on the failures or losses of others?  As far as I’m concerned, it’s dirty money which I hope I’ll never receive as change back at one of our check-out counters.

I just now remembered something I read long ago which goes, “Those who live in fear, walk in darkness.”  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be walking in the light than stumbling a’round in the darkness. And of course, I think it was Roosevelt who said something like, “The greatest of our fears, is fear itself.”  So now I say to all of you, “Go forth, and fear no more!”

Be ready for more shoveling tomorrow, because it’s now started to snow.

Waiting for Me

As much as I was hoping the sunshine would warm things up today, that north wind kept us under its frigid grip our entire day.  Thank goodness I didn’t have to be out in it much.

The extra-fluffy overnight snow was quite the sight when the sun came up.  It always is a rare treat to see snowflakes so light and bright.  Perhaps Mother Nature was trying to get us to at least fall in “like” with winter.

Waiting for MeIn spite of hearing the complaints from a few of my colleagues about how slow the market has been these past thirty days, I’m at least glad my office listings and sales are continuing to chug along.  An agent from another office just happened to bring an offer to me today on another of my listings.  We’re still a bit far apart in negotiations, but hopefully we’ll get an agreeable price hammered out between the buyers and sellers.

I’m still working at getting another one of my listings sold which another agent and I have been working on these past days.  It’s refreshing to work with an agent who’s very much like-minded, instead of being at brutal odds with each other during negotiations.

Unfortunately, this past year has all the more illuminated to me the naughty monkey ways of several my competing agents.  There’s one in particular whom I’m convinced really enjoys getting under my skin in attempts to start a verbal battle.  Fortunately I’m now more fully in understanding of that person’s MO, so I simply don’t even “go there” anymore.  It’s all for the better sometimes to just keep still and continue walking away from fight pickers and pot stirrers.

My year-end accounting is coming all the closer to being wrapped up, and I dare say it’ll be a welcome relief.  Fortunately I only have to be chained to that project but once a year.  It’s amazing how many pieces of paper have to be sorted, logged, and then filed away.  Whomever came up with the Paper Reduction Act back in 1995 didn’t realize how many more laws would be passed and forms required to be completed since then.

I smile to myself from time to time when remembering how much more simple real estate sales were back when I became a Realtor.  Believe it or not, there was only one piece of paper for the sellers to sign when they listed their homes, and one piece of paper for the buyers along with the sellers to sign when it sold.  If you don’t believe me, I still have copies of those original documents if any of you would like to see them.  I’m just now wondering if there are any other seasoned agents still in possession of them.  Perhaps some day I’ll have them framed and placed on display at my office.

I was delighted when receiving a phone call this afternoon from one of my dear client/customers.  She was calling regarding some questions she had about the income tax reporting of the home she just sold.  After answering her questions, we quickly turned our conversation into a social visit.  For some reason, she has quite the ability to get me heartily laughing, when in turn, I reply with something all the more anecdotal.  We laughed about snakes, deer, bucks, workaholics, the flu, laryngitis, and dust mites. Quite the topics wouldn’t you say?   I told her before hanging up that she’s one of the very few who can really get me going, along with informing her, that calling me today, gave me some desperately needed belly laughs.  Just remember, laughter is one of our world’s best of medicines.

The above photo is one I took this morning of our newly-fallen snow at the back of my office.  Those sparkling flakes looked to be the tiniest of diamonds just waiting for me to reach down and pluck them from the snow.

Severe Disciplining

I certainly wasn’t a happy camper finding it -11 degrees while leaving for work this morning.  Those minuses were supposed to be left in January’s bin, but instead, I believe Mother Nature has forgotten that it’s already the 6th of February.  Oh well, it looks like we’re going to have a colder than normal week ahead.  I’m hoping that once we reach the 21st of February, the sun will have grown high enough to at least warm our daylight hours above freezing.

I guess I shouldn’t complain after reading this morning how bad the weather was south of us yesterday.  That 50+ car pile-up they had near Ames on Interstate 35 must’ve been quite the nightmare for everyone involved.  I can’t imagine what sort of mayhem took place after the crashing stopped.

Severe-DiscipliningIt was pretty quiet in the real estate department today, which didn’t surprise me due to the snow and cold.  I did have a stop to make at a customer’s home to pick up some papers, and when asking how her day was, she proceeded to tell me about some serious problems she’s been having with our school system regarding what she believes to be the negligence of that school’s administration to keep other children in their school from physically hurting her son.  After hearing her tell of just one recent incident, I was beginning see red in regards to something I absolutely abhor to the core of my existence, which is: the bullying that takes place in schools.  All I could advise her was to stay strong and never weaken in regards to protecting her son’s physical and mental health.

I’ve been reading in the news all the more about how schools are taking pro-active steps against bullying, but I know they’ve only been chipping away at the tip-top of a very large iceberg.  And by the way, icebergs are usually much larger below the water line than above, which should remind us there’s far too many abuses that’ve gone un-reported by fearful students along with school administrators who have their heads fearfully buried in the sand.

That nonsense has been going on for over 50 years in our City’s public schools, and still they can’t seem to get a handle on it.  I personally thank my lucky stars that I was fortunate enough to be sent to a private school during my formative years.  Back in those days at my school,  there were strict rules regarding a student’s behavior, even to the point of one student in-appropriately touching another.  Back then, truancy was mostly something students only dreamt about due to those daily calls and notes required from parents.  I sometimes believed my school thought you had to be approaching a deathbed sickness before given permission to be out of class.

Sassing a teacher would send you to the office, along with being caught smoking, chewing gum, non-approved attire, and the list would go on.  I suppose if I’d think about all the restrictions my school had at the time, I’d have quite the long list.  But, there’s one thing I’m exceptionally thankful for, and that was there being near absolute order which afforded all those many of us students an opportunity to learn without the near constant distractions that most students have to endure in our classrooms of today.  Don’t you think there really is something wrong with our society as well as our school systems?  There’s far too much freedom given to students which is usually borne out of the fear teachers and administrators have of our State and Federal regulations that pretty much hold them bound to their in-effective rules and regulations.

Of course, there’s always the wrath coming from parents of their little so-called princes and princesses who do absolutely no wrong, when in fact they’re likely the ones belonging to a given school’s herd of bullies.

Sorry about my ranting, but that woman’s story about her son getting continually picked on at school, really got my blood to boil.  As far as I’m concerned, even the “smell” of a student being bullied in a school should be fully investigated, and if discovered to be so, those responsible should be subjected to severe disciplining without exception.