A Mafia-like Squeeze

It was another beautiful early morning in North Iowa, and to tell the truth most of the Augusts I’ve experienced were memorable to where I’d place most of those being of the eight month of our year on the top of my Julian calendar favorites. Perhaps it’s something more sub-conscious with me from my early years where August was the beginning of finally harvesting fruits and vegetables after all those many prior weeks and months of hard work.

When I opened up my water bill today, I noticed the 75 cent increase was already there, and hopefully there won’t be the many more in the future due to the added expenses our City continues to incur. Also in that bill was our “City Newsletter” which I normally don’t pay much attention to, but there were two photos of a home I recognized which prompted me to read the article. Anyone who gets a water bill will also see those photos, and just for your information, that home is located at 1104 – 4th St. SE here in Mason City, and being just to the west of St. James Lutheran Church.

I noticed someone was working on that house some months ago, and just assumed it was a relative of the owner or there was a private sale. I was shocked when finding it being owned by another one of our City’s “investors” who personally owns many properties all over town under a number of LLC’s. Now why isn’t the City encouraging those homeowners to list their homes and sell them before they start putting a Mafia-like squeeze on them. That home sold to him for a ridiculously low price of $14,000.00. I’d say that whole transaction smells of too few people knowing too much. If you have time, do your own research. It’s just another example of how unmanaged good intentions quickly going awry.

There was a call that came in today from an old client whom I’ve done business with for many years, and today’s call was to talk about liquidating one of her assets. She asked my opinion and I gave it, and that being, “If you’re thinking about selling, now’s the time to do it.” She said she’s going to place a call to her accountant just to find out what her tax ramifications would be and then get back to me. There’s no question in my mind that home will sell for a pretty big price.

There was another call that came in from a buyer I’ve been working with on a property, and today’s was to let me know that her and her husband are going to make their last and final offer on a property I’d shown them. Hopefully when I meet with the seller, he’ll be more reasonably minded than he was the last time I visited with him. Let’s hope he’s in a better mood tomorrow because if his home were mine, I’d take that offer and run.

I’m sure all the many of you are still battling those Japanese beetles just as my gardener friend has been doing since they arrived. When visiting with her yesterday, I was shocked to hear she’s been finding them eating on the blossoms of her ever-bearing raspberries. I questioned such a happening to where she insisted she found them eating their blossoms on three different occasions. If they’re doing that, I feel sorry for those who have fall flowering berries because those devils could devastate a crop.

I certainly learned my lesson with pinching them dead with my fingers because about a week ago when I squeezed one on a plant, I felt like I’d just run a sliver in my finger. When I looked, sure enough, the back legs of those creatures have sharp hooks on their joints, and lucky me got pricked and then “hooked”. You can be sure I was looking for a needle to sterilize and get it dug out because it was beginning to throb. I now have a thick rubber glove I wear so I can painlessly send them to their dirt naps. Compliments of globalization, we have even more nasty creatures populating our shores.

Part of my afternoon was spent gathering and packing up some things I’m going to take over to a dear friend and when dropping them off I’m going to say, “Do whatever you want with this stuff and what you don’t want to keep, you have my blessing to sell.”
As I mentioned to one of my colleagues several days ago, I’m finding myself growing more particular over what I consider worth keeping because the more “stuff” people have, the more it weighs on them. Of course we all must realize that as we grow older our tastes do change.

I stopped over to my little secret garden and checked up on my tomatoes and peppers, and if all goes well, there’ll soon be ready for harvesting as long as the animals leave them alone. I had to give them all a good drink again due to how dry it is, and if this drought continues, I’ll be watering all the more until we get a good rain. At least I was given a good reprieve from mowing every week which was a good thing. Every time I see people mowing browning grass I shake my head in dis-belief. When are they going to learn that mowing just makes matters worse for their un-watered lawns?

On my way home I couldn’t help noticing a small home that recently sold for big bucks and the new owner already spending thousands of dollars on it. As I said to gentleman who was at my office today, the younger ones have become ignorant to long-term values and quality of construction. It would be a cold day before I would’ve spent so much money on a home which has always appeared to be sitting in a hole. Emotional buying is still very much alive and well in North Iowa.

Having in recent years done big favors for people, and in the end found myself getting kicked in the teeth, I’m reminding myself even more that no good deeds go unpunished and even more my reason for posting the above cartoon. I just have to work harder at being more selective with my benevolence.

Tonight’s one-liner is: A man’s own manner and character is what most becomes him.

Joe Chodur

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