Book Smart

Without a doubt, I’d say this morning’s below zero temperatures, combined with the strong winds accompanying it, was the most torturing of winter days thus far this season. After having only shoveled the light snow away from the front of my office’s sidewalk, for the first time in many years, I had a flash-back to what it was like living on our working farm and having to carry pails of water and feed to our livestock in weather like this. I mentioned it to someone while adding, “There were times after a winter sunset, I’d be carrying heavy pails up and over snowbanks, and due to their extra weight, I’d be sent down knee-deep to where I’d almost get stuck, and wondering at the time, if anyone would find me before I turned into a popsicle.” Yes, after having enough bone-chilling experiences like that, it’s no wonder why I despise winter days like these.

In spite of having arrived at my office at my usual hour, I was quick to get all my early morning chores done before I had to head over to Nora Springs to meet my buyers for their final walk-thru at their new home which was scheduled to close at 8:30 a.m., which therefor meant I had to meet them there early enough so they’d have time to give it a good looking-over while having time to get back to our closing table here in the City.

Likely due to the weather, the movers didn’t have as much loaded as we’d expected, but they did say the owners insisted they had to have everything out by 10:00 which looked like there was quite a-lot more to get loaded in two hours. We sternly reminded them that there own moving trucks would be pulling up at 11:00, and not wanting to be caught in any over-lapping of movers. I didn’t hear from my buyers after we closed, so everything must’ve been OK with their un-loading. What a day to be moving.

I reminded my buyers to give me a call after they’re settled. Their entire family has been great to work with over these years. I did mention to both of them how they did a great job of rearing their children, which caused the wife to laugh a bit and then say, “Some think we were a little too hard on them.” I couldn’t help adding, “That’s likely why all three of them turned out so well.” Yes, I’m glad to have them back in North Iowa.

After my closing, I busied myself with my shoveling projects, but today I took my time because I didn’t want to over-do it in this extreme cold. Of course again, there were those bicycle tracks on the sidewalks which indicated to me those back-packing “study groups” wouldn’t miss even one of their session, even if our windchill was at -30 below zero. Now that’s what I call determination, or perhaps more appropriately–desperation.

I stopped at a home to see how a painter was doing on a house that was in need of a near-complete re-painting due to the stupidity of the previous tenants who’d pounded nails all over in its drywall so to hang their pictures, instead of using sheetrock pins. I distinctly remember insisting they use pins if they were going to hang pictures. To make matters even worse, they pulled all the nails and then did a sloppy job of patching those holes without sanding them, and then did one stroke of a paintbrush over them with an entirely different color. I stopped counting after I reached 20 in just two of its rooms. Would you believe the both of them graduated from four year colleges, and one even went on to become a specialist? Like my mother used to say, “They may be book smart, but remarkably laking of even an ounce of common sense.” In spite of their deposit amount, by the time it’s back to where it was before they moved in, they’ll be getting a bill instead of a refund.

After my shoveling was done and vacant homes checked on, I went back to my office and got my closing file put away, and then began working on another closing that’ll be taking place the end of next week. That particular sale is going to create some bitter-sweet memories for me, as there were happening with some previous buyers that never should’ve taken place, and all because of how naive many in our society are when it comes to doing online research. The so-called researcher was definitely one who would say, “If it’s posted online, then it must be true.” Really? And to think some of those ignorant assertions came out of the mouth of a person holding a four year degree. Now I’m going to one-up my mother’s acid remark by saying, “They may be book smart, but unfortunately street stupid.” I’ve recently heard you really can’t fix stupid, and if that’s true, then we’re heading for a real dumbing-down of America.

With a little time to kill, I sat near a warming heat register and a began paging thru another gardening catalog. I happened upon a small tree that only gets eight feet tall, but grows in a more compact fashion while sending out some really wicked looking thorns. When closely inspecting photos of them fully-grown, I’d say they’d be the best hedgerow deer barrier. They claim they’ll survive in Zone 5 which we’re just inside its border, so I may order several of them just to see if they’ll make it thru a winter like we’re having.

I’m growing more convinced that Zone 5 trees and shrubs will flourish quiet well in North Iowa, and only as long as they’re out of the main thrust of our winds, and most of all, not lacking in sub-soil moisture while heading into winter. With that said, trees and shrubs planted in lowlands and surrounded by windbreaks, should do just fine. If I do decide to purchase them, I’ll be sure to keep you informed regarding their progress.

Before heading home, I stopped at a groceteria to pick up a few things, and not a bit surprised to find its parking lot almost empty. Yes, today’s weather was fit for neither man nor beast. I was in disbelief when seeing several people dressed like Eskimos out walking their dogs on our super-cold sidewalks. Those poor animals must’ve been really suffering by the time they arrived home. Many don’t realize the paw-pads on most dog breeds are not that cold-tolerant. Even our vile resident crows are fighting to stay warm.

Tonight’s one-liner is: Every man’s memory, is his very own private literature.

Joe Chodur

About the Author | Joe Chodur

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