A Sudden Chill

Another bone-biting day arrived, and it seemed all I was concerned about, was staying out of it as much as possible. For a very many years, whenever I’m out in such exceptionally cold air, I go into one of my embarrassing coughing jags, which is why I do try to keep my mouth covered with something, just so it doesn’t start. While visiting with someone outdoors, it happened to catch me, so the nasty coughing started. My customer looked at me and in a concerned voice, said, “Are you going to be alright?” In between coughs, I answered, “Yes, I’ll be fine. It’s just this cold air that’s making me cough.” I think it’s just another genetic predisposition which I came by honestly.

Today was my day to get all my accounting done, and fortunately once again, they all balanced to the penny which always creates a great sigh of relief. I’ve been on a run of good luck with those accounts, and hopefully I’ll continue to be diligent with my postings, just so I don’t have to go a-digging.

A client was supposed to drop off some documents this morning, but later called and said he decided not to due to the extreme cold. Since he has more than enough health issues, I told him to wait until next week when our temps are back up to normal for this time of year.

It looked like in the night, we received another light dusting of snow, so I had some brooming to do on office sidewalks, and wouldn’t you know, there were already three sets of bicycle tracks which must’ve been made by our midnight back-packing “study” group. It’s quite regrettable how they can zig-zag around town without even the slightest concern over getting stopped by our local law enforcers, just so to have a quick peek at what they have in their “study bags”.

With it being this cold, I was early-out to check the vacant homes, just to make sure their furnaces were running properly, and glad to find all was well. When having enough snow, it amazes me to find so many deer tracks in our solid residential districts. While driving down S. Monroe, I couldn’t help noticing those trees our City planted in that cemetery stretch, having already been topped-off by those varmints, and the reason being, whomever put that wire around them, didn’t use tall enough fencing. I never thought I’d see the day when our windy city of the north, ended up being fully-infested by those creatures while their numbers continue to grow exponentially.

I had a nice chat with a young man today regarding how our utility companies, and even our municipalities are systematically cutting their work forces and hiring 3rd party service providers, just so they can cut their own associated labor costs. The short-sighted stupidity of those making such decisions leaves me wondering if there are any people in upper management with any real understanding of long-term cause and effect.

Just for example, Alliant Energy has been hiring 3rd party contractors to make upgrades for them, and not being residents of our area. Do you really think they’re doing such a great job? My feeling on it, is that once they’re in and out in hurried fashions, they could give a hoot about the quality of their workmanship because they’re now out of reach. Now if we had local resident workers, they’d be far more likely to be quality-minded because they know they’ve got to make themselves accountable for their work.

Another example, are those 3rd party companies that service foreclosed homes for various corporate banks. It seems those banks don’t realize, the longer those homes are on the market, they’re getting billed monthly for those services. Back when I used to assist a savings and loan with getting their foreclosed properties marketed, I had “skin” in the game to were I personally paid for work being done on them, along with their monthly utility bills. I was only allowed to give that S & L a bill at the end of the month, and usually didn’t receive payment until after three weeks had passed. You can imagine what an accounting nightmare that was, but I did it because I was their exclusive listing agent. Did I ever get paid for all the leg work and extra accounting? No, but what gave me an incentive, was to get them cleaned up, repaired, and then on the market at fair prices, just so they’d get sold all the faster with higher returns.

Times have certainly changed since those days to where there are always those 3rd party companies wanting me to do drive-by’s or windshield appraisals for them, but never get paid. That came to a screeching halt after not being paid more than once. Over these past ten years, I’ve been called by those outfits asking for help, and my immediate answer being, “I’m sorry. No.” It’s no surprise to find many of those toxic assets remaining on the market for many months on end. The funny part about it, is the fact that you never see real estate agents living here in our City having those listings, as they’re usually agents that don’t even belong to our MLS. Those banks haven’t a clue how much more money they’re unnecessarily losing on their foreclosure portfolios.

We both shook our heads in dis-belief when talking about our City wanting to move forward with that $1.9 million build-out of that idiotic sky-walk before they even know for sure a hotel is going to be built on that site. I had a sudden chill run down my spine just after he said, “Just you wait. Our City’s gonna end up funding that hotel and then we’re all going to be in a heap of hurt.” If that happens, then I’ll be insisting our City has more money than brains. The most unfortunate about it all, is the hard reality our residents will be the ones on the hook to pay for it by increasing our taxes. Don’t you think we’re struggling enough? It now reminds me of something a dear one used to say which was, “We’ve got to prove to “the firm” we’re doing something, even if we know it’s wrong.” Unfortunately, it’s happening more here than we fearfully care to wager.

Tonight’s One-liner is: An unexciting truth may be eclipsed by a thrilling lie.

Joe Chodur

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