In the Same Bucket

Thank goodness the wind finally went down to where it turned out to be a pleasantly sunny day here in North Iowa. When looking at this weekend’s forecast, I was disappointed when seeing we’re not to have it as warm as predicted, and likely due to the wind we’re supposed to be getting, but I’m not fretting much because it sure beats what we’ve been enduring these past four or five months. Just today, I mentioned to a customer how more I believe we have only the two seasons.

While out doing some searching for materials I’m needing for a project, I ran into a woman I used to work with a number of years ago. I think we spent more time talking about the hilarious things that happened way back when, than paying attention to what I was searching for. After I walked out of that store, I was feeling all the more lifted by that casual encounter. Oh how quickly the years pass.

Even though I’d removed the last one of several rentals from my online postings yesterday, I’m continuing to receive inquiries on them. A couple arrived at my office this morning with an application in hand on one of them, and you can be sure they were heartbroken that it had already been rented. I would say that in this particular year, I’ve seen the most inquiries on available rentals. There’s no question there are certain districts that most of them refuse to live in, which in turn creates more of a shortage for homes they believe to be in the more “safe” districts.

I internally bristle when thinking about what happened during the mortgage crisis that began towards the end of 2007, because there are several neighborhoods in our City where I worked very hard at getting them back to being predominately owner-occupied, but after all those foreclosures that were snatched up for “dirt cheap” by our slumlords, those neighborhoods are now in worse shape than before I started my personal crusade. Oh well, the banks did it to themselves, but left us to pay for it in more ways than one.

After reading the comments about the “Soutbridge Hotel” at our last City Council Meeting, the red flags and big red question marks began appearing in my mind. What I thought a bit odd, was the way in which Councilman Masson was “shut down” when asking our City Administrator for some clarity regarding the progress being made on that hotel. For whatever reason, I believe there’s something that’s not being fully disclosed to the general public, because they’ve been far too quiet for much too long. Oh well, all will be revealed in time.

One of my past customers stopped by today whom I’d sold a home to back before winter arrived, and exceptionally glad to see him because he was such a dear one to work with. I was happy to hear he’s loving his new home all the more, and impatiently waiting for the weather to warm up so he can do some landscaping. Without me saying anything, he mentioned how much more quiet his new neighborhood is than where he last lived, because I do remember telling him when showing him that home for the first time, how quieter that district is compared to others. Before he left, I insisted he stop by whenever in the area because I truly enjoy hearing about the improvements he’s making.

I got a call shortly after noontime from a businessperson, and asking about what he could do about people parking in the public alley behind his building, because they’re blocking deliveries. I had to bite my tongue before saying, “Since that’s a public alley, and people are parking in a no parking zone, then you either find the person who’s parking there, or call the police.” For some reason, he didn’t think the police had anything authority over those who’re parking where they’re not supposed to. Hopefully he did listen to my suggestions, and take the appropriate steps if it should continue.

My late afternoon appointment was with a couple whom I sold a home to about three years ago, and now looking to upgrade since their family is growing, along with a higher paying job one of the spouses managed to land shortly after I sold it to them. Unfortunately, the next home they’re wanting to buy, is an acreage, or at least a home with a large yard on the edge of a small town.

It didn’t take me long to bring them up to speed on what “livable” acreages are selling for within the radius of a 20 minute drive to Mason City. I went on to say that these recent acreage sale prices, are the highest I’ve ever seen, and even being those sky-high sale prices we were seeing just before the real estate market crashed in 2007. It looks like we’ve got our work cut out in finding something livable under a $125K price range.

Since one of them works quite a bit out in the countryside, I couldn’t help asking about the noticeable rise in North Iowa’s coyote population. He smiled and said, “You wouldn’t believe the amount of wildlife you’ll see when out on the Grade B roads.” He did agree with me regarding the rising number of coyotes he sees when adding, “You know there are all the more of them because the deer are now having their young in the ditches, just so the coyotes can’t get thru the field fences and kill them.” I guess the deer are also acclimating to where they’re now taking their chances at being closer to the humans when giving birth, rather than being on the radar of those nasty coyotes.

I got a good laugh out of the two of them after saying, “Considering all the coyotes living freely within our City limits, I think our leash law should apply to them as well.”
There’s no question there’d be some eyebrows raised with animal control if one would insist they be placed in the same bucket as free-running dogs within our City’s jurisdiction. I’m now beginning to wonder what the next group of wild animals will be that’ll decide to make themselves comfortable enough to take up permanent residences.

Tonight’s one-liner is: In dark times, our eyes begin to see more clearly.

Joe Chodur

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