Friday, July 31, 2009

Day Two Hundred Twelve...

Don't think it can't happen just because you live in the country. The speed limit going through Walburg 'proper' is 30 miles per hour, and there is adequate warning of that fact. There is a sign that indicates that the speed limit is going to be reduced, and then WHAMMO it is 30 MPH. I really do try to pay attention and respect the speed limit, and I know what the speed limit is...I go through Walburg EVERY SINGLE DAY. I have NEVER EVER seen a representative of ANY law enforcement agency in Walburg...until today. AND, it WAS NOT me that they got! Just past Dale's Essenhaus, just beyond the Walburg Community Center, there they were with their sparkly lights a flashin' (I think it was a Sheriff's car) had someone pulled over and I am assuming it was because they were speeding. It is obvious to me that, the older I get the slower I drive. Once while Jody and I were going down I-35, a friend of ours (Margaret) happened to be behind us, and they phoned from the next county to tell us they had just passed us and did we need any help, we were driving so slowly. Another time I was driving down HWY 290 and another friend (Juana) was behind me and chastised me for driving so slowly. She apologized when I told her I was only driving slowly because I was talking on the phone, checking my e-mails, and sending text messages all at the same time. How dare she criticize!

Today was a busy day, the last day of the month and folks are moving out and moving in all at the same time. So, it will all be over but the shouting early next week, and everything will be back to normal. I have appointments to show property tomorrow, so that is a good thing, and I should be back home at a reasonable hour.

Jody got his new cook-top installed today, and it is very nice. He took it for a test drive by cooking rice, and he reports that it is much superior to the previous cook-top. We will be taking the other one to the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Georgetown tomorrow or the next day. If you are even in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by and admire the new cook-top!

I attended (sort of) a memorial service for my friend Janna this morning. She was loved and admired by many as was evidenced by the attendants. Standing room only, and a line around the block. I saw a few other friends and acquaintances of mine (Dawn had on a dress) but I did not stay. I had a quick chat with Janna and let her know that I believed in my heart she knew how I felt about her, and it was not necessary for me to stay there. I hope I was able to express to her my love and caring for her while she was alive, and I think she knew. We always had a lot of fun together. She started out as a client of mine, but we grew to be friends. I also got her started making pottery, and that was always fun. She may no longer walk this plane, but I will never forget her, and I firmly believe that as long as you have memories, your friends will always live. Janna (and many more of my friends who have gone before me) will always live in my heart.

So, go tell those you love that you care, and you always will. Have fun!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day Two Hundred Eleven...

RAIN! We had rain today! About two inches, not a really hard downpour of rain, but a nice steady rain that went on for hours. At least that is what Jody said, and that is what is in the rain gauge. Not a drop (okay, about 15 drops) in Austin. While I was doing Meals-on-Wheels this morning, it did rain about 15 drops on my car, but that is about it. I understand some areas of Austin did get some rain, and I did see some evidence of rain here and there, but I personally did not see any rain. We are all grateful for any rain we can get, thank you very much.

Today was an extremely busy day in the office, one thing after another going on, and lots of things to be done, lots of things to get completed before the end-of-the-month first-of-the-month chaos, but I think ultimately, everything will be working out okay. Everyone will be happy, and that is what is important.

Can you believe that tomorrow is the end of the month? Pretty soon we will all be tired of the 'commercialization of Christmas', but by then we will also be complaining about the cold weather and all the rain. We have such short attention spans, it is incredible. Oh, well...

I just made reservations for dinner on Saturday night at the 'Bartlett Filling Station'. RESERVATIONS for Saturday night, please, table for two, thank you very much. According to the 'Bartlett Tribune Progress' (Serving Central Texas Since 1886) the restaurant has hired a new chef (with a degree from The Texas Culinary Academy) and experience at many big restaurants around the country. The Tribune Progress also reports that they have added (and this is a direct quote from the front page story) "Crap dips, appetizers and much more...". We can hardly wait. I have never had crap dip, but I have had some stuff that I thought came pretty darn close.


Okay, try to do something nice for someone, and you how you will be repaid for that kindness. Have Fun!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day Two Hundred Ten...

So, you see lots of things on the country roads, although it is amazing what you see on the Interstates as well. Lately there has been a lot of harvesting of corn in the area, and I can generally recognize a combine when I see one. This was an encounter on FM 972 on the way home tonight, and I assume it is a combine, although it does not really look like the ones you generally see. It looks like some sort of SWAT vehicle, but I am confident it has an agricultural application and not something for Homeland Security. Many of the gigantic farm machinery (especially the newer models) look like androids or robotic things out of a 'Star Wars' movie. They are all very interesting looking, and they even fold-up kind of like 'Transformers'. Interesting stuff!

Today's post is brought to you in part by: Things I have not included in recent posts, but will try to include today'. Last Sunday when I was on my way home from my listing appointment, I saw a fox in the middle of the road. You can see a pretty good distance out here on the small roads, and I saw 'her' from a good distance off. As I got closer, she did not really make any attempts to go off, but by the time I got about 300 feet away, she finally got up and ran off into a corn field. I have seen her twice, and I am assuming she is a she. In the story I have imagined about her, she has a brood (is that what you call a litter of fox (or foxes?)), and it is not far from where I saw her. Unfortunately, on Tuesday, they harvested the corn from that place, so I assume she high-tailed it off to a new place to be safe. There are some creeks and small wooded patches in the area, so I believe there are plenty of places for her to go and raise her young.

Okay, now I forgot what else I was going to catch you up on, so I will just keep going with new stuff. Today was a good day, I actually got my office somewhat straightened out, and River said it definitely had a better flow, except for the corner where all the 'necessary items to survive in real estate' are stored. I guess I need to clear off some of the book shelves and take some items to storage, but you never know when you will need something you have not needed in a couple years. Maybe tomorrow.

We processed security deposit refunds today and got that ready for Margaret to come in tomorrow and cut checks. Then we will put the checks in the mail on Friday, and that will be the end of another month. Time flies when you are having fun! can you believe it will be August in just a few more days?

On the way home this afternoon, I was lucky enough to actually pay attention to the traffic reports, and heard that the northbound side of the Interstate was closed in the middle of Georgetown. Some type of high speed chase from Austin ended up as a car wreck and hostage taking situation in the middle of the road. SO, I got off the Interstate and rerouted myself to Texas 130 (Toll Road) that put me north of all the excitement. I am very pleased with myself for doing that. When I was close to Georgetown on the toll road, I could see the helicopters circling the main event, and when I got to the Interstate access, traffic going northbound was VERY light. I won't know what happened until tomorrow, since we do not get Austin television stations here. Crime and drama can wait until another time, and that is just fine with me.

Bratwurst for dinner, wonderfully good, along with a nice salad, some mixed veggies and there will be a pop sicle for dessert later. Jody also got some lovely green grapes at the grocery this afternoon, very nice!

On a sad note, a good friend of mine and a former client Janna passed away on Saturday. Luckily, I had spoken with her by phone a couple times in the last several months. The first time I called, I asked her how she was doing, an quite matter-of-factly she shared with me that she had cancer. We talked about the prognosis and some this-and-that for a while, and the next time I spoke with her, she was leaving the next day for Houston to begin bone marrow transplant therapy. Not sure if therapy is the right word, but the procedures for bone marrow transplanting. She was expecting the entire process to take several months, so I had not spoken with her since that afternoon. She was a wonderful woman, and I cared for her very much. You don't have to see or communicate with people on a daily basis to care about them. She was loved, I know she was, and she knew she was. I will miss her.

Now, go tell those you care about how you care about them. Take time, make time, do it. You never know if you will have another chance.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day Two Hundred Nine...

Okay, this is the picture that was supposed to be on yesterdays post. Carrie and Margaret during lunch at El Mercado, next door to the office. It was a really quick lunch, in-and-out, nobody got hurt! Carrie had appointments to get to, so it was really just sit, eat, leave. BUT, the chips a salsa were very good. I had the #5 special, which is what I almost always have, unless I have the Elmer Burger, which takes them too long to cook, so usually the #5.

I had an appointment at the house this morning at 8 AM with the pest control folks. Hopefully we will eliminate the mice that have plagued us since we have lived in the house. They could live there happily if they could just not be destructive and not let us EVER see them...but no, they have to get pushy and come out while we are around, and let us hear them chewing stuff behind the walls and under the cabinets. SO, soon (we hope) we will be rid of them. I told the man (Martin) that we did not want to indiscriminately kill every insect within a five mile radius of the house, and I think he understood. I want to keep as many of the good bugs as we possibly can, but we want to shooo away the wasps and things like that. We don't really want to dislodge the snakes either, all the critters have a job to do. They will be back on Saturday morning to treat everything and hopefully find any access points they may have to get into the attic. We shall see...

When I got to the office this morning, the building was being power washed in preparation for painting. THEY WERE MAKING A LOT OF NOISE TOO. How can power washing make that much racket. Tom said he was getting a migraine, but I assured him it would stop soon. They have now started again, but luckily Tom is out walking properties.

I sent the first module of the NARPM Ethics PowerPoint to one of the national officers and someone in the National Office for review. I think it will be well received, just a very simple course to give the program some consistency for all the States and Chapters. Not rocket science. The national officer sent me an e-mail that said she would 'try' to give me a call today at about noon eastern time...I sent her an e-mail back that said I would 'try' top be in the office then to take her call. I am not sure if she got the humor (I thought it was humorous) or not. Probably not! That is what usually happens.

I am getting kind of hungry, time for lunch...Okay, I am back. I had to stop by the bank, and then I stopped at What-A-Burger and took it back to the office. Still getting work done, preparing to flip properties this weekend and early next week. Tom and I went to one of our new managed properties and did a walk through, all is in good shape. It will have new tenants on the first. Lots of move-ins this week and next, and we have security deposits to process by the end of this week as well.

Almost done with the first day of class preparation for next week. Should have that all done tonight and get started on the second day, I am still VERY comfortable with the class materials, and expect them both to be good classes. The training we received from the Texas Association of REALTORS when the classes were re-worked has been very helpful (thanks Deb). I took copious notes during the training as well, so that is being very helpful, too.

There was a little bit of excitement at the end of the day in the office, and I will let you know all about that in a couple weeks. How is that for a cliffhanger? Just you wait and see.

BIG WRECK on the interstate going home this afternoon, so the first 30 minutes of the otherwise first 10 minutes of the drive was kind of difficult. Smooth sailing after that. Now I am home, and getting ready for dinner. The local news reports there is no rain in sight, and we even made the national news tonight, and they said we could expect above average precipitation in the fall. They showed REALLY SKINNY cattle in south Texas being sold off, the prices of beef, cotton and other stuff we produce here in Texas is on the way up. I suggest you stock up now!

Be kind to someone, and do something nice for yourself. Have Fun!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day Two Hundred Eight...

Okay, well this is certainly not news, but I left my other camera at the office this afternoon (and I had a great photo for this post, it will have to wait until tomorrow) and I needed something for today's post. I tried to take a picture of the crack in my windshield that has grown about 1000% in the last two weeks because of the extreme heat, but that did not work. we are in the middle of the worst drought in about 30 years, and I am publishing photos of the obvious. Whatever...

I stayed in the office ALL DAY today except to go to lunch with Carrie and Margaret. I did some end of the month stuff, but mainly concentrated on preparing for two classes I will be teaching a week from Wednesday and Thursday. I am way ahead of the curve in preparation, and I will have everything done by the end of this week, so I can take off (take off from preparing that is) the weekend and Monday and Tuesday of next week, when I will just review a little bit, and let all the knowledge sink in. I like being prepared, and these two classes are on subjects that I am familiar with. Many of the classes I teach touch on subjects from one or more other classes I teach, and sometimes you forget which class you are instructing. Wish me luck!

106 degrees on the drive home this afternoon, and no real serious chances for rain in the forecasts. We will all just dry up and fly away. I am not sure why we are not experiencing 'dust bowl' problems. I get updates about the drought quite often to share with our tenants and landlords, it is really bad and landscaping is really going to suffer. There is not enough water to keep stuff alive in conditions like this.

I have an early appointment at the house in the morning, so I will be heading into the office late, but that will be okay. I can do stuff from home before I leave for the office. Electronic communications are amazing things. We all live in a world full of wonder and change, and sometimes I wonder how I am going to cope with all the change!

Do something nice for someone, and be kind to yourself as well. Don't forget to have fun!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day Two Hundred Seven...

I will ultimately be triumphant over the final recessed pot light. It is the one on the right that is the menace. You can tell by the expression on its' filament! You can tell a trouble maker from a mile off. Nine out of ten were somewhat easy to change out. The little suctiony-cup thingy that is on the end of the long pole thingy I bought yesterday did a pretty good job. Had to keep cleaning the suctiony thing, because the lights have been up there for a while, and they likely have a covering of dust and greasy stuff...don't ask, but that is what I am assuming. Anyway, one of the angled-pointable lights is proving to be a little more difficult, and I 1). Do not want to break the incandescent bulb that is in there now, and 2). I do not want to take a risk of breaking the CFL bulb that I will replace it with, because then I will need to be extra careful and not cause a hazardous waste site because of the minuscule amounts of mercury contained therein. I have brought in one of the extension ladders to complete the task, and once Jody wakes from his nap, I will ask him to make sure the ladder does not slide, and I will take on the elusive light bulb switch out. Within just a short time, all ten of the bulbs will have been replaced, and I will sleep easily tonight.

This morning started with blueberry pancakes, and then I started getting ready for am early appointment to list a home. My friend Diana is listing her house with me, so if anyone knows anyone looking for a very cute and lovingly cared for 3/2/2 in Georgetown, just let me know. It is a real doll-house and does not look its' age at all. Move-in ready, and ready for someone new to love it.

Jody and I watched a movie about mid-day after lunch, and then there is always a little bit of house cleaning to do on Sunday, because our trash pick-up is on Monday. It is another really warm day here, last I looked it was 103 degrees. There is a nice breeze blowing from the south, though, so that is a good thing, and that is making the turbines spin nicely. Our electrical usage has really dropped nicely since we had the new HVAC units installed, too. So far we are down between 30 and 35 kilowatts a day, but you cannot really tell what the exact cause is, maybe the new efficient systems, maybe because we are generating more electricity with the turbines because of the better winds. Whatever it is, I will take it. If it keeps up, that will knock off about 1,000 kilowatt hours a month. Not too bad!

We are going out to dinner tonight, but not sure where just yet. We probably won't make that decision until we head out the door. It will be somewhere good though, you can count on that.

Be good to yourself, and try to do something nice for someone else along the way. You will feel better about yourself, and your kindness will come back to you many times over. Have Fun!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day Two Hundred Six...

The view from the office window at home... I love living in the country. This morning, I slept in and did not get out of bed until after six o'clock. Jody was actually up when I got up, and that gets my rhythm off a little bit. I usually get up, do a few things, make coffee for us both (we do not share coffee, we have separate coffee) and go out and get the newspaper. This morning, since Jody was already up, we were a little off schedule, but things eventually got worked out by about 7:30 AM. By that time, we had both had coffee and read the paper, and were back in sync.

I went out and picked figs off the tree, and even though there are lots of figs left, I think we are about done with the fig pickin'. The heat, the wasps, the bees and the whatevers are taking their toll, and I cannot keep up, so I am conceding that it was a good fight, but I am surrendering to nature. The wildlife can have the rest of them, and Pauline has made us plenty of fig jelly and preserves, enough to see us through for a while. Next year is another year, and I expect El Nino to do his thing and we will all be happier, if not wetter.

After figs, I went out and fed the cattle and took a look at their hay situation. They pretty much went through a bale of hay in the last week, so I moved another bale into their pasture. That is the end of the 'store bought' hay, and we are now down to the hay that we baled this year. We have about forty bales of our own hay, and I hope that will last us for a while. IF we get any rain, we could hopefully get another cutting of hay this year, and that would be great, we would have hay to keep the cattle happy. AND, rain would green up the pastures and the cattle would not be so dependent on the hay. I am going to move them into the other pasture next week, just to rotate them, and we are working on setting up the third pasture for them to rotate, so we are all happy about that.

Jody and I then went into Georgetown and stopped at the Collectors Market, the place that we have consigned with to sell all the stuff we have had stored for years. Jody had told me that three out of four lights in our display cabinet were out, and we did not know if they were turned out or had burned out. It turns out someone had turned them out, so that was an easy fix. We left there and went to Home Depot where I bought one of those extension things that you can change light bulbs in high places, and enough compact fluorescent light bulbs (floods) to complete the install in the living room. When I get those changed, that will mean EVERY light bulb in the place has been changed to compact fluorescent. I would have changed them all earlier, but they are 16 feet up, and we very seldom use them anyway, but it will be done this weekend. Then we went to WalMart to get some hummingbird food, and stopped by Dairy Queen for our weekend spoiler.

We got home and Jody went down for a nap, I put in a terrible NetFlix movie, and then slept for a couple hours after that. I woke up in time for cantaloupe and Nacho Doritos...lovely. Not sure what we will be having for dinner tonight, but I am quite positive it will be yummy.

We are both planning to jump in the pool later, (we had to put water in the pool this morning), and that will be the end of the day.

Try to do something nice for someone, and remember to do something nice for yourself while you are at it. HAVE FUN!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day Two Hundred Five...

It was 'Friday Steak Night' at the Bartlett Filling Station Restaurant. The advertisement in the BARTLETT TRIBUNE PROGRESS (Serving Central Texas Since 1886) offers two different steaks "served with Cowboy Sized Baked Potato & Garden Salad from 5 pm - 9 pm, or until they're gone!" We wanted to make sure they weren't gone before we got there (whatever, we were there just after 6 PM) and Jody ordered a couple things they were out of or had removed from the menu before he settled on the Chicken Club sandwich with cole slaw, that he reports was very good. I had a 12 ounce ribeye which was very good, although it must have been a very small sized cowboy in the baked potato department. All-in-all it was very satisfactory, and we both hope they continue to do well and prosper. We will go back, and we like the country atmosphere.

We got off to an early start this morning, Jody had a mid-morning doctors appointment, and I had a hearing at the Board that I could not reschedule. So, I took Jody to some friends (Lynda & Michael) and then I left to get the the Board of REALTORS by 8 AM. Everything worked out really well, and Lynda was a dear friend to take Jody to the doctor and then bring him home all the way out here.

The doctors appointment went well (a follow-up to the 'routine' surgery of yesterday) and all parties are satisfied that everything was successful. Good, good, good! Another follow-up appointment will take place in about two weeks.

After the hearing this morning, I headed for the office, but stopped first at What-A-Burger for my lunch. A REALTOR that had been in one of my classes a few weeks ago had asked if she could meet with me for some individual counseling, and we decided the best use of our time would be to do it over the telephone. In today's mail, she sent me a gift card to What-A-Burger...the perfect thing for me! Wonderful. Not necessary but certainly appreciated. Some (okay, probably most) people in the world are still kind and thoughtful, and it was just really a very nice thing for her to do. It made me feel good.

Anyway, I took care of some office stuff, and TOM, our chief-assistant and all around fabulous person has a new car, very nice indeed. Congratulations to him, he is very excited about it.

Left the office and traffic was not cooperating and it took me longer to get home today than it has taken me in maybe six weeks. I have been spoiled lately by the ease in getting into and out of town. I know this won't last long, UT will be back in session soon, and traffic will again become a burden. BUT, you will hear no complaining from me, just running commentaries of the daily routine, here, every day, same time, same channel.

Try to do something nice for someone you care about, and if you have any extra kindness saved up and can afford to pass that kindness around, perhaps you could do something kind for a total stranger. Hold a door open, carry a package, help someone cross the street, whatever, it does not need to be a big thing. And, as long as we are on the subject, it will be nice for you to do something nice for yourself while you are at it. Just try to remember to have fun every day, and try to laugh as often as you can.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day Two Hundred Four...

Jody had a 'routine' surgical procedure this morning, and all is well. He looks like he just stepped out of an Arrow Shirt advertisement. I am not sure how routine any surgical procedure is, but they did advise him to to partake of any 'recreational' drugs for at least 24 hours, so I guess that just leaves more for me! Yippee!

We got to the hospital this morning right on time at 7:45 AM, and they poked and prodded him for a couple hours, and finally took him into the OR about two hours later. The whole time, I got a birds-eye view of them inserting IV's and all that kind of stuff, and I am just a little bit squeamish with needles...don't like to watch injections...makes me shiver. Anyway, all is well, he says he did not even remember them taking him into the OR, but they reported he was responsive and did what he was asked to do while there. Good Boy!

When I went back into the recovery room, he was propped up in the bed, and I sat in a big kind-of La-Z-Boy recliner chair. We were both comfortable, and they kept coming in and taking his vital signs, and they would ask him if he wanted to sit in the chair. Well, if you had a choice between a chair and a bed, what would you choose? We finally figured out that they were going to keep him until he said he wanted to get in the chair. They need to tell you the code words in the beginning. We could still be there just being comfortable...and ignorant...and hungry...and FREEZING!

Anyway, they finally sprung him, and so on the way home we stopped at the Frisco Shop on Burnet and had lunch. Jody had a Frisco burger and I had (what else) a club sandwich with onion rings. BE VERY CAREFUL...I have figured out how to set booby-traps with those new ketchup bottles that are kind of upside down. I actually set my own booby-trap with the one I was using at the Frisco Shop, and I found out how to do it the hard way. Good thing they have plenty of nappys there! Have you every been the victim of someone loosening the top of the salt shaker in a restaurant. Not a pretty sight, but interesting none the less.

The drive home was uneventful, and as soon as we got here, Jody went to take a nap. I had been answering e-mails via my cell phone while at the Hospital, but I got down to some serious e-mail answering when I got to my home computer. I also ran a couple errands while Jody slept, and stuff like that.

I went out to the pool and stuck my feet in while I made phone calls, not terribly unpleasant outside. It will be a long day tomorrow, Jody has a 10:30 AM appointment with his doctor, and I have a meeting at the Board of REALTORS. So that means I will get him to some friends of ours home (Michale & Lynda) at around 7 AM and then to the Board to be there at about 8 AM. I am sure this will all be too early, but I prefer to be early as opposed to being late.

Okay, that is pretty much it for today. Small dinners tonight because I am still kind of full from lunch. Be a kind person to someone, and it will come back to you many times. Maybe you could make a small charitable donation to a hospital in your area. It couldn't hurt! Have fun!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day Two Hundred Three...

Dead Calm... It is not the way I would describe my daily commute to-and-from work, but it is how I would describe my walk this morning from the house to the street to pick-up the paper. Very quiet, and I had just been bragging on the lovely winds we had been having the night before. It just goes to show you...

When we got into the pool last night, I was VERY surprised to find out how COOL the water had become. A couple days of cloud cover really does a job on the cool-down of the pool water. Jody thinks he was really cute because he was already in, and he knew it would be a BIG surprise, and he was right! We only stayed in the pool a little while, and then we just sat on the patio and enjoyed the evening.

We (okay, that would really be me) are addicted to Home & Garden Television and the Green Channel, both of which give me good information for many of the real estate classes I teach. So usually the television timer is set for a reasonable amount of time so we can just drift off to sleep and the TV will turn itself off. You really do not need to pay 100% attention to 'House Hunters International', but I do like to pay attention to stuff on the Green Channel, particularly 'Living with Ed', 'Stuff Happens' with Bill Nye, and a couple other ones. Very good stuff.

I am totally kind of maybe possibly disappointed in 'Big Brother'. Last season and this season there has been totally too much arguing and screaming going on. If I wanted to watch that crap (which it seems I do since I keep watching) I would just replay my life from about the ages of 9 til about 14 or 15...not my mother's best years. Anyway, that will all be a story when I am feeling more needy in the psychological counseling kind of way...not feeling particularly needy right now. YIPPEE!

I had a three o'clock showing this afternoon, and on the way home I decided to go take signs and lock boxes off properties. I now have three signs rattling around in the back seat of my car. Whatever... I also stopped to visit with a friend of mine (Diana), who called and asked if I would list her house for sale...I love those kinds of e-mails. So, I will do some research and we will meet on Saturday or Sunday and get everything together. Later on the way home, I had a call from another friend (Travis) that said he found a house he is interested in buying, and would I represent him? Well, let me think about this for a minute...YES! It was a good day! And the $8K tax credit for first time home-buyers is a really good thing. Get it now, I am not sure they will renew that program.

I got a tank full of gas, Lotto and Mega-Millions and two sour creme donuts. I am now prepared for anything. I also stopped at HEB and got Jody some 'flares'. If you have ever talked with anyone from West Texas, you will know that 'flares' are really 'flowers', and they are really purty. See photo above.

We have all quit talking about the heat, and now we are all talking about the lack of rain. I hope that will not last too long. Another two weeks and Austin will be under mandatory water rationing according to the news, and all the trees are stressing and what is not stressing is already dead. Really bad.

Okay, how have you been doing in the good deed department? Well, if not today, hopefully tomorrow. Remember, it is a great thing, and you will be a better person for it. Who knows, you might even get some purty flares! Have fun!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day Two Hundred Two...

No rain today, rats, but we did have some nice winds last night. It has been a long time since we had some good breezes, and it was like welcoming back an old friend. Nice to sleep with the wind rattling things around outside. And the winds make the wind generators go round-and-round, and that is a good thing.

Today is the first day (of two) that we are having our HVAC systems replaced with super high efficiency units. They are really pretty, and really efficient, 16 SEER units. Our HVAC person extraordinaire (James) said the old units were Yugos and the new ones were Lexuses (what is the plural of Lexus? Lexi?)...anyway, they are expected to be much better units and much more efficient. The old units were 14 years old, and very noisy. New ones are very quiet. Very nice.

A good day at the office today. The monthly NARPM luncheon in the Arboretum area. The guest speaker was from the economic development office in Cedar Park, and his economic forecast was not so much of a forecast as it was a recap of the economic successes of the past several years. Interestingly, Cedar Park is landlocked, no room for expansion or annexation of more land, and they expect there will be no more developable land there within 4 to 6 years. Everything that can be built will have been built in Cedar Park within just a few years. It seems very odd, but I am sure it is true.

Our neighbor Pauline came over this morning about 11 AM and was bringing us some fig jelly, and she called me and said she had brought the jelly over, and there were all these men there loading boxes from the garage into a cargo trailer, and she thought we were being burgled. I told her it was the HVAC people, and that I thought it was okay. That is great, we all look out for each other around here. Jody had gone into Austin for an appointment, and we had left the service guys a key, so they were just working away. Nice to live someplace where people care enough to check up for you.

Tomorrow will be my last real day of work this week, and I will basically be working remotely on Thursday and Friday. Some appointments, but nothing that can't be done via the telephone. I have an appointment to show some property tomorrow, and that will be about it for this week.

Time to go jump in the pool, Jody is already out there. Do something nice for someone, and maybe you could buy a box fan for someone that cannot afford one. It is HOT! A thirty dollar donation to your local Elder-care office will buy two fans. You will be doing a great thing, and it will make someone really happy. Have Fun!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day Two Hundred One...

This entry has all the makings of probably the most BORING of all entries so far this year!

This was a busy day, and very productive! Lots of stuff going on in the office, just like most Mondays. Nothing of any real interest to report, so BORING.

This is going to be a relatively short week for me, since I will be out of the office on Thursday and most of the day on Friday. I know there will be consequences for me playing hooky, but that will just have to be. I will let you know all the details of my hooky-later.

I will have a nice ride home this afternoon, I need to stop by one of our managed properties in Leander on the way home, and that is always a nice ride, as long as I am not in a hurry. There may be some good photo opportunities there as well.

Okay, I am home now, and my heading out to Leander was a good move on my part, saved me from reported traffic nightmares on all the major roads around Austin. I made a stop at one of the properties we manage, and got a picture of this miniature burro (or donkey or ass or whatever). My friend Claye tried to explain the difference to me in the early days of this journal, but it did not take. Anyway, this is not a young animal, but it is very small. Now I cannot quit thinking about the 'pygmy ponies' in the Frank Zappa song from my fraternity days in Memphis. I am doomed!

I did go outside a little bit ago (trying to get a cell signal) and I had an up close and personal account with a ruby throated hummingbird (I think, I am not an expert). It checked me out pretty well, I guess I was just a little bit too close to its' feeder, but it was pretty fun, and that is probably the closest I have ever been to a hummer (the flapping kind, not the guzzling kind).

Keep your fingers crossed that something interesting comes my way in the next day or two, or we are all doomed to the boring. Be nice to yourself, and that will give you an opportunity to be nice to someone else. Have Fun!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day Two Hundred...

Okay, another weekend is shot, and tomorrow starts another work week. I love the way I make a living, but I also love the time away from it...the time I get to spend doing things around the farm and the time I have just to do nothing if that is what I wish. I am very selfish of my time away fro the office, and I am looking forward to spending more time at the farm and doing nothing. Let's see, another ten years or so and I should be right where I need to be...

Today was another good day. The old saying goes "the very worst day you can imagine in (fill in the blank here for your favorite place) is better than the best day in (repeat the previous instructions). And that is the way I feel about where we live now. You cannot beat a day in the country.

I got up rather late and got coffee made, and went and fetched the newspaper. After reading the paper, I went out and picked more figs, and took them to our neighbors Randy and Irene (who were not at home). I left them on the porch, and did not leave a note, I do not think there are that many fig trees around here, so I expect they know where they came from. If not, then they can just attribute them to the anonymous fig delivery system.

After that, I took fresh hay bales to both the pastures in the back, one where the cattle are right now, and one in the other pasture, so when they get moved over there, I will have already done that. NEWS FLASH: Mr. Speckles has lost his nose ring somewhere, so he is no longer a 'punk' bull, he is just more main stream now. We were told his ring would fall out, but we expected it to fall out a long time ago, and I just noticed it today. All the cattle are happy, and they were made even happier because I gave them some feed this morning, as a ploy to distract them while I was moving hay bales. Works like a charm every time! The littlest new heifer calf is really getting big, and I still expect a couple more calves before the end of the year. We shall see.

Jody and I went into Hutto to the Lowe's store and got a water filter for the ice maker in the refrigerator. We also stopped at Walgreen's for a couple things, and then, don't you just know it, we were right there in Taylor on the way home and stopped at Dairy Queen for our weakly 'spoiler'. Yum, yum!

Once we got home, we both took a little nap, and I watched a NetFlix movie that had come in. We are planning to watch another flick later this evening, and we will make full disclosure if it is any good.

Had dinner tonight at Catfish Parlour, again a yummy treat. Always good food at the Catfish Parlour. So, that is pretty much it for now, try to remember to do something nice for someone, and as long as you are at it, you have my permission to do something nice for yourself as well. Have Fun!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day One Hundred Ninety Nine...

Our promised cool front has not yet materialized, although there have been a few teasers throughout the day. Right now, our nuclear weather station says the temperature is 104.7 degrees, and there are a few clouds here and there. I just got out of the pool, and the water was pleasantly refreshing, most likely because the air temperature is so warm, and I generally never get into the pool during the day, usually in the evenings. Anyway, it was refreshing, and I am still hoping for cooler temperatures later, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week.

I DID NOT sleep very well last night, and I got up at my usual time this morning. I read the paper, did some chores, and then set out to pick figs off the tree in the driveway island out front. I got a big basket picked and took it over to Pauline and Hubert, and visited with them for a little while. I got back home and started picking more for Randy and Irene, and did not get very far, and I will pick more wither tonight or tomorrow. I gave them a call later in the morning, and they were not home, so they are not missing anything until I get the figs to them most likely tomorrow.

After I picked figs, I tried to get soaker hoses set out around some of the palms and things out around the pool. I got that done, and it is incredible that lots of the landscaping around the house is just crispy...WE REALLY NEED RAIN. All the local papers (Georgetown, Bartlett and Temple) are reporting that this drought is the worst in thirty years. I hope so, because that will mean that after this drought breaks, it should not be as extreme for several more years. Not sure, but the climate may just be a changin'. Hopefully, El Nino will develop in the Pacific and that will bring us some floods. We can always count on a flood to break a drought. I sound like an old timer, and I have only lived around here for 20 years.

Miguel came out this morning with about three or four other people and get a shade cover started for another pasture we are going to open up for the cattle. That will be the third pasture we will have for cattle, and I think that will be it. I like being able to rotate cattle from pasture to pasture, and that will be another pasture for them. There is no natural shade back there for them, so that is why we are building the shade cover. It is really just kind of like a pavilion you would see at a picnic area, just a roof structure for them to get under during the heat of the day. Later in the fall, I think we are going to transplant some trees into two pastures, so there will be a bit more shade for them. Miguel should be back tomorrow to finish it up.

Leftovers for dinner tonight, yummy. I have finished all the cantaloupe, I have been craving cold liquids after being outside so long this morning and afternoon. I put gas in all the equipment around the farm today, and filled the tractor up with diesel, and went into Granger and filled up my tanks...$80 later we are ready for business for another couple months. Two tanks of gas and two tanks of diesel can usually hold us for a couple months.

Okay, try to do a good deed for someone, or at least have a kind word for someone. Don't forget to tell those that you love how much they mean to you. Have Fun!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day One Hundred Ninety Eight...

I will probably never get used to seeing 18 wheelers pulling another 18 wheeler backwards down the Interstate. It is just something that kind of takes you by surprise, and causes you to do a double-take. But, as long as it is really not an 18 wheeler coming at me the wrong direction down the road, I will just go with it.

Today was a pretty good day, in part because it is Friday, and I have no appointments for the weekend so far. Life is good. None of the service people we had scheduled for today actually showed up, but we became aware of that by 9 AM, so the whole day was not wasted. One of the guys is actually in the hospital, so we will have to forgive that one, and the other one needs to order some parts, so that will have to be forgiven as well. But, by this time next year, the house should be in really good shape. Keep your fingers crossed.

When we had the original farm in Red Rock, I used to tell Jody that the farm was my was what I wanted to spend money on, and keep me occupied. Now that this farm is bigger and we have more land and more cattle, I told Jody this place was my Heroin. I imagine heroin is more expensive than cocaine, but if you are an expert on the cost of drugs and I am wrong, you can correct me and I will be sure to give you proper credit. Anyway, we shall eventually get rain, and we will all do a little happy dance. Right now, we will all just be settling for cooler weather which they are predicting to begin tomorrow and continue through next week.

Not too sure what we will be doing over the weekend, I expect I will be showing some property before it is all over with. I also brought home some work to do on the courses I will be teaching at the beginning of August. I started working on it this afternoon in the office, and it looks like I will be able to get everything under control with no real issues, and the subjects are interesting and things that I am very comfortable with. So, we shall see, but I have faith.

Traffic was HORRIBLE on the expressway coming home today, so even though I left the office early, it took me a long time to get home. I have been craving ice cream (Blue Bell Vanilla Fudge Swirl, please and thank you), but you can hardly transport that home when you live too far away from a convenient shopping spot. SO, I stopped at the Walburg Restaurant just not far from the house, and picked up two pieces of Black Forest Cake for dessert tonight, so there you have it. Oh, and this morning I stopped at Flipnotics and picked up a couple cinnamon rolls from Upper Crust Bakery for breakfast tomorrow. I feel pretty much set for the sweet stuff for this weekend.

Do something nice for someone, and try to be thankful for all the blessings that you have. I am such a lucky person, it is hard to comprehend that people all over the world are full of hatred for people the do not even know. Remember, fear is something that manifests itself from a lack of knowledge. Get to know people a little bit better, and hopefully we will lose our fear of them.

Have Fun!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day One Hundred Ninety Seven...

Well, yesterday I went and picked up the solar powered lights for the flag pole that Jody got me for our anniversary. Pretty cool, they were relatively easy to install (no wiring necessary) and it only took me about 45 minutes to install them both. They were able to charge for two or three hours last night before dark, and when I got up this morning, they still had just the faintest little bit of light emitting from them. If you were not really paying attention, you would not think there was any light being produced at all, but overall I was pretty happy with them.

Today has been a pretty busy day. I am getting ready for two days of classes to be presented the first week of August, and I am also working on a Ethics Program for the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). So, this is all stuff that I really enjoy doing, so the days go by really quickly.

Today was also Meals-on-Wheels day, and that is always an enjoyable thing to do. Six clients today, and all folks that I have been delivering to for a number of years. I will miss delivering for three of the next five weeks because of scheduling conflicts. I really hate that.

Cool weather may be in our future beginning tomorrow night or Saturday morning, along with the chance of some rain (although slim chances, we will take what we can get. Hopefully, it will be just like a nice spring day in central Texas.

I am about to leave the office and try to beat the worst of the traffic. Is it legal for someone to flash their lights at you to warn you that there are radar cops up ahead? I think it is legal, but I am not sure. Anyway, someone did that yesterday, and that might have been the reason that I avoided the ticket. The other reason could have been because I was not speeding, but that is not likely. So, do something nice for someone today, and see how good it makes you feel. Have Fun!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day One Hundred Ninety Six...

It is too hot to compose an entry today, and conveniently a friend of mine (Juana) sent me an e-mail that I decided to just copy and paste for this entry. Enjoy...

Subject: Dear Diary

Just moved to Texas ! Now this is a state that knows how to live!!

Beautiful sunny days and warm balmy evenings. What a place!
It is beautiful. I've finally found my home. I love it here.

June 14th:

Really heating up. Got to 100 today. Not a problem. Live in an
air-conditioned home, drive an air-conditioned car.

What a pleasure to see the sun everyday like this. I'm
turning into a sun worshipper.

June 30th:

Had the backyard landscaped with western plants today. Lots
of cactus and rocks. What a breeze to maintain. No more mowing
the lawn for me.

Another scorcher today, but I love it here.

July 10th:

The temperature hasn't been below 100 all week. How do
people get used to this kind of heat?

At least, it's kind of windy though. But getting used to the
heat is taking longer than I expected.

July 15th:

Fell asleep by the community pool. (Got 3rd degree burns
over 60% of my body). Missed 3 days of work. What a dumb thing to do.

I learned my lesson though. Got to respect the ol' sun in a
climate like this.

July 20th:

I missed Lomita (my cat) sneaking into the car when I left
this morning. By the time I got to the hot car at noon, Lomita
had died and swollen up to the size of a shopping bag, then
popped like a water balloon.

The car now smells like Kibbles and Sh*ts.

I learned my lesson though. No more pets in this heat.

Good ol' Mr. Sun strikes again.

July 25th:

The wind sucks. It feels like a giant freaking blow dryer!!

And it's hot as hell. The home air-conditioner is on the
fritz and the AC repairman charged $200 just to drive by and tell
me he needed to order parts.

July 30th:

Been sleeping outside on the patio for 3 nights now,
$225,000 house and I can't even go inside. Lomita is the lucky one.
Why did I ever come here?

Aug. 4th:

It's 115 degrees. Finally got the air-conditioner fixed today.
It cost $500 and gets the temperature down to 85. I hate
this stupid state.

Aug. 8th:

If another wise ass cracks, 'Hot enough for you today?' I'm
going to strangle him. Damn heat. By the time I get to work,
the radiator is boiling over, my clothes are soaking wet, and I
smell like baked cat!!

Aug. 9th:

Tried to run some errands after work. Wore shorts, and when
sat on the seats in the car, I thought my ass was on fire.

My skin melted to the seat. I lost 2 layers of flesh and all
the hair on the back of my legs and ass . . . Now my car smells
like burnt hair, fried ass, and baked cat.

Aug 10th:

The weather report might as well be a damn recording. Hot
and sunny.

Hot and sunny. Hot and sunny. It's been too hot to do Sh*t
for 2 damn months and the weatherman says it might really warm up
next week.

Doesn't it ever rain in this damn state? Water rationing
will be next, so my $1700 worth of cactus will just dry up and blow

Even the cactus can't live in this damn heat.

Aug. 14th:

Welcome to HELL! Temperature got to 115 today. Cactus are dead.

Forgot to crack the window and blew the damn windshield out
of the car. The installer came to fix it and guess what he
asked me??? "Hot enough for you today?"

My sister had to spend $1,500 to bail me out of jail.
Freaking Texas .

What kind of a sick demented idiot would want to live here??

Will write later to let you know how the trial goes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day One Hundred Ninety Five...

Well, today has been a long day, and I am ready to be sleeping. It was an early day in the office, and I did not sleep too well last night. Sometimes, after teaching, I really think I am too tired to sleep. I know that sounds odd, but I really think that is what is happening. Anyway, I got up and did all my usual stuff, and one of those things is to see what is going on with my FaceBook friends. It seems like a lot of people had a hard time sleeping last night. Maybe it is allergies, maybe the lack of a really good full moon, or maybe everyone is just plain old stressed out. Who knows?

We are kind of plagued with little mice in the house. Well, we do live out in the country, and we have seen mice ever since we lived here, but it is getting a little bit out of control. The cat is bringing us 'presents' on a nightly basis now, so it is time for real action. I went up in the attic this morning to see if I could find any little varmint evidence, but no such luck. We are having a guy come out on Friday morning to take care of our 'little issues' and that should be the end of that. Leave it up to the professionals, that is not the highest and best use of my time.

It has been so very hot here, I went out and checked on the cattle for the last few mornings, just to make sure they have water. I would really hate it if they had some sort of water malfunction and I did not know about it. They need lots of water in this heat. The news this morning said that, over last summer and this summer, central Texas has broken 40 heat records, and it looks like we still may break more. The record high for today is 108 degrees, so I think that record is safe. The hottest it has been here (since I have lived here) was 115 degrees, and that was about five or six years ago. Hot stuff!

Our neighbors Hubert and Pauline brought us some fig preserves and some canned figs. I cannot wait to try them, and I am betting they are going to be good. We have lots more figs on the tree out there, and we will be picking them (maybe) tomorrow and probably for another week or two. Country neighbors are good neighbors to have! We are really lucky people.

Do something kind for someone, try not to take advantage of anyone, and always be true to your word. Have Fun!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day One Hundred Ninety Four...

Today has been a good day. It started VERY early, just around 4 AM, get up, do all the normal (usual) things. Get ready and leave early because I am teaching a class at the Austin Board. I never like to take chances that traffic will be really bad or whatever, so I like getting there really early so I can get everything set up and make sure all the technology stuff is working. No room for malfunctions, you are either there and ready to go, or you are not, and that is a problem. REALTORS are not really that tolerant if they are being inconvenienced, and in general, education is an inconvenience to many REALTORS. Not all, but many do not see it as an activity they are looking forward to.

I had a nice surprise in the class today, a friend of mine that I have not seen in many years was in the class, we have known each other for about 25 years, both from careers before real estate. That was a real joy, and we had fun catching up about folks I have long lost contact with. AND, there was some fun with inside jokes, as well.

There were about 33 people in the class, and it was well received, I believe. Life is good, I am a lucky guy. I made it home with no real issues, and I will be getting in to the office early tomorrow to make up for the missed day. We will need to get owner statements and payments processed tomorrow, and that is always a long day of routine and paper work. Then I expect to meet with two different sets of clients tomorrow evening, one to show a lease property to, and the other to sign a management agreement with. Good times!

Good news on the weather front, even though it is 105 degrees right now on our nuclear weather station, the local weather prognosticator states the 100 degree temperatures may break on Thursday, and there is a chance of rain beginning on Thursday for several days. That will really be a welcome relief. We are really dry, and we need rain. Keep your fingers crossed for us, we will all appreciate it.

We have been invaded by grackles again, they were here in the spring, and then they left, they are back, and this time invading all the water sources we have set out for the wildlife. Everything is desperate for water. We won't begrudge them of a drink or two.

Have a happy rest of your day, and remember to do something nice for someone, and go ahead and do something nice for yourself while you are at it. HAVE FUN!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day One Hundred Ninety Three...

Forty one years ago today, at approximately 6 PM Eastern Time, I spoke with my father for the last time. Little did I know I would never speak with him again, and that he would be dead by the time I finished my shift at Montgomery-Wards in Southgate, Michigan.

I was 16 years old, and I had lead a really idyllic existence. In many ways, I still do, but I may have been prepared for the harsh realities of life better than some. I always was blessed with common sense, if not 'book learning'. I had always been a self-starter, but I was not really that great in the academic world. I was always being compared with my older brother who was an excellent student (and still the only person in ALL of our family to graduate from college), but he could not walk across the street without causing turmoil.

I spoke with my dad that evening, and I let him know I had my first paycheck from Ward's. I was making $1.60 per hour, and I had bought a pair of black wing-tip shoes with my haul. Little did I know that the first time I would wear them would be to his funeral. My dad was a hard working guy, a loyal union man, and we talked about my hourly wage. I do not know if he was surprised about how much or how little I was being paid per hour, but he was just glad that I was doing something. I had always had paper routes, but the papers were on strike in Detroit, so I got the job at Montgomery-Wards. To end the conversation, he said he would be by to pick me up at 9 PM when my shift ended.

No one showed to pick me up.

A lot has happened in 41 years. Mostly good, some bad, some awful. I am a lucky man, and I have many things to be thankful for, and I try to remember that every single day of my life. I cannot help but wonder how my life would be different today if my father had not died on that July night back in 1968. I know for sure it would have been different, and that I would most likely not be in Texas, and I would not be happily ensconced with the love of my life Jody. But still, you cannot help but wonder.

So, here is what you should do. Go right now and tell someone that you care about how much you care about them. Do not hesitate to tell those you love that you love them. I do not recall if I ever told my father that I loved him, and I do not recall for sure that he ever told me that he loved me. I do know in my heart that we both did love each other, and we each knew that of the other. BUT, you never know what is going to happen, so I recommend that you put aside any pettiness you may be holding toward those you love, lay down the trivial insecurities, and make sure the people you love know it.

There is no time like the present. Go pick up the phone or go and stop by to tell them how much you care. E-mail is not good enough. You will be surprised how wonderful you will feel about yourself if you just do it. And, while you are at it, have fun!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day One Hundred Ninety Two...

WOW, it is the weekend, and it is pretty much over already. I think we should change the weekends to last three days instead of only two. You can hardly get started on the weekend for the first day, and then, just as soon as you get into the groove, it is already over. We could make Sunday the hump day, and then get rid of Mondays all together. So, all in favor of making the weekends last three day, say aye...

I stayed in bed late this morning, did not make it out of bed until around 6 AM, and once I got up, I got coffee made, checked e-mails, went out for the paper, the usual stuff. Once Jody got up, I went out to the back and proceeded to move the cattle from one pasture to the other. In the three weeks that I keep them in pasture to pasture, the water troughs get pretty dirty, so I emptied the trough in this pasture and refilled it. Pretty pristine for the cattle if I do say so myself. Plus I kind of bribed them to move to the other pasture this morning with some 'cattle cubes' which is basically a feed that they like, and that they usually only get in the winter time. SO, whatever works is good for me. You have to remember that cattle are not really the most intelligent of all the creatures , so you really have to lead them, and they get confused easily. They can see you with food for them, but they really cannot comprehend that they have to walk through a gate somewhere to get from one pasture to another. 'As the crow flies' was thought up with cattle in mind. They think they should be able to just go in a straight line from one point to another. Maybe life would be simpler (I am certain that it would be) if we all thought like cattle, but then, I am sure there would be unintended consequences to that as well...

We left the house about 9:15 this morning to go to an auction in Thorndale, which is about 40 or 50 miles from here according to Google Maps, but the way we go cuts off about 10 miles. We did not have anything particular in mind that we were looking for, just going for something to do. Interestingly, our neighbors Hubert & Pauline were there, and we are always amazed that we see our neighbors from out here in interesting places, and we see our neighbors here lots more than we ever saw our neighbors in the city. Anyway, we did not see anything interesting enough to stick around for, so we came on home.

We stopped in Taylor for a 'spoiler' (if you read this blog enough, you know what a spoiler is), and then Jody wanted to stop at WalMart for a few grocery items. Once we got home, it was nap time, and after naps, I had a call from the neighbor of one of the properties I have listed that the sprinkler system was running too much and flooding his yard. We went into Round Rock to shut that system down, but we cannot imagine that the sprinkler was causing any damage, but oh, well.

I have appointments to show property tomorrow, and I will stop in the office and get a little bit of work done. I am teaching a couple classes on Monday at the Austin Board, so I won't be in the office that day, and teaching is always fun, especially when you enjoy the topic being presented!

So, try to stay cool (it is only 101 degrees here as I write this), do something nice for someone who will not expect it from you, and try to be kind to yourself as well. Have fun!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Day One Hundred Ninety One...

There are several indications that you need to maybe evict a tenant. One hint would be when they quit paying their rent, although that is not always what it seems. I know it might not make sense, but sometimes, folks just forget to pay their rent, like when they go on vacation to Ireland or something (I am not kidding). But, just because someone has not paid their rent is not always an indication that the tenant doesn't want to live there anymore! Whatever... In this particular case, the tenant lived in the property for a couple years, and was always a problem tenant. Rent was not paid in June or July, the tenant (allegedly) moved out on Tuesday (three days ago). We walked the property on Thursday to verify she was gone (before we filed eviction). Clearly (in the words of our assistant Tom) this petrified lizard has been there for more than three days. Notice the delicate skeletal remains...notice the trail of ants, notice the...well, you get the idea. I can tell you some really interesting stuff about what we find inside of vacant (and/or abandoned) properties, but some of you might be having a snack while you read this, so, if you want more details, send me a note, and I will deliver them to your in-box!

It is the end of the week, and the heat is taking its' toll on air conditioning units, water pipes, anything mechanical in the attics of properties, you name it. Life has been really interesting, BUT since it is Friday, we are all trying to cope. I also think the heat is having the same effect as the full moon. You know, the word lunatic is derived from the word lunar, moon. So, I think we need to come up with a new word for people who are driven crazy by the heat. I am going to start pushing the word 'holycrapbatmanitshot' as the new term to designate a psychological malady caused by continuous exposure to temperatures in excess of 100 degrees in the shade. You are welcome to jump on the band wagon and regionalize the word as well if you like. Full disclosure will be appreciated. Let me know if you need and printed material or other marketing collateral for your regional promotion of 'holycrapbatmanitshot'.

Jody had another appointment in Austin about mid-morning today, so he drove himself in, and arranged to have lunch with a friend of his. I think we are going to an auction tomorrow, just to see what we can find. Our hired man is supposed to be at the house on Sunday, so that will be good. In the meantime, try to stay cool, do a good deed for someone who is in need of a good deed, and remember to have fun!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day One Hundred Ninety...

Well, if it's figs you want, figs we got! I gathered up a bunch o' figs this morning before I left for the office, and we will now wait and see if Carrie and/or Margaret do anything with them. Fig Newtons, Fig Preserves, Fig Jelly...I cannot really think of too many more things you can do with Figs, but my friend Greg P had some suggestions, and maybe I will need to check for other recipes. The fig stock is not yet on the wane...plenty o' figs!

Today was spent doing a lot of office stuff, AND planning for and making reservations for the fall meeting and convention circuit. In September (in Dallas) the Texas Association of Realtors will hold its' meeting, and the classes look pretty darn interesting. Then in October the National Association of Residential Property Managers will hold their meeting in Orlando, and that looks like a really good roster of classes and information. Then, in November, the National Association of Realtors will have their meeting in San Diego. I went to my first NAR meeting last year, and I really did learn a lot of good stuff, so I am back again. It looks like it will be a busy fall.

I had six clients on my Meals-on-Wheels route today, and that is always a good thing for me to do. I really do like doing it, and it is a very worth while thing. One of my clients has been missing (and you never know what happens to them) but she was back today, she has only one kidney, and she had been hospitalized, but she is doing better. It was REALLY HOT, and it is still REALLY HOT, but it is okay...just going from air conditioned space to sir conditioned space is not too terrible, but it is a really good way to get a summer cold, and I really will be trying to avoid that. It is SO humid outside though, it is just down right uncomfortable to be outside!

At least there is a breeze blowing from the south, so that is something good. I can see the flags fully extended from the home office, and they are beautiful to see. I really do love seeing a flag, and so that was a great gift from Jody.

Pretty much done for the day...we will have a little bit of dinner and then go out and jump in the pool. We do not have enough ice cubes to put in the pool, but it is a pleasant thing to get in and out of...but once you dry off, you need to get in again and start the process all over.

Do a good deed for someone who could use is okay for you to do a good deed for yourself as well. It need not be something really big, just start out small, and work your way up! Have fun!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day One Hundred Eighty Nine...

Well good afternoon boys and girls, I hope everyone is having a great time this fine day. I have a headache, I think it is allergies, and it will probably go away in a couple hours. Stress maybe? We will see.

Just for kicks, I am uploading a video I took several months ago, when it was still cool and windy out at the farm. It is basically just a video of the cattle feeding, and the latest calf was not yet born. In the video, you will see Daphne and her calf Violet, and Daphne had a calf a couple months after this video was taken.

Last night in the pool, a monarch butterfly decided to come and spend about ten minutes next to me, and then he/she/it (they all look the same) made several passes over the pool and actually strafed the pool for some water several times. I got out of the pool to get my little flip/video and of course, the butterfly never made another appearance. Same thing with the humming birds...when I am just out there, they are everywhere, but when I am waiting for them with a camera, they are just a bunch of no-shows.

Hopefully, the videos will be better in the future, bear with me...

Jody had a couple appointments in Austin today, we we went in together. In between appointments, we went over to Freddie's for lunch, I was craving sweet potato fries, but there were not really that great today. The Blue Plate special was Chile-Cheese Dogs, so that was a no brainer. Pretty darn good, and since I am trying to lost a few pounds that I have recently gained, I kind of did without the buns. That was an easy thing.

I went back to the office and got a good bit of stuff accomplished, and some of those things were things I had been putting off and putting off. Papers that I had been shuffling from one pile to another in an attempt to avoid, but now they are dealt with, and I do not have to face them any more. A good sense of accomplishment.

The ride home was really ordinary, except for the fact that the thermometer reported the temperature to be 110 degrees. Our nuclear powered weather stations in the house are reporting a relatively cool 106.5 degrees. Okay, I am officially tired of the heat, and we are not even half way through it. We average about twenty days in the summer with temperatures over 100, and today is the 19th day this year. Crap!

So, if you see a person less fortunate than yourself while you are out and about, you might think of doing some small kindness for them. Or, go and volunteer at Meals-On-Wheels or some other charity of your choice. Maybe you can go to Wal-Mart and buy a couple box fans and deliver them to your local elder-care office, or a couple bags of dog or cat food and deliver them to the local humane shelter. Kindness can be achieved in many different ways, just think outside what you think people might expect of you, and you will find the answer. Have Fun!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day One Hundred Eighty Eight...

Whatever you feel about the person, a human being has died and that is a terribly sad thing. The man had a family, friends and lovers. Ours is not to judge, there will be plenty of others who will take on that task. If nothing else, just try to show a bit of respect, perhaps the same respect that you would like shown to you if all your warts and whiskers were exposed to the world. Just try to imagine whether you would have wanted to exist within those circumstances; would it all be worth it? I am not sure, but I know I am sad that we are minus one fragile person in the world. Thanks for letting me vent for just a second.

So? How was your day? Could you escape all the hype that is/was Michael Jackson? I would have liked to have seen some sort of a memorial of his life, but what we got was another badly choreographed extravaganza. I am not sure who should be the most embarrassed; the media or the public in general. I wonder if we all turned off the televisions and the radios if the media would get back to the next most important stuff? I doubt it.

Life was good in the office today, really busy, and I had a good appointment with some nice folks who may want to lease their home. They (David & Pamela) are not too sure yet about the management side of the equation, but they have a lovely home and they seem like they would be fun to work with. I should know in about a week.
Relatively cool today, only 96 degrees as I write this, and no rain to be had. It is kind of humid though, and that just makes it worse. I had an e-mail from our Connecticut friends (Bruce & Melody) who think we are just absolutely crazy. Melody likes it cool, damp and dark. Perfect for Connecticut in the winter.
Jody and I just finished watching the news, I guess there is not that much going on in the world, but I believe sanity will prevail. In the meantime, take a moment to think about those around you who might need some sort of a helping hand, a little tug-up to get them to a higher place, or just an ear to listen while they talk through something. You can help others in so many different ways, and just having a kind word to say to someone is certainly a good start. Have fun!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Day One Hundred Eighty Seven...

Well, I am going to try and upload a little movie that I made yesterday when we thought we might get some rain...but of course not. No rain yesterday, no rain today, but there is still a chance that we will get a little bit of rain overnight. AND I keep hearing encouraging words from the weather folks that there may be an El Nino system brewing in the Pacific, so that will ultimately mean the end of the drought we have been experiencing here for the past several years. Nothing breaks a drought like a good flood.

Today was a busy day, and it was back to the routine in the office. Lots of things to do and get caught up on. I had a 10 AM appointment in the office to do a lease signing, and I have not done a lease signing in a long time. Usually when I do a lease signing, I would go into the conference room and NOT close the door to the lobby, but Tom or wonderful assistant has taken over the duties of lease signings, and when he does it, he always closes the door from the conference room to the lobby. Well, I was in the conference room and I did not realize that Tom had closed the door (the glass door) and I had to get up to retrieve something from my office, and I crashed (not literally) into the glass door. I am sure it was quite a spectacle, and there will be talk of it for quite some time to come. I can be such a sad little man at times, but that is another story!

Anyway... After that, I had an appointment to meet with a client in Spicewood (about 35 miles from the office), at a new home subdivision. The client is Sandi, the mother of my friend Bryan. The meeting at the builders office was really only a few minutes, and on the way back to the office, I stopped by Bryan's new home and studio for the grand tour. Remarkable...he is really great at space planning and remodeling homes. The place is magnificent. Congratulations! I got back to the office, and did some more work, and I had taken a list of calls I needed to make with me, since I was going to be in the car for a while, and got lots of stuff done on the way to Spicewood and back. It is interesting how tings go, a property can just rock along with no issues for years, and then suddenly it is like the dams burst and there are several problems to correct all at one time. Interesting how things work out. I left the office and got home at a reasonable time, and that was good.

The electric co-op here where we live installed a new electric meter at the house, and I do not know how to interpret this one, so I will need to call them tomorrow because I want to keep up with the electrical usage and the performance of the wind generators. So, if the short video works on this post, you will see the wind generators in action...if not, I will replace it with a still photo... Hmmm, it seems to have worked, so I willnow embark on uploading more interesting videos in the future. Stay tuned!

Now, it is time to think about a good deed you can do for someone, someone who is not expecting it of you. It is nothing painful, just something nice. Why just this afternoon, I refrained from using vulgar language to someone that had just cut me off in traffic and caused me to apply my brakes in a purposeful manner, lest I cream them with the front end of my car. You can do it, I know you can. Have fun!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Day One Hundred Eighty Six...

See, I wasn't too keen on 'over-dressing' when I was a little kid, either! I can remember when summer days were not so hot (we had no air conditioning and we survived), and all I had to worry about was avoiding all the bigger kids that I had smarted off to in the course of the day. I was really a pacifist when I was little, although now I can kind of see that I was the Green Peace kid in the neighborhood. I could never let well enough alone, I always had to be stirring up trouble. AND I was always the littlest kid around, so I made a good target for the kids I was aggravating. I wonder when I will learn my lesson?

Today has been a great day. I made contact with an old friend (Mike) who I think now lives in Arizona with his family. We worked together in Hattiesburg, Mississippi about thirty years ago. Time flies and not always when you are having fun, too.

I watered many of the plants in the front of the house, and Jody watered in the back. Then we got in the car and drove down back roads to Killeen, Copperas Cove, Briggs and other little towns here and there. Since it was Sunday, the car was kind of on auto-pilot to the Dairy Queen in Georgetown, and we both had a nice spoiler for lunch. We made it home with no issues, and the last we looked, it is 104 degrees outside, and not a sing of any breeze. It has been cloudy, and there is the slightest of possibilities that we will get some rain this week, and that would be wonderful.

We watched a movie this afternoon "TransAmerica" with Felicity Huffman, and it was very interesting. Yesterday we watched "Milk" which I found a little bit unsettling, mainly because I do not like the bickering and fighting going on throughout the film. I cannot stand "Mommy Dearest" because it reminds me too much of the way I grew up, and it is not the wire hangers part, either.

So, we are settling in for the evening, and looking forward to catching up with what has been happening in the world, although I am sure I could be just as happy not knowing. Then dinner, a swim in the pool, a little television and then lights out. And another week will start bright and early in the morning.

Does anyone like figs? We have a tree that is just covered with figs, and we have no idea what to do with all of them. Maybe I can deliver figs to the less fortunate, and that will count as one of my good deeds for the day. I read something today that some movie star said "There ought to be a law that everyone must smile to at least three people every day". So, that could count as your good deed. Anyway, do something kind for someone, even if it is yourself, and try to have fun while you are doing it.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Day One Hundred Eighty Five...

All Hail the Fourth of July Weekend is officially under way, and I think more people are working this weekend than in the recent past. I mentioned to someone yesterday that I would be showing properties this morning, and she (Debbie) remarked that she did not think this weekend would be one of rest and reflection for most of the country. A little bit of hot dogs and apple pie (cherry in our case) co-mingled with getting a little bit of work done here and there. But, I believe we are all gratified that we live AND WORK someplace where all that is possible. We are nothing if not a mix of the good and the bad; a blending of virtue and vice; of generosity and greed. We will make the best of it, and be better for it. We would all be better off if we were not afraid of one another. We quite often fear that which we do not understand, and I fear we do not take the time to understand each other. A vicious, unrewarding cycle of repetition.

Okay, thanks for reading that. And now, for something completely different...

Today's' photo is compliments of Jody...the flags and flagpole were Jody's gift to me for our 17th Anniversary, and he could not have chosen a better gift for me. I love the flag of our country, and I love the flag of Texas. I cannot think of two more simple yet meaningful symbols of all that we hold dear. If any of you know me really well, you know that I have had flags displayed at all of my homes since about 1982. It is just something that I think is important.

My first appointment today was relatively under-whelming, not sure if there will be a positive outcome or not (although statistically speaking NOT will rule the day). The second appointment was really fun and rewarding, I am working with two clients that I like a lot, and they are pretty sure about what they are looking for in a property. That always makes life easier and more productive.

On my way home, I called and Jody had already had lunch, so I stopped at a convenient drive-thru and partook of the dollar menu, and I am now happily ensconced in the house, getting ready to put a NetFlix selection in the DVD player and probably doze off and take a little nap. Not a terrible way to spend the Holiday. Later on, it will be more food and then a dip in the pool, and then to bed to start all over again tomorrow.

Put your hand over your heart, count your blessings, do something kind for someone who is not expecting it, and be glad for your riches. Have fun!