I’m Getting Too Fat for This

The food! It just keeps coming… it will… not… stop… I can’t eat it fast enough! Isn’t that amazing? Today, I’m eating six-day old bagels.

My beloved wife, Anne, makes a wonderful lunch for me to take to work. Nothing fancy; just a salad, a bag of chips, and some cookies. It’ll keep me going until I see her for supper. I put it all in the office refrigerator so it keeps until lunchtime. Some days, it doesn’t even fit in there!

There’s the box of bagels from the supermarket down the street. Next to it is the last of a dozen blueberry muffins someone brought in for their breakfast. There’s a tin foil wrapped package of what looks like slices of pizza. Half gallons of soy milk, cups of cottage cheese, chip dip, packets of mustard, Chinese food leftovers. Well-meaning people looking to save time, save money, or leave it behind in case someone gets hungry or wants to bring it home to the kids.

The thing is, it never goes anywhere! It just sits there and rots. Not to worry; there’s more coming!

I’m eating that six-day old bagel. I’ve been working on that box of bagels since last Thursday when the nice loan officer came in to explain their latest “product,” hoping to win our business. She brought a large fruit tray, sandwiches, the bagels, cupcakes, cookies, and I-can’t-remember-what-else. Some people brought some home, much of it stayed in the refrigerator.

Every day, a modest and charming lunch is sitting on the counter near the door for me to take to work. My wife doesn’t know that the food is backing up. I never take an inventory of what’s at the office since it doesn’t belong to me. But it’s starting to get on my nerves.

I’ve been learning to make Boston Baked Beans to launch a bean supper at church. To make sure nothing goes to waste, Anne and I also learned how to do pressure canning just in case there’s a lot of leftovers. The plan is to keep them in reserve in the event that we get a larger than expected crowd. This weekend, we did a practice run.

We figured that eight one-pound bags of beans would be enough to feed 50 people. We thought they’d fit into a dozen quart-sized canning jars. My word! You can’t believe the amount of beans eight bags of dried beans turn to be. Now I’m going through all these left-over beans and it ain’t pretty!

Same weekend. Anne pulls out the frozen hamburger because we decided to make some cheeseburgers on the grill. Of course, there’s more frozen beef in the package than is necessary for a couple of burgers so she decided to make meatloaf instead. This means that I have to get potatoes and veggies for a side dish. Oh, and the buns have to be frozen now.

Of course, the meatloaf lasts three days, the beans are lasting FOREVER, the daily lunch is backing up, I still have to go through someone’s tin foil pizza, and I’m only finishing up the bagels from the vendor “lunch and learn” from six days ago. Look! Here comes my colleague smiling and singing, “I got more muffins!”

Gosh, there’s such an over-abundance! I’m grateful and guilty. To ease my guilt, I’ve decided to eat this stuff before it goes bad but I simply can’t keep up. Please make it stop. Please donate the money you spent on food that’s only going to waste to a charity that can put it to better use. I’m getting too fat for this.

Don’t Cry

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
— Dr. Seuss

Stupid Universe

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”
– Albert Einstein

Yes, I Hung Up On You

Some people aren’t happy unless they’re miserable. And there’s something about the phone or the car that brings out the best in them.

What a beautiful day today. Sunny, mid-70’s… you really couldn’t have asked for a better day. I had the whole office to myself and that’s the best for really banging out the calls but it didn’t take long before I ran into 123 Grouch Street.

Hang Up the Phone
Hang Up the Phone

All these calls are essentially the same: “Hey, you want to sell that house? You feel like buying one?” Sure, it’s a lot more elegant than that but you get the picture. Churn through the numbers until you hit pay dirt. That’s why it’s called prospecting. The people on the other end of the phone sometimes remind me of a crowd of muppets. And there’s so many of them!

Picture a busy scene with people or muppets walking here, looking there, talking to that guy, listening to some song or, like the Rolling Stones song says, “doing this and signing that.” And then I call and interrupt one of them. Usually it’s pretty benign: “Hmph? What? Real estate? Noooo… not me.. not interested… thank you… <click>” Next!

Now and then, I get the guy where my phone call was the greatest affront¬†to his dignity that I could have committed. Imagine, I would dare call him and ask a question. The nerve! And he lets me have it, too. “Where’d you get my number? I’m unlisted! I’m on the Do Not Call List! I hope you burn in the fires of hell for all eternity!…” I usually hang up after the first syllable – my virgin ears aren’t made for such vulgarity!

But, wait! There’s more!

The best part is when they call back after I’ve hung up on them. “Squawk, squawk… I’m going to report you! I’m going to call your boss! Squawk! Never call me again! Die, die, DIE!!”

I usually hang up on them again after the second syllable. My virgin ears, don’t you know…

I Bumped Into Snake Today

I had a meeting yesterday. All meetings are special, of course, but they tend to blend into each other after a while. You go to somebody’s house and listen while the owner tells you what the house used to look like. I always like that part but the portrait of Snake stopped me cold.

Peter "Snake" Lane
Peter “Snake” Lane and Family

Peter “Snake” Lane was a friend of the family. He was a big ol’ black guy on a Harley. He died about ten years ago but, boy, he was just a wonderful man. He loved life and life loved him back. My sister, Sharon, belonged to the same motorcycle club that Snake belonged to. Nothing nasty. Just a bunch of buddies who all owned Harleys and loved riding them around. Snake would ride up to the house, fully covering his bike, with a smile like you never saw before. A genuine, friendly smile that made you BELIEVE that he was a friend.

The gang has since all moved on. Not that they were too old to ride but their interests turned to other pursuits. You know how it is, you’re close¬†friends when you were young but you had to wonder what you were thinking when you got older.

The owners of the house are Ray and Doris Petty. Doris was telling me about her wonderful fireplace and how if anybody wanted to remove it, they’d probably need a few sticks of dynamite. She was right, too! I couldn’t help but notice a flag on the mantle folded and inside a case. I knew this was the flag of a dead military man and that blue box next to it was most likely his ashes. In a display of respect, I stepped closer to inspect the name. It’s been a while… I didn’t put it all together at first… but looking up at the picture, down at the name, and searching my increasingly foggy memory, I blurted out, “Hey! That’s Snake!”

Meeting Snake was totally unexpected but entirely wonderful. Such memories! Naturally, this meeting took up the rest of my afternoon but I’d have it no other way.

Neighbors and a Pile of Manure

Neighbors. You know? You buy the neighbors when you buy the house and sometimes it doesn’t quite work out. Today’s story of the day involves a ton-and-a-half of manure.

I thought I’d heard it all until at about call #153. On this call, an elderly gentleman picked up the phone and tells me he’s not selling his house. Of course, I could see that because the listing was cancelled. I was calling to find out why the listing was cancelled and if I can help him actually get it sold.

It took a while for him to open up but after staying with him and digging for a bit, he tells me that some nastiness finally got resolved and he doesn’t have to move. He said it was just a lot of crap and that he didn’t really want to get into it. I did my fake groan and said, “yeah, families can sometimes get you down.”

No, he said, it was really crap – like a ton and a half of it! He could tell that I thought he was pulling my leg.

It seems that two of his neighbors were feuding and the neighbor on his left brought in about two dump trucks of manure and dumped it on the property of his neighbor on his right. He said the smell was overwhelming and that his wife was threatening to leave. Finally, after a couple of weeks, $5,000 bucks, some visits to the courthouse and visits from the police, the situation was resolved.

Then he tells me that he’s glad that’s over with and now he can get on with the $50,000 dollars in upgrades he’s going to do on his house.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I had a neighbor nuts enough to go nuclear with the manure and another neighbor capable of eliciting that kind of response, I’m not sure I’d want to stay.

What about you?

Real Estate Is a Way of Life

When you’re “in the business,” driving through a neighborhood has more meaning for you than it does for a casual observer.