Kirkwood, Missouri: A Great Place to Live

I like to call myself a Neighborhood Specialist in the world of Real Estate.  I feel that I truly know and understand many of the neighborhoods in St. Louis considering I was born and raised in St. Louis and continue to live here.  We’ll start this Neighborhood Background Series with a town that is near and dear to my heart, Kirkwood.  This is where I grew up, played, and went to school.  I have so many great memories of Kirkwood, from my older brother’s wedding reception b in our backyard, many high school football games, both playing and watching my brothers, wiffle ball games in the backyard which lead to many baseball games throughout my life, and many, many more.  Now we will begin to talk about what makes Kirkwood, Missouri great.

According to the city’s website, Kirkwood describes itself as: “Turn-of-the-century homes and a thriving business community await you in the City of Kirkwood, Missouri. Established in 1853, Kirkwood has long been known for its down-home charm, community pride, nationally recognized schools, vibrant business community, and its involved residents” (http://www.kirkwoodmo.org/).  This description says it all to me.  When I was growing up, I felt the community pride and definitely noticed how involved the residents are.  If you happen to venture into Kirkwood, you’ll see an abundance of the color red.  That is the main color of the high school.  During football season, you’ll find much of the community at the high school football game.  Go Pioneers!  I still have Kirkwood pride and always will.  Growing up, my parents and our little neighborhood were very involved in the community.  Every year Kirkwood has a parade called the Greentree Parade.  I couldn’t tell you how many times I was in that parade with our neighborhood ‘float’; although I do know that I marched in it twice as part of the Marching Band and once with the football team after we won the Frisco Bell, the trophy for winning our annual Thanksgiving Day football game against Webster Groves.  In my high school career, I was 2-1 in those games, sadly losing my senior year. 

Kirkwood originally was created around the train station, where people were able to take the train into St. Louis City for work every day.  It was the first planned satellite suburbs of St. Louis.  I remember growing up and occasionally hearing a steam engine still coming through town, which my Dad made my brothers and me run down the street to see it and get ice cream.  It was really cool. 

The houses, when I was growing up, were more of the older traditional houses.  The house I grew up in was built in 1883.  Around my childhood house were many other houses near that age, but not quite.  Sadly, now some of the older houses are getting torn down so builders can build newer houses on the lots.  I truly hope they don’t ever tear down my childhood home.  I would be heart broken.  My brother and I have always joked about buying it if it ever goes back on the market.

The ambiance of Kirkwood has made it a highly attractive community in which to live, with a vibrant Real Estate market.  The high-quality schools, easy access to major highways, and the mixture of old homes with newer construction create a unique community in which to live and raise a family.  The continued development indicates that it remains a solid investment for real estate. Downtown Kirkwood is what I consider a movie set downtown.  Lots of little stores and great restaurants.  If you want any suggestions of where to eat, just ask.  It reminds me of a small town’s downtown with a bigger town’s activities.  Its location also makes it easy to get to all the major attractions in the St. Louis area as well. There is so much more that I could tell you about Kirkwood, and I might someday, but before I keep rambling and miss living in Kirkwood even more, I’ll say have a great day and let’s go see some houses, in Kirkwood.

Winter Storm(s) Real Estate

Wintertime is a tough time for most industries.   I can’t even imagine the difficulties of being on a road construction crew during this time of year.  Real Estate is not as tough as that, maybe, but it sure has some hard times.  Think about it, preparing to hold and holding an Open House when a snow storm is sweeping through town.  That happened to me, not once, but twice.  The first storm actually brought some snow, approximately 9 inches.  I ended up cancelling my Open House that weekend.  Luckily, I had picked up my directional signs and got home right as the snow started to fall on the Friday.  This past weekend, I decided not even to bother scheduling one, as it was supposed to be super frigid with a good chance of ice — it just rained.  Trying to maintain your normal weekly schedule for your business through the tough days of winter are a challenge.

Snow Storm Gia, #1.  This was a storm that impacted much of the country.  The only impact to me was at home in St. Louis.  On Sunday or Monday, before the storm, I had planned on holding an Open House the following Saturday.  Within the next day or two I had placed all my directional signs, put up the Open House rider, and advertised the Open House all over my Facebook page, and then it happened; a major snow storm was on the forecast.  I was, honestly, pissed off.  I was looking forward to this Open House; I was supposed to have someone shadow me on this one, which I took as a challenge to be better.  The predictions kept getting worse and worse, but since I’ve grown up in St. Louis, I understand this prediction of 8-12” of snow could just as easily be a light dusting of snow.  I waited as long as I could before I eventually cancelled the Open House, as I didn’t want to be out driving in the snowstorm if I didn’t have to.  My car does not handle the show very well.  I was actually happy that there was significant snowfall.  I would have been more upset if the snow ended up missing us after I officially cancelled the Open House.  You can read about what I did that weekend on the previous blog post, beware, you will feel worn out just by reading it.

Snow Storm Harper, #2.  This was another storm that was supposed to impact St. Louis.  It wasn’t supposed to drop a lot of snow on the city, but originally it was supposed to have the daily high temperature in the single digits, which would have been brutal.  It was still supposed to snow up to 4”, which would have caused enough issues.  I was watching the forecast like a hawk, deciding whether or not to attempt to hold an Open House last weekend.  I did not.  It wasn’t until Thursday or Friday that the forecast called for a slightly warmer temperature and basically just rain.  I felt that it was too late to properly market an Open House and to put out the directional signs, so I started to market an Open House for this coming weekend.  I noticed that there were a lot of people who went and viewed the house, which was obviously great.  That is what you want when you have a listing, the more people who view it, the better the chances of finding the buyer.  Although this storm wasn’t too bad on Saturday, it did decide to snow Sunday afternoon which was a pain for me.  Attempting to drive home from playing Kickball, my car couldn’t make it up a hill, the road was super slick.  I ended up having to turn around and go a different way to avoid the snowy roads.  It might have snowed an inch, but the roads weren’t treated so they were a little hazardous. 

When I got into the real estate business, I never thought about the challenges of trying to work through snow storms.  Now I’m wondering how I am going to put out directional signs when the ground is frozen.  I guess I’ll find that out when I get to it.  I’m sure I’ll think of something.  As much as I enjoy the cold and snowy weather, I am definitely ready for Spring.  More people are looking for houses or wanting to sell their house then.  I hope you all stay warm and if you feel like daring the weather, let’s go see some houses.

Fun in a Winter Wonderland

I’m sorry that this post is a little later than usual.  I didn’t have any time during the weekend to write it.  As you’ll see, this one isn’t much about being a REALTOR, but I think you’ll see why.   If you are not from St. Louis, MO, we had a HUGE snow storm.  It first started to snow around 2:00 PM on Friday and did not slow down until Saturday night.  There were a few moments of rain and a wintery mix during Saturday.  It was so beautiful.  There were many accidents, cars left on the side of roads, and hot chocolate. 

Thursday, we were smart and went to the hardware store to get some home improvement supplies, mostly so I would have something to do on Saturday when we were snowed in.  We also ordered a new replacement window.  So, we were a little productive then. 

Friday, I went into the office and did as much work as I could before the weather came in.  I was planning on holding an Open House on Saturday but decided against it due to the weather; my car does not drive well in the snow.  Once I made that decision I had to go around and pick up my directional signs and the rider out of the house sign.  I got home right as it started to sleet.  I immediately ordered pizza and it delivered within 20-30 minutes.  Oh, how I love Imo’s Pizza.  After I ate my lunch, I went upstairs to work on hanging crown molding.  The first hiccup was that I had to dig the saw out of the pile of tools, move it up to the third floor, and set it all up.  The second hiccup came shortly after.  I still have all my fingers and didn’t bleed, well not at that point.  I plugged in the saw and attempted to cut a board and the fuse blew.  I had to walk from the third floor down to the basement to flip the breaker back to on.  This process repeated itself once more before I wised up and had to move everything back down to the second floor.  My legs were so tired.  I eventually figured out how to cut the boards correctly and hung all the trim for one room.  I was planning on doing the rest on Saturday.  Later in the night when the snow had accumulated enough, we went outside and played with our dog in the snow.  I was chasing him around and of course I slipped and got covered by snow, and then he decided to jump on me; it was great.  There is a video of right before I fell on my social media accounts.

Saturday, I woke up and knew that I needed to go out and shovel the sidewalk, what a workout.  I was planning on going upstairs to continue working on hanging the crown molding.  Instead my girlfriend, Ruby, and I took the dog, Louie, for a long walk up into town.  We don’t usually go for this long of a walk, and it was rough with 9” of snow on the ground.  We were going up to the local small hardware store to buy some sleds; of course, they were sold out.  We learned that nearly everywhere was sold out of sleds, either that morning or on the days leading up to the storm.  We never found any.  We settled for a Christmas Tree tray.  It didn’t work very well.  While out looking for sleds, we also went by the grocery store; we needed to eat something before we went sledding and afterwards.  We forgot to go before the storm hit.  When we were done with everything, we went by our house to change, and drop off the groceries.  Then onto Art Hill.  With me being a St. Louis native, you’d think that I would have sledded there at least once before — not the case.  It was a lot of fun, except the walking back up the hill part.  Again, my legs were dead.  Luckily for us, our friends brought other sleds that worked better, and let us use them.  We stopped sledding right before it started to rain a little and went to a local bar to watch football and eat some food.  I had a Chili Cheese Burger, and it was pretty tasty.  After we were done eating, we all went our separate ways to shower and change, I had to resist taking a nap.  Then we all went to a friend’s house and played some games.  It was a fun day.  I did fail to get back to hanging crown molding though, I guess I’ll have to do that today now.

Sunday was truly crazy.  Woke up early so I could eat some breakfast, I guess Ramen noodles count as breakfast some days.  Then went to go play some kickball.  I ended up playing four games of kickball which truly wore me out, I still am sore on Monday.  I chose to take my firepit, EZ-Up tent, speaker, and a cooler of beer; no, the cooler wasn’t needed to keep the beer cold, but it was easier to carry.  Playing kickball in 8” or so of snow was really fun, and really sloppy.  I was in heaven.  Although I truly enjoyed playing in the snow, I don’t want to play in that deep of snow again, but I will, given the chance.  The one downside of playing kickball in all the snow was that my feet were so wet and so cold.  I kept them warm as long as I could.  I feel that they were nearly frozen when I was through playing but I still had to pack up everything that I had brought, I hope I didn’t forget anything.  Shockingly, this is when I cut myself and bled.  Closing up my EZ-Up tent I pinched the side of my finger and it decided to bleed pretty good.  I didn’t care, because my feet were so cold, and I wanted to go home. 

Again, I don’t know where you are, but I hope you get the chance to have a fun filled snowy weekend.  From playing with your dog in the snow, going sledding, or even playing kickball, it’s always great to find something fun to do when you feel like you should be stuck in the house watching tv and drinking hot chocolate.  I know I had a fun and eventful weekend and I couldn’t even begin to tell you how sore I am as I am writing this post; everything hurts.  I’m trying to talk myself into going to the gym later, I doubt I’ll make it.  Please leave me comments on how your weekend was or any topic that you would like me to explore.  Have a great day and let’s go see some houses.

My MLB Hall of Fame Ballot

If I had a Vote

As a lifelong Baseball fan, I have an opinion on who I believe deserves to be in the Hall of Fame from this year’s class.  I know don’t have a vote, and my opinion means nothing to the actual Hall of Fame, but I felt the need to write who I think should be in and why.  I used to be against the players who were attached to the steroid era, especially if they were accused of using, but I have moved past that; those were the times.  There are non-pitchers who are in from the dead ball era, the times should dictate the criteria on which the votes are based.  If there was a committee that could go though and look at all the players in the Hall of Fame and re-judge them by today’s standards, I truly feel that many of the Hall of Famers would not make the updated list.  When making my choices I used my gut opinion from watching them play through the years, I looked at their stats over their careers, I looked where they align with other Hall of Famers, and I even used the newer Sabermetrics to come to my conclusions.  With my list of ten players, which I have ranked, I did have a few that were on the cusp of making my list.  I will break down why I did not include them in my top ten for this year.  My list, in order, is:

  1. Mariano Rivera
  2. Barry Bonds
  3. Roger Clemens
  4. Sammy Sosa
  5. Roy Halladay
  6. Edgar Martinez
  7. Todd Helton
  8. Manny Ramirez
  9. Scott Rolen
  10. Fred McGriff
  11. Andruw Jones
  12. Omar Vizquel
  13. Billy Wagner
  14. Miguel Tejada

There you go.  Those players listed 1-10 are who I believe belong in the Hall of Fame from today’s ballot.  Andruw Jones was very close in my mind to making the list, but I felt that Scott Rolen and Fred McGriff were just barely more deserving of the right.  I believe that Andruw Jones will make the Hall of Fame eventually, I just ran out of room on my imaginary ballot.

Mariano Rivera.  He is a Hall of Famer to me because I believe he is the best closing pitcher the game has ever seen.  He is the All-Time leader in Saves, won the AL reliever of the year five times, and has a career WAR of 56.3.  From my eye test, every time I saw a Yankee game, and he pitched, I knew the Yankees were about to win the game.  He was dominant for 16 of his 19 years in the MLB.  One of those years he was recovering from a torn ACL, when he was 42.  The other two years were his first two in the major leagues.  All of these factors tell me that he will be a no doubt Hall of Famer.

Barry Bonds.  I think he should already be a Hall of Famer d.  He is the All-Time Homerun leader, both career and single season, All-Time leader in Walks and Intentional Walks, He was a seven-time NL MVP, eight-time Gold Glove winner, two-time NL Batting Champion, and has a career WAR of 162.8.  He was a beast when he was in the batter’s box.  There was a time where he either walked or it seemed he hit a Homerun.  His most notorious season where he hit 73 Homeruns, he also batted .328 and had 137 RBIs.  Yes, I know he has been accused of using steroids, and I believe that he did.  I also believe he was going to be a Hall of Famer before he ballooned up.  Before the season when he hit the 73 Homeruns, he was hitting 25-45 homers, around 100 RBIs, and hitting around .310 every year.  He was also a factor on the bases; he stole 514 over his career.  All these factors tell me that he is definitely a Hall of Famer, and shame on the Baseball writers for not including him in the hall.

Roger Clemens.  This is another player who I believe should already be a Hall of Famer.  He is undoubtedly one of the best pitchers of all time.  He won 20+ games 6 times in his career, leading the league four times, lead the league in ERA seven times, lead the league in strikeouts five times, he won the Cy Young award seven times, and even was an MVP once, which is rare for pitchers to do.  In his career his win/loss record was 354-184, with a career ERA of 3.12, he amassed 4672 strikeouts, and had a career WAR of 139.0.  He is another player who was extremely feared when he was on the mound.  He too has been tied to the usage of steroids, I don’t doubt that he used them.  It was the times, and I feel that if you weren’t using them, you were at a major disadvantage.  I think he used them, not to get better, but to extend his career; he pitched until he was 44 years old.  He is a player that when I watched him play, I knew he deserved to be a Hall of Famer. He will be someday. 

Sammy Sosa.  This one is hard for me to say, but Sammy Sosa should be a Hall of Famer.  Growing up a St. Louis Cardinals fan, I absolutely hated Sammy Sosa, but respected him for what he was doing on the field and for the game.  He deserves to be a Hall of Famer purely for the run he went on from 1996-2002.  He was one of the most feared batters in the game during that time.  He finished his career with 609 Homeruns, 1667 RBIs, .273 batting average, 58.6 WAR, 1 MVP, and 6 Silver Sluggers.  His stats line up with other Hall of Famers, not many players have hit over 600 Homeruns.  He would have more MVPs if he didn’t play during the Barry Bonds era.  For how he helped save the game of baseball during the 1998 season with his Homerun race with Mark McGuire, (who I also believe deserves to be in the Hall of Fame), is enough of a reason, to me, why he deserves to be in.  I believe Sammy Sosa will eventually be a Hall of Famer, but probably not until the veterans committee votes him in, with most of the big names from the steroid era.

Roy Halladay.  He should be elected to the Hall of Fame because he was a special pitcher and dominated the batters he faced during the steroid era.  He was never accused or attached to any steroid scandal but maintained his excellence over the league.  He won 203 games over his career, struck out 2117, had a career ERA of 3.38, won the Cy Young award twice, would have been more if he wasn’t battling Roger Clemens for the award.  The cumulation of all his stats, and how he dominated the league during his playing days, tells me that he is deserving of being a Hall of Famer.  I’m not sure if I’d say he’s a top 10 pitcher of all time, but he is definitely a top 3 pitcher of his era.  That, to me, makes him worthy of the Hall of Fame.

Edgar Martinez.  He has been growing on me, I didn’t get the chance to watch him play often, as he was in Seattle and his games were rarely shown where I grew up.  I do remember the name though and thinking that he was a really good player.  Being a DH has handicapped his Hall of Fame selection over the years.  It is hard for a pure DH to be elected, however, he was the best pure DH, until David Ortiz.  I believe if it weren’t for Edgar Martinez being so good and so important for the team as the DH, then David Ortiz could have fizzled out and not become the super star that he is.  Martinez redefined the position.  The award for the best DH in the league was named after him, that alone tells me that he should be a Hall of Famer.  He won this award five times and won the batting title twice.  He will be elected this year, as voters have steadily increased their support for him over the years.  Although this is his last year eligible, I believe if he does not get voted in now, the veterans committee will vote him in in a few years.

Todd Helton.  My favorite stat about Todd Helton is that Peyton Manning was his backup Quarterback at University of Tennessee.  Yes, I know that’s not related to his MLB Hall of Fame worthiness, but not many baseball players can say they were ahead of a future NFL Hall of Famer on the depth chart at any level of football.  On the baseball field he was a force for the Colorado Rockies.  Over his career, he hit 369 Homeruns, drove in 1406 RBIs, batted .316, with a season of hitting .372, had a WAR of 61.2, won three Gold Gloves, won four Silver Sluggers, and one Batting title.  He is hurt for playing in the thin air of Colorado, but I feel where a player plays should not hinder their Hall of Fame status.  If that were the case, move the Rockies out of the Denver.  I remember him always being the most feared batter on the Rockies and one of the most in the league.  He was an amazing First Baseman and with all of this, I believe he should be in the Hall of Fame.

Manny Ramirez.  The Hall of Fame needs a player like Manny Ramirez.  He was so entertaining, and so good at the same time.  He was one of the most feared batters during the time he played, amassing 555 Homeruns, 2574 Hits, 1831 RBIs, .312 Batting Average, and a .585 Slugging Percentage.  Besides those stats, he won nine Silver Sluggers, one Batting Title, one World Series MVP, and was in the top-5 of the MVP voting four times.  He was a major part of the Boston Red Sox team that ended their World Series Championship drought and was always great.  He was one of my favorite players and I always thought he was a little different, in a good way, and a step above the rest of the players on the field.  With all this, I feel that he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Scott Rolen.  Although he did have a few years where he was a feared batter, he is more known for being one of the best defensive Third Basemen ever in baseball.  Offensively his career was still pretty good, hitting 316 Homeruns, 2077 Hits, 1287 RBIs, and batting .281.  His offensive numbers would be better if he wasn’t battling injuries during the tail end of his 17-year career.  Speaking of his defensive stats, he won eight Gold Gloves and had a career Fielding Percentage of .968 which is insane considering he had 5745 chances to make an error, of which he only made 186.  Other awards that he has collected over his career are the NL Rookie of the Year, one Silver Slugger, and chased after a few MVP awards.  I might be a little biased because he played for my hometown team, but I always was beyond amazed at how he played Third Base.  It made me want to play Third Base growing up, and I still do play in when I play softball.  His defensive skills were a major inspiration to me.  Again, I know that doesn’t matter to his Hall of Fame worthiness, but it demonstrates how good he truly was.

Fred McGriff.  This player was another of my favorites growing up.  I remember him always being so good.  Over his career he amassed some incredible stats, 493 Homeruns, 1550 RBIs, 2490 Hits, and a .284 Batting Average.  I believe if he had hit seven more Homeruns, he would already be a Hall of Famer.  He also brought home a lot of awards over his career, three Silver Sluggers, one All Star Game MVP, and he was in the Top-10 in the MVP race six times.  In reading up on Fred McGriff, I feel that the fact that he played for so many teams is hurting his Hall of Fame chances.  I’m not sure if he will get in on this ballot, but I hope that he will get in through the veterans committee eventually.  He was one of the best that played the game and deserves this accolade.

Well those were the players that I would vote for, for the MLB Hall of Fame, if I had a vote.  Now it’s time to talk a little about the players that were on the cusp of my ballot.  Andruw Jones was the player who was the closest to making my ballot, basically being vote 10b, with Fred McGriff being 10a.  I honestly gave Fred McGriff the nod over Andruw Jones because it is McGriff’s last year on the ballot and I believe that he should be in the Hall of Fame.  Andruw Jones’ stats are very similar to Scott Rolen’s, but I liked Rolen more when he was playing.  I believe Andruw Jones should be in the Hall of Fame, and I just ran out of room on my imaginary ballot.  Omar Vizquel was next, he would be going in purely on his defensive merit, and I don’t think that he was good enough on the offensive side of the field to deserve the right to be a Hall of Famer.  I do believe he is close, but he didn’t make my ballot this year.  The next two players I remember them being really dominant for a few years, but their peak years did not last very long.  These two players are Billy Wagner and Miguel Tejada.  These two players are at risk of falling of the ballot for next year, purely because there are so many great players ahead of them in many actual voters’ minds.  Miguel Tejada was one of the best players in the game for a few years, but he needed that to last a bit longer.

Well, there you have it, my ballot, if I were to have one, for the MLB Hall of Fame.  I wish that the actual voters would put out a breakdown like this, so the general public can see where they are coming from and to see why they made the decisions that that they did.  I feel that it would make the Hall of Fame process run smoother and create a lot of interesting conversation.  If you have any thoughts about my choices, feel free to leave a comment and start the conversation.  I hope you all have a great day, and let’s go see some houses, and talk baseball.

New Year’s Resolutions

I find it very important to make New Year’s Resolutions that I think will improve my way of life or achieve various goals I might have.  Yes, I know, everyone makes the resolution to go to the gym every day and to lose a bunch of weight.  Of course, I want that too.  I try to make mine a little more realistic to where I’m certain I will be able to go the distance and finish the year achieving my goal.  I was very successful this past year.   I allowed a one-time lapse on my birthday though; I was craving some McDonalds French fries.  This year I am planning on having some New Year’s Resolutions that are both personal and work related.  I have a lot of big goals that I want to achieve, and I need to make the effort to get there.  I’m sure I won’t achieve all of them, but I desperately want to.

Some of the most common New Year’s Resolutions are anything from quitting smoking, learning something new, spending more time with friends and family, enjoying life, and even getting organized.  These are all good, but kind of generic.  These are all process focused and have no distinct objective.  I try to be more specific with mine.  This past year I decided to give up drinking soda and eating fast food.  I think the only time I had a little taste of soda was when I absentmindedly ordered a Whiskey Coke out somewhere.  I allowed myself to have fast food once, as previously noted.  Otherwise, I mostly observed through the year. There were a few that I did not do so good on, such as working out more, working on my house more, and walking my dog every day; we walk him often, just not every day. I did not include many career focused resolutions, but I know that I will this year.

This year, I’m going to continue not to drink soda and eat fast food.  I am going to try to expand on that to where I’m not going to eat fried food, especially if its battered.  I had to give myself a loop hole, so I can eat chicken wings; they are fried, but I don’t like them if they are battered.  Great, now I’m hungry.  Another personal one is to work out more. I want to go to the gym at least four days a week, hopefully more.  Along with going to the gym, I want to get up early at least three days a week to take my dog for a run.  I’m not excited about this one — I love my sleep, and I don’t like to run.  Another with health in mind, is to eat healthier.  I already don’t eat much candy, but I will try to not eat any.  Holidays will be tough for that.  Another idea, that I literally just thought of, is that I will cook at home more, trying out new recipes and challenge myself in the kitchen, all while being healthy.  I know, this is process focused, so I’ll have to work out the specifics.

For my job-related resolutions, they are most simple.  I don’t want to get discouraged and fall back on bad habits.  I think I will set one or two for now and add to my plan for the year as they become ingrained in my routine.  One that I don’t feel will be a challenge will be to continue to write this blog.  I hope to get better in my writing, and what I’m writing about, but that’s a different issue.  I’m not counting that in my one or two resolutions.  For those, I will say that I want to make it a habit of going and previewing houses at least four days a week; that could help my going to the gym goal too.  I enjoy previewing houses in the areas that I work, I just don’t do it enough.  The second one will be to call and visit expired listings and for sale by owner houses.  It can’t hurt, the worst thing that could happen is they tell me no and to go away.  At least they will have met me and will have a face to go with the name.  All my goals are to get my name as a REALTOR® more recognized, so more people think of me, when they want to buy or sell a house. 

My theory is that if you have a larger goal that you want to achieve, set interim objectives that will lead you on the path to your larger one.  I use the New Year as an opportunity to start setting those smaller goals that will help me achieve my dreams.  Dream big, and then dream small to get you there.  Have a great day, and New Year, and let’s go see some houses (I’ll be going four days a week, so come join me).

Holiday Traditions

It’s that time of year again.  Lots of bright and sparkly lights around.Time to decorate your house and tree. Time to hunt down the perfect gifts for your loved ones.  Time to visit with family and friends.  It sure can be a hectic time of year, and expensive.  Everyone has different family traditions.  I will explain how my holidays are, and truly will be, hectic this year.  My craziness has already begun, with work holiday parties– my girlfriend’s work party was crazy as usual. 

This past Saturday the craziness truly began.  Well, I guess it really was the week before when my work holiday party was.  It was fairly low key, but it was still a fun time and great to see everyone outside of the office.  There were a few epic Giant Jenga games that were over 40 levels high. This past Saturday was my girlfriend’s work holiday party and they go all out.  We were at her boss’ country club where there was an open bar from 7 PM through 12:30 AM.  Do I even have to say that it got a little crazy?  Well it did, but in a good way.  They had some great food, a freshly made Chinese buffet at the country club. I definitely made mine way too spicy. This week, hopefully, won’t be as crazy, which will allow me to recover from the weekend.

This weekend, my girlfriend will be flying back to Michigan to be with her family for the holidays while I will remain here, in St. Louis,to be with mine, and take care of the dog. I know, I know, we should be spending this time together.  We keep talking about starting to rotate Thanksgiving and Christmas for where we are:  just can’t seem to start it.  I have family that comes in town for those two holidays and I enjoy spending time with them and she doesn’t get to see her family that often, so she takes advantage of the holidays to go home to be with them. 

My family’s tradition is that we do my immediate family’s Christmas on Christmas Eve.  Both my brothers and their families and I go over to our parent’s house to have some great food and open presents.  This is crazy, but actually is the calm before the storm.  I’m not sure what food we’ll have this year,but there is no doubt that it’ll be very good. My Mom will make something amazing, as usual.  We will have a great time, and my nieces and nephew will be entertaining as always.  Oops,I just remembered that I still need to make my family’s version of Chex Mix!  My Grandma had a great recipe and I now have the task to make it for the family.  I know what I’ll be doing this afternoon now.

Time for the big day, Christmas.  I will be doing my usual thing, making chicken wings for my Mom’s whole family Christmas party at, again, my parents’house.  This has been a tradition as long as I’ve been alive!  There will be at least forty people there, a little crazy. Again, it will be a great time, and great to get all of us together.  There aren’t many occasions where it is possible for all of us, especially the cousins, to get together.  We don’t exchange presents with the big family,though I believe the little kids get something. I can’t even begin to explain the shenanigans that go on this day.  My parents have always put a Where’s Waldo ornament on the tree, so there will be hunting for him, possibly even a ransom letter for him, yes, that has happened. We are also a family that has an ornament that is a pickle, which is another thing to hunt for; this one stays on the tree though.  Another odd tradition of my family is a Christmas Crocodile.  I think that came from when my oldest brother gave a giant plastic crocodile to my parents as a gag gift and it now always comes out to guard the tree.  We are a special (weird?) family.

Then its time for New Years. This year will be even more hectic for me.  We are planning on having friends come in from Chicago and Kansas City to stay with us so we can go to a party.  They will be coming in on Saturday.  My girlfriend, thankfully, will be coming home on Friday.  I thought about going up to Michigan after Christmas, but I would be way too stressed out about people coming and needing to get so much done to get the house ready for guests.  I need to clean our 2nd and 3rd floors, install the vanity in our bathroom, finish mudding and re-paint the bathroom wall, make sure the bathtub has stopped leaking, and vacuum all the dust from dry walling.  But New Year’swill be fun. It always is.  I am just glad that our friends are coming to us, so we don’t have to drive home the next day.  We usually go to Kansas City for New Years, so the next day is a bit of a struggle.

Well, that is my hectic holiday schedule.  I’m sure you all have just as crazy times.  I hope you have a crazy family like mine and have such fun traditions. Please share them in the comment section.  You never know, other people might share the same traditions, or you might get ideas for cool new ones that you want to try.  I hope you all have great holidays and let’s go see some houses.

Ugh, Colds

Cough, Cough, Sneeze, and Repeat

This past week I have been battling a bad cold.  I know I promised you a more exciting post this week; I honestly tried.  I had a great one planned, but I could not draw the energy to put the appropriate effort into an exciting blog last week. I am still feeling lousy but have enough energy to tell you all the struggle of being a REALTOR® when you are sick.

Since I am a solo agent, I can’t rely on a team to pick up the slack when I am not feeling well.  I had to struggle through it.  I decided to stay away from the office: nothing worse than a bad cold sweeping its way through an office.  I figured everyone else would rather I kept my misery to myself.  I did manage to go to my weekly meeting Monday morning, but left soon afterwards when I started to not feel good.  My colds start off differently than most, feel OK for a few days and then, BAM, feel like total crap.  I tried my best to power through.  I had a good day, just in time for the office Holiday Party.  Luckily it was during lunch, so I was feeling better. Mornings and nights are the worst. I have never understood that, but that has always been the case with me.  Of course, I had scheduled to hold an Open House on Thursday evening during this week; my body has a cruel sense of humor.  It felt the need to be sick during a week when I had a lot to do. 

The Open House went well, despite me not feeling well.  I almost called another agent to hold it for me but decided that I needed to power through and show up.  It was fairly slow, only one visitor, but the one person loved the house.  Fingers crossed that it works out in the future. I would not have received this good news or met the potential buyer if I had decided to stay home and pity myself. During the down time, I utilized my time and planned out what my social media was going to be over the weekend, I searched for newly expired listings,tried to write an exciting post on the Winter, and yes, I played a few games on my phone.  This time I finally learned. I brought a folding chair with me, so I could actually sit down during the Open House; I didn’t want to stand for three hours. 

The biggest struggle for me during the week was not writing letters to people.  I didn’t want to lick the envelopes, and yes, I know there are other ways to dampen the strip on the envelope to make it stick.  I focused mainly on going above and beyond on my social media content to keep me going.  I tried to have fun with it;putting a post on Facebook about chicken wings, asking the public where their favorites are.  I found some that I need to try.  There will definitely be a future post about chicken wings.

Now we’re to the weekend. I don’t think I made a smart decision on Sunday.  I chose to go play four Kickball games.  Yes, I know it was super cold outside.  Yes, it was outside.  Yes, I know I was fighting a cold.  I don’t feel worse now, and actually might feel better.  That is probably because I was dead tired and went to bed early last night.  I am glad that I went out, it was a morale boost to get back to my normal routine.

Well that was my week of having a bad cold and trying to do REALTOR® things.  I didn’t think I was very productive last week, until now.  I actually did more than I thought.  I am proud of myself for getting so much done, except writing letters, which I am working on now.  Writing this blog has been a break from letter writing, so my hand can un-cramp.  I hope you all stay healthy and let’s go see some houses.