The time I almost lost my wallet at Disneyland

Put a Tile in your wallet

My regular readers know that I love Lego.  I have nearly a million bricks in the Snoring Room Closet, and I even carry around a Lego Wallet everyday.  It’s a vintage style velcro wallet.  A yellow nylon with a lego print on the fabric, and it folds in thirds and then closes with a velcro strip.  It was cool in the 1980’s and now as a Dad, it is SUPER cool.  I got it as a father’s day gift from my kiddo, and I treasure it.

Obviously I keep my money and ID in it.  Some cash, a few credit cards, and some other essential items.  I take it with me everywhere I go.  One other unusual I item I keep in it is a Tile I got from a colleague about a year ago.  This isn’t a decorator tile, or ceramic tile, but a little piece of technology that kept me from loosing my wallet at the Happiest Place on Earth.

A few months ago, right before school started, we took a family trip to Disneyland for a long weekend, and to end our summer vacation.  We had a blast!  We rode all the rides (Pirates of the Caribbean is my favorite), saw all the shows – Fantasmic was awesome, and ate all the food.  It was a blast, and is something we will probably do again next year.

We happened to find ourselves in Frontierland around dinnertime, and since we were on vacation, decided to eat at the Golden Horseshoe Resort.  It’s a family friendly place with Chicken nuggets for the kid, a salad for me, and a kids meal power pack for my wife.  They all sat at a table listening to the live Dixieland music while I stood in line and ordered at the counter.

I took out my wallet, paid for the meal, and the food came literally instantly.  I picked up the tray, and took it to the table my family had saved for me.  What I didn’t take was my wallet, which I left on the counter by the register with all my money, cards, and everything else.  Totally didn’t realize it was gone.

When I did realize it was gone we had left the restaurant, and were heading up to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  The kiddo wanted something else to drink, and I reached in my pocket and had that sinking feeling in my stomach when I knew that my wallet wasn’t there.

I literally freaked out.

Right there in Frontierland.

Then I remembered that I had a Tile in the wallet.

The Tile is a little sensor (I’m not sure how to describe it).  It’s white, and about 1 inch square, and pretty thin.

What is so cool about it is if it is within 100 feet of my iPhone, I can use a special App to make the Tile make a loud sound.  If it is farther away than 100 feet then there is a little map that displays the last place the phone and tile were together.

Tile Map apptile app

I pulled out my iPhone and launched the app. Immediately it came up with a screen showing the last place the Wallet Tile was seen (I’ve since added another Tile to my Car Keys).  The map showed that my wallet wasn’t within 100 feet, but was nearby.

So using my phone, we began to walk towards the blue dot.  As we got closer and closer I realized my wallet was still inside the restaurant.

I’m sure you can feel my sense of relief when I walked into the restaurant, used the feature to ring the Tile, and faintly heard the sound coming from behind the counter near the cash registers.  One of the cast members saw it sitting there, and put it in a safe place, hoping I would come back for it, before turning it in to lost and found.  I went up to the counter and had to ask if anyone had seen my wallet.  They asked if I could describe it, and I did.  It is very distinctive, and you know.

Everything was still in there – Driver’s license, Credit cards, and even all the cash.  I offered some to the worker for keeping my wallet safe but they politely declined.

Anyway, without the Tile, I know my wallet would have been gone forever.  Our trip to Disneyland wouldn’t have been as fun, that’s for sure.  Now because of Tile, it is a great story, and something that I hope I never have to use again, but know I can if I need to.

Put a Tile in your wallet

Konmari for a 46 year old dude

Konmari Method for Men

Let me just say right now that I’m not talking all my stuff and putting it in a big pile in the middle of the room.  That’s. Just. Not. Going. To. Happen.

But I have to ask myself – will the Konmari Method work for a 46 year old father?

You see, here’s my problem.  It’s one I’ve had since I was about 13.  I can’t focus on any work unless the space I’m in is perfect. Of course what is perfect to me is 100% nuts to everybody else.  Isn’t that always the case?

Let me give you an example:  Writing this blog.  I’ve started and abandoned blogging for as long as the internet has been around.  My problem isn’t that I don’t stick to it, it’s that I get distracted.  Here are just a few things that I had to take care of TODAY before I could write this post:

  • Do the dishes
  • Fold the Clothes
  • Mow the Lawn
  • Take the garbage cans out
  • Bring the garbage cans in (as soon as the truck went by)
  • go over the floors quickly with the Dyson
  • check emails

And about 100 other things.  All these chores had to be done before I could focus.  Now, I’m sure there is some great medicine for people like me, but I still manage to get along in life just fine.  I was able to write this post, obviously, but as I click publish, it’s 4:30 IN THE AFTERNOON.

What I am hoping for is a system I can adopt that will keep my life in order so I can focus on the things that are important to me.  Is that too much to ask?

PS – If you are wondering what I’m talking about it’s all in this book.

Approaching 19

Flying Ceramic Pig

Next month is my 19th wedding anniversary.

Nineteen years with the same person (plus another 6 or so before I popped the question).

“Ad astra per alia porci”  ~ to the stars on the wings of a pig.

There isn’t much we don’t know about each other after this much time.  Pretty much we have been through it all.  The ups and the down, and even some unexpected sideways curve balls through the years.  We know the ins and outs of our monthly budget, so when I want something (or she does) we just buy it for ourselves.  Except for the really big ticket items – those we still run by each other first.

As you can imaginge, it’s hard to shop for her.  Not only does she have everything she needs, but I’ve been getting anniversary presents for her for nearly 20 years, and am just about tapped out.

Pigasus

That was until the other day when I was touring a house and saw this ceramic flying pig.  Both my wife and I love the Pigasus, as we grew up in Salinas and are big fans of John Steinbeck.  The flying pig was used by Steinbeck as his personal stamp, along with the motto  “Ad astra per alia porci”  ~ to the stars on the wings of a pig.

I had to find one for her!  Turning to her favorite on-line shop, and a quick search, I found the perfect item.  When I noticed that it would be handmade and shipped from Poland, I quickly ordered it.

2014 Resolutions

Every year on this day I post my 10 goals for 2014.  Of course, most of them are real estate related (because that’s what I live breathe, and eat everyday), and once again this year I want to share them with the world.

There are all kinds of stats about successful people, and one of the biggest ones is that make measurable, attainable, and realistic goals for themselves.

As I look back at my 2013 goals, I had some lofty ones. Some I achieved, others I fell short on.  There’s  a quick review on how each of the 10 ended up on the original post.

 

So What are my 2014 New Year’s Resolutions?  As usual, I’m publicly posting mine.  These are mostly real estate resolutions, but I think the last one is the best.

 

  1. Hold 40 Open Houses – For me, Open Houses are one of the best way to meet people.  Not only do I get to show off some pretty cool homes, but I also get to learn about the neighborhood from people who have been there a long time.
  2. Get a $1M residential listing – last year I had a lot of listings, but none of them were 7-figures.  This year I just want one.
  3. Get a new MacBook Air – This isn’t a hard one.  Of course I’m a huge Mac Fanboy, and my Macbook pro is great, but is starting to show it’s age.
  4. Have 1000 Likes on my EricEstate Facebook Page – As of today I’m at 550, and growing every day.
  5. Complete the Austin 1/2 Triathalon.  My brother dared me to do it, so here I go!
  6. Take Ari to a baseball game.  It’s time, especially if he is going to own a team as I predict!
  7. Paint all the interior doors in my house.  This may sound silly to you, but I want all the doors to match with the same hardware and white paint.   Right now they don’t.  Gotta change that.
  8. Start Pearl.  This seems to be on my list every year
  9. Landscape the front yard.  Last year I didn’t water the front lawn once, and it didn’t die.  But I want a little bit better and more water efficient curb appeal, so I want something a bit different.
  10. Blog 200 times.  Daily blogging is so hard!

What are your goals for 2014?  Share a link to them in the comments below!

I used to work at Books & Books in Salinas

I got to reminiscing today.  I was thinking about people who influenced me, and Kurt Hartman of Books & Books in Salinas, CA was one of those bosses who was extremely tough, but ultimately a great businessman.

For as long as I could remember I’ve had a job.  First it was a paper route, and then when I was  too old for that, I worked in a bookstore.  I got the job at the best independent bookstore in Salinas in 1985, when I was just entering high school.  Before I tell the story about how I got the job, let me talk a little bit about Kurt.

Books & Books started out in a little spot in a strip mall at the corner of Main St, and San Miguel Ave.  The store was first located immediately to the left of a Lucky’s supermarket (it’s now a Save Mart I think), and when it outgrew that tiny spot it moved across the parking lot next to the Quiznos.

My parents would take me there as a boy, and I’d get to pick out a book every so often.  But the owner, a gruff old man named Kurt, would always keep an eye on me.  His distain wasn’t limited to me, but to all children, and every so often a customer, too.  I honestly was afraid of him, with his wiry old grey hair, and his quick, and bright eyes.  “Don’t touch that unless you are going to buy it” and “Time is Money” were two phrases I’d hear frequently on my visits.

He always seemed like a mean old man, and I recall very clearly my first real interaction with him, the one where I asked him for a job.

As a teenager, I needed money, and the best way was for me to get some part time work after school.  My folks suggested I apply for a job at the bookstore Kurt owned, and I was reticent, remembering all of the bad interactions I’d had throughout the years.   I put on my Sunday best, hopped on my bike, and rode the 7 blocks to the bookstore.  I chained it in front of the store, and rolled down my pant leg.  I was so nervous going in, but I had practiced what I was going to say.  Simply, and politely ask for a job application, take it, and get out as fast as I could.

Kurt was sitting on his usual perch: a four legged  wooden stool right behind the big black counter. He was reading the trades or something.  I was 14, and already taller than him, but when I came through the glass door, I felt about 2 inches tall.  My hands were probably sweating as I walked up to the counter, and asked for a job application.  I didn’t ask if he had any openings, and he sensed this, and replied “What makes you think I have a job for you?”

Wait!  This wasn’t how it was supposed to go.  The exchange I had practiced in my head was much simpler.  I didn’t have to answer any questions at this point.  Only pick up an application and go.

My voice probably cracked as my brain spun thinking of an answer.  I don’t recall exactly what I said, but it was something like “I need a job, and I like books, so I thought I’d ask you for a job”.

“What makes you qualified to work at my Bookstore?”

“I’ve volunteered at the public library for a summer, and had a paper route for 4 years before that” I answered.

He seemed satisfied with my responses, or at least wanted to be rid of me, so he reached under the counter, and tore off an application from the packet.  He didn’t give it to me, but instead put it on the counter and said “I have pretty strict hiring requirements.  Not just anyone can work here you know.  I don’t really need much help right now because my staff is full.  Take this, and when you have filled it out bring it back to me.”

Of course I didn’t have a leather folio or even a paper folder to carry it home in, so I carefully folded it, put it in my back pocket and headed home.

The application was a standard one page form.  Personal details were on the front, and employment questions on the back.  Strangely enough, I had more information for the back than I did for the front.  Since I hadn’t been to high school yet, or even college, so I had to leave all that blank.  All that was completed was my contact info.

But on the employment part I put down my volunteer job, my paper route, and 3 personal references who I had done yard work for, or who were friends of the family.  I do remember having to ask my parents what some of the questions were like military service, or if I was a felon.

The next day, I put on the same outfit, rode the same streets and parked my bike in the same spot.  Kurt was sitting in the same place doing what appeared to be the same thing.  I walked through the door with my completed application, extracted it from my back pocket, unfolded it, and handed it to him.  He didn’t even look up.  Muttering, “I’ll take a look at this later”.  There was nothing I could do.  I had to wait.

Several days later I got a call.  I got the job, and started on the very next monday at 3:30, right after school. What I didn’t know is that  both Kurt and my father were members of the Chamber of Commerce at one time, and he arranged for me to be able to work there without much fuss.  Of course I didn’t know about their deal during this whole process until many years later.  I can only imagine what a stink he would have put up if that arrangement wasn’t made.

I ended up working there for over 5 years.  Up until I graduated High School, and then off and on after that.  I remember unpacking heavy boxes from Ingram, sorting shelves alphabetically by category, and of course calling people when their special orders arrived. On the weekends I would open the store, and on weekdays I would close up shop.

Al the while, Kurt guided and molded the way I do business.  He taught me to do what I say.  He taught me about customer service (he would tell me how to do it, not to follow what he did), and I learned all about the workings of a small business, from the cash register, to the dumpster in the back.  Buried under a very tough facade was a nice man, and I am grateful that I was able to see that every so often.  He kept his personal life very separate, but I did know that he was a survivor of the Holocaust (you could see the numbers tattooed on his arm), and that his brother was the famous Magnum Photographer Erich Hartman.

One of the very first things Kurt had me do was to begin reading the 100 best classic books of all time.  I had to know what people were talking about when they came in he told me.  It took me the better part of 2 years, but I did it.  When it was slow, and I was working alone I would sit on that very same 4-legged stool and work my way through that list.  And the best part was, I got to keep the books for free.

As I worked there, I got to know the customers.  There were the regulars – the people who came in every week to pick up a magazine or two, or the ladies who would get the latest hardcover best-sellers.  There were the how-to guys who browsed the woodworking section, and the coin collectors who came in for the yearly numismatic guides.  At the beginning of the school year, we would stock up on all the required reading books, and every teenager for miles around would come in to get their copies.  Every so often a visitor to Salinas would stop by, as we had the largest selection of John Steinbeck Books in the county.  I can’t remember for sure if Kurt ever met John Steinbeck, but for some strange reason I think he did.

I had some great co-workers.  There was Tisa, the 20 something free spirit, Francisco, Kurt’s right hand man, and Dante, the Goth who had a photographic memory.  In the early 90’s Kurt decided to sell the store to his good friend Harry, and he and Lynn who also used to work there bought it together.   Several years later, Harry died, and Lynn and I lost touch.

Some evenings when it was really slow, I’d lock the door for a few minutes and go next door to the ice cream shop that used to be where Starbucks is now.  All the cheerleaders worked there, and I’d get a free scoop or two just for working next door.

I am very grateful for the years I had at Books & Books with Kurt, and although we didn’t communicate for years after I left, I was saddened when I learned he died in 2004.

PS;  I had to put up a photo of my old elementary school, as I don’t have any pics of the old bookstore.

2013 Resolutions

Do you have any resolutions for 2013?  I’m publicly posting mine.  These are mostly real estate resolutions, but I think the last one is the best.

Top people have future orientation – the think about the future.  Where they want to go, where they want to be.

For the last several weeks they have been handing out a simple goal guide at the weekly sales meeting and encouraging us to fill it out.  I’ve always thought it kind of silly, but since this a new year, why not try something new.

What do you want?  Write it Down.  Set a deadline.  Male a list of steps to achieve that goal.  Take action immediately on something.  And finally, do something everyday.

So I’m writing down the 10 things I would like to have in 2013.

  1. I want 50 new listings in 2013. That’s an average of 1 per week with a 2-week vacation.  I’ll accomplish this by doing the basics.  Calls, mailings, networking, and of course follow-ups. I fell a bit short on this, but hopefully can do it one year.  Maybe not my first year out though.
  2. I want to use all my postcards that JB Goodwin provides every month.  This includes the free open house postcards, the free new listing postcards, and the free postcards that I win from contests.  All of them will be used to market myself, of course. I did this and had a great response.  Next year instead of just using basic postcards, I’ll be using some from moo.com.
  3. I want to write a blog post about real estate everyday. (Mission accomplished today).  This is the hardest.  I posted about 200 blog posts, but still fell short.
  4. I want to increase my personal contacts on Facebook, and especially Google+ to over 300.  That’s less than1 new follower per day. Accomplished for Facebook (550), and halfway for G+ (272)
  5. I will conduct a blogging seminar for JB Goodwin.  This will help others get better websites, and elevate the Real Estate game in Austin.  Done with great success.
  6. I will do a form of exercise everyday.  Be it push-ups, sit-ups or running (even if it is on a treadmill).  Not quite.  The daily activities are hardest.
  7. I will become fit enough to get off high blood pressure medication. Not done.  Probably bad genetics.
  8. I will go to the F1 race (hopefully in a luxury box). It was during Jenn’s birthday so I didn’t even ask.
  9. I want to get my little Spitfire running again. Not accomplished.
  10. I will be the best father and husband I can be. A work in progress.

My Old Bio – Before I was a Real Estate Agent

I want to let you in on a little (OK – It’s a big) Secret.  I’m not a real estate agent – Yet.

But later this fall, I will be, and when I get my license, this website will change in amazing ways.  Right now I’m just blogging about Austin neighborhoods, some cool houses I’ve photographed, and a few other Austin Real Estate related topics.   They are great reads by themselves, and of course I encourage you to subscribe to my RSS feed to get updates, as well as circle me on Google +

But to really get all the insider info, and be one of the first to be notified when I get my license and add actual listings to this website, you should join this list.

Why would I leave a great career as a successful photographer in Austin, and become a Real Estate Agent?  That’s a great question, and to answer it completely I need to explain why my photo business did so well.

Let’s take a trip back in time…

Seven years ago, my wife and I were DINKS (Dual-Income-No_Kids) in the Silicon Valley.  We had great jobs, wore nice clothes, and ate fancy dinners out whenever we wanted with our friends.  We traveled to France, or Cuba, or New York City.  Life was good.  But no matter how hard we worked, we knew we could never afford a house in the Bay Area, let alone Menlo Park, where we were renting the cutest 550 sq/ft apartment.

So we both quit our jobs, packed up the car and headed to Austin, Texas.  We bought a beautiful 1970’s ranch fixer in North Austin for less than we were paying in California Rent per month, and I started a new career as a photographer.  I saw an opportunity, that nobody else was exploiting and decided to pounce on it.

Actually I saw two unique opportunities.

Only a few short years ago, wedding photography in Austin was – boring and traditional.  Very posed, very formal.

I came from San Francisco where wedding photojournalism was all the rage.  Documenting the entire wedding day, lots of candid pictures, with an artistic eye.  I’m not saying that I brought wedding photojournalisim to Austin, but I will say that a lot of people hired me for my style.

The second thing that wasn’t happening then that is now, is blogging.  I started a wedding photography blog and sent an email to every wedding vendor between Dallas and San Antonio.  I would shoot a wedding, and then blog about all the unique details and tell the couple’s story.  Now everyone does that.

After shooting over 400 weddings I’ve decided that I need to shift course again, and do something where I’m home more weekend nights.  I’ve gone back to school to take the necessary classes to get a real estate license.

Why Real Estate?  Because I see a huge opportunity in using technology to help people buy and sell houses.

Most real estate agents have a web presence – sort of.  They might have a headshot of themselves on a website, maybe a some have a Facebook or Twitter page, and a few even have their own websites.

Most people who are searching for homes go to Realtor.com, or Zillow, or Trullia and enter their personal information, how much they want to spend, how many bedrooms, and so forth, and do a search which yields hundreds of properties.  You then click through each one, looking at tiny thumbnails, trying to see if this is a house you want to see, or skip.

Once you find a house you want to see, you have to find an agent to show you the place.  Finding an agent in Austin isn’t hard.  Sometimes it seems like everyone here has their license.  Some are associated with boutique Austin agencies, some are part of upscale brokerages, and some are even part of the Elite 25 in Austin.  But try to get to know them on-line and you won’t find much.

That’s why I’ve started this website.  It’s a way for YOU to get to know ME.

I’ll write about cool Austin happenings, show photos of some incredible houses, and I plan on showcasing my listings on EricEstate.com with really BIG photos, and lots of descriptive text so you can really get to know the property.  If you are buying a house it will feel like you are there, and if you are selling, you will reach an incredible audience of local, motivated buyers and interested agents.

About me:

Eric on the Champes Elyses in Paris in 2003I’m Eric, and I’m the person behind this website. To date my biggest accomplishment is Patent #7,402,246 but in June, when my first son is due, that will probably change.

I started this blog in January 2012, because I firmly believe it’s the best way for you to get to know me, but here’s the cliff-notes version:  For the last 6 years, I’ve photographed over 400 weddings all over the world as a full time photographer.  I never paid for advertising, instead relying on using creative marketing & leveraging technology to grow my business.  Prior to that I worked as a Biochemist in the Silicon Valley during the first dot-com boom.   I live with my wife of 11 years and two dogs Riley and Vera in a late ’70’s 4-bedroom in North Austin.  I haven’t eaten meat since 1983 & love early 70’s sports cars.

Currently enrolled in Real Estate Classes, I plan on getting my license in the near future, and then focus on Modern Architecture in Austin.

 

Do you wish your pregnant wife a happy mother's day?

Absolutely!

At first I wasn’t sure I should.  I mean, technically, she isn’t a mom – yet.  It’s really only a matter of weeks, even days, until out little bundle of joy arrives.

But this is a once in a lifetime event. My wife will only be pregnant once, with our first child, and there will only be one mother’s day during that time.  Plus, I’m not that guy who makes excuses for not being sappy because I’m a dude.

Now I’m not going overboard, just a little bouquet of flowers, maybe a special lunch, and a little special treatment all day.

Our real celebration for mother’s day happened last weekend when we had our co-ed baby shower at the  at a catering company in Westlake.  Jenn’s family was there, and my folks drove in from Tuscon for the weekend.  Some of my friends came, some of Jenn’s friends, and we all had a great time.

The Harvest Room
The Harvest Room

The Harvest room is a new facility that was built by my friends who own a catering company. It’s a perfect place for a shower, an informal get together, or just a great meal. The chef, Dan, is an incredible cook, and takes care of everything. Although he specializes in meat, he knows I’m a vegetarian, and makes special one of a kind dishes just for me. Of course, he also has a little fun with it, and although there isn’t any meat in my food, he always seems to shape my dinner like a pig, or some other farm animal.  It’s a running joke between us, but always in good fun.

Native Austin Grasses
Native Austin Grasses in a pot outside the entrance

I just liked the decoration outside the door. It was a simple pot with some native grasses planted in it, and set the theme for the rest of the room. Inside the decorations were rustic, but not dated. There was some great furniture, and custom pieces gathered from around town, and the internet, and it all pulled together quite nicely.   We had about 30 or so friends there, and we filled the room perfectly, and kept the bartender busy making mimosas for us all morning long.  My mother in law got there early and did some great decorating, hanging a banner, putting out favors, and a few other nice touches for my wife and I.

Long dining room tables
Long dining room tables had simple decorations.
Paper banner
My mother in law did all the decorations, including the paper triangle banner

Everybody got a little party favor of a blue tin with some candy.  Debi, even hand cut each of the little flowers, and wrote a thank you note for everyone.  I’m not much of a crafty person, but these are pretty cool.

baby shower favors
The baby shower favors were little blue tins filled with candy
Oh the places you'll go cake
The cake was Mexican vanilla, and decorated with the saying from the Dr. Seuss Book, Oh the places you'll go cake

The cake was incredible! Heather, one of my wife’s best friends knew someone who makes cakes on the side, and this was better than most wedding cakes I’ve had.  If you don’t know, I’m a little bit of a wedding cake connoisseur, as I have photographed over 400 weddings in a previous career, and sampled each and every one.  This cake was more than enough for everybody, not too dry, and not too sweet.  Thankfully there was a little left at the end of the day, and we got to snack on it for a couple of more nights.

handmade paper flowers
There was only one game at the baby shower, and it involved paper flowers, and a secret word

There was a funny baby shower game that everyone played.  I didn’t think anyone would win, but in the end, I have to say that it was because of me that someone got the prize (a Visa Gift Card).

As soon as everyone came in, they got this cool little paper flower that they wore on their lapel.  I think I said that Debi make them all by hand. There was also a word you weren’t supposed to say – Baby – if you said that word, and someone caught you, you had to give ALL your flowers to the person who caught you.

Of course some people lost theirs right away.  I mean, really, how hard is it to not say baby at a baby shower.  Most people lost theirs right away.  But two people were hard core, and found all kinds of ways to chat around the word.  It went on for a couple of hours between these two. I didn’t think anyone was going to break.

But in the end, I decided I had to think of something to get one of them to say baby.  Here’s what I did.  I started going around the room, taking pics of all the people.  Before I took their picture I’d say something like “On 3 say cheese”, and then then I’d go 1-2-3 Cheese, and take the pic.  Pretty standard stuff.

But for the two that had ALL the flowers between them, I had to do something different.  So with everyone watching I lined them up and quickly said “OK on 3 say BABY 1-2-3 BABY!”  And guess what!  Heather didn’t even think and shouted it out!  She couldn’t believe it, and neither could we.  Here’s the picture with her saying Baby!

Annie & Heather
The baby game came down to the final two players. This photo was taken moments before the winner won.

Then lunch came.  It started with a fantastic cheese plate from Antonelli’s cheese shop.  I had to put my camera down, and focus on the good food!

Antonelli's Cheese plate
Antonelli's Cheese plate

The rest of the day was so much fun, with lots of presents (people are so generous), lots more mimosas, and tons of great friends and family.  It was the best shower you could possibly think of, and the perfect way to celebrate together.

 

After going hot and heavy for the first 6 weeks…

and tearing out the cottage cheese ceiling, ripping up old 1970’s carpet and padding, pulling down old wallpaper, painting every flat and curved surface, laying new brazillian cherry floors and remodeling the master bath in 30 days I was burnt out. All while the spring Austin Wedding season was in full swing.

The move out of our apartment seemed to take forever – I was unprepared for the amount of stuff that I had amassed, and completely unready for the quantity my wife possesses. While living in a shopping mall usually was a big pain in the rear, there were a few perks, and the biggest was finding really cool designer stuff at a great discount. Since the economy was tanking, it was possible to get some great current season fashions at 50% markdowns (and more). All this had to be boxed up, trucked to our new diggs, unloaded, and then unpacked.

I’ve got to say that we used a local company with a national connection – All My Sons did a great job – Moving in Austin is never easy because it gets so hot and humid.  That we were moving out of the Domain was also not an easy task.  You see, Moving vans can’t park anywhere near the shopping mall, so the distance the movers have to carry stuff is like 6x longer than usual.  Compound that with only one working elevator, and the chances for breaking stuff increases 36 times.  But the three guys that showed up did a fantastic job, and never complained at all about all the moving roadblocks (I know I would have).

Once the truck of stuff was inside our new home, we still had tons to do.  But before unpacking, everything had to be cleaned, and re-cleaned, and then dusted, and mopped, and wiped, and polished. Before we moved in, a nice gentleman had lived here for 6 months, and not lifted a finger to clean a thing. It appeared as though he would fry his steaks on the open flame of the gas stove, and although he would wipe down the enamel on the range, the cabinets, and ceiling were covered with meat juice. Strangely, the same grease was also found on light-switches, doorknobs, and even faucets. Break out the Simple Green and Formula 409!

So finally, we had a semi clean house, and everything was unpacked.  All within six weeks.  That was 2 months ago, and the only thing I’ve been doing is swiffering the floors, mowing the lawn and planting a few simple annuals.  But now, there is an inkling to tackle some more projects – does anyone have a 3.5 HP rototiller?