Month: July 2013

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Old Shoe


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A large portion of my home inspections are performed on vacant homes. Some of the homes are void of any indication of past residents but often times there are personal items such as pictures, clothes and various items found in homes. There are times when I see something that makes me wonder what the person is or was like that owned that item and lived in this house. I’m especially curious when it’s an older item located in a far corner tucked away like an attic or even a crawlspace.

Old Shoe
Old Shoe

The shoe in the photo was found in an attic of a vacant home in Detroit. There’s nothing particularly fancy about the shoe but what struck me was the location. It’s not like this attic was a storage area with plywood or boards laid across the structure to hold boxes. This shoe was at the far end of a rather large attic surrounded by debris. Based on the condition I imagine it’s been there for a long time. I wondered who owned it and why it ended up in the attic area.

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Listen up young man!


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Clock
Clock

Time travel, you know the stuff of movies? My favorite movie about time travel is The Time Machine (1960) directed by George Pal. Who knows what the future might hold right? So I am creating this entry for my future self with advice from the younger me. But then again I am not really the younger me right now so this blog comes too late really or perhaps it’s too early. If one day I have the ability to go back to my younger self, read the blog from my older self, take note and go back to my younger self again…Here is my list with information starting for my really younger self.

1. Sure things suck at home but you know there’s a better way and you will one day find it. Stay focused on that but let the anger go young man because it will one day eat you up inside. You will in fact be stronger and progress towards your goal faster with less collateral damage without it. Remember one day too it’s not evil to leave the curtains open at night with the lights on. Come on you know nobody’s out to “get yours” and you know what I’m talking about.

2. Stay focused on education. Find a way to surround yourself with others who have this interest and tough it out please. You do have family members that will help you if you just open up to them a little, reach out with determination.

3. Exercise and read a lot.  Healthy body, healthy mind. Less time on the Atari too.

4. Tell people you care about them. Keeping things inside won’t help you. If you follow advice #1 this won’t be an issue.

5. Remember the things that are important and focus on them, I mean really work at them.

7. I realized this list is thin and I wish I could offer you more advice but you are reading the blog of a 42 year old man with much to learn.

BTW Travel a little while you are young.

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Fitness


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Today we went to the gym again even though I was thinking of an excuse not to. As a way to stop myself from not going I asked the kids if they wanted to go swimming today which I knew they would. The boys swam while I went upstairs and ran. Starting out I felt pretty good but withing less than a mile I started to feel winded and wondered if I could continue past one mile. The mile came and I slowed down a little to catch my breath then started up again. The second mile came easier and I got into a pace slowing down again to lower my heart rate then going once more for a total of just under four miles. Stepping off the treadmill my legs were a little wobbly and I wondered if anyone saw me wobble a little. This is a good start and I can’t wait to go back for more but my legs are already sore and will be more so tomorrow.

My eating habits continue to be good too with my choices of meals today being granola for lunch and a vegetarian sandwich for dinner. I’m not even craving anything bad and am determined to stay on the right path. My guess is by this time next month I will have made great progress. If I can keep the kids involved that will drive me.

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Can I Get In?


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kids pee in pools
kids pee in pools

Growing up there was no community pool in the neighborhood I lived in but there were two in the apartments across the street. We would sneak in when it was really full but that was difficult to do especially when you are a known pool sneak who lives across the street. The rule was you could swim there only if you were with someone who lived in the neighborhood but there were limitations on that too like only two guests per tenant. When it was hard to sneak in we would walk over to the pool and stand around outside of the fence sizing up the swimmers wondering who we could convince to “adopt” us as their guest. It even became sort of a game at times so that if someone was able to convince a complete stranger to pretend you are their guest, you would swim happily while periodically tossing a middle finger or obnoxious smile at the less fortunate.  The pools were small and often cloudy with urine but so what, it was wet and we wanted to swim. Besides we were the ones peeing in the pool.

Today I took a couple of my kids to the local gym where there are like four or five pools indoors and outdoors with several slides too. As a child I never dreamed such a lot of pools could exist outside of rich white folks neighborhoods, not true really but when you live in “the hood” these things are seen only magazines usually occupied by what were perceived to be rich white folks, I was poor white folks. I’ve always wanted to visit this pool and even had a membership to the gym for a while but never ventured past looking into the pool area while heading up to the weight room. We arrived and not to my surprise it was PACKED with all kinds of people. The heat index is pushing 100 here with the humidity of a tropical jungle.

My first impression was I felt there were too many kids there all probably peeing in the pool plus all the globs of snot that might be floating around, just thinking about that makes me gag a little. Swimming along and kid snot gets in your mouth. But I found as I approached one section it was roped off and looked to be more of an adult area strictly for doing laps and none of the laughing/acting all kid like and stuff. I have four kids and love kids so I don’t want to come across as a kid hater but they do snot and pee in pools you know it just as well as I do.

Getting into the pool was really refreshing and I started doing laps right away thinking I would bust out three of four laps to warm up. Well that didn’t go as planned and I actually had a hard time doing even one without stopping. Did I mention this is an Olympic size pool lap?  Not wanting to look like a quitter I kept going making it to the end in decent time trying so hard not to breathe loud letting others know about my state of cardiovascular sadness. As I finished two more laps I decided to venture outside to the family area with the kids but sat on a chair and pulled out a book. Even though the heat an humidity were out of control it felt good. The sun reflected off the pages so reading was not easy but it felt good to be there, with my kids reading the book and knowing I could come back as often as I wanted and didn’t have to worry if I could get in.

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Mackinac Island


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Mackinac Island

Last year I went on an up north vacation with the boys and Mackinac island was one of the stops we made. It wasn’t planned but on the way home driving across the bridge I decided we should stop. Being spontaneous on trips is always so much fun. We ended up walking around the fort, eating at a restaurant on the island and going for a horse ride. Up until that point I’d never been on a horse.

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Fitness Update


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So far this week I have been really good with my food choices managing to stay away from the wrong things and especially too much of anything.  I do contribute much of this to stress which kills my appetite but even so when I do feel hungry I reach for a healthy choice. Actually I remember on Friday last week I ate two slices of pizza but I picked smaller slices and stopped at that. In the past I would have eaten four and not been picky about the size of each slice. On Saturday I ordered the boys subs but picked a vegetarian sandwich for myself.

Over the past five days I’ve lost seven pounds, down to 177, by eating right. The exercise has not started yet but the family gym membership should be active and ready for tomorrow. The kids are also excited about the gym as they have a nice swimming pool, kids club and other activities. I’d really like to take full advantage of all the things they offer and by incorporating the family into it I know my chances of sticking with it will be better. I’ve also tightened up my work schedule allowing more time for the gym.

This is the weight loss stage so cardio and better eating choices are what I will focus on for now. Really I don’t have a lot of weight to lose, just 15 or so pounds, but will need to work on strength too which will bring weight back up but will less fat over the muscle.

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People I Meet


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 As an inspector I meet new people daily who hire me to help them make an informed purchase on the home they are buying. Over the years I’ve encountered all types sometimes likable and other times, well just strictly business and nothing else. Because of this I’ve learned to adjust accordingly based on how we interact for that short time but also have come to realize you can set the tone. I find when I introduce myself with a smile it is more often than not returned setting the tone for a friendly experience. After all we are all there for the same purpose and a level of trust is needed. My intention is to look out for their best interest always. 

Today I inspected a home for a woman in her 80’s and prior to the inspection received a call from the Realtor who warned me about the buyer but not in a mean way, she just said the buyer knows what she wants and is really to the point, no fuss about it. So I figured it would just be that kind of inspection and not my first rodeo, whatever. Oh I was also told I should address her as Mrs. (inserts last name) and not by first name as she would not like that…whew alright then. 

The introduction went as I suspected at first in a very business like manner with handshake, business card and explanation as to what I would be doing. Right away she grilled me on my contract wanting to discuss the details. That’s not a problem really but the way she spoke was evident that she demanded a high level of respect and attention, something that I think is acceptable.  We got past that and I went on my way to inspect promising to discuss details at the end but bracing myself and wondering if I would be able to adequately explain my concerns without interrupting or otherwise bringing her scorn. I hadn’t seen that yet but was kind of expecting it.

When I was finished I of course held that promise and approached as I did the first time, confident as always, but this time with a smile and she smiled back with her head tilted to the side as if to say, “what have you to say.” When I talked to her she continued to smile and nodding her head once in a while shushing her family when they interrupted, which I thought was funny, but never interrupting me even once. When I spoke I felt like she was making sure the stage was mine. At the end of my speech she asked a few good questions and so did her family. As we all talked her family joked with her and she back. They all laughed and smiled but still maintained an obvious respect for her as such you could see they held her in very high regard and I suspected her as the matriarch of the family. By the end of our conversation I realized this this person was not mean or unreasonably pretentious but rather kind, likable, confident and experienced in life. Someone who has seen more than most. 

The lesson is not new to me but something I have come to realize is that preconceived notions are unfair and often times will cheat you out of an experience. I have and do struggle with this at times but will try to meet everyone with an open mind. 

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