Archives for July 2011

Country Project – The Outdoor Sink

This is the story I really wanted to tell about spending last weekend in the country. But, I thought it would be kind of odd not to get the background told first. But, now that is out of the way, I can’t wait to share with you last weekend’s big project.

In the back yard, there is an outside sink. It really is a neat idea. A yard hose hooks up to the faucet and you have working sink outside. This is the perfect place for cleaning fish, dressing game, washing dirty kids, etc.

However as you can see from the pictures below, it had fallen into so disrepair and the surrounding area wasn’t very inviting either.

So, we set to cleaning out the area. We relocated the shingles, cut down some limbs, took out a tree and reset the brick. The most fun came when it was time to demo the old table. Seriously, slinging a heavy hammer is some big fun.

We took the sink and gave it a good cleaning – scrub pads and straight razors required. I learned to use a chainsaw and cut off the unneeded parts of the legs – ok, maybe THAT was the most fun. I have discovered an unknown passion for chainsaws. Coupla cuts, coulpla screws, coupla beers, VOILA!!

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What Do You Mean Only ONE Bathroom?!?!

This was the question posed by my very confused – and obviously sheltered – children during their first trip to the family home in the country.

“I have to go pee.”

“There’s somebody in there. You’ll have to wait.”

“Can’t I just go use the other one?”

“There is no ‘other’ bathroom.”

**Cue twisted up confused face and cricket sounds.

Once the idea sunk in that this was a normal feature of homes this age, they became quite comfortable with the fact and proceeded to have a wonderful weekend. In fact, we had such a good time, we are leaving again today.

So before I sign off for another weekend sans internet (way cooler than it sounds) I leave you with

Chicks I Would Share a Bathroom With
*sorry fellas…you understand

@RealLifeSheri – Coached me to 1,000th tweet which took WAY longer than it should have (my fault – no hers). Besides being completely encouraging, an outstanding real estate professional and a great mom, Sheri has great shoes. I hope she leaves a pair in the bathroom because I will lie and swear I haven’t seen them.

@MauraNeill – From baseball hat to bad ass evening wear, this hottie rocks it all. Always a lady, don’t mistake her goodness for weakness – she is a strong female. Amazingly warm, incredibly giving, The Braves and Maura make Atlanta a little brighter.

@PhotoShirlz – While I will insist that camera does not make it into the potty, with Shirley around, you will want it everywhere else. Shirley encourages people to be better and women to empowered. She sees beauty everywhere and captures it to share with others.

@LisaArcherRE – 1/2 of The Geeky Girls. The other half being Laurie Davis, who is also welcome to share a bathroom. These chicas rock the “Geeky” shirt like nobody’s business. Their clients appreciate it too. So do the rest of us who get to learn from their insight. Not only is Geek sexy, it is downright useful too. Oh, and they drink their beer from the bottle, sans cup – right on.

@peachy92 – Watched the Casey Anthony trial so I didn’t have to. I don’t think I have ever properly thanked her for that. And who doesn’t love a woman who adores our Atlanta Braves?

@OutdoorLori – Another one of my treasured IRL mets this year. Her Twitter tag – “I have guns,dogs, skis, saddles, & boots.” I love her.

Debt Ceiling, Budget Woes, and General Stupid

Alrighty, so I am not college educated. And I am “the American People.” So I am assuming the loud mouths from the President on down are referring to me when they talk about those who “don’t understand,” don’t “realize the complexity,” or “have too much ‘normal stuff’ going on to pay attention.”

However, allow me to insist that college obviously don’t make smart and my momma didn’t raise no dummy.

Seems to me folks in power like to make their job seem way more complicated than it really is. That way when they jack it up, it’s mostly because you just don’t understand. And the harder it seems to be, the less we want it and the fewer intrusions they will get because really, who wants to be bothered?

I am calling bullshit. I have run government supply, a household budget and a small business. While the federal government may be larger, it is not that different.

Let’s take my household as compared to the government. We both have revenue – I have a job the government has taxes. We both have expenses:

  • groceries (public assistance)
  • mortgage (housing assistance)
  • Health insurance (healthcare)
  • Books, lunch, supplies, child care (education)
  • Auto expenses (transportation)
  • electric bill (energy department)
  • Dog and ammo (defense and justice department)
  • cable, phone, internet (communications)
  • Beer and liquor (state department)

So, you see, it really isn’t that different. I have a certain amount of money coming in and I haven’t done really well at living within my revenue.

I have gone for mani/pedis and called it for the good of public welfare. I bought too much car because it was cool and tucked in the transportation budget. My kids really wanted those designer clothes – slip into the education money. And these purchases, along with many others, are paid for with my credit card because, as I stated, I did not require that my budget balance.

Well now, all my credit cards are maxed out. And the payments are due. And I really don’t deserve the last pay raise I got so I really can’t have another. And there are no second jobs for me out there because the job market it in a crunch.

So, I go to the credit card peeps and say “I need you to increase my limit, ‘k?”  And everybody thinks this is a good idea right?

NO! Everybody knows this is the worst idea in the world. I will just max that out and then what? I can’t pay the bills I have now. Why in the world would this credit card company increase my limit?

Because they know that if my limit doesn’t get raised that I will not only have problems paying my bills, but them too. So they need to raise my limit, but they also need to save me from myself.

So, they will raise my limit under some conditions. The money I have coming in is what I have to work with – that’s it! Those who are not responsible with what they have do not deserve more. I am already getting more than I have earned. I have to go through my expenses.

No more spa visits, designer clothes, trips to the doctor so I can have a sick note for work, steak and lobster, HD cable TV with Pay Per View MMA, drive thru, take out, latte, full service ANYTHING! And if your name is not on the occupancy list – you have to go live where it is. I love you all, but my budget says we got to buckle down.

Hey, another option is I can drive into the rich neighborhood tonight, break into a house, take their stuff and use that as revenue. Oh wait, can’t do that because it is ILLEGAL as it is known as STEALING!

Or, we could just continue on pretending like it is all to hard and to complicated and there really is nothing we can do short of, well, anything.

Or is this all too complicated to understand?

“The only thing that’s killing heterosexual marriage is heterosexual marriage.”

So, I am going to the coffee shop. If you don’t know what that means, please check it out now before reading any further. Thanks 🙂 Seriously.

For a long time I have wrestled with my thoughts on The Defense of Marriage Act. While I believe in sanctity of marriage as a divined covenant with God, I also understand that my particular religious beliefs cannot be the sole argument for legislative decision-making.

The more often we come to the coffee shop, the more often you will hear that idea – my particular religious beliefs cannot be the sole argument for legislative decision-making. I have spent an awful lot of time on an awful lot of subjects applying that code.

So I considered different societal implications – children, interactions in neighborhoods, etc. I considered economical implications – tax revenues, healthcare, employee benefit packages. I considered what the unforeseen implications might be and didn’t see any – which is probably why they are still unforeseen.

And all I came up with is – it is no different from allowing a legal avenue for any other two people to marry. Any degradation of same-sex marriage – jacked up kids, crappy finances, system abuses, messy divorces – can already be found in heterosexual marriages.

Do I agree marriage is sacred? Of course I do. But many heterosexuals do not. Current divorce rates show that marriage between men and women have become disposable in roughly 50% of the cases. The is no movement to outlaw marriage between a man and a woman on the basis of mentally disturbed children, causal relationships outside of the martial bed, disinterest in the sanctity of marriage. Therefore, it is unfair to use these as barometers of a group of adults who, just as their heterosexual counterparts, are as varied in their commitment to their potential spouses.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck did a wonderful job when she said

“…to protest someone’s day I find to be without taste…The only thing that’s killing [heterosexual marriage] is heterosexual marriage.”

Some of the other women on The View said other stuff too…but, meh, Elisabeth is the only one that gets singled out here.

I understand that with my religious, conservative background, this may not be the stance expected. But these are the beliefs I currently hold. In a world so full of turmoil and discord, is this really the thing we want to fight about? With so many people unloved and bitter, are we really targeting those who have found a way to love and be loved? Do I really want to be the one to say that a hospital or jail cell or any restricted place that, “I am sorry, you are not family,” to the life partner of another person? Do I really want to be the one to say who marriage is for or who it isn’t?

Nah. I don’t think so. Do you see it different?

Sin and Virtue of Pride

To know a man,
observe how he wins his object,
rather than how he loses it;
for when we fail,
our pride supports us –
when we succeed,
it betrays us.

~Charles Caleb Colton

I will admit to being a prideful person. I appreciate doing well and being well. I appreciate excellence and I expect to see it in myself. It is easier to perform for the sake of my own appreciation than attempting to please the masses.

I have, as I am sure others have, been kicked in the teeth a few times. That situation is painful. Failure is never fun. Falling short never feels good. There is nothing anyone can do for you when just don’t feel like getting over it and trying again. That has to come from inside. That has to manifest itself with in each of us.

Winning is easy – humility is hard. Success is easy – failure is hard. Pride, just like ice cream, cable television, and jalapeno cheetos, is a requirement with an intense need for moderation.

With it, our thoughts of ourselves may become more inflated than they ought. We may become complacent in our abilities and stop striving for excellence. Pride then becomes a cover for deficiency – a facade for ego.

Without it, it is hard to maintain an internal barometer of self-satisfaction. We are left with no judgement of our own ability and dance in the wind to the opinions of others. Our skinned knees become impossible to overcome as there is no internal motivator to be better and try again.

Today, I encourage you to appreciate your inner drive. Appreciate your strengths and honor your courage to confront your weaknesses. People will long insist on “pride” being both a virtue and a sin. However, as in many things, it is our ability to remain vigilant in the commitment to produce goodness in the world – for both ourselves and others – that prove the heart of the warrior has the final say. Listen to yours. The conversation is priceless.

Thanks for the coffee,

*Photo Credit to Brian

The Country

My hands are swollen, my shoulders are sore, my legs are bruised and scratched, and I have a blister on my thumb. The interesting thing about telling this to you via the written word is that I need to be quick in telling you that I am not complaining. I am excited and I am ready to come back to the farm-house in the country again.

This morning as I write this, I am drinking my coffee in the breakfast room of the house in the country my great granddaddy, Eason Tapley, built in 1958. My laptop sits (with no internet) on the table where my great grandma, Julia Tapley, laid out food until she died. I never knew her. I did know my great granddaddy’s second wife, Grandma Johnny. Her food was really good too.

On the mantel inside resides two 8×10 portraits – they are of my great-great grandparents. There are other pictures and relics throughout the house. It is by far more interesting that the cable television we do not have.

Outside the window, I can see the tree that held countless hidden Easter eggs and the remnants of the gravel that used to mark the drive way. There is a work shed where the outhouse used to be. Yes, we have always had indoor plumbing here. My grandmother will tell you she insisted on it – she was not potty training a child in the outhouse.

In the back yard is an old tool crib. It looks like it was built in the 50’s. It is the image you see in your mind when you hear the words “old country shed.” If you walk around the back, there is a brand new sitting porch. Walk through the door and the inside is a surprise restoration undetectable on the outside. Complete functionality with the preservation of history and character.

Walk through the thin wood line and you will find the leftovers of what the kids call “mini magic land.” This large field holds nothing but sunflowers. Every year, the sunflowers bloom and die to provide an attraction for the local fowl. In a few months, there will be a full field of hunters. They will once again provide for our feast and freezers.

Walk a little ways further and you will come to the pond and the clubhouse. A beautiful piece of earth it defies any words I can put on this paper.

Maintaining the house and the 10 acres of land it sits on has always been a task. That task has most recently been tended to by my parents. Our children have been too small to assist with these chores. Having them out here would have taken more work than our being here would have helped accomplish.

But now, as the kids are getting bigger, our family too can offer a helping hand. And now those hands have blisters the backs have a bit more evidence of working in the sun. But the smiles are big and the memories are forming. Confidence grows, lessons are learned, and time is spent together. I feel like I am teaching my children something. I know I am learning as well.


#FollowFriday Twitter and Gone

First, let me say and big “thank you” for all the support that has been given to my Twitter #FollowFriday format. My little blog had a ton of company last week. I appreciate it very much and I am thrilled to be introducing, highlighting and really patting on the back some really awesome people who deserve it.

None of us can do it alone. I love the way Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other various social media sites have allowed geographically challenged collaboration, education and relationships to really flourish.

I, however, will be unable to participate in these activities for a day or so. It has been a while since I have been totally off the grid, but it will happen later today. Super stoked about taking the family for a little together time out at the farm-house. No internet, no cable and spotty cell service – there is, however, indoor plumbing.

So, on this #FF, I give you

Folks that can Hold Down Twitter in My Absence

@MikeMueller – Said I was “better than bacon.” Who cares what else he has to say. Just know that he said that. Ok, he says a lot of other cool stuff too.

@LennarAtlanta – King of Sharpies. Don’t let the corporate-builder-nonpersonal looking twitter facade fool you. There is a real person and tons of personality.

@savtweetup – One of the coolest new social groups to hit Savannah. If you are a Coastal Georgia local or plan to visit, this is a must follow. Cool venues, cool people, hot city.

@JasonCrouch – Yet another reason I think Texas is so cool. I swear if I didn’t LOVE Coastal Georgia, I would move West. Jason is the perfect example of good, smart and awesome to know. Seems to be a trait in the Lone Star State.

@JoshCantwell – Always good for a non-cheesy motivational moment with a side of real estate sales information. Great follow for those of us hanging tough in this amazing market.

@Gahlord – One of the smartest. people. ever. You name it and this guy can make it interesting. I feel smarter ever time I see him. Heck, I GET smarter every time I see him.

Accomplishing Goals with a Blow Horn

I wish I had a blow horn.

-Morgie Porgie

Coming to the end of our wagon walk yesterday, the kids saw what they had been looking for. Grandma and Papa sitting on the front porch.

“Don’t go inside! We are almost there!” yells Morgan. But we were still too far from them to hear or notice us.

“I wish I had a blow horn.”

Yesterday, this little exchange made for a funny story that made my folks feel special at the excitement of their grandchildren. As I think about it today, I too want to wish for a blow horn.

The need to have goals is often discussed for its importance. The difficulty of this task can vary from person to person. But eventually, we usually figure out what it is we want. Many of us stop there, afraid to actually write it down. Writing it down means we have committed. Instead of seeing the opportunity for success – we see the looming failure.

If I am not talking about you – trust me, I am talking about someone you know, namely me.

Naming a goal, committing it to paper, telling an accountability partner about that goal and then making that goal known to those who can help you achieve it is about one of the most frightening processes I know of. I won’t go into all the reasons that is true for me. If you can relate, then you already know. If you can’t, I am not gonna put the bogeyman in your head. But frightening as it may be, it is one of the most important activities we undertake in moving forward in our best life.

Today, I encourage me (and you too) to want to wish for a blow horn. I want to harness that excitement and desire that a four-year old had yesterday. I want to see my goals as she saw hers – wonderful and important enough to do whatever it took to accomplish it – even if it involved the use of a blow horn. Fearless to make a noise like that. Determined to employ tactics to succeed. Undeterred by the attention she would have to the attract. Never considering that there was a possibility of failure.

I wish I had a blow horn.

Thanks for the coffee,

Vitamins & Supplements to Live by Guide to Your Health

Eye Health –BILBERRY – Good Night Vision

The European Blueberry

Bilberry helps to support eye function by promoting healthy circulation, and may also help support night vision. In fact, British Royal Air Force pilots used to consume bilberries before flying in the dark during World War II.

In a study using Air Force flight personnel, researchers found that a supplement of Bilberry extract and Beta-Carotene helped the subjects tested to perform effectively while flying at night.

In a study of the effects of Bilberry extract on the pupil, researchers found that 15 of the 20 subjects receiving Bilberry had improvements in eye health by the end of the study, which included an increased response of the pupil to light and faster eye movement.

  • Helps support night vision
  • Supports eye function by promoting healthy circulation
  • Promotes antioxidant support and helps fight cell-damaging free radicals in the body


On #FF, Good Guys Finish Roughly 47th

Alas, another slow writing week. I did find a minute to get Turn Around Tuesday out the door. I also stopped by my friend’s place. Glad Doggett indulged my need to rage against the witch for a spell. My traipsing around the interwebs was also stunted by my fascination with google+ and a MOUND of work. But I am not complaining about either. Google+ is turning out to be super slick and I am always thankful for my job.

The kids go back to school soon. It has become pretty evident that I have got to get a handle on my schedule or the whole thing is going to spontaneously combust all over my calendar and minivan.

In times like these, it is great to know that regardless of life’s ebbs and flows, there are still an abundance of

Simply. Nice. People.

And, to show you how truly awesome today’s #FF is – they aren’t just nice – but they are crazy smart too 🙂

@CWaterhouse – Calie blows the whole notion of Internet Interactions being impersonal and fake. After vaguely circling each other online and meeting briefly at ReTech South in 2010, Calie and I have managed to maintain a fantastic friendship. A big brain and a bigger heart, Calie is one cool chicha.

@mikelyon – New construction is a slightly different animal than the traditional real estate business I formerly practiced. I had the pleasure of meeting Mike while fire hydrant drinking at my first International Builders Show earlier this year. Since then, Mike has never failed to be a wealth of information. He pointed me down the path to great video emails which improved my ability to communicate with customers tremendously. His twitter feed is always full of neat new shiny – my favorite to date being The Email Game. Regardless of your industry, this follow is a good one.

@donnacutting – We share the same birthday. After that, seriously, what else is there? Well, in the case of Donna – TONS! This customer service diva blends witty, insightful and plain common sense into a jam up package. Author of The Celebrity Experience: Insider Secrets to Delivering Red-Carpet Customer Service, Donna’s twitterings inspire and motivate.

@ChrisCree – I would bore you to tears if I sat here and told you all the eleventy BILLION ways this guy has made me smarter. In any location, Chris would be considered cutting edge. But in our little corner of the country, Chris was light years ahead of most in the Social Media arena. The only place Chris knows to come from is contribution. One of the most stellar individuals I know.

@travisro – Another ReTech South win. I became aware of Travis during the Twitter interactions leading up to the 2011 conference. As a main stage presenter at the conference, his fresh approach and smart delivery interested me. When I met his wife, Lisa, and realized he could also snag the attention of the smart and beautiful woman, I was a fan!  Travis and Lisa were one of my favorite meets of ReTech 2011. Fresh, fun and encouraging – winning combination.

@mb168 – This guy is good for…well…whatever. If you are a coastal Georgia local, Marc is a must follow. This is also true if you are a techie, chef or Disney enthusiast. Never at a loss for great twittersation, Marc has been a great resource for tech wonderings and general funnies.

And while I appreciate the pros and cons of Klout – I thought it was fun to note that these guys have an average score of 47. Without nauseating over indulgent spammy content, these super nice, awesome examples of twitterificness still tag in the numbers. That is as it should be…Simply. Nice. People. FTW 🙂