As we emerge from the depths of winter, we must finally address the dust bunnies, stale odors, and various to-dos that we put off until spring. To some people, cleaning is therapeutic. To others like myself, it’s as much fun than a root canal. But alas, we must all engage in our spring cleaning ritual. A few ideas for you:
1) Choose Cleaning Products & Stock Up – Making multiple trips to the store can kill your momentum. Buy multi-surface cleaners, glass cleaners, soap, dusters, and plenty of reusable microfiber towels among other things. If possible, use natural cleaners, or even make your own. There’s a reason chemical cleaners are popular – they get the job done – but the stench of chemicals isn’t much better than a dusty, dirty home, and there is evidence that harsh cleaners can be toxic.
2) Let the Air In – If you suffer from seasonal spring allergies, skip this. If not, opening all your windows will blow the stale winter air out as well as the smell of your cleaning products. If you have an attic fan, this will take no time at all.
3) Go Room-by-Room – As a multitasker (read: ADHD), I tend to bounce around everywhere, but studies have shown (in cleaning and life-in-general), that a methodical item-at-a-time approach is far more effective.
4) Organize & Get Rid of Clutter – There’s a very broad gap between minimalists and hoarders, but I’ve always held as a rule of thumb that if there is an article of non-event specific clothes that I haven’t worn in 18 months, it’s time to get rid of it.
5) While You’re at It, Don’t Forget:
All Kitchen Appliances Shower Drain & Grout
The Junk Drawer Bathroom Exhaust Fan
Washer/Dryer Change Air Filters
Bookshelves Clean Gutters
Windows & Blinds
Lasting from 1600 – 1625, Jacobean architecture signified the 2nd phase of Renaissance architecture (following the Elizabethan style). It was named after Jacobus, Latin for King James I of England, and began shortly after his death. it was a shift from Elizabethan, incorporating more classical-style Roman features, and was heavily influenced by the Flemish and German immigrant craftsmen who constructed them. Although churches often exhibited great intricacies Jacobean brought the majesty to the homes of the wealthy
Flat roofs with open-work parapets, round-arch arcades, columns and pilasters were relied upon heavily, while other classical elements appeared more freely than in Elizabethan architecture. The style itself heavily influenced furniture design and decorative arts for years to come.
While this style of architecture was far too fanciful for the hard lives of the puritans who weren’t contemporaries, they are not unknown in the United States.
The election has come-and-gone, and the market didn’t miss a beat. We had a bit of quiet the first and second weeks of November, but nothing like it had been in previous years. Looking ahead, pending sales are up considerably from 2019, telling us that it will be a very busy November. December is normally among the quietest months in the year, but since when is anything in 2020 normal? It’s unlikely the market will scrape anywhere near the bottom that April and May were. After all, it’s really hard to sell real estate when you’re not able to leave your house.
It’s been a wild year thus far for property appreciation. Many ‘experts’ we worried the shutdown would lead to a collapse in prices, but it’s done the opposite. Bear in mind, average sales prices in DFW from October 2020 as compared to October 2019 were up 13%, but that doesn’t mean your property is suddenly worth 13% more. You have to figure in what area you live in (real estate is local) which varies wildly. MLS area 19 (my home town of Sunnyvale) is up an astonishing 43% (but again, if you live in Sunnyvale your home isn’t necessarily 43% more valuable than last year), while area 47 (Delta County) figured out how to drop 39%. My point being, ask me if you are curious what your neighborhood is doing.
By the time you’re reading this, we’re past Thanksgiving. In all honesty, it’s been a tough one. I’m blessed to have Kacie – in fact I don’t deserve her – but being without the rest of our families has been hard. I do hope you were able to spend yours with loved ones. When you’re younger you think there will never be an end to the number of holidays you’ll celebrate. As time goes on, you realize that’s just not the case. Everything is temporary.
Historically, the months leading up to an election have been rather quiet. But what the heck, 2020 is unique for a lot of terrible reasons so it may as well be unique for a good reason or two.
Regardless of who is in the lead, uncertainty causes both businesses and individuals to hold their breath. September’s MLS stats proved that wrong, with pending sales an unbelievable 23% above those of September 2019 DESPITE a 48% reduction in for-sale inventory. Since 2014 I’ve heard people say, “I’m going to wait until the market peaks before I sell”, and I usually bit my lip. Not anymore. If you’re considering selling, now is a phenomenal time. There aren’t going to be as many buyers out there as there were in July, but the bump up in sales prices that the summer almost always provides has been apparent.
A new drink has captured my heart and is in the process of cirrhosizing my liver: Ranch Water. In my quest for an adult beverage with modest calories, this is certainly worthy of mention. Ingredients: 2 jiggers of blanco tequila, 1 jigger lime juice, large splash of Topa Chico. It’s a delightfully tart, slightly sweet, refreshing beverage with only 222 calories, and two certainly does the job.
Of the many vacations Kacie and I have enjoyed over the years, Montana has given us the worst “vacation hangover” of them all. One thing that we noticed in Montana was there was not one piece of litter anywhere we went. Friendly people for the most part (minus an outlier with a California license plate on his Range Rover), and everyone was respectful of the environment and one another. I asked a native Montanan if they ever got used to the beautiful scenery, she said she appreciates it every day.
This is the backyard view we had at our house at the Wilderness Club. It doesn’t do it justice.
I’m going to try to stay as upbeat on this as possible, but every time modern issues – be they social, political or even medical – serve to hinder or diminish what were some of my fondest childhood memories, it’s difficult to remain positive.
Halloween is almost upon us. Trick-or-Treat enthusiasm has diminished over the last 30 or so years, but it’s still been a thing lots of kids and parents have enjoyed. Unfortunately it would appear traditional Halloween in 2020 is cancelled, and here are a few Frown Upside Down alternatives thanks to our loving benefactors at the CDC:
- Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
- Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
- Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
- Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
- Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
- Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
- Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house
Frankly, I’m all for pumpkin carving (or magic markering them if, like my mother in the 80s, your child can’t be trusted with knives and stabbing weapons), being festive, and dressing up in elaborate costumes, but not being able to go door-to-door and enjoy the Halloween spirit is frustrating to say the least.
But that’s 2020: the year that would never end.
Still can’t believe this is actually the name of a housing style, and I had the pleasure of selling a Dingbat condo back in March.
The Dingbat is a boxy, 2 or 3 story apartment/condo, consisting of relatively few units per parcel, with the living areas overhanging street-front parking. Having a garage beneath the dwelling is a brilliant use of space to accommodate covered parking, but I can’t imagine having a neighbor with an active night life pulling into their carport and slamming their car door at 3am. Dingbat condos came into prominence in the 1950’s and 1960’s, primarily in the American sunbelt.
The word itself is a bit disparaging, but dingbat refers to the star-shaped decorations (similar to typographic dingbats) that are often found on their stucco facades. Although they’re a very efficient use of limited lot sizes, they are often considered eyesores and are often the target of demolition efforts.
I’ve seen quite a few of these buildings around Dallas. There are quite a few in Oak Lawn, and one in particular on Oram in East Dallas, although I know they’re not necessarily confined to those two areas.
Well, we survived another blazing Dallas summer. Is it me, or did the quasi-fall weather come a little early this year? I’m not complaining, I’m not going to miss 117 heat indexes, it’s just a bit odd. Normally we have to wait until around Halloween to experience some genuinely cool mornings. I harken back to my college days, when I donned a Halloween kilt just in time for 40 degree weather… it certainly kept me invigorated.
As of today (Tuesday, September 22nd), the market has definitely calmed down a bit. Sales in September will prove to be very strong because so much is still in title, but I’m thinking October we’ll see a bit of a seasonal cool-down. The election is in November (in case you’ve been hiding in a cave on Mars with your eyes closed and fingers in your ears), and the economy always holds its breath for a couple of months. Uncertainty is worse for markets than whether or not the red or blue M&M wins. Speaking of elections, I would hope that December and January would see a subsidence of the hyper-partisanship that has fallen on the United States, but I can’t remember a time when that was the case. As long as media and social media persist as they do (and I’m not picking sides here), I don’t see it changing anytime soon.
After an extended period of non-vacationing (which is the kiss of death to my travel-loving wife), Kacie and I are headed to Montana for a week. in early September. I have to admit the thought of being with a bunch of strangers in a thin metal tube never worried me before Covid. Even when we went to Whistler in mid-February, the exposure to strangers didn’t worry me. But people are still flying every day. If you’re curious, take a look on AA.com. The price for planet tickets these days is unbelievable, and the travel ban has made us look inside America’s borders. It’s really amazing just how vast the United States is and how much there is to see.