Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Independence Day

Finally, I can say the accidental business is more or less closed. Eventually there will be an official looking letter coming from the courts telling us the same, but from what I understand that is just a formality. So, for all intents and purposes, this adventure is over.

I like to write. I am going to continue to write as we pick up the pieces of our financial ruin. In fact, I have started a new blog. It will pick up where this one left off, as we rebuild our lives. But this blog, just like the accidental business, will be closed.

If you opt not to follow along, I certainly understand. Thank you for reading it at all. If you want to join me, come on over. I haven't exactly found my voice, but hopefully with a few more posts I will figure it out.

Here is the link.

And finally, thank you, to all Three-ish of you for your friendship and support though the years it made this adventure more fun.


Sunday, June 11, 2017


I was watching the news. They played a sound bite from a graduation speech Oprah had recently given. She said something along the lines of if you need to ask everyone else's opinion about what you should do, it isn't time to make a decision. If that is the case, spend time determining what is right for you first. These are words for the young twenty-somethings, but in many ways they are a reminder for the late 40-somethings too. Quiet is good.

A lot of my reflecting lately is where do we go from here? "We" is everything ranging from my family, to business, employment and finances. The last few years took everything, leaving me emotionally drained. I am realizing how drained I was by how not drained I feel now. This is progress!

We are starting over. Rebuilding our lives. It is humbling. But it takes quiet. This last year has been more about my personal emotional recovery and less about reflecting on what happens next. It has only been very recently where I was at a point where I am ready to move forward--though I still don't know what that looks like. The fog is still there, but the sun has come out.

We are almost done.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Just a Happy Post

Bliz and I are currently discussing the coconut trade in Madagascar. It is a text conversation. There is no real reason for this. And to explain the back story would take up more room in cyber space than necessary. But it makes me smile.

One of the happiest elements of my accidental business is talking to Bliz more often than not. Bliz friendships are rare but awesome. Everyone should have one.

Friday, June 09, 2017

It's All Good

As part of our closing of our accidental business there have been some unintended consequences. Yesterday we had our car repossessed. It isn't the end of the world. We knew it was happening. In fact, the tow truck driver told me he wished most people in my situation would be so nice. He even let me keep it long enough so I could drive across town to my nephew's birthday on Wednesday. We have alternative vehicles so we aren't having to resort Uuber.

The world is changing. That's just the way it is. I am ready to be done. Very soon.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Random Memories of Another One Gone

We bought this house at the time Marty's little sister was dying and my own mother was close to death. It is an odd way to remember a house, but sometimes memories are connected in odd ways.

Mr. Wonderful Tenant lived here. He owns a CPA firm in that town, but his life was in transition. If I could have cloned one tenant in the last 14 years, it would have been him. Even when he moved out, he still paid the rent until I found another tenant--but that isn't why I would have cloned him.

Ms. Shirley lived here too. If you want to know how, as Ms. Shirley told me, ALL, African Americans think about Rich White Landlords, go talk to her. She will give you an earful how evil I am just because of my skin color. Good riddance to her. The house was too good for someone with such an ugly disposition.

One time, an Oscar-nominated, and Grammy-winning song writer lived there, because his wife had a better divorce lawyer than he did. He is the one who once told me you see the same people on the way down that you saw on the way up.

Mr. 114 lived next door with his immaculate lawn until his life situation changed. Mrs. 114 and their two beautiful girls are still next door.

We lost this house a few weeks ago to the bank. I haven't checked to see what it went for. I could ask Kirby, but like all people who don't want to be part of a sinking ship, he has distanced himself from me. I am ok with that. I still like Kirby quite a bit. Don't judge him, please. People are human after all. Perhaps I will cross paths with him again. I hope so.

This is the house that Flunky and I had fought over the security deposit recently.The result was me ending up with the money that was owed and removing the Flunky-cancer from my life. Property management chemo.

One time, when it was empty, I camped here when I came to Birmingham. Mr. and Mrs. 114 loaned me pans and a sleeping bag. I was awoken in the middle of the night by the smoke alarm telling me the battery was near death. That wouldn't have been an issue except that some genius put the smoke alarm on the 20+ foot high vaulted ceiling. I solved this issue, by buying two more smoke detectors and putting them lower, and just letting the battery die on the unreachable one. It probably still has a spent battery.

This was one of my favorite homes. If I could have kept it I would have. It was easy to rent, and I got top-dollar. I like the neighborhood and the neighbors. The floor plan was a little quirky, but not in a bad way. Most homes don't have a catwalk under the 20+ foot high vaulted ceiling leading from one end of the upstairs to the other. However, loosing this one is also part of our closing the accidental business. It is my true hope there will be some family who will love this house and living there will bring them lots of happy random memories.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Finding Peace

Someday soon I will be able to write that the accidental business is officially closed. Not yet, but the day is coming. There are still hoops to jump through. All sorts of thoughts have festered in my brain over the past few months, as we prepare for this day.

Am I sorry? Sometimes, but not for trying. Fourteen years ago, I would have still aged fourteen years even if I hadn't ever started an accidental business. In fact, in countless ways I am grateful for this experience. I have knowledge that makes me a better real estate agent, property manager, business person, wife, mother, friend and human being. I have learned compassion and humility in ways I never thought possible--nor in ways did I know might wish to learn. I have made friends along the way I never would have met. I have learned to find enormous gratitude in small, inconsequential acts. I have been touched by others' experiences and that has made me who I am--good and bad.

I still struggle with this as a personal failure, from time to time. But as I look back, I know that isn't necessarily true. There are those armchair critics who seem to know my accidental business better than I who have given me the "you should have" post-crisis advice. "You should have never gone into Alabama." "You should have paid cash or not bought when you did." "You should have never partnered with Mr. Partner." "You should have gotten out when the economy crashed." "You should sue this person or that person for wrong-doing." "You should... (fill in your own judgement here--I have probably thought it or heard it)." None of those people walked my shoes.

I can say with a clean heart that every decision with the accidental business I have made has always been with an eye towards doing what is right at all times. I am fairly sure I can stand in front of St. Pete and have a clear conscience. I haven't defrauded people. I haven't stolen or cheated. There are times Marty and I purposefully chose to sacrifice for the good of others. Most of the times it came back in ten-fold. Those times were personal and the rewards were greater than the sacrifice. The times it didn't work out made great blog fodder, would you not agree?

I have run a clean business, even when others didn't. For that I can stand proud. If my choices which didn't work out made me a failure, so be it.

Soon, we will be rebuilding our lives. I am looking forward to that, actually. I am almost 50 and starting over with virtually nothing to show for it. What a great adventure that will be. There is a saying in the South, "It can only go up from here." How true.

Will I start another accidental business sometime down the line? Maybe. Right now, no. I have my hands full just closing this one and rebuilding. But I am not against it.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Martin Home

I didn't write about loosing the Martin house. Last year when Mr. Partner and Mrs. Roebuck were going back and forth, I offered to let Mrs. Roebuck move in as a guest until she could find a better deal or until the bank took the house away. The bank came in March and I wished Mrs. Roebuck well.

In this house lived three or four sets of folks. It was the first house Marty and I bought in Alabama without Mr. Ex-Partner. At the time, Mr. Ex had annoyed me about something so I cut him out and didn't tell him we were buying the place. For the most part, it was a good rental. It always cash-flowed and the neighborhood is still good. 

Mrs. Gray lived here. She was a hoot. When she found out I was going back and forth to Birmingham on a regular basis and not stopping by to see her, she went ballistic and turned into an outraged grandmother on me. By the time she was done, I had so much guilt all I could say was "yes, ma'am" and "no ma'am." When I finally did meet her I wasn't disappointed. She is an amazing woman.

Mr. Gray was a bit unusual. One time there was a leak in the roof. It was in the process of getting fixed, but not quickly enough. He called me to announce it was going to rain. He basically suggested I stop what I am doing, fly out to Birmingham, run over to Home Depot, buy a tarp and stick it on the roof in the next 30 minutes. When Mrs. Gray found out about his outrageous suggestion, she had him call me back and apologize for bothering me.

She was in the back, while he was on the phone, giving him a what-for, "How dare you call her with this. You get off the phone and drive yourself to Home Depot and get a tarp!" "Who do you think you are? She's a mother, for crying out loud she has her own children to put up with! She doesn't have time to run your errands..." And interspersed between his apology to me was several "yes ma'ams," to Mrs. Gray.

I let the Grays stay longer than they should have. It was a rough time for everyone. The economy was in tough shape. Mr. Gray was out of work. Mrs. Gray was working two jobs. When heard about this I knocked a few dollars off their rent. I was still covering the mortgage, but barely. They offered to move and the third time they offered, I let them.

On holidays I often hear from Mrs. Gray with a text message wishing me a Happy Easter/Christmas/Arbor Day. They are top-notch people and I am glad I met them.