Saturday, October 21, 2017

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire - He's Been Dead for Ten Years. He Just Doesn't Know it.

He’s Been Dead for Ten Years –He Just doesn’t Know It
That’s what Davey McGregor said about his uncle Scotty who was teetering on his last mortal legs. He was in a nursing home by now and he’d asked his nephew (the only one in the family he’d consent to even talk to) to find him an honest real estate agent who wouldn’t cheat him.
I had worked with Davey for some time and we got along very well. In fact his niece was the receptionist in my office. She actually dropped off the key to Scotty’s place for me since the house was now vacant. It was on my way home anyway so I dropped in.
The property was wedged in behind a hydro line that must have been put in after Scotty had established his mink ranch. It was easier to drive down the line than the road to get to the property. Once I got there I was taken aback by the tiny little story and a half house perched on the edge of the driveway. It was like a little lighthouse overlooking the whole property as if keeping an eye on it.
I got inside and the place and though old, it was solid as the day it was built. Typical Scottish workmanship showed in all the cracks and corners. Kitchen, sitting room and bathroom on the main floor and two bedrooms upstairs comprised the whole house except for the little deck outside the one bedroom overlooking the whole property. From there I could see the concrete foundations of the sheds and barns Scotty had built. That it had been his little kingdom was patently evident.
It was in my mind that this would basically be a land purchase and the little house would be demolished and I advertised it as such. Little did I imagine the resourcefulness of my investors. It didn’t take me long to find one either. Fred Malik was a clerk at a local railway with what seemed to be a lot of time on his hands. His hobby was to renovate and resell small houses. He was good at it too. He should have been an interior designer.
I met Fred at his little home in Elmwood. The minute I walked in the door his designer talent was evident. There wasn’t one square inch of space that was unused or didn’t flow into the next. It was like a dream apartment for a single person and I knew just who might like it. Well I didn’t much get a chance to sell the property because a few other agents had got a look at it and it turned out to be another one of those pyramid deals where one was contingent on the other ad infinitum. I think there were at least five properties involved (and about three nervous breakdowns) before it was all done. At least I got one end of the commission out of it.
But I digress. Fred had a little camper trailer that he pulled on to Scotty’s property while he was busy clearing away surplus garbage, measuring and surveying the land. He discovered that he could split off a vacant piece of the property and be within the limits of subdivision so he worked on that and somehow managed to get it past council.
Well now Fred was in business. He was already working on Scotty’s tiny house, turning it into a hideaway for somebody liking the quiet of the country and now, he would finally build a house of substantial size for himself, one that would overlook the whole of this picturesque country vista.
As for Scotty, he was now well satisfied that he had taken care of the last of his earthly business and now loosened up enough to recall some of the early days on his mink ranch with his family, regaling in the good times they’d had. He even consented to visiting with the rest of his remaining family which in itself was another piece of the end of his mortal life being tied up.

Thus, according to Davy, he finally went to sleep for eternity one afternoon after telling one of his many stories. He was happy.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire - The Great West Summer House

The Great West Summer House
This is a story inside another story. In retrospect, I was becoming somewhat known in my area of the local community, largely because of (horses again) my acquaintance with horse people and their activities. We occasionally went to Hunt Club social parties with friends of ours. The upshot was that I knew a lot of people and was also becoming known in those circles.
I actually got to know Glen and Carol through the people at Anderson Animal Hospital. They were good friends of the Andersons. One evening I was there and we were all sitting out on the deck when Glen suggested I come over and have a look at his place. They lived on ten acres just down the road. Glen had throat cancer and he had a very short time left on this earth, so they wanted to take care of business while they still could. Both were retired and pursuing their hobby in the local Hunt Club. He divided up his ten acres into portions for sustainable grazing for his horses while Carol was the keeper of the hounds (about a dozen of them).
It wasn’t too long before the property was sold and Glen went to his eternal rest, leaving Carol and her dogs on their own. I bring this up for a reason. It seems there is a place for everyone and everyone (sooner or later) finds his/her place.
The year before I’d had a heritage house for sale nearby. It had been the summer house of the Great West Life founders. Now it was an operating hog farm or had been until Stan sold off the hogs to concentrate on his grain. As incongruous as it seemed, it was quite a tidy operation. Some sixty acres in the back provided for grain and the barns and buildings on the site were well positioned. Stan Watson had bought it a number of years before and set up his buildings according to his needs. It was quite a good operation for a number of years, quite out of the ordinary for what it had originally had been when it was built.
The house itself was about twenty-three hundred square feet with a great screened porch winding around the outside. The finishing and furnishings had never been updated and of all things, it had a swimming pool of poured concrete that was as solid as the day it was poured and a comfortable change house beside the tennis court.
That’s all I’ll say about it to give you an idea of its magnitude. I was pretty well flabbergasted when I first went to see the place. It was vintage enough to do a write up in the local newspaper and to set up an open house. That of course prompted a continuous procession of visitors – mostly tire kickers with nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon other than to admire a heritage home.
I guess the only reason the whole exercise wasn’t a complete bust was that I met another bunch of people I might interact with at some point in the future (which obviously occurred).But I really wanted to sell THAT house. It would have been such a feather in my cap. It never happened though.
When Stan got back from Phoenix, he checked everything out and the only thing missing was one of his tanks of purple gas had been siphoned out during his absence. But other than that everything was fine. I still had another month to go on my listing contract so I didn’t worry about it too much. I had other things to do.
When I did return a month later to renew the contract I was in for a shock. There was a set of kennels on the property that hadn’t been there before. When I knocked on the door, who should answer but Carol, Glen’s widow. Well, okay, I thought. She’s visiting. Maybe she moved the dogs there after the sale of her property. All of that was true of course, except one thing. Carol wasn’t visiting. She now lived there – with Stan that is. Good heavens, Glen’s urn was barely cooled off and Carol was already – well . . . .

They obviously didn’t want to sell the property anymore, so I wished them well and moved on.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire - Dog Stories

Dog Stories
It seems a little strange to talk about horses in stories about dogs, but they played a pivotal part in my interaction with dogs. Usually they would get a whiff of my pants and you could see the puzzlement on their faces, wondering what in blazes that smell was. It would confuse them enough that I’d usually get my business done by the time they became accustomed to me and left me alone. As a result I was never afraid of any of them.
That said, I met a man in the Anola area who wanted to sell his hobby farm. I don’t know what his profession had been but now he was retired and raising Morgan horses as a hobby. They were fine animals that he was more proud of than his lovely bungalow. The reason they wanted to sell was that he had become ill on their last trip to Mexico – some sort of stomach problem that he couldn’t get rid of, no matter the treatment. It was another case of getting his house in order so to speak.
I found a buyer, also in the Anola area who was going to deed his house to his son if he found the right property to move into. It was a long and difficult negotiation but finally it was done. I had the final counter offer in my hand and needed to present it to the buyer (whose home I had not yet been to) for his signature.
It was a Sunday morning when I arrived at the buyer’s home and as I pulled up in the driveway, there, standing in the middle of the front lawn in the direct path to the front door, was a great Rottweiler (dog), staring at my car. He stood like a statue, not barking, not wagging his bum, not growling – nothing. I knew I had to get from my car to the front door. I’ve found that in most instances, people will call their dogs inside to allow entry. It wasn’t so in this case. Not a soul showed up at the door or the living room window for that matter.
Now I had to decide whether I wanted to risk my life for the sake of a sale or not. Well, when you’re in the business the deal is always more important than your own life, so I decided to risk it. Confidently, I got out of the car and walked directly for the dog. He still didn’t move. As I passed him, he turned and followed me up the front steps. All the way up I was waiting for the inevitable bite in the butt (which never came). The owner answered the door and invited me in as though it was nothing unusual. He had been watching television and hadn’t noticed me pull up. I seated myself on the couch at his direction and the giant dog climbed up too, placing himself on my lap and licking my face like I was his long lost friend.
The whole affair was an awkward situation with me trying to pull my briefcase out from under this hundred and twenty pound lap dog. But finally I managed and we got our business done to everyone’s satisfaction. I left there with a new appreciation for Rottweilers.

As a sad end note to this story, the old fellow in the bungalow finally passed away from his illness. This in itself was a lesson in taking care of business.