Sunday, November 30, 2008

hospital, again

Sorry for the delay in this report. My family and I were on Thanksgiving holiday in Houston this past week.

Late Monday afternoon (11/24) Obi-Wan admitted to the local hospital due to the pain in his one remaining leg and foot. This was not an emergency as his doctor had admitted him during a routine visit.

And since my family and I left Tuesday morning, I didn’t get a chance to share until now.

Obi-Wan says the outlook doesn’t look too good. His doctor announced this morning that he would run tests tomorrow to see if amputation is the only solution for his pain.

He’s in good spirits regardless.

Monday, November 24, 2008

the roofers

Today completed day 6 of the house flipping project in White Utopia. And while Chucky and I finished prepping the exterior for painting, the roofers completed their job in less than two days.

Roofing is one of maybe two areas of house flipping that the jedi master has subbed out to other tradesmen and strongly recommends it. Most roofing companies can do the work better and faster than we could and at a pretty cheap price.

Roofers have always amazed me and I have great respect for them. They blow in and out of a job site like dignified mad men, work in ridiculous temperatures and crazy heights, all while making pretty low wages.

If Texas was a Hindu society, roofers would be considered one of the lowest caste groups. Yet they band together like brothers, cracking jokes and insults at each other like only siblings can – all while busting their ass in dangerous and uncomfortable surroundings.

As an agent, I’ve been to their backyard BBQs and in their homes. Today, I got to see them in action as we worked on the same job site.

Within the roofing caste came its own social order. There is a boss, as expected. But also there was the lowly cleanup guy on the ground. He seemed a little mentally slow. Or maybe his brain was fried from something by choice. Either way, some fat-ass on the roof was like the team bully, verbally slamming around the clean up guy. So it goes.

Social order within the lowest order, yet, a brotherhood.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

open letter: disregard.

For those of you following my expose on dying and aging church properties...

The local newspaper reported that UBC's sale is off.

I think that's unfortunate. Walgreens could have done some good for the impoverished neighborhood in that location.

It'll only cost a quarter of a million dollars to fix the air condition though...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

open letter to university baptist

Hello. My heartfelt congrats on your decision to sell off your property. This is a huge step forward for all in the fair mother city.

I know change must be difficult. But I also know the impoverished neighborhood that your property resides in would welcome the change.

Razing your 1200 seat stained glass auditorium and four-storey “education” building to make way for a Walgreens would be an enormous plus to that community. I mean, instead of your once-a-year Fall Festival (from 6p-8p) the neighbors can now walk over to pick up their Medicaid funded prescriptions. Walgreens could actually become a community center by default. God knows one is needed.

Sorry to come across like a jackass here. But really, rumor has it that your membership has dwindled to like 50-75 plus some 150 college students who come for lunch. (That’s great, by the way. Your calling as a college outreach is obvious. Go for it. I’d bet Hardin-Simmons would gladly loan you space to function as a church for their students.)

But really...a 1200 seat monstrosity that is rumored to need over $200,000 to rebuild the air condition structure alone?!? Why did you hang on to it for so long? Were you hoping that money would show up so you could maintain the social club facilities for a mere 75 people?

I know, I know. The low membership is not your fault. I’m sure it’s a mixture of Barna’s predictions as well as bad seeds sown by the pastor who ran off with his secretary back in the 1950s just before that building was finished. Or so, that’s what The Son told me when I worked for Son and Dad.

And that four-storey building...a guy I used to minister with, The Bossman, once told me that it contained not one, but TWO commercial kitchens. Yes. Commercial. As in, restaurant or cafeteria efficient equipment. That building could have fed and housed every homeless person in town one way or another. But that was just a weird idea I had years ago when you and the Happy Days Community Church (where I was once employed) talked about trading facilities years ago.

Over all, I applaud you for moving on. Normally I’m not a fan of mega-chain corporate consumerism. But Walgreens would be a practical outreach to your low-income northside neighborhood.

All the best,

Agent B

*photo by the Reporter-News staff

Monday, November 17, 2008

White Utopia project: day one

So far, so good. Everything appears to be going well and has the potential to stay that way. I feel like I am getting closer to taking on the jedi trials and thus advancing past that of a padawan. At record speed.

But today, the local social scene bloomed. In one day I: 1) met the local gossip who shared some dirt on recent residents of our house. 2) was whistled or whooped at by some local redneck chicks in a pickup (or maybe that was meant for Chuckie) and 3) been given more than enough Texas-style approving head-nods by locals driving by.

Welcome to White Utopia. Not bad for one day. And we weren't even trying to meet anyone.

And oh yea...gossip neighbor mentioned she has church friends who are wanting to move to White Utopia from the fair mother city. Not a bad thing to hear in our position.

UPDATE: No one made mention of my misspelling of "project" in the earlier version of this report. See...small town brilliance is influencing me.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

things are going to start happening to me now

As of Friday, I am officially an owner of property in White Utopia: a small and slightly uppity bedroom community of the fair mother city where it’s legal to marry your sister.

Yeah. I need to quit it with the small-town jokes. I mean hey, I could make money here.

After thorough inspection with the jedi master, the property seems to be better than we expected. Central heat & air work fine. No apparent or major plumbing problems. And the two car garage/shop is an actual shop: a mechanics dream complete with engine hoist and two storage rooms with shelves.


There is no indication that our budget would be off. It is now a matter of doing it and hoping it sells within a reasonable amount of time. I credit the CEO’s guidance in every step thus far. Thank you CEO.

The absolute weirdness in all of this is my agent calling and assignment in the fair mother city...

Agent Wife and I are convinced we are in the beginnings of a major change. We are putting in a request to the CEO for an assignment change to a different location. The location is yet to be made public and probably won’t be for some time. So endure my vagueness please.

It is difficult to explain our feelings and assumptions at this time. As of this date I have spent over half my life in the fair mother city. I have fallen in love with a side of this city few know. It’s poverty culture saddens me greatly, especially due to it’s close proximity to it’s religious culture.

And Agent Wife and I are huge believers in being missionaries in a single location for the long haul. So why would we up and leave someday?

Possibly because our time is due. And/or this was a mere training season. All of this makes sense to us as we step back and view the big picture of our lives and desires as well as reviews of our dream notebooks, etc.

About a year ago Agent Wife and I contemplated why we still lived here as we had no job or family ties to Abilene. We narrowed our answer down to relationships. And we narrowed those relationships down to two: Obi-Wan and AW’s little sister Princess.

The relationship with Princess ended earlier this year. So that leaves the aging Obi-Wan. As of now, I have no plans to move as long as he is alive and living across the street or here in town. But I have long felt that I’d be released into something should he ever pass on while I’m around.

This move is not a pipe dream. There appears to be an actual opportunity opening up for us elsewhere.

And my heart is slipping away from this city daily. I no longer want to invest here anymore, time-wise, spiritually, and even financially in some areas.

But for some reason, the jedi padawan gig of house-flipping seems to be moving great. So I’ll ride that wave and give it all I got.

I just don’t have it for the fair mother city. Anymore.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

non report

This report about nothing is just a simple ‘checking in’.

Life is still going well for the agent household. The jedi padawan gig is still at large, yet dragging. A bathroom remodel job for some desperate housewife has drug out beyond ridiculousness. We are now in the fine toothed detail comb stage and it will hopefully end in a day or two. Meanwhile, the house that I myself am financing for our next flip job is taking forever to close on, thanks to the bank that owns it and other human incompetencies somewhere. But all should fumble together this week somehow.

Some days, I wonder if I’m still an undercover agent at all. I mean, I work full days and rarely hang with the poverty culture as much as I used to. And also...this “agent b” veil is getting thinner. So it goes.

But in the local neighborhood (the undisclosed location we call home), things are moving I suppose.

Obi-Wan and I see each other throughout the week, but Sundays are usually certain. We drink instant coffee, he preaches, I run and pick up his groceries, etc. Health-wise, he seems to be going strong.

Meanwhile, the Sanfords next door seem to be harboring terrorists. Their house has become more of a gangster hangout.

The Tiger and The Bulldog (who really need to move the hell out and grow up) have been running with rougher and rougher crowds. Some days they work jobs. But most days they just hang around and take drives in The Bulldog’s new ride: and early 90’s suburban.

I’ve always wondered why the CEO of the universe put my family and theirs in such close proximity and friendship. We really come from different planets I think.