Winter Is Here!

The snowblower started right up, but wouldn’t keep going when I activated the drive or blade levers. I quickly abandoned that and returned to shoveling. It took about an hour and forty-five minutes to shovel the main driving areas of the driveway, which is good enough at this point. Hopefully, the snowblower will work better when it’s not 5am and dark. Time for work, coffee, and a cinnamon roll.

New House: Day Six

Since buying the house, I’ve started carrying around a black journal in which I semi-compulsively write all of the various chores, projects, purchases, etc. that need to be accomplished. “Stress Inducing Log of Expensive Projects” might be a better term for the journal. Regardless, I wrote the following passage in it this morning:

I woke up early this morning to do some work before going to work. However, I’ve spent the first ten minutes of my extra hour looking for the coffee filters, which Lindsey had moved while unpacking the hundreds of kitchen things we (apparently) own. I spent another ten minutes waiting for my toast to toast in the toaster oven that had been shifted and, unbeknownst to me, unplugged. Now, I’m sitting in sweat pants and a hooded “Michigan” sweatshirt with hiking boots on as a precaution for having to chase after Yogi if he decides to bolt into the woods.

I wrote the last sentence about hiking boots before I put them on, and just before Yogi actually did chase after a deer. So, instead of running after the dog in boots, I was in yellow Dutch-shoe slippers. I ran around our little house, through the pricker bush thatch, up the large hill, and down half of the other side of the large hill, all the while yelling, “Yogi! Yogi! Yogi!” It was dark, I was cold, my slippers were ruined and the moral of this story is that we need to fence the other half of the yard.

New House

We bought a two-point-six acre wooded lot with a house and detached garage on it. It’s got everything we want – good school district, room to run, and shared waterfront. We are very thankful that this worked out, and will be working very hard to spruce up the new digs.

Today, I spent six hours raking the lawn areas and removed some overgrown ivy-like plants from the front corner of the house. The grounds are already looking far better. Just in time for snowfall.

I was less successful in selecting the correct garage door remote. I chose grey. Should have picked purple. No biggie.

Yogi Bear the dog has no idea what is going on. He’s like a lawyer on vacation. He stays by my side and can’t seem to relax for fear of being left behind. Once he settles in, he should have a much improved life, as he’s not meant for a condo.

Our stuff is still in boxes and spread all over, but the house – the feel of being home – is taking shape. It won’t be long and we’ll be in order and have a house warming party for ourselves.

The Housing Bubble Effect On Golf Courses

The housing market was on a huge upswing through about May 2006. It’s stagnated there for a while and now there is talk of the bubble bursting. The sub-prime market – mortgages made to those who don’t qualify for legitimate mortgages – is a mess, and part of the problem. Overvaluation is also a problem.

Here’s a nice graph of what’s happening with housing prices in 20 major cities (link):

So, what’s the effect on golf courses? Myrtle Beach last year:

Sixteen area courses closed in 2005 and 2006, all with redevelopment plans that included housing developments.

And now…

The rash of course closures has remedied a struggling golf market that had been saturated with layouts, and contributed to the flooding of a housing market that has been burdened with increased listings but slower sales over the past two years.

If courses aren’t now jumping to convert to the housing developments, at least they’re not closing. I suppose that’s an improvement.

Looking at the cities listed in the graphic above, we can get a sense for what “golfing cities” housing markets are hit the hardest. I don’t have any data on the state of golf course closings or developments in these cities, but my best guess would be that course development projects will slow with the housing market.

Houses in China

If you ever ask me if I’ve seen a house in China I’ll say no. I’ve been here three weeks, traveled via train from Beijing to Xi’an and have yet to see a proper house. I have seen what I would term shacks just outside of Beijing. These are decaying brick structures that look filthy and dangerous.

Inside of the cities that I’ve visited, all I’ve seen are apartments of varying quality. The worst are smaller versions of the shack I just described. The nicest look like dirty versions of condo housing at a theme park like Disney World. Generally, the apartments have bars or windows enclosing back rooms filled with laundry drying, stacks of cardboard, and what looks like garbage to me.

I’ve heard the apartments are OK inside, but I’m skeptical. There are some pictures up of some of the housing and I’ll post more sometime soon.


I expected 90% of my life to exist within a two block radius of school that included my house, a small market, and a pizza place. I expected my days to be routine as if life was going to be bundled in little packages labeled knowledge, sleep, and relaxation. But it doesn’t really work that way. Instead, 5% of my life is at or around school and the rest is spent trying to get away from it, so that I can think about school in a way that I could never think about school at school. It is, perhaps, a naive approach. To want to be somewhere else to do what I’m supposed to be doing right here. But, I can’t be in the same place all of the time. It’s stifling.