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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Incident at the Bird feeder, and other Hudson Valley Happenings

There was an incident at the bird feeder.  The feeder, which fed an increasing array of birds of red, yellow, tufted and other, was found on the ground, seed spread wildly.  Was it a manufacturers defect - some Lancaster County Amish bird feeder maker who had a weak staple - or was it the squirrel, who day after day eyed it from an arts and crafts column edge, contemplating the length of the jump to the bird feeder?  did he finally make the leap, and was left hanging for his life by his claws on the feeder platform, little squirrel heart racing, his grip tiring, and falling, falling, falling - 5' down, a fall I'm sure he's done a hundred times.  If it was the squirrel, this successful brush with fate will certainly only embolden him, if he is anything like me.

The wreakage was breathtaking in its severity.  On closer examination, I was able to pop the sides back into position, reposition the hanging cord, and put it back into place.  I now watch warily for what may transpire.

I had a dilemma the other day, when toilet paper was still in short supply at the stores.  I had two rolls.  One a very nice triple ply, and another a coarse single ply of whose thin quality I hadn't encountered in a long while and really have no idea how it got into my home.  Anyways, it's allergy season and I go through a lot of tissue paper with nose blowing, so I had to choose which for the butt, and which for the nose.  I don't regret my choice - and it was similar to that of Sophie's - but after a few days of that cheap paper on my ass, I must have stopped by every grocery store, dollar general and grocery score before I found a new supply of the tri-ply.  The question that was logically posed to myself - late at night, when all is asleep and quiet and natural self-reflection creeps in- have I gotten that soft, or is that a fair thing to call a necessity?  When I evaluated my initial decision, i think it came down to which call of nature was going to be most frequent, thus most often quelled and assisted by paper tissue and by far that is the nose during allergy season.

It's busy in the Catskills.  It's funny how time is accelerated.  A week is an hour, a month is a day, in terms of new ways to live and rules around them.  The full brunt of the pandemic reaction is literally less than 7 weeks old and it's hard to imagine life prior.  That said, my initial relunctance to join the bandwagon of 'how robust the real estate market is going to be' has been wholly repudiated.   It's busy out there and our stuff is flying off the shelves.  Our resales across 3 counties, our homes started but not finished and people lining up for new homes.

So all looks really rosy and sure-fire for my company and the lane we occupy.  Which frankly, makes me really nervous, since there is no worst virus in economic life than the contagion of optimism.   I tiptoe forward, with my ear to the tracks, my wetted finger judging the wind, my tossed grass clippings hinting the way.  You may not need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, but you certainly need to think before you toss caution to the breeze in this environment.  It could be the classic trap, the trap that catches every real estate speculator at least once in their career.

A life in real estate is like riding a motorcycle.   There are two types of ridings.  Those that have wrecked, and those that will.   Same has been said about real estate speculators.   There are those who have gone belly up at least once, and there are those that will.

At age 50, this might be my last economic cycle, and the last thing I want to do is digging myself out for the next decade of some overconfident doubling down.

Now, mind you.  I'm definitely doubling down.  I always double down.  That's my nature.  I just won't be over-confident doing it, and I'll be keeping my eyes on the exit routes when possible.

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