Cissy’s Thoughts Along the Way

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Lord, deliver me from allergies

They say there are two kinds of people who live in San Antonio: those who have allergies and those who are going to get them. Believe me, I’ve got ’em, or rather, they’ve got me. Specifically, I am reeling and sneezing and blowing as a result of cedar pollen, the invisible, insidious matter that ruptures from the pods of junipers and blows like hell when the wind is from the north, and goes right into my nostrils. If I hadn’t had so much therapy, I might think it was personal. The other disturbing thought is that it’s possible that the pollen that’s blowing about may actually spawn more cedar trees. That is terrible.

We all know that Linus drags around with him a security blanket; this time of year, mine is a bandana, in the old days known as a handkerchief. When you see that red thing hanging out of my purse, you know it’s bad. It is. My eyes are glowing; my nose is blowing, and the snot is flowing. This almost makes the colonoscopy a good memory…almost.

Allergies aren’t a new thing to me…I’ve had them for a long time or at least I’ve had them since moving to San Antonio. In the beginning, I saw Dr. Dale Wood. I recall that first visit, having to lay on my tummy and have my back pricked with needles containing every allergen known to man so they could figure out what was causing my itching. They did, and pretty soon they came up with a concoction of potions just for me and my allergies, and I got on self-administered allergy shots. This was back in the 1980s when people weren’t as lawsuit-happy as they are now, and I could go to the doctor’s office and pick up my kit and some syringes, and give myself my shots. And my resistance to allergies grew to the point where I could enjoy living in San Antonio in January.

I have thought about getting back into the allergy shot routine; however, now you have to go to the doctor’s office for every shot (there are a lot of shots) and pay a co-pay every time, and it’s a big production. No doubt someone sued some allergy doctor for something and now, you can’t give yourself your own shots. That is pitiful, but it is the way it is.

I know from first-hand experience that this isn’t the worst thing that will happen to me. But at the moment, it’s like having a two-year-old or a labrador puppy…it demands immediate attention and won’t rest – ever. And neither will I, at least not in January.

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Departure Trauma

My beloved cousin Debbie coined a phrase I’ve used more than once to describe the push-pull associated with uprooting and going somewhere. For me, departure trauma (not really traumatic but certainly disruptive) refers to the nagging pull to return to San Antonio, understanding that my time here at the coast is up for now. It is also knowing that I’ve had a good time here this trip, covered some important emotional ground, transcended work-related anxiety to a satisfactory resolution, enjoyed my friends. I don’t necessarily want to leave here, but I do want to go home. Plus, I can’t just throw the suitcase in the car and go…being the person I am, I also must clean the house, change the sheets and make sure that when I come back the house is fresh and ready for me. It’s a little bit of self-care I have to do.

I’ve been hearing that people are catching fish. As chilly as it’s been, I can’t imagine being on the water for hours and hours like I usually am when I go out. However, this fish-catching has got my attention, so my boat is at Ronnie’s Marine having its spring tune-up in anticipation of a trip in the near future. The water is a little cool right now, so I’ve heard the fish are being caught in shallow, warmer water.

Meanwhile, yesterday three friends and I traveled up to Aransas Wildlife Refuge to see what we could see. We embarked with Priority 1 being the sighting of whooping cranes (the ongoing debate: is it “whooping” or “hooping” cranes?). We loaded up with all the cameras, lenses and binoculars everyone had to aid our mature vision.

When we arrived at the refuge, the first matter of note was how dry it is; we in Texas need rain like crazy. Where there should’ve been water there was dry land. However, we also realized that the tide is way out right now and entire reefs in San Antonio Bay sat exposed, as did vast amounts of shoreline. Most likely, if the tide had been up, some of those dry spots in the refuge would’ve had water but still, it is very dry.

There was a tour group ahead of us, median age probably 72 (speaking of mature vision). We kept running into them and being the anti-social group we were, that became a little vexing. So, we altered our course and skipped ahead of them on our way to various stops that we hoped would offer rare sightings and photo opportunities. Nearly all the way through the refuge, we still hadn’t spied the coveted whooping cranes. As we neared a tall observation tower, we saw dozens of people up there, craning (pardon the expression) their old necks to see something. We waited for them to mosey down the ramp from up high, asking for reports. “We didn’t see anything” was the prevailing comment, delivered with a grumble. We adjusted our expectations accordingly and proceeded upward.

For a time we were the only ones there. With all of our optics, we scoured the shorelines, water and skies hoping to see SOMETHING. Finally, Heidi made a comment as to whether or not those two white birds standing in the water there in the distance might be whooping cranes. We all looked and looked; they were very far away. We simply could not see enough to know for sure. A couple joined us and the man said, “Nah, those are sand hill cranes”. We didn’t like that; we wanted to believe they were whoopers. So we kept looking. Shortly after, the sand hill cranes took wing and when we could see the markings, we knew they were whooping cranes! With that, the clicking of shutters commenced, along with the ooohs and ahhhs of those of us for whom this was a first sighting. It was a marvelous experience!

I am blessed to have been on a couple of fishing trips in past years that afforded me up close and personal views of whooping cranes. One cold day, fishing in St. Charles Bay, we thought we saw some whoopers on the nearby land. I abandoned my fishing rod in favor of the video camera, and got out and waded with the camera up to the shore. Sure enough, there was a group or gaggle or whatever of whooping cranes; I hit paydirt as I videotaped them going about and finally, flying away. I think I still have that tape somewhere; I should share it one of these days.

OK, part of the reason for this post was to delay the inevitable departure trauma. In the interest of discipline, I will close this and get ready to depart! More to come…

Progress at the coast

I had hoped to return to San Antonio yesterday; however, one of our sales people at Tortuga Dunes asked me to meet with a builder/developer who has 10 new townhomes he needs to sell, the meeting scheduled for either today or Monday. So, between that and being just plain tired, I decided to stay here. This morning the office called to tell me I had an unexpected visitor from Austin, a broker I know who is putting together a lot of deals, so I went in to see him; unbeknownst to me, there was also an 11:15 meeting with the aforementioned builder/developer. So, I had back to back meetings this morning, both very productive. In fact, the Austin broker wants to hire me to sell a project in Seadrift, offering me an equity position and an office in Rockport. The builder will give us the listing on the 10 townhomes as a result of our meeting, and this afternoon I had a call asking me to sell another master-planned community in Rockport. Sounds like the winds of change want me in Rockport!

I am blessed to have myriad opportunities; important to be judicious in deciding what to do. I believe that if I did leave Tortuga Dunes for another project, I have put in place the proper protocol with the existing staff for them to be successful. I also strongly believe that when making a decision, it is always prudent to make sure I am moving toward something better for me rather than just away from something I don’t like or want…the latter solution seeming to be a little cowardly, the former an exercise in proactivity that’s in my best interest. I also know that I want love in my life, and my present circumstances don’t exactly support such stability; that too factors into my thinking and feeling as I seem to be coming to a fork in the road.

If I had to be stuck down here, I thought I should make the best of it, so this afternoon I wandered up to Port Aransas and played the Arnold Palmer course, Newport Dunes with my friend Carol. Aside from being behind some slooooowwww players, we had a great day. It’s a beautiful course, with several holes toward the end affording views of the beach. I even had a few pars to go with the holes we didn’t bother to keep score on. As the afternoon waned, a fog settled in over the course and as we drove back to Padre Island after dinner, the fog was thick but we got home safely. It was a great day today; God is good.

What a difference a day makes!

I’ve spent the last few days fretting about Tortuga Dunes; if I’d thought about it, I’d have realized that “tortuga” means turtle and we know those things don’t go very fast. However, as with the tortoise vs. hare fable, we also know who finished the race.

Last night there was a Padre Island Task Force meeting, the first featuring the city council and mayor, and about 10 interested Padre Island residents…including our newest Tortuga person, Shannon Sheriff (I knew it was a stroke of brilliance to bring her in!). Late in the evening I received an e-mail from Shannon, who was wise to wear a Tortuga Dunes shirt to the meeting, containing a fantastic report about the meeting and the top of mind awareness our project has. She said she was a “superstar” there with everyone asking her about the project. Furthermore, we are probably going to get the listing on a townhome project nearby.

So, I’ve calmed down, my spirits are up and I’m going to spend the weekend down here working on and around the house and yard, maybe going north to see the Whooping Cranes, and thanking God for my blessings. I might even do some fishing tomorrow! Of course, in that event a full report will be forthcoming.

Limbo doesn’t rock

Many years ago a colleague gave me a coffee mug on which was a picture of a bird running frantically around, followed by other frantic birds, and the wording was, “We the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful”. That is how we, the faithful Tortuga Dunes sales staff are feeling at the moment. We are sitting here on a developed residential location, nearly ready to start selling. As of yesterday my broker is officially retired, leaving me completely at the helm; the developers have no sense of urgency whatsoever to help us; we don’t have a completed sales contract to use even if someone DID want to buy…so we are feeling a little out to pasture down here.

To spice things up, I had a call today from a private investigator from Houston telling me that he is conducting an asset/liability investigation on a couple who own a house we listed, and he needs access to the inside of the house. A conversation with the collection company he is working for revealed that the couple apparently never paid for some bathroom fixtures and this is an attempt to force the issue or, I suppose, confiscate the plumbing. When we told the collections guy we couldn’t let anyone in the house, he threatened to send the sheriff thinking that would scare us into compliance. It didn’t.

My friend Carol has been gone the whole time I’ve been here; I miss her! We’ve talked on the phone a lot but it isn’t the same. She’s returning today, and I will be happy to see her. A front blew through and it’s been cold, but today the sun is out and it is rather glorious. It doesn’t take long for things in this tropical climate to warm up. I am ready to do some fishing!

Onward Through the Fog

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Several weeks ago I had a call from a gentleman in the midwest interested in learning about Tortuga Dunes and stating that he was going to travel here and wanted to meet with me at 10 am on Friday, Jan. 2. He called back about a week ago to confirm, so I knew or was pretty sure I had an appointment.

I left the house early to get here and be prepared for him (and, it turns out, straigten up co-workers’ desks and scrub the toilet…what do these people do when I’m not here?!?!) and to my great dismay, the fog was so thick I couldn’t see 10 feet in front of me. So, here came these people from Kansas to the sunny Texas coast where at the moment you can’t see a thing. I had to ask them to come back in the afternoon, when the fog burns off. So, they did. We toured the site, but with nothing built there was little for them to get excited about. Of course, they weren’t that exciting either so all in all it was pretty boring! The wife’s name was Gladys. Enough said.

To clear my head, this morning I went for a walk on the seawall at the beach…somewhat ironic since it was so foggy you could only hear, not see, the waves but in a way it was magical, with a sense of the surf’s power that was as palpable as the mist. It is still hazy here but the weather will soon give way to a big change, falling temps, north winds, and at last, perhaps some clarity.

To be continued…

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