Past Midway Ramblings on Business & Life

CategoryLife

4-Plex – Worth It

Part 5 of a 5-part series… This is the final continuation of the story about the 4-plex we owned in Austin, TX. The one with the crystal meth, swarming bees, grow lights, electricity theft & spy cameras, the flood and termites. But there’s more to this story because… The value of the 4-plex was hidden, as are many things in life. Even though we had all these challenges (and more) with this...

4-Plex – Flood

Part 4 of a 5-part series… This is a continuation of the story about the 4-plex we owned in Austin, TX. The one with the crystal meth, swarming bees, grow lights, electricity theft & spy cameras. Same property. Water Damage We also had a flood. Not the natural kind where a stream crests its bank during a heavy rain and water creeps in the front door. No. We had the toilet kind. Overflowed for...

4-Plex – Grow Lights, Electricity Theft & Spy Cameras

Part 3 of a 5-part series… This is a continuation of the story about the 4-plex we owned in Austin, TX. The one with the crystal meth (Part 1) and swarming bees (Part 2). Same property. A resident called to tell me his electric bill was running $350/month. That’s way too high for a small 2-bedroom apartment. I agreed. The main source of electricity consumption is the air conditioner. We figured...

4-Plex – Bees

Part 2 of a 5-part series… (read Part 1) This is a continuation of the story about the 4-plex we owned in Austin, TX. The one with the crystal meth. Same property. Different day. Bees I got a call from the tenant in unit A. He said there were a lot of bees outside the main entrance and I should come take care of it because it was dangerous, especially for the kids. Nice of him to...

4-Plex – Crystal Meth

Part 1 of a 5-part series… I stopped to talk to a friend I haven’t seen in a while at the grocery store the other day. As the conversation meandered, he mentioned he was considering buying rental property. I had some limited experience with this and shared a few stories with him, one of which I recount below. 4-Plex On a whim, I purchased a 4-plex apartment building in Austin, TX. This was a dumb...

My Father Knew He was Fallible

For years, my father kept a slip of paper in his wallet, torn from a small 3 x 5 spiral notebook. On it, strangely, was a simple geometric sketch and a calculation of how far a 6-foot person could see before the horizon drops off due to the curvature of the earth. This is a curious thing to keep in one’s wallet. Backstory My dad and my older brother (a teenager at the time) made this calculation...

Learning from Failure

While visiting family over the holidays, my cousin mentioned he most enjoys my blog posts about my pain, discomfort or failure. I’ve noticed a theme here. When others tell stories about their pain, the normal reaction is sympathy, but when I experience pain or misfortune, my friends and family have a good laugh and quite enjoy it. To keep my readers happy, the stories below highlight at least...

Robustness – a Lesson from Acoustics

It’s interesting what we can learn from just playing around in the lab. The thoughts below originate from messing with the equipment in the acoustics lab at Penn State many years ago. If you generate an electronic pulse X times per second and run this signal through a speaker to hear it, so long as X is below 20 Hertz (beats per second), you hear the individual pulses. You can almost count them...

Being In the Moment

My 16-year old daughter Julia and I were at the grocery store. At one point, she stopped to smell a bag of marshmallows and began to tell me how awesome it smelled. Meanwhile, I was thinking about what to get next on my shopping list. “Smell it Daddy.” I grabbed what I needed from the shelf and, before I walked away, I humored her. I picked up a bag of marshmallow and breathed in. As...

Past Midway Ramblings on Business & Life

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