Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Getting out of the house with the dogs


The most challenging and awkward part of staging our house for viewing by prospective buyers is taking both dogs with us when we leave the house. We spent yesterday with the dogs at Morgan Sallee's house.

We had five showings yesterday and got one unacceptable offer. Got another showing set for this evening.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Sitrep at 72


I woke up this morning (didn't we all?), mildly amused to find that I am now 72 years old.

And living with about half of my stuff and both of my motorcycles 450 road miles away in another state.

We are on the threshold of listing our Arkansas house for sale in what, we are told, is a red-hot seller's market. We have a carpet cleaner scheduled to come this afternoon or evening and anticipate a weekend of frenzied cleaning before we get serious about staging the house and listing it next week.

Our tenants in our Indiana house have been apprised of our intentions and are presumably searching for new accommodations. Since it will take 30 days to close, once we have a buyer, we hope to be back in Indiana in September. Considering that we started hauling stuff north back in January, this has taken way longer than we expected, but then doesn't just about everything?

This project, as I have complained previously, is costing me most of my 2017 riding season, including the BMW RA and BMW MOA national rallies. I'm still holding out hope that I can make the Falling Leaf Rally in Potosi, Mo. on the second weekend of October.

In the meantime, our efforts to sell our commercial building in downtown Jonesboro seem to have stalled out. The logical purchasers appear to have given up because they can't raise the money for a down payment. We had hoped it would sell first and finance our move, and it could still happen, but we have to assume not.

I could complain that I'm too old for this crap, but it doesn't matter and apparently I'm not.

I'm just eager to be done with this project - divested of our Arkansas properties at a modest profit and back in our Indiana house with money to repair a decade of neglect.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Portrait of a ripoff artist


This is George O'Dell, the contractor we trusted to build a two-car, two-motorcycle garage with a second-floor photo studio back in 2007.

He's holding a piece of the $9,000 concrete pad we bought that had to be ripped out because the concrete guys George hired didn't bother to dig proper footers and because it would have gone to pieces if we had stuck a garage and vehicles on top of it. It would have had to be demolished anyway, because George didn't bother to contact Thorntown building officials to learn he was putting the pad too close to the property lines. (The tattoos represent the birth dates of his children. Isn't that darling? What a loving, Christian parent. At least that's what he professed to be.)

The photo was taken on May 3, 2007 - two days after we gave George a check for $14,920 to buy construction materials for the garage. He presumably was going to complete the demolition of the faulty concrete pad and have a good one poured.

George and his crew made their last appearance at our place the next day. On June 28, we hired another contractor to remove the remaining 20 percent or so of the concrete and grade the back yard.

George had told us he used our money to buy our construction materials at Menards. A check with all of the area Menards stores showed that no such transaction took place.

About a month or so after George quit returning our calls, Maria left him a voicemail saying we needed the promised revised garage plans, proof of bonding and insurance and a receipt from Menards for the building materials. Now, a decade later, we're still waiting for a response.

After three months of silence, we filed a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division of the Indiana Attorney General's Office. Several lawyers told us we were guaranteed a victory if we took the matter to court, but that we would never see a dime of restitution. The only way to get leverage on people like George, they said, is to attach the threat of criminal prosecution to the case, which is what happens when the Attorney General gets involved.

Months later, the Consumer Protection Division said they couldn't do anything because there was no history of criminal activity for George.

Maria did a Google search last week and discovered there is plenty of criminal history on him now.


She found that George was convicted in 2015 of eight felonies, including one count of fraud on a financial institution, five counts of forgery and two counts of theft.

According to court documents, O’Dell used someone else’s identity to gain employment with a locally-based property management company. While working for the company, he informed two investors in California that an apartment complex was available for sale.
He had funds sent to him from investors and a subsequent investigation determined the apartment complex was never for sale.

One of the California investors heard through a friend about an investment opportunity with a man named Emmanuel Roddy. The investor said that he never met the man in person and that they only communicated by text message and email.

The investor said he began his business relationship with Roddy, really O’Dell, by buying a house in the 9400 block of Rochelle Street on the Far Eastside of Indianapolis, court documents said. The investor paid more than $10,000 to complete repairs on the home and decided to continue working with the man because the transaction went well.

O’Dell continued to find homes in Indianapolis for the investor to buy, including properties on Sawyer Street and Olney Street, court documents said. In September 2014, the investor wire transferred more than $11,500 into O’Dell’s bank account for the Sawyer Street home, and more than $27,400 was moved into the account for the Olney Street home.

The investor said the sale of the homes was never completed because he was told there were problems with the properties, court documents said. The money the investor wired into the bank account was never returned.

O’Dell then told the investor about an opportunity to become part owner of an Indianapolis apartment complex, Woodview Terrace. O’Dell persuaded the investor to transfer an additional $1,600 into the bank account in December 2014, court documents allege, making his total investment about $40,000.

Before the Woodview Terrace deal, the investor also told a California friend about the home in Indianapolis he bought through O’Dell.
Interested, the second investor started working in a similar fashion with O’Dell, still known only as Roddy. Court documents said he paid O’Dell $13,500 in October 2014 to invest in a home on Boulevard Place. When the deal fell through, the money stayed in O’Dell’s bank account.

When he learned of the Woodview Terrace opportunity, the second investor moved an additional $16,500 into the bank account in November 2014, making his total investment in the property $30,000.

Afterward neither investor was able to contact O’Dell.

The initial investor called Park Place Property Management officials, who informed him that O’Dell, a maintenance worker and contractor, was no longer with the company and that Woodview Terrace was never for sale.

Park Place officials contacted authorities.

A detective learned that on May 12, 2014, O’Dell opened a bank account under Roddy’s name, court documents said. The bank signature card included Roddy’s social security number, another individual’s driver’s license number and an address belonging to O’Dell.

A managing partner for Park Place Property said he first met O’Dell, posing as Roddy, when he rented a property managed by Park Place, court documents said. The managing partner said O’Dell did some repairs on the property that turned out well, so O’Dell was brought on as a contractor.

The managing partner fired O’Dell after he admitted to stealing two checks from the company, court documents said. O’Dell also sent an email to Park Place management admitting that used a company credit card to make personal purchases.

O’Dell was arrested and booked into the Marion County Jail on July 29, 2015. He was charged Aug. 4. He remained in custody on a $50,000 bond until his sentencing three months later.

He was sentenced to three years of home detention and a year of probation.

Monday, July 10, 2017

A visit to the Memphis Apple Store


My 2-year-old iPhone 6 needed a new battery.

I was having to re-charge it multiple times every day. So I contacted Apple and made an appointment for 1:10 p.m. today at the Saddle Creek Apple Store in Germantown, Tenn. - an eastern suburb of Memphis.

After confirming that the battery was, indeed, hosed, the Genius (that's what they call their representatives) gave me a claim slip directing me to return at 2:45 p.m. to pick it up.

I went across the street for a lunch at Wendy's, then sat in my air conditioned car and read a Mark Twain story on my Kindle Paperwhite until the time came to return to the store.

The replacement battery cost me $79 plus tax and I went away a satisfied customer.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

More Bang & Olufsen audio stuff

I'm evaluating the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay P2 wireless speaker for the Amazon Vine Program. It's 5.5 inches long and weighs 7.2 ounces, so you would expect just so-so sound.
But this is a Bang & Olufsen product and their Danish engineers know their stuff. This little speaker delivers big rich sound with characteristic B&O clarity way out of proportion to its diminutive size.
I got it for my wife to use at work. She synced it with her iPhone last night and played several of her favorite songs. She remarked that she was hearing stuff in her music that she never heard before.
That's one of my requirements for an exceptional audio device and Bang & Olufsen never fails to deliver.
She bought a Bose wireless speaker a couple of years ago and the P2 - at about half its size - blows it into the weeds.
At $169, it may seem a bit expensive for a pocket-size Bluetooth speaker, but quality like this doesn't come cheap. I also ordered a hard shell carrying case for it.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Going home to Indiana


Our 10-year Arkansas adventure is drawing to a close.

We made the decision late last year that we want to go home to Indiana. It's where Maria's family is, including her new granddaughter, and most of our friend are in Indiana. And we have a sturdy old 1903 house waiting for us to come back and show it some love.

I swore I'd never do another Indiana winter, but I've decided Arkansas summers are just as painful.

We have tenants who have lived in the house for about eight years and we informed them of our decision yesterday. We're giving them plenty of notice - our Arkansas house isn't on the market yet and it takes 30 days to close, so we won't be needing our house in Thorntown until sometime in August at the earliest. We also pledged to give them a good reference if they apply to rent somewhere else.

A lot of our stuff is already in Indiana in storage and with relatives and we reckon we have one more 5x8-foot U-Haul trailer load before we can stage the house for selling.

We had U-Haul install a trailer hitch on the Lexus RX330 in late February and have made half a dozen trailer runs - one with my two bikes on a motorcycle trailer borrowed from a Jonesboro friend - since then. There have also been a few trailer-less runs with the Lexus or Morgan's Honda stuffed to the gills with boxes.

As a consequence, with so much of our stuff in storage 450 miles away, we're subsisting on just the essentials in household goods and clothing. I'm getting tired of the same old selection of t-shirts and jeans and I'm having serious motorcycle withdrawal. The project has pretty much killed my riding season. I had to pass on the European Riders Rally in Burkesville, Ky. at the end of May and won't be able to ride to Salt Lake City next month for the BMW MOA National Rally. It looks like the Falling Leaf Rally in Potosi, Mo. on the second weekend in October may be my only rally of 2017.

We've busied ourselves making repairs and improvements to get the Arkansas house looking good. I had the mower serviced and new blades installed that result in a much nicer looking lawn. We trimmed low-hanging tree branches that block the view of the house, spruced up the shutters, pressure-washed the exterior, painted the front door an attractive dark blue, replaced the dog-ravaged back door and porch furniture and replaced the broken-down ceiling fan on the porch.

Maria brought home a dry erase white board to list to-do projects and it's helped us both stay on track.

We also have a business property in downtown Jonesboro to sell and are hopeful for good news soon on that front.

The Thorntown house will need about 200 feet of chain link fence to keep the dogs in the back yard, we'll need to build a garage for cars and bikes, and the hot tub will need to be refurbished or replaced. There is plenty to do and now that we've been able to share our plans with our renters, I can report the progress here.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Google finds


Every now and then, I Google my sons to see what turns up. Here are a couple of photos I've not seen before.

Did I ever tell you how proud they make me?