Things to be Thankful For | 11/23/21

It’s the start of the holiday season, and while I do try to be appreciative every day of the year, it’s inevitable that this time of year nudges at me until I take a break from work and indulge my sentiments.  I suppose the title of the holiday, Thanksgiving, and the overall nostalgia of Christmases past might have something to do with it.   

It’s funny how nostalgia can take a hold of you and make you think life was better “back when.”  And perhaps it was.  But today isn’t bad either.  In fact, I have been quite blessed – with four great kids, two fantastic dogs, family that I love – or…at least tolerate. Kidding!  Just kidding. The business is going well, we have acquired three rentals just this past year and while things are more than busy and I sometimes (often times) envy my Facebook friends and their vacation photos, I know I am blessed.  We are blessed.    And I am thankful for that.

Someone recently posted about the “winter” of our lives… how it creeps up on you and takes you by surprise.  I’ve often remarked that in my mind, I’m still 20 years old and I wonder when I will be “grown up.”  What it means to be an adult….is it an age? an accomplishment? I’ve come to realize that I don’t think it really matters.  You just do the best you can, when you are young…when you are old.  Of course, there are things I wish I would have known, would have done (and not done) when I was younger, but you can’t live in the past.  Live in the now – appreciate the now, what you have, WHO you have.

Which brings me to the reason for my musings.  Somewhere around 2 years ago, before COVID stomped on all of us, I met a man named Ed at the Driver’s License facility.  The lines were long and the wait time was worse than anticipating Christmas Eve as a child.  Well, if you know me, you know that I make friends with everyone. I like to talk, and I like to get into your head. I want to know about you.  And so, in my typical fashion, I struck up a conversation with Ed. He lamented that he was worried about his wife being at home by herself  for so long while he was here. She was not well and had trouble getting up and down the stairs. You see, Ed and his wife were in the winter of their lives. During the process of our friendship-making, he asked what I do for a living, and I told him.  He said his wife has been asking to have the downstairs tub removed and put in a low-profile shower, so it would be easier for her to get in and out of.  I promised him, if we ever got out of the DMV prison we were in together, I would come by and give him a quote and gave him my card.

I didn’t hear from Ed during 2020 and I assumed he was hiding out from the pandemic. More than  full year after we met, he finally called me and said he was ready to move forward with the project.  I went to his house, gave him a quote and he accepted.  I didn’t get to meet his wife.  When we arrived to do the work, we naturally chatted for a while and he eventually told me through choked tears that his wife had passed away several months ago…not from COVID, but cancer. He didn’t know she had it at the time we had met.  She went quickly.  He admitted that he hadn’t been upstairs since she died – he slept in the downstairs guest room.  And he was going forward with the bathroom remodel for her, even though she was gone, because she had asked for it, and he had put it off until it was too late.  This was his great regret.  To have such a strong relationship that your one regret was something so negligible in the grand scheme of things speaks volumes.  During the weeks we were there, he also confided that he has lost two of his four children as well.  I felt for him. 

We recently finished Ed’s bathroom and I was sad for it to be over. I knew I liked Ed when we met at the DMV, and getting to know him personally over the weeks we were in and out of his house, made me really come to care for him. His story had an impact on me, and I took time to reflect on what I was grateful for, including that chance meeting at the DMV where I was introduced into Ed’s life. I really believe nothing happens by coincidence, that there was a reason we met.  Maybe we helped each other, in some way. 

Ed sent us payment for the job the other day – I felt guilty even taking the money from him.  As customer’s often do, he left a little note on the return invoice, thanking us for the work we did, and which made me choke up a bit. You can read it for yourself in the attached image.  It also brings me full circle to why I wrote this.  Be thankful for what you have, and who you have. You never know if it’s the last day you will have with them. Treat others with respect and dignity.  You never know what their story is.  And if you get the chance, strike up a conversation with a stranger. You might just make a friend. 

From my family to yours, have a very happy Thanksgiving, enjoy to it to the fullest, and give your family hugs. 


Great Swansea home within walking distance to a park!

This lovely single story 4 bedroom, 1.5 bath home is in a convenient location to O’Fallon, Fairview and Belleville.   You will enjoy this nice, quite neighborhood close to a middle school and within walking distance to Melvin Price Memorial Park.   

This home has been completely remodeled with new flooring, new bathrooms, and an overhauled kitchen with brand new appliances. It has a full laundry room located just off the kitchen, and a large, partially fenced yard with patio, carport and 1 car detached garage.  The water heater, HVAC,  and roof are all new as well.   

Dogs are allowed with non-refundable $500 pet fee and $25/month pet rent per month/per pet.

Appliances included:
Gas Stove, Dishwasher, refrigerator, over the range microwave.

First  months rent, plus $1300 deposit required for move-in. Application fee. Must pass background screening, income verification and credit check.

Ready to rent? Let’s see if we are a match!  Fill out our Pre-rental questionnaire before applying.  Once we receive your submission, we will email or call you with instructions on how to apply. 

Have Questions?  Email us! 


Remodeled and Ready for move in!


Adorable single story 3 bedroom, 1 bath home in the heart of O’Fallon!

You will love the spacious eat-in kitchen with plenty of cabinet and counter space and the vaulted ceiling in the large living room. A nice-sized laundry room is located just off the kitchen and has a brand new utility sink perfect for hand-washables or clean up after working in the yard.

This home has been completely updated!
– new flooring and baseboard in living room, kitchen, laundry and bath;
– remodeled bathroom with new toilet, vanity, mirror, wall cabinet and tub fixtures;
– every room has fresh paint;
– remodeled pantry with wood shelving;
– all new 6-panel interior doors and brand new back door;
– new garbage disposal, pull down sink faucet in kitchen, new LED lighting in hallway and laundry.

The large fenced in yard has a deck perfect for barbequing, and there is a gravel parking area in back.
Within walking distance to the Downtown District where you can enjoy bars, restaurants, shopping and the weekly Farmer’s Market at O’Fallon Station!

Dogs are allowed with non-refundable $500 pet fee and $25/month pet rent per month/per pet.

Appliances included:
Gas Stove, Dishwasher, refrigerator, counter-top microwave.

First  months rent, plus $1300 deposit required for move-in. Application fee. Must pass background screening, income verification and credit check.

Ready to rent? Let’s see if we are a match!  Fill out our Pre-rental questionnaire before applying.  Once we receive your submission, we will email or call you with instructions on how to apply. 

Have Questions?  Email us! 


In honor of Grandparent’s Day, A tribute to my “Pops”.

My “Pops”

The reason I’m a handyman


When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do was walk four houses down to my “Pop’s” and sit with him while he worked in his basement workshop. He had the coolest things in that basement. Floor to ceiling tools and nails and screws; scraps of metal; random pieces of wood, and all his “things” that he had found while “dump-snuffling” – that’s what they called digging through other people’s trash in those days.

Occasionally, I would get to walk the alley with him and look for discarded items he saw the value in. It was amazing the things people threw out: old clocks, broken furniture, rusty tools, even pots and pans. “Why would someone throw this table away? It just needs a do-hickey”, he would grumble under his breath. We would drag these treasures home, my grandmother standing on the back porch with her hands on her hips shaking her head in exasperation. Despite her irritation, she always had an ice cold bottle of Pepsi for each of us.

My Pops didn’t just collect these items.  He was an original “up-cycler”…a handyman…a jack of all trades. He was inspired to restore these unwanted possessions, make them into something beautiful, something useful again. Sometimes he did just that.  Other times..well…they ended up on a shelf or corner of the workshop, waiting for his skilled hands to pick them up, turn them over and around, inspect them with squinting eyes – his “thinking” eyes, as I liked to call it – until he had that Ah-ha moment. A lot of times, he was waiting for the perfect piece he needed to repair something to show up in the alley, and so his workshop began to resemble a thrift store of unusable wares.

I can remember sitting quietly – because you don’t interrupt Pops when he’s trying to teach you – in the much-bigger-than-me metal stool, elbows on the workbench, hands propping up my chin, watching him.  I studied his strong, wrinkled hands as he fixed and restored, and created. I savored the moments he would let me hammer in a nail, or hold the leg of a chair so he could put a screw in it.  As I got older, helping replaced watching, and I slowly progressed from helper to handy-man in my own right.  When a project of my own was completed, I would hold it out to him, excitedly anticipating his customary “Good job, Kid”, and I would beam, knowing that I had made him proud.

Pops died when I was 12. A freak accident, they said. Who falls out of bed and breaks their neck?  I didn’t understand it when they said I wouldn’t see him anymore. That couldn’t be right…he’s my POPS…my best friend! Of course I would see him…every day, after school, just like always. So day after day when school let out I would hop up on my cold metal stool, slowly swiveling round and back again, waiting for him to amble down the basement stairs.  But Pops didn’t come, and I didn’t dare touch his treasures without him. So the unfinished projects, his tools, the wood and scraps…they just sat in the basement, collecting dust, waiting for his wrinkled hands to pick them up once again.

As it does, life went on, eventually. My grandmother and dad encouraged me to use Pops’ tools…to finish that table he was working on, or to go out and find a project of my own. It didn’t seem right at first. Then one day as I was kicking pebbles down the alley towards Pops house, I saw a rocking chair with the arm broke off, and one of the back spindles missing. And it was like Pops’ was right there. “Hey Kid – grab that there rocking chair. You know I got a coupla spindles in my shop, and that old chair  – you know, the one with no legs, but it’s got arms? Not quite the same, but we can fix this rocking chair up just right as rain for your grandma.” And so I grabbed that rocking chair, grappled it down the rest of the alley and into Pops backyard where grandma stood, hands on her hips, shaking her head.  But this time, she smiled and said “Come on, dump-snuffler.  Let me get you a Pepsi”.