Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tough But Positive Weekend For Mom

Moving From Room 473, To 231. Best News Yet.
For a few days after the night of Michael and Austin's wedding rehearsal, Mom was leaning over the threshold of death's door. Today, conversely, she was wheeled from Waccamaw's most urgent ICU room to a more relaxed room in the maternity wing of the hospital.

While I know she's not completely out of the woods, I'm ecstatic to report that she's a completely different person from a few days ago. Mom is alert (for the most part), and speaking in paragraphs at a time. Late this afternoon we took Finley to visit for a few minutes, which brought a whole new energy to the room.

I can't express through this keyboard how much our family appreciates the outpouring of support we've received throughout Mom's illness. The gift cards, plane rides, food, phone calls, emails, offers to babysit, Facebook posts, thoughts, and prayers have been a testament to friendships everywhere. The condos that have been made available to our family are an overwhelming gesture and are appreciated beyond recognition.

As Mom has slowly graduated from septic shock to baby steps (with help, of course), we hope she'll soon be able to endure an ambulance ride home to Anderson, SC. We're presently looking into the cost of such a ride. As great as Waccamaw Medical has been (saved her life), Mom's support center (family/friends) would exponentially expand if we can get her back to Anderson.

As wonderful as everyone has been I feel compelled to thank two people individually. As Mimi (my grandmother) is the undisputed matriarch of our family, my wife Jennifer and Mom's sister (aka "Boof") have been Mom's recovery queens. I'm proud to report that Jennifer's caring heart has assisted in this effort beyond the call of duty. She's visited Mom, as early and as late as visiting hours will allow, and kept everyone up to date via Facebook and CaringBridge. Moreover, "Boof" has served as our nerve center and management leader throughout this entire episode. She's been a perfect sister to Mom, and I'm not sure we'd be in our current state without Boof. Boof's MVP status during all of this is illustrated on the pic above, via moms whiteboard.

In sum, Mom is progressing. Given that her insides were poisoned, and that she has an open wound stretching from both sides of her navel, she seems to be healing as well as anyone could hope. She's gone from close to "0%", to 50/50, to "Your mom is one lucky woman."

In the coming days, I hope to be able to thank everyone individually. For now, however, I'm happy to type this broad stroke of Mom's progress.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Primo Listings Hit Columbia, SC Market

Good Looking Homes Hit Columbia's Market!
As busy as we've been trying to close some listings out, combined with uncertain familial situations, we're presenting some top shelf listings to Columbia's market.

1) 537 Santee Ave. - Wales Garden: Move in ready house, only steps from 5 Points! This house has a cool entrance, newer kitchen, and an owner's suite complete with sitting area, private bath and private glassed patio that overlooks Santee Ave. It's not often homes come to the market on this short "River Street." Wouldn't it be awesome to be able to walk to Starbucks, Mr. Friendly's, Girabaldis, and The Gourmet Shop???

2) 3320 Devereaux Rd. - Heathwood: Estate like setting, in Columbia's popular Heathwood neighborhood. Lots of rooms in this sprawling home, to fit many familial needs. The 'grounds' of this property are a gardener's canvas. This Devereaux home is in the middle of everything and a ready to be a "statement/landmark" Heathwood home.

3) 109 Rosebank Dr. - Hamptons: Lots of bang for the buck at this good looking "Hampton's House." Features include shining hardwoods, granite slab, a true owners suite, and a manicured yard. Full of cul-de-sacs, The Hamptons in Columbia, SC, are perfect for 'trikes' and big wheels. This Charleston style home is polished, and move in ready. This is a sharp house.

Click the links for details and other info. If you or you're friends would like to check out any of these downtown Columbia listings, give us a call or email fjones@cbunited.com or amandaqpayne@live.com. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Life Moment(s) For Mom And Brother

As my brother was a perfect groom for his perfect bride, my friends know that I'd love to be typing about their Lowcountry wedding. That said, given the series of events of the weekend, I feel the need to use this post as an update platform for our mom.

During the week leading up to Michael's wedding, our mom had been feeling ill. Naturally, everyone thought it was the dreaded "48 hour bug," combined with natural "nerves." Wow, were we wrong... big time.

During the wedding rehearsal, Mom (out of the sight of others) went down, and was wheeled into an ambulance. She was taken to Waccamaw Community Hospital (about 3 minutes away from what most of us know as Murrell's Inlet).

My wife, Jennifer, explains it like this on www.caringbridge.org/visit/fransingleton: "Fran has suffered an intestinal necrosis caused by a blocked artery. On Saturday morning, the doctors removed a large section (approximately 16 - 18 inches) of her intestine and performed an ostomy that they will try to reverse in the future. She is now in the highest level Critical Care Unit. She is very heavily sedated and on a number of medications via IV drip to help with her blood pressure, pain and infection. The doctors do not want her body to do anything but rest so she is also on a ventilator." Mom's body was septic, which was AWFUL to hear.

One of the dilemmas of this is logistics. Of course, in the scheme of things, logistics are in the back seat. This said, they still exist. Given mom's condition, she won't be leaving this facility for a good while and our family (based in Anderson, SC) is trying to adapt accordingly. Three family members are staying in Garden City, and went shopping today for casual clothing (we were only prepared for Michael's wedding). Tonight, Jennifer/Finley and I drove to Columbia so I could get my car, and tidy up a few loose ends on the job front.

I'd like to report that my brother acted as a familial champion this weekend. As he was a man before, he was a 'big man' during all of this. He put all of us on his shoulders, properly shielding fear from his happy bride-to-be and our sister, and was married in front of hundreds, with his head held high. "Mimi" (mom's mom) elegantly sat in the first pew in mom's stead. It was a sweet, heart tugging moment, to be sure.

I need to thank so many people for their support, assistance, and prayers. Hopefully, mom can come out of this as the vibrant person our friends know and love. As you can imagine, when we "turn the corner," this is going to be a long, hard recovery. Every ounce of support is exponentially appreciated.

I'll report as best I can, but the best source for information will probably be on CaringBridge.

Thank you, friends.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Downtown Columbia's Updated Listings

Columbia's Latest Hotsheet: April 18 - May 19, 2011
Yesterday, my good friend, fellow Realtor and Columbia, SC native, Meghan Suddeth Hesley, called me out on my Facebook Wall about the lack of "Hotsheet" updates. Yikes!!

Sorry, Meghan!!! Columbia, SC, the team, and the rest of CBUR misses you!

Here ya go! :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tea & Pickles Served In Amazonia, SC

Some weeks ago, the SC House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted (R's and D's) to unravel our deal with the Internet sales powerhouse, Amazon.com. The morning after the vote, folks inside the (I-77) loop were buzzing, Facebooking, and Tweeting all about it. Everyone I ran into wanted to talk about the Amazon thing, and I was no different.

I may or may not know what I'm typing about, but here's my voice of reason as of 12:29 tonight. Opportunity is a curious thing. Even though most definitions of the term contain the word "favorable", "opportunities" can be uncomfy. "Uncomfy" notwithstanding, our group at the state house needs to know a good thing when they see it.

If you know a little bit about what's going on, you know many House Republicans
are in a political pickle. They're wrestling with whether to vote for the Sanford/Amazon agreement, or stick to the Tea Party mantra of, "less gov't involvement." Remember, the Tea Party is what got many of them elected, and to many, that's all that matters.

Enter Governor Haley... or not. House Republicans seem to be desperately looking for a blessing. Before the first vote, she split the fence pretty well. After the vote, she hopped on the outcome with positive and pretty declarative statements. Fast forward a few weeks, and she can't shove the toothpaste back in the tube, no matter how badly Tea Party Republicans want her to try.

This reminds me of when Republicans thought it was a good idea to sign the "No New Taxes" pledge. Well, signers of this "pledge" couldn't vote for the inevitable cigarette tax, no matter how popular. They were in a trap (pickle), as we all watched tens of millions of dollars pass by, along with 3 to 1 (YES, 3 to 1! = hundreds of millions) matching funds from the U.S. government. Some of me wanted to take a "Common Sense Pledge" to the statehouse that would've read, "This Pledge trumps all..." You get the idea.

Two quick, but blatant thoughts:

  1. We made a deal. That's that.

  2. Amazon.com is an INTERNET company. We're going to buy shirts and kick balls
    from them, no matter where they're domiciled. Does that make any sense? We don't know where the books or whatever are coming from. We have no idea. We simply click, "Buy Now" or "Add To Cart." So... why can't South Carolinians pack the goods, when the goods are going to be bought and shipped anyway?

Further, does anyone care that the public was hoodwrankled into thinking that "Main St." was behind the public relations effort, when it was big boxers like Wal-Mart and Target lobbying at the State House all along? Further still, does anyone else not think it's odd that a few days after the Amazon.com vote, Wal-Mart announced thousands of new jobs were on the way? Sure, we celebrated for a few hours. That is until we learned these new jobs were retail, which means South Carolina will be dotted with many more Wal-Mart stores. Hmmm... any idea who the real threat to Main St./small business is? Does anyone see the poopie circle?

I'm anxious to see how this turns out. It'll be interesting to see if Governor Haley will take the lead either way, or if the House of Representatives can or will get this done without her blessing. It's almost like they want her to take the political ax for them. Who knows, but after all is said and done, all we may be left with is a nice shiny lawsuit from a global giant that has already started building. Ugh.

Paraphrasing someone, "Not to worry. If you miss an opportunity, it is not lost. Someone else will find it."

This shoe fits, whether a South Carolinian packs it... or a Tennesseean does.

Monday, May 16, 2011

2 Mins Before Taking The Microphone

A few days ago, I was asked by the Coldwell Banker brass to travel to Charleston to sit on a two-person panel at a regional Coldwell Banker seminar. Little did I know that I was going to be in front of 250 Realtors. Little nervous!!

Apparently, I was there to expand on today's social media opportunities and how we've integrated it into our business model as Realtors. Well... I can do that!

Upon arrival, I was pretty stunned that the facility was filled with folks from all over the place. I met a group from Coldwell Banker, Caine (Greenville), a group from Florence, and a nice crowd from Columbia. As an impressive stunner, the Wilmington, NC, office/franchise filled up a chartered bus!

It's pretty amazing how wide the gap is between those who know about tech tools and those who don't. Don't get me wrong, there are many busy Realtors who couldn't care less about blogging or Facebook. Even so, they were there to learn. If I had to guess, questions about blogging and QR Codes seemed to garner the most attention.

Anyway, the crowd was very (almost overly) engaged. So much so that the emcee had to reconstruct the whole session due to the amount of hands that shot up after every question.

As I typed before, it irks me to no end to leave this job's day to day operations during the week. That said, I was happy and flattered to share a few thoughts with my fellow Realtors.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Day Trip To Share With Fellow Realtors

Pumped/Flattered To Share Our Brand of Real Estate
Last week, I was asked to sit on a panel at a regional Coldwell Banker seminar/convention. If you know me, this isn't really my "thing" for two reasons: 1) I don't feel comfy doing anything but hustling during weekdays. For instance, it's like pulling teeth to get me on a golf course Monday - Friday... even for charity. 2) Sharing how I/we do things with other Realtors isn't really part of my wheelhouse. This said, I'm flattered to have been asked, and will be heading to Charleston as soon as I drop Finley off at her little school house.

Although I don't know quite what to expect, I've been coached to focus on how I/we 'work' social media, and how we utilize other tech tools in our business. While I don't think I have anything revolutionary to report, I do recognize we've garnered a big 'tech savvy' reputation. True, we were one of the first to blog, first on Facebook/Twitter, and the first to utilize QR Codes in Columbia's market. I'm guessing everyone in the audience is aware of these social media outlets, they just want to know "how" we're utilizing them.

Admittedly, we strive to stay ahead of the curve. For example, I blogged about and placed QR codes on our listings almost six months ago. Fast forward to April, and we see WIS News (the news leader in Columbia's market), did a story about QR Codes just last week. Yes, I smiled a little. :)

Again, I'm flattered to have been asked, and while I'm going against a few of my internal rules, I'm happy to share! I do wonder, however, how puzzled the audience will be to learn that I'm not friends with any Realtors on Facebook.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Junior League Impresses Once Again

Tonight, many of the area's busiest women (and a few men) gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of The Junior League of Columbia. As expected, the group posted an impressive monetary number raised via its various fundraising events which include Clean Sweep, Touch-A-Truck, cookbook sales and, of course, the overwhelmingly popular Holiday Market. I wasn't close enough to the screen to snap a picture, but the number approaches $300,000. Well done!

Many of you know, I have a special affection for the Junior League, and this year-end event in particular. As you can see from the first picture above, this is when I get the special honor of presenting the Kinsey Black Jones Award, in memory of my late wife. The award goes to the one or two extraordinary 1st, 2nd or 3rd year active members of the League.

As the moment is obviously bittersweet, it's always a big deal to me. As I stand at the podium, I'm always a tinch nervous, a little down, but internally proud. Moreover, I'm eternally thankful that the League recognizes Kinsey's memory in such a public manner.

Tonight, outgoing president Allison Cox conducted the presentation a little differently. Allison called my wife, Jennifer, to the podium to help present Kinsey's award to this year's winner. Her reason for doing this, as she explained to the crowd, was to tell how wonderful it is that Jennifer is so involved with the relationship I share with Kinsey's family. Further still, she projected how close we all remain, and how important it is to us for the Blacks to be a part of Finley's (our daughter's) life. I can't type how accurate Allison was in her presentation, and I can't convey through a keyboard how much it meant to me. Spot on, Allison. And to you, Jennifer, my gratitude for your generous spirit.

Thank you again, Junior League of Columbia. You continue to impress and serve our community in extraordinary fashion. As you know, I'm at your beck and call. Thank you for including us at your events, and thank you for honoring the memory of a woman who loved what the League is all about.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

'Hater' Rationale Revises World History

Who Are We, When We Hate On Our Own Wins?
Take a gander at a quote floating around the Facebook News Feed today. I've been rustling about this since the minute I saw it... just ask my wife. “Let’s be clear on this ... Obama did NOT kill Bin Laden. An American soldier, who Obama just a few weeks ago was debating on whether or not to PAY did. Obama just happened to be in office when USA soldiers finally found and took him out. This is NOT an Obama victory, but an AMERICAN victory. Repost if you agree.” Confuse me?

Thought 1: What good (again, for emphasis)... What GOOD, could an American achieve by projecting such a thought. Why even think like this, much less advertise it? No duh its an American victory, but why any of the awful hate?

Thought 2: Given the premise above, world history has a serious problem. Let's see... should George Washington be considered the, 'Father Of Our Country?' After all, he worked hard, sat in a hot room, had some insight, signed some docs, dressed up, rode in boats and mounted horses. Further, did Henry Ford actually ever hammer out a car? Did Hitler kill millions with his 'actual' pointer finger? Did Phil Jackson or Vince Lombardi have a dunk, throw a pass, or score any points in their team's championships? How many slaves did President Abraham Lincoln free by bending bars with his own two hands, or was this just "timing?" I know this is sensitive, but go with me here... did President Reagan reeeally tear down any walls????

Now, I'd like to be clear. Sunday night was a big night for our beloved USA, and the globe. Was Barrack Obama the President when it happened? Yes. Did he pull the actual trigger that tapped Bin Ladens skull? No. Conversely, did Bin Laden fly the planes into the World Trade Center?

Whether you enjoy and/or like the sequence of events that led to this victory is on you. I simply don't understand the obvious but completely unessessary (and rather unpatriotic) partisan tone.
Want to get an American point across? Get out of bed, and try your best to produce something... and stop hating.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Renovated Forest Acres Home For Sale

3924 Verner St. Is Move-In Ready, Nicely Done

A few days ago, we listed this very nice, affordable home in the Forest Acres area of Columbia. This home has loads to offer, inside and out.
At just under 1,600 sq./ft., this 3 bedroom home features a huge family/den area and a kitchen filled with new cabinets, granite and stainless appliances.

"Verner" sits on a huge, level, corner lot that's complete with a two car, attached carport and fully fenced backyard with concrete patio.

Forest Acres is a small city that enjoys its own mayor and police force. It's also an area of town that enjoys fun restaurants, Gold's Gym, and other popular retail outlets such as Trenholm Plaza. Further, Verner Street is only minutes from anything downtown Columbia, SC.

Email fjones@cbunited.com / amandaqpayne@live.com if you know anyone interested in a good looking, move-in ready home at this popular price point ($160,000.'s) 3924 Verner is a sharp house, and offers a ton of 'bang for the buck!'