House For Sale – Aug. 23, 2021

Sell This House

Our house hit the market today, which is to say the Great Gods of Google allowed for it to be found by Realtors and anyone else who happens to have a larger-than-average nosy bone. Our Realtor said we could share it with our friends and family. I was trying to think of my marketing ploy and barely skipped over, “You could poop where I’ve pooped!” We already have six showings scheduled. Sell, baby, sell!

‘On Point’

I am old. Or, at least, I often feel old. And look old. And sound old. There’s not much about me that makes sense to the youngsters in Boy the Elder’s age bracket. I make pitiful attempts to pick up some of their phrases, but they often come out wrong or use them in inappropriate situations. So when Marti, a twenty-something colleague at my new job, stopped by my office on her way out yesterday to tell me my “meme game is on-point” in the office GroupMe chat, well, it meant more to me than such a little thing should. I’ve still got it… with memes.

The ‘Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Say It’ of the Day

“The more wonderful the means of communication, the more trivial, tawdry, or depressing its contents seemed to be.”

Arthur C. CLarke, 2001: A Space odyssey

Seems like Mr. Clarke had an advanced understanding of social media.

Wonderful Neighbors

The first showing of our house is Tuesday morning. None was more surprised by this than the blades of grass in the yard that looked like a grazing ground for sheep. The plan was to mow them before the Open House on Sunday, though even that idea would have been difficult considering our lawn mower was moved to the new house a 15-minute car ride away. I drive a Nissan Versa. So does my wife. There was no way we were loading a riding mower into the trunk. Enter The Neighbors. Though we had people living on either side of us at Old House, Chris and Kara and their three daughters are collectively The Neighbors. Even though we now live in a different neighborhood, they still and always will be The Neighbors. Chris is an EMT. Kara is a fellow Creative Type. Their kids are some of Boy the Younger’s best friends. And so it was that, when BTY and Wifey-Poo stopped by Old House as the sun was setting, Chris was mowing our yard. They’re good people. We will stay in touch.

The Big Three: Today’s Reasons to Keep Living

  1. The sound of keys clicking when you’re typing.
  2. A good hot cup of coffee in the morning.
  3. When your commute goes quicker and easier than expected.

More From ‘A Puzzle Known As Life’

Knowing — May 21, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Beyond Tired😫Busting Ass 🐝Covid Sadness😔 Everything is knowable. When I look back at the pace of change in my life, I think that’s the biggest difference between my life as a child and my life as an adult. Back then, if you wondered something, you just … wondered it. I mean,Continue reading “Knowing — May 21, 2022”

SoS16: Fade to Black

Welcome to Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. Fade to Black, Metallica, from the 1984 album, Ride the Lightning Line of Significance Things not what they used to be/Missing one inside of me/Deathly loss, this can’t be real/I cannot stand this hell I feel The commonContinue reading “SoS16: Fade to Black”

Grandpa — May 17, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sad Anniversary😞My Back! 😳Dachau😭 Thirty-five years ago today, my first grandparent died. Grandpa was my favorite grandparent, and in looking back, I think it was because of his willingness to join my world. Grandpa played games with me endlessly. He taught me how to play rummy. He would spend hours onContinue reading “Grandpa — May 17, 2022”

Study Abroad — May 15, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bye-Bye BTE✈️Rival Riot Rumble 🤼‍♂️Old Man John🤕 In a few hours, Boy The Elder will board a plane headed for Germany. He just completed his sophomore year at Mizzou, and now he’s going overseas for a two-week study-abroad session in which he’ll allegedly learn more about food science and fermentation andContinue reading “Study Abroad — May 15, 2022”

Family — May 13, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Double-U🧸Big Sis 🦸‍♀️Preggo Healer 🤰 Anyone remember Speak & Spell? If you’ve seen E.T., you’ve seen it before. Don’t know why, but I was thinking about this toy the other day. For some reason, spelling wasn’t school if you had one of these things to play with. I can still hearContinue reading “Family — May 13, 2022”

Heat Wave — May 12, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Heat Wave🥵Lawn Mowing🚜Last Podcast 🎙️ It’s hotter than balls outside in my section of Missourah, and I’m not happy about it. I am not a hot-weather person. I hate heat. I sweat easily. I turn red even easier. Having a bald head does not match well with sun exposure. And hasContinue reading “Heat Wave — May 12, 2022”

Making Sense of the Magic

Denny Hsieh applies lessons from Northwestern Engineering’s Master of Project Management (MPM) program into his daily work at Intel. Published May 10, 2022 Denny Hsieh speaks candidly when he discusses his skills as a presenter prior to starting the capstone communication project in Northwestern Engineering’s Master of Project Management (MPM) program. “I was pretty bad,”Continue reading “Making Sense of the Magic”

Gambling — May 8, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Losing Money 🥊The Best F’N Mom Ever👩Heat 🥵 Wifey Poo and I took our weekly date Saturday and went to the city made famous in the original National Lampoon’s Vacation movie: East St. Louis. No, East St. Louis isn’t in Missouri and no, it’s not a popular data destination, but whatContinue reading “Gambling — May 8, 2022”

SoS15: So Far Away

Welcome to Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. So Far Away, Staind, from the 2003 album, 14 Shades of Grey Line of Significance Now that we’re here it’s so far away/And I feel like I can face the day, and I can forgive/And I’m not ashamedContinue reading “SoS15: So Far Away”

A Human Paradox

One of the great paradoxes COVID revealed in the human animal is how much we need each other while we simultaneously can’t stand to be around each other for long periods of time. Stay-at-home orders booted us from our familiar social circles and, in many cases, put is in direct contact with those we loveContinue reading “A Human Paradox”

Soul Comforts

Soul Comforts A just-because gift An accidental nap Shared fries A hidden note, found A joined passion A soft hand Communicated desires A hug, freely given A safe landing place A secluded table Memory-filled songs Appreciation, openly stated Take me away from here Take me away Take me Take A common blanket A slow danceContinue reading “Soul Comforts”

SoS14: One

Welcome to Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. One, Metallica, from the 1988 album, And Justice For All Line of Significance Darkness/Imprisoning me/All that I see/Absolute horror/I cannot live/I cannot die/Trapped in myself/Body my holding cell Metallica had a dedicated fan base of headbangers before One.Continue reading “SoS14: One”

Seeing the Science in Person

MBP director Danielle Tullman-Ercek and two current students talked about the American Chemical Society’s massive spring gathering and how Northwestern Engineering’s Master of Biotechnology Program (MBP) is preparing students for new trends and innovations. Published April 20, 2022 There was a lot of “new” for Olivia Meyer and Byron Fan when they attended the AmericanContinue reading “Seeing the Science in Person”

Designing Products People Love

Bridget McMullan (MPD2 ’17) is using her MPD2 knowledge to meet member needs as director of product strategy at Anthem, America’s largest for-profit health insurer. Published April 20, 2022 Bridget McMullan expected that falsified or lost COVID-19 vaccine cards would be a problem for the public once vaccinations became available.  As the director of productContinue reading “Designing Products People Love”

It’s the End of the World As We Know It — April 19, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩 Why We Suck🤡No Finishing Power🔚McReally? 🍔 The world is dumb, and America is the leading idiot. I don’t reach this conclusion with any sort of glee. It’s simply what I see. Societies hold together because of three things. Shared stories Strong institutions Social networks that engender trust. The past 10Continue reading “It’s the End of the World As We Know It — April 19, 2022”

Understanding Tomorrow’s Technology Solutions Today

MSIT IAB Chairman Kevin Glynn talks about next-generation technological innovations and how MSIT is preparing students to leverage them in the future. Published April 15, 2022 When Kevin Glynn thinks about the future of information technology, his mind goes to quantum computing.  Glynn, who is the chairman of Northwestern Engineering’s Master of Science and InformationContinue reading “Understanding Tomorrow’s Technology Solutions Today”

Next-Generation Career Development

A recent MEM event with the American Association of Engineers of Indian Origin (AAEIO) helps students focus on finding their way in a post-digital world. Published April 15, 2022 Students from Northwestern’s Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program gathered earlier this year to learn how to shape their careers in a world where technology andContinue reading “Next-Generation Career Development”

Missions: Mars and the Moon

MEM student Usman Rafiq is helping humankind’s latest space exploration efforts. Published April 15, 2022 Usman Rafiq is part of humankind’s quest to reach faraway frontiers.  As a member of Northwestern’s Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program, Rafiq is honing the skills he needs to push himself into higher leadership positions to help guide NASA’sContinue reading “Missions: Mars and the Moon”

SoS13: Fly to the Angels

Welcome to Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. Fly to the Angels, Slaughter, from the 1990 album, Stick It To Ya Line of Significance It hurts me way deep inside/When I turn and look and find/You’re not there. Rock music was on the verge of aContinue reading “SoS13: Fly to the Angels”

Is The Housing Market About To Crash?

So I wrote this big investigation, data-driven piece about what’s going to happen in the housing market. Then I wanted to turn it into an easily digestible flyer. PLUS, I wanted to give our CEO a chance to show his expertise. I hope that happened with this.

SoS12: Man in the Box

Welcome to Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. Man in the Box, Alice in Chains, from the 1991 album, Facelift Line of Significance I’m the dog who gets beat/Shove my nose in shit. Today we look one of the four faces on my personal Mt. RushmoreContinue reading “SoS12: Man in the Box”

SoS11: Iris

Welcome to Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. Iris, Goo Goo Dolls, from the 1998 movie, City of Angels Line of Significance When everything feels like the movies, yeah, you bleed just to know you’re alive. If ever there were a line that encapsulate post-modernism, there’sContinue reading “SoS11: Iris”

Anybody Out There?

My wife and son are going out of town for the week starting tomorrow afternoon, and I have absolutely no one I can call to do anything with. No one. Nobody. If I put in pin in my house on a map (remember those?) and drew a circle with a 50 mile radius, there isn’tContinue reading “Anybody Out There?”

SoS9: Black

Welcome to Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. Black, Pearl Jam, from the 1991 album Ten Line of Significance I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life/I know you’ll be a star/In somebody else’s sky/Buy why/Why/Why can’t it be mine Black has so much behind it.Continue reading “SoS9: Black”

The Night I Died

I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately. The reasons are varied and scattered. Part of it is how much death there is around me. Well, maybe not around me personally. But more than 1,000,000 Americans have died from Covid, and that’s a gross understatement because the true toll won’t be known for years, onceContinue reading “The Night I Died”

Email Signatures

Email sigs can be boring like everybody else’s OR they can be used to try to spark genuine conversations about who you are as a person and a real estate person. I choose to go the second route.

What We’re Reading

Businesses can be really annoying when they communicate with you only about what they’re trying to sell. I love to let people get a look behind the curtain of the real people who work for them. So I created this for a series of posts.

Top 5 Costly Home-Buying Mistakes to Avoid

Write the blog, make the flyer. Presenting the same information to people with different preferences in how they consume media is important. I love that we showed the mistake AND provided the solution.

SoS8: Nutshell

Welcome to Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. Nutshell, Alice in Chains, from the 1994 album Jar of Flies Line of Significance And yet I fight, and yet I fight/This battle all alone/No one to cry to/No place to call home Layne Stale lived a torturedContinue reading “SoS8: Nutshell”

Let’s Get You Home

I wanted to create a customizable flyer for those who are confident about selling their homes in this market but who then have concerns about how they’re going to find something to buy. This is our differentiating piece on how we’re going to do more than the other guy out there to find you aContinue reading “Let’s Get You Home”

Giving Back

The Allen Brake Team is a big supporter of the communities we serve. We just haven’t been really good about tactfully letting people know. This graphic was the basis for social posts to ask people to come alongside us and support some great local charities.

Meet the Team

Humanizing our team is important to me. So I created these social media graphics to help introduce us to people.

Pick the Paul

I learned early on in the real estate game that it is very much follow-the-leader. Everyone markets her business the exact same way. So I wanted to be different. One of the ways I’m accomplishing this is by making our open house social posts different from everyone else’s.

How to Choose the Right Realtor

It’s amazing how many people don’t take the time to interview potential Realtor candidates (sheepishly raising my hand here). This is designed to guide people along the steps of some questions to ask to find the best Realtor to represent them.

Introducing The Allen Brake Team

Our team didn’t have any sort of introductory piece when I started, so I created this tri-fold brochure. The first page is the front, back and inside flap. The second page is the inside. I think it does the job of letting people know who we are and what we’re all about.

Want to Sell Your Home in Spring?

Just me doing my thing with design. Heard about how people who want to sell in spring need to start during the winter, so I did this whole timeline thing to showcase it.

SoS7: Smells Like Teen Spirit

Welcome to Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana, from the 1991 album Nevermind Line of Significance I found it hard, was hard to find/Oh well, whatever, nevermind If ever there were a line that defined a genre, it’s this one fromContinue reading “SoS7: Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Top 5 Reasons to Sell in Winter

Republished from It’s not the winter weather that’s starting to cool down the hot sellers’ housing market of the past year or so, but the cold front is forming nonetheless.  A mix of rising interest rates and an increase in the number of homes on the market are starting to tamp down buyer demand,Continue reading “Top 5 Reasons to Sell in Winter”

SoS6: Bring Me To Life

Welcome to Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. Bring Me To Life, Evanescence, from the 2007 album Fallen Line of Significance How can you see into my eyes, like open doors/Leading you down into my core, where I’ve become some numb.

SoS5: Jeremy

Welcome to Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. Jeremy, Pearl Jam, from the 1991 album Ten When Jeremy stood at the front of his English classroom on the morning of January 8, 1991, so much had already happened. The 15-year-old was already an accomplished, award-winning artist. HeContinue reading “SoS5: Jeremy”

SoS4: Fast Car

Welcome to Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. Fast Car, Tracy Chapman, from the 1988 album Tracy Chapman Line of Significance And your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder/And I-I, had a feeling that I belonged/I-I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone,Continue reading “SoS4: Fast Car”

SoS3: Closing Time

Welcome to Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. Closing Time, Semisonic, from the 1998 album Feeling Strangely Line of Significance: Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

SoS2 — 45, Shinedown

Liner Notes 45Shinedown from the 2003 album ‘Leave a Whisper’ Lyric to remember In a box, high up on the shelf, left for you, no one else/There’s a piece of a puzzle known as life, wrapped in guilt, sealed up tight. Quotable “The box is your memories, the things in your life you’ve kept veryContinue reading “SoS2 — 45, Shinedown”

SoS1: Cumbersome

Welcome to the premiere edition of Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. Cumbersome, Seven Mary Three, from the 1994 debut album, Churn Line of Significance: I have become cumbersome to this world/I have become cumbersome to my girl B. Goode is by no means a musicContinue reading “SoS1: Cumbersome”

Welcome Back, Swagger

There was a time in my life when I had swagger. I was never the most popular or athletic kid in school, but for a while there, I was a really good baseball player. I could hit. I could field. And, boy, could I pitch. Some of the most “over” kids in high school wouldContinue reading “Welcome Back, Swagger”

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