Monday, June 30, 2008

Catering a Wedding to Death

My friend K, who owns a restaurant/bar and catering business, had me help her cater a wedding reception this past Saturday.
She has one of the neatest mottos for her restuarant.

They happy bride and groom, both in their 70's.

The plaque the new bride and groom have on the front of their house.

Then yesterday Biggy B got called out for the Search and Rescue team. He packed his dive gear and was off pretty fast. Body recovery for a suicide. I never know what is going on until he gets back.
I couldn't help but think of my first husbands death. How many people suicide effects. Not only the family, but the law enforcement, the search and rescue volunteers and the community.
When B got home he said they recovered the body successfully. The K9 search and rescue dog located the body. He said the worst part was hearing the scream from, what he assumed was a family member, when they told her they had located the deceased and that he was in fact deceased.
What a tragedy.....that life in the mind of this 31 year old young man, was so awful that he could not bear it anymore.
Depression has affected my life, not only in the death of my first husband, but in family members and friends. It is hard to understand for a person who does not suffer from it. Since my husbands funeral, I had gone to two other friends funerals who died by suicide.
So my weekend went from celebrating new lives joined together to mourning a death of a young man I had never met.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Job Interview

So I went to my first job interview in quite a few years the other day. “Don’t ever let them see you sweat” was the quote that came to mind.

What do I wear to an interview for a “Job Site Manager” Position? After two hours of mixing and matching I ended up with Jeans, A nice white top and a casual black jacket, which ended up being warm when you are nervous and it’s almost 90 degrees outside.

I started off for the two hour drive ahead of me for the interview. Half way there I had to stop to fill the gas tank and take a potty break. This old bladder doesn’t get too far away from home without a break. The fact that I drank a pot of coffee, doubled with nerves, doesn’t help either.

Here are a few of the questions from the interview: My response is directly after the question. What I wanted to say is in bold print.

Why are you the best person for the job? With my past experience in the construction industry, my determination and my management skills I believe I can prove that I am the best person your company is looking for.
OK dumb ass, you haven’t even told me what the job really is or what the pay or benefits are so why do you assume that I really even want the job?

On a scale from 1 to 100% how would you rank your communication skills? 95% because I feel that everyone has room for improvement.
(The follow up question was the clincher)
Where could you improve on your 5%? (or something like that) Being more open to employees suggestions.
Do husbands count in this interview because then I would have to change my answer and I think my percentage would go down. Can I rank his communication skills in this interview and tell you where he can improve?

Why did you quit your last job? I wanted to persue my own Contractors License and build homes on my own.
Did I have a choice? My ex boss was running the business into the ground, he was making bad business decisions, his communication skills sucked, his divorce was getting in the way of his business and there wasn’t enough money in the check book to pay me anymore.

Who has been a mentor in your life? My ex boss helped me to learn the Home Building Business.
My daddy!! Go and read my blog buddy.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Hopefully with your company.
Moving to Isla Mujeres, Mexico, which reminds me...Can I have the winters off?.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Isla Neighborhood

My Isla Neighborhood

Click, Clack, Click, Clack……the sound of those suitcase wheels rolling across the streets of Isla on the way to my apartment. At this point, it is such a joyful noise.
I usually walk from the ferry to the apartment, taking in the scenery on the way. Sometimes it’s a new building that has popped up in the last two months or another restaurant that has closed in the last two months or maybe a new shop that has opened. Whatever it is, there is always something new to see, even after a few months.
Saying, “Hola” to the people that I pass along the way, I look ahead with determination and plopping that suitcase inside the apartment. Welcome back hugs are waiting for me from all of my neighbors.
My walk takes me from the ferry, up Morelos Street, past the Municipal Building and Super Express. Past the New Zocolo….we won’t talk about that! Turning Left on Guerrero, dodging Scooters, cars and golf carts, past the Hospital and then I see it. Madero Street!!! As I turn the corner I spot my favorite little Mini Super Owner, Norma!!

“Brenda” she shouts with enthusiasm. “Brenda, Brenda, Brenda.” For some reason she always says my name three times. Maybe it is to bring me luck, but the sound of her voice instantly warms my heart.
“Norma, Norma, Norma” I say as I drop my suitcase and wrap her little body up in a big hug.
As I turn to enter the gate to the apartment I realize that something is missing!! The street seems so quiet. Then I realize, El Sol Golf Carts has moved!! The normal line of carts up and down the street are gone.

My boys are gone and won’t be opening that garage door every morning at 9am. We use to sit around with them after work and play Uno or Mexican Dice, drink some cervesa’s and surf the internet together. El Sol has now moved over to Jaurez Street into a nice new building.

As I enter “the compound” I can’t help but feel a little tinge of excitement as I pull out my key to Apartment Number 2. I open the door, it seems a little sticky today, but the humidity always makes it stick.
“Ahhhhh, I’m home” I say out loud.
It doesn’t take long for my Mexican Son, ChuCho, to realize that I’m back. “Hola, Amor,” I say. “Hola, Mamasita,” he says back.
Then I show him the package he has been waiting two months for. His electric bass. His baby. It doesn’t take him long to open it up and start playing it for me.

After settling in I take a walk up to the roof and look towards the sea wall. I know ChuCho will be busy playing with his new baby!!

Perla Del Caribe is now closed. Only a few left over workers living in the empty rooms. The pool is empty. The electricity and water are shut off, but the protection of the building is still there for our little apartment when the winds of the next hurricane come. It’s really too bad someone couldn’t fix it up a little and reopen it. I had heard it was scheduled for demo last April, but still nothing. I think the buyers found out that they could run into issues with it foundation landing in the Federal Zone and if they were to demolish it and try to build a new structure there would be many loopholes to jump through and most likely many palms to be greased.
Next person to greet is Raphael. He is a diver Brian met who lives back by Perla Del Caribe. He and Brian have become great friends and dive buddies. When Brian is not with me, Raphael is always a bit disappointed.

Raphael has three, sometimes four dogs. Spaghetti, the once security guard at Perla. Little Chihuahua with a big attitude. He would take on any dog that step foot on his turf. Raphael has one of Spaghetti’s sons whom he named Rambo. What a cutie. He also has Princessa and the third one’s name is a blank right now.

Being back in the neighborhood on Isla!! This is where my heart will always be.
As with the changes of the scenery on the walk from the ferry, so is the change of the scenery in my Isla neighborhood. People move in, people move out, businesses come and businesses shut down.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Our 25th Annual Family Reunion

The 25th Annual Segebarth Family Reunion

My son Jeremy and I set off last Thursday for an 8 ½ hour drive to Camdenton, Missouri for our annual family reunion. For the past 25 years we have held one somewhere in the United States, depending on which relative hosts it.

We were a bit nervous navigating through Iowa and Upper Missouri because of the flooding that has been happening. Here is the view from our car in Upper Missouri.

I had to choke back tears as I thought of all the people who have lost everything from this devastation.

We had about 64 family members show up for this years reunion, down from the usual 75-95 because of the many family members who live in Iowa and had to stay home to pump out flooded basements.

We had five generations of family members at the reunion. The oldest being my grandmother, who is 87. Here she is with my son, Jeremy, who would be in the fourth generation.
The youngest and the fifth generation were my great nieces.
Emilie, Jeremy, Becca
Twenty girl cousins set off in style for their “annual chocolate run.”
Instead of Chocolate, we ended up racing gocarts!! I think the owners were a bit nervous when they saw twenty women drivers wanting to be on the track all at once!! Now I know where I get my competitive side from.
Go Cart Racing
Later that night a few of us “younger” cousins set off for a few at the local “Pickled Petes.” I was sober driver, which ended up a good thing because we ran into one of these.
I have never seen so many good looking men with handcuffs!! Good job Missouri!! Wish I could have taken a picture of them. We did get to watch one guy “try” to walk a straight line. I don’t think, no I know, he didn’t pass.
A great time was had by all!! I think I was a little jacked up from all the caffeine in my coke.
The next day we had a wonderful picnic at my cousin Brad’s farm. He has such a beautiful place with a pool, playground for the kids and a nice yard for our annual washer toss tournament and volleyball.

I am so thankful that my kids have been able to get to know their extended family through these reunions.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Tribute to My Daddy



Tattooed on daddy’s arm in faded bluish green ink can be read on simple work, “Tom.” Dad says he got it at the county fair when he turned sixteen. Dad is not a big man, but stands about five feet nine inches tall and his head shines like a cue ball. He likes to tell his grandchildren that he stuck his finger in a light socket and lost all his hair. Daddy’s ability to show emotional strength, rather then his physical appearance, describes him best.

I know someday daddy’s rewards in heaven will be pinned on his chest like a distinguished war veteran as God exclaims, “Tom, you receive these medals for compassion, honor, integrity, humility and most of all for strength.” Whether those rewards exist or not, I know God will give them to him anyway.

Remembering back to my childhood, I can see daddy as my protector, running across the street and pounding on the neighbors door because the neighbor boy hit daddy’s little girl. He made sure it never happened again. I sat in the front window watching my hero as he fought the battle with words instead of fists. Daddy never got in fist fights because he walked away before that could ever happen. “What will I do when daddy can’t solve my problems,” I thought to myself. Daddy taught me a lesson from this battle. Daddy somehow or another always taught silent lessons from situations. Sometimes the lessons came harder for me, but daddy made sure that through my many mistakes, I learned them. Daddy showed his strength through being my protector.

In high school daddy gave me strength by supporting my many sports activities. He even left work early many times to drive to an out of town diving meet or track meet. He never screamed or yelled, but silently cheered. I call him the strong silent type. If he thought I needed advice or support he calmly walked over and whispered in my ear, “Good job Bren.” Daddy showed his strength by being my silent cheerleader.

I never realized the magnitude of daddy’s strength until he held me up through the most devastating crisis in my life. My first husbands funeral. I still remember daddy standing next to me with his arm gently around me in a room full of caskets. I needed to pick one out to bury my husband in. “Hold me daddy and make it all go away,” I thought to myself. “What do you think,” I asked daddy as the tears swelled up in my eyes. The practical side of daddy surfaced as he said, “This one looks nice, yet is not too expensive.” He knew I felt too emotional to make a rational decision so it was up to him to be my strength in making a decision. I felt like a little girl again safe under daddy’s wing. The low light and soft elevator music in the room couldn’t soothe my aching heart. Only daddy’s strong arms around me doubled with his emotional strength made me feel that everything would be all right. Daddy dropped everything in his life to be by my side within hours of my husbands unexpected death. Making decisions and being the strength his little girl needed, even though she was grown up with children of her own. I still needed my daddy. Daddy showed his strength by being my comforter.

Years later, I fell in love again. I made my husband to be ask daddy for permission because I knew that if daddy disapproved of my choice he would say so. The wedding day came and daddy stood waiting to walk his little girl down the aisle. I felt butterflies in my stomach and my knees felt like wet noodles. Daddy sensed my anxiety so he leaned over and whispered in my ear, “You are really happy aren’t you.” This was not a question, but daddy’s way of giving his little girl strength by showing his approval.

That night I wanted to let daddy know that even though he gave his little girl away again, he had and would always represent my strength. During the father daughter dance I gazed into daddy’s eyes and sang, “You were my strength when I was weak.”

When daddy passes on and I need strength to get through any life situation, I will hear him saying, “Remember my little girl that I am always here to give you strength.”

I love you daddy!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Tree

Scanning the property, my eyes focus in on every tree. Each limb that might be in the way of a new home, every branch that would block our view of the setting sun across the Cancun skyline. Each root that would have to be removed for a pool.
Before we meet with the men who will clear the land I need to decide if there are any trees I want saved from their machete.
At the back side of the property my eye focus in on "the tree.” For some reason this tree catches my attention. The light from the blue sky radiates dimly through its limbs. “I will save you” I told the tree. Some day my grandchildren may sit on your branches when they visit. They will watch the changing colors of the sunset across the sky through your branches. We will have picnics in your cooling shade. I will watch you grow as I watch my grandchildren grow. Yes, you are “the tree.”

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Our Morning Drive

While the sky was still blue, Angel and I took an early morning drive along our township road.
She will jump at any chance to go for a ride, a walk, a run with the four wheeler or just follow the mower around the yard.
The wild flowers along the driveway are still in bloom. Just Past the rock in the picture is a 30 foot drop down into the abandoned quarry.
As we drove the township road we stopped just past our driveway entrance to listen to the creek flow. The sound of the creek water in the quiet of the country morning will be my only relaxation for the day. After picking my first wood tick off last night I decide not to navigate through the thick brush to get a closer shot.
This sign is right by our mailbox. Over the years people have used it for target practice. Notice the many bullet holes.
Back up at the house, the only bloom we can find with color is in my planter next to the garage.

Monday, June 9, 2008

First Blooms

My perennial garden near our driveway entrance has finally sprung it's first blooms.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A tribute to Jesus

I met Jesus (ChuCho) after he moved into the apartment next to us on Isla. He has since then become a dear friend. His mom moved to Isla from Taxco last year and now lives next to us also. She has also become a dear friend.
ChuCho is one of the best musicians on Isla, in my opinion. He studies hard to learn new music, he has studied classical composors and he plays a wide variety of music. His specialty is the electronic keyboard. Last October I brought him down an electronic bass, which he is doing well on also. Here are some pictures I have taken of ChuCho with his instruments. He has so far recorded two CD's and has a music video called "Burning Man."
If you ever get to Isla you have to go listen to him. He plays every night, except Monday at Villa Rolandi's. He plays Sunday nights at Poc Na, he plays Monday's right now at Brisa's Grill and Faynes. He also plays at Comono, El Patio, Ohm and keeps adding others. Every place he plays is different music from Classical, rock, and electronic.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Being a Landlord

Biggy B and I own a seven plex in Minnesota. We bought it 2 1/2 years ago and have been trying to turn it around since then.
After this past month I'm ready to sell it.....or pray a natural disaster destroys it!!!
Before I left for my Isla trip I had to serve an eviction notice (to be out by May 31st) to one tenant who hadn't paid rent for the month of May and who all the previous months had bounced her rent checks and I was left trying to squeeze rent out of her. I've heard every excuse!!! On top of that, she was always "putting up" strays who didn't have a place to live.
When I got back last Saturday and went over to check on things Sunday she tested the last ounce of patience I had left. Still in the apartment!!! I lost it and told her she had better be out by the end of the day or I would change the locks and then she could go through the courts to get her "crap" back!! This was her response. "I have play practice today."
The next day I came back and the place was a disaster. Looked like she hadn't even wiped a counter off since she had been living there. She had the nerve to tell me she is a clean person!! I'd hate to see what her view of dirty is. Locks changed and I started cleaning yesterday with the help of a friend.
Then, on top of that one, I had a tenant email me a 5 day notice while I was on Isla. He had the nerve to ask for his deposit back. He left holes in the walls, looked like he sprayed pop all over the walls, an old mattress and an old TV left behind. Said he would be back this Friday to pick them up. Locks changed yesterday and everything in storage. Cleaned and started patching walls yesteday.
Today I am going back to finish cleaning and fixing!!!
All my friends have been asking me how my trip to Isla was and my only response has been, "I wish I had never come back."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Don't Post While on Isla

Ok...Deb made me look bad. She was posting updates from Isla. I don't usually use the computer too much for posting when I am on Isla.
I took off for Isla on May 22nd and returned back to Minnesota on May 31st. The weather was hot, hot, hot!! The island was hopping with military as Isla was preparing for a visit from the President of Mexico on Sunday, June 1st.
I usually rode by the airport on a daily basis. These guys would wave at me every day.
The helicopters would fly over the apartment and sound like they were ready to land right on the roof. Makes for a loud wake up alarm!! There was a continuous back and forth between the big carrier ships and the airport strip. The best one was when they delivered a car by helicopter.
Helicopter Moving Supplies
The pilots of the helicopters usually stood near their rides while on the ground.
Guarding the Helicopter
I did a lot of walking, riding bike and taking the golf cart around the island. Went to places I had never been before and down streets I had never driven.
After a 20 minute light downpour this is what I spotted. (Isla needed the rain) Made me think of what the flooding is like after all the rain from Tropical Storms and Hurricanes.
After a Rain
I will post random thoughts and posts as the days go by, but now I am back to reality!! Dealing with renters who don't pay rent, don't give appropriate notices for moving out and leaving the apartment trashed!!!