What’s All The Fuss About? It’s Just Leap Day.

All around the internet there seems to be an almost celebratory interest in today, Leap Day.  The question of the day seems to be “What are you doing with your extra day?”  There are Leap Day activity suggestions for children and reminders of traditions and legends galore but is it really something to celebrate?

Did you know that if you are a single lady with a boyfriend who’s dragging their heels, today you can propose to him?  It really is a 50/50 split on whether your relationship will last the day because what if he says no?  It’s not like we are in the Middle Ages anymore where there were laws governing Leap Day proposals.  Did you know that if a man turned down a woman’s proposal on Leap Day, he was expected to pay a penalty towards the woman’s dowry or he was required to purchase the woman 12 pairs of gloves so that she could hide her shame of not wearing an engagement ring? 

Some couples are even bolder and choose to marry on this day, considering it to be a lucky day.  However, if you find yourself in Greece on Leap Day, Greek tradition says that it is considered bad luck to marry on Leap Day or in a leap year for that matter.  They also consider births to be unlucky on this day as well. Probably because what day do you celebrate in the other three years?  This morning I heard tale of a grandmother that refused to acknowledge her granddaughter’s birthday except every four years.  On the bright side, if you were born on February 29, 1928, CHEERS!!  You are 21 years old today! 

So, I guess…..HAPPY LEAP DAY!!

 

Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association – Realtor® Expo

Thank you to all the Realtors® who stopped by our booth today.  It was great that we had a chance to stop and chat. Don’t forget to sign up for Realtors® Care Day, coming up April 20th . 

We hope you enjoyed lunch (it was our pleasure to serve you) and Front Porch ice cream.  We loved the Sweet Tea ice cream.  Did you have a favorite flavor?

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who knew the hottest item at the show would be……….the coin purse!!!! 

 

The Internet Of Everything

Do you remember when IBM made typewriters and movie theaters were the only places to watch movies?  Do you remember when WWW stood for World Wide Wrestling and a web search was something your grandmother did with a broom?

It is hard to remember what the world was like, just 21 years ago, when Tim Berners-Lee successfully sent the first HTML message between a client and a server via the Internet.  It was Christmas Day 1990 and the World Wide Web was born.

Benoit College reminds us that most members of the Class of 2012 were born in 1990 and into a world where computers and rapid communications have been commonplace.   How have the changes in their world affected our world?

Many of us find it easier today to purchase a product from our keyboards than from any merchant in town.  Amazon.com went online when today’s seniors were 5 years old. 

I only keep a few old-fashioned stamps in my desk for cards on the very special occasions of my close friends because, most of the time, it is just easier to send an e-card.  Directly emailable greeting cards have been popular since they were 6 and Google has been around since they were 8.

We used to wait for the postman to deliver rent payments but now, with one click, we draft thousands of rent dollars electronically from hundreds of our residents’ checking accounts.  Internet security protocols were adopted when today’s college seniors were 9 years old. 

And, finally, have you ever arranged a dinner date with your wife via email?   Or tweeted via WiFi in your church’s sanctuary?  Or texted your children who were upstairs in the same house?   All of these interactions and many, many more are part of the world we all live in today.

What’s next?   Here are a few examples but they are just the tip of the iceberg.

The availability of high bandwidth, super-low-cost sensors, wireless networking technology, unprecedented storage and computing power and, now, enough IP addresses for every atom on Earth are knocking down barriers daily.

As Trends Magazine recently mentioned, “not only will refrigerators keep tabs on their contents and suggest items that need restocking or discarding” but even individual light bulbs will have IP addresses and be connected by WiFi.  Today’s compact fluorescent and LED bulbs already contain tiny circuit boards that control their function.

Caller ID has separated the must-answer calls from the will-handle-later calls for years but voice to text conversion software provides a new hybrid and time-saving service today which never existed before but will be commonplace tomorrow.

Sometime soon, we’ll laugh about how old fashioned our fax machines were because  they only worked in two dimensions.  Digital fabrication will make it cost-effective to manufacture low-volume, high-quality 3-D products locally. 

Will your child’s teacher be more impressed with a sketch on her 3-panel science fair display board or a 3-dimensional model demonstrating her research? Will a cooperating Realtor® prefer instructions about where the key is hidden under “the red flower pot behind the 3rd shrub” or simply a digitally fabricated 3-D key to the basement padlock of the subject property? 

3-D printers cost $45,000 in 2001.  The desktop do-it-yourself kit sells for $1,500 today.

Hospital patients will rest easier without a plethora of probes and cables made possible by wireless sensors and more instrumentation built into the beds.  Micro-cameras the size and shape of a pill will locate sources of illness as they pass through our bodies sending out thousands of images and data.  

Our buildings, bridges and underground infrastructure will report their conditions because of small, inexpensive, networked sensors which already exist.

Soon, we will wonder why we were so fascinated with keyless-ignition automobiles when facial recognition software, which is already quite powerful in Apple tablets, goes mainstream.  Are you ready for shelf signs to change to match your buying habits or favorite colors, size or style as you walk the aisles of a local grocery or clothing store?   They will.

And the proliferation of RFID technology will mean no more waiting in line to checkout.   We will merely walk out the door as our product and payment devices are read wirelessly.

Some predict there will be 50 billion Internet devices by 2020, all networked to what is being called “The Internet of Things.”   The transformative possibilities are mind-numbing. 

Connected devices will touch every aspect of our lives and, just as we say about Amazon, Google, Blue Mountain, Paypal and Facebook today, we’ll wonder how we lived without them.

Fat Tuesday

Today is Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday which is the last day of Carnival or The Feast of the Epiphany.  The final day is filled with celebration and feasting as Christians prepare for Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent.  The most common question that has been asked around the internet today is “have you had your King Cake yet?”

King Cake ( and there are various styles and origins, but we will stick with the most popular in the US, Gulf coast style) is a rolled, brioche style, cinnamon cake ring with a white sugar glaze.  The King Cake is typically decorated with colored sugar in the colors of Mardi Gras:  purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power.  A small plastic baby, representing the Baby Jesus, is either baked into the cake or is simply placed in the middle of the cake and the one who gets the a piece of cake with the baby is King or Queen for the day.

If you are looking for a great dinner idea tonight, consider a Mardi Gras theme.  Don’t worry, I have linked all the recipes you will need including the one for King Cake here.  Lucky for you Cajun cooking is easy to make and tasty to eat.

Have a Fat Tuesday!

Is Your Sauce the BEST in the Carolinas?

According to the Charlotte Business Journal, the 2012 DNC Host Committee is looking for the best of the best in barbeque sauces that represent the Carolinas! Ok, ok before you all start a shouting match declaring your sauce supreme, the Convention Host Committee isn’t looking to settle the age old debate about BBQ in the Carolinas, they just want to assemble a package to be sold online featuring a mustard, a vinegar and a tomato-based sauce that will represent the Carolinas as a whole.  All proceeds will be going towards the Committee’s fundraising efforts to raise $36.65 million which is their commitment to put on the DNC here in Charlotte.  Also, the establishment whose sauce is chosen will then get bragging rights as being the BEST sauce in their style.

See it’s all one nation, under BBQ.  Leave the debates for the politicians, but VINEGAR RULES!!!

Paperless Owners

Many of our clients are choosing to receive their monthly statements through e-mail and their monthly payments via direct deposit.  In fact, 980 owners are on our monthly direct deposit system and this feature is available at no extra cost to our clients.  787 owners receive their monthly statements electronically.  It’s definitely a faster and greener way to do business.

Interested?  Contact our accounting department for more information at accounting@trlawing.com.

Focusing on Relationship Wellness

Strong, healthy relationships take a lot of nurturing.  Take time this month to spend it with your love ones in thoughtful, simple ways that engage them in quality time.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here are some FREE ideas for you to say I love you and not look cheap.

  • Warm temps this winter have kept things nice and mild.  Grab a sandwich “to go” from the fridge and have a picnic in your own backyard with your family.
  • Visit a local nature center, park or greenway and simply take a stroll.  You will get the exercise you need and the conversation that you may have been lacking for awhile.  You might even end up holding hands.  Aww!
  • Did you know that the simple act of planning a vacation can reduce your stress level?  Go online and plan your “dream” vacation and hit save.  Then gather up the change from the couch and start a vacation fund towards your dream.
  • Turn off the TV and the computer AND the iPhone/Blackberry for  Family Game Night.
  • Volunteer at a local soup kitchen, just to put things into perspective.
  • Borrow a movie from a friend or sign one out of the library and watch it together.  Better yet, all those shows, you have been saving on DVR….watch them!
  • Make hot chocolate and cozy up under a warm blanket and look at the stars.

What is your idea of  quality time, whether it be with your special someone or your family?

You’re Sick, Stay Home!

I am reporting to you remotely today because I am sick.  I am not telling you that because I need your sympathy but because I made the conscious decision to stay home since I spent the majority of the day yesterday infecting the office enough and my doctor warned me that if I still had any fever, I should stay home.  That doesn’t mean that I am not feeling guilty for not being at work today.  There are things that need to be done.  Office supplies need to be ordered, letters to residents and owners need to be written, and marketing decisions need to be made.  But all of that must wait while I rest and recover.

Why do we feel like we are doing the company some sort of disservice when we are unable to perform our duties?  When you’re sick, you’re sick, stay home!  Has the economy and job market got us so freaked out that we are willing to show up and prove what a hard worker we are by working sick?  I must turn to my favorite doctor, WebMD for a little advice on this one.  “People are concerned about calling in sick, but if you’re really feeling unwell and especially if you have a fever, you need to stay home,” says Catherine Cummins, MD, MSN, a health sciences assistant clinical professor at the University of California-Irvine School of Medicine. “A little bit of common sense goes a long way.”

The next time you are feeling unwell, consider this  when you are sick you are not working at your best.  Not to mention, your emotional health is compromised.  Working sick will help lead to burn out later.  You will remember this when things get stressful and you will be upset later at your boss for not appreciating the gesture.

Second, germs are contagious. The only way to curb the spread of germs is to not spread them. Simple, but true.  There isn’t enough Lysol in the world that will beat this option.  I know, easier said than done.  However, fever = infection.  Stay home!

Finally, rest! The sooner you get some good rest, the sooner you get well.  Not resting will worsen the problem and cause you to be out longer.  Catch it early and you might not loose as much time as you think.

Here’s to good health.

Go Red!

Today is National Wear Red Day and we were just wondering if you were seeing red?

Since 1963, February has been designated as American Heart Month to help in the fight against heart disease.  Since 2004, Go Red for Women has been working hard to educate women about heart disease and stroke.  Many companies around the country are wearing red today to support this effort, including T.R. Lawing, Realty, Inc.

Happy Heart Month!