The Good Life in Austin Texas


When the Pitter-Patter of Little Feet is NOT a Welcome Sound!

assorted mouse trapsWake Up...I feel something jabbing my ribs and the words...WAKE UP, whispered loudly. Wait, what? My wife whispers louder and tells me she hears "something" downstairs! I groggily get out of bed and as she motions for me to "get a move on", I listen and realize she is right, something IS moving around downstairs. I nod and whisper, "I hope I did not leave the sliding doors ajar". Slowly leaving the bedroom, I say, "Maybe I should take a stick or something" to which my wife replies, " need to, "Man Up"and get down there and take care of the intruder in my kitchen!" Now, I have to tell you, a challenge like that is pretty harsh especially coming from a West Texas girl. Rolling my eyes (luckily this was in the dark) I tell her that it's probably some animal from the valley behind our home but I don't want to startle a raccoon with nothing but a look of concern on my face.

Taking a broom from the upstairs closet, I make my way downstairs and warily approach the kitchen noting that the sliding doors to the deck are secured. Standing at the entrance to the kitchen, I hear the sound of cook ware moving about in a corner cabinet. I ease the door open and shove the broom handle into the space wildly flailing it within the cabinet and hear some tiny feet scurrying away. I shout upstairs that "the coast is clear and it was just a mouse". To which my wife replies, "A mouse? Well, kill it, I do NOT want any critters wandering about our home." Yeah, she actually said, "critters". As I return to bed my wife tells me to call Lawrence Benford, our friend who owns and operates Blue Light Exterminators a local pest control business that has been servicing many of my clients throughout Austin for years!

Lawrence BenfordWe have lived on a beautiful valley in our Lost Creek Neighborhood since 1992 and have seen a veritable Noah's Ark of "critters" making their way across our back yard but we have NEVER had a mouse! The following day (ignoring my wife's suggestion) I purchased an assortment of mouse traps from a big box store and set them around the house with all the confidence guaranteed on the packages of each trap. Two days later we hear the sound of scurrying feet in the ceiling and I realize (as my wife is adamantly pointing it out) that the guaranteed traps are NOT working. So...back to the store for several more including a particularly promising one that is supposed to "shock" the rodents.

Arriving from my second trip to the store, I happily spread the new traps about thinking that the pestilence in our home would soon be coming to an end.That very evening my son motions to me that he hears a noise in the pantry. I grab a broom and tell him to open the door and as he does a tiny field mouse rushes out causing my son (the rough & tumble football running back, Rugby Player) to leap in the air and let out a cry of distress. Swinging wildly I miss and the critter escapes beneath the stove and to parts unknown. We both look at each other incredulously and I immediately start in on him for his reaction! At that point my wife walks in and announces that we are "not much help when it comes to defending our home from unwanted intruders". As we stare at her open mouthed, she walks to the phone and calls Lawrence Benford  while laughingly deriding our skills as hunters and protectors of the cave =0

Okay, you know where this is going. Lawrence showed up promptly and as we walked around the house announced to me that with the colder weather we have had this year it has been quite common for assorted rodents to try and "move in" to more comfortable and well stocked quarters.Austin is evidently going through something of an invasion of sorts at every type of property from mansions to condos to commercial spaces feeling the onslaught of the aggressive rodents! As we walked around our home, Lawrence pointed out some tiny worn spots in the little bit of siding we have on the back of our home that was an avenue where a mouse could gain entry. After scouting the area he filled any spots that could be used and set out some traps of his own. Long story short, mice gone and have not returned and all at a cost LESS than the amount of money I spent on all those traps!. So, if you have any sort of "pest" problems,I highly recommend calling  Blue Light Exterminators. If you are not in the Austin area, call a LOCAL pest control business and stay with a company in your town!


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153 commentsRussell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI • February 15 2010 10:01PM

Incident at Victorias Secret and some Valentine's Day Advice

"If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?" - unknown

Russell looks at LingerieI was at Barton Creek Square this week on my way to the Apple Retail Store when I passed by the Victoria's Secret Boutique. I stopped for a moment to do some "window shopping" and as I looked over the displays I noticed a person inside I thought I recognized. Upon closer inspection I realized that the person in question was a fellow real estate agent who was obviously shopping for a little something for Valentine's Day. As I continued to watch I noticed that he seemed to be awkwardly looking through the store and at the same time looking around with a somewhat guilty look on his face. Now I have to tell you I know this guy fairly well and he is about as straight laced as they come. To protect his identity we will call him "Bill". As I watched him stiffly lurching around the store I started chuckling and decided it would be a good time for me to do some shopping myself.

I casually strolled into the store unnoticed by "Bill" and made my way over to the "7 Sides of Sexy" section where he was sorting through some fairly racy G-Strings. One of the sales associates approached and ask him if he needed help and he nervously replied that he did not! Waiting a few moments longer and edging to within about 10 feet, I suddenly blurted out, (loud enough to be heard in 1/2 the store) "BILL"...BILL! Hey man, do you shop here too?" He turned around and as soon as he saw me the blood left his face and I thought he would faint! He was  flustered and unable to speak so I just kept up a friendly banter, "This place really has lots of fun items don't you think?" He finally managed to stammer something unintelligible, gather up several garments and beat a path to the check out. As he left, I called across the store, "Hey Bill. I bet you have a good Valentine's day!"

Now I know, that was uncalled for but sometimes I just cannot help myself and I also know that lingerie and Valentine's day is a perfectly natural fit. I realize that men and women enjoy lingerie for different reasons but the point of this post is to let those of you who are shy about such matters know that it's okay. Every store I have ever patronized has had a professional staff that was very cool about the product. So don't be afraid to ask questions. For all couples I have a suggestion that my wife utilized for me after we were first married. Ladies, take a file card and write down all of your measurements and place this card in your partners billfold so that (if the lady in your life trusts you to purchase clothing items) you will have the correct measurements. Another tip when I am shopping is I try to find a sales associate who is similar in height, weight and proportion to my wife. This can be a fun shopping event event and when it comes to lingerie, you have to remember this key element, lingerie is not made to be worn for all that long ;-). As a service to shoppers in Austin, here is a list of other fine local establishments carrying Valentine's merchandise:

Underwear                   Petticoat Fair                Tabu Lingerie           Lerouge Boutique

          The Bazaar                                Forbidden Fruit     

Last but certainly not least, I realize that lingerie really is something that men probably enjoy more than women but as a friend of mine who was in the fashion business used to say, "A woman enjoys being adorned and admired by her partner, no matter the shape, size or age and it's foolish to try and look like all those models in the catalogs"! So it's fun for all with the right attitude!  I am laughing as I type this because it's not what a person usually finds in a Localism post (at least not in the blogs I read). However now that I have actually posted this I hope that it in some small way contributes to a little romance on Valentine's Day. Go ahead, have some fun, I promise I won't tell and if we see ourselves in one of these places together, we will act like Baptists in a Liquor store and ignore each other!  It's a good life in Austin Texas, Happy Valentines Day...Y'all!

Disclaimer: I received permission from my wife to write this BEFORE posting!

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94 commentsRussell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI • February 12 2010 03:26PM

Football Fans,The Superbowl and the New Orleans/Westlake Connection

Westlake Student Council-Drew Brees T-Shirt Sale

My name is Russell and I am a football fan. There, I admitted it but considering where I was born and raised I never really had a chance.I grew up in West Texas, the epicenter of a state that already considers the sport just shy of a religion. You’ve seen “Friday Night Lights”, well that’s my part of the state. High School Football rules with the NFL and college ball running 2nd and a distant 3rd. As a child I remember watching the Dallas Cowboys with my Dad, early days with Don Meredith and Roger Staubach leading the team to various heights of success and on through Aikman and the current multiple year run of the the soap opera known as “Jerry’s World”! To be a fan of the dysfunctional Cowboys over the years is a weird, heavy load to bear. My fellow fan Jason Crouch and I have spent hours commiserating over the folly of our team! Not to be confused with the obvious impairment of say, Eagle’s fans but troubling none the less. Each week watching some of the best talent assembled on the field either play masterfully or lose miserably instills a horrible insecurity in a fan,constantly worried about each play wondering when they will explode or implode. I guess this is what they mean by co-dependent behavior.

And to think I mistakenly believed I had managed to break myself of the football habit for a number of years. Until that fateful day when the Westridge Middle School Track Coach and Football Coach called us up and asked if we would consider allowing our son to play football...His mom and I reluctantly agreed and that was it, off the wagon and this time, with my wife as a willing partner enabling both of us, the addiction returned full bore. As we became fans of Westlake Football my wife bought a couple of books on the subject, attended a coaches camp and really got hooked. I knew we were in over our heads when I returned from an Open House to find her sitting on the couch excitedly cheering on the Cowboys on TV. She looked up at me and said, “Hey baby, let’s get tickets to see the Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day”! I was was shocked and could not have been more surprised if she had said, “Hey baby, would you please install a stripper pole in our bedroom?” Although we have been Cowboys fans our son, ever the contrarian (my wife says he gets it from me) has been a fan of former Westlake High School Football quarterback, Drew Brees. As quarterback at our school he won every game the year we won state and he continued to follow Brees while at San Diego and now with the New Orleans Saints. For a better idea about the his remarkable personality and career check out this recent Drew Brees Profile in the New York Times.  

I believe that all football fans struggle with whom to support at the SuperBowl. After all only two teams make it, if we are lucky it’s not a couple we abhor (Did I mention the Eagles or those arrogant Patriots)? In the past I have at various times cheered for Paul Slaybaugh’s, Arizona Cardinals and *GASP* even June Lewis's, Pittsburgh Steelers. Yeah, I know, fellow Cowboys fans will be giving me a ration of S%*&;;$  for that confession). This year it’s different, this year, Drew Brees will be leading the New Orleans Saints to their first ever Superbowl. Drew Brees is a 1997 graduate of Westlake High School and as they say, Once Chap (short for Chaparral) always a Chap! But really it’s more than that, Drew Brees is a remarkable person in his own right both on and off the field. A truly decent person, he gives back to his community through the Brees Dream Foundation and the nation as well. Check out this NFL Play 60 ad as he joins other NFL personalities to support kids fitness:

 Pretty cool and this year, Westlake High School is selling T-Shirts to support the Brees Dream Foundation  that does so much good in an unselfish manner.  If you want one they are going fast at $10 each through Saturday. So this weekend along with a huge contingent of Westlake football fans, my family (especially our son who has been loyal for years) and who knows who else, I will be joining (at least in spirit) my friend Lisa Heindel, New Orleans Resident and Realtor and enjoying a great time rooting for a team that I actually support... at least until next year ;-)

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97 commentsRussell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI • February 06 2010 05:57AM