A Glimpse Into Property Management; We’re Always Learning

By: Hannah Peerbolt, Property Manager

Last week a few members of our staff went to a training conference out of town. I thought I’d share with you my experience in one of the sessions so you can catch a glimpse of what we do here to keep up with the latest technology in order to serve our tenants and owners better. 

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I consider myself an intelligent person, but the moment I walked into this particular session I knew I was in way over my head…

My first clue was that the instructor had an over-complicated IT title and a maniacal grin on his face knowing what he was about to put us through. He started off quickly and straight to the point:

“As you move through this report,  go through and tell it what position you want the character as a variable in the text. After the first loop, you would have the output account number; the charge type will have MH assist in it. The second time through the report will strip off the pipe character. Rinse and repeat.”

I pretend to comprehend and follow along on my laptop, typing words I’ve never used in the same sentence. The session goes on, going downhill as the disconnect between speaker and crowd grows larger. 

People are looking disoriented and confused; he’s claiming that he spent a lot of time covering template import and export and no one dares disagree. I personally don’t know what he has and has not spent time on as I float through the session in a daze, keeping up with the rare familiar word that comes up once every twenty minutes… Report. Customer. Unit. These words jolting me back into reality while offering hope that there is possibly a subject in this session that I am able to grasp.

The room is still and quiet, not one mouth speaking a question though our minds are reeling with them. Eight people have walked out and I am convinced the rest of us are here out of politeness and to save face. He hasn’t talked in five minutes, he’s focused on creating these reports like I focus on tacos. Ten people gone. He cracks a smile and we laugh nervously. He is starting a report that he does not have a template for. Adding in tenant charges as a unique ID (which he assures us can be whatever we want it to be), he is now trying to match up a report that he has previously exported. He claims that we got “most of the information” and we all blindly believe him, because really, which one of us would dare to call the master out? He says this is the most complex script in the software and laughs with pride. We are now smiling mostly out of fear as he walks us through this script.

The script in question is three pages long. The usefulness of this report is questionable as he is discussing writing checks to each and every city that could possibly be involved in your life. Can you write separate checks? Absolutely. But why would you do that when you have the opportunity to use the most difficult and complex script in the software? Twelve bodies have now left the room. I look around nervously as my typing is the only sound in the room. I thank God I am wearing glasses as they are the only thing remotely connecting me with this elite group of humans who remain in the room. My head hurts. Organized large variables are being created on the screen and I’m searching my brain for information I don’t have in order to back this up and understand a tiny morsel of what the man is saying.

At this point, 15 people have vacated the room and I am about to follow. Counting down the minutes left, I plan my escape. I walked out right before Q and A as not even I have the stamina to endure what was sure to be either the most awkward human speech encounter of all time or the most intellectual conversation known to man…

Grand Rapids Food Adventures Part 1

By: Jared Behrens, General Manager

I am no foodie, but I sure do love food, and I love food indiscriminately.  I don’t care if I am eating a $5 burger or a $50 steak, both have their gastronomical place in my heart.  I have been thinking long and hard of what I should be writing about, and for weeks have come up empty.  I kept thinking that I should be writing about the things I am passionate about, but I was not sure if there was anything I am passionate about that others would care about.  It was not until I was pondering these thoughts over a delicious lunch that it hit me, “I need to write about food.” So here we go.  I would like to take readers of my online ramblings on a small adventure month by month through the food landscape of Grand Rapids.  I will visit some of the top-of-the-line fancy steakhouses, as well as, hole in the wall diners.  You would be surprised at the options that Grand Rapids provides if you just look for it.pho

Todays’ food adventure takes us south on Division, past 36th St, into Wyoming.  Pho Soc Trang is a perfectly unassuming Vietnamese café hidden away within a larger building behind another authentic restaurant (which I hope to cover later), and a grocery store.  If you do not know where it is, you won’t find it.  I first found this cafe with a friend year’s back when I elected to spend the summer never eating at the same restaurant twice.  I had heard of the beef noodle soup (pho) here and that it was some of the best in the area.  To be honest, I never had pho before my first time here, but after my experience, it is a regular staple of my diet now.

pho2As I walked up to the front door, I first noticed their newly redesigned awning welcoming me (nice touch).  After entering, I noticed that the floor had also been re-tiled, but the ambiance was still just as unassuming as ever.  This place is “no frills” and I cannot express that enough.  Typically one or two tables are taken up with food being prepped, or sweets wrapped up ready for some other purpose (of which I am not sure).  The tables and chairs are as basic as can be, and daytime soap operas play on the flat screen TV’s on either end of the dining room.  What I really love about Pho Soc Trang is the family atmosphere.  If you go during the summer, the owner’s kids are playing with toys in the dining room and shooting playful smiles at the patrons as they eat.pho3
The menu is filled with choices, but you do not have to spend much time thinking about it.  Immediately go with any of their beef noodle soups.  My personal preference is the soup with rare cooked beef, tripe, tendon and beef ball.  The food comes out quickly, and is typically served by a gentleman whom I have never heard speak…EVER!  I have made it my goal to get him to say something…anything, but alas I have failed.  Today was no different.  The old gentleman quietly brings out my pho, sets a plate of fresh basil, cilantro, beansprouts, lime and jalapeños next to a small plate of red pepper sauce.  I shoot a smile to the old man and say “Looks delicious, thank you.”  He only looks back at me briefly and returns to the kitchen.  I could care less, I am hungry and I have work to do.

Here is the thing I love about Pho, anyone can make it to their own liking.  Like lots of greens?  Pile them up!  Me, I like it spicy!  I dump all of the jalapeños and pepper sauce in and squeeze a fresh lime in the bowl.  I leave that Sriracha crap on the table.  Don’t even get me started on Sriracha!
Here is some advice I have for you if you are new to this.

  1. The portions are huge! Come hungry.
  2. Don’t wear white. You are slurping up large quantities of soup, and it is bound to get everywhere
  3. Speaking of slurping, don’t be shy. Make some noise, that’s how you are supposed to eat it.  If you are daintily sipping away at your soup, you are going to get some strange looks.

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Here is the best part of it all, after eating some of the most incredible Vietnamese food Grand Rapids has to offer, I walked out of the door spending less than $10.  Again, you need to remember, this is a “no frills” sort of place.  Looking for silver wear?  Don’t even think about it.  Use your chopsticks like a big kid and enjoy the experience.  True, you may need to step a little out of your comfort zone, but I can assure you that if you do, this place will not disappoint.