Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


Anyone got a few bricks I can borrow?

     My grandfather, on my Dad’s side, was badly crippled with arthritis his whole adult life.

     I can only guess at the amount of pain he lived with----pain made visible in the gnarled fingers that could only sort-of grasp the ever ready cane at his side.

Just a few bricks short----among other things     I have to think that his occasional short temper and sometimes “crotchety” nature were in part a reflection of this pain he lived with on a daily basis.  There were six of us kids growing up in the big, old, two-family farmhouse----and there was always one of us that was deserving of one of his favorite admonishments, “Use your head for something besides a hat rack.” 

     Now, none of us kids would have ever been “clinically” considered to be, “A few bricks short of a full load.”  In fact we all had to carry our bricks with pride.  I like to think this was just his way of pushing us kids to perform even better----when we would occasionally not quite meet his expectations----or trip over his cane chasing each other around the house.

     I got to thinking about this the other day in relation to people being “smart,” and what it means to be “smart” as opposed to “dumb-as-a-bag-of-hammers.”

     One would like to think that people that break the law are some how less “smart” than the rest of us.  I had something occur at an inspection the other day that made me think about this in a different way.

     I tend to think that really smart people can still do really dumb things----perhaps no different than my grandfather used to point out some 55 years ago.

     Try this question out on yourself----would you have thought of this?

     The house I was inspecting had been vacant for 9 months.

     Would you have thought to use the address of this house to have a “mystery package” delivered to it----in order to avoid having it delivered directly to your own address?”

     My grandfather would have still said, “Use your head for something besides a hat rack.”  

     I found it very clever----

----if not “smart.”

Charles Buell


Seattle Home Inspectors, ASHI Home Inspector, Licensed Home Inspector, Structural Pest Inspector, Charles Buell Inspections Inc, Seattle, WA


Click on the Rose A Group by any other name. to check out:  AHA!---A Forum of Landmark Proportions---your Group

PS, for those of you that are new to my blog (or for some other "unexplained" reason have never noticed)sunsmileall pictures and smiley-face inserts (emoticons) (when I use them) have messages that show up when you point at them with your cursor.Just quack on me to subscribe


Raven DeCroeDeCroe, is my "ethereal" home inspector assistant and occasionally flies into my blog and other people's blogs to offer assistance. To find out more about her beginnings just click on Raven.

The Human Rights Campaign



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Seattle Home Inspector


The Human Rights Campaign   QR code for Charles Buell Inspections Inc


WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board

Comment balloon 15 commentsCharles Buell • September 26 2009 07:52AM


Did I miss something?  This wasn't about the chimney?  What was in the package?  Congratulations on your feature yesterday.

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) over 9 years ago

I love to see great posts like this one...keep them coming!

Posted by Jeremy K. Frost, Associate Broker, CNE, CRS, ePro, PSA (Keller Williams Realty) over 9 years ago

Hi, Charles. There's smart...and then there's cunning, which are often confused.

Posted by Leslie Helm, Real Estate For Trail Riders (Tennessee Recreational Properties) over 9 years ago

I've heard that some crooks use vacant houses to have packages delivered so they can't be traced to them.  That's so smart it's downright criminal.  

Love the phrase "dumb-as-a-bag-of-hammers!"

Posted by Marcy Eastham (Town & Country Realty Corvallis Oregon) over 9 years ago

Charles, I've heard the same thing as Marcy.  If the guys who thought this up could only use their "smarts" in a more productive direction...of course we've heard that before.

Posted by Nick T Pappas, Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource (Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Huntsville AL) over 9 years ago

So Mr Charles, what did you mail order that you had delivered there. Sounds like it was something you did not want Ms Julie to know about. So curious.


Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 9 years ago

So....depends on what was in the package? Curious and curiouser :)  By the way great feature post.

Posted by Ana Hitzel, Professional Home Stager Inland Empire ( AccentPositives Home Staging ) over 9 years ago

Thanks Barbara, those gold Stars are pretty nice when they show up:)  What do you want to be in the package?
Jeremy, thanks
Leslie, yes---very difficult to know the difference.
Marcy, that is what was going on here as well.
Nick---a kind of "street smarts" perhaps----wasn't there some "wallstreet smarts?":)
Nutsy, Victoria's Secret----for you:)
Ana, thanks----and what do YOU think might have been in the package?

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Something fishy

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

I love "dumb-as-a-bag-of-hammers"!  That goes with "not the sharpest knife in the drawer" :)  Now can you write another post on how you happened upon this mystery package? This is a cliffhanger!

Posted by Shoshana Shay (St. Pete Realty) over 9 years ago

Shoshana, and everyone.  So sorry to get everyone so curious as to the "mystery package."  The post is merely about the question in blue----the agent merely told me about the package and I just thought it was so interesting I had to make a blog post about it.  Regardless---Fishy, has the answer:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Intelligence and knowledge are two very different things. Some people are very knowledgeable, but lack good sense so we perceive them as dumb. Others may not embody the book smarts of a scholar, but are wise or even devious in other ways. Both of these persons are "smart"

The person who sent the package is "smart".

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 9 years ago

James, I thought so too.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

That roof has been coated more times than that chimney...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay, probably

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago