08 Dec 2013
December 8, 2013

The Appraiser’s Notebook – December 2013

December 8, 2013

What is going through my mind is “It was the worst of times and the best of times…” with apologies to Charles Dickens.

I was having that thought as I sat wedged between a train window and a rather corpulent woman on our way north….me to New York City, and she to wherever (and I was hoping it was somewhere in South Carolina, not South New Jersey).

Frankly, it was enough to nudge me off of my flying phobia or at least get me to the point of checking airline schedules far enough in the future to make it more cost-effective to try the not-so-friendly skies.

I was on the way to the last chance I had to take the USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) update course or lose my certification.  The only reason I was doing this was that my online attempt to recertify had failed abysmally…for reasons I still do not understand.  In fairness to me, neither did the web guru who attempted to get me virtual.  It may have something to do with the age of my laptop, which is now at least five years old, as best as I can figure.  One pays for one’s frugality.  Big time.

So as I and my seatmate wended our way north I tried to be grateful for the wave of warmth that wafted off her huge left thigh (we’re tawkin’ UGE here, as Norm Crosby would say)…the one that pressed against me for most of the way up.  I also tried ignoring her head – which bobbed against me in comatose rhythm with the rails.  I succeeded at one but not the other.

I arrived at Penn Station about 16 hours after I left Savannah – sleep deprived, hungry, and anxious to get to my hotel.  I realized that crashing at 11 am would keep me up most of the evening, so I wisely decided to drop my bags and head to the Museum of Natural History, an old stomping grounds from my “ute.”

It was a smart move.  Yes, it was Sunday, meaning that thousands of people would be roaming its halls, especially with children.  Yes, I only had about five hours to view the exhibits meaning I had to make some serious decisions.  So, yes, I went to the Hall of Minerals and Dinosaurs.

They were nothing like those I remembered from my childhood. 

Mostly backlit, over the top and highly descriptive, any criticism is reserved for the information about the chemical formulae for each crystal displayed. But I have no criticism for the exhibits themselves.  I am still trying to figure out how they managed to show the effects of folding on a slab of rock that was cut so thinly it was a wonder it hadn’t cracked at some point during its removal from whatever outcrop from whence it came.

It was also astonishing that nowhere in the museum was photography prohibited.  Visitors snapped away with impunity.  Guards were few so I could have literally snatched a few specimens and run away….unless I missed infrared beams and/or cameras placed where I couldn’t see them.

I made my continuing education course the next day.  And yes, I will be back to the museum.  No way I could stay away.

About the Author


Beth A. Kinstler, ISA-CAPP is a certified member of the International Society of Appraisers and the president of Avalon Appraisals and Estate Sales. She may be reached at 912-238-1211 or 912-659-2900.