It's been an extremely arduous journey, but my garden is finally coming together.
Aren't you excited for me? (My long-suffering neighbors certainly are.)
I've got several crews on site laying irrigation, building fences, setting stone, and planting the beds, and all of them, are working morning to dusk to move the project along. (Thank you.)
My house is a veritable bee hive of activity and I couldn't be more pleased, especially with Thanksgiving right around the corner. (I typically host about 30 family members for a formal affair and I'm already in overdrive.) Who knew that a new fence could excite me more than a new car? (It does.)
Last week, my sister and I took a trip out to Devil Mountain, a commercial nursery out in San Ramon, to specify the plant varieties for last Friday's delivery. AND although both of us intuitively know a good deal about plants and what goes where (trial and error), it still took us several hours to come up with a master plan that made sense for my new garden, which encompasses front, back and side yards and offered nothing but a muddy blank canvas (that's both good and bad) with LOTS of ground to cover (and that's not just a metaphor for life; there's literally LOTS of ground to cover). In the end, I ordered more than $8,000 worth of trees, shrubs and ground cover and still, I'll need to go back for a second delivery to fill in what's missing (this is when an open line of credit comes in handy).
Luckily, Jill and I are fairly decisive individuals and we recognize that a plant is a decision that's easily changed. If it doesn't work in one spot, we'll find another where it's sure to grow and flourish. Ditto for paint colors, the distressed corbels I couldn't pass up at the flea market on Sunday, or the stunning painting that I'm not sure where I'll place, but had to have. (It's not every partner who would go along for the ride.Thankfully, Cliff has with few objections.)
In truth, I've always been quick to make decisions, recognizing that short of my children, there's almost nothing that's set in stone. Gardens aren't static environments and neither are our lives, but at some point we have to stop germinating and break ground before we can grow.
Have I made questionable choices now and again?
Undoubtedly, but then I can always choose another path (and have many times). It's a lesson I'm trying to pass on to my grown son, Case, who's 25 and still trying on different hats on his way to becoming a full-fledged adult. (The misses are every bit as important as the successes, son.) To my way of thinking, a decision isn't necessarily good or bad, it's just the next step; hopefully that step is forward.
Still, without minimizing the decision-making process, making difficult choices is tough for nearly everyone and having worked with hundreds of Buyers and Sellers over the years, I recognize just how gut-wrenching it can be. Homes sales tend to be BIG financial decisions and they often create significant life-altering events that affect not only you, but your children and partners as well. Nor does it simplify the decision-making process that buying or selling a home is also highly emotional for most people. Of course such a decision is going to give you pause - and well it should.
Just in the past several days, I've run across ALL of the following questions by prospective Buyers and Sellers and this represents a typical week for me. (Do you recognize any of these?)
These are all valid inquiries, but such choices shouldn't freeze you in your tracks; they should clarify your goals and move you forward. Unfortunately, sometimes "clarity" can be more aspirational than available as we work through the pros and cons of such choices only to find ourselves with more questions than answers. (Now what?)
Ahhh, that's where "Decide" comes in. This unique company was developed by three dynamic Piedmont business women (and mothers): Maria Carson Breber, Allison Elvekrog, and KeriAnne Hohener, who together, recognized that we all come up against choices that are far more grey than black and white,specifically around homes, our kids, their education, college choices, job opportunities, career tracks, and whether or not to return to work, etc., and maybe, just maybe we could use a system that helps us make heads or tails of it all.
While some choices in life are non-negotiable ("death and taxes" as the saying goes), there are many that are not, but if we're not careful, they can tie us up for months, if not years. Decide's methodology not only quantifies your priorities, but clarifies them as well, and does so without any JUDGEMENT. (That's a nifty trick worth mastering.)
And without giving away any trade secrets, for those of you stuck in "limbo land" (whatever the decision; whatever the life choice) I want to encourage you to pursue this smart system if you find yourself sitting on the fence for more than just a few months. (Truly, years can go by on that fence while the market marches up, UP and away.)
Maria and Allison met with me last week at our GRUBB Co. offices in Montclair and gave me a detailed demonstration of the process and while the session was great for real estate questions specifically, it's got such strong appeal, that I imagine their decision methodology will prove useful in many broader applications very quickly. (Go team!)
Still, it's the world of Real Estate in which I live, so for those of you struggling with the answers to the questions above, I'm putting in a "plug" for Decide and encouraging you to contact Maria Carson Breber at: firstname.lastname@example.org or at 510-517-5608. While I recognize there may be some duplication in what we offer and that a Realtor is often your first point of contact when it comes to such decisions, sometimes, it's a neutral third party that you seek to help put a master plan into action. (I take no offense.)
Helping you decide that next big step is what I'm here for, even if it's someone else that helps guide the way. Whatever we do together, let's make sure it's the best choice for you and that your garden grows. (Now, that one is a metaphor.) It's my job to help you bloom, no matter where you're planted . . .
How can I help you?
(To check out my Instagram page, go to: instagram.com/piedmontrealtorgirl)
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.