Jill, Sarah and I will take a breather from Opens this weekend as nearly all of our properties are currently in escrow. That's no small feat, given our recent volume, and one that couldn't come at a better time as Sarah heads to her daughter's graduation in LA for the weekend, and Jill is off to cheer-y-o London to visit her daughter for 10 days, leaving me to sip tea alone.
However, just because we're heading towards the finish line on several properties, it doesn't mean I'll be getting much rest while they're away (turnabout is fair play).
Cliff and I are back from our Swiss adventure, having spent the bulk of our days with a fantastic Backroads group exploring the Alps. Spectacularly beautiful, these towering peaks are no joke, sharply rising thousands of feet above sea level at angles sometimes best explored by mountain goats . . . .
"Bonjour. This morning we're going to hike ABOVE the tree line!" Thiebault enthusiastically exclaimed in his lyrical French accent, pointing to a destination miles above the valley floor, as if it were no more than a casual walk in the park.
I'm off to hike the Alps. Yes, you heard me correctly. The combination of a waylaid milestone birthday, last year's cancelled travel plans due to Covid-19, a record-breaking year and a half of nonstop work, and the tragic and completely unexpected loss of a very dear friend who was waaay too young to go . . . have set the stage for a "wake up and smell the coffee moment." (Or in this case, try the frikin' fondue!)
Sometimes, there are no words. Sometimes we have to be jolted into understanding that life is finite, and sometimes it takes a loving partner to step in and take the lead . . . .
It's good news that many of us are vaccinated and as a result, life is slowly beginning to open up and return to what's clearly, the "new normal." (My brother-in-law seems destined to stick with masks and social distancing for the foreseeable future, and that's okay too; whatever floats your boat and reassures.)
But no sooner were restrictions lifted, than many Agents began to once again host Open Houses almost immediately.
The older I get, the more effort it takes to stay presentable. This week I finally got into the hair salon for a cut and color, to the manicurist for a mani & pedi, and to the cosmetologist for a post-mask facial. I've also recently spent an hour with the dental hygienist, had my neck adjusted at the chiropractor's, and checked in with my primary-care physician at Kaiser. In short, I'm catching up on all the appointments that were ignored or delayed during the pandemic while trying to keep body and mind together . . . Admittedly, I'm losing ground no matter how many professionals I pay to hold back the dam. (How soon did you say my crowns need replacing?)
I don't like to think of myself as a "high-maintenance gal," but looking at the mounting charges, it's dawning on me that the escalating costs are so much more than they ever used to be. Remember when holding a gym membership pretty much covered the extent of "self care?" (I do.)
At what point, pray tell, did the scales tip?
"I need a post-Covid facial ASAP," I said to the pretty young woman behind the counter at the skin salon in Montclair. "Now that masks are coming off, it's downright scary what's behind there."
Sad to say, I feel like a teenager again but not in a good way. For better or for worse, those masks hid dark sunspots, double chins, sagging jawlines, and a host of other age-related issues most people over 50 begin to develop; so in retrospect, they weren't all bad.
"What can I get you?" the waitress politely asked.
"Hmmm, everything looks good, I can't decide between the waffle or the pancakes," my breakfast companion said. (Pancakes, of course).
"Let me give you a minute to make up your mind," the busy waitress replied. "I'll get you some coffee in the meantime."
Coffee or tea?
Pancakes or waffles?
Sausage or bacon?
If only buying a house was as easy as ordering breakfast.
"You're not going to need to do much with our place," the Seller said, "we'll take care of everything. And then she added, "so can you adjust your commission?" (Sure, I can charge you more.)
While we appreciate the offer, Sellers who "micromanage" the process actually make our jobs MUCH tougher. In fact, I could legitimately argue that our commission should go UP - not down - when Sellers insist on being "hands-on."
After more than 14 months of waiting for a date to install Tesla Power Walls at our home in Oakland, Cliff unexpectedly received a message last Sunday that their technicians would be showing up the next day . . . .
Say what? Frankly, we'd given up hope on ever hearing back. (Tesla, you gotta work on your communication.)
About six months into the pandemic, I discovered the world of podcasts and began following Kelly Corrigan, Brene Brown, Dax Shepherd, Glennon Doyle, Oprah Winfrey, and Rob Lowe (not necessarily in that order). Forget "Serial," I was looking for anything with an upbeat message and a little hope . . .
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 600 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.