Happy Mother’s Day! My Mom, Coronavirus and the “New” (Old) Normal

My Mom is an amazing woman!  She was, always has been, ahead of her time.  And now that we are all dealing with the Coronavirus Pandemic, it has become even more evident just how ahead of her time she is!

My Mom never graduated from High School.  Her own mother was stricken with Rheumatoid Arthritis when Mom was a Junior in High School and Mom and her sister took turns staying home to take care of my Grandmother, and her youngest sister, Norma, who was what today we would call a special needs child.  Because she missed so many days, Mom was not allowed to receive her diploma and graduate with her classmates.  She still does not have a High School Diploma, not even a GED.

Mom worked almost from the day I was born at one thing or another.  I remember she taught me how to save when she was working as a waitress.  She bought me a bank shaped like a cash register.  It held dimes only, at least that’s what I remember.  When Mom came home we would take her tip money, separate out the dimes, and put the dimes in my bank.  When the bank got full, we would take it to the bank and deposit the money into a savings account she set up in my name.  I remember her working as a sewing machine operator, doing piecework in a factory.  And I remember how she went to night school once she and my Dad divorced, where she learned typing and short hand so she could work in an office environment instead.

I remember her first office job, for a company that provided linens for businesses, back when we all used those pull down towels that had to be washed, dried, delivered and removed when they became dirty.  I remember when we moved to another town and she took a job in an office where, I learned years later, she was being sexually harassed.  And I remember when she quit that job and went to work for the Ralston Purina plant in town where she rose to be head of the Traffic Department.

Mom remarried and took a few years off when she gave birth to my two sisters. After a little while, Mom went back to work.  She ran a local Cable TV company, she ran a Serve Pro franchise, and after that she did bookkeeping for several small businesses in town.  To this day, she helps with bookkeeping at her Church.

All this with no High School Diploma.  These days what my Mom did would be impossible!  These days you can’t get a job as a receptionist without a College Degree, never mind a High School Diploma!

But how, with the Coronavirus closing colleges everywhere, FUTURISTS are talking about changing all this, about the fact that no one really needs a course in Art History in order to be a business administrator.  They are talking about going back to the days when a person could take a course in Keyboarding (a.k.a.typing) and perhaps computer programming and get a good job and a career and a future WITHOUT a college degree.  They are talking about going back to the way MOM did it!

So this Mother’s Day I would like to say “Thank You” to my Mom, for being a trail blazer, for being ahead of her time, and an amazing woman, and for being my Mom
              

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Hey Suzanne! A frat house can’t just move in next door to someone, can it?

My friend Debbie asked:  Hey Suzanne, we watched the movie “Bad Neighbors” the other night starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron (it was actually pretty funny) but the whole plot of the movie bothered me- it was about a couple who has a frat house move in next door to them and their attempts to stop them. But a frat house can’t just move in next door to someone, can it? I would think there’s a whole zoning issue and requirements, approval from the township, etc? Even though the movie was funny I just kept thinking how unbelievable it was. I said, I must consult an expert! lol

The answer is this: If the home is in a single family zone they could not get away with it. In fact, a lot of towns are now passing “X persons per sq ft.” or “X persons per legal bedroom” ordinances to combat just this kind of thing.

They are called anti-stacking laws. Stacking refers to a practice that was going on a few years ago wherein residents would literally sleep in 8 hour shifts. They would stuff as many mattresses as they could into every room in the house and then literally sleep one person to a twin sized mattress per 8 hour shift. I can’t tell you how many people died in house fires during that time, it was awful. Thus, anti-stacking laws.

Single Family means just that, everyone living in the house has to be members of the same family. But still some would move every distant relative into the same house, and it made it difficult for young adults who had a room mate situation, so now we have anti-stacking.

Debbie said:  I figured! Thanks for the awesome explanation. I’m just surprised they would make a movie with such an obvious plot hole, then. Unless I missed something in the beginning of the film that explained why a frat house was allowed on a street with single family homes. But I don’t think so. 

Well, Deb, there’s a reason it’s called fiction!  LOL

Technology on Overload – Bring Back The Personal Touch!

I got a call from a lady a while ago.  She saw my blog posts and felt I was someone she could talk to.  It seems she had called another agent regarding a rental and got his/her voicemail.  Shortly after she got a text message that simply said, “Text me.”  She didn’t realize who it was and so she texted back, “Who is this?”  And the reply was, “You called me.”  She felt quite disturbed by this and called me to see if I would answer my phone and could help her.  She asked me if this was the way realtors do business now, if this is ‘normal

I was not able to help this young woman because she was from a neighboring state, but I told her it is not how I do business!  I may text clients, but not as an initial contact.  I told her that if it made her uncomfortable, I felt fairly sure any realtor in her State could help her, she didn’t have to work with the listing agent.  And, of course, that is exactly what she did.

I bring this up because sometimes, in our quest to do more in less time, we forget that we are dealing with human beings and not machines.  Facebook may be a terrific way to stay in touch with our sphere but it is not a substitute for good old fashioned human contact.  Realtors, be careful not to become too dependent on technology.  We are all still made of flesh and blood, and, as someone reminded me recently, people may not remember what you do but they will remember how you make them feel.  Make them feel important!



A day late and a dollar shy

A day late and a dollar shy

Yep, that’s me, that’s most of us I suppose, at last some of the time.  I meant to send this email out yesterday, LOL.

It’s been quite a week for me.  I started my new roll as the wearer of multiple hats.  I am now the General Manager of our new company, Century 21 Professional Realty!  I am also the Property Manager, mentor, recruiter and, most importantly, real estate agent.  It’s been a frantic time, getting the old office closed and the new office open.

We are working in a construction zone at the moment.  Our entire physical office is being redone!  New bathrooms, new kitchen, new paint, new carpeting, new wall art and new furniture.  Not to mention a facelift to the exterior and new signage!  Anyone who has called me this week has had to compete with the sound of hammers, saws, and sanders.  But through it all we have managed to maintain our positive attitude and sense of humor.  It’s been fun, really, all sitting around the same table with laptops trying to figure out which printer is still wired and moving it all aside when lunch comes.  Even vendors have had to tolerate me eating my ‘lunch’ at 2 pm while going over their proposals.

We have gotten proposals for internet service, phone service, copiers and cleaning services.  We have moved licenses at the real estate commission, the association of realtors and the multiple listing service.  We have moved LISTINGS from the old office to the new office on the MLS and now we are moving the files from our old online system to the new one.  We have signed on all our old agents and a few new ones to boot!  And all the while we took good care of our clients, such good care, in fact, that I would bet none of you even knew all this was going on behind the scenes.

To me, that is the most important part.  When I was offered the position of Branch Manager, I accepted gladly, but with one provision.  I would NOT give up my role as your realtor.  You are all so important to me and I want to take care of you, personally.  And Dave, my new broker, agreed.  So as the other ‘hats’ grow, we will be hiring others, administrators, property managers, directors of recruiting, and mentors, and I will supervise them, but I will never, ever have to stop being your realtor.

I am so excited!  I love my new role, but I also love my old role too!  It’s like that old song we sang as Girl Scouts around the camp fire, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”  You are Golden to me!  I wanted to be sure all of you knew that, I am still and will always be …  your friend, your advisor and your realtor!  ❤

Suzanne