Low Tolerance

I was so annoyed the other day. My father called in the evening sounding all pathetic. Our usual weekly Friday/Saturday night call slot came and went and he hadn’t heard from me. Part of the reason is that I don’t call them while they are in Taiwan, bc I can never reach them. The other piece is that I’ve been working my ass off.

So anyway, his tone was all weak and tired and neglected. How are you? How is your body? Are you doing ok? I mean, I dunno what he wants me to say. I’m perpetually sleep-deprived and stressed. Then he’s asking me all these questions. Is it bc John is away? Is it stress? I mean, it’s everything: I’m building my business, I am a chronic worrier, I’m an insomniac, I feel overwhelmed about all the eldercare shit that is coming down the pipeline… It’s not something I’m wanting to troubleshoot or discuss.

And then it was the same old shit with them. Mom is continuing her hyperbaric oxygen treatments. When I spoke with her earlier this month, she sounded hopeful. Now dad says she wants to stop the treatments, but since they already pre-paid 30 treatments, she’s going to just finish. Dad doesn’t think it’s working. I mean, my dad has never been a positive person, so that’s no big surprise. But how could her stance on it shift so dramatically? Maybe when I spoke with her before, she was optimistic bc she had just started? I dunno. I just get irritated by them having too much shit up in the air. I mean: still no progress on timeline and the house and whatever. And now that they are reunited in Taiwan, are they still doing things and socializing? You know, keep alert and engaged? Probably not.

Then every damn time I’m on the phone with dad, he keeps telling me I don’t need to work so hard, bc it’s not like I need the money. He reminds me that my situation is different from his when he came to the USA as an immigrant with a young family. Yeah, I get it. You ate tons of bitter. You made sacrifices. Hearing that shit just gets me more pissed off. I mean, my entire fucking life, all he ever does is compare me to his friends’ kids, rattling off all their academic and professional accomplishments. Now, I’m busting ass trying to succeed in real estate and he tells me it’s unnecessary. You can’t fucking have it both ways. I don’t say anything back to him bc I assume his intentions are good, but it’s just a little too fucking late. Needless to say, that call put me in the shittiest mood afterwards, bc it’s just so much goddamn baggage.

The next day, I complained about it to Bubs who is back East. He says I can’t expect them to be different people than who they are in terms of socializing and being active. Fine. True. But all this concern about health and not overworking is a total 180 from all the stuff that was emphasized before so actually, he IS a different person. And I just don’t know how to interact with this altered version.

Then this morning Dad called asking me what we wanted to do in Taiwan, where we wanted to travel. I mean, I don’t want to sound bitchy, but I’ve done Taiwan a gabillion times now. It will never be a fun place for me bc there is too much family drama there. Yes, that’s my own hangup, but if it weren’t for my grandparents being there, I would never go there year after year. So this is what I mean: my dad wants to do fun things and interact with me on a non-work, fun and friendly level and I just don’t know how to do this really. It’s a bizarre thing. It’s almost like I am comfortable with the distant, more-business like relationship, the list of to-dos. I know, probably more shit I have to work on…

I did tell him John wanted to check out some leather and stationery shops in Taipei, so dad said sure, you’re welcome to stay at our home in Taipei. Yup, the one where Johnny lives. I said we’ll just get a hotel. Then he got all upset: why? I mean, do I really have to explain why? My brother lives there. I’m not going to go stay with someone I dislike just to save $60… Yeah, so that was a great call with dad. Ugh.

The Next Big Push

On Wednesday, I attended the first session of BOLD. BOLD is the sales prospecting class I took back in May… yes, the one where I had to talk to 100 people per week. So our company offers the 7-week program twice a year, and the leadership at my office was giving us the big sell to take it again. Honestly, I had no plans to register a second time (I mean, it was hard enough the first time around…), but we were encouraged to attend the free first class at a minimum– as a refresher/reboost at least. And by golly, a re-boost it was!

I ran into my former team caption. Yes, the uber suave frat boy who wasn’t necessarily my style, but. I mean, I have to give credit where credit is due. Homeboy is always decked out in a sweet suit, and he is smoooth when he talks. He just exudes confidence and success. So we chatted for a bit. Like Bubs, he was like, you’ve done 20+ open houses and only made one sale? What are you doing? What are you saying?

After a quick chat, the bottom line? Don’t email that evening with follow up. Call. You gotta call. Ugh. I mean, make no mistake: I have done calls in the past. But I always hated it. And esp when I got dud numbers or “voicemail systems not set up”, I stopped, bc I was sick of getting shit numbers from visitors. So after a few fails early on, I went the email route instead. The team captain insists that I have to master the call. Fine.

The other thing I gained from him? Work on the scripts more. And he demonstrated his tweaked versions– just short, quick lines but delivered with confidence and dang, they were so natural. I’m telling you, this dude is a master.

So I got reinvigorated. That day after the training (8:30-3:30P), I headed back to the office re-energized. Let’s get this shit going. So I went to my list of over 100 open house visitors. All the visitors from the very beginning, and I started to call the numbers I had. What do you fucking know? I spoke to maybe 10 people. One person made an appointment with me for Tuesday morning!!! Three others are interested in meeting after their hectic schedules die down in two weeks. One Dutch lady too… omfg, the craziest story: I actually got her confused with a lady from Canada. Yeah, after I left a very detailed message inquiring about her job offer (reason for the Canadian’s possible move), I later realized I got the women totally mixed up. Holy shit. I seriously try my best with taking notes of all the open house visitors as they come through, but sometimes, huge groups come all at once and it’s really hard to get their names, their spouses’ names, plus their context. Long story short, I was in a quandary. I mean, NOW what am I supposed to do??? I clearly got my wires crossed.

Well, I resolved to admit and apologize for my error. So, I emailed the Dutch lady and explained that I’d gotten her confused with another open house visitor. We had over 100 people through in two days, and I’m very sorry for the mixup. If she has any real estate needs, I’d love to meet over coffee to see if there’s a good fit. I mean, I was fully prepared to be written off, you know? But holy crap. The lady replied and said she wanted to meet after she returns Stateside in December. Say whaaaa???

The strange thing about all of this? I really just needed a couple small wins to give me more confidence to carry on. First, thank goodness I spoke to my BOLD team leader. To be honest, I saw him there all dapper and confident. I really didn’t want to talk to him, bc he’s fucking intimidating, you know? But once we made eye contact, I knew I had to approach him. And it’s so critical that I did. Second, I’m so glad I went to that Bold refresher, bc it really made me realize how much I’d started to slack off, you know? Like I’ve said a gabillion times before: you have to work smart not just work hard. It’s not enough to run myself into the ground doing busy work. I have to spend my time in the areas that count! Third, I was reminded that my goal for success and fear of failure needs to trump all else.

In other words, I’d been dragging ass about making calls for the longest time. Why? Bc I was worried what people would think of me. I was worried about rejection. I was worried about coming across unprepared or incompetent. That fear stopped me from doing it. But the truth is, nothing will be MORE disheartening or more disappointing to me than failure in real estate. That is the worst possible pain re: my career, so I must do everything and anything I can to NOT feel that pain. Whatever it takes.

What can I say: this was the reset button I needed. So since last Wednesday, I have been stepping shit up again. I still have zero signups for my homebuying class, but you know what? It’s still a great idea. It’s still a good niche, and the preparation– even if no one shows up– is worth it. I can’t let this small disappointment bring me down. So I’ve been canvasing and flyering all over the damn place. I asked my friends. Friends who work in tech. I told open house visitors about the class. I started putting my class postcards in the door jambs of cars parked in apartment complexes. Yes, I was that creeper walking around in dark garages, putting my flyers on the cars. I hit up really nice quasi-skyscraper apartments in Cupertino where I went deep into the bowels of a 4-level parking garage. Some dude saw me going car to car and stopped to watch me. Like you know, to make sure I wasn’t burglarizing or shit. It was funny.

Today I co-hosted my friend’s listing. A 2 BR/2BA condo in Cupertino. TONS of people. I gathered their info. Said I was going to call to set an appointment. I told them about my class. After I got home, I emailed everyone the disclosures and then I made the calls. Three people are open to meeting with me. They want to check their schedule tonight and get back to me tomorrow. One even thanked me for the follow up, OMG, whut? Am I finally finding my tribe?

At first when I started making my calls last Wednesday, I was so surprised. I told John that I could NOT believe people were staying on the phone having conversations with me. But John said calls are def way more effective at getting commitments. With email, people don’t see or hear you. They can just ignore or reject without seeing any reaction from you. With in person or phone calls, people are more inclined to agree. I mean, duh. It’s such common sense, and yet, I dunno. I just forgot. But I’m seeing it now. And it’s so important too to say, “let’s meet and see if we’re a good fit.” As my team captain said, don’t say from the get go that you want to work with him. That comes across as desperate. Instead, let’s meet and see. That way, you have an out and they have an out. Kinda like dating I guess. You can’t just insist you’re compatible. SMH. Genius.

I mean, that line is working so much better. And honestly, I get to maintain my own discernment and dignity. I’m excited for this final push before my trip to Taiwan. I’m determined to up my conversions. New week kicks off tomorrow!

Making the Ask

I have so many thoughts these days crammed into my head. So many things to learn and do and figure out. I’ve been trying to work on getting more/better rest, but it’s slow-going re-training my mind to chill the fuck out.

My latest dilemma, as you know, has been this issue of why am I not converting these open house visitors into clients. I had a call with my bud G the other day. Dang, it was so helpful hearing her brainstorm and problem-solve from a different perspective. Anyway, G suggested some alternative ways of connecting with people at open houses. Like if I consider written communication more of a strength than my in-person communication, what can I do to expose that side of me to visitors? I’ve got some new things to try… unfortunately, I haven’t been able test them out yet, but I will. Last night, I just reached out to another 20 agents seeing if I can do a twilight open house (Thu/Fri evening) since I’m going to a retirement party on Saturday and then hosting my colleague’s listing on Sunday.

I was so excited to tell J Gโ€™s ideas and well, being the business dude that he is, his point was that: somewhere, somehow, other agents are converting these open house visitors into clients, so there is definitely a method that works. You have to learn and master that method. That’s part of your job. Ouch, right? I see his point, and I’ve been reading/listening to scripts to internalize that more. But at the same time, I’m also going to try something totally different– like a brochure about me or something.

The other thing is, I’m hosting that homebuying seminar later this month. So far, zero signups. It’s stressing me out, bc my coach and loan officer have committed to driving into the office on a Saturday. I’ve also been working on my slides, pulling market data and practicing what I’m going to say. It just would suck to have nobody show up. And John is away so I’ll also have to prep refreshments and all that shit. Ugh. Events.

I recently watched La La Land. I didn’t expect to like it, bc I hate movies that are musicals, but I was really surprised by the message. Two people fall in love with each other and each one has big dreams. They end up not being together in the end, and it’s so un-Hollywood. But I found it to be so realistic: love doesn’t conquer all. And there are sacrifices involved with pursuing your dreams and with achieving success.

There are several scenes that I can really relate to: Emma Stone plays an aspiring actress. She works and works at it. At the gabillion auditions, the directors cut her off, or don’t pay attention, or are rude, or whatever… the movie captures that very human emotion of wanting something so badly, of working hard for it, and of just. not. getting. it. OMG, I am tearing up now just feeling that disappointment and frustration of rejection. The truth is, for some people, that end goal never comes to fruition. In that sense, the movie was still very Hollywood: she becomes a huge star in the end, and Ryan Gosling lives out his dream.

I know that success is never guaranteed. I have met people who have busted ass their entire lives and stagnated. But I still have to take that chance. I’m not going to give up. Maybe my “joy” is still in the journey, not the destination. Haha. I dunno. But honestly, what else would I do other than hustle?

Still, I was complaining to Bubs last night that there are zero signups. He thinks the topic is too specific. Granted, the seminar is aimed towards a very specific group (non-permanent residents), but shit, given the number of questions we’ve gotten at open houses from people on work visas with foreign funds, I think it’s a really good niche. Whatever, trial and error. I’m iterating and we’ll just have to see what works.

I’m still trying to get the word out. I hit up ethic supermarkets, coffee shops, library, apartment parking lots… I dunno that my method is very effective. I also reached out to my ProMatchers (networking group) and friends who work for big companies, asking if they can help spread the word by posting to the lunchroom or whatever. It’s so hard for me to ask for help, but these are the new habits I must build. And hopefully, they will remember the times when I have tried to help them.

Ok, well I’m off to flyer at some apartment communities in Cupertino. Then, I’m attending a ProMatch mixer in the evening. I’m going to use my scripts on those innocent bystanders. ๐Ÿ™‚

Toughening Up

At the start of this month, I vowed to mentally toughen up. Frankly, I was tired of thwarting myself with disparaging thoughts and self-imposed impediments. I saw how so many other agents made progress, not necessarily by having greater knowledge or more experience, but simply by being bold(er).

So, I revisited some old leads. I contacted John’s former coworker, whom I’d pitched back in July. I noticed that the agent they selected hadn’t closed any more deals… maybe the house hunt went on hold? Maybe they didn’t like her? I reached out to see how things were going. They just closed on that investment property.

Then, I emailed a friend of G’s. A few months ago, G told me her doc friend was searching in Fremont… I sat on that lead, bc 1) I felt intimidated since that person already owns multiple properties. (She seemed like a real estate pro!) 2) I also didn’t feel very knowledgeable about East Bay. Well, after I finally shifted my mindset last week and reached out, she already became someone else’s client. Finally, I contacted my Sunnyvale clients. I hadn’t heard from them much since closing in July. I bought some cookies as a gift for Mid-Autumn Festival last week. I emailed if there was a time for me to stop by and chat. No reply. On Thursday, I dropped off the gift in person and chatted with the wife’s mother, who incidentally, was visiting from China. She was a delightful lady: she said they were happy there. That evening, the buyer emailed me thanks. He’d let me know when his friends are looking to buy. The most unemotional and taciturn email ever. So 0-3, basically.

Normally, such a series of disappointments would have me in tears afterwards. But strangely, I’m at peace with it. I still think I did a good consult appointment with John’s coworker and his wife. The Fremont lead? That’s a lesson learned. As for my buyers… now that time has passed since my transaction, I can honestly look back and feel proud of how hard I worked for them.

And of course, the focus is on moving forward. I scored a sweet open house for this Sunday. Unfortunately, after I prepped my flyers, door hangers, and everything, I got a call late Friday night from the list agent: the sellers received three offers, and the house is now pending. Fucking A.

But, that’s this biz. Shit turns on a dime. So instead, I made plans with my loan agent to prep forย my upcoming homebuying classย on October 21. Also, I’m starting my farming mailings this month, so there are a gabillion steps with running database queries, creating my postcards in Publisher, and researching the printers. Holy crap, you have no idea how long all the printers take to turn around those postcards. I’ll get them mid October and then I have to apply the labels and postage. Ugh. I really hope I get some leads from these mailings.

Beyond work, I got my hair chopped. My hairdresser is so funny. She was so relieved I was getting a new style. She said as she saw me walking through the door, she said to herself, “Gosh, I hope she does something different today.” Haha. Of course when I met with my loan agent today, she’s a super blunt Vietnamese chick. She was like, “You can’t get a cut like that and not style it!!!”. Apparently, I’m supposed to be flat ironing that shit. SMH. Not gonna happen, woman.

What else. I was so stoked for my latest ThredUp order, and well, fuck me. Nothing fits!! I mean, I dunno why I’m surprised given my sedentary lifestyle… Man, I had to send nearly all of it back. Time to move up a size. Sigh. I mean, in my defense, I did do a very rigorous deep cleaning of the house today: laundry, changed the sheets, cleaned the windows, mopped the floors, vacuumed the carpets, took care of all the recyclables… I worked up a sweat, for real. I know, I’m always looking for shortcuts to fitness. ๐Ÿ™ I guess I’ll be on the cereal diet for the next 8 days.

Ok, I am pooped. I went to a meetup dinner today– a new Asian ladies in Mountain View thing. Not too bad. I’m hoping one or two of them can be my karaoke or ukulele buddies. We’ll see. Too early to tell.

Crisis of Confidence

All the books on personal development and growth stress over and over again that confidence is everything. I have lived and understood this concept firsthand, and yet, some days my mindset is a real clusterfuck.

Since returning from Austin, I’ve been feeling especially tenuous, mentally. On one hand, I look around at a lot of the other agents, and I feel like my dedication is stronger and my method is more meticulous, more thorough, more careful, more intense. I know I’ll do a good job in facilitating any of the transactions. Other days, I get frustrated that so many months in, my leads still are not converting. I beat myself up for not being good enough, for being socially awkward/unpolished/inexperienced/etc. Why else don’t people want to work with me, right?

Then, John and I go socialize with other people, and I sometimes feel so self-conscious: I don’t watch their shows, I don’t drink their drinks, I’m unfamiliar with their hobbies, I don’t sync with their humor… and I dunno, what the hell can I contribute to the conversation?!?! By the end of it all, my self esteem is in the dumps. Like, why am I so boring? And when the hell am I going to fit in? When is this going to ever feel natural?

People close to me tell me I’m way too hard on myself. Maybe it is simply an issue of finding my tribe. For example, John’s tribe doesn’t have to be my tribe. But then that takes me back to my sphere of influence, whom I generally ping every month. Hundreds of people. Only a handful of replies much less leads. I feel exasperated, and my emotional state plummets further. Who does this? I mean, after an entire lifetime of being a social outcast/misfit, you’d think I’d be impervious to this crap. Apparently. not. Is it the influence of social media, creating this incessant craving for validation? It seems so ridiculously needy. SMH.

I’m trying to re-train my mindset to be more resilient, bc honestly, in this profession, I can’t afford the time nor the energy to keep getting down about this shit. That said, allow me to share my latest annoyance.

I reached out to my college roommate the other day. She’s the one who’s pretty much been a flakey friend ever since we were out of sight, out of mind and left school. Never kept in touch. I would send her gifts or notes or whatever. No reply. I found out on Facebook recently that she moved back to DC and had a second child. I suppose, that should have been an automatic drop. Erased from my life. But no. after the hurricanes, I emailed her to ask about her extended family in Puerto Rico. Partly bc I really wondered and hoped they were safe. And also bc my new profession tells me this is a relationship business as well as a numbers game. You have to reach a LOT of people. Maybe the lesson here is also that you have to qualify your leads. There’s no point beating a dead horse. Hmm. Mental note.

So anyway, now it is October 1. And I have to climb out from my stupid pity party and keep plugging. I need to dust myself off and rise again like the Phoenix. Haha.

Interestingly, I had a conversation last Thursday with another new agent. This dude is really inspiring. He is diligent about script practice, and he has all the different scenarios/scripts down. And beyond that, he has that confidence, that swagger. It’s helpful to see, bc when I watch/hear him deliver the scripts, that energy and momentum and charisma is undeniable. He is living proof that confidence is everything. So that is my hurdle I’m working to overcome. I need to build confidence, and I need more grit.

That agent, he actually shared a story from his childhood. He grew up dirt poor: he and his brother used to scavenge public areas for loose coins so they could pool the money and buy a McDonald’s hamburger to split. They were perpetually hungry. I know, it moves me to tears just thinking about people not having enough to eat… But the point of his share wasn’t to make me feel pity. His point was that everyone has his/her struggles and challenges. Bc he lived through that hardship and survived, this putting-himself-out-on-the-limb to be liked and to build rapport with strangers… it’s nothing. It’s just a game. If someone slams the door or hangs up the phone, who the fuck cares. He has lived through some real shit and that rejection is not going to break him.

It’s a good reminder for me. I mean, obviously, my life obstacles have been very different. But I see his point. I am strong. I have resolve. I know I will work hard and do a great job advocating for my clients. Rejection along the way will not break me.

New week kicks off tomorrow. Time to get my mindset straight again.

Geek Squad

So I’ve basically spent the last two days trying to get a Trojan virus off my dad’s computer. Yup, I’m pretty much the 24-hour hotline for product research, computer updates, vendor communications, medical records requests, appointment setting, contract work, you name it.

In follow up to my last post, dad DID actually take swift action and order the new iPhone 8 after I researched and presented the options. The phone is supposed to arrive tomorrow and then he needs to take it to the AT&T store to get everything moved over. Sadly, the solution is not so simple regarding his pc virus attack. This virus is actually a serious one, and all day yesterday, I was logged into his computer remotely (while attending a real estate training) trying various removal tools and scanners. Windows Defender said it removed the virus, but then a minute later, it would return. Given the number of accounts my father accesses here and abroad, it is a big deal.

Meanwhile, my training all day was on tapping into the luxury real estate market (Here it would be > $5M properties). It was fascinating learning about how servicing high-end clients differs from the moderate market. Like, bc these people tend to be entrepreneurial and used to stellar service, you gotta know more stats, be more business savvy, know about current events, use different terminology… It was intriguing and yet also frustrating. I dunno, I basically had an identity crisis after the class: like who am I? Who will want to work with me (vs. someone else)? It threw me into an entire tizzy. After I got home. I told John I wanted to take the DISC personality test again, and he was like, What’s the point? You are who you are. And don’t worry about the luxury market… that’s for later. Right now, you’re new so you just focus on the middle range.

I see what he’s saying, but at the same time, I feel like you have to have a target, a plan, and an angle for who I ought to be marketing to… Lately, I’ve been researching “farming” a ton. It’s basically this idea of distributing materials to a geographic area consistently. It can take as long as 18-24 months of mailers/door hangers/knocking every other week before the seeds begin to sprout. It’s a major grind but the concept is that through repeated exposure, you become the agent who is top-of-mind in that community. But it’s not just randomly picking the farm. There’s a lot of considerations: How many sales are there per year? Condos or SFH? What’s the turnover rates? Are big agents currently farming the area already? What kind of residents are they? Renters? Owners? Investors… it’s overwhelming. And then what content to send? I’ve gathered postcard ideas and researched printing/mailing costs… So anyway, my mind was in overdrive and then dad called.

He wants to get a new Dyson cordless vacuum for Taiwan. See what I mean? Always over-complicates everything. Last time he was in Taiwan, he was researching it, but the price is cheaper in the US. So this 73-y/o man is going to schlep at 12-lb vacuum in his airline luggage to save $2. Ok, it’s probably way more than $2 but you get my drift. And I realize the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but when I do my deals, I don’t inconvenience others. I do my own research and carry my own baggage, so to speak. So whatever. Last night, he saw that Kohl’s has some deal where you get 30% off when using your credit card on a purchase. Can I (meaning me) research it and see how to get the deal? Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

But I do it, bc that’ll make dad happy. And frankly, who else is going to help him with this? Fucking A. Thankfully, I was able to determine pretty quickly that 1) those promos don’t apply to Dyson 2) you can get it cheaper on Amazon. Done. Purchased and arriving at his doorstep on Saturday. I’m telling you, it’s like managing TWO households.

I then did more troubleshooting with dad’s computer. I finally gave up and decided this is a job for the pros. Only option for his situation? Best Buy Geek Squad. That lead down another rabbit hole: what is their service, how much, how long, etc. Nothing is ever a simple 1, 2, 3 answer, right? Seriously, Geek Squad has a gabillion support packages and with varying terms and coverages. Ugh.

So the current status is: I summarized the situation with his laptop and emailed it so he can print it out and give the info to the Geeks. There is no way he can explain to them what steps I did to try and resolve the issue. He’s taking the laptop into the store today, and he’ll likely have to leave it for a couple days. Meanwhile, this morning using MY computer and with dad on the phone, I had to log into most of his accounts and change the passwords. Yes, he was reading his passwords to me on the phone, I was logging in, then he was reading to me his new passwords. And he’s not great with creating different, distinct passwords (who is).

I told him the best method is to think of a line in your favorite song or poem. Then, use the first letter of every word in that line. Add some numbers. That way, it’s not like Vicky2017 or something retarded/obvious. So I explain all this and what does he do? Takes his old password and just swaps the front and back end. So for example, Vicky2017 becomes 2017Vicky. Wonderful, glad you are listening. I’m going through all this muck trying to fix your computer and change your passwords, and you basically re-use the same passwords. Annoying as fuck.

But whatever, by that point, I’d already spent like 20 hours on this bullshit. Let’s hope GeekSquad is competent enough to get the virus off. The saga continues… Time to head into the office. Entire morning busted.

Friday Night Call

Well, it never fails that dad calls me either on a Friday or Saturday night. Yep, prime times for going out and having a life… I mean, who is surprised. Since my college days, dad has always used these time slots to call and make sure I was in my dorm room studying. Now, he still expects me to subscribe to his fear-based “don’t go out at night” philosophy.

So today was kind of a shitty day. You see, last night, really late I got a Rover request for a doggie boarder starting TODAY. The lady mentioned that her dog should get along well with Marty, and then I had to tell her that Marty died. It’s in my Rover profile that he passed last December, but I still have him listed as a pet in my profile bc well, I just haven’t been able to bring myself to “delete” his profile. Long story short, that sent me down a rabbit hole looking at pictures of him and Remy and reading my old blog posts about the days we said goodbye. Goddamn, they were high maintenance in their golden years. Then I started crying. Went to bed and left my contact lenses in by accident.

Woke up in the middle of the night with my eyes super puffy bc of the damn contacts. Met with the new Rover client in the morning and then went doorknocking for my open house. Met some nice neighbors in that community. Also met some not so nice people who cut me off and shut the door on me. Fine, whatever. Then prepped all my materials and got a call in the afternoon from the list agent: They just got a super strong offer on the house I’m supposed to host. Granted, the list agent was kind enough to give me the option of whether or not I wanted to continue hosting the property. I decided to proceed. Maybe they can use a backup offer. I dunno.

So I finally get home, eat dinner, then dad calls. He can’t access his iphone, bc the text is monstrous and there is no accessible way to unlock his phone. This has happened before and I had no idea what he did to get it into zoom mode. Last time, he had to go to the AT&T store and have them fix it (double tap with 3 fingers at once). This time, I told him to do the same thing and he said it didn’t help. Then 30 secs later, it worked. Who the fuck knows. I mean, it’s so frustrating, bc I have gotten dad a decent laptop (upgraded every few years) for well over a decade and still, all he can do is basic plane tickets, stock trading, bank transactions, and scanning. He still can’t really email, doesn’t know to forward or reply or attach. He still reads too many junk/forwards and just gets hung up on something every other day. And I have showed him a bunch of times!! Same shit with the iphone. Can’t text. Doesn’t read email on the phone. Just looks at stock apps and uses the basic phone function (but not even voicemail). So freaking annoying. He’s a smart guy. If he can figure out stock/investment shit, he should be able to do more functions on the phone and PC.

So today he tells me he wants to upgrade to iPhone 8. How much, what are the specs, when is it available. I don’t fucking know! I’m not even looking to upgrade. Maybe he asks bc he knows John will upgrade but John almost always gets top of the line (different use case than my dad) and he buys direct from Apple. So Dad says, “oh you know, if you have time, maybe you can research it for me.” Fucking A. Yeah, I’m just sleeping and lounging around all damn day. Sure, I can research it.

So I go to AT&T chat and of course, I cannot get any info from the rep without logging into Dad’s account. What is your account and pw. Don’t know. On chat for about 45 fucking minutes, going through various iterations to finally get a working userid and login. After that, I have to learn the differences between upgrading via AT&T vs. Apple. And all the installment plan options. Basically, 90 minutes later, I have sufficient information to proceed. You know, just a simple thing to research on a Friday night. SMH. And more than half the time, I waste tons of time researching shit for dad and in the end, no action. We’ll see if this is the case regarding the iPhone.

A Sunday Off

My mind is all over the damn place these days. John’s been commenting that I am spending way too many hours of screen time. I agree: it’s just that there is always SOMETHING to research– be it for work, for family, for play, for future, whatever.

As it were, I took this weekend off from doing open houses. Originally, I’d tried to get something scheduled for Sunday but that didn’t happen. Then for Saturday, I had signed up for a house tour up in Orinda to scout out a project done by Connect-Homes, a modular home company based in LA. A year or two ago, John and I had checked out Blu Homes up in Vallejo and found that we loved the design but the price tag seemed very high. So we wanted to gather a different data point from one of the competitors. Interestingly though, looking at the Blu Homes site again now, it seems they have expanded their design options and also come down a bit in price.

Anyway, the reason we’re investigating this is, bc eventually we want to buy land and build a modular home on it. Not sure if it’s for retirement or just investment/vacay, but we’re looking into it. In fact, the idea to have additional property has been on my list for a long while, but now with big strides in faster, greener, more sustainable construction, I’m growing more interested. Then again, you know us: we are research fanatics, and we could very well get into analysis paralysis mode with this (e.g. the dog situation).

As a side note about the dog search: I really do have a growing fear that the next dog just won’t be as good. Like I dunno: what if s/he has anxiety or isn’t sociable or whatever… for some reason, I have a fear of investing energy in this path and then the juice not being worth the squeeze. I mean, I know I have a good track record but you know, just as with Rover: Some dogs I really fall in love with. Others are just there, super aloof, not that engaging… I dunno. I’m sure I’m overthinking all of this as usual…

In other activities, I’m still keeping my eyes peeled for new products and/or ideas to change my life, right? Sadly, the magnetic lashes didn’t pan out for me. My friend M, however, got the accent pair, and they are working out great. What else.

That Realtor life, man. My stuff takes up SO much space. As it were, our garage that was renovated about two years ago was descending into major chaos. John set up his leather shop there and then we were just dumping piles of crap. Last month, I spent some time clearing all the boxes. We also rearranged the wire racks to create aisles with shelves for his leather supplies and my real estate crap. It’s much better but still a constant struggle.

Likewise, my home office space is getting way disorganized, so I’ve been scouring all the furniture sites for ideas on additional storage. I finally settled on Ikea drawers, a small striped colorful rug, and an accent cabinet from Wayfair. The space is coming together but an Ikea run is pending… Yeah, I spent last night measuring for those and today, I drove over there thinking I would get this shit cranked out since I wasn’t working today. Plus, maybe it would be a good way to practice my tolerance/patience. You know, try to be a calm person. Well, before all of that, I had to return a damaged cabinet to Walmart. Not a good start. Then I mentally prepared and got as far as the Ikea parking lot. Shit man. That place was mobbed, so I aborted. Yep, drove there only to abort. So much for tolerance. My rational mind says Monday will be a much smarter time to go.

Fashion-wise: I finally completed my shoe search. That quest succeeded. Earth Shoes, Dr. Scholl’s, Rockport, and Aerosoles for the win. I mean, I add sticky cushions, but good enough.

Foodwise, we are trying to do portion control, so we are trying out Sunbasket. At first, we resisted bc the setup seemed too dumbed down for someone as advanced in the kitchen as Bubbey. But the first week was a good experience: with new flavor pairings and I mean, we went to bed hungry, so I guess it was working. We’ll see what this week brings.

Other things I’ve been researching: doggies. Yeah, even though we concluded that the new year is our new timeline (too much travel until then), I still look at the rescue sites. I am all over the place: puppies to old dogs. Puppies are so stinking cute, but the oldies remind me so much of Remy and Martin. Aged but still so sweet and deserving of a stable home. Pepsi is the latest apple of my eye. I can’t quite bring myself to see any of these dogs in person. I think it would be too tempting. I know, I need to prioritize my time better. Oh well, so far, this has been an enjoyable Sunday!

Thick Skin

I’ve been feeling a little frustrated lately with work, esp after reviewing my stats and seeing that I have hosted open houses for like 20+ different properties, and I currently have zero active buyers. Over Labor Day weekend, I had hosted a $1.2M condo in hoyty-toyty Menlo Park. MP is a different area than my usual: it’s about 15 min north of Mountain View, in the even more expensive county of San Mateo. Anyway, as usual, I doorknocked the area beforehand. I hit up maybe 40 properties, including a townhouse neighborhood. It wasn’t gated or anything. Just open rows. So here’s my typical drill: I always ring the doorbell. When people answer, I introduce myself, say I’m hosting an open house in their neighborhood, and I invite them to come see the renovations and stop by for popsicles and cold drinks. Then I hand them a door hanger that has my business card and a postcard-sized flyer of my open house. Easy, right?

About five people opened their doors. They ranged from very friendly to curt. Whatever. NBD seeing as I have faced rejection a billion times by now. For the remaining houses, I just left the door hanger on the doorknob.

So I had my open house, the listing agent– an old pro in the KW Palo Alto office– LOVED me, btw. She said she’s been in the business 30+ years, and she can tell a good agent when she sees one. I mean, when I met her the day before, I was prepared and I asked a lot of questions… I suppose from my intro email too she got the sense I was organized and responsible. I dunno. Anyway, it’s always a boost to get positive feedback from seasoned realtors…

The open house was pretty low traffic though. Maybe bc there was a heat wave (temps of 105F) and the unit didn’t have AC. Still, I met maybe 15 people. Unfortunately, I didn’t convert any. By conversion, I mean, no appointments were set to discuss collaboration. Long story short, at the end of the day, I was exhausted. Then I got a voicemail on my phone:

Hi, my name is ______. I am a resident and key holder at the _____ Villas where you had dropped off some open house invitations. I would ask, on behalf of myself and the other residences, that you refrain from dropping off any unsolicited notices of open houses from now on. Thank you in advance for your agreement.

I mean, sure. I get it. People don’t like extra papers, but WHO ON EARTH would call???? It really takes a certain person, am I right? Whatever. He was polite enough, but still. If you’re not interested, just chuck the paper! Sheesh!

After I returned from Seattle, I emailed a bunch of people in my database– people who came through my open houses. Basically, I just said we met when they stopped by my open house. How is the home search going? Then I invite them to meet at my office so we can discuss developing a homebuying strategy. One person replies: “I am not interested to work with you.”

In a way, I appreciate 1) a response 2) radical honesty. The reply actually made me laugh, bc of course, I’m not going to click with every person I meet, right? Oh well. That’s a glimpse into my new life. You really do meet all kinds of people and get all kinds of reactions.

Sadly, 3-4 people replied saying they had purchased a home already. It’s a powerful reminder for me that serious buyers are hitting those open houses. I just need to work on getting them as clients. Onward, yo!

Emerald City

J and I are back from a few days in Seattle. We headed up after the Labor Day holiday for a mini escape and to chill with our friends G and J. We had a great time. G&J recently had a baby girl and they also recently finished a major basement remodel… I say all this bc clearly their tolerance for “projects” and disruptions is very high. G insists that her kids are very good, and from my limited exposure, it does seem like the toddler and baby are both obedient, even-tempered, and champion sleepers. Still, the parents deserve plenty of credit. There is just a way about both G&J that is so distinctly different from J and me. And I keep coming back to this theme over and over again: Bubs and I are highly susceptible to annoyance and irritation bc I dunno: we (but I especially) are just impatient as fuck.

For example, this happens a lot when we travel, and it happens ESPECIALLY frequently when we are in Seattle: we decide to go somewhere and then on the way there, we get frustrated with the traffic and once we arrive in the vicinity, parking is a beotch. Then there was a crazy line. Be it food, the museum, a city attraction, the boba shop….

Like one morning, we selected a place to go for breakfast, then we sat through shitty traffic to get there, we eventually found parking, and bam, the place was CLOSED due to some random gas line problem! Last year when we were in Seattle, we hit up this highly rated boba place. We got there when it was posted to open at 10:30 and it still wasn’t open. Waited ten minutes. Nothing. Then we went to a park and same shit. The Nature Center posted a sign that staff would be back at x time and then it was x + 30 min and they were still gone. This trip, it happened again for the SAME boba place, then a second boba place (they just changed their fall hours), then I needed to use the bathroom at a third tea shop and no bathroom. Yeah, some weird stacking of bad juju. Story of our traveling life!

Needless to say, every time these glitches happen, I get irritable bc I’m hungry or my bladder is about to explode or I’ve been driving longer than I had anticipated and Bubbey is pissing me off as a navigator… I get really irked. But then I ask that question: “What would G do?” And I know that she wouldn’t waste her energy getting upset. She would just go to the next option and move on to Plan B. Shrug. I’m trying to work on my tolerance. To a small extent, I do try to keep it inside in hopes that the negative energy will dissipate. That said, I suppose there will always be some element of histrionics. I am my parents’ daughter after all, and if anything, I suppose it makes for decent blogging fodder. ๐Ÿ™‚

Beyond that minor stuff, we had a lovely time hanging with our buds and also going around the city solo. It was a good mix of friend time and self exploration. J and I found a very cool Japanese store, chock full of stationery, kitchen wares, makeup, food… It was a very clean and tidy all-in-one shop adjacent to a Japanese supermarket. So much spiffier than Chinese markets, but J said the prices are also triple, so obviously, I just browsed and didn’t buy. Regardless, that place occupied us for a couple hours. We also did a lot of walking around the various districts: Ballard, West Seattle, downtown… On the home front, we had full use of their new basement palace, which is deluxe: living room, tv, bedroom, bathroom— a whole renovated floor with +/- 1000sf of living space.

Weather-wise, Seattle was unseasonably hot and muggy– I’ve never been in Seattle with hazy and ashy air (wildfires). That kept us from doing too much outdoor activity– that plus we are out-of-shape and lazy. Our last night there, my friend D and his Japanese wife came over and we all ordered takeout. She was a really nice lady: very kind (she volunteers at the animal shelter) and adventurous (they’v done a good bit of traveling, including staying at castles in Portugal!). And they are preggers! It really is something else to see people transition into different phases of life… I mean, sure, we’re all essentially the same people we were decades ago but dang, so many new responsibilities and perspectives! Makes me think of my college roommate. She just had her second kid. Honestly, I didn’t even know she was preggers and then one day on FB, there’s a posting about mommy and baby girl doing fine. Huh, when did THAT happen? I still have to adjust a little, bc my strongest impressions/memories of her are from three years of living together as college kids. Now she is a mom of two. SMH. It’s weird. Then again, I’m pretty sure she still sees me as that uber serious, very strict/square, stressed out, nervous Nelly. Little does she know, this Vix is the toned down version!! How’d THAT happen, right? Life, man.