Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel

My co-worker, Charles Rocknak called this morning to say he has a gift for me. He left it at the Front Porch Cafe (our local coffee shop extraordinaire) and said I need to pick it up before I head out of town. I’m here at the coffee shop, debating if I want to open this plain brown envelope in public or scurry off to the car where I can tear it open, away from prying eyes. I take the bold route and fearlessly rip it open in the middle of the coffee shop. Inside I discover a St. Joseph Real Estate Kit, consisting of an 8-inch tall plastic statue of St. Joseph and a brochure explaining what to do with it.

St. Joseph statue is said to help owners sell a house if buried upside-down in front of the house

St. Joseph statue is said to help owners sell a house if buried upside-down in front of the house

Joseph, the carpenter husband of the Virgin Mary, is the patron saint of laborers and house hunters, family, and household needs. For years there has been a persistent belief that you can sell a house faster if you bury a St. Joseph statue upside down in the front yard of the house. The United States Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C., traces the tradition of burying St. Joseph back hundreds of years to St. Theresa of Avila (1515-1582), who prayed to St. Joseph for more land for Christian converts and encouraged her Discalced Carmelite nuns to bury St. Joseph medals in the ground as a symbol of their devotion.

This is not my first acquaintance with dear old Joseph. Some years ago, before our real estate market went crazy with appreciation, I listed a house in Ocean Sands in Corolla for some nice folks named the McDermotts. We tried everything but the place just wouldn’t sell. Until, that is, Read More

…if we lived in the moment rather than regretting the past or worrying about the future?

…if we took time to help one another?

…if we didn’t live in fear?

…if we cared about people?

…if we smiled more?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this today, which is strange in itself because for the first time in a long time, I actually HAVE time to think. What started me thinking was this guy, Wesley Autrey, who jumped down into the subway tracks in the face of an oncoming train, to save a teenager who had fallen between the tracks while in the throes of a seizure. I saw him on the Letterman Show and was amazed, not only by the story, but also by Autrey’s humble, unassuming demeanor.

Illustration shows the small space under the train where Autrey held the teen down as it passed overhead

Illustration shows the small space under the train where Autrey held the teen down as it passed overhead

Autrey was standing on the subway platform with his two young daughters when the teen fell to the ground with his first seizure. He and two other women immediately Read More

Happy New Year everyone!

With a new year comes a new life. Yesterday was my last full day at work. I still have to finish cleaning out my office and then again tomorrow to turn in my keys, but I’m officially no longer a RE/MAX agent. Feels strange. For so many years I worked 70-80 hours a week. In addition to selling real estate I have been Broker-In-Charge of our Kill Devil Hills office for a number of years and for 2.5 of those years I was also General Manager of the entire company, taking care of four franchises and 60 agents. When I look back, I really don’t know how I did it all.

What I do know is that I have not been happy. I struggle with this. I tell myself I should be grateful for everything that the Universe has given me. And I am grateful. But I am not happy. For a long time I convinced myself that I didn’t need to be happy, that happiness was an illusion, that nobody is really “happy.” I decided that it was enough to be content. So I plodded through life, struggling to achieve a state of contentment, yet carrying around this vague feeling of discontent much of the time.

As with most things, I saw a pattern in my discontentment. I seem to have a ten-year attention span. Every ten years or so I move and change careers. For a while, I am content. I thrive on the change, the new challenge, the expansion of my mind as I learn new talents. But the moment I start to achieve success I again grow uneasy and unsettled. My father says it’s because I have the wanderlust. I have always told myself that it’s because Read More

Well, another Christmas has come and gone. I think this was the best one ever. It’s the morning after and I’m sitting at the kitchen table with my 81 year old father and his new iPod. There was some anxiety in the family over whether or not Dad would accept the iPod; he can be resistant to new technology (can’t we all). But he has taken to this like a fish out of water; says he’ll never again be without his iPod. He’s just begun to figure out all the ways he can use it.

Dad with his new iPod

Dad with his new iPod

His first thought was that it would be great on his walks. Then he figured out it would be great on his pontoon boat. Dad lives on the Kankakee River in Illinois and in the summer he takes the boat out almost every day. Sometimes he sits out on the water until late in the evening, just drifting along and fishing; he says the only thing the boat is missing is music and now that problem is solved. I think I’ve even convinced him that he should get a Transpod for the car.

One of my favorite things to do is to get Dad talking about the past. Normally that’s hard to do, but for some reason the iPod got him going. First he was aggravated:

“How long have these iPods been around?” he asked.

“I don’t know, maybe four or five years. Why?” I said. Read More

It’s the time of the year for family gatherings and as usual when our clan gathers, there’s been a toilet crisis. My sister, Linda, her husband, Steve, their daughters, Tori and Gina, plus Gina’s fiance, Tony, are here at Dad’s house. The bunch arrived at noon and within the hour Dad’s toilet was plugged up. This is not uncommon in our family; the last time Steve and Linda visited me in the Outer Banks, MY toilets stopped working. I never had a problem with my plumbing until Steve arrived. But apparently, this is something that has happened before because he was able to fix the problem in no time. A week later, as they were departing, Steve handed me a large gift-wrapped package: a plunger. Hmmmm.

No one is taking responsibility for Dad’s plumbing woes today but there is a lot of finger-pointing going on.

“It wasn’t me,” said Linda, “I purposely used VERY little paper, probably 4 squares.”

“Not me”, added Steve. “I only went number one.”

“Well, who else was in there?” I asked.

“Gina was in there right after me,” said Steve.

…frantic search for Gina…finally found her in the upstairs bedroom…confrontation about her recent bathroom use… Read More

It’s something about being around my family. One minute I was typing away and the next I found myself standing in front of the open refrigerator door, staring vacantly at its contents. I KNOW this is an exercise in futility. The closest thing to nutritious food in the Midwest is lunchmeat, iceberg lettuce, and white bread. And yet I persist. I actually have no memory of getting here, where I find myself rooted to the floor, clutching the door handle, panic rising as I scan the available choices. I can’t believe I just ate two slices of processed cheese food.