Hot doesn’t describe it.  Sultry doesn’t describe it.  The best way to find descriptions of the weather this week is by reading people’s Facebook comments.  One of my favorites is by a cool (hah!) named Brian Sivak, our Principal Broker here in good old Virginia.  He says:  “Is it hot outside or did I do something really, really, bad.”  You have to have a sense of humor when the temps are in the 100’s.

Not that this has ever happened to me, sometimes one can sit down in a chair and find it so hot that they end up sticking to the chair and when they stand up they look like they’ve had an accident.  Not me.  We strong New England girls  just don’t do that.

The market is hot too.  Real estate that is.  Twenty of RE/MAX Allegiance’s offices did more than one transaction per associate in June and won themselves a breakfast or lunch on the company.  I think that is pretty cool.  (I’m sorry…I can’t help myself).  I personally think a Sundae Bar is a little more appropriate, but that is office discretion.  Today upon walking into the Burke office, I was handed a sheaf of co-op agents from the past couple of days.  I suspect that there are going to be a few more parties next month as well.  We are hot, hot, hot.  (Shake your maracas!)

My mind has been boiling over (snicker) with ideas on all sorts of fronts…multi-tasking gone wild….and I am really excited about getting up and running with some of them.  Could it be the heat?  The little  bump on the head?  Suddenly I feel empowered.  I don’t give a hoot whether I get a party or not; I’m having fun!  Almost as much fun as being on the beach.

Now do you think the neighbors will talk if I float in Greyson’s baby pool when he isn’t here?

I am sure my five readers had given up on me.  It has been several weeks since I posted.  I did have a little bit of a bump on the head when a REALTOR (Seriously, can you believe it?  I can’t make this stuff up.), rear-ended my hokey little Honda Accord.  While I’m fine albeit a bit woozy(ier than normal), my biggest concern has been that I’d broken my witty bone.  I haven’t felt too motivated to be sharp and funny lately; and the creative wit has lapsed all together.  (And to silence all the jokers….no.  I will not be recruiting him.)

But just like the Honda, a little tune-up and repair job has me going at it again.  The biggest things that have happened over the past few weeks are that I became younger and more glamorous!  Ok, not so.  But some fantastic groups of people who have listened to me state my case about the Greatest Company on Earth have HEARD me and joined us.

Dave, Debbie and Matt Ingram are a family-based team.  I’ve been watching them for a few years now.  Boy, can they sell real estate.  They came from different paths in life and have taken the Springfield-Burke (etc.) area by storm.  It was with great pleasure that I am able to welcome them to RE/MAX, and I look forward to bumping into them in the hallways and by-ways of the Burke office.

Several months back I created a joke email for an associate that I’d also been stalking for quite some time.  I didn’t realize how concisely I dated it….it was a mock welcome to my company, dated July 1.  It said I hoped he would remember the little people that got him going and that perhaps every now and again he could deem it possible to nod his head in my direction.  In the midst of all my head bobbling, on 1 July 2010, Scott Pearson‘s license showed active on DPOR with RE/MAX Allegiance.  I cannot tell you WHAT a relief that is.   It’s been four years in the making, and Scott?  If you ever need help reading an ADC Map book, just let me know.

I’ve got some other pretty significant pots simmering on the stove right now.  It is an exciting time to be me.  And if twenty minutes from now I repost this because I forgot I already did it…bear with me.  Doing the happy dance about showing the reasons why no one sells more real estate than RE/MAX…it is quite the work out.  I love my job.

Sometimes you just have to laugh.  I got a phone call today from one of my fellow Allegiancers’, Brandon.  He and I have MRIS IDs.  It simply means we have a number so we can get on MRIS to do certain ministerial tasks.  No volume.  Brandon’s strong suit is developing business relationships with other companies and growing our eCommerce side.  Brandon doesn’t ‘do’ real estate.

When Brandon called to tell me about the call he’d just received, it made me forever grateful that I am with such a proud company with standards that are enforced.  He received a call from a CBRB manager who was trying to recruit him as an agent.  If Brandon has an MRIS number, therefore, he must be recruit-worthy.  Yeah, sure, if you just want someone to fog a mirror and take up a seat.  As I’ve said time and again, RE/MAX Allegiance does not have any bench warmers.  We are all first string.

I take pride in the standards that RE/MAX Allegiance has set in the sort of achievements an agent would have to have in order for us to call them.  We have been provided terrific research tools that enable us to determine production, areas, trending up/down so that when we make a call to an agent, we MEAN IT when we say, “I would like compliment you on the way that you are conducting business in our marketplace.”

If you don’t know who or what the person does, you sound like an idiot.  There is nothing I hate more than sounding like an idiot. (I do not want any feedback from anyone on that sentence.)   If you receive a call from RE/MAX Allegiance asking you to sit down and talk, it means something.  That you have been noticed and appreciated; that you are successful and an entrepreneur.  That partnering with us would enhance your business just as your affiliation would make us a stronger company as well.

Who are you?  Are you RE/MAX Allegiance ready?  You’ll know, if you are in doubt, if we call you.  We know who you are.  You already know who we are.

You know who you are.

Last year I even confessed that I’d broken two of the Seven Deadly Sins because of you.  I was patient, ever patient.  I even pretended that I was ok with what you were doing.  Yesterday, however, you broke my heart.  YOU, Steve Jobs, YOU and your lousy iPhone.  You teased me with 4G, and I am already with the 4G network, so wasn’t that a bit misleading?  You are staying with AT&T?  Say what?  Steve, you hurt me for the last time.  I’m finished with you.

I’m going to buy a Droid.  Yes, Steve, a Droid.  And I bet I’m going to love it even MORE than your stupid iPhone.  Because let’s face it:  Who needs to be able to play Farmville on the road?  If you do and you are reading this, I am sure that there are support groups that can help you.

I do need a smart phone.  We all do in this business.  If you aren’t running around with a smart phone, quite frankly you are losing business.  RE/MAX Allegiance has brought our company website mobile.  We will even provide you with the technology to bring your personal website mobile.  How cool will your tech-savvy clients think you are then?  Need access to your transactions?  DocBox-to-Go.  Yours.  Here you go.  Thank you for being an associate.  Now go take that vacation on the beach.  You work smarter, not harder with us.

And Steve?  You, the iSisters and iBrothers, Brian Block, Davidson….you all enjoy your iPhones on a sketchy network.  I’m Droiding you.

Now doesn’t that sound better than size 8 is the new 12?  According to Anne Klein.

The running habit is coming back…so much so that I finagled a way to get five in before getting Greyson to ‘school’ and me to work.  This achievement has made my whole demeanor that much more laid back; for a Type C- person, that is pretty darn laid back!  My lovely, sweet, older next door neighbor actually commented that it had looked like I’d lost weight.  When I thanked him and (kissed his feet), he then told me to keep it up; I needed to lose another ten.  The fantasy betrayed by the reality.

The largest problem of all of this running/getting back into shape/losing weight is time.  Balancing everything in my life has always been something of a sideshow act.  Perhaps a trained seal bouncing balls off of his nose.  Less than a decade ago with three teenagers and one pre-teen, working full-time as a Realtor, Queen of my Ingland domain etc; I seemed to have so much better grip on the minutae that keeps me bound inside these days.  Every Saturday, rain or shine, I would be up and on the trail doing my longer runs in order to prepare for the fall marathon that I’d decided to take on that year.  The daily mileage grinds were just keeping  the focus on staying in shape.

I don’t have the hours and hours to train that I, in my quick way of glossing stuff over, perceive that I had back then.  Somehow with one late-teen and one almost-three year old in the house, I’m exhausted.  So I’ve decided that like Anne Klein changing her sizing measurements; I’m going to change my goal-setting so that it is indeed something that is achievable and not something that sets me up for internal angst and external hissiness.  I’m going to train for half marathons, or maras as one corny friend called them.  That is an achievable thing.  Yes it will take some time and commitment, but it isn’t such an overwhelming feeling in the back of my brain as counting how many Saturday long runs there are until the New York City Marathon (the absolute BEST!).  I beat myself up enough daily on other things.  Adding that is just overkill.

Running smarter makes me feel like I’ve got more control over my destiny than before.  Having the mental head-to-head with my ego and my sanity paid off.  I’ll even be able to work more efficiently as I won’t be calculating runs on mapmyrun.com in a down moment or worrying about the full charge on the old iPod Nano to get me four hours of music.  Sweet relief!

Working smarter is something we practice on a daily basis here at RE/MAX Allegiance.  The recognition that time NOT involved in real estate but instead with family and friends or solo with a good book….is what makes the real estate time much more efficient.  We are constantly looking for suggestions that can shave a few seconds here, a trip to pick something up there, a signature that can be gained by an email sent from your smart phone.  Phew.  And to think that Anne Klein thought she was on to something!  We’re on to something.  It is called quality of life, and we believe in it.

Now that my run is out-of-the-way for today, my evening is clear for whatever pops up.  It may be racing cars in the cul-de-sac with Greyson, listening to the frogs coming alive for the evening or just sitting on the deck with a book that I’ll have to steal from a  neighbor’s as I’m out.  How smart are those plans?

Now, if I can just figure out a way to fit in the Novice Rowing Program that starts on Saturday…..

Every Thursday in this land of ours knows as Northern Virginia, our weekly fish-wrapper, The Connection, is delivered. (Note to my Realtor friends:  The Connection  runs free open house ads!)  Many folks just toss it.  I don’t; I read it.  It is backyard local news.  It is one of the last pieces of news that is delivered by a youth on a bike.  Some poor kid rolls those babies up and puts a rubber band around it; plops it into the carrier bag and sets off…heaving left and right onto driveways throughout the area.

My G-man discovered the rubber band this past Thursday.  He (is this just an inherent boy thing or is he a genius?), immediately figured out that if you stretch it and let it go….it will do one of two things, fly or snap back onto your finger.  After a couple of snaps he managed to let it go.  A friend of mine had stopped by to say hello, and I was talking by the car.  Greyson was wandering with the aforementioned rubber band.  So the big boy decided to teach the little boy how to make a rubber band gun.  And how to shoot paper wads.  Life is good here on my street.  Education is taken seriously.

While I was watching this little rubber band lesson, I was thinking back to the days of my very first business venture…that of a paper girl.  At that time the paper was an evening paper called The New London Day.  Paper routes were in high demand; they were sold from sibling to sibling and neighbor to neighbor as needed.  My friend, Teresa, had a huge route.  So huge that it was too much for her to deliver on her own.  Remember, this was Connecticut where in winter it would be dark-dark at 5PM.  She decided to split it and sold me half.

Each afternoon I would get the papers into my delivery bag and set out either on foot or roller skates.  My route didn’t involve driveways.  It involved mailboxes by doors.  A bike would have been a huge inconvenience.  Dr. Murray had the best porch for roller skating across….it was your typical beach-type of front porch, painted light blue and made of a myriad slender planks of wood.  The skates made a phenomenal sound.  I never had to ring the bell on collection day.  The Murrays KNEW I had arrived.

Yes.  Each Friday was collection day.  It was always a long day as I had to make change, keep records in my little “Day” book on who was current, who was in arrears etc.  Every other Thursday Mr. Weyant,  moon-lighting on his job as the high school guidance counselor, would show up to go over the books, collect the money and we would both solemnly sign off on a receipt saying all was in order.  What was left after Mr. Weyant took the paper’s money was mine.

I still read my hometown rag.  Every day.  On-line.  No more paper girl.

It is funny how things stay the same.  In real estate, we deliver homes…keep our books…on settlement day the Mr. Weyant character takes what is his, the company takes what is theirs and what is left is your commission.  On studying some companies I see that the company takes an awful lot for what for what you’ve done.  Sometimes to the point when, unlike me in my paper days– I was able to afford a few root beer floats at Michael’s Dairy–the end result just doesn’t measure out correctly.  I earned every penny of my paper route money, and I got to keep it.  Are you?

This is Memorial Day weekend, orginally known as Decoration Day back in 1868.  Many different towns, still reeling from the devastation of the Civil War, paid homage to their dead by decorating the graves.  The actual history is murky about where it was started, but nonetheless, here we are.   Every year on Memorial Day, originally always celebrated on 30 May, my siblings and I would go to Noank, CT where we would watch the parade and then have clam chowder, bowl after bowl of homemade chowder, at the Volunteer Fire Hall.  To me it was free chowder.  It didn’t really occur to me until long afterwards, that the people we were celebrating and watching the parade with were World War I vets.  World War II vets.  Korean “Conflict”.  Vietnam was in full blown disarray.

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, 1915.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Thank you.  Thank you for believing that this country needed to stand up and defend others.  Thank you for allowing me the freedom to disagree with politicians; to dress how I want; to school my children as I see fit.    Thank you.  I am, and forever will be, grateful.