Friday, February 26, 2010

Sorry Eh? Not so much!

I wonder where it all started - this terrible habit of self-deprecation. "We're Canadian, so we're nice; not in your face; we don't brag; we play nice in the world sandbox". Whose brilliant idea was this, because they don't speak for me.

A commercial for President's Choice products talks about how their food feeds our athletes and how we have something about which to brag - "but not too much - after all, we're Canadian". Galen Weston acting like a subservient wuss is not only offensive and demeaning, but it is not inspiring me to buy his family's pre-cooked convenience food.

Russian media is having a pity fest because, well basically, they SUCK in these Olympics, so they make comments about how we have a permanent inferiority complex living next door to the world's most powerful nation. Hmph... we're taking our pucks and going home because those mean Canadians beat us at hockey. Somehow this becomes a slam on our military too - and a general we hate Canada rant. Any Russians who share the sentiment of their media are quite free NOT to emigrate to one of the highest standards of living on the planet. Better yet, they are quite welcome to move to that crowded crime filled sardine can south of Windsor.

Our women's hockey team had the Americans for lunch, then spit them out and walked away with a gold medal. Then they partied and had a good time and everyone is up in arms because, oh my gosh, they were drinking beer and sharing a cigar. Oh that's right, we're not supposed to brag and carry on! Let me tell you this: Well behaved women rarely make history! So, I say way to go Hailey et al! You are my heroes.

The media is partly to blame for keeping the fairy tale alive that Canadians are just 'nice' people who are meek and conciliatory and quietly live in the shadow of our Big American Brothers.

Well not this Canadian chick! I proudly wear the maple leaf anywhere I travel in the world because, frankly, I'd rather not be mistaken for an American! As of today we are tied with the Americans and Germans at 8 gold medals and I'm damn proud. Our Canadian women kicked ass in hockey, and I'd like nothing more than to see our men do the same, even if they are inferior to the female talent we produce here (that's a whole other post...).

There's no inferiority complex here. I'm Canadian and I cannot imagine wanting to be anything but Canadian.

So, here's to showing the world what we're made of as the Olympics wind down. 200 million to 20 million population tells me we produce more winners per capita than our neighbours to the south. Bring it.... we can lay it down with the best of them.

Oh Canada....without apology to anyone, anywhere, is MY home and native land.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Too Hungry for a slice of Entitlement

This post runs the risk of falling into the category of "when I was in school we walked 5 miles through the snow uphill both ways every day". Except it has to do with being in my profession. Apologies to all who aren't, but somehow I think you'll get it, nonetheless.

When I was new to Real Estate, I was hungry. It had to work - failure was not an option because there weren't many more quarters in the huge glass jar to roll so I we could buy milk for the kids. (Slight exaggeration but you get the idea). My pager never left my belt loop. I practically slept with it on. I worked between six and seven days a week, and I missed a LOT of soccer and hockey games. Like I said, I was hungry.

Eight years later I still conduct business like I'm hungry.

Which brings me to what kinda got me hyped up today.

It was a little busy - dropping off feature sheets, showings, working the phones to procure multiple offers on a hot new listing. My pager beeps, and it is a message to call a local number. As always, I call back within 5 minutes. The lady wants to see the hot new listing - the very one I hope will sell in multiple offers tonight. I have no idea how I'm going to fit her in, but I know that in the best interests of our client we have to get her in there today in case she wants to submit an offer too.

So I do what any top producing realtor with a share-the wealth attitude would do. I put out the word to my colleagues, thinking particularly of the newbies who could use a break.

Imagine my surprise when the first person to return my call is the third busiest person in the office (after me and my partner Tracey). He saw the page, knew he could help and got right back to me. These are likely bona-fide clients with a little hand holding, so I'm quite pleased with the results and I know the situation is in good hands!

Now, digressing for a moment, I hear stories all the time of new Realtors who think they are going to walk into a brokerage and "interview the manager or broker" like they are all that and the brokerage would be lucky just to have them. "How many leads will you hand me?" is the question I hear most. I laugh, thinking I could be absolutely rich if I had ever been "handed leads".

Its all about old fashioned hard work. Not waiting six hours to look at the blackberry or return calls. Getting out there and meeting people, conducting open houses and hanging off every word out of the mouth of the company's top producers. Things I still do.

It becomes apparent on days like today why it is so true that 10% of us do 90% of the business.

When I got a call six hours later 'wondering if anyone had taken care of that client', I really wanted to laugh, but I couldn't.

God help me if the hunger pangs ever go away.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Matter of Convenience

Most people take stock around the first of January. Given my proclivity to swimming upstream just because I don't do anything the easy way, I wait until a little way into the year to analyze how its going so far.

I've realized something. The less friends I have the happier I am. It's time to cut the fat, as it were. I have a ton of acquaintances - that's the nature of my business. I'm always out schmoozing, working a room, making strategic alliances.

But when I'm feeling bummed and I just want a friendly "hello" who do I call or text? The list is short, and getting shorter as I raise my expectations of what a friend should be. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about being needy, wanting a perpetual shoulder to cry on or that sort of thing. I'm talking about just touching base, knowing that whether I need something or not is irrelevant. Sometims just the voice of a friend or a quick joke by text does the trick. Once in a while but hardly ever it involves dropping what you're doing and being there for me. I have been that to a lot of people - un-reciprocated in some cases. And the thing is, being a friend can sometimes be inconvenient, but the worst case scenarios I expect from a true friend is "In the middle of something babe, let me call you in 20 minutes". And then they do.

And when one is all that to other people and it doesn't go both ways, it becomes evident that what really exists here is a friendship of convenience, for the other party, not me. Or really maybe it was nothing more than acquaintances from the beginning.

Yep, it's time to do some trimming. It might seem shocking to some that I'm dumping friends in a public forum, but you know what? They'll never know, because the one's I've dumped are the ones who will never read this anyway.

It's all good.

Less baggage, good to go. Get on board or get outta my way. Lock and load baby its gonna be a great year!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

It's all good....even when it is not....

I have to thank my good friend Keith for that bit of wisdom.

Today feels blah. Everything about it. Never mind the hallmark holiday we know as Valentine's Day - it is just a blah day.

Business is OK but not great; I'm tired and need a break; gotta send Andrew more money so he can eat; lost a client for no good reason other than that he's fickle, and we busted our butts for him. Jerk. It is just one of those days.

Then I think about Keith. He's been through a lot more tough stuff than I have lately. I've been calling him up on a regular basis just to make sure he's been hanging in there. But you know, for all he's got going on, I can still hear him smiling through the phone. And if I said let's go for a drink, I'd go pick him up and he'd give me a big hug and tell me all that's good in his world.

Given that I'm predisposed to bouts of melancholy, I wonder where some people get their inner strength. I believe some people are just born with an optimism gene - something apparently missing my my DNA. I wonder at their ability to be up... always smiling, always seeing the bright side of any situation.

Today, I feel like going home, crawling under the covers and getting lost in a mindless afternoon of television.

Now, people often tell me I'm strong. I guess I would have to agree with that, but I can't seem to do it in the same chipper way as those eternal optimists for whom one would never know had a care in the world if one wasn't in that person's inner circle. I'll be miserable, moody and depressed, but I'll get through.

So, to all the "Keiths" in my life - and especially Keith himself - thanks for your ability to help me believe that it's all good, even when it is not. You're all annoying as hell but I'm glad you are in my life. :)

Tomorrow will be a better day!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bridezilla's Got Nothing on Me Baby!

Lauren is in grade 8. We've put down a deposit on the grad trip, and talks about where we're going shopping for a prom dress have begun.

I wasn't anticipating becoming emotionally involved in this but I'm getting in deeper with each passing day. As Lauren's excitement grows mine does too. Funny how it wasn't the same with her older brothers - at least not to the same extent. After all, a tux is a tux. But all this talk of a dress and shoes and makeup and hair and I realize how much fun it is to be the mom of a beautiful, smart young woman who is quickly growing up before my eyes.

I've already made the pledge to myself - I will not exert undue influence on her choice of a frock for grad festivities. Short of stopping her from dressing like a trollop, I will allow her the freedom to express herself as she sees fit. Somehow I know we'll be on the same page, or at least within the same chapter of the book.

What I will do is be there to make sure everything goes perfectly for her. And that's where it starts to get scary. Lauren wants to make sure her hair is perfect that day, so I've booked her cut and colour and a trial run of the 'do' about a week before the big day. Then, while I was at our hairdresser's I phoned the school, confirmed the date for Grade 8 grad and booked the hair appointment for 1pm that day - knowing full well that my daughter has done such a good job promoting our stylist that at least a dozen other girls from her school are his clients now too. I'll be darned if Lauren will be out in the cold for a hair appointment on her big day. We're in baby and it'll be impossible to convince us to give up our precious time slot.

I'm already checking the new stock as it comes in to my fav shop. They have a registry there which prevents other girls at the same school from buying the identical e dress once we've procured it. I have an "in" there and I get to see everything before it is put out on the floor.

Oh yeah, I won't interfere with her choices - the day is all hers. But she won't ever forget that mom helped make it all happen and cheered from the sidelines all the way.

The only thing left to do is make sure I pick up a waterproof mascara for June 24th. Prom is a blood sport so let the games begin!