Agent friends help out in any pinch

#573 in a series of true experiences in real estate
December 2008, Hills Newspapers

Next week Anet and I and our friends Sandy & Carol are having our second annual Mammagram Party. We are four-fifths of our Thursday lunch group. Martha, the fifth, is a Kaiser member so she won’t be with us although she might meet us later for lunch.

The four of us are going to the mammogram center at Sutter in Oakland, the place each of us in previous years went for mammograms but you know how it is: you’ve got to remember and then sign up and then go. It occurred to us last year that if we all went at the same time, we’d be more likely to go.

And it works great. The mammogram people think it’s a fabulous idea. And fast! Believe it or not, from parking our cars through sign-in, changing clothes, mammograms all-around, then back to our cars, total elapsed time: 45 minutes.

Our Thursday lunch group – we are all agents – meets most weeks after we’ve toured new listings. Anet and I go in one car; Carol, Sandy and Martha take turns driving a second car. Sometimes we are looking at the same open house at the same time and that’s fun; we run into each other and laugh and talk before lunch but more often we talk by cell phone about which restaurant we’ll go to and when.

One Thursday, on our way to seeing open houses, Anet and I went by to check on a listing we’d been prepping for sale. We’d been working on this house for many weeks; the time for holding it open was coming near. Today, all of a sudden, the front yard didn’t look good enough.

A chimney mason had been working at the house; he’d mixed his mortar on the front lawn next to the hose bib, and now the lawn was stained with gray, gritty particles. The grass was long, too, and the gang of agapanthus had bloomed out leaving stickery stems. Anet got a rake from the basement and started working on the lawn. I got my hand clippers from the car to neaten up the border. We called our friends to say we weren’t going to make it to lunch.

We worked along, and then, surprise, we looked up to see Sandy, Carol and Martha. They’d driven over to bring us some lunch. We were so happy to see our friends. We all went inside the house to look at the new paint and floors and staging. They were full of admiring remarks – great job, price is right, love the colors – which made us feel fantastic.

Back out front, Martha said that what we needed was a good lawn mowing and edging. We could see she was right but who to get, and quickly? Martha said she had a power mower and she’d go get it and bring it back to us. She would? Wow, that would be terrific, almost too much to ask or receive.

Less than an hour later Martha was back driving a pickup truck. In the bed in back were a power mower and an electric weed-whacker. She jumped out, found a plug inside, fed the cord through a window, and began to mow. Anet raked grass clippings between passes, and meanwhile, I weeded the brick pathway. At the end, the three of us stood in the street and said what a huge difference our work had made.

On another Thursday morning, Anet and I stopped by a different house listing to leave a check for one of the workmen. We also wanted to be sure that newly planted bedding plants were getting enough water. As we pulled up in front of the house, first thing, we saw mulch all over the driveway and into the street. It looked like a torrent of water had washed it there.

The next door neighbor came out and said there had been a lot of water burbling from a spot in the side yard. A little digging in the spot made us think there must be a break in a sprinkler pipe, turned off then, but in need of repair.

Just then Carol called to confirm the lunch plan for the day. I told her where we were and said we had a problem, we’d try to figure it out, and call her back. Anet was working on the sprinkler control panel trying to get that line turned on again so we could see exactly where the leak was located.

Suddenly, around the corner, then in front of the house, was a car and our friends. They jumped out and came to give us hellos and hugs. They listened to what the story was and told us what they thought. And Sandy (we didn’t even notice) got out her cell phone and summoned help. She called her friend Dan telling him to bring a shovel and trowel and come quick.

Minutes later, right after Martha and Anet had figured out the sprinkler controls and Anet had been thoroughly squirted and her pants soaked, Dan arrived. He took over, Anet decided she could finish tour wet, and we went to lunch.

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