The one-and-only competitive footrace I have ever won came during Field Day 1980 at Pound Ridge Elementary School in suburban New York. I was in kindergarten, on the green team, and was a part of the 50-meter dash. I remember being most fascinated that day by the starters’ pistol, wondering if it contained real bullets and, if so, where they might be landing.
Those questions faded when the gun sounded for my race. There’s a freedom to running when you’re a kid. I look at 5-year-olds with the benefit now of more than 40 additional years and think they look funny and awkward and slow. But that day, I felt like I myself had been shot out of the pistol.
I remember being surprised when something started to wrap around my head. I hadn’t been looking up and had burst right through the finish line tape, in first place.
Today, I crossed another finish line and felt that same exhilaration.
Just more than a year ago, I started at a job I loved but that did not pay the bills. So I created a plan that I kept to myself until the race was almost done. I was rebuilding my life — again — after the latest Series of Unfortunate Events, some of which were excruciatingly self-created. I am, no doubt, my own worst enemy.
But this rebuilding was going to be different. It was going to be methodical and have a definitive goal. The plan was simple:
- Work my ass off until my current employer recognized my true value or until I made myself marketable to other companies once again.
- Professionally ask for a salary increase to a rate that accurately reflected my value in the market.
- Absent a salary increase, find a forward-thinking, progressive company that paid for talent.
- Find some way to bring in a chunk of change to restore a sense of financial security to my family.
Today, with the closing of the sale of Old House, that plan is done. Three hours after we signed the papers, the proceeds landed in our bank account. Tonight, I paid off some of our remaining debt. Tomorrow, I will pay off the rest. Then I will refill a proper emergency fund, put some money aside for the newer-to-us cars I’d like to buy someday, start a travel fund and send the rest to my investment account.
While the plan might have been simple, its execution was not. It was fraught with political landmines at work and blasted by repeated tragedies and obstacles — everything from the loss of my father-in-law to my own battle with COVID and then Longhaul COVID.
But in the end, I did it. We did it. The race is over.
I’m not naive enough to think more challenges aren’t coming. With every fiber of my being, though, I hope they stay away for maybe just a little while.
The ‘Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Say It’ of the Day
New Home is Old Home For Wifey Poo
To celebrate the day, Wifey Poo and I poured two glasses of wine — her, the sticky-sweet white she loves and me a dry red — and walked down to the end of the driveway. We sat on the concrete and sipped and talked as the last sunlight of the day faded and stars emerged in the darkening sky. I love it out here in the country.
As we walked back toward our home, I said, “This all has to be a bit surreal for you.”
“Just a bit,” she replied.
Wifey Poo spent the second half of her childhood in this home. She grew into the amazing woman she now is inside these property lines. Now, we’re raising Boy The Younger here for the second half of his childhood. I type this in the room I slept in when, as a 19-year-old, I came home with her on spring break. Never in a million years would either of us have thought the winding road that is our collective life would travel past this point.
Things like that are what can make living life so much fun.
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living.
- Tomorrow, I’ll be able to pay off the rest of any debt we have.
- Good pens. I love the Precise V7, black.
- An out-of-the-blue text with photos from a college acquaintance who knows I love nature scenery.
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Another example of taking a blog and turning it into an easy-to-digest flyer for our agents to use when they’re talking with clients.
Write the blog, make the flyer. Presenting the same information to people with different preferences in how they consume media is important. I love that we showed the mistake AND provided the solution.
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Republished from allenbrake.com Can we interest you in buying a house that doesn’t exist? Oh, and we’re not talking about a piece of property on which you can build your dream home. We’re talking about something that isn’t part of our reality. Confused? Talk to your kid. Today’s children know all about the metaverse. IfContinue reading “Welcome to Your New (Virtual) Home”
Republished from allenbrake.com A new year comes with a sense of freshness. Once that calendar flips from what was to what is, it’s like there’s a clean slate on which you can write a new story. No one wants to make the same mistakes from the previous year, whether it’s getting back together with theContinue reading “Five Home Buying Mistakes You Can Avoid in 2022”
Reprinted from allenbrake.com Key Points The year that just ended was a historically unprecedented seller’s market in the St. Louis region. Many of the same market conditions exist in 2022. Rising interest rates make this a key time for potential buyers to take action. Remember the Cabbage Patch Kid craze of 1983? If not, it’sContinue reading “Is The Housing Market About To Crash? “
Republished from allenbrake.com If you’re in the market for a Ferrari 485, first off, lucky you. More importantly, we probably don’t need to tell you that you might want to take it for a test drive before plopping down the more than $270,000 it would take to bring one home. Whether it’s a Ferrari orContinue reading “Top 3 Things To Learn When Test Driving Your Dream Home”
Republished from allenbrake.com Anyone who has ever tended a garden, worked on a farm or taken a basic science class would tell you it’s crazy to expect to be able to plant a seed one day and harvest the next. As it goes with seeds, so it goes with a home you’d like to sell. Continue reading “Want to Sell in Spring? Plant the Seeds Today!”
Republished from allenbrake.com If the past year has taught the real estate world anything, it’s that it’s actually possible to see dollar signs in people’s eyes. With a bounty of buyers looking to land their dream homes and a historical shortage of houses on the market, home prices have boomed in the past year. TellContinue reading “Top 5 Ways Buyers Can Win in a Sellers Market”
Welcome to Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. Bring Me To Life, Evanescence, from the 2007 album Fallen Line of Significance How can you see into my eyes, like open doors/Leading you down into my core, where I’ve become some numb.
As I’ve previously detailed elsewhere on my site, I have a bit of a Dark Knight problem. It’s kinda like I have a bit of a Shawshank Redemption problem, a Jewel problem and, currently, an Amy Lee/Evanescence problem. I watch or hear something that speaks to my soul, and it becomes an area of intenseContinue reading “List Item Achieved! #47 ‘If You’re Good At Something’”
Welcome to Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. Jeremy, Pearl Jam, from the 1991 album Ten When Jeremy stood at the front of his English classroom on the morning of January 8, 1991, so much had already happened. The 15-year-old was already an accomplished, award-winning artist. HeContinue reading “SoS5: Jeremy”
Welcome to Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. Fast Car, Tracy Chapman, from the 1988 album Tracy Chapman Line of Significance And your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder/And I-I, had a feeling that I belonged/I-I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone,Continue reading “SoS4: Fast Car”
Welcome to Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. Closing Time, Semisonic, from the 1998 album Feeling Strangely Line of Significance: Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
Liner Notes 45Shinedown from the 2003 album ‘Leave a Whisper’ Lyric to remember In a box, high up on the shelf, left for you, no one else/There’s a piece of a puzzle known as life, wrapped in guilt, sealed up tight. Quotable “The box is your memories, the things in your life you’ve kept veryContinue reading “SoS2 — 45, Shinedown”
Welcome to the premiere edition of Songs of Significance, chronicling the songs that have helped shape me and people across generations. Cumbersome, Seven Mary Three, from the 1994 debut album, Churn Line of Significance: I have become cumbersome to this world/I have become cumbersome to my girl B. Goode is by no means a musicContinue reading “SoS1: Cumbersome”
There was a time in my life when I had swagger. I was never the most popular or athletic kid in school, but for a while there, I was a really good baseball player. I could hit. I could field. And, boy, could I pitch. Some of the most “over” kids in high school wouldContinue reading “Welcome Back, Swagger”
I am my music. I don’t know how much simpler to define me than to say that if you want to know who and where I am at a particular moment, check my “recents” in Amazon Music. Music has always been a big thing with me. I understand it now, but I didn’t understand asContinue reading “List Item Achieved! #24: Music”
I have a complicated history with alcohol. So stupid and naive was I that I it wasn’t until I was 8 years old that I learned a woman could drink beer. I mean, I actually believed beer was not something women were allowed to drink, or maybe it was that I thought that if theyContinue reading “List Item Achieved! #40: Cheers!”
It seems to me that a lot of things are easier these days. For example, I think it’s much easier to be a police detective now than, say, back in the 1960s-90s, when my uncle/godfather worked in Spanish Harlem. There are databases for everything from fingerprints to photos to DNA, and every block in theContinue reading “List Item Achieved! #90: Here’s Lookin’ At You, Kid”
Ahh, January 2022, the month that will be remembered as the one in which, despite being vaxed and boosted, that little bitch Covid came to live with me again and as a month that lasted approximately 758 years. Yet despite its general assholeyness and inexplicable length, I managed to actually cross off very few itemsContinue reading “List Items Update! January in Review”
Dear World, Hey there. It’s me. John. John who? Yeah, I thought you might say that. It has been a day. It has been a week. Hell, world … it has been a life. Oh. Wait. You need to grab my file? Go ahead. I’ll wait. Give it a good read. Yeah, don’t skip overContinue reading “Dear World, Seriously … WTF?”
By the middle of 2021, I was, in a word, fat. Not the cool kind of fat, as in phat, but just plain-old fat. In the middle of my battle with Longhaul Covid and following a course of Hail-Mary high-dose steroids to fix a Longhauler mouth issue that remains to this day, I punished myContinue reading “List Items Achieved! #51: Pants”