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From Skating to Surgery - and again, the Angels we meet.

          *Big disclaimer as the name of the doctor in this story has been changed for good reason. 

      It was Patrick’s thirteenth birthday.  Like all good moms, I wanted to throw him a party.  I thought having a roller skating party would be good and all I needed was the cake and the kids. I enlisted my best friend Liz who was the queen of birthday parties to help me with this endeavor and of course, she gladly obliged.  

       It was a Saturday and the party was to be from one in the afternoon to four. I loved skating as a kid and was very good at it. I had kept the party to only a few of Patrick’s friends.  One of his friends had not really skated before and I enjoyed “teaching” her how to skate.  The party was going along great and we were just about done in an hour or so when I was going around the rink when the girl I was helping to skate grabbed the back of my sleeve and pulled me down. One of the last memories before that was me seeing my feet up in the air and seriously thinking, this can’t be good.

      I landed on my wrist and thought, why can’t I get up. I then looked down to see my wrist was at a ninety degree angle. Not wanting to upset my son at his birthday party, I just kept saying, “it’s ok - go eat the cake!” My friend Liz came over and her face said it all. This was bad. Enter angel number one, a paramedic who was there with his son skating. He immediately told me not to try to pick up my wrist. He got a board to put under it and they “scooped” my wrist up to the office. Oh the management. They kept saying, “you know this is not our fault and you skate at your own risk.” Gee, thanks.  I told Patrick that I would be fine that I was going to get it “checked out.” Liz graciously offered to drive me so that my husband (and hers) could wrap up the party. 

               We got to the hospital and you know emergency rooms, you wait forever. Then I got x-rays and even the technician got squeamish looking at my wrist. I was put in the back of the ER and met second angel *Jeanette. She was the nurse on call that day. She kept saying how was I not passed out from the pain. I kept myself positive that I would be ok. Liz never left my side. Jeanette had called the orthopedic doctor on call to have him come immediately to the hospital to take care of my wrist. That was at four in the afternoon. The doctor said he was busy and he would get there as soon as he could. Two hours later, Liz got me some food so I could try some pain medicine. Another call to the doctor and still the same response that he was busy. Jeanette then sat down next to me and looked around and said, “do you know about patient rights?” I said I had no idea what she was talking about. She basically said that if I did not like the doctor prior to him starting care, that I could refuse his service. Hmm….interesting.

       At eight thirty pm, enter *Dr. Nutso.   He finally shows up all six foot three tall and wide. Comes in and sees me sitting on a chair outside an examining room and barks at me to get in here and sit on the examining table. Now please picture my friend Liz who on a good day, is five foot nothing. She helps me on the table and the doctor tries to push me down and says, “let me just put some medicine in your wrist and we’ll cast it up and you’ll be home soon!” Anyone (including myself) could see that it was much more serious than that. Then Jeanette over his shoulder mouthed “patient rights.” I then took my wrist away and said I was refusing service. He got in my face and told me how dare I tear him away from his dinner to just refuse his service. Dinner? I’m dying here with a broken wrist and you’re eating? Liz then took control. My little sergeant. She looked up at him and got in between us and started yelling at him to get away from me and how dare he make us wait. I can still see her looking up and pointing her finger at him.

       Thankfully, the doctor walked out huffing and puffing. I never saw him again. I did require surgery that had my wrist in four metal rods that were in for eight weeks. The doctors said I would be lucky to retain only fifty three percent usage at best. I retained ninety five percent usage, thank you. I know my thoughts of staying positive combined with the positive people that we’re put in my path, kept  me sane. Haven’t skated since then but you never know…..maybe one day. Until next time, ton o’ blessings to ya.


Can God talk to you through a baby monitor? Well, He did for us.

    When our oldest was born (nineteen years ago!) we were still living with my mother in a condominium complex. We were at the end of the building in a two story town home. We were so excited after Patrick was born to use all of our new and exciting gifts that we received at my baby shower.  One was a new and improved baby monitor. You got to love those things.  I remember the first time putting the remote right near Patrick’s head so I can hear him breathing. It picked up every noise he made. Way back then there were no television remote so all you had was the other remote to listen to. So I had the remote strapped to my waist  and thought I better put it on my shoulder so I could hear it better. Well I started to hear Patrick make cute little “I’m starting to wake up now” noises which lasted about fifteen seconds. Then it was a full blown scream like a firehouse station siren right outside your window! Thought I was going to have a heart attack. Of course, my dear sweet child needed to be fed and God forbid you didn’t have that bottle ready as he would continue that wonderful scream until you stuck that bottle in his mouth.  Ok, lessons learned, don’t put monitor right next to the baby (on a dresser will do fine) and certainly do not put the other monitor next to your ear. No wonder the kids today think I’m deaf. Thanks Patrick.

    One night before Patrick was born and we were getting the nursery ready, my husband Bill was putting together the crib and took out the monitor set as well. After putting the crib together, he decided to put the batteries in the monitor and see how they worked. Being a new dad he was anxious and story goes prayed quite a bit to be a good father. What happened next could only be described as miraculous as he turned on only one of the monitors and was about to turn the other monitor on when he heard this mans voice coming through. Being a bit freaked out as the other monitor wasn’t on, he heard this voice say “put your hands together like this, and pray with me." “Our Father who ark in heaven, that’s good - keep it like that,’ hallowed be thy name.” The Lords prayer continued to the end and then the voice said that everything will be great and that God loves us. Bill was by himself and looked around to see if this was on an episode of “Candid Camera” or something until he realized that it wasn’t.  I came home and he told me the story breathless. He was sure God was talking to him and that everything would be ok. 

I didn’t know what to make of the story until I asked my cousin who had the same monitor what she thought. She told me that the monitor picks up other monitors when  one is not on. I guess like a walkie talkie. I then realized we had a neighbor down a few houses that had a little boy and that it was probably him on the monitor.  To this day, we choose to believe it was God that faithful night who saw into the future to let us know - yes, everything will be alright. You just never know when God will talk to you. Are you listening?  Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time.


Things aren’t what they seem to be - tongue depressor? Not going to work.

              It was the end of Matthew’s eighth grade year of school. As usually, kids get rowdy and a girl in his class decided to do a cartwheel right near Matthew in the hallway, which wasn’t very smart. Matthew raised his hand to block her from kicking him. Afterwards, he complained that he hurt his finger. He asked to go see the nurse which the vice principal was there as well. He was greeted with, “no big deal, put your finger in between two tongue depressors and it’ll be alright.” I was called to come pick him up (for which again, mother of the year) wasn’t happy. Everyone in the office said that they thought Matty was just fine.

Matthew got into the car and said it really hurt. I knew from times past, that if Matthew said he was hurting, he must be hurting. Case in point, he broke his collar bone and didn’t tell anyone how bad it hurt until he fell on it (again) for which we took him to the orthopedic doctor who informed us that he had broken it TWO weeks prior! He never said a word. How the heck were we supposed to know! Not wanting to repeat that ordeal, we went right to the orthopedic doctor and they took x-rays. At first, the doctor thought all was ok and wrapped his hand and told him to take it easy. Matthew being Matthew, was hungry. We were in the local grocery store when my cell phone rang and it was the orthopedic doctor telling me that Matthew’s hand was much worse than expected. We were to immediately  go to the orthopedic surgeon right away. Ok - that got my attention. We did as we were told and when we got there, this surgeon (as Matthew and I affectionately call him Dr. Bedside Manor) said if Matthew did not have surgery tomorrow his finger would immediately start to heal crooked and he would lose the use of his finger for good. Ok, this train is going to fast, I want to get off now. We called the school to let them know that Matthew wasn’t fine, and to pray for him tomorrow as he was going to have surgery!

          The next day came and we were in the surgical center bright and early. It was supposed to start at ten in the morning but no, it was closer to one in the afternoon. I called the school at noon to find the vice principal frantically telling me that they stop classes at ten to pray for Matthew. I didn’t know what to say other than, “thanks - I’m sure the prayers will hold over to one o‘clock!”

            The surgery was a success and afterwards, Dr. Bedside Manor said that this type of surgery is only performed maybe one or two times a year! So much for it’s no big deal.  It came time for the stitches to come out and Matthew and I went together. I know I was more scared than he was. We were sitting there and all I kept saying to Matthew was “look at Mommy, look at me!” “Don’t look at your hand!” Dr. BSM calmly said - “stop it, he can look if he wants to.” Matthew was a trooper and all went well. Thankfully, he has almost one hundred percent recovered from the accident and we look back and laugh (now) how what started out as a ordinary day at school turned into a nightmare turned into a blessing. We had everything, everyone that was supposed to be in our path those days and weeks. Again, angels amongst us…even Dr. Bedside Manor. Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time!


Matthew my 3rd grader - the criminal.

     After Patrick’s wonderful sleep away camp was over, we made the decision that maybe this wasn’t going to work out for our younger son Matthew. As Patrick went on about how horrible it was for him, he did speak so highly of the “ knife badge” project. He proudly displayed his knives when he got home and I was shocked to see not one but two switch blades! I guess I didn’t know what to expect to see in reference to the knives. Maybe I was hoping to see a butter knife or plastic knife for that matter. Patrick could take these knives down to the South Bronx (no disrespect) and hold his own! Need-less-to-say I told him to put them away and to not bring them out. Mother of the year, I should have taken them right then and there. But no………

       It was about a week or so after Patrick came home with the knives that it was a Wednesday (you never forget the day,) when I got a call from Matthew’s elementary school principal saying Matthew was in the office and for me to come pick him up. The principal was calling? She was so nice as I couldn’t hold back my shock that my “sweet, quiet child” needed to be picked up.  “For what may I ask?” She calmly said, “he pulled a switch blade out in the boys bathroom to give to his friend to show his brother how cool it was.” I nearly fell off my chair and couldn’t breath. She said that Matthew was sobbing telling her he didn’t mean any harm that he thought showing it to his friend  was really cool. I went immediately to the school to find Matthew in her office, red face and snot running down. What was I suppose to do? I just stood there - arms crossed and gave him that look like, what the heck?  The principal said they had to suspend him due to school regulations on weapons. Weapons? Ugh. He was supposed to get one week but she felt sorry for him and gave him only three days suspension which would go on his record. Great, my third grader - the criminal.

         His first day of incarceration, I mean at home, we went to daily mass where all the little old ladies thought that was really nice I brought my son to mass. Ok, forgive me Father, for I have sinned, I just smiled and yes, it was.  For three long days, my son tried to convince me that it wasn’t his fault, that “stupid Patrick” shouldn’t have brought them home. After his stint was up, I was convinced that being a lawyer was in my son’s future. Now he is a junior in high school with only a year left to go before he is off to college and who knows, maybe it will come true! Sometimes, things happen for a reason!  Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time!   


Weeblos? Not for everyone…..just ask Patrick.

                  Keeping in the earlier years of us moving to Florida, we wanted to have our children be involved in the local community. What better way than to put Patrick (our oldest) in “Weeblos.” That would be the boys version of “Brownies before Girl Scouts!” Not really knowing if Patrick actually wanted to join, we threw him in anyway. Wanting to be that “Weeblos mom” was like wanting to be that “soccer mom,” and we know how that turned out, this had to be different. It was going along smoothly (so I thought,) when the subject of the sleep away camping trip came up.  I don’t know if it’s a first born thing but, Patrick was not thrilled at all to be leaving home without us.  The day arrives where we meet early in the morning and we (his father and I) were so excited to hand Patrick over for the week! Unfortunately, Patrick did not share our enthusiasm. Not that he went “kicking and screaming” but if looks could kill,  we wouldn’t have made it out the parking lot. I thought things look strange when twelve people got into a ten person van. We stood there, said our prayers  and off they went. Patrick tells the story that they stayed at a strange persons house before going up to the camping grounds in Georgia. He said that the house was small and they were ALL sleeping on the living room floor. He was smack right in the middle and the poor thing had to go potty but couldn’t move.  No one was letting him up. It was cold, dark and scary and they weren’t even camping yet.

           When they arrive to the camping ground, they were told it would be two per “tent.” Tent being the operative  word. It was a wooden frame with a canvas covering the two small beds. It had a wooden floor board with about ten inches between the floor and ground. Story goes, it was covered with so many spider webs, roaches and quoting here “mosquitoes the size of hawks!” Interviewing my son for this story apparently brought up some very bad memories. The first night it rained. Actually it rained the whole time he was there. Patrick says that he heard animals under the floor boards so he never slept worrying something would attack him in his sleep. We gave him forty dollars for the week which we were told would be more than enough as they provided three “balanced” meals daily. The money could be used for the Trading Post store located on the grounds. Apparently, Patrick used thirty dollars in the first day buying beef jerky and a rabbit pelt to keep warm at night. The pelt was eight inches by a foot on a good day. 

           The boys had opportunities to earn badges, fun - right? Well, there was the “knife skills badge” which Patrick wanted so bad to earn.  Only problem - no knife. With the rest of the money, he bribed this kid to sell him two knives on the black market.  Some things are better not known. He successfully earned his badges and was told he could call home. He called us and started to cry saying that I promised him, if he was not having a good time I would come up and get him. I wanted to get in the car right then and there. His father had other ideas. “It’s nine and half hours north and we’re not going. This is a great learning experience!” Did I mention this was day two. As God is good, they did manage to get through the week, albeit Patrick was out of money by day three and returned home. To this day, Patrick says that was thee worst week of his life. He did go to Boy Scouts, for one year and hung up his belt and badges. What happened to those knives? Next blog - Matthew and the switchblade. Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time!  


Hurricane Wilma - Blown anniversary (literally) and the angels we meet.

             Now that Hurricane Tomas is no threat to anyone anymore, praise God, it reminded me of what we went through with Hurricane Wilma back in 2005. Living in Florida, we are blessed to have hurricane warnings to prepare for the worst.  Living through some of what we thought to be bad ones, we had no idea just how bad it can be. It was our eighteenth wedding anniversary and we all were watching Hurricane Wilma approaching Florida. We had the shutters up and plenty of candles, water and can goods at the ready. Gas in the grill and a ton of batteries for the flash lights. Eight Oh three am. The house starts rumbling and the windows and back glass door start shaking. We are watching the television when I said, “can’t believe we haven’t lost power yet!” You guessed it, the next minute, lights out. That would be the start of twenty one days without power. You have no idea until it happens to you how much you depend on electricity. This was the start of the most unusual anniversary ever. Looking for the positive side of things, we got to know our neighbors so well, as who wants to stay in a dark house and do nothing. The kids were playing outside and out came the grills. Having to use up all that was in the freezer, we ate like kings! I made my ribs, next door made the best pork loin, the other neighbor made hot wings and so the marathon eating began!  I would make pancakes in the morning on the grill and the neighborhood kids would come over and I set up a table and chairs for them to sit and eat. I made every kind of pancakes known to man. Chocolate chip, spice pancakes, blueberry, you name it, I made it. Then it wasn’t really “fun” anymore. 

    Laundry started to pile up and when the roads finally became clear, a week or so later, I loaded up the kids to find a coin Laundromat to do our clothes. I think I had close to six large garbage bags to wash. We went to the first place I knew and of course, it was packed with people in the same situation. I got the kids to each try to carry a bag or two and we ventured in. Unfortunately, we were greeted with this woman literally stretching out her arms over some five washing machines, stating that these were hers! Are you nuts? I was so tired and I’m sure I smelled and was not looking pretty at this point when I said, “move over honey, I got laundry to do!” She said “no.” God bless my kids who didn’t want momma to start fighting with this woman and my oldest said  for us to just go. I was too tired to fight so we left. Found another one close by, a much smaller one but at least the people were friendlier. I started to put my laundry in the washing machine when I noticed this man watching me. Didn’t think anything of it. I then was putting some of the laundry in the dryer when some fell on the floor and you would have thought that I just lost my best friend when the tears started down my face. I was trying not to sob hysterically out loud because I didn’t want to embarrass my kids. I’m sure it was all the stress by now catching up to me. Right in front of me is that man that was staring at me before. He started to help me put my clothes in the dryer and was so kind and told me everything was going to be ok. Patted me on the back and told me that God has it under control and things will get better soon. He just knew the right things to say! I thought, who is this guy? I looked down to see he had a “badge” on that said “Salvation Army” volunteer.  I almost screamed saying “oh my gosh, they teach you how to deal with crazies like me - don’t they!?” He laughed and who cares the who or why, he was my angel that day. I wish I would have taken his name or number to thank him weeks later when everything did turn up ok. You see, you never know the angel who is right in front of you! They really do come in all shapes and sizes!  Ton o’ blessings to you until next time!


Buyers……The Eleventh hour - are we or aren’t we!

    To be a Realtor, you have to have nerves of steal and be able to let things roll off your back. I learned that with many many many contracts. Early in my career, I had a client *Paige (yes, name changed to protect her) who called off an advertisement that I had in the paper to see if I could help her sell her home. She had a lovely townhouse that I knew would sell right away. We went under contract with-in a week, to close within a month, so she needed to buy right away.  Great for me, I thought. We did find a wonderful home and went under contract. Three weeks into the deals, Paige said that she had a dream that she was not suppose to sell her home right now. A dream? Really? What was I supposed to do now? There was the buyer of her home waiting to close in a week, the seller of the new home she was going to buy in a week, her movers she hired to move her home in a week…..are you getting the big picture here? She said calmly, “I need to get out of the contracts, please.” I remember going into my brokers office in tears saying “what am I supposed to do now?” My broker turned and said “stop crying, can’t take you crying and don’t worry - real estate is not life or death.” With that, I went through the proper paperwork and successfully got out of all the deals at the eleventh hour. Only by the grace of God did it happen and , I will never forget what he said. Paige unfortunately never bought or sold to this day.  
    I had clients that were referred to me by a good friend. I got along famously with them as they were my fellow New Yorkers. *James and *Cindy came down and I found them a rental to move into right away. They promised me that they would ask me to help them find a home when they were ready. Not going back on their word, it was time we went house hunting. It was a big blessing that they had relatives that were going to help them in purchasing their new home. The relatives came down to go house hunting with us but sadly, we all did not agree what home would be right for them. The relatives returned home and we continued the search. We went into this house, and we all looked at each other and said - this is it. After some negotiating, we had a contract! It was a bit different and a bit more complicated when other people are buying for someone else. That didn’t stop it from going through to the closing. 
           Closing day was upon us, and the relatives came back down to sign the paperwork. We did our walk through which was the first time that they had seen the property! Thankfully, that went well and we were off to title company to close. Movers were at James and Cindy’s rental apartment as well as the seller’s movers were waiting too! We are sitting at the closing table when the title closer said, "we have a problem." We all looked at each other (mortgage agent, James, Cindy, the relatives, title closer and myself) and you could hear a pin drop. Then the mortgage agent got up and went into the other room for what seemed liked forever and I was there to ask if anyone wanted coffee, water a bourbon, beer - what ever? I became a waitress to say the least!  I got up to go into the other room, to see the mortgage agent furious that this is happening at the closing. I held my breath and more paperwork had to be signed and faxed but thankfully - we closed. You could hear us all the way down the street screaming with delight. James and Cindy were gracious enough to buy me a wonderful bottle of Vodka (that was opened that night!) which no other buyer had ever done before! Not that I didn’t have faith that it wouldn’t close but…….it did and that is all that matters. Until next time, ton o’ blessings to ya.


Buyers….Where’s your manners?

You would think that after taking out so many buyers that I wouldn’t get shocked at the behavior of buyers and the people they bring along. Well, guess again. Oh the names have been changed to protect me!
I loved my buyer *Joan.  She and I got along so well and I truly looked forward taking her out as we laughed most of the time while trying to find a home.  One day Joan said she wanted to take her friend *Ted along because she “valued” his opinion. Ugh. What was I going to say. We met at the first property and we went into the house which I thought would be perfect for Joan.  Joan walked in and loved it. That is, until Ted said “No way - uh no, let’s go now.”  I looked over at Joan and she tried to convince him that it was a great house. Need-less-to-say, we left. That happened to the next four  listings we went to. I tried to talk to Joan “alone” in one of the listings and told her - “it’s your decision, not his, hello?” She said I was right and that she would not bring him the next time and could we go back to those other houses that she liked at another time. “OK, no problem.” 
We were at the last house where it was apparent that there was a college student going off to school and their mom (or dad) made some homemade cookies and brownies in baggies to take back. I didn’t think anything of it as Joan and I were upstairs checking out the bedrooms when Ted comes upstairs eating one of the brownies! I quickly said - “Um, that’s not yours to eat!” He said “oh, I thought they left that out for us!” I thought, when is this day going to end already. The instructions were to not lock the door on the way out so I went first to my car and Joan and Ted came out next. That is when I saw it. He had three empty bags in his hand! Ok, now what do I do. I made the decision to not say anything but smile and tell Joan I would see her tomorrow (alone, I mouthed.) Then I called  the agent of that house and said, “I am truly sorry that, not my buyer but her friend, ate some food at the house.” The other agent gasped and asked if I was joking. As it was the listing agents home! I told him I would make some brownies to bring back, for which he said, “no, I’ll just have my wife make more.” Again, lessons learned, not to leave anyone alone in a kitchen for you do not know where they are going to lurk! Thankfully, Joan did buy a home that she (and I) loved and I never had to see Ted again. Next blog - the eleventh hour - are we or aren’t we! Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time!


More Buyer Stories…Oh no she didn’t…..

         Please know that I have to have the disclaimer that the names have been changed to protect the innocent.  Especially in this story!

            My associate/friend *Mary was starting out in the real estate business right about the same time I was. I would share my buyer stories and she would share hers. I really think to this day this has to be thee top ten memorable one!
         She was doing floor duty when a call came in from a very high spirited woman asking if a realtor could take out her and her family to go see “really nice houses!” As any good realtor would do, Mary asked her if she was pre-qualified for a loan and “*Momma Pat” said that she was coming into a “boat load of money” soon and she wanted to be ready to buy that million dollar house! Well, of course, that got Mary’s attention and they set up a time to go out the next day. 
                    Mary set up to see five houses in the price range of five hundred thousand to one million. They met at the office and to Mary’s dismay, there was seven of them that marched out of the van. *Momma Pat lead the way as she was the grandmother, then her daughter, son-in-law, niece and her children went inside the office. Momma Pat explained she won a lawsuit and that it was getting close to payoff time. Mary had Momma Pat in her van and the rest followed.  The very first home was a beautifully decorated five bedroom/five bath home with all the upgrades that anyone would love to have. Momma Pat said “naaa” next? Same thing happened with the next three elegant homes. Finally at the last home, which was one million dollars, Momma Pat was thrilled. Loved the whole house and they stayed in there for over an hour when Momma Pat said she had to use the “little girls room.” Mary knew she was in trouble as the son-in-law begged her to just wait until they got back to the office. She said she couldn’t and she would be right out. Twenty minutes later, Mary got anxious and asked the daughter to see if her mom was ok. What next, something out of a bad “B” rated movie. The daughter knocks and Momma Pat said “watch out, I’m opening the door!” Door opens, toilet over flowing (I’ll let your mind ponder that,) the smell was something left out on the counter for a day too long and water everywhere. Big poo and toilet paper all over the marble floor and out to the wood floors in the hallway! Momma Pat said “oops, sorry - must have ate something bad.” All Mary could think of was, how am I going to leave this? She said that she would “take care of it” and that they could go out and see more tomorrow. With that, Momma Pat and gang filed out of the house leaving Mary to “clean up” the evidence. Thankfully, the owners were out of town so Mary took towels, and a mop and cleaned it all up. Unfortunately, the big payoff never came and the twenty one times she took them out, never paid off. What we don’t do for our buyers! Next time - buyers that eat, eat and eat some more? Ton o’ blessing to ya until next time!