From our August 7, 2020 newsletter:
I’ll be winging my way home, hopefully, by the time this edition hits the inboxes. Home from a 5-day week in Wisconsin, specifically Door County, the state’s thumb-like northeast peninsula jutting into Lake Michigan. It’s a beautiful area often called the Cape Cod of the Midwest. Wild and oceanic on the lake side, where I will have been staying (Jacksonport) and tamer and more touristy on the west shore lining Green Bay. I’ve been coming to Door County since I was a kid.
I am writing this first section on the outbound flight. Everyone is masked up and the seats are mostly filled. I am filled with the pleasant anticipation of morning walks on the beach, bike rides across the peninsula, and probably a round of golf. Reuniting with two brothers, two cousins, two aunts, one uncle, and a dog. But I’m also feeling some hesitancy about going, with the Denver real estate market popping and several clients poised to make a move.
Isn’t that the way it always goes? The best of times are clouded by some sort of fear (of losing clients) or guilt (about the risk of disappointing people) or hesitancy of sort or other.
A couple of weeks ago, I got tired of staring at my computer and I hopped on my bike and pedaled over to the Columbine Café just outside of Golden. It’s a place where I’ve played bluegrass at weekly jams for the past few years. I wanted to clarify some minor detail about the next jam, but mainly I wanted to get out of the house. It was mid-evening with about enough time to get a beer, ask a question, and head home.
But shortly after I got there, another guy arrived on his bike. It was Bob, a bluegrass fan who shows up at the jams occasionally. I know him, sort of. He was heading out for a ride.
“Want to go?” he asked.
“Sure,” I replied without flinching.
Then Chris, the owner, grabbed a bike from and handed off the bartending duties to his twenty-something year old son. Next thing I knew, we were eastbound on 7th Avenue rolling toward downtown Denver. The sun was setting behind us and whenever we veered left or right, we got a glimpse of a brilliant orange and blue sky.
We’d planned to stop at Oak Street, near Kipling, or so I understood, and ride the light rail home. But I was the laggard of the group and I could not catch up and protest. They pulled over and waited for me a couple of times, then took off again. We were three guys in their sixties pedaling into the darkness without a plan or a care in the world, and without even headlights on our bikes. We got as far as Knox Street, few stops short of Union Station, and loaded our bikes onto the train and rode it home. I have rarely had so much fun in my life.
Why? For one thing, I think, the trip was spontaneous. No time for hesitancy, fear or guilt. Were there other things I should have been doing? Darn right there were. But we were like three kids heading out to summer break. I spoke to Chris later. His review of the experience was exactly the same. Major fun!
So as I fly off to Door County (this writing is still in the outbound flight stage) I am trying to shake the negativity. This trip is a near repeat of what I’ve done many times in recent years. Same week in August, same cabins by the lake, same or similar cast of characters. No doubt we will again golf and bike and eat and drink and argue about politics as the moon rises over Lake Michigan.
I will endeavor to get over my hesitancy. The clents will be fine. We can communicate cross-country about as well as we can across town. They can see daily listing updates via email. We can attend virtual showings and submit offers remotely through the magic of CTM e-Contracts. My housekeeper and property manager can attend to my rental properties. By the time any of you read this, I’ll be in route back to Denver.
Now, it is time to strap on the sandals. I am leaving space here for a short report on each of the next four days.
Monday: A long early morning walk on the beach was not in the cards. I started with the best of best of intentions, with the sun still rising over Lake Michigan. It was chilly, around 57 degrees, and cloudy—the kind of cloudy we rarely see in Colorado. At least the water was warm, soaking through my sandals and I set out to the north.
Quickly I learned the shoreline isn’t what it used to be. A quarter mile from Jacksonport, the lake has subsumed the sand entirely. The only way to continue would have been to wade in knee-deep and trudge forward, who knows how far, before hitting solid sand again. Locals say the water has been rising for years, due to increased precipitation. I turned around and returned to the cabin.
Later that day I biked with my brothers around the peninsula. We had a beer in the Bay Shore Inn and later, barbecued some chicken on the beach. The air temperature was downright cold as the sun set. Shorts and a T-shirt would have been fine back in Denver. In Door County II shivered and then retired early to the lodge room and wrote this short report.
Tuesday: A bit sore from bike riding yesterday, we cruised the peninsula by car, bought a pie, and returned to the lodge. My aunt, uncle, and a cousin arrived, from Madison and Seattle. We argued about politics on the beach and drank some beer. I retired from the scene early, experiencing congestive cold-like symptoms, possibly a result of shivering on the beach a night earlier. In the back of my mind I became concerned about a Covid infection. I did not sleep well, I must admit, as I write this on Wednesday morning.
Wednesday: An even lazier day than the previous one. Still too chilly to lounge on the beach, especially in what feels like compromised health. Yet I tried it, underdressed for it, and nearly finished the book I’ve been reading: “The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win,” by Maria Konnikova. It’s about a quest by the author, a high-level magazine journalist, to become a successful high stakes poker player. It is so full of wisdom, applicable to much of life, that I plan to read it again as soon as I finish it. I may write about it in my next newsletter..
My Uncle Dan, a retired attorney and amateur historian, regaled us with stories about colorful characters in the family tree. A great grandfather, now buried in the local cemetery, lost his leg in a logging accident. Gangrene set it before they could amputate what was left of his leg and he died in Sturgeon Bay.
Thursday: My 89-year old aunt, Catherine, arrived early with her daughter, my cousin Sarah. We attended mass at Saint Peter and Paul’s Church, and visited the adjacent graveyard where my great grandfather, the ill-fated logger, is buried.
Past 12 noon on Thurday, it is time to put this edition to bed. If you’ve read this far, thank you. I don’t believe communications from your real estate agent should be strictly about real estate. I do believe in consistency, and producing regular communications even with much to say about real estate. Communications can be about life, with the implicit message that my life may not be so different than yours. Half the battle in serving clients is relating to them at some level.
The ability to take even a short vacation trip is a privilege. I think of that when I hear of the more than 50 million Americans who are unemployed. Then I see the folks casually strolling on the beach with their kids, and the license plates. Many are from Illinois, including many Chicagoans who are afraid too fly. That city is a four hour drive from Door County, We did it annually when I was a kid. We are all privileged.
Finally, I have changed my employment status, moving from my own one-man shop, Denver House Pros, to Your Castle Real Estate. YCRE is a great company with enormous resources for marketing homes and serving buyers. I look forward to serving you all in my new capacity as a Your Castle Associate Broker.