Ride: Epic Moves for Building Relationships

Riding of any kind can be an opportunity for building relationships. There’s usually an element of being captive for hours of togetherness. I’m thinking of the road trip I took with daughter Esther from Atlanta to Seattle, in a small SUV packed to the roof with the remains of a household and two large dogs. It was epic.

And epic is my favorite word when it comes to activities that build relationship, because the more epic it is the more memorable. At the end of an epic event, I am usually bonded for years to come with my companions. This was definitely the case in my ride across the state of Florida with daughter Julia, on horseback. It was the Cracker Trail Ride of 2007. Epic.

We survived the Cracker Trail together.

The Cracker Trail was the route that Florida cowboys drove cattle to the Gulf Coast for shipping in the late 1800’s. Central Florida has a large cattle industry even today so there is lots of interest in keeping history alive with the yearly Trail Ride. The route is 120 miles.

I tried to do this ride in 2006 on a borrowed horse and only got about a mile from the start when the horse insisted on being the first in line (not allowed), and seized up when I wouldn’t let him. He was an old race track pony horse and just couldn’t understand that trail ride business. He got put in a trailer and taken back. I was disappointed.

The next year I had my own horse, Andy. Julia had one of her horses, Fea. We had a two horse trailer and a fancy black truck to pull it. We, and a couple hundred of our friends and acquaintances, spent the next five days riding from Bradenton, Florida to Fort Pierce on our horses. We camped in tents at night, in the fields of some of the large ranches in central Florida. There was a chuck wagon that served meals and usually some kind of fun activity or socializing each evening.

Every morning, after breakfast we would pack up camp, saddle up and ride until noon. At our lunch stop a bus would take drivers back to their vehicles and trailers. We would drive ahead to the next campsite and then take the bus back to the lunch stop, where we would again get on the horse and ride the rest of the afternoon. Logistically, it was pretty well planned. At times we rode on major highway right-of-ways, but often it was on ranch property.

Neither of us had ever ridden all day for five days in a row, so it took a day or so for us to get hardened in. We had been trying to get the horses ready for the event, but it was extreme for them too – not only the distance but the crowd of other horses, wagons, and road traffic. We (both us and the horses) were a little nervous the first day. Poor Andy got a red bow tied on his tail to warn others that he might kick if they got too close.

As I said, it was an epic trip for me. Having that once-in-a-lifetime adventure with my daughter gave so much opportunity to learn, to be challenged in our abilities, to succeed at something unusual. It was worth every minute, but it was hard. We were glad and ready to head home at the end of the ride.

Significant relationships are built in small ways, day by day, and that is great. But it is very important, when opportunity allows, to do something special. Maybe it is something challenging, or extravagant, or luxurious or as sometimes happens, something very miserable – but it will be memorable and talked about for a long time. Getting through escapades like this with your children adds so much to the relationship with them. You are investing time and money in an experience with them, and that speaks volumes. And the payback is pretty good – I wouldn’t trade my memories of that ride for anything.

A to Z: Selling Our House (Letter R)

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This is a truly Remarkable furniture store whose entry sign features the letter R.

The last couple of days since the painter left I have been cleaning and playing handyman again. I found out I can change bathtub drains, fix door latches, buy and install new fan covers, and install new electric outlets. Although I get things done, I’m not always efficient – I spend a lot of time looking for my phone and the last place I left the screwdriver…

R Realtor

I have a friend who has been hearing all my woes about downsizing and selling our multi-family property.  One night she call, excited, to say,  “I was talking to a realtor that I know very well, and he was looking for a property with two houses for a woman and her parents. He said he was having a hard time finding anything of that kind, so I told him that I knew just the place. Yours!”

I know it sounds like my friend was trying to hasten me out of town, but no. She understands and even though she didn’t want us to move away, she had to tell the realtor about the Oneacrewoods. Unfortunately, our property wasn’t quite right for that woman but the realtor came to look and was impressed with what we had, and that is how we met Tori Uccello of Atchley Properties, a BH&G realty company.

The very first time he came, Tori sat down with us and told us exactly what he had to offer as a realtor. He convinced us that he was willing to be fully involved with getting our house on the market and, most importantly, selling it for what we felt it was worth. He listened to our feelings, plans, and reasons for selling and then he answered questions about the process. He told us about the designer services that came with his package, how the property would be displayed online, and seemed to be very aware of the multi-generational marketing aspect. I thrive on positive energy, and he had it.

And so it all began.

True to his word, Tori has been involved beyond what I’m used to seeing in a realtor. He has experience as a contractor, and a financial advisor so whether we’re talking about electrical panels or investing income from a sale, he knows what to say about it. He knows plumbers, electricians, roofers and handymen, and knows them well enough to ask for quick response when things need to be done quickly. He even came out to do a couple carpentry projects himself when we needed some creative ideas. He checks by phone every few days to see how things are coming and always has a positive encouraging tone in our discussions. (And he likes to text!)

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BEFORE: A little problem – how to hide our reverse osmosis water filter without being weird…

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AFTER: Our realtor Tori, designed and built a surround for the system that pulls out for servicing. What a guy! (I painted it.)

 

Best of all, I get no strange looks when I talk about God’s timing for this whole project of selling and moving. Tori not only respects our belief but shares it. I think that enables him to take the ups and downs, the schedule changes and delays, and all the hard work in stride and remain upbeat. He needs to be a cheerleader in this tough game to keep clients like me going during the preparation stage. He has even more work ahead when the property begins showing.

Down here in south Florida, every other person you run into is likely to be a realtor and choosing one is often just a “shot in the dark”. I’m glad this doesn’t feel that way. I really think God has paired us together for this adventure and I have confidence in our team. Bring it on!