Archive | August, 2011

In memorium…

31 Aug

Just this morning as I was getting dressed and pushing around some of the boxes of stuff that I’m sorting through, I came across the gorgeous, handcrafted wooden box – a little larger than a shoebox – that was our wedding gift from Thomas Mannion.  An actual, Tomas – “to-MAWS” – in the most Irish of all senses. 

Just before our wedding, while Mary was out spending the millenial new year commonly remembered as Y2K in Ireland just two months before our big day, Thomas brought Mary into his carpentry workshop and said “I want to show you your wedding gift”.  And he pointed to a plank of wood.

What he did with that plank of wood was amazing –  the way the grains come out and the joints meet up without a nail.  It is truly a work of art.  And so was his life.  And inside the box are the mementos his brother passed on to Mary after Thomas passed on from this world.  I was moved by the photos this morning, and reminded of what he taught us.

After our homeymoon, we came back to San Francisco and set up house.  About a month after we arrived, so did Thomas.  He just came and stayed with us, and found work, and lived life fully and trusted completely in the universe to lead him to the next opportunity.  COMLETE trust. 

And the universe always led him to opportunity, whether it was in SF or down in Mexico where we heard he had gone only after he had been there for some time and a friend came home from a vacation and said “you won’t believe who I met on the beach in Mexico”.  Even my Arizona relatives will remember how he arrived and found his way through the southwest. Everyone who knew him, knew how he he brought such light wherever he went – and he went everywhere.

Thomas, I think, would understand what we’re doing, and he would remind us that no matter what, if you make the leap, the universe will find the right place for you to land as long as you trust in it.  I’m very sad that he won’t be able to laugh with us about this, but I’m glad that he showed us the right attitude.



Wow, what a rush!

31 Aug

Literally and Figuratively…it’s a total rush having just booked my flight!!!

Yes, it was totally scary not having a ticket while I let my little angels off without me.  But now I’ve gotten far enough along on the eviction, the house sale, and my business that I can pin down a date to leave.

That date is next Friday, September 9th.  Yes, there’s the literal rush: 10 days to get everything else done that needs doing.

The other rush is the adrenaline that coursed through my brain when I hit the “purchase” button on Travelocity and knew that I had comitted.  Not that I was in danger of *not* going, but there’s still that rush of knowing it’s real.

Here we go.

Sponging up San Fran

31 Aug

So there are about a million things on my to-do list right now, but they fall into a managable number of categories:

Category 1 – Office Work:
I have to make sure that I can service my clients even though I’m a little distracted now.   This normally full-time job is compounded by the fact that I also have to introduce them to the new agent who will be taking over my business when I’m gone.  I have to be delicate and diplomatic or my clients will feel abandoned and let down and I won’t get paid when they go find another agent to help them.  

I haven’t yet told my managing broker that I’m leaving because he’s on vacation until the 6th of September and we had only just decided we were going when he took off and I didn’t want to tell him I was leaving until I had a plan for my business.  Oops.  “Welcome back Jeff, I’m leaving in a couple days!”. That’s not a conversation I’m looking very forward to, but oh well.

As if the normal business,compounded by the complexities of integrating new agents into it were enough, the old adage about booking a vacation if you want new clients seems to be even more true if you book a one-way ticket.  Since we made our decision to head to Ireland on the 4th of August I have gotten three new buyer clients, one old client that bought a house, one old client that has started looking again and several out of area referrals.  It is crazy busy here in Real Estate land and I’m trying to get as much done as I can before I go.

Which leads me to….

Category 2 – Departure Logistics
It looks like I have enough money and information tonight to book my ticket out of here which will be a big step, but the actual tieing up of loose ends is stunningly complex. 

I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to figure out what to sell, store, ship or donate.  The categorization is tough enough, but then things arise like: “oh I can’t sell the car because Landrover Capital Group never released the lien on the car when we paid them off….three years ago!”  or the amazing fact that nobody shopping for home furnishings on Craigslist wants the fireplace for $100, but when I put it at “$1 – make me an offer” the silence roars until I put it on at $50.  But how much time can I spend altering Craigslist postings to find the sweet spot?  A lot.

Actually, in a few minutes I hope to sell most of the furniture to the new tenants who are coming by to shop for what items they want from what’s already in the apartment.  This has the potential to save me a ton of trouble selling, storing or just abandoning stuff on the sidewalk.

So the departure logistics turn out to be a lot more than just booking the ticket, packing my bags and bumming a ride to the airport.  In the 25 days since we decided to go to Ireland I have managed to pack, store, sell or give away most of our possessions (with the exception of our furniture), clean out, stage, advertise, show and rent out our apartment for a price that even I was surprised by; sell the car; find homes for the Guinea Pigs; get the dog immunized, vaccinated, microchipped and otherwise ready for immigration in six months as well as finding a foster home for her; settle up old scores with the police department for an old ticket I got for not wearing a seatbelt; pay parking tickets; sort out some issues with the IRS; replace an old rotting window frame in our bathroom; buy a new washer and dryer to replace the aging coin-ops ones in the garage; get a new fridge to replace the one that died in our kitchen; move my sister’s ex-boyfriend’s worldy possessions out of my storage unit into a new one I got just for him; hire a lwayer and evict a tenant for non-payment of rent; put the hayes valley house on the market, lower the price after 14 days and get it into contract with a cash buyer; set up automated systems to keep the Mission Dolores building paid up and producing while we’re halfway around the world….whew….breathe…

…and in my spare time…

Category 3 – Enjoying the Ride
I have mixed feelings about how last minute our decision was and how it only gave the girls 11 days to say goodbye to the people, places and things that they love about being here and conversely only those few days for the people who love them to say goodbye.  On the other hand, I’ve had a little more time and I’m not sure it’s any easier or less emotional.

I’m trying to make sure I’ve seen people I want to see and do the things I love about San Francisco before I go, and it’s wonderful, bittersweet, melancholy, sad, happy, etc etc etc.

Julie B took me to the Giants game the other night, we watched them win and I watched the most amazing tangible fog swirl in around the stadium lit up white white white by the huge bright lights.  A great SF experience.

Last night met Dave and Sherwin in Momi Toby’s Cafe in Hayes Valley before sushi at Domo.  Ah sushi…I’m pretty sure that the prevailing opinion in Ireland is that fish should be eaten cooked.  So get your sushi on while you can.  But Momi Toby’s has special significance because when I first moved into the city in 1994 my apartment was just around the corner from this cafe and Heidi took me there on my first morning after I arrived from Paris.  Fitting then that this is one of the last places I visit too.

Today I tried to fit in as much of San Francisco as I could on my errands: I took the F Market streetcar from our house all the way down to the Embarcadero and around to my office next to Levi’s Plaza and soaked in the sights like a sponge.  Then, on my way to the post office and bank in North Beach I walked up the Filbert steps to Coit Tower and drank in the views the whole way up and down.  I went to the post office to get the mail from the P.O. Box that will be our U.S. address for a while and then stopped into Golden Boy Pizza  for a slice of Clam & Garlic and an Anchor Steam because these are two particularly San Francisco things.  After this I stopped at the bank, deposited the new tenants’ deposit and jumped on the 40 Stockton bus to head through Chinatown, past Union Square and south of market to meet the tow truck to take the car to it’s new buyer and final resting place in Hayward.  After I said goodbye to the car, I was walking up 3rd St past the Museum of Modern Art when I remembered that Sotheby’s is a major sponsor and I get free admission to the special exhibits so I ran in to take a quick peek at the Stein Collection which was totally inspiring and amazing.  Then back on the F, pick up the laundry and run in to get the house ready for the new tenants to choose their furniture. 

What a wonderful day, and tonight I will book my flight, organize the paperwork for the car to pass over to the new buyer tomorrow, set up a property tour for Deborah for Thursday and sort through the last few boxes of junk that I packed out of desperation before the open house and now need to go through and triage before sending into storage.

I’ll let you know how it goes.


29 Aug

After much internal debate between me and myself, I’ve decided I might actually give this blog idea a try. 

For this, I give the most credit/blame to my cousin-in-law Angela who was the first one to suggest I write about the remarkable adventure my family and I are undertaking.  Secondly, I have to credit friend-of-friend and now friend-of-mine Sherwin who did his own blog about a pretty similar undertaking he went through and last night prodded me to do my own.  I have to say though, Sherwin’s Latvia-to-New-York transition seems more engaging and certainly more unusual than my transition from San Francisco to Ireland, but what the heck….

So here we are, on wordpress where I’m told I can control who reads this and thereby keep the riff-raff from ridiculing my thoughts and prose.

I titled my blog “tomasmor” since that was the name my brother-in-law gave me before I was his brother-in-law but we all pretty much suspected I might stick around for a while.  Apparently Tomas Mor means Big/Tall Tom in Gaelic (which, if you’re not Irish is the native language in Ireland…yes, I know, I thought the same thing…”Don’t they speak English?” and they do but only after centuries of coercion which you might have heard about….I digress).  Anyway, I’m a lot taller than most of my inlaws so Shay thought Tomas Mor was appropriate and thus the title of the blog.  Thanks Shay.

But in any case, I think both “Tomas” and “Mor” might both have some kind of accent mark on them when written, and I’ll need to figure out how to type these things if I’m going to use Irish words with any regularity on this blog – and I have a feeling I might just need to throw in some here and there. 

For instance, the title of my post, “Failte”, I’m pretty sure has some kind of accent mark on it, but I’m not sure where or which kind of accent mark it is…does it go up and to the right? down to the right? up to the left? is it one of those arched ones like a surprised eyebrow? or a double dotted type like the germans use? do the Irish even have those?  Holy cow, I’m going to have a lot to figure out and I’m only trying to say “Welcome” which is what I’m pretty sure “Failte” means.

Oh, and then there’s the pronunciation issues which are totally separate from the spelling and accenting issues.  And in case you’re already familiar with Irish, you’ll be laughing at me about now, and if you’re not, you’ll probably just be bored, but anyway…for those who didn’t know – like me – “Failte” is actually pronounced like “FALL-cha”, and “Tomas Mor” is pronounced “to-MAWS more”.  Maybe you figured that on your own….good for you, but it’s not that easy for the rest of us.

So if you’re Irish and you’re reading this, my hope is that you will be amazed at how much stuff I have to figure out that you think is totally obvious and normal.  If you’re not Irish, maybe you’ll find it amusing to see me struggle at this stuff or maybe my learning will save you some trouble.  Either way, let’s see if I can turn this site into something worth reading.  Thanks for your patience.

%d bloggers like this: