A New Perspective: Lucky indeed? Lucky for sure! | Real Estate Insights

Why some decisions don’t need to add up.

The personal stories of one Realtor’s battles and triumphs in the highly-competitive Bay Area Real Estate Market, seeking to illuminate and humanize the very real ups-and-downs of homeownership.

Last weekend, Cliff and I finally made it to our cabin to check on the damage from the heavy winter snowfall first hand. It has been a series of unexpected hurdles at Fallen Leaf Lake this winter, beginning with a broken water main, followed by a leak in the community propane tank, which essentially meant that ALL of the cabins in our little HOA had NO water and NO heat for most of the winter months, rendering them uninhabitable to anyone except the bears. (I’m a tough cookie but not freezing-cold-shower tough.)

No matter, the heavy storms and record snowfall made it nearly impossible to get to our front door under any circumstances (15′ banks of snow, thank you very much), so there was that. Consequently, after months of the cabin being “off limits,” we were more than ready to reacquaint ourselves with Fallen Leaf Lake, and enjoy a few peaceful and picturesque days of leisure during Memorial weekend. (Boy, were we mistaken.)

As soon as Cliff turned on the water line that feeds our cabin, a pipe burst and the lower level began to flood immediately. No stranger to water issues (water leaks are the bane of my existence), we quickly closed the valve and began to call for help.


After a half dozen phone calls to remediation companies advertising “Emergency Service 24/7” (don’t believe it), it quickly became clear that the concept of “emergency” fell on deaf ears to the parties on the other end of the line. In other words, no one was in any kind of hurry to send in reinforcements.

“We can get someone there to inspect in two weeks,” one receptionist casually said.

“I don’t need an inspection,” I replied, “the carpets soaked; I need commercial fans and a wet vac ASAP!”

“Sorry, we don’t have any available.” 

“You’re out of our territory,” the second company responded.

And a third proclaimed, “We don’t have the manpower right now.”

And so it went . . .

Continuing down the short list of local companies, and crossing off each one in turn, I finally reached Gabriel at Tahoe Heating & Plumbing, and then Cody at “Carpet Cops,” and even though we were now heading into “after-hours” territory, both of these young men heeded our pleas, drove right over, and began basic restoration maneuvers with promises to return at first light.

True to their word, Gabriel arrived the next morning with camera in tow, and quickly identified and repaired the leak behind the bookshelf, while Cody brought additional fans and coordinated with a professional carpet layer to lift the wall-to-wall and remove the soaked pad underneath . . . and that’s where we left things two days later when Cliff and I packed up and came home, slightly discouraged but in good hands.

Earlier this week, Jill and I returned to FLL to deliver some dining room chairs and to check on the progress. The fans were still running and the carpet was now fully dry. Next up: new pad, some patch & paint work, and prayers hoping there isn’t more damage than meets the eye . . . .

When homes are more than financial investments

Complaining to my sister, Jill, about the rising cost of EVERYTHING, and wondering whether or not it makes sense (or cents) to own a second home, she sagely reminded me that Cliff and I had purchased the cabin as a legacy for our boys – not as an investment – and that irrespective of the “costs,” not every choice need always add up. (Thank you for the gentle reminder, Jill.)

She’s right, of course. If every decision came down to a balance sheet, I suspect that Cliff and I would have balked at nearly every turn, but in fact, we have always understood that our homes, are meant to be “homes” first and foremost (not our retirement fund), and while we hope that our real estate purchases have also been excellent long-term investments, if they were nothing more than the place where we raised our family, we can count ourselves lucky indeed.

So with my overwrought perspective in check, we walked the dogs down to the lake, hiked back to the waterfall, and finished on the beach where Luna and Riley played, romped, swam, and fetched sticks to their hearts’ content. We then returned to the cabin, cooked dinner, and curled up on the couch to watch a movie while outside, the stars shined over the beautiful, still lake. The next morning, we got up and enjoyed another stunning day starting with a walk to Stanford Camp. The dogs were over the moon. 

Lucky indeed? Lucky, for sure.

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Julie Gardner & Sarah Abel | Compass Realty

Not just Realtors, but consultants in all things house and home, we’re here to educate, explore, examine and refer . . . In short, you may count on us to take care of your home as if it were our own and anyone who knows us, knows we take pretty darn good care of our homes.

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