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The Caswell Team

The Caswell Team

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In The Face of Adversity

(Published on - 4/5/2020 8:09:39 PM)

Adversity. 

Hardship.  Misfortune.  Hard times.  These are synonyms that pop up for adversity.  And there is no doubt we are all facing adversity at this moment.

Miriam-Webster defines adversity as “a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty and misfortune.”  But that is only a technical definition.  

We are all different and unique from everyone else.  No two stories are alike.  No life, from start to finish, is the same as another.  Sure, there may be similarities with some, but that would only be on the surface while the individual mindsets would be completely different.

Look at identical twins, for instance.  The pairs that I know have different careers, different partners, different bank balances, different styles and different personalities.  Even conjoined twins would have a different perspective of the world around them and definitely a different definition of adversity than most of us.

The actual definition of adversity is not straightforward like Miriam-Webster states.  It is unique to each of us based on our own personal context.  Your perception of adversity will be different than mine.  We’ll both have a different vision in our minds when we think of that word.  As will your definition be different from your kids, your parents, your siblings, your friends and every single other person in the world.

The irony of all this is that all our unique stories have just left their natural courses and we have all now been bound together, moving forward in a parallel format.  We’re all being affected and inflicted by the same problem on a worldwide stage and, yet, our stories and perception of adversity will still remain completely unique to ourselves.

The nurses and doctors on the front line would probably define adversity by the long hours they’re working, their fear of losing patients at increasingly rapid rates, the worry about getting infected themselves and infecting a family member when they go home for that few hours rest.

The parents out there would be defining their own adversity as trying to explain to their kids why they can’t go to the park, trying to get work done while still trying to keep the kids entertained or putting on a brave face at the dinner table for the kids knowing the economic struggles they’re enduring and what lie ahead.

The elderly, living in isolation, are seeing the stats where their definition of adversity is having to stay quarantined, trying to get food and groceries delivered that hopefully aren’t carrying an extra COVID bonus, distraught that they can’t hug their grandkids and, most importantly, trying to beat the stats and stay alive.

No matter who you are or what your current circumstance, your past has created your context for adversity.  And it is always evolving, so our future perception of adversity will be defined by these times we’re going through now.  The key is to harness this framework the right way to get yourself through the adversity you’re facing on your individual level.

I’m going to share how my version of adversity has grown over time.  Maybe it will help you or maybe sharing this will help me as a reminder of what is important.  Hopefully it will help all of us.

Before I get into it, I want to make a very clear statement that I am in no way looking for sympathy cause of my past.  I’m well past that.  I’m long past the anger I’ve had.  I still am affected emotionally at times, but I believe that’s healthy to continue to move forward.

Further, everyone has a backstory.  Mine is just different – not better or worse.  I know there are plenty of others out there with tough storylines and great resilience, so this is not a “mine’s shittier” comparison by any stretch.  And the shitty storylines continue to unfold daily for plenty of families out there during this.

People often say, “everything happens for a reason”.  I call bullshit.  But this is a phrase people use to help them cope with situations of adversity, and that’s 100% ok if it works for them.

I believe more in the saying, “play the hand you’re dealt”.  You can’t change the cards and the card you pick up that’s face down on the deck could make everything better or totally fuck you, but it’s random and these forces are completely out of your control.  But the cards in your hand are in your control and you can make decisions to work them into the best conclusion for yourself.

I’ve compiled four short stories for you that have ultimately defined my adversity.

5-Year-Old Emancipated

I was a punk when I was a young kid.  Likely drove my parents nuts.  And I know damn well I drove my Grandma, “Ma”, crazy.  She was a stubborn, old Finlander who would sit in her La-Z-Boy, chain smoking Matinees, handing out punishments to the kids trouncing through the camp like we were all on speed and a bulk pack of chocolate Easter eggs.

Her favourite disciplinary measure was the “roosinoighta”, pronounced ‘Ru-see-noigh-ta”.  That’s the best I can do for you.  I’m probably nowhere near the correct spelling, IF there even is a correct spelling.  I have a feeling this was a bullshit, made up name for it and any Finnish readers can chime in on this.

This form of punishment was tough as a kid.  When I misbehaved, Ma would tell me to get up into the birch trees on the hill and bring her back a “roosinoighta” for punishment.  This meant you would have to go into the bush and find the stick she was going to discipline you with while she lit up a Matinee, or five, and watched you eerily through the giant picture window like it was the Long Lake version of the Bates Motel.

Do you know how hard it is, with eyes welled with tears, to pick the stick that you’re going to get whacked with?  Do you know how devastating it is when you come back into the camp and Ma says, “not big enough - get back up there”?  Adversity was trying to find the right sized stick that would pass as “large enough” while still trying to keep it small enough to limit the pain.

Now, before anyone gets fired up about child abuse, this was the 70’s and I got spanked plenty of times – rightfully so.  But we never actually got “hit” with the stick.  We’d get a tap on the ass with it while we raced off to our room for grounding while everyone else was getting to swim, sauna and jump off the dock.

The punishment was the act of forcing us to choose our own fate.  We knew our choices would end in pain, but we were able to make decisions to limit the pain by finding the one that “just passed” the benchmark.  All the while the selection process was the true penalty.

Nevertheless, now in the prime of my life at 5-years-old, I had enough of this “regime” I was living under.  The conditions of having fresh blueberries every morning for breakfast, living on the lake for the summer months and getting to stay up late playing Rummy 500 were completely unacceptable if it came with the ongoing threat of the “roosinoighta” looming over me.  Enough was enough.

After I got the tap on my ass and sent to my room, I made the decision to make my move.  I grabbed my packsack, ignored Ma’s instructions to get back to my room, grabbed three grape juice from the fridge and packed them in with my bathing suit and colouring books.

Ready to face the world on my own, I looked Ma and my Mom straight in the face and said, “I’m leaving home” in between balling my eyes out and the snot rolling down my face.  The response I got was, “good luck” – not exactly the “we’re sorry, come back and you can do whatever you want” I was hoping to get.  Now I was committed.

Facing a whole new level of adversity that I just obligated myself to, I began my march up the driveway to greener life pastures.  I wish I could find the picture my Mom took when she asked me to look back while she was laughing hysterically and waving goodbye.  I was that epic meltdown, crying kid mess that we’ve all seen, and been.  But she still didn’t seem to care about me, so I kept walking.

My first stop with my newfound independence was at my aunt and uncle’s house.  They lived about 150 feet up the hill and shared the same driveway.  I hadn’t even made it off the property yet.  But, needing to figure out my next moves, I took a break to tap into my rations of grape juice and tell my aunt (my Mom’s younger sister) of my new plan.

How she kept a straight face during my tale is something only a Finlander would be capable of.  She nodded her head, in complete understanding of my decision, then told me I should go downstairs and talk to my older cousin.  I headed downstairs, grabbed the other Intellivision remote control and we played video games while pounding back my last two grape juice.  This was freedom.

Somehow, I woke up in my bed at camp the next morning.  Realizing the blueberry pancakes smelt too good to avoid, I sucked it up and decided to stay knowing they knew just how close they came to having an emancipated son.

This was my perception of adversity.  I was dealing with a major struggle and made quick, knee-jerk, emotionally driven, irrational decisions that put me right back where I was when I started.

They say most peoples’ response when faced with adversity is “fight or flight”.  And I flew like a boomerang.

There’s Been An Accident

It was Sunday, July 21st, 1991, and my Dad knocked on my bedroom door around 830am.  He said, “your sister and I are going to Penage for the day.  Want to come?” 

I loved Penage, and I still love Penage, it was where I went for the other half of my summer after the Long Lake camp noted above.  It was the “Caswell Family Camp” on the North Shore that my grandparents built in 1939 and was shared by all family members down the line from them.  It was a great spot that once created great memories.

But, at this point, I’m at the age of asshole 16-year-old that would rather hang out at Southridge Mall or sit in a basement somewhere hoping to “hook up” with a buddy’s sister or cousin.  Driving 45 minutes to the lake and putting around in the boat all day with my dad and sister just wasn’t on the “cool” radar for today’s agenda.  I politely said, “Nah, I’ll see ya tonight,” while I rolled over and did the teenage thing of sleeping in till almost lunch.

I got to my buddy’s place and we were doing the “cool” thing – hanging out in the basement.  My parents had no idea where my buddy’s place was, let alone the phone number, but somehow there was a phone call for me.  When I picked up, I was told, “Steve, get home.  There’s been an accident”.

I ran at full speed.  I made Forest Gump look like “He Was Walking!!!!”  I could’ve probably ran to Penage without losing any speed while my mind raced with a million thoughts.  What was the accident?  Who is hurt?  Who is going to be at my house?  I’m not religious, but I sure was praying hard that my dad was ok.  Of course, my sister as well, but my dad was my mentor, my best friend and one hell of an awesome guy.

As I got home, there was no time to enter the house, instead there was a car waiting in the driveway with my cousins.  I was whisked away on a direct shot to Sudbury General.  I was asking every question and there was nothing but blank stares and “let’s just get there” responses.

As I raced into the ER, I asked the nurse where Bill Caswell was.  Her reply, “sorry, there’s no one here with that name.  But I have a Heidi Caswell on the list” – my sister.  My heart sunk.  I was crushed.  It’s like I was still running home at full speed and didn’t see the brick wall that just popped up in front of me.

I was taken through the swinging doors into the back where my mom, who was a nurse in Labour & Delivery at Sudbury General, was being consoled by family and some of her colleagues.  But no sign of my sister yet.  My mom was a mess, but we embraced.  She was barely able to get out the words as to what happened at Penage, but she explained that Heidi was ok - albeit completely traumatized and in shock.  But they have yet to locate my dad.

We went in to see my sister and, with a completely blank stare on her face, she gave us a vague explanation of what transpired and how she was able to swim to shore where she was airlifted out.  My mom and I tried to stay strong, but it was impossible.  Literally impossible to just put on a brave face.

Here’s adversity in all its glory, brought on by the same story, yet three completely different versions of it all within the same family. 

I had just been told my best bud in the world is missing and presumed drowned.  My Mom just lost her best friend and husband and is now alone to continue raising two kids.  And my sister had just battled adversity watching my Dad go under while she was swimming to shore.

Then came the “What ifs”.  What if I had gone that morning?  What if Heidi had stayed with him?  What if he’s just on the other shore confused in the bush?  What if…. What if…. What if…..

What ifs” don’t help adversity, they add fuel to the fire.  I know that now but didn’t then.  It doesn’t matter what could have been done to change things, I can only change what’s going to happen next.

Obviously, this was devastating to our family nucleus.  We lost the head honcho.  And in the months following, after the 10-day search for his body came up empty, things began to unravel.  My mom and I started butting heads about who was the “man of the house” now.   And being an asshole 16-year-old, I felt I was.  She felt she was.  But neither of us let it go.

Over the next two years, I spiraled downward.  I was full of hate, I was full of regret and I was full of self-blame cause of the “what ifs”.  I was in and out of the house and had a complete “who gives a shit about life” mentality.  Basically, just a giant, and dangerous, “fuck the world” mindset.

Then I got complacent and found myself in some real shit.  I won’t get into too many details here (maybe a story for another day), but I found myself sitting in the bail court lock up waiting for my hearing.  Just to be clear, this was a non-violent issue, but I was a newly minted 18-year-old that had just fucked up.

When I came out of the tunnel to see my lawyer, I asked where my mom was.  He replied with, “she said to let you rot”.

This was it.  This was bottom for me.  I had let my rampant emotions control me and this is where I ended up.  Not even my own mom would help me anymore.  The boomerang went badly off course and never came back on this one.

Boy, was this a wake up call for how to deal with adversity.

For my issue, I ended up with a punishment of 18 months’ probation and 150 community hours.  In hindsight, the judge definitely helped me straighten out into the person who’s writing this today.  It was a harsh penalty considering what I had done, but the judge did warn me, "it is for your own good and make sure you don’t ever end up back in front of me again.”  It was good for me.  Thanks Judge.

I committed to everything fully and served my time.  I also started working part-time, recommited to high school, got back to playing hockey again and tried to go back to the life I was living before tragedy struck.  My mom and I struck a peaceful chord and we agreed to go back to being a family while she had adopted a new tone as well with her newfound saying being “life is for the living”.

The adversity I faced, my mom faced, and my sister faced was all drastically different.  And how we individually responded to the same circumstance we all were hit with was unique to each of us.

But, it’s important to note, that my emotional and irrational reactions to it caused even further adversity to my mom and sister.  My actions caused greater suffering to others at a time when we needed to all heal together.

Some did say, and have said, “you were a teenager dealing with a traumatic situation, so it’s ok that you went off the rails a little bit”.  I disagree – there are no excuses in life.  And it wasn’t “just a little bit”.  I didn’t just come off the rails – I flew off the rails and took all the other passengers with me. 

My flight response affected my loved ones and my complacency almost ruined me.

“Heidi, The Police Are Here For You”

It was Sunday, December 17th, 1995, and I awoke to an early morning doorbell that was seriously impacting my hangover.  My buddy, Ryan, and I had done our usual night at Ralph’s and capped it off with the famously low-fat Big Drippers delivered from Sub City.  So, I wasn’t sure if the malaise was from the rums at the bar, the brick of greasy roast beef in my stomach or a combination of both.

I emerged from my basement bedroom, passing “Coondog” in his usual sleeping spot on my dad’s old La-Z-Boy, and I headed towards the door.  Down the entry hallway, I could see a policeman through the glass on the front door.  With a whisper, “Shit, Coondog, it’s a cop”, he propped up in the chair pretty quickly as I’m sure his mind was racing through last night’s events the same way mine was.

I opened the door and said, “good morning, officer.  How can I help you?”  His name was Grant Shaw and, although I didn’t know him before that moment, we became friends afterwards.  He replied with, “is your sister home?

I could feel the stress leaving the La-Z-boy as I also felt a rush of “whew, not us”.  I yelled upstairs, “Heidi, the police are here to see you” as I wondered what she possibly could have witnessed the night before when she was out.

Then Officer Shaw walked in and said, “no, I have to talk to both of you.”  This cannot be good.

When Heidi came down, I once again heard the “there’s been an accident” line.  I just ran head long into that brick wall again, yet I hadn’t even moved this time.  He went on to inform us that Mom was killed in a head-on collision, along with her close, nursing buddy, at the hands of drunk driver.  The lone survivor, out of six people, was my mom’s boyfriend who she had just started seeing as it took her that long to get over the loss of my dad and move on with her own life.

Before I could even digest the news, a rush of people came into the house – aunts, uncles and my girlfriend’s dad, John Smith, who is also a Realtor® and a great friend to this day.  I looked over at Coondog and his face said it all.  Although it wasn’t his flesh and blood, he was wearing that same blank, traumatized stare that Heidi had on in the hospital only a few years prior.

Here I was, 20-years-old, had now lost both my parents, just inherited a house, two cars and, what we would discover later, living with a schizophrenic sister.  Merry Fucking Christmas.

With all the sobbing, hugging and “what ifs” filling the room, John pulled me aside with a non-emotional tone and said, “don’t agree to anything, don’t sign anything and take your time figuring this out”.  To this day, this advice likely saved me from backsliding into the same way I responded to my Dad’s accident.  Sage and calming advice, in the face of adversity, from one hell of a great guy.

I bucked up and dealt with the cards in hand.  The life all my friends were going to enjoy, heading off to live in a dorm and pursue that university degree, was wiped out and replaced with funeral plans, lawyers to see and decisions to be made for the future that required a level head and an “adult” mindset.  I was now feeling the same adversity my mom dealt with after my dad’s accident, with the exception that I had no asshole teenager trying to take over the house.

A day after I got the news, one of the best things that happened was thanks to all my best buds from high school.  We’d always go to Jeff’s place (aka Caughy) and hang out in his basement.  After two days of dealing with some seriously heavy shit, having a constant parade of people coming through the door with food and condolences and having family staying with us to make sure we were ok, the boys grabbed me and took me to Caughy’s.

I was one of the boys that night.  I wasn’t a guy who had just lost a parent, instead they’d grill me about the shirt I was wearing, they’d kick my ass on the pool table and make me get my own beer.  I wasn’t getting any special treatment and it was perfect.  Getting taken out of the chaos of the “your life has just been drastically altered” situation and getting to spend time with good friends as “just one of the guys”, even if only for a few hours, was just what the doctor ordered.  These guys are not psychologists, but somehow they managed to teach me a valuable lesson about stepping outside of adversity and how a moment of normalcy can reframe and refresh your mindset when you’re forced to jump back in.

The night after my mom’s funeral, I burst.  It was a tough stretch, from initially getting the news to walking out of the church, and my emotions had finally caught up to me.  Had I let my guard down?  Or had I become smart enough to contain my emotions until the heavy lifting required during a stage of adversity had passed?  Yes, to both.

A week later, I attended another funeral for my good friend’s mom.  She had been battling cancer for eight years, consistently in and out of the hospital type battle, and her two sons took great care of her through it.  My buddy came up to me in tears after the funeral, wrapped his arms around me and said, “you’re the strongest guy I know.  I’m going to need ya through this.”  He was wrong.

I told my mom to have a fun night on Manitoulin Island before she left and woke up to a police officer at the door.  He put a lot of his young life on hold, while I was being an asshole teenager, to help his mom in her daily battle.  Who really was the stronger of the two?

Regardless, we both were living the same outcome, but had two drastically different paths of adversity to get there and, similarly, two different paths coming out of it.

I got through it.  And I fought like hell.  I ignored the “what ifs” and I often did it with a smile on my face remembering my mom’s line – “life is for the living”.  But, most importantly, I suppressed my irrational response of “flight”, faced the situation with my emotions under control, made the tough choices and hung in there till I was passed it all.

Odile Roars Ashore

As some of you may now, Michelle and I spend some time in the winters in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  We were spending too much on various one-week vacations in the winter months, trying to escape the snow and figured we’d look for a place to be a little more planted and embedded.

In September 2014, I was in Cabo San Lucas getting us setup for our first upcoming winter there.  And for those who may not know, September is right in the heart of hurricane season down there.  But, for the most part, where Cabo is situated and how the peninsula is laid out in relation, most hurricanes get into “the shoot” and miss Cabo, or occasionally just throw a glancing blow of rain and some winds before they steer off into the middle of the Pacific.

As a somewhat nervous hurricane rookie, I heeded the warnings that were coming.  There were a few storms spinning offshore and we were told one was going to hit us.  I can’t recall the name of that one, but I also can’t remember the name of the one that missed New Orleans a few days before Hurricane Katrina hit either.

In almost identical fashion, the one that was “supposed” to hit us, didn’t.  It got into the “shoot” and off it went into the Pacific.  A few nights later, as I was out for dinner with a few fellow Canadian locals that I had just met, I mentioned that Odile looked like it was going to hit us.  I was lightly grilled about being a “novice” and that it would likely hit the “shoot” and be on its way.  Likely…..

Knowing complacency can be dangerous, I still went through all the motions of preparation even if it was “likely” to miss us.  I thought, “what’s the big deal in having some extra tuna and water in the cupboard and a jerrycan full of gas for the car.”  On Thursday, the day after the dinner above, I went about a casual day of prep and had the comfort of knowing I was ready.

By Sunday, September 14th, it was now evident that Odile was on a direct path for us and it was going to be a massive blow.  Complacency had come home to roost for plenty of people.  Grocery stores were packed, long lines at every gas station and people scrambling to board up their windows as the winds began to pick up.  Instead, I actually went out for a few beer and watched some football as the “novice” who already had all his ducks in a row.

Choose any cartoon word from a Batman punch you want – “POW!”, “BLAM!”, etc.  Hurricane Odile began to make landfall around 4pm on Sunday, with plenty of people ill-prepared still in the stores and gas station lineups, as a Category 4 hurricane.  The scale is one to five for those who don’t know, where a Cat-4 is considered devastating.

By 7pm that night, the boards on the windows had been ripped off and the bedroom window was being bent open with the winds and had water coming in like someone was standing outside it with a firehose.  I am not embarrassed to say that I was screaming at the window - “FUCK OFF, ODILE!!!!” - as the 235 km/h sustained winds had basically everything airborne that wasn’t tied down and slamming them into everything that was tied down.

Then it abruptly stopped.  Dead silence.  No wind, no rain, no nothing.  Although I had never been in one before, I knew we were in “the eye” of the storm.  It is profoundly surreal.  It’s almost as though these storms are genetically designed to provide a false sense of security, so people let their guard down in order to inflict maximum damage.

Then you could hear the roar starting to gain momentum again as the eye passed and we were entering into the backside of the storm.  This is even worse than the front side.  This is where most of the damage is done where the winds are even stronger.  This was getting very real, very fast.

After screaming every other profanity I knew at Odile, I finally was able to doze off around 3am.  The winds were settling, I knew I had made it and, after taking a quick inventory, I knew my immediate surroundings were safe to get some much needed rest.

I woke up at 6am, went down to the kitchen to make coffee, wading through about a foot of water, and opened up the front door.  This was my first true visual of what just happened.  Giant palm trees in the community pool, cars smashed in the parking lot and neighbours without any doors or windows left.  It was clear this was NOT what the area and the locals were used to.

I grabbed the mop and bucket, opened up the windows to get some air flowing and did a full clean top to bottom of the house.  Just because it wasn’t normal outside didn’t mean it couldn’t be as close to normal as possible inside, which gave me that sense of grounding for the moment.

After driving down to the main drag, it was evident that this was widespread devastation.  Almost every electrical pole was on the ground, water wasn’t flowing, the roads were basically impassable, and all communications were down.  This was a true Zombie Apocalypse with everyone roaming around staring at each other blankly in utter shock.  I went back to home base to absorb what I just witnessed and ground myself again.

The next day, I took a ride into town to see what it looked like.  It was bad - really, really, really bad.  As I was walking around taking pictures, I had locals advising me to “get back to your hotel, this isn’t safe for tourists to be in”.  After a quick stop in to see how my buddies were doing, I went back home.

When I got back, I noticed a tree that had been uprooted near our place.  I grabbed my battery powered reciprocating saw and started hacking away at the tree to create kindling and fire logs.  My neighbour, who was completely ill-prepared for this and didn’t have a window left intact, yelled to me, “what are you even doing that for, Caz?”  I replied, “well, Mike, who knows what’s upcoming and we might be cooking our food over a fire pretty soon”.  You could tell he was in the same stage I was in after my dad’s accident – complete denial and anger that this was “happening to him”.  I, however, was in a new stage of coherent decision making on the fly and planning for any possible outcome.

That evening, as I was BBQing burgers on the rooftop, I saw fires starting to burn in the Walmart parking lot as rumours were buzzing that rioting and looting had begun.  Only 36 hours after the hit, the entire area was beginning to completely destabilize.  They weren’t allowing tourist buses to get through the narrow road openings to get to the airport.  The military was overwhelmed and had to simply let the looting occur as long as there was no violence.  And the individual communities had no security personnel as they were busy trying to help their own families survive.

On the flip side, there were workers in backhoes digging out the roads, cleaning the beaches and just generally helping others out.  These people were in the same situation and decided to do something about the adversity they were facing by helping, instead of selfishly making it worse for others.

My wife, of course, is back in Canada going through her own adversity.  She can’t contact me, she’s seeing news reports of the chaos and, other than one message that got through right at the end of the storm before communications ceased, she really had no idea of my well-being.  I’m sure she was walking around with a look on her face like Coondog had.

The next day, I got together with my new friends and ended up moving in with them for a “power in numbers” type of scenario for our safety.  We were all in this together and we were going to get out of this together.  But, they are bar owners in Cabo and, as the people they are, they refused to leave until they found each one of their employees and give them money knowing that they were hopefully heading out and the bar would be closed for who knows how long.

Our lives at this moment consisted of cold beer (thanks to a generator!), showering in pairs so one person could use a pitcher to dump pool water on the other, having to walk back to the pool after using the bathroom to grab a bucket to flush and staying isolated in the house otherwise for our safety.  It was becoming barbaric.  But we kept our eyes focused on the end game – getting the hell out.

Five days after the storm hit, we had heard rumours (that’s how news was spreading), that there were evacuation flights coming in.  Emergency communication had been restored, but it was spotty at best.  I asked Michelle to reach out to our friends in Los Angeles and Phoenix to be ready for the possible arrival of myself and friends, simply assuming (and hoping) that we’d end up in one of those locations with familiar faces.

We packed a bag each and hopped in the car for the airport.  The carnage was evident on the entire ride out.  It was bad.  And then even worse when we saw the airport basically destroyed.  We parked the car in a random field, left a note for whoever found it to hopefully leave it there and locked the doors.

As we walked up, there was a massive line up of Mexican nationals, looking to board military rescue flights to the mainland, that were being distributed rations in the near 40C heat.  We considered going back to the house assuming there would be no way we’d be getting on a plane that day from the back of that line and, once the sun goes down, we are not safe outside of the confines of our safe space.

Out of the blue, a Southwest vested gentleman approached us and said, “if you’re Canadians or Americans, your flight to Phoenix is on the tarmac.  Follow me.”  As we were walking, my eyes started to well up.  I made it.  I did it.  We did it.

After a two-hour flight, I got to embrace our great friend, Deb, who was waiting for us at arrivals.  I’m sure she still remembers the smell of that hug after showering with pool water and Lysol wipes for five days.  I introduced my friends and we had a 30 mins drive back to Deb’s place where we must’ve said “holy fuck” 100 times.

When I got in the shower and Rory’s disco lights showerhead started hitting my face, I'm not ashamed to say that a considerable amount of the water going down the drain were tears as I knew it was over.  I definitely still have some PTSD thinking about everything that I had endured and how it ended at that exact moment.

There was a giant community that all suffered from the same traumatic blow.  In the face of adversity, some turned selfish adding to the chaos, some cried over spilled milk, some made sure they didn’t leave without taking care of others and some bound together to make it out as a group.

We brushed aside complacency, made calm and intelligent decisions to prepare for the days ahead, became “as one” for our safety and stayed in the fight till it was over.

Hope This Helped

Like everyone else, my definition of adversity and how I respond to it has evolved over time.

Long gone are the days of being the “why me?” person.  Long gone are the days of allowing uncontrolled emotions forcing me to make irrational decisions.  Long gone is getting angry in the middle of it.

Instead, I’ve looked adversity dead in the face and proved to myself that if I resist the urge to run away from it, keep my emotions in-check, take my time to make the appropriate decisions and continually be prepared for what might occur next, I’ll be ready and able to get through anything. 

And there will always be an opportunity for me to let my emotions come out when it’s over.

Right now, we are in “the eye” of the storm.  We’re passed the initial punch and we’re in that surreal moment where things seem to be standing still.  This is a big eye and it will take time to pass us, but we have to acknowledge that the backend of the storm will likely be worse than front.

We have to resist the urge to lay blame and get angry about it.  We have to resist the urge to become selfish.  We have to avoid becoming complacent.  We have to resist our emotions from taking over.

Take this time to analyze your situation.  Take this time to make informed, responsible decisions that will shuffle your cards to make the best hand.  Take some time to shut off the news and find some normalcy you’re more used to.  Take this time to be prepared for the back side of the storm.  Most importantly, we all have to take this time to bound together and get out of this as a group.

With what we’re in now, we all know we’ll have good days and bad days, we’ll get upset and we’ll laugh, we’ll shake our fists and we’ll cry, but all of it is ok.  The key is to remember that others are experiencing the same and to share your good days with those that are having a bad one, try to make someone laugh when they’re upset, open their fist up with a wave of compassion and put out your shoulder as a place for someone to shed their tears.

There will be time to heal and reflect back with emotion after the important work is done.  But, for now, we all still have too much hard work to do to get this all behind us.

Remember, your personal definition of adversity is unique only to you.  Nurture it and embrace it.  It's that definition you've created that will be your guide through this.

I love this picture too much not to close with it:

Continue to stay home, stay healthy and stay safe.  We will get through this.

Contributed by:

Steve Caswell

Cell - 705.561.8767

caz@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.


COVID19 Human Behaviour Analysis

(Published on - 3/29/2020 4:21:38 PM)

So, anything new, folks?

That’s my twisted new opening line I’m using these days when reaching out to everyone during these times.  But that is my “human behaviour” in the face of adversity, which will be the topic of my next blog you’ll find here or on our team Facebook page next week.  That blog will focus on providing the life experience I’ve dealt with when faced with adversity that some can’t even imagine…..

For now, though, this week’s blog is focused on the current Human Behaviour we’re witnessing throughout the spectrum – social media, online, the news, the politics and even face-to-face interactions.

Before I get rolling into this, anyone who knows me well, knows I’m somehow capable of fitting seven “F-bombs” into a three-word sentence.  Normally when I write these blogs, or anything for that matter, especially when I’m passionate about the subject, I have to review the piece in its entirety and “reword” some portions to exclude the heavy use of profanity for public and professional domains. 

As you may have seen in my last blog, I basically finished the message with my inaugural blogging “F-bomb” as I felt it was required to send home the message.  So, as a disclaimer, like we all hope with our current monthly payments, I’m putting a “pause" on my politically correct way of polishing my writing for the short term.  But, let’s face it, I’m sure the kids at home and even the tightest-of-asses out there have slipped out a “fuck” or two this week….. 

Back to the topic at hand – Human Behaviour when faced with a crisis.  And, at quick glance, it’s evident that some are rapidly shedding that persona of “Canadians are too nice”.  We are beginning to see the true nature of people as we begin to recognize this duration of self-isolation is going to be a lot longer than expected.  Some people often think I’m an asshole because I wear my heart on my sleeve and I don’t pull any punches.  But I'm getting a little worried that I’ll no longer be recognized as such in today’s climate while people begin to surpass me, in spades, in pure assholeness

I’ve broken this blog down into categories as it’s important to review each one individually.  The unfortunate part is, by the time some readers get to this, there may be an even greater number of categories that have surfaced where people continue to devolve into animals, while others become angelic with their efforts.

Fear Not – The Self-Righteous Have Arrived!

Where, oh where, would we be without the wonderfully self-righteous?  They always know what’s best for everyone as they hold themselves in such high regard while belittling the masses.  Just how we would ever know how wrong we are at making our own personal choices without these morally superior people telling us?

Like everyone, I’m actively following the news these days.  My days used to be more business news categories, any major city/provincial/federal government announcements related to housing and a glancing blow at the other “blood thirsty, click-bait” headlines to see if there’s anything entertaining to enjoy with my morning coffee.

But, now, holy shit.  As we know, every single article is about COVID-19, or somehow “stretch-goal” related to it.  The real story starts when you get to the end of the article as the comment sections are alive with the self-righteous.  And their incredible use of hindsight to demoralize anyone else in their wake is simply impressive.

We all know NOW that those returning home from outside Canada have a mandatory 14-day quarantine in place.  But when our Prime Minister looked directly at Canadians abroad and said, “it’s time for you to come home”, there were none of these protocols in place.  Was it a mistake to do that without having tougher restrictions and mandatory requirements in place before sending that message?  Of course it was, but we only know that NOWAs I mentioned in my “We’re All Doomed” blog, governments are trying their best to stay ahead of this while still keeping peoples’ civil liberties’ in mind.  Therefore, these aren’t “mistakes” at the time, they were the flipping of a coin in a fast-paced environment that bounced the wrong way.

So, as a result, a ton of Canadians did what they were asked to do by their leaders.  (I elected to not use a “boatload” of Canadians in that line out of sensitivity for the now destroyed cruise industry.)  They did exactly what they were told to do only to return to the onslaught from the self-righteous.  They’re being called “selfish” for going on a vacation or living abroad during harsh winter months.  They’re being told, “they should’ve known better” when they got on a plane to travel before any travel advisories were put in place.  They’re being ostracized like lepers upon their return home when people say, “they just came home but I saw their kid in their own backyard building a snowman” well before the message changed from “stay home and don’t come in contact with anyone else” to “do not leave your house under any circumstances”.

But those are just the lighter fare of the unusual dish of non-Canadian being served up.  Some commenters have been adamant that these returnees, at the behest of government, be placed in warehouses at the airports under military guard.  Seriously.  One commenter even went as far to say, “they should be chained to their toilet for 14 days”.  Wow.  You are truly a self-righteous asshole.

I get it.  We NOW know that travel is likely responsible for the introduction to Canada.  How else does anything get from China or Europe or the U.S. into Canada?  But the border wasn’t closed until well after the first introduction and all we needed was one.  

As we’re discovering during this, every action we take today, we don’t see the reaction for 10-14 days.  Therefore, the current skyrocketing of cases in Canada can likely be attributed to everyone that was asked to return home at once, funneled into tight spaces on planes, sat in cattle-call line ups in customs, and then headed out into Canada to find their way home from the major airports – taking connecting flights, spending overnights in hotels, driving or taking cabs home and stopping for gas, food, to say “hi” to the grandkids along the way, etc.

Again, we’re all acting and reacting daily to the everchanging landscape, but it seems the self-righteous commenters online and in social media have had this all figured out for quite some time – using heavy condescension as though this is the 7th time they’ve gone through a worldwide COVID crisis.  It must be so nice to be so much wiser than everyone else while hiding behind a fake name passing judgement on others without knowing their full story. 

Yet, ironically, these people could easily be community spreaders with no symptoms as they’re lined up at Costco to buy their 15 year supply of toilet paper…..

But, to be fair, you can’t have books lined up on the mantel without a bookend at each end keeping them in place.  The self-righteous aren’t only those that live in the shadows online behind fake account names, they’re also the jackasses that were ignoring the health officials and governments’ requests of going into self-isolation upon returning home.

These people definitely fit the high & mighty persona.  They come back on a crammed plane, funnel through customs without keeping their distance from others, check off the box that they “acknowledge they have to self-quarantine” and head home.  Instead of following the advice, they drop their suitcase and head out to the bank, the grocery store, stop in to see the family and then head over to their buddy’s garage for a couple cold ones to have a few laughs about their trip.

These beauties are the ones who have transferred this from a battle of travel cases to now a battle of community spread.  These are the people that have the 70-year-old from Florida, who goes straight home and isolates for 14 days, being ostracized and lambasted as “selfish” by her friends and neighbours.  These people are the ones that have created the mandatory quarantine for travelers and, most likely, the entire country lockdown soon to come as cases continue to spike.

As of this moment, thankfully, the self-righteous are the outliers from the majority.  But these bookends seem to be squeezing closer and closer as the days progress.  And, as communities begin ramping up their “snitch on your neighbour” protocols, we’re going to see more and more uncharacteristic dissention among Canadians unfold.

Deny, Deny, Deny

This group could also be included in the Self-Righteous category, but I thought it reasonable to give them their own space on here.

It’s just a flu” or “more people die from the flu” are some of the ongoing excuses we hear from this group.  Or, even worse, this is where you see the birth of some of the conspiracy theorists rearing their heads.  (Spoiler alert, there’s more on conspiracy theories to come!) 

The members of this illustrious group make these comments of denial and then go on to flaunt the recommendations as though they’re invincible to this.  They’re young, so they don’t have to worry about it.  They’re only going to have dinner and drinks with friends they know well, so all will be fine.  We’re even still seeing some in our industry that are claiming “we’re an essential service, so I can still show houses as long as I have hand sanitizer”.  Regardless of where they fit in there, they all have a similar mindset - “meh, whatever, if I get it, I’ll just stay in bed for a few days and be fine.  Otherwise, it's no big deal”

This is not the flu.  Whether it is was constructed as viral weapon is irrelevant at this point.  Just cause you’re young doesn’t mean you won’t pass it on to someone who isn’t or can’t handle it.  This is not business as usual for anyone – essential or not.  This IS a big deal.

I asked the question before, but here’s a few more.  If you knew you could end up killing your friend while having a beer together, would you do it?  What if there was a chance you killed their kid, their parent, their grandmother or their neighbour by having that dinner party?  Would you still go on business as usual trying to make that paycheque if the possibility of death applied to you, your family, your client, their family or the next person that walked in afterwards?

Or, how about a straightforward question – do you feel your actions are necessary or essential enough that you believe they’re more important than the life of someone else?

The deniers are a dangerous group.  Very dangerous.  Their laissez faire attitude towards this will not only cause a wider spread of damage to everyone else, it will cause this to be prolonged even longer than we are all hoping it will be.

Everyone makes their own choices in life.  But the choices you make should never include threatening the life of another person.  If you want to continue to not believe it, do us all a favour and stay home for now.  When this is all over, we’ll give you the podium to show us how wrong we all were and that this was just a regular flu.

Partison Politics Are Back!

Again, referencing my “We’re All Doomed” blog, we had such a nice stretch of non-partisan cooperation from our politicians.  They all wanted to help and support each other to make sure the people saw them as one voice, standing arm-in-arm singing Kumbaya, helping Canadians on a daily basis while they head into battle against that microscopic foe we know as COVID-19.

The Liberals got all parties in the House of Commons to come together to quickly pass the initial relief package they had announced to Canadians.  And the parties all agreed to a quick passage based on Trudeau’s announcements to us.  Until, that is, the Liberals tried to slide in provisions giving them unadulterated, unfettered and unlimited reach to tax and spend anyway they wanted until Dec 2021.

I’m pretty confident almost everyone in Canada is watching Trudeau’s daily presser.  He’s been doing a solid job in the face of this and was gaining some good ground against even his harshest critics.  But I’m pretty confident not one Canadian can say they heard him announce the condition that, to get this support package, Canadians had to grant him sweeping authoritarian powers.

Maybe it was just a busy day and he accidentally skipped that page of the prewritten statement he was reading from.  I won’t go as far as to say that maybe Trudeau feels “Canadians experienced the announcement differently”, but the information about this attempted power grab was never brought to anyone’s attention until moments before the parties were to vote on it.

Even the staunchest Liberal supporters may admit this was a bad play during a time of such political cohesion.  And, whoever authorized this attempt to take advantage of a crisis to seize the House of Commons should be ashamed.  Sure, there are probably some Liberal supporters out there that will say, “bullshit, it was the opposition parties that held this up”.  If that is your opinion, please let me know the last time the NDP and Conservatives were both on the same page for anything, let alone Singh and Scheer putting aside their utter disdain for each other and acting like teammates.  That tells a much different story.

But, again, there are bookends to every mantel.  Although Trudeau and the Liberals were wrong with that partisan play, they, in turn, reopened that mixed can of common one-line zingers and finger pointing that politicians love to injest.  Scheer wasted no time in using the "we're not giving them a blank cheque" zinger and wagging his finger in condemnation of the government’s response to the crisis thus far as being too slow, not enough, etc.  This is not the time for partisan political games whether or not the “but he started it” sandbox rule applies. 

Keeping the government accountable is 100% the opposition parties’ duty.  And the minority government worked the way it should.  But  trying to win cheap politic points on the back of one bad play during a crisis and deploying hindsight vision as the basis for your arguments is not.

So, as Canadians, our extremely narrow window of non-partisan politics and cooperation of the parties may have come to an abrupt halt.  But at least we had some unity for a brief moment that may offer a glimmer of hope that the post COVID-19 Canada might be non-partisan. 

Ya right.

The Expert Disagrees

Oh, the media.  Not unlike politicians, they actually looked like they were realizing everyone was on to their schtick before this shit hit the fan.

After fueling the HYSTERIA-20 I talked about in my previous blog, causing widespread panic and mass hoarding of supplies, they seemed to settle into a more “keep the peace” approach.  Not sure if they were instructed to do this from the governments or not, regardless, it was the right play.  They toned down the rhetoric and started asking people to be conscious of washing their hands, they repeated story after story that the supply chains for food and essentials would not run bare to halt the rush on panic buying and, most importantly, they started to emphasize the portion they were burying in their stories that, for most people, symptoms are mild-to-moderate and they will fully recover. 

Now, with self-isolation being so widespread in Canada, it's even nicer to see the positive news stories they’re sharing – people singing from balconies, messages of positive support in windows for neighbours and people enjoying socializing together though messaging platforms.  All really good stuff to help people realize not every Canadian has turned asshole.

But, the bi-partisan reporting was short lived.  We’re now seeing the media headlines turning back to fit their narrative.  They’re now back to finding these “experts” from the deep corners of the web that agree with their storyline.  They’re back to not asking the tough questions of some leaders, while taking anything another says out of context.

Nothing gets the press more excitable than the leader to the South.  And, for some bizarre reason, many Canadians feel the need to be fully engulfed in these discussions and waste their lives arguing about it.

Trump has horrible hair, definitely sounds like an idiot often (whether in person or on Twitter) and does not at all know how to be politically correct. 

On the flip side, he’s not a politician.  He doesn’t pull punches, wears his heart on his sleeve and and doesn't care who's tree he rattles.  He doesn’t avoid questions by regurgitating the same canned response over and over and often answers them so bluntly that the PC crowd see it as offensive.  There are definitely cases where it is warranted, however.

Because of his directness with responses, he gets absolutely impaled by the media who doesn’t like him.  He makes a stupid comment, off the cuff because he’s not reading from a script, and trips over his own feet without the preprinted help.  The CNN’s of the world pounce on it and take full advantage of the one sentence out of the two minute response to alter the context and amplify it to suit their message to help sell commercial slots for "The Situation Room".  Yes, some of it is justified, but not of all it should be believed as fact based, unbiased journalism.

Back in Canada, most are cognizant of the fact that the mainstream media (CBC, CTV, TorStar, etc) are left in their partisan leaning.  They don’t ask the tough questions of left leaning leaders and occassionally it seems like they even lob in some soft questions for Trudeau to knock out of the park for soundbites they can use on the evening news.  Then they purposely avoid including any potentially critical responses from other parties that may not fit within their storyline.  Although, when it’s a party on the other side, they’ll always seek out that opposition party member or that “expert” for their comments.

But, on the other bookend, we do have the right leaning media as well.  It was almost shocking to see Toronto Sun posting positive stories about the Feds at the onset of this.  But then the door opened a crack with the aforementioned Emergency Bill draft release and they quickly devolved into their old ways of skewering Trudeau and the Liberals for every decision ever.  Like the left media, they find the right leaning "experts" to disagree with the goverment directives, just like we see Fox down south when they can always find an “expert” from some “no one knows where the hell it is” school or organization that confirms everything The Donald said was 100% accurate.

I’ll repeat what I said before, wouldn’t it be nice to get factual, unbiased news?  Wouldn’t it be nice to have the media hold all our parliamentarians to account, regardless of party stripe, and force them to directly answer the hard questions without the usual dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge and regurgitation of the scripts?  Wouldn’t it be nice if opinion pieces weren't being portrayed as actual "news" stories?

Possibly, in time, we'll be able to look back and analyze whether the lifespan of this chaos could have been shortened had the media stuck to reporting the facts and forced the politicos to look us in the eyes and directly answer the questions truthfully.  For now, only the self-righteous know that hindsight will prove this in the future.

COVID-19 WAS THE SECOND SHOOTER!

A week ago I was saying, “come on, you can’t seriously believe this shit” with the conspiracy theories that have been popping up.  Now, I’m already numb to the amazing stories that are surfacing.

Why don’t we just say COVID-19 was the director of the fake moon landing?  And COVID-19 is the offspring of Bigfoot and Lochness.  Maybe COVID-19 was responsible for flattening the Earth.  Did you know, if you listen to COVID-19 backwards, it's a message from the devil?

No, those aren’t real ones I’ve seen, but I won’t be shocked when they come out.

Some of these conspiracies are blatantly absurd.  But some require some thought and investigation to refute.  And these are the most dangerous.

There are too many people out there that digest anything they see on social media.  Some are more careful than others, but some simply hit “share’ the second they find something that is HUGE and people must know!  And, in our current state, the number of people on social media has exploded exponentially adding to the danger.

Here’s a theory for everyone – don’t worry about it right now and just do your part by staying home.  When this is all over, there will be a ton of analysis, finger pointing and blame going around.  There will be investigations and there will be ramifications for how this started and how it was handled.  Will we ever hear the complete story?  Probably not. 

The reason there are conspiracy theories is based on what we’re being fed from the powers that be that often leaves gaps in their story.  Whether it’s for “national security”, to avoid being seen as not politically correct or just because there is an underlying issue they don’t want to share with us, The Great Unwashed, to protect their own asses, these become flashpoints for these stories to take off. 

Add to this the fact that some people have too much time on their hands (especially these days) to create websites, edit video clips into one and write long, vaguely detailed stories that try to connect all the dots (such irony as deep as I'm into this currently), there is too much bullshit fueling additional bullshit, that fuels bigger bullshit and then people ending up inhaling a pile of shit and think it smells great.

Moral of the story – we’ll find out some of the answers for all this after the fact, but don't add fuel to the fire by giving these any legs online.  You can rest assured that the self-righteous probably already know the outcome, the politicians already know it’s the other party’s fault and the media knows not to ask their favourite about it, while railroading the “other guy” about it. 

DRUNK HOMESCHOOL TEACHER FIRED

Like others, I’ve scrolled far more than I ever have through social media these days.  But there is so much stuff getting posted, it’s hard to keep up.  And I’ve been adding to the pile more frequently than usual as well.

I have to acknowledge the IMPRESSIVE, hilarious memes that are being created.  Honestly, hats off to the beautiful minds out there who create these pieces that tickle our funny bone while we’re scrolling through all the other noise.  I’ve actually been brought to tears laughing hysterically at some of these.  Bravo.  And thank you for the relief.

Then there’s the positive messages of support for everyone involved.  And the posts of assisting politely in spreading the word.  And the messages of love, compassion and care so that no one thinks this is only their cross to bear.

But, of course, these are still open platforms where two of the previous groups are running rampant – our conspiracy theorists and the self-righteous.  We see these conspiracy posts spreading like wildfire  thanks to people doing no research on what they’re sharing.  And then the self-righteous, not exclusive to any specific post, telling us how wrong we all are.

I especially love the assholes who throw out comments like “what are you doing?  Quit being selfish.  You’re supposed to be in Canada, and you’re supposed to be social distancing!  Get home now and quarantine for 14 days!”  Upon further review, most of us saw that it was a “TBT” (Throw Back Thursday) post of the poster golfing in Arizona from 2018.

Folks, we’re in this for a longer haul than you’re being told.  We’ve got to stay positive, supportive and lighthearted in these domains we all “share”.  We have to ignore the self-righteous from telling us what’s best for us and we have to avoid letting conspiracy theories gain any momentum.

Rather, share with everyone that you've now had your 9th diet cheat day in a row.

I AM NOT CHARLES MANSON

So, in an effort to get fresh air and get some exercise, I try to go for a good hike every day.  I find it so valuable for peace of mind.  A chance for me to be alone with no COVID-19 opinionated news, no conspiracy theories scrolling by my eyes and no comments from the self-righteous making me want to reach through the screen.

I head out with a bottle of water in one hand and my phone with my favourite playlist in the other.  I hike at a good pace and often come up with the stuff you're reading now, not even realizing my hike is done sometimes.  And, up until two weeks ago, I’d pass the usual suspects that I shared the path with that I’d see at the same time every day with a “how’s it going?” or “good afternoon.”

Now, the path is busier with more people getting out for exercise.  But, now, with social distancing, people are almost jumping into the bush or into traffic just to stay away from me.  I approach people, keeping my distance, of course, where I give the usual greeting only to have them looking at me like I’m a serial killer.  But not just me, everyone is looking at everyone like this.

I get it.  I’ve been “hoarding” razors lately.  (aka – why waste time shaving these days?)  I understand I’m a little scary looking to begin with.  But the switch flipped with COVID-19 and now everyone is scared shitless of each other.  It's ok for us all to have our spidey-sense up these days and be way more cautious than we normally go about our daily lives.  But no health official has said you can get infected by saying, “good afternoon” and I highly doubt there are any cases of community spread that were caused by smiling at someone.

Take some deep breaths, at least six feet away from someone, and get back to being the overly polite Canadians we are.  You know the saying - smiles are contagious, but it's the good type of community spread we need right now.

STEPPING ON UP!

Fear not - t’s not all despair and assholeness that is ramping up.  In the midst of all this, we’re also seeing the absolute best of Human Behaviour shining through. 

We’re seeing exhausted health care professionals continually finding their second wind.  We’re seeing the supply chain workers punching in without knowing when they’ll punch out.  We see the cleaners willing to put their hands on and into areas that most of us wouldn’t even consider getting within two meters from these days.  We’re seeing businesses stopping their profitable product production lines to completely shift gears to make affordable products for everyone.  And this is only a short list of all those doing extraordinary things for all of us.

We see the people, mentioned before, on balconies singing to their neighbours, we’re seeing people volunteering to help those far less fortunate than probably anyone of us reading this, we see the young delivering groceries to the elderly, we see people helping people that used to not.  We’re seeing cities turn into communities again.

These people have never lost their Canadian way and I know we’re all grateful for that.  But the best way to show gratitude is to do our part in keeping this country unified.

I AM CANADIAN

Folks, we’re all coming to the conclusion that this is going to linger a lot longer than we all originally thought.  This is going to cut deeper than we probably ever could’ve imagined.  But we’re all going through it. 

And things will get worse.  People will start to feel too isolated, people will be getting cabin fever and people will start suffering from mental issues.  People will begin feeling the economic fallout.  And things on the worldwide web, news and social media will likely start to take a hard downward, negative turn as all these things take hold.

But that doesn’t give any one of us the right to be unCanadian.

Whether you’re old or young, whether you lean politically left or right, whether you've traveled or not, whether you have a room in the house specifically to store toilet paper or not, whether you agree with me or not – the danger to our health and the eventual economic struggles are for real for all of us. 

Let’s get back to what the world has always thought of us instead of getting pulled into their webs of division.

Let’s get back to saying “sorry” for anything, even when someone else was in the wrong.

Let’s get back to being supportive of each other in a time of need instead of judgmental about decisions we made before things happened when only hindsight can confirm we were wrong.

Let’s get back to smiling at each other and saying, “how’s it going?” without acting like we’re each carrying a grenade with the pin pulled.

Let’s show the world how Canadians can always pull together as a nation to limit the damage.

Let’s put out the kindergarten field trip rope so everyone can grab on and find our way out of this together.

Let’s get back to being teammates because we’re all on the same team.

True North Strong isn’t just for us to come together for NBA playoff runs.

Stay home, stay healthy and stay Canadian.

Contributed by:

Steve Caswell

Cell - 705.561.8767

caz@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.


Canada vs COVID19

(Published on - 3/22/2020 12:32:09 AM)

Holy Mackinaw!!!!

What a difference a week makes in the world these days.  Wow.  Wow. Wow.

I know everyone is missing their dose of weekly Hockey Night in Canada, so I figured I’d give you a game to “watch” while you’re doing your part by staying home.

Unfortunately, I’ve been told I have a “face for radio”, so I’m not quite ready to ruin your quarantining or scare the kids with my ugly mug.  With today’s current situation, I guess I’m going to have to get onto the Vlog program sooner or later.

Basically, this is a play-by-play of the big game.  Think of this as similar to how our grandparents would’ve had to read about last night’s game in the paper during their break or riding the streetcar to INCO on their way to work.  But remind yourself that their break at work was during overtime shifts underground or in the smelter producing massive amounts of nickel to support the war effort. 

Your war effort includes reclining your lazy boy, cracking a cold beer and enjoying the play-by-play read below.

As I know there are plenty of Leafs fans out there, we know these are only the “cases we know about” as some of you Leafs fans live in “self-isolation” hoping to avoid others find out.  Although I think it’s shameful to be a Leafs fan, I also have sympathy for you for the ongoing disappointment your team provides you.  You should consider “social distancing” yourself from this organization so you don’t continue to suffer and spread this to others.

Now that we’ve got that jab out of the way, we’ll use the familar Harry Neale and Bob Cole for the analysis and play-by-play.

Here we go…..

-----------

Neale – Ladies and Gentlemen.  Welcome to the biggest game of the year here in Canada!  This is a single game, winner takes all, versus the visiting COVID-19.  As you can see, the stands are empty, as the new way things are, but we’re here to bring you all the great action!  What do you think about tonight’s matchup, Bob?

Cole – Thanks Harry.  You’re right, this is the biggest game of the year for Team Canada.  COVID-19 has swept its way through Asia, basically dismantled any team it faced in Europe and is now on the North American leg of its tour.

From what we’ve seen from COVID-19’s play so far is they are elusive, they’re wiry, they seem to be able to be in multiple spots at once, trying to contain them has proven a major problem for all their opponents and they just continue to score with utter dominance.  Player wise, they’re not much different than the other skaters on the ice, but it seems their opponents' goalies can’t seem to stop the pucks.

Neale – Ya, they’ve been an impressive powerhouse, Bob.  So what does Canada have to do to beat this team?

Cole – As of late, Canada’s forwards have been awesome.  They’re grinding it out deep in the opposing team’s corners trying to win those battles.  The defense has been rock solid – holding the blueline and making sure the forwards and goalie are supported.

The problem with Canada is not unlike any other opponent COVID-19 has played recently – goaltending.  The goalie seems to be playing selfishly and, although says they want to win, seems to be playing like they just don’t care.

Neale – You’re right, Bob, opposing goaltenders have been making the COVID-19 team look better than they are.

Let’s go down to Sheila in the tunnel who has the coaches from both teams for a quick interview before we hit the ice.  Sheila?

Sheila – Thanks Harry.  I’m standing here with the COVID-19 coach, Novel Corona.  Coach Corona, what do you see as the game plan for this game tonight?

Corona – Hey Sheila, our game plan has been the same no matter who our opponent is.  We just keep pushing it down the ice as quickly as we can and wait for the other team’s goalie to blow it for them.  It’s worked every time so far.

Sheila – Seems simple enough, Coach Corona.  Good luck tonight.

Coach Corona – Thanks, Sheila, but we don’t need luck.

Sheila – Now we’ll move over to the Team Canada coach, Coach Trudeau.  Your opponents have been on a roll lately.  What’s the game plan for this winner takes all match?

Trudeau – Thanks Sheila.  Tonight is our most important game ever.  I’ve never seen our forwards so focused and ready to pour on the offense against COVID-19.  Our defense is tight and is ready to support our forwards out there while holding that blueline.  We just need to settle our goaltender down as they seem quite anxious and might be underestimating the importance of this game.

Sheila – Looks like you got your work cut out for you tonight, Coach Trudeau.  Good luck tonight.

Trudeau – Thanks Sheila, we’ll need it.

Sheila – Back to you, Harry!

Harry – Great work, Sheila.  What do you think, Bob?

Bob – Well, Harry, both coaches just reiterated everything we said.  This game is two powerhouses that will come down to the goaltending.

Harry – We’ll see soon enough, Bob.  Let’s cut away for a quick commercial break and drop the puck when we get back.  It’s going to be a great game, so don’t change that channel!

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(Theme music)

Neale – And we’re back, Bob.  The teams look ready and the puck is about to drop.  Here we go!

Cole – Canada’s center wins the draw over the winger.  Canada gets it in deep into COVID-19’s zone and begins to cycle.  COVID-19 steals behind their own net, but Canada’s forwards seem to be grinding them well down low…..

Neale – Bob, look at Canada’s goalie.  What are they doing?

Cole – Canada’s goalie is skating through the neutral zone and past COVID-19’s blueline.  This is bizarre, and now the goallie is even calling for the puck with their stick in the air.

Neale – But Canada doesn’t even have the puck, Bob!

Cole – That’s what takes it from bizarre to just plain stupid, Harry.  COVID-19 gets free behind their own net, fires a shot the length of the ice and it trickles across the goal line.  COVID-19 SHOOTS, IT SCORES!!!!

Neale – Wow, Bob, with so much riding on this game, what was the goalie thinking?

Cole – Harry, all I can think is that the goalie didn’t think COVID-19 could score from there.

And here we go again.  Puck is dropped and Canada again wins the draw.  The forwards get it deep, cycling it with blue line and they get a good shot on net.  Puck rebounds into the corner and is picked up by COVID-19 who it takes it behind their net…..

Neale – Bob, look at this.  What is happening?

Cole – Canada’s goalie has skated to Canada's bench and is having a beer and high-fiving with the backup goalie.  In the other end, COVID-19 has seen this and fires it down the ice.  COVID-19 SHOOTS, IT SCORES!!!!!

Neale – Seriously, Bob, I hate to swear on the air, but what the hell is going on with Canada’s goalie?

Cole – I’m not sure, Harry.  You can see how frustrated the forwards and defence are getting with the goalie’s behaviour, but they’re too nice to get angry with him.  All the hard work they’re putting in to have it all unravel due to the goalie acting like an idiot must be so frustrating.

Neale – Agreed, Bob.  They’ve lined up again center.  Canada’s only down 2-0 and still lots of game left.

Cole - They drop the puck and Canada, again, takes control.  The break-in is flawless and they’re applying a lot of pressure on COVID-19 deep in their own zone.  Canada cycles down low and gets a quality shot off from the high slot.  COVID-19 gets the rebound, turns and fires it down the ice.

Neale – Bob, where the hell is Canada’s goalie?

Cole – COVID-19’s shot crosses the goal line.  COVID-19 SHOOTS, IT SCORES!!!!

Neale – Bob, we just received an Instagram post of Canada’s goalie standing in a jam packed checkout line with 10 packs of toilet paper!  What are they doing?

Cole – I don’t know what’s going on, Harry.  But, with Canada now down 3-0, we’ve hit the end of the first period.

Neale – Well, that is not the start Team Canada wanted.  After all the hard work by the forwards and defence, COVID-19 was still able to score three easy, basically uncontested, goals.  What happened, Bob?

Cole – Pretty simple, Harry.  As we saw leading up to this game, Team Canada’s goalie isn’t playing seriously or with passion.  It doesn’t seem to understand the magnitude of this game.

Neale – During this intermission, Bob, let’s take a look at Team Canada’s lineup.

Cole – Well, Harry, let’s start with Team Canada’s forwards.  These are an exceptional crew of hard workers.  The forward core is made up of all of Canada’s doctors, nurses, scientists, public health officials and governments.  This crew has really shown up ready to perform.  There’s no quit with this forward crew.

Neale – What about the defence, Bob?  See any issues there?

Cole – Quite the contrary, Harry.  Team Canada’s defensive core is as rock solid as it gets.  Canada’s backstop is made of all the truck drivers, suppliers, grocery store employees, pharmacists, farmers and everyone else that is essential to keep the country moving at this time.  Like the forwards, they’re simply “no quit” and doing everything they can support the goaltender.

Neale – I agree, Bob.  So let’s look at the issue – Team Canada’s goaltending.

Cole – Well, Bob, Team Canada’s goaltender is the people reading this and the rest of the people in Canada.  As we’ve mentioned, the goaltender is having difficulty understanding the importance of this game.  The goaltender is being selfish and really letting the team down on all fronts here.

Neale – I’m guessing it won’t be long until Coach Trudeau stops his polite treatment of this goaltender and really lays down the law that he won’t be happy with.  What do you think, Bob?

Cole – You’re right, Harry.  The goalie is not going to like the thrashing he’s going to take from the coach.  But anyone can see, if the goalie keeps acting like this, Coach Trudeau will have no choice.

It’s really surprising actually, Harry.  The goalie has one job – stay in the crease, protect the net and stop the easy ones.  All it has to do is let the forwards do their work trying to inflict some offensive damage on COVID-19 without letting these easy goals pile up to a point where they can’t get back into the game.  It’s pretty simple, but the goalie just doesn’t seem to get it.

Neale – No kidding, Bob.  I’m sure he’ll get it the hard way when there’s 10,000 goals past him and Coach Trudeau brings down the hammer on him.

Will be back for the second period after this brief message……

----------------

Hey readers – get it yet?

There is still lots of game left and we still have a chance to win this one if the forwards and defence can count on their goalie to do their job.

We ARE the goalie and the "net" is our home.

Unprecedented moments like this require unprecedented blog language to get it through to you:

Do your part and stay in the fuckin net!

Amanda, Michelle and I made an announcement earlier this week that we have temporary halted all in-person real estate activities to protect our clients, our families and our community.  I have been in contact directly with out board asking them to make this a board-wide initiative.  It takes a great amount of courage to be some of the first to step up and do the right thing in these unprecedented times.  Whether others decide to follow suit is their own decision, but we’ve chosen to do the responsible thing and we’re proud to do our part for the community.

But we are still here and we can do almost anything from a distance for you.  Whether you need advice on your personal housing situation, or you still need to buy or sell, we can do it all and ensure you’re protected all the way through.  We’re also here to make a coffee and chat any time if you just need some Facetime during the isolation we all should be doing by now.

Never hesitate to reach out to us at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com for anything you need.  We’re here to help in any way we can.  If you want to burn some time in isolation, you can check out all the MLS™ listings here, search for that camp you’ve always wanted here, check out all our other great blog topics full of tons of tips and advice for you to do during your time at home or just check out our website for tons of great info on buying or selling in Greater Sudbury.

And make sure to like and follow our Facebook page for ongoing updates and new blog posts!

Stay healthy and stay home.

Contributed by:

Steve Caswell

Cell - 705.561.8767

caz@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.


We're All Doomed!

(Published on - 3/15/2020 7:53:42 PM)

COVID-19 is upon on us and, yes, we’re doomed. 

But why we are doomed is the problem.  And it isn’t the Coronavirus.

As of this writing, we have one confirmed case in Sudbury.  One.  Out of 155K-ish people.  One.  Of course, it’s still one and one is too many.  We don’t want anyone we know to get it; we want to be cautious; we want those that get it to recover fully and quickly and we want to make sure the most vulnerable in society are protected.

That being said, do you know what 1 divided by 155,000 looks like?  This:  6.451612903225806e-6.  Not even the calculator thinks it’s worthy of supplying a real number.  Why?  Because a standard calculator doesn’t have a large enough display to show you just how low the percentage of people in Sudbury that have the virus are.  So, based on this percentage result, we’re not exactly doomed by this stat.

There are currently around 250 cases in Canada out of approximately 36,300,000 people.  Again, the calculator returns a result that says, “you know the number is too low to show you the whole thing”.  Percentage of people in Canada with the virus:  6.887052341597796e-6.

For those not as mathematically inclined, these are not 6.45% and 6.89% respectively.  Those numbers above reflect percentages that are so infinitesimally low that the calculator is basically saying, “why even bother asking me?”  So, science, which includes math, tells us that the risk still remains relatively low.

Sure, they say there is a chance that 30-70% Canadians might get this through “Community Spreading” – one of the wonderful new catch phrases that “smart” people in the crowd would have you believe they’ve been using for years.  But that also means there’s a 30-70% chance of Canadians not getting it.  So, let’s cut the fat above and call it a 50/50 chance of getting it.  What has further been announced is that, for those who contract it, most will recover after two weeks with no issues.  Does this spell doom?  Well, I highly disagree with calling flipping a coin, getting it wrong and still being ok after two weeks of couch, soup and binging on Netflix, for the majority, a doomsday scenario.

Are we doomed cause of the near 30% drop in the stock markets?  Each person will look at this differently and I’m sure there are plenty out there with heavy stock portfolios that are having massive anxiety about what they just witnessed disappear.  As we said in our March monthly e-newsletter, this is one of those lessons about why you should diversify your portfolio and have hard assets in real estate to give yourself some balance to cushion blows like this. 

Regardless, the markets will recover in time.  As it’s been noted, unless you’re retired or retiring in the next six months, ignore the noise.  This is coming from financial experts.  We’re already witnessing a levelling off of the market correction as governments start announcing stimulus packages for the economy.  What the rational people out there should be doing is looking at refinancing their mortgage now or, even better, if you’re looking to buy in the near future, get pre-approved to lock in these low interest rates.  You could end up saving a nice chunk you can put back into your stock portfolio!

Like the real estate market, stock markets ebb and flow over time.  But the trend lines over time always show an increase for the most part.

So, if the stats say we should be alright and the markets seem to be stabilizing, why are we doomed?

Is it our health care system?  Is it our governments?  Flat out – the answer is no.

Our health care system is not as great as some people would lead you to believe.  It’s not “free” like some say, but somehow it is severely underfunded even though an abundance of tax dollars is thrown at it.  There is far too much wasted in our health care system on bureaucratic levels than what should be spent on front line staff.  But those front-line workers never give up, which saves face for our health care system.  They face challenges every day and I have no doubt they’re doing well in facing this one.

This situation is so new and unknown that there is currently no cure or vaccine for it…. YET.  We all know their will be as the top minds across the globe are collaborating to fix this.  And they will.  For now, they’re simply doing their best to keep the populace informed and make decisions erring on the side of caution.  But they have blatantly come out saying it’s as simple as washing your hands properly, thoroughly and often.

I think our health care system is doing, and will continue to do, a great job in handling this situation.  Sure, it’s rumoured it will get tougher before it gets better.  But we’re already seeing things easing up in China where they took similar measures at the onset of it.

So, our health care system, whether it’s the current state of or preparedness of, is not the reason we’re doomed.

As for governments, well, most of those who know me know my partisan leanings.  As we all know, politicos often behave like “adult children” when we witness them turning the House of Common’s Question Period into nothing but childish insults and unproductive one-line zingers that they think are brilliant.  As a side note for all politicians, your behaviour is not brilliant - you guys collectively look like idiots on all sides of the House and you should all start putting your nonsense childish behaviour in your pocket and start moving the country forward.  From the foot stomping to the virtue signaling to the east/west divide to the “click bait sound bite” lines these idiots throw out like some guy trying to be “cool” at the party, it's high time they should know we all think they look like absolute jackasses.  Once this is over, stop the theatrics and do what you’re paid handsomely to do – govern to help Canadians, not to stay in power, get into power or trying to look "cool" for the cameras while slandering your opponents.

But, isn’t it amazing how something like COVID-19 can make them all come together and play nice?  Even “the demon” Trump calling Sophie “a great lady” is something that probably wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t on the heels of this.  The parties have come together to sign off on USMCA (new NAFTA) in record time so it passes into Royal Assent as soon we’re clear of this to make sure the North American economies don’t sputter for long.  They’ve come together to sign off on emergency stimulus packages and are taking great steps to assure Canadians that help will happen.  All levels of government are making daily announcements and decisions based on the needs and protection of Canadians. 

There is no one-size fits all program here for any country, province, city, etc., worldwide.  I think now that the governments are actually working together, this can be viewed as a "reset" that will be one of the more promising times in our country’s history.  It’s like when there’s a family squabble that lasts decades, but then grandma passes away and, at the funeral, everyone realizes life is too short and make amends.  Sometimes tragedy and hard times bring people back together.  And, with governments operating cooperatively, for the first time in a long time, they are currently not what is going to doom us – large emphasis on currently here if they just go back to their childish nonsense ways after this.

So, if it’s not the usual governmental childish nonsense, if it’s not our health care system, if the stock markets will eventually recover and the stats say we should be fine, then why are we doomed?

We’re doomed because of a virus that is way worse than COVID-19.  I call it the HYSTERIA-20 and it’s being fed and inflamed to epic proportions by the media.

The media, for the most part, are a bunch of self-serving maniacs that do anything to get you to click on their headlines.  On normal days, they bend the truth to fit their partisan leanings, they suppress voices that disagree with their narrative, they de-contextualize anything they can to make it sound better or worse than it is and they do it all to sell ad space.  Reminder, this is normal behaviour for them on a good day. 

Ever notice those days when there are no global pandemics, no plane crashes, no Hollywood scandals or anything else exciting, they can find some blood thirsty headline from a remote town in Arkansas advertised as "Breaking News" that has basically zero bearing on anyone’s life in Canada that they're just using as click-bait? 

The media doesn’t report news anymore.  They exaggerate it to the cusp of fabrication, they dig deep into far reaches to find anything they can multiply in severity to grab your attention, they dig even deeper to find these so called “experts” (should read “person who agrees with my opinionated writing and the news outlet’s position on the story”) and they throw out anything they feel is going to get clicks without any real fact checking or confirmation.  Ever notice, before the online news world became prevalent, the paper’s retractions would be buried deep into the pages where readers normally wouldn’t get to them in the course of a standard bathroom break?

Yes, there are journalists with integrity out there, I’m sure.  But news is not what it used to be and should be – just straightforward reporting of the news.  Every story is lined with hidden opinions, agendas and political leaning.  But, the worst part, is anything that might be considered good news is buried deep into an article after all the catchy one-liners and “experts” they finally found that supported their narrative.

Take the current situation.  All these headlines of deaths, new cases of the virus, quarantines, the person stranded out of country, the family trapped in their home, etc. are all click bait being added at alarming rates.  Buried DEEP in these articles is the statement “the majority of people who get infected with COVID-19 have minor to moderate symptoms and fully recover”.  If the title of their article was “Majority Of People Will Be Fine”, they wouldn’t get any clicks and wouldn't sell any ad space.

But the media isn’t solely responsible for HYSTERIA-20.  So, then who else is at fault? 

It’s our own fault.  We’re stupid and clicking into all this noise.  We’re idiots steadfastly watching the tickers at the bottom of the screen on these news channels that haven’t said anything different in 20mins.  We’re like drooling dogs watching their food dish getting filled as we await the “new and exciting” tidbit of information that changes the basis of the entire scenario by a percentage of 6.451612903225806e-6.

Then we get on social media and regurgitate all these catch phrases like we’re part of the science team working on the cure.  We have to “self-isolate” and practice “social distancing” to “flatten the curve” out of “an abundance of caution” because of this “global pandemic”.  The media is feeding us this drivel and, unless you’re a scientist that’s been using these terms in the lab or at conferences, don’t start throwing these things around smugly like they've been part of your vocabulary for years.

Instead, the same connotation in a non-hysterical reaction, before these media catch phrases came out, would’ve read:

We have to “stay home” and practice “stay over there if you’re coughing” to “keep your shit away from me” out of “I got shit to do and can’t be sick” because of this “everyone’s sick stuff going around”. 

But it’s not just these catch phrases that are causing HYSTERIA-20 to spread faster than COVID-19 ever could’ve dreamed of, it’s the lack of emotional control of the readers and the population as a whole that is causing this widespread nonsense.

The message from the powers that be is “wash your hands”.  Wow – that is some seriously complex medical advice that seems pretty tough to understand without a Master's Degree.  Obviously there would be some confusion over the specific details of this medical advice that would require further explanation from a PhD….. (If you don’t see the sarcasm, you have more to be worried about than coronavirus).

Since when did people need 300 rolls of toilet paper to wash their hands?  Toilet paper, hand sanitizer and cleaning products were wiped off the shelves by this mass, ignorant chaos, yet there was still soap available.  What’s next for these idiots?  If we hear we’re going to have a gas shortage at the pumps, they’re going to run out and buy all toasters?  When we see boil water advisories, should those people run out and clear out the shelves of all the pillowcases they can find?  There’s only one thing to say about this – Mass Stupidity lead by Mass Hysteria.

This is why we’re doomed.  The initial people react to a misleading headline, widely spread and regurgitate misinformation by way of fancy catch phrases they use to make themselves sound important and then others follow blindly into the rabbit hole of pure emotional chaos.  Rampant, knee-jerk reactions based on zero (or less) proof or factual professional guidance.

To hear people getting into physical confrontations over toilet paper is disgusting.  Anyone trying to sell toilet paper rolls online for profit right now – you are a despicable human.  To be clearing out shelves in panicked, frenzied buying over the entirely wrong information shows how catastrophically inept the general population are to handle these situations.  And the media, those blowing up social media and those that behaved irrationally, can cumulatively wear the entire fault of HYSTERIA-20 and why we are ultimately doomed as a civilization.

Yes, this is a global issue, and everyone has a right to be concerned.  Yes, people will get infected, and we wish you a speedy recovery, but our thoughts are primarily with those that aren’t physically equipped to handle it.  Yes, it will continue to spread before it gets better and we should practice “staying home”, “stay over there with that cough” and washing our hands to limit the spread.  Yes, sadly, more people will likely die, families will mourn and have to regroup and that is horrible no matter what the circumstance.

But it’s important to get a grip on reality.  Stop inhaling everything the media tells you like it’s the cure for COVID-19.  Stop acting like the world is coming to an end with these irrational behaviours we’re seeing in stores.  Stop spreading your opinions and rumours on social media like they’re fact.  And stop regurgitating the catch phrase of the day as though you’re the authority people should listen to.

Instead, start listening to the powers that be – the governments, the scientists, the health care teams.  Start looking at federal, provincial and local government websites for up-to-date, non-bias or exaggerated info.  Start browsing local health unit and hospital websites for true information on what to do and when to do it.  Although they’re all still making it up as they go along, start trusting these people as they’re the smartest group at the table and the only ones you should taking direct advice from.

Now that everyone is hopefully realizing its time to settle down, why not take advantage of this self-isolation, um sorry, “staying home”?  This is a great opportunity to declutter the house, finish that book, review your financial risk levels, look into taking advantage of refinancing at lower mortgage rates, browse the MLS to find that camp you’ve been dreaming ofread all our other great blogs or just kick back, make some soup and a grill cheese and binge on Netflix. 

Most importantly, take some deep breaths knowing this will pass.  And when that time comes, it’s important to remember that your Greater Sudbury neighbours went through this along side you in their own homes.  This means we all probably saved a few bucks that the community is going to need to start moving quickly and reenergize.  Once things have cleared up, we’ve got to go out for dinner to support our local restaurant owners and their local suppliers.  We’ve got to buy tickets for the Wolves/Five games to help them finish their seasons and support our local performing artists.  We have to go buy that dress, new shoes, new golf clubs or new smartphone to support our local business owners and their staff.  We have to get our oil changed and get our winter tires off to support our local mechanics and dealerships.  We’ll have to spur the economy back into action to help each other pay the bills and get back on our feet.

Besides, we all know a ton of you have extra money that you won’t have to spend on toilet paper for quite a while.  Maybe you should even go give a couple of rolls to your neighbour as a reminder that we’re all in this together.

This a very unusual time and we're here to guide you through your real estate needs.  If you feel a pinch may be coming, this is the right time to get out in front of it and consider downsizing.  Or, as mentioned, you may want to explore taking advantage of the low interest rates to refinance, upgrade or purchase that investment property or camp you've always wanted.  Never hesitate to reach out to us at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com as we all have plenty of time to figure out a game plan while we're trying to ride this out at home.  If you need to burn some time in isolation, you can check out all the MLS™ listings here, access all our great blog topics here or browse our site for great info on buying and selling in Greater Sudbury and surrounding areas.

We will get through this blip on the radar and we'll get through it together.

Contributed by:

Steve Caswell

Cell - 705.561.8767

caz@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.


Selling In The Winter

(Published on - 2/29/2020 4:42:48 PM)

What better time to write about selling your home in the winter than on a day like today when we get hammered with an enormous amount of snow. I’m sure most of you are out there trying to dig yourselves out or maybe you are on vacation and don’t have to worry about it…. until you get home…..

If you’re considering selling this year, why wait?  Selling your property in the winter has far more advantages than people think, and you can actually maximize your equity in the winter months rather than waiting.

First, because everyone thinks the Spring is the perfect time to list, your neighbours are all waiting till the snow melts which will bring on more competition and more supply for buyers to choose from.  The supply is always lower in the winter, but there are buyers that still have to buy, so you can take advantage of the Supply/Demand economics at play. 

Secondly, if you have that awesome waterfront or rural property in a gorgeous setting, why wait until the bugs are out in full force!  We all know they’re coming in droves, but when buyers can’t bare to be outside walking that great property or sitting on the dock cause of the swarms, it can have them pushing away a property.

Third, winter is a quieter time.  Your neighbour won’t be working on their car in the backyard or using that 30-year old lawnmower at 730am on a Sunday, their kids won’t be screaming playing around the pool and traffic will normally be lighter and slower if you’re on a busy street. 

Use these common buyer concerns to your advantage when the season allows you!

If you’re considering it, here is some advice for those sellers currently listed or preparing to list soon to take your listing to the next level.

If the property you are selling is vacant, consider hiring a contractor to make sure the driveway and walkway to the door are clear. If not, it makes it very difficult for the agent and their client to access the home and they could end up cancelling or not viewing the home because they could not get in.

Don’t turn the heat right down to save money.  Make sure you frequently check the temperature in the home.  You want potential buyers to feel welcome and nothing says “welcome home” on a -30oC day than a nice warm property.  Buyers are often bundled up and I’ve seen way too many times where sellers will turn the heat down to the bare minimum.  We walk in, take our boots off, zip up our coats even farther and, with our feet freezing on the cold floors, we end up rushing through the home.  Having buyers take their coats off when they walk in because it’s comfortable makes them instantly feel as though they’re “coming home” for the day.  And make sure you don’t skimp on the in-floor heating if you have it!  

Also, make sure to leave a mat or an old piece of carpet at the entrance for those snow-covered boots with enough room for everyone – agent and two buyers at least.  Don’t worry so much about look as functionality – its winter, people get it.

Vacant homes often turn water off for insurance purposes.  If you are turning the water off, make sure your agent knows and be sure to leave a note advising guests that the water is off.  Coming in from a cold winter day into your, now, nice warm property often brings the urge to use the bathroom for some!

“What is that annoying, constant beeping sound?”  I have never sold a home where the smoke alarm or carbon dioxide detector is warning the batteries are low.  The sound consistently breaks up the conversation and people lose focus.  Don’t let the cost of a couple batteries impact the hundreds of thousands of dollars you’re selling for, so make sure you change the batteries in your detectors.  It’s also a potentially lifesaving fix…..

“But my backyard and gardens will look way better in the Spring!”  Guess what, so will your neighbours!  Every year make it a habit of taking some great backyard shots on one of those days where you’re just so proud of your yard after a full day of grooming.  Placing a nice binder with full page pics of your yard in front of the best backyard view from the home will help them envision what the yard looks like and they’ll start seeing themselves out in the yard enjoying the summer weather!

Now, if you’re selling your property while you are still living there, most of the above still apply along with a few extras…..

Don’t leave the entire families’ winter coats and boots at the door.  It will make the entry seem tighter when they walk in and makes the buyers think, “maybe there’s not enough room to host Thanksgiving dinner here” before they even get into the dining room.

Get out there and pick up after your pets.  Stepping in a “landmine” in the summer is no fun, of course.  But when people are seeing your nice backyard photos you’ve left on the counter and they look out to envision the kids playing back there, the contrast between the snow and the “poopsicles” is too drastic!  And, with the windows shut, that kitty litter can get even more potent in the basement…..

Speaking of which, purge the air in your home occasionally.  On a breezy day, open all the doors and windows for a minute or two just to freshen the air.  I know, seems crazy, but not every house has an air exchanger (not to mention a clean air exchanger) and the air gets stale.  You might be used to it and not notice, but that heavy garlic and onion meal you made on Sunday might still be hanging in the air for Tuesday’s showing!  Don’t panic, everything in your house retains heat.  The tables, chairs, couches, cabinets, etc.  It won’t take long at all to have the temperature back up to the same comfortable level.

Buyers are always looking regardless of season, but sellers seem to think Spring/Summer are the only times.  It’s a major misconception.  And you should take advantage of it!

No matter when you decide to sell, there’s always the rights and wrongs for every season.  With our experience, we know the right way to get it done.  Never hesitate to contact us at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com to discuss the game plan that's right for you!  In the meantime, you can always view all the MLS™ listings herecheck out all our informative and entertaining blog topics here or just browse our website for great information on buying and selling in Greater Sudbury and surrounding areas.

Contributed by:

Amanda Gervais

Cell - 705.929.1930

agervais@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.


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