Friday, December 03, 2010
Here it is-I was assigned what appeared to be a pretty easy story on the housing market in a local VERY upscale neighborhood. I received it at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Eve. My deadline: Monday evening.
You probably guessed there wasn’t a darn thing I could do about it until Friday morning. But I had a few leads, so I immediately sent out e-mails and left phone messages. I wished the first 3 “hopefuls” a very Happy Thanksgiving and I hoped to connect with them at their convenience anytime they could by Sunday evening. I told them my deadline.
Surprisingly enough-I got a phone call back that night! It was a realtor who said she would love too but she would be out of town until Monday night. I asked if she had a partner or any suggestions. Thankfully she did and sent the phone number not to me, but to my editor! This meant I didn’t see it until Friday afternoon.
The other 2 realtors never returned either the voice mails or the e-mails. I interviewed the realtor who was most helpful and kind with her time, but when I asked for a client’s name to use as an anecdotal-well, let’s just say this is why I hated phones and all things communication the rest of the weekend.
Bear in mind, I also had my daughter, son-in-law and grandkids here until Monday morning and I was doing my best to get in as many hugs and kisses as possible. And I had a lot of story time to catch up on as well. But I will pat myself on the back here and say I did a pretty good job!
However by Monday-I was nearing a state of panic. I have NEVER asked for an extension and I have NEVER not finished an assignment. But I couldn’t find a homeowner in that little burg to talk to me!
As one realtor put it “you have to understand the area, if we were in a low to mid scale neighborhood you’d have people begging to be a part of this story, but here, well you’re bruising their egos!”
Hmmmm. Anyway-I Googled, Craigslisted and yes, even found a phone book of agents and just began cold-calling all of them and begging/pleading with them to help me. 25 phone calls and over a dozen e-mails later. I had zip.
By 3 p.m. I sent a note to my editor asking for the embarrassing extension. She understood and said to just keep trying.
I did-finally (Thank you my guardian angel) at 5:15 a realtor/homeowner called me!!! I talked to her and thought-well, at least I can write this up. My husband was coming home for dinner, but I told him I’d be upstairs with my BFF-Bessie (what I call this old box of frustration).
What do you know-I had completed the first draft, came down and put dinner on the table when the phone rang!! Yes, I had another fantastic homeowner calling to help. Woo hoo! He was very nice and if I ever know of anyone who has a traumatic brain injury or a child with a congenital brain problem I will definitely tell them to Google this fine neuro-surgeon. Oh, he also works extensively with people who are morbidly obese. I’m not sure how that actually ties in with the rest of the home selling, but he was very interesting and I hope to come up with a story idea to use him as a reference for at some point in later writing life.
I finished up the story in record time, submitted it-with pictures in jpg and breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Because I’m a writer, that’s what I do-and I now had to prepare to make another phone call to interview a speedy sommelier for another article. I’ll tell you all about that another time.
I remember being in similar situations and just grabbing a phone book, finding residents in a particular neighborhood and cold-calling them. I would do that, for instance, when police were stonewalling me on what heinous crime had happened nearby.
Darn, now I need a beer or something.
This weekend, interviewing the CEO of the Anti Defamation League.