Darlings,

Here it is, the day after the 4th of July, and if I hadn’t looked at my calendar this morning, I might not even know that it’s July. In addition to the confusion I’m experiencing due to my mask-wearing social distancing, this year’s Independence Day slipped right by me because my dog, Coco Chanel, is now quite deaf. Which means she didn’t have a nervous breakdown at the sound of fireworks when she used to collapse at the first small bang. I must say, Butter Cups, although her deafness makes the Fourth a more relaxing day for both of us (and we can get by without Valium), I liked it better when she heard me call her name at dinnertime.

Oh, dogs, dogs, dogs. Doesn’t anybody have cats anymore? That’s what Greg McMillan (Sotheby’s) asked me last month, “Maybe talk about cats in the next issue?” A dogless human since his last dog died a couple of years ago, Greg is comforted during this socially isolating time by his two cats, Leo and Jasper. A creature of habit (now THERE’S an understatement) Greg misses his daily routine, which includes going into the office on Grant Avenue every morning. After his morning exercise routine, of course. This work-from-home schedule has been trying for Greg. But cats are schedule lovers, too, so this work-from-home lifestyle of Greg’s has been exceptionally trying for Leo and Jasper. Every morning, after their breakfast, the cats spend hours looking out the window, fondly remembering the days when they had the house all to themselves. So cat-like, isn’t it, Kittens?

Cats and dogs seem to be the main companions during stressful times, but occasionally I hear of other creatures for comfort who catch my attention. My sister, Judy, was in line at PetSmart in Greenwich, Conn., last week, and the man behind her was buying a 40-gallon aquarium for his pet shark. He had bought the shark as a baby last March, at which time he needed only a 20-gallon aquarium. That’s how fast sharks grow, I guess. June Bugs, I admit I’m more comfortable with cats.

Linda Varela (office administrator, Sotheby’s) is way too busy administering to all the Realtors at the company to ever have to worry about tending to a cat or dog, and I know she wouldn’t be interested in a shark. When I called to verify this, it came to me that she could be the Cat Lady, so I asked her if she had a picture of herself as a cat. Cupcakes, wouldn’t you know that she did. Naturally, I insisted she send it to me. Linda wins First Place in my Style category every year. This year, she beat out all the other cats in the real-estate industry.

Lollipops, this may surprise you, but the real-estate market in our little City Different is booming. Since all the major summer activities (Folk Art Market, Spanish Market, Indian Market, Opera, etc.) have been canceled, maybe people have nothing to do but buy and sell houses. Whatever the reason, Realtors are busy. I think a few were caught off guard, though, because they thought they could use this quiet time to play musical offices. Surprise, Pumpkins, no rest for the wicked.

Matt Desmond is back home at Sotheby’s after taking a few detours. Fifteen years ago, Matt’s first stop as a new Realtor was French & French Fine Properties, which folded into Sotheby’s. One of the first — and most memorable — brokers he worked with was Neil Lyon. The detours over the next few years included stints with Santa Fe Properties and Keller Williams/Santa Fe. This spring he got homesick for the luxury market and his old pal, Neil Lyon, both of which were still at Sotheby’s. So home he went. His interest outside of real estate has always remained constant, that of an avid triathlete. To date, he has completed 26 Ironman triathalons. When I caught up with Matt to talk to him about real estate, he was finishing a run up Atalaya with his 13-year-old daughter. For Father’s Day. Sugars, I don’t remember what I did with my dad on Father’s Day, but I do know that we didn’t run anywhere, except maybe out to the car. Today I can see that I would’ve been healthier if I had been running alongside the car, for instance. Creampuffs, you know what they say about hindsight.

Gwen Gilligan (Barker Realty) credits the pandemic with making her move seamless when she left Santa Fe Properties and joined Barker in May. That sounds odd, I know, Tootsie Pops, but Gwen was working primarily from home even before the Coronavirus shutdown. When she moved, Barker Realty was already set up for telecommunicating, which made it possible for Gwen to stay right there in her home office and learn the Barker ropes through zooming sessions on everything from soup to nuts. Now Gwen says her life is perfect: a real estate office with all the supportive services she needs; a healthy relationship with her life partner; a daughter who lives in town with her partner; and a son and his family who are moving back to New Mexico in August. Her checklist is complete. Hmm, Butter Beans, I’m afraid I’m still working on mine.

In closing, I want to take a moment to honor two Realtors who died in May. Lucie Lawson (Sotheby’s) brought style and humor to everything around her. She kept us all laughing when she told us about her habit of hiding her purse in the dishwasher during open houses, which worked well until a client backed into the dishwasher, accidentally hitting the start button and ruining her tres chic Kate Spade bag. Buck Meyer (Buck Meyer Realty) suffered a debilitating stroke ten years ago, forcing him to retire. But through Buck’s undaunted perseverance, he opened his real-estate office again after five years of grueling rehabilitation. Both of these wonderful human beings had the spirit and the spunk we forever admire and never forget.

So long, Sweetpeas. Until next time... Oakley

Oakley Talbott can be reached at merrilypierson@me.com

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