Hello from Your Friends at Home Sweet RVA.

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

Hello everyone! 

We know it has been a while, and hopefully, you haven’t completely forgotten about us!

After some serious consideration, we, as a team, decided it would be best to keep the noise of our blog and emails quiet for a while. I think everyone was sick of Target, Delta, and State Farm telling us how they were coping with Covid-19.  We aren’t scientists, so what could we contribute? Then the importance of the Black Lives Matters movement and the push for social justice came to the forefront of the news.  We did not feel it necessary or correct to push marketing for anything other than the progression of our society. Home Sweet RVA wants to continue to help our amazing clients buy and sell houses but never at the cost of clouding causes we believe in.   At the end of the day, it was the push of Rick Jarvis, the founder of One South, that nudged us over the edge to get back to writing.  He pointed out that Home Sweet RVA has great content and that he certainly would like to see us share more of it in future whole company meetings, so Rick, we are back at it.

From Scott:

A lot has happened in the last few months of my life. Last month I asked Becca, my girlfriend of 4 years, to spend the rest of her life with me. Everything just seemed to fall into place on the weekend of July 4th. We had our closest friends from DC coming down to Richmond. My grandmother’s ring was back from the jewelers, and it just seemed like now was the time. Right before dinner, I told Becca that I hadn’t spent much time with her that week and wanted just the two of us to go for a walk to have some time alone. We left the house, and I walked her down to the quarry in the woods just west of Maymont. As we walked down to the quarry, I told her how bittersweet the 4th was for me. My mom passed away just a few days after the 4th ten years ago, and my last happy memory of my time with her was sitting on the back porch with her watching the fireworks. I told Becca I wanted to make sure that the 4th stayed a happy memory in my life and that the best way I could think of to make that happen was to ask her to marry me. The proposal is honestly a blur, and who knows if I even got a chance to get down on one knee before she jumped into my arms.  After a lot of ugly crying and laughing, we walked home and had a lovely evening with some friends to celebrate.     Six days later we closed on our new house. Now, as I am writing this, half of our stuff is in boxes, we have wedding magazines lying all around the house, and I am trying to figure out how not to spend every waking hour either working, packing, or planning for the wedding.  Also, we are going to renovate the house completely.  Yeah, I am a little stressed out but in the best ways possible.   We took before photographs, and my plan is to walk you lovely people through our personal renovation. No-holds barred, we’ll show you what it's like to live through a renovationSpoiler alert: there is a lot of dust. We are going to take this amazing 1915 Victorian and turn it into our own. Stay tuned!  - Scott

From Jess:

It’s been a minute, y’all. Have you missed us? We’ve certainly missed you! With everything going on in Richmond and beyond, we thought it wise for us to be quiet for a while. Just as too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth, too many voices drown out what’s important. It was time to let the experts lead the conversation as the frequent updates about Covid-19 flooded our screens and speakers; it was also time to listen to, lament with, and give support to Black voices leading the conversation on necessary changes that have been a long time coming.  

So far 2020 has been eight months of one thing after another thing after another with lots of uncertainty, strategizing, and pivoting.  Thankfully, I’ve had several great clients who have kept business moving steadily and have kept me busy. Still, it has been a challenging time for me too.   As a super extrovert, the quarantine and social distancing have not always been easy for me. I’ve missed people so much! There’s only so much tv bingeing one can do, though I did my fair share in the early days of the quarantine.  Yes, somewhat ashamedly, I got sucked into Tiger King and Too Hot to Handle. I also turned to one of my favorite ways to decompress, cooking.  With more time than usual at home on my hands, I menu-planned, tried new recipes, cooked some favorites, and baked some goodies. I tried reading a few books but couldn’t really focus on them the way I usually would. I also did a few projects around the house, so stay on the lookout for those. 

Like many folks, I leaned into using technology to stay connected with family, friends, and clients via  Skype family hang time, virtual date nights,  happy hour Zoom calls, and online client consultations. Admittedly, these connections are not the same as sharing a meal together, grabbing coffee with a friend, or connecting with folks in any of the local watering holes I like to visit. Also, Skype, Zoom, and Google Meet, fatigue is real, y’all. The hardest part has been the separation from my immediate family and my fella, Ron, none of whom are local to Richmond.  

Before COVID, I typically visited my family once or twice a month as schedules allowed and spent at least one long weekend with Ron a month. When we all went under quarantine, that stopped.  It was almost three months before I was able to have a socially distanced visit with my mom, my brother, and his girlfriend and to play, sing, and talk with my sweet nephew. Then it was just over four months until Ron and I were reunited for an extra-long 4th of July weekend in Annapolis. That first hug was glorious and tearful and long, long overdue! For now, we all plan on returning to a more “normal” schedule of time together, so I’m stoked about that.

Despite the difficulties and challenges I’ve felt over the last several months, my penchant for positivity has led me to find silver linings.  There’s been more time to reflect on what’s really important, time to recharge, time to reconnect with people, time to reach out and help others who needed it and make new connections in the process, and time to listen, to learn, and to use my voice and my vote to help my neighbors and my city move forward into better days ahead for us all.  - Jess

From Karen:

Hey all! I hope everyone is doing well. It sure has been a while since we checked in. As mentioned by Scott & Jess, we really just wanted to give everyone a break from yet another not- so-informative blurb that ends with uncertainty about what lies ahead as we all navigate something we've never been through before.  We certainly want to check in though, since it’s not our style to leave you alone too long. We really just want to hear what others have been up to and share what we have been up to over the past few months. 

2020 has been such a pivotal year.  With the pandemic, murder hornets, BLM, and the upcoming election, we all probably feel as if we are really being put to the test.  I certainly do.  The best part of the year began for our family when we welcomed the arrival of our second child, Daniel, in February.  This little guy is just the sweetest and brings much lightness and many smiles to our home, along with the obvious challenges that cause me to say, "Holy crap, I have TWO kids now!  Things are insane!" Trying to navigate the pandemic while homeschooling our special needs six-year-old and work full time on top of caring for a newborn has definitely been a challenge.  Can someone please pass a magnum of wine? Remember those real estate reviews we promised were coming this summer? Yeah, I didn't touch that bit of work for at least a month, but don't worry. I'm about halfway through now, so if you didn't get yours yet, you will soon enough.   Work... ahh, sweet, sweet work. All I want to do is wear real clothes, bury myself in a big pile of work,  and chat it up with co-workers in the bullpen, at our office. I long for the day that I am able to do that again.  For now, I'll settle for phone calls while I hide in my laundry room. Yes, you read that correctly, I hide in my laundry room for professional phone calls between diaper changes, feedings, reading lessons, grocery wipe downs, showing houses, prepping for listings, and nature walks. I've also taken my hiding to another level. We bought a small RV last month, so now I can hide there when I need some quiet for a call or time just to think straight, in peace and do things like writing this blurb. Yes, I am in my jogging clothes, sitting comfortably at a combination dining table/bed, watching my husband wear our son in a carrier while trying to wrangle with our daughter in the front yard. This thing is amazing!  We even installed a proper outlet so we can plug it in while at home. It has become my office.  We can't wait to actually take it out on the road in a couple of weeks and go somewhere beautiful. My family needs that badly.   I have stayed steadily busy through all of this and am very grateful for that. Figuring out how to show houses while keeping safe was not easy in the beginning. I was essentially outsourcing the showings to Scott and Jess and other agents in our office. I just couldn't do it myself with a newborn at home with no immune system built up yet. In mid-June, though, the realization set in that we are in this thing for the long haul, so I couldn't keep outsourcing. I am showing away now with masks, gloves, and as much social distance from others as possible, not to mention showering and scrubbing down as though I am coming out of a toxic waste plant when I get home. Life with a newborn in the pandemic has definitely been an adjustment, but I am making it work.   At this point, just trying to imagine pre-pandemic life is crazy. I honestly try not to because if I think about what I'm missing for too long, it will overwhelm me. For fun, my daughter and I talk about what we'll do when things are "normal” again. Her number one priority is having her best friend come back into our house and play. After that are enjoying the indoor bouncy house, hugging her extended family members, and going to Disney World.  Aside from the obvious of relishing closeness with my friends and extended family, I cannot wait to get back to those activities of self-care that I rely on so heavily. I took up lap swimming early in my pregnancy with Daniel and am missing it terribly, almost as much as I am missing my yoga community and indoor classes. A great loss amid this pandemic was the studio that has been a sanctuary for me for the past nine years. The doors closed back in June. That hurt because I cherish that place and the people there the way as many people cherish their churches. The studio was a place of transformation for me and felt like a home away from home. We are doing Zoom classes now, and it's nice to keep seeing everyone and practicing in some way.   Now September is here, and school is about to begin. Helping with my daughter’s virtual learning in kindergarten at Holton Elementary full time on top of all my other responsibilities is going to be another adventure. I'll be sure to write all about the experience if I survive it. LOL. Seriously though, if you are my personal client, you know I will always go above and beyond and take good care of you. I love leaving the house to show potential homes to others and getting listings ready for market. I thrive on work. It's what I know. It's what I do. It keeps me sane. I hope that all of you are doing well and are making this crazy time work for you the best you can. We are thinking of you and are ready to roll when you are! - Karen

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