Finding a suitable dwelling for a family in the greater Boston metro area is a Dunkies-coffee-fueled task replete with shoulder-knot headaches.

The 👏 market 👏 is 👏 crazy👏.

I seriously don’t know what we woulda done this past week if it hadn’t been for my friend Lydia who’s a real estate warrior diva. We did Phantom together back in the DAY.

Throughout our traffic-circled journeys from Natick to Newton, I remembered our time on the road–recalling Lydia’s electric smile singing her face off in the direction of rolling elephants and massive staircases. 

Do you have those moments?

You travel back in time and hear, “Pssst! Your friend over there with the high Cs and jokes is gonna help you and your family find a home in the Boston area in 19 years.”

I always do that. It’s nuts how our lives get connected and reconnected. 

Lydia drove me errywhere. She bought me Dunkies AND Panera. And she pulled out saved glove compartment napkins when I felt like my eyes were about to leak.

Every place we saw had a deal breaker that didn’t show up in pics. 

There’d be 37 cement death stairs to the front porch. Or a decapitation-level ceiling fan in the bedroom. Or the second bedroom smelled like the Death Eaters bought a cheese shop. 

Seriously. And that was with a mask on. 


After a series of Lemony Snickets, we landed on a townhome in a camp-like oasis that was spacious and workable. Phew and thank God. We put in an application. The other broker was in Lydia’s office. 

Lydia told the broker she’d drag him into the street if he didn’t rent the unit to the sweet family she was helping, so I was feeling good about our chances. Leverage!

I flew back to NC, and the next morning, Lydia texted us that someone had offered the landlords HIGHER RENT!

This is a thing!

We still didn’t have a place to live.

I remembered what I told you last week.

I was pissed and worried and anxious, and I said to Lydia, the only option is that we’ve been spared. There’s got to be something better.

In a matter of minutes, I get a gmail across the wire from Lydia with the subject line, “THIS!”

It was a townhome a mere half mile from the one we lost. It’d just come on the market, AND. IT. WAS. SIGNIFICANTLY. BETTER.

Lydia knew the broker. They’d done deals before. She called. She sent over our already-complete application from the last place. 

She took Melissa and me over there on her WhatsApp. It was what we needed. We said we wanna lease it!

Lydia called us back in fifteen minutes and told us we have an address to give to the movers!

We locked down the lease as the other broker was getting flooded with showing requests.

Here’s what the place looks like, Massachusetts snow and all. 🙂 

(It’s in Ashland which’ll be an hour commute into skewl on the train. 🚂

(***Another thing I learned on my journeys is that I love the city, and I’m also very much a country mouse.)

If the broker hadn’t told Lydia first thing in the morning about the place we didn’t get, she never woulda rage-searched the listings, and we’d never have found the better place.

The message for you from today’s narrative is this:

Sometimes it just works out. 

You get in there, you do your hours of research and pavement pounding, and all the options are unworkable. The doors close, and you cry a few times. You wonder if you’re ever gonna do the thing.

But then the Good Lord brings in a friend you hadn’t seen in nineteen years who blazes a trail through the Metro West jungle, makes you laugh, and buys you coffees with milk and sugar.

It happens that way sometimes. 

So the lesson today is a repeat because I need it, too. 

If you don’t get the place you put in the application for, yell the expletives you need to yell (with good abdominal support and a relaxed pharynx, of course), and tell yourself you’ve been spared. It’s the only possibility.

(***side note, Lydia did get ethically-coded language from the broker on the lost townhome that we dodged a bullet with that particular landlord. And double phew.)

That’s all for my tale of real estate and coffee today. 

REMEMBER, PLEASE! There’s only one you, and folks need to hear the story that only you can sing.


ps In another example of out-of-the-blue friends reaching out, a rock star Elon alum asked me to fill in last-minute for this week’s Songbook Academy with the Great American Songbook Foundation. Clearly my Peggy Sawyer moment.

So between wrapping plates in foam and taping boxes, I get to run downstairs to coach Gershwin tunes this week.

This was my first hired-by-one-of-my-students scenarios, and I’m here for it. Thank you to Renée LaSchiazza for thinking of me!