The Monster Beneath: What You’ll Learn in “The Asheville Experiment”

contamination at CTS--visual graphHow many of you (honestly, now) know what a Superfund site is? And how many of you know that Rhode Island has 12 designated sites (the “Dirty Dozen.”) But 200 more are named as “toxic sites.”

Yep, that’s the big, scary elephant in the room, in all real estate transactions…..The one that most would-be buyers of property do not even know about. Buyers confront even more risk if they buy out-of-state or in regions of even their own state which which they’re unfamiliar.

Picture above shows a a toxic underground plume heading towards residential area, right out of Asheville. The EPA has done testing that shows high levels of TCE, a substance known to cause cancer. People in the area most at risk? Those whose water is from wells. But the air shows sign of vapor toxicity, too.

The nearby,gated community of $700,000 homes suffer from what’s now general knowledge. Why? They’re right next door to that Superfund site.

Will it affect their ability to sell? You betcha, for people like me do know about Superfund sites. And I am most concerned with the health of my family, friends, and myself, as well as my investment.

In my book, “The Asheville Experiment,” I show how Paul and I could have been hapless victims like those who lost life savings, because they didn’t realize. It happens all the time–across the nation.

So, get ready. I’ll give you lots of useful tips from my years as highly-successful realtor. My book, “The Asheville Experiment,” will be the best bang for your buck–I guarantee it.

Sign on to get advance notice for a copy and get one for friends/relatives who will move. You couldn’t give them a better book to protect them in what is arguably their biggest investment–their home.

And pls., consider coming to my TedTalk at Salve Regina University, on March 25th. I post the link to facilitate you in getting tickets.

http://tedxsalveregina.salvereginauniversity.com/

 

My TedTalk Info (to be held at beautiful Salve Regina University)

Here it is–the information several of you have asked about, and thank you for your colleen kelly mellor cropped face sidewaysinterest. Along top row of the site, you’ll see “Purchase Tickets” and also a “Speakers” category, too. By the way, some were confused at the phrase ‘by invitation only’ on some websites. Let me be clear:  All are invited, provided they buy a ticket. The link is as follows.

http://tedxsalveregina.salvereginauniversity.com/

Full Blown War

From “The Asheville Experiment” asheville skyline

I’d put up this neurosurgeon’s arrogance for weeks, and I was simply having no more of it. Friends told me “Oh, just let him go…They’re all like that” (neurosurgeons, that is). In other words, it was sort of expected that with their level of skill, we in the public were supposed to tolerate such behavior, as if it were a necessary corollary.

But I’d had it. He’d insulted me (suggesting I might need valium when I reacted to Paul’s crazy behavior after his heart and lungs shut down,) and he tried to discharge Paul– as if nothing were wrong with him. That’s when I lowered the boom.

I told him:  “This man is NOTHING like the man I came in with!” And he’s not leaving until he’s had a psych-neuro evaluation and an EEG.”

You see, I knew the dread result of someone merely taking home a seriously-compromised patient from the hospital. I watched our neighbor deal with her wheelchair-bound, almost comatose husband for years. She did the exhaustive work, almost alone, for years–all because she took him home.

But our medical crisis story and how I handled it, successfully, is just one of the items I share so any consumer can use.

That…and much more (laugh-out-loud funny episodes, useful information if you’re a buyer or seller of any home, life in a new region of the country)…is coming in  “The Asheville Experiment” (soon to be published.)

 

I’m Clearly Intrigued with Neighbors….(this is why)

37-glen-aveThey lived across the street in a modest home to which they added an entire third floor. “A playroom,” the wife added, “some place where the kids could enjoy a train set.” I thought it very extravagant.

But that’s the way they were in recent years. As cross-the-street neighbors, we had a window on their newly-opulent world. There was the time he bought all those stretch limos and parked them all over, until we, the neighbors, complained. One couldn’t run a business out of his home:  our neighborhood was zoned “residential.”

She showed me her beautiful 3-carat turquoise ring one day, as they readied to take the kids on their third visit to Disneyworld.

There was the beach house, a huge, weather-shingled, sprawling Victorian poised atop a high point of beach in East Matunuck, Rhode Island. They bought that, too. A house clearly worth a fortune.

And they were building their dream home, in a tony neighborhood of nearby upscale East Greenwich. A stone tower was its signature architectural trait.

All this on his postal worker’s salary and her 10-hour a week job as psychiatric nurse to a prominent psychiatrist.

She had the audacity one day to say this to me:  “You can do all this, too, if you go back to school and become a psychiatric nurse (I was a mere teacher.) The pay is good.”

Yes… well… so is the pay for embezzlement.

That’s what we’d all discover. Their penchant for the good life clouded someone’s judgment, for he’d been writing big checks to himself, at the Post Office, where he was in charge of accounting.

Despite the fact he’d been doing this for years, his crime was discovered far later than the initial thefts, meaning he’d only be held responsible for $1.9 million, instead of the $3.5 million and more they suspected. The rest was irretrievable because of the statute of limitations.

He’d go to prison for 3-4 years.

The towered house? It’s another’s property now.

The couple were divorced shortly into its building and she got it in the divorce settlement instituted somewhere in its construction.

But during the divorce hearing, the psychiatric nurse listed on her “needed assets” some extravagant figure for clothing allotment…an amount inappropriate to her financial situation in life….something like $7,000 a month. And she claimed a need for $4000 a month for child support.

Both figures were unsustainable on his income of $49,000 and her $8500 part-time work.

The judge questioned it.

And the house of cards began to unravel.

(Photo above is of the Catallozzi home, 63 Glen Ave., in Cranston. We were #40, right across the street.) And here’s a link about this true story from the New York Times. The Catallozzi crime figures in the annals as the biggest embezzlement ever, of the United States Postal Service.

From “In the Shadow of Princes,” a story of my life, by Colleen Kelly Mellor….

The Year I Broke with Tradition

coral-reefIt was soon-to-be Christmas and all I knew was:  I couldn’t be home for the holidays. Why? Too much bad had happened. We were coming off two years of horror with my husband’s terminal disease.  He died on January 1st, of that year; we all limped along, in recovery, for 12 months; and now, the holidays were fast upon us.

Now, don’t ever think “terminal” just refers to the patient. When that verdict comes down, the whole family suffers. You never get away from it. Each moment is tinged with “Will this be the last time for this?” At other times, you just want the “awful” to end.

It’s soul-crushing.

So, because I didn’t want to be around the wassail bowl answering Uncle Mattie’s ever-exasperating questions (“What will you do with the house?” hardly hiding his sexist expectation that no woman could maintain all of this alone,) I determined to take my girls and me to Cozumel.

Yep, Mexico would have us.  With that, I booked a flight; minimally-packed; got us in a limo to Boston and flew out.

When I say ‘minimally-packed,’ I mean it. I was so bent on my mission that I allowed my 8 year old to pack her own suitcase (crazy?) meaning she took what she thought important:  When I opened her suitcase in Cozumel, her giant history textbook  popped out—a book half her size. She neglected to bring seasonally-adjusted clothes, like shorts and tops.  After all, we were in winter zone at home and she thought everyone was. As I said, she was only 8.

How’d our trip turn out? It was one of the most memorable and beautiful ever. We snorkeled—the three of us—off the rocky coast of the island, mesmerized by the gorgeous coral, mango yellow, and neon green fish, darting about.

We bought a Mexican crèche on that trip and hand-carried it home (that’s it in the photo in a previous post.) We spent New Year’s Eve with a bunch of rowdy revelers, blowing horns wildly, and dancing about.

That trip was the year we broke with tradition…the day we three went on our own. It would be the precursor of longer trips to come as we became world travelers.

On that trip, I realized that breaking with tradition can be a far better route– one necessary in the growth process.

Maybe some of you reading this need to break with tradition for your own sake.

Wherever you are in the process, I wish you peace and a good year in 2017.

Authors and Payback

To borrow a well-known phrase from best-selling author, Anne Lamott, in Bird by Bird: ‘If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.’ —

My own version:  “You never want to piss off a writer, for you never know when pay-back will come.”