November? What November … ?

Greetings long, lost friends!

Here I sit in my new home office, Christmas Tree up, outside lights a-glow, and a frigid 73 degrees ushering in the season to be jolly. To be fair, today dawned very overcast and rainy (after weeks of drought).

November literally took away the time spent on my computer in the pursuit of this series of epistles. Here’s how it happened …

Since I last entered these pages dealing with hurricane Mathew, there has been a new category in my life – it is REALTOR!

We have often talked about how I might help Aija in her burgeoning real estate business which she has steadily grown for the past ten years. I have occasionally accompanied her on missions to erect signs and other ministerial (that’s real estate terminology!) designed to be helpful. However, without a real estate license, I was not able to take on any significant tasks. Sooooo …

In mid-October, I enrolled in an online class dedicated to providing me with the necessary brain material to successfully pass the final exam for the class, as well as be prepared to pass the state board exam.  Now remember, for the past 30 years or so, I have been GIVING exams, not taking them! The difference was illuminating for me. After finding the first few lessons of the class somewhat daunting, my OCD kicked in and I devised a daily schedule where I would work the class material in several different ways.

I was chained to my computer.

The first of November arrived and I drove to the Valdosta Board of Realtors office to take my final exam. All by myself in a large room with two pencils, a calculator, and a question/answer sheet – I was surprisingly nervous! This was the qualifying exam to become eligible for the state board. I needed 75% correct answers to move on. When finished, I checked my answers and predicted that I would pass – but barely. I waited for the test to be graded and, to my amazement, I received a 96%! Now, brimming with new confidence, I began preparation for the state board exam which included national and state topics – 159 to be exact. I needed to get 109 correct to get my license.

Once again, I created a work calendar to prepare for the exam. I also invested in two practice exam modules to try to be as thorough as possible. Diligent study ensued!

In the afternoon of November 14th, buoyed by a good final exam grade and many hours of study, I set off for Macon, GA – the site of the state realtor board exam in my region. We had decided that I would stay in a hotel the night before the exam and take the 9:00 am offering which would allow me (if I passed!) to actually receive my license before returning home. One-stop shopping, no waiting!

I had assembled all my credentials before departure and, after a good night’s sleep mixed in with a little review, I drove to the testing location. No cell phones were even allowed in the building! Upon entering, I was given a lockable black bag and instructed to put everything in it including watch, keys, wallet, etc. Before entering the testing room, I had to pull out my pockets to demonstrate that I was free of any means of cheating. The bag was locked and I took it with me into the room. I was allowed my approved calculator, two pencils, and provided ONE piece of scratch paper for notes and calculations. I was seated in an individual “cubby,” much like in a university library. It had a computer with a mouse. This is where I would take the test. The room was monitored via video camera. There was a rest room available, but rest room time counted as part of your test time limit which was four hours. To begin the test, you took a selfie which then appeared permanently in the upper right corner of the monitor (creepy to take an exam with yourself looking on!).

So, still confident, I pushed the button to begin the exam.

About three or four questions into the test, I had some serious doubts. This was not the material I had studied. Stifling panic, I began to wonder what was going on! Then I had it – I had been given the wrong exam. Surely this was a mistake! I looked ahead at a few questions. No, this seemed to be a test about the duties and responsibilities of a real estate salesperson. My confidence was gone! I plunged into the abyss.

I finished the 159th question with one hour to go in the time limit. I was positive I had failed badly. I decided to use my final hour to review each question to ascertain whether I wanted to make any changes. I did make a few, but not many.

Filled with dread and remorse, I picked up my locked bag, calculator, pencils, and piece of scrap paper, and left the room. The test facilitator, had me come sit in front of her desk while she was typing and printing at her workstation. Making a feeble attempt at small talk, I said, “Wow! Those questions were very different from my final exam and my study material.” She replied, “Yes, they can be very tricky, but, you must be a good guesser because you passed!” Time stopped, the angelic choir sang a C major chord, and a spotlight filled the desk area! I was a realtor!

She processed my credentials and printed my license. I called home, shared the good news and headed back for the two hour drive to Valdosta.

About 39 miles from home, on the outskirts of a small town called Adel, I had a flat tire! It was November 15. So you can see how the first half of the missing month transpired. Next post will pick up the excitement from there!

I do hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and, like me, are looking forward to a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I’ll be back soon …   Cheers!  -Jim

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