Last night was the annual Gardner Group client appreciation party, and for a change it went really well.
Two years ago we had the still-talked-about Cruise from Hell on Lake Travis. The party planner rented a party boat that docked at Lakeway Marina, about a 45-minute drive for most people. To get to the boat, you had to climb down narrow, steep stairs and wend your way along boat docks. I did this with two kids in tow who were in constant danger of falling in. Once we got to the boat, things didn't improve. It was mid-August at 5:00 pm, and it was HOT. The boat could hold 100 people, and we had 110, so the captain refused to leave the dock until 10 people got off. So we sat at the marina, baking in the sun, with the captain walking around with his stupid little clicky counter muttering about how there were too many people. Finally, 10 people left and we set sail. The cruise itself was fine - we had good food and good wine. Rob, the office manager, brought tons of candy for all the kids, so they were happy. But things took a dire turn when one guest, a 17-year-old touched a piece of fish and then touched her mouth. She is deathly allergic to fish, and had an immediate reaction from just that little bit of contact. We had to turn the boat around and call for an ambulance to meet us at the dock. Once we got to the dock, the captain started screaming at everyone to get off so the paramedics could do their work. He started yelling at me until I informed him I was the wife of the guy writing the check.
I thought last year's party was great, even though it wasn't well attended. The low turnout was a result of poor scheduling, nothing more. The planner rented out this place called the Party Barn, and we had the whole spread to ourselves, including a great pool. The kids swam the whole time we were there, except for when we fished them out to eat. There was barbecue and horseshoes and ice cream and a moon bounce and little train. I had a blast, as did everyone who attended. Unfortunately, only about 50 people were there, instead of the 150 who were invited.
This year, however, the party was well planned, well attended and a huge success. It was on a river boat on Lake Austin. The weather was perfect, the food was good, the scenery was beautiful. Everyone seemed to have a really great time.
The best part for me, though, was seeing how much the Gardner Group has grown in the past ten years. When B and I got married, he and his dad were starting from scratch, doing cold calls and working the up-desk on weekends hoping for new clients. Now they have their own office and about 20 agents working for them. They were number one in Austin on one of the Austin Business Journal lists for real estate last year, when they only had about eight agents working for them. It's fun being in their office during the work day; the phones are ringing, agents are coming and going, clients are there. It's a thriving business, and I'm very proud of B and his dad for how far they've come in a relatively short time.
The only problem is that I have a wicked case of vertigo due to a stuffed up head and last night's boat ride. I still feel like I'm on the boat, and sitting here typing is making me sea sick.