What I'm Seeing Now


Meet Denise - "The Cleaning Lady" (It's NOT What You Think)

Our family goes on only one vacation a year that lasts longer than 3 days.  Sometimes we go to Virginia Beach.  This year we went to the same place we always go.  It is a boutique hotel with only about 30 rooms.  Everything faces the beach.  We like the patio suites on the lower level.

For myself, I only go for three days.  That is my annual vacation.  Never more.  This year I needed my own room because my daughter brought a friend.  Unfortunately, when I arrived they had accidentally given out my room!  The only thing left was a patio suite, which they gave me at the room price!  Big bummer.  It's kind of weird, but very fun, to have my own room!

When I arrived about 8am (I left home at 0330) I asked when I could check in.  "Oh, the 'cleaning lady' is doing your room now.  You can get in when she's done."

I asked if she had a name.  "Um, (thinking) Denise, I think."

As I approached my room, Denise was coming out.

"Is this your room, sir?"

I could already smell how clean it was!  I said yes, and, "Thank you Denise."

Her very bright eyes lit right up.  "Well, you're welcome, and if you need anything I can get it for you."

Wow, an eagle, not a duck!  What's a duck?  If you ask anybody anything - at the airport, post office, department store, well, you know - what do they say?  That they have to ask somebody and they go behind a door.  What's behind that door?  A DUCK POND!  What's in the duck pond?  Ducks, none of which have an answer for you.

Denise is no duck.  I could see that in her eyes.

I moved in, found the family, and mentioned how clean my room was.  My wife said, "You should find out Denise's story."

So I grabbed Denise later.  "I hear you are going to school."

She lit up again.  "Yes.  I put my three kids through school and now it's time for me.  I'm studying Hotel Management!  I take four classes a trimester.  This time, though, I have math and really don't like math."

In two conversations I found out that - she is 52 years old, she has a B+ average, will finish in two more trimesters and is doing it all alone.  Her husband left when she was pregnant and has not been heard from since.  I told her that when she finishes she needs to walk into the Hilton or Marriott and tell them she is ready to work! 

And that it's time for her to make some money and enjoy herself.

She agreed.  She wants no help from anywhere.  She says, "I can pay for it and I will.  People say I should go here and go there for people to give me a check.  I don't want that hook.  I'm no fish."  She also told me that her boss at this hotel did not want her to go to school!  No wonder.  She is not a duck.  He likes that.   He doesn't want to lose her.  And he will!


The bald eagle is probably my favorite animal.  Eagles do not flock.  You find them one by one.  Eagles use their brains and instincts to provide for and take care of their own.  Eagles are fierce.  Eagles are independent and strong.  Eagles see far.  Eagles rely on themselves.  Eagles soar.

Denise is no "cleaning lady."  Denise is an eagle.  I like meeting eagles.  I have little patience for ducks. 

There are too many ducks in the world.

I left the eagle a nice tip.  Godspeed, Denise.




Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 27 commentsJay Markanich • July 23 2011 07:41AM


Very nice story, Jay...love to hear about wonderful people like this! Thanks for sharing....

Posted by Faith LaRosse, Serving Berks, Chester & Montgomery Counties (Springer Realty Group) over 9 years ago

Jay, There's a lot of interesting stories that are just below the radar for most of us.  Denise is the type person we could use more of.  No sense of entitlement, making her own way.  Kudos to her!

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 9 years ago

Hi Jay - Awesome story and great analogy! It's wonderful that you took the time to find out Denise's story, and found a fellow eagle. So many people around us have great stories to tell if we'll just take the time to ask and then listen.

Posted by Judy Klem, Home Staging, Senior Move Management, Fairfield/New Haven counties (Transition Stage LLC) over 9 years ago

Great and INSPIRING story since so many want to be ducks these days.  Denise will do FINE and I'll bet she remembers your sage advice!

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 9 years ago

Denise is the great American success story.  These are the people America needs.  God bless her.  She will do well.

Posted by Kenneth Cole, NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson (Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com -) over 9 years ago

Very cute! I make it a point to try to get the name of anyone I am in contact with (grocery clerk, fix-it expert, bank teller, postal carrier) and call them by name - my dad does this... he has never met a stranger and has met quite a few eagles in his long life.

Posted by Ellie Shorb, Realtor DC, MD & VA Luxury Home Expert (Compass Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Thanks Faith.  You have to look, but eagles are out there!

Bliz - she said that!  She said we are in the United States and if she is going to make it anywhere it would be here.

Judy - I took time out twice to listen to Denise!

Wallace - we had some nice talks.  I think she was appreciative of my interest, and advice.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Tell Denis...network, network....my brother began his career with a degree in hotel and restaurant management ....and networked his way across the country and now in his own business...it's about relationships much like our own business...wish her the best for us !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 9 years ago

We need many, many more Denises, Ken.  We are losing ground.

Ellie - without the name the person does not seem so much like a person!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

We left too early in the morning to say goodbye to her S&D.  But I have her address!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Good morning Jay. What a wonderful story. It wasn't what I thought, but you know I work hard at not just being what I do. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 9 years ago

Denise is an absolute gem!  Very inspiring story and outlook, there are extraordinary people all around us, thanks for sharing this Jay!

Posted by Diane McDermott, Charlotte NC Real Estate Market (Realtor®, GRI, Landis e2 Real Estate, LLC) over 9 years ago

Thank you for that Jay!  

I feel the same way about ducks and your tale reminds me of a time when I was a kid riding my bike in the woods and I came upon an eagle in the road.  The surprised eagle flew up to some low branches to watch me.  I rode up to where he was sitting and found that he had caught a DUCK and was having dinner!!

I think it is about dinner time for Denise!

Posted by Jim Allhiser, Salem, Oregon Home Inspector (Perfection Inspection, Inc.) over 9 years ago

We miss so much beauty all around us, and so many interesting people, Jay, because we don't take the time to notice... Because you did, you were enriched and because you shared your story, so were we...

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 9 years ago

Very nice story all the way around. If the boss was smart he would have a job ready for her when graduates (or before).

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) over 9 years ago

Some of my fondest vacation memories are in getting to know the wait staff or support staff at the hotels, on the cruise ships or in the resort.  People are fascinating if we will only get to know them.  denise is a great example of that!

Posted by Christine Hooks, Celebrating 25 Years in Real Estate! (Pino Agency) over 9 years ago

Jay - It's always refreshing to hear about the Denises of the world. I admire that attitude and willingness to do what it takes.  Denise is not only an eagle; she's a winner.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 9 years ago

What a heartwarming story Jay!  I just love it.  They say one of the nicest things we can do for people is to make them feel important - you sure did that with Denise.  She will go far and I'm certain she will never forget the encouragement you gave her.  

Posted by Karen Bernetti over 9 years ago

Great story, Jay. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us!

Posted by John Marion (RE/MAX Town & Country) over 9 years ago

You have a great eye (and nose) for talent.  Sounds like she will be a big success.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 9 years ago

You're welcome Sheila.  I hope I was able to convey all that I was feeling.

And you are welcome too Diane.  Sometimes we don't stop to meet those about us.  Think how much we can profit!

Valerie - I hope so.  Judging from what I saw in her eyes, she will do great.

Jim - we have a country filling up with ducks.  It is taught from elementary school.  We need those eagles badly.  I ran into an eagle once on a country road.  Sitting in my car, and he beside the road, we were looking eye to eye!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Chris - I am a good read of people I think.  It all begins with the eyes.  It's hard to convey in a photo and a post though.  But thanks!

Than - so far I don't think he's figured it out!  I sniffed around a bit - I'm good at that - and I don't think he has it understood!

I agree Chris.  And in doing that we can usually obtain better service, or even different service!

Very much John.  She even said she lives in the best country in the world for trying to get somewhere on her own.  She gets it.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Karen - well, thanks, but she gave me some tips too!  I got a lot out of our short relationship.  It gives me a measure of hope for our country's future.

You're welcome John.  It was difficult to convey all that I had in my heart regarding this interaction.

Follow the nose Debbie?  Actually it was easy to take in the entire experience when we first met at my room's door.  She was coming out as I was arriving!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

We should have had lunch, Jay. Give me a call.

Posted by Troy Pappas, Virginia Beach Home Inspector (Safe House Property Inspections) over 9 years ago

Wow, Troy!  How you been!?  Haven't heard in a while and as I was there only two days we were running around so much it didn't occur to me!  We went to Busch Gardens today.  Just got home!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Ducks fly together, but eagles soar. So many of us take the opportunity here for granted. Best wishes Denise for a wonderful future.

Posted by Anne M. Costello (Weidel Realtors) over 9 years ago

Anne - when she gets through school I expect she will take off!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

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