Victoria Isolation Diaries: Tony Joe

Locals share what they’re doing during the COVID-19 pandemic and talk about their worries, habits and hopes.

  From right to left: Tony Joe, his wife Susan Froher Joe, Thomas Joe (age 10), Aurora Joe (8) and Cooper, the family’s 12-year-old dog.

Victoria real estate agent Tony Joe is isolating at home with his family, which includes his wife, Susan Froher Joe, their children Thomas and Aurora, their nanny Rhodora, and Cooper “the wonder dog.” 

“It has turned out to be a wonderful place to isolate,” Tony says. 

What has been the biggest change for you since Covid hit?

Not being able to meet clients face to face and finding innovative and safe ways to help home buyers and sellers who remain active during this time. I also had several speaking and teaching engagements booked for spring and summer, many cancelled and some converted to online webinars. Our production numbers remain active, so we’ve been able to keep staff who have been working diligently on refining our systems and processes. My wife Susan Froher Joe has the hardest job as interim school teacher for our two kids while still maintaining her responsibilities on our team and in her own real estate coaching business.

What does your typical day look like?

The house is up around 7:30, lots of Zoom and GoTo meetings thru the day, including weekly segments for The Whole Home Show on CFAX  and the occasional visit to vacant properties for assessment. Get to hang out with the kids from 3:00ish thru dinner, then bed for them and usually back to the computer for a couple of hours of reports, follow-up emails/videos and then down around 11:00. Really not a lot of down time and definitely fewer calories burned daily.

What are you most worried about?

Strangely, our 12-year-old dog Cooper. He’s become accustomed to us being around all day so when the time comes for us to all leave the house at the same time, I have no doubt it’ll be difficult for him. Also, I worry for so many of our treasured local businesses who may not survive. I was born and raised here, I’ve witnessed the birth and growth of so many amazing operations, all of which I hope can weather this storm. Finally, I sit on several charity and community boards and am concerned about other worthwhile organizations that will struggle due to lack of funding.

How do you de-stress? 

I am relearning how to play the piano, which I haven’t played since I was around 12 (and was never good at). I rented a keyboard and am learning via Simply Piano, which has been excellent. Family evening walks with the dog are always fun.

What have you been reading/watching/listening to?  

Since I’m rarely in the car now I am behind on my regular podcasts. NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me is top of my list when I can. When I manage to slip in some TV time it’s usually vintage sci-fi like 1968’s The Prisoner or Space:1999 for really cheesy entertainment, and as a car enthusiast I’ve been watching episodes of Harry’s Garage, Doug Demuro and vintage Top Gear.

Have you rediscovered any hobbies?

There are several hobbies I’ve been wanting to get to, but haven’t found the time yet! Photography being one of them. 

Is there anything from this time you hope carries forward when this is over? 

Personal lawyer, doctor and accountant meetings online have been excellent — no traffic or parking! Virtual Live Open Houses have really started to gain traction with lots of possibilities. And for us, a planned single weekly shopping trip is much more time efficient, giving us more home time with the kids — meal planning has been a godsend. And I’ve really enjoyed having professional meetings online — in shorts.