Merlino & Gonzalez - August 2021

August 2021




We Helped a Couple Find Their New Jersey Dream Home MEET OUR CLIENTS, UDHISHTRA AND PREMACHANDRAN!

There are many reasons to move from New York to New Jersey, but downsizing for retirement and trading the city bustle for a quieter life are two big ones. That’s exactly what drew our clients, Udhishtra and Premachandran, to sell their home in Staten Island and move to New Jersey this spring. John and I worked together to help the couple find their dream “pre-retirement” home and truly enjoyed getting to know them. To give you a window into the moving process, we invited Udhishtra and Premachandran to share their story. We first met Ken through our Realtor when we started house hunting in New Jersey. The two of us wanted to downsize and find a “pre- retirement” home with plenty of room and convenient amenities we could take advantage of as we got older. It was also important to us that there would be space for a home office, since Premachandran works from home when necessary. The search was tougher than we expected, but Ken and John really helped!

Unfortunately, we had an issue with the offer. We needed some emergency help, so we called Ken even though it was a Sunday. We were amazed and impressed when he picked up the phone! Not only did he answer, but he also took the time to talk to John and our agent that same day to get us the help we needed.

Both of us work in high-stress industries (I work in health care and Premachandran owns a small taxi business), so we’ve dealt with a lot of lawyers over the years, but as soon as we connected with Ken we could tell there was something special about Merlino & Gonzalez. We felt comfortable talking with Ken right away. After that call, we put in an offer on a property that we thought would be perfect for us in Cranbury, New Jersey.

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Most colleges are designed with the traditional, 20-something college student in mind, which may not appeal or be a great fit for adults in their 50s, 60s, and beyond. But many universities are starting to cater to an older crowd with lifelong learning programs. One example is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Washington (UW). UW’s program offers a full course schedule on subjects in the arts, sciences, and current events taught by qualified faculty and provided at an affordable rate. There are over 100 such programs at universities across the U.S. Have a longtime dream to write children’s books? UC San Diego Extension has a certificate program for that! If you’re looking to dive into a single subject or perhaps you’d like to continue working in retirement or shift gears later in your career, certificate programs are a great option. No previous education is required. Most certificate programs are open to all, typically run for less than a year, and easily accommodate part-time learners. Celebrate your years of hard-earned wisdom but commit to keeping your brain young by going back to school this fall.

While you may be happy for the years of wisdom you’ve gained since being in your 20s and 30s, you might be missing the mental sharpness you once had. Why not have the best of both worlds? Scientists have found that the human brain changes with age — neurons fire more slowly, for example, and short-term memory recall can be more challenging — but that we often underestimate our capacity to continue learning as we grow older. Negative stereotypes about aging can reinforce these beliefs. However, new research is showing that older adults who’ve committed to immersive study of a new subject show brain function akin to someone 30 years younger. This goes beyond the tired advice to do a crossword puzzle or work a sudoku puzzle every day. The participants in this research study were learning entirely new-to-them subjects, like how to speak a foreign language, use a new piece of technology, or make art. Convinced of the benefits but not sure where to turn to learn? Try these two sources.


The Strange Battle of Castle Itter


and Gestapo troops roaming the woods that surrounded the castle. So, the castle handyman and cook asked for help.

The battlefields of World War II were often fought by complex sets of alliances between countries and factions, the likes of which few wars before or since have ever seen. Few battles proved that more than the Battle of Castle Itter. In the grand scheme of WWII, Castle Itter was no Omaha Beach. During the Nazi occupation, the Third Reich converted this medieval Austrian castle into a prison for important French prisoners who could possibly be used as bargaining chips, and they ran this as a subunit of the Dachau Concentration Camp which sat about 90 miles away. All of that said, if allied forces captured this, it would not represent any sort of decisive victory. Instead, what made the happenings of May 5, 1945, so remarkable is that the Battle of Castle Itter is the only WWII battle where German and American soldiers fought on the same side. In the waning days of the war, the German guards of Castle Itter abandoned their posts, leaving control of the prison to the prisoners. However, they were still prevented from escaping by units of Waffen SS

The cook encountered Major Josef Gangl, a Wehrmacht officer, who, after becoming disillusioned with Nazism, had decided to

help the Austrian resistance instead. Gangl only had about 20 other Wehrmacht troops that were still loyal to him. So, in order to free Castle Itter from the SS, he hoisted a white flag when he made contact with Captain Jack C. Lee Jr., a U.S. tank commander. Together, they made their way to Castle Itter and prepared to withstand a siege and free the prisoners.

The battle was short and resulted in only one casualty — Josef Gangl was killed by a sniper. It ended when a small rescue group dispatched by Major John T. Kramers, with whom the castle handyman had made contact, arrived with a column of tanks, and scattered the SS troops. The prisoners were freed, Lee was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, and Josef Gangl, for his service to the Austrian resistance, has a street named after him in a nearby town that still remains to this day.


Is Mom or Dad Ready for ‘The Talk’?

Signs Your Aging Parent May Need Memory Care

Changes in personality are also signs of memory troubles. When a person is struggling with memory, it can impact their personality, making them anxious, fearful, and defensive. Be on the lookout for these personality changes with your elderly parent, as it could be a sign that memory struggles are advancing. Forgetfulness is also, of course, a sign that it may be time for your parent to be moved to a memory care facility. As previously mentioned, we all forget things from time to time, but when there are repeated and significant lapses in memory, then this is a red flag. Forgetfulness at heightened levels can be dangerous. Consider, for instance, a parent who forgets to take medication or forgets to take it property. This jeopardizes the parent’s health, safety, and well-being. Memory care can help keep your parent safe and on track with health demands when memory problems reach this level, but it isn’t an easy talk to have.

It can be a truly difficult thing to watch an elderly parent struggle with memory issues. Unfortunately, things can advance to the point where it is actually safer for your parent to enter into a memory care facility. If you have concerns about when is the right time for your parent to have memory care, there are some things that may signal they are ready for the transition. One sign is changes in cleanliness and hygiene practices. How is their living space being maintained? Is it cluttered? Is it dirty? There may even be a noticeable change in their own personal hygiene. Have they been bathing regularly? Do they look unkempt? These are all signs that your parent may be struggling to care for themself — a warning that could be related to memory loss. Another scary behavior is wandering. Has your parent wandered off and lost track of where they’re going or where they are? Wandering off can be very dangerous and can also be a major warning sign of significant memory struggles.

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We didn’t end up getting the Cranbury house (even though we offered $25,000 over the asking price) and were really disappointed. But Ken and John encouraged us to stay positive and told us not to worry. Two months later, we found another beautiful home and fell in love with it! It was a small, single-story townhouse in a convenient location. Plus, because of the community housing arrangement, lawn care and snow removal were already taken care of. We put in an offer, and this time, the seller chose us! Ken and John were amazing to work with from day one. They were very professional and kind, and their staff was excellent. Like we said, we’ve worked with many lawyers, and this firm is one of the few that didn’t make excuses, was always up to date, and got back to us on emails right away. If you’re considering buying or selling a home in New York or New Jersey, we would definitely recommend Ken and John. After they started working with us, they took all of the burden and worry of the downsizing transition off our shoulders. Thanks to them (and especially Ken), we found our dream townhouse. We were humbled and honored that they represented us in such a professional manner, and as long as we live we’ll remember them as one-of-a-kind people!

Inspired by

Dinner is ready in 30 minutes with this easy, seasonal August sausage and vegetable bake.


• 3 tbsp olive oil • 2 cloves garlic, grated

• 4 sausage links of your choice • 1 lb green beans • 1 red bell pepper, diced • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced

• 1 tbsp thyme • 1 tsp oregano

• 1 tsp basil • 1 tsp salt • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

• 1 red onion, diced • 1 zucchini, diced • 1 yellow summer squash, diced DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat your grill to medium heat or your oven to 425 F. 2. In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients and mix well. Divide into four equal portions. 3. Prepare four 16-inch pieces of foil and place a portion in the middle of each section. Wrap each foil piece tightly and avoid holes. 4. Grill each foil packet for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. You can also bake each packet for 20 minutes at 425 F.

–Udhishtra and Premachandran



394 Manor Road Staten Island, NY 10314



718-698-2200 |


How We Helped a Couple Find Their New Jersey Dream Home Page 1 Going Back to School Later in Life The Strange Battle of Castle Itter Page 2

Signs Your Aging Parent May Need Memory Care Easy Foil Griled Sausage and Vegetables Page 3

Meet Odin, the Fireproof Dog Page 4


their charges, and Odin lived up to his breed.

In October 2017, California was in flames. One of those blazes was the Tubbs Fire, which charred its way through 36,800 miles of forests and vineyards in both Napa and Sonoma County. More than 5,600 buildings were destroyed, and 22 people were killed. But when the flames finally died, a four-legged hero emerged from the ashes: Odin, the Great Pyrenees dog. Odin belonged to Ariel and Roland Hendel, two farmers in Sonoma County. When the Tubbs Fire threatened to char their home, they packed up as many of their animals and precious items as they could. Unfortunately, their flock of goats wouldn’t fit in the getaway vehicle — and their goat-herding dog, Odin, refused to abandon them. Great Pyrenees are prized livestock guardian dogs that will do anything to protect

“I said, ‘Okay, Odin, take care of the goats. You’ll be fine,’” Roland Hendel told ABC News.

Both Hendels were sure they were seeing their dog for the last time. Their hearts sank even further when they heard their home had burned down completely. But on a trip back to examine the ashes, something amazing happened. “In the distance, I saw Odin’s tail,” Roland told ABC. “Sure enough, there was Odin coming at the head of all his goats.” Not only did Odin survive the fire and run right up to the Hendels for belly rubs, but he also kept every single one of his goats safe! A few wild deer even joined the goats, and he

shepherded them through unscathed. The incredible story made the news, and Odin became a local legend. Unfortunately, even legends don’t live forever. This April, Odin passed away after a long life of tail-wagging, treat-eating, and goat-saving. In his honor, Great Pyrenees Rescue of Missouri gifted the Hendels two new Great Pyrenees pups: Buddy and Snowflake. They’re following in Odin’s pawsteps, protecting the goats he loved so much. 4

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