A few weeks ago my husband and I went out of town for four days. During these four days, I left half a banana sitting in my fruit bowl on my kitchen counter. The key word is HALF. Once we were gone, rumor made its way through the fruit fly community that we were serving a free banana buffet at our house. Come one, come all!
To combat our fruit flies, my husband’s and my main strategy to get them out of our home has been to wave our hands in the air, similar to the way you’d do if you smelled something foul, and go, “These fruit flies are gross!”
And then a friend reminded me of a trick, and my world is simply so much better than it was nine hours ago…
An Interview with Envoy Mortgage Regional VP Michael Castanon
Envoy Insider: Hey Michael! How’s your day going?
Michael Castanon: It’s going well. How’s yours?
Insider: Really good. I’ve had a fruit fly problem and last night I tried one of those hacks from the internet where you put a bowl of vinegar out with saran wrap on top and poke holes in it and I’ve caught FOURTEEN fruit flies so far. So yeah, it’s a good day.
Michael (pausing for a while): So that really works, huh?
Insider: Yep. So do you have any problems I can give you advice on? I’m feeling very handy today.
Michael (without hesitation): No, I don’t have any problems today.
Insider: Okay, well if you think of any. . . So I heard you have really nice teeth.
Michael (busts out laughing): Who told you that?
Michael: They’re not really my teeth. I bought them – the Hollywood package.
Insider: Can you please tell me about the decision to buy your Hollywood package teeth?
Michael (still laughing): I bought these eight years ago before my wedding day. I knew it was going to be a big day and I had the opportunity to have a Hollywood smile, so I bought the teeth.
Insider: I totally get it, man. Before my wedding I went on this crazy dangerous acne medicine that they ended up discontinuing, all because I wanted to look hot on my wedding day. Speaking of weddings, how’d you meet your wife?
Michael: I was president and CEO of a large international mortgage lender, and she came to work there. I had trepidation, of course, about starting the conversation, but things worked out over time and we ended up dating and getting married. But as soon as we got into a relationship I asked her to leave the company.
Insider: I need more details than this, please. Like, you’re the CEO of a company and you start liking a lady that works for you. How did you navigate that?
Michael (laughing): VERY carefully! She caused a stir when she came into to the office. I was single, and some people said, “You should meet her! She’d be ideal for you.” Everybody was trying to play matchmaker.
Insider: No pun intended Michael, but I feel like I’m pulling teeth here. I want to know how you asked her out.
Michael: One day I just asked her, “Would you like to go to dinner sometime?” But you know, you get signals from people. And I was getting signals and certainly throwing signals out there myself. So by the time I asked her out, I knew that it was okay. And now we are married and have a beautiful baby boy who is six years old.
Dear co-workers who were trying to play match-maker: Well done, my friends. Well done.
Insider: Congrats! So, what’s the hardest part about being a dad?
Michael: Being the best version of yourself all the time. It’s the people that live with you who see the best of you and worst of you. So just living an example of what it means to be a good person.
Insider: What’s the best thing?
Michael: Those moments when you see that your child is doing the right thing and making the right decisions.
Insider: Hey you know that show 18 Kids and Counting?
Insider: Well, I was watching an interview with the mom this morning and they asked her what her favorite part of parenting was and she said the same thing!
Michael: Really? It’s the most humbling experience you can go through, being a parent, because you realize how inadequate you are. God is gracious though.
Insider: Well, since y’all had the same answer you could probably have 17 more kids and do a really good job at it. What were you like growing up?
Michael: Outgoing. I love people now, and I could tell I was developing that as a child. I was in drama, acting, choir –
Insider: What was drama like? Because I regret that I never joined drama in high school.
Michael: I acted in a church group that did outreach in high school. So we’d go out and put on plays for outreach purposes, and that was fun. Actually, I was recruited by some scouts who wanted me to go to Hollywood but my mom wouldn’t let me. She didn’t want me to live that life. But in a lot of ways, I’m glad I didn’t go, because I’ve had a great life. I couldn’t be richer. Well, materially I probably could be. (laughing)
Insider: Smart mom. You’d have ended up in the tabloids and it would have ruined your life. Have you ever witnessed a crime? Or better yet, been involved in a crime?
Michael (slightly appalled but trying to mask it): Your questions are interesting! Goodness, witnessed or been involved in a crime. . . One time in high school there was a fight that broke out after a basketball game, and I was near the incident, and a kid pulled out a gun and pointed it at me, in my general vicinity. That was a crime.
Insider (flabbergasted that he’s going to leave the story right here): Well WHAT HAPPENED?
Michael: I ran! That was the end of that!
Insider: What was the most unusual thing about your upbringing? Besides being scouted to go to Hollywood.
Michael: Well, I was dirt poor.
Insider: What did that look like?
Michael: We didn’t have anything. I remember going for weeks without meat – sometimes we just had to eat bread. It was a tough upbringing, but being poor isn’t unusual.
Insider: It’s unusual for someone so successful as you though. How’d you break the cycle? Because a lot of times if you grow up poor, you end up poor.
Michael: I just always had a belief that there was a purpose for my life. Money is just a byproduct of what you do and the excellence of how you do it. You don’t pursue money, but if you’re pursuing a purpose in something that’s bigger than you, the money will follow.
Insider: Hmm. . . That’s good to hear, because right now I’m trying to figure out my writing career. Thankfully I have a lot of work right now, but some of it is boring and doesn’t leave me time to do the writing I actually want to do. Last night my husband and I were talking that maybe I should quit the boring jobs so that I can work more on other stuff.
[Note: This job is not one of the boring ones. Any company that lets me ask its employees if they’ve ever been in a fist fight is a crazy fun place to work in my book.]
Michael: But you’ve got to be pragmatic, too. You’ve got to be practical. You have to have the balance between being pragmatic and having a purpose, because the minute you start losing sight of your purpose, you’re off course.
Insider: Oh, right. Envoy should have hired you to be their public speaker.
Michael: Thank you.
Insider: Like, at the beginning of every meeting, they’ll be like, “And first, a word from Michael,” and we’d all clap. I have another question. You’ve been the CEO of companies before – have you ever seen someone lose it at work?
Michael: Oh yes. One time at a company, a gentleman from the funding department lost it. Actually, he wasn’t doing a very good job and we asked him to leave. Then he started threatening everyone and telling them he was going to beat them up. People were locking their offices. They ended up calling me in to calm him down.
Insider: What’d you say to him?
Michael: I just said, “What’s going on? What’s your grievance? Why do you have everybody on edge here for? Let’s talk.” Then I told him he couldn’t be acting like that in the office. It all worked out in the end.
Insider: Michael, you sound like a standup guy. If I ever lose it at the office, I’m going to have them call you to calm me down. Thanks for answering all my questions!
Michael posing with some fab Envoy folks who would never threaten to beat everyone in the office up.
Envoy Mortgage: No need to lock doors around us!
Okay folks, you get back to work. I’m off to count my fruit flies.