Monday, November 16, 2009

For Sale by Owner

Last month in the midst of baldness and other such madness, I put my house on the market. I have it in my head that selling it and moving closer to work will miraculously make life better than ever before. I don't know about that, but now there's a "For Sale" sign planted in the front yard and a virtual tour of my cluttered kitchen online.

The thing about selling a house is, you never know when someone will come to see it. The real estate office is suppose to call me and set an appointment when an agent wants to show the house, but messages are useless when the phone isn't working-- such as now. So picture it-- I have settled in for the evening, wearing my running shorts and tee-shirt under my huge, old, burgundy robe. I am going through my typical evening, which consists of Bejewelled Twist punctuated with Facebook and updating my Plurk. Jet the Mighty Dog suddenly breaks out in a frenzy of barking at the same time someone knocks on the front door. It's an agent, with a young couple in tow.

"They didn't call you?" she asks me as I scramble across the living room. I assure her it's fine, that Savannah and I can go for a soda. We quickly throw on some presentable clothes (i.e., I decide against wearing the robe outside) and shoes, grab the keys, and out the door, repeating over and over, "Take your time, no hurry-- no hurry!"

Then, once in the driveway, I realize the young couple have blocked the car in. We can't leave. I don't want to go back in and ask them to move their car; seems like bad juju to be too demanding of the people who might bring about the miracle in my life. Savannah and I make a quick decision to walk down to the local sandwich shop, two blocks away. It is dark, cold, and I forgot a hat. I've been told that one loses a lot of body heat from the head. I am here to say that is not an urban myth. Worse than this, Savannah has no jacket.

We rush to the sandwich shop, where a former (bless him) student gives me two double-chocolate cookies on the house. We sit for awhile, talking about nothing and entering numbers into Savannah's new cell phone. Finally, after a half hour, we head back. It is even colder than before. Get to our street. Look down the road. The cars are still parked in front of our house, and Jet the Mighty Dog is still in a frenzy. I mean, I know I said to take their time, but come on-- it's not that big of a house! And it is very, very, cold.

Savannah and I argue about whether or not to show up on one of our neighbor's doorsteps and beg for refuge while the young couple and the agent peruse my house (Did I pick up all the socks? All the... unmentionables?), finally heading to her friend Kateland's house a couple of blocks away in the opposite direction from the sandwich shop. The temperature is dropping, my ears have lost all feeling, and Savannah can no longer move her arms although she insists she's "fine." Of course, she wants to live in Iceland, so what's a balmy 32 degrees to her?

And, of course, Kateland isn't home. So, we take another lap around the block, Savannah in a short dress, short sleeves, and thin leggings and me with my frozen ears and hands clutching my double-chocolate cookies. This time, as we come around, I am happy to see everyone has left.

This house has never felt so warm.

Despite the absurdity of Savannah and I walking around the neighborhood in the cold with nothing but two double-chocolate cookies, this experience was still better than the last showing. That one took place about two weeks ago. I distinctly remember it because for that visit there was a broken-down water heater sitting in the front yard. I had awoken to a flooded laundry room the day before and had spent both girls' inheritance replacing it (but what a selling point-- that new tank is absolutely gorgeous). The old one had not been hauled off, so of course someone wants to see the house. I can only imagine their reaction as they pulled up-- the yard is covered with fall leaves that haven't been raked and bagged, there's a crazy dog throwing himself against the fence, and there's a water heater in the front yard. The only thing that could complete the picture is the dueling banjos from Deliverance playing in the background.

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