Saturday, August 18, 2012

Where you been, Miss Tasha?

I know my legions of fans, aka the twenties of readers I have, have all been silently seething wondering where the expected tales of one debacle or another are. Where are the RAGBRAI chronicles, whereupon this year was EVEN HOTTER than last year and 4 people died just from the heat? Where’s the synopsis of the hellaciously hilly Dairyland Dare? Where is the impending sense of doom from hearing about Miss Tasha’s soon-to-be trek to Oregon for some insanely crazy whitewater kayaking?

Well. Now that you ask the question, I will answer. This is where I’ve been. In other words, getting my home of 12 years, which had degenerated into one pile of crap after another, ready to put on the market.

This was not easy.

Did I mention the piles of crap? The stacks of papers, the magazines, the tchotchkes, the random shit that eventually went into boxes labeled “RS,” aka Random Shit?

Yeah. It was ugly.

But that’s where I’ve been, getting my damn house that I never want to see again but that I don’t want to move from because it looks so pretty now ready to sell. And because I like to impart bits of wisdom where I can, here are some observations or things I’ve learned along the way:

  • You know you’re getting a little batty with the whole “staging”: concept when you find yourself staging your dog’s toybox. Yes, I was pulling some things out, arranging others just so, so that it would look appropriately sophisticated. This is batshit crazy.

  • These days you have to make your house look like no one lives there – or in my case, as if the place belongs to a jaunty jet-setting couple who went to (ahem) Wharton and have so many exciting hobbies (triathlon/Ironman, hanging out in places like Tibet, heirloom gardening) that they don’t need furniture or other worldly possessions because they’re never home.

  • It pays to have the best friends in the world. Because there I was, feeling quite like the Little Red Hen, as I was slogging through another pile of crap and wondering how I’d get everything done, when who should come to save the day? Yes, SuperCori! Who came over with her Bagsters and her cleaning supplies and her iron will, and while I looked the other way got my kitchen cleaner than it’s EVER been, even when I first moved in. Not to mention the hall closet and part of the basement. I remain in awe, and forever grateful.

  • That is some of the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life. It is exhausting and back-breaking. Trust me on this, NEVER let your house descend into such a state  - it will be better for all involved. The only time I was a bit sad when I was cleaning was when I got to one of the rooms in the basement, that used to be my seedling room, where I’d pot up plants and the like. I had decorated it and made it homey, and then kept shuffling more crap into there until it just descended into squalor. It is a slippery slope between having too much junk that you won’t get rid of, and Hoarders.
  • My place looks fake, a cross between Pottery Barn and odd staging. Between the umbrella from Burma, the rice paddy hat from Vietnam, the Tibetan prayer wheels, the snazzy tri bike, the heirloom tomato stuff everywhere – it looks like someone is trying WAY too hard.

  • Most of my Facebook updates over the last 2 months have been in some way related to the house prep/cleaning. This has probably kept me somewhat sane, as I’ve given away, junked, packed, or freecycled 90% of what I own. At one point I sent out a plea to my friends: “Don’t ever let me buy ANYTHING ever again! Ever! Again!” Okay, maybe I need to revisit that “sane” concept.

  • Speaking of, I have now become somewhat of a virulent anti-Hoarder. I went out to dinner the other night with Stephanie, and as we were leaving, I saw the wrapped mints and contemplated, then recoiled. “NO, no mints, then they’ll just stay in my pocket and poof, next thing you know, a basement full of crap.” I did the same thing to the Streetwise guy after I gave him a buck and he asked me if I wanted a paper. “NO! NO PAPERS!” Unleashing my inner Joan Crawford there.
  • I am resentful at having to get rid of some furniture to make the place look more “open” and “spacious” – because HRH The Kone is NOT pleased. He has to squish himself into chairs and on the wee couch, and this is just not comfums for him. So please, someone buy my place quickly so that I can make my first planned purchase: a new couch for The Kone.

And speaking of buying, my listing went live on Friday afternoon at around 3PM. I fully expected that, given the beauty and wonder of my place now (go ahead, take a look at the link, see what I mean), it would sell within, ech, 3-4 hours. Tops. Sight unseen. People would be clogging up Henry’s voicemail trying to be the first ones to see the place and immediately put down a bid. I had visions of having one of the quickest sales in recent history – especially given that a house down the block from me went on the market last week and was under contract within 6 days. And while that place looks nice from the outside, inside it’s kind of dumpy based on the pictures – ugly carpeting, grandparent furniture, lace doilies, etc.

To say I had high hopes was not an understatement.

Behold, Day One.

Saturday morning

There are 2 showings today, one apparently to people who had been interested in the house down the street, so I get up at 6AM to head to the farmers’ market to get fresh flowers, to freshen up the place and all that garbage.  It’s a pain, but it’ll be worth it when my place sells in a day, whee!

As I’m walking around taking one last look, I spy the toilet paper roll, and think hmm, a bit of origami perhaps? I even touch the end, wondering if I could whip something up quickly. We then leave the house quickly, because clearly, this way madness lies, so we head out to Huntley, to be out of the way and because I’m leaving on my whitewater kayaking trip tomorrow. (As an aside, as I have noted to friends: if I drown on this damn trip after ALL the work I’ve put into the house over the last 2 months, I will be PISSED OFF!)

A couple of hours later, I get a call from Henry, my realtor.

Henry: “So the first couple was completely not interested and….”

WHAT??? What? How dare they?? Who do they think they are? I am completely outraged! No really, I am. How can they not love my beautiful gorgeous shiny huge house? Yet they were interested in the place down the street which is a total DUMP, one step up from a slum! Slumlords trying to pawn off a decrepit old dump on unsuspecting people! Yet this couple scoffs at MY gorgeous abode. Henry is still yammering on , something about how they felt it needed more “updating” (bah! Yuppie scum!), and I go to a happy place in my head, a land of bike rides on windless days and food on a stick.

Henry: “….and so Tash……Tasha? Are you still there?
Me: “Oh yeah, of course. You were saying something about these people with no taste whatsoever who are both blind?”
Henry: “Umm, yeah…..and then the other couple asked the right questions, like how quickly you’re looking to sell and so on, so we’ll see about that.”

We’ll see? What happened to my instantaneous offer, of people pulling out checkbooks and elbowing each other out of the way to put in a bid?

This is too upsetting to deal with. Even though at that point it's almost noon and I usually only go riding in the wee hours of the morning, an exception must be made. I head out for a fast ride, and regain some semblance of sanity, albeit still infused with outrage. WTH!

I will report back.

1 comment:

Molly said...

The big question is...where are you going to move??? :-)