Episode 1: It’s not an adventure yet.
Adventures are what you call it when the experience is over and you’re resting comfortably at home with a cold drink by a roaring fire. It’s not an adventure yet. Between getting our house ready for sale, selling it and now hunting for a new house, I feel like I’ve dropped off the planet into a bizarre parallel world that eats all of my non-work time with lunacy and bafflement, occasionally laced with nausea inducing stress. Between email and texts I’m drowning in messages about house madness while I scurry around trying to understand WTF is happening in this new dimension. I keep expecting the red queen to appear and screech ‘Off with her head”. I’ve been watching our realtor, Toni, since we started this journey and I’m pretty sure she’s our White Rabbit. We follow her from house to house as she checks her pocket watch (cleverly disguised as a cell phone) occasionally looking startled and saying we’re late to view the next house.
Several months ago, we had Toni visit and give us a list of all the things we could do to make our house more likely to sell. Over the next 3 months we worked through all of them. Box up all our books and bookcases and move them to the garage. Repaint 4 rooms. Touch up all the trim. Finish the flooring in 2 rooms. You get the idea. For 3 months its what we spent every spare minute on. The …exciting… part of the journey didn’t start until our realtor called us a month earlier than we’d planned and and told us that our neighborhood had a bubble that was increasing house prices. If we could have our house on the market in the next week, we could take advantage of it. In a mad scramble, we (mostly Kris) got everything finished and beautified by Friday then packed up the dogs and evacuated the house for a weekend so realtors could show the house any time over the next three days.
Over the next week, 60+ people walked through our house and left a stack of realtor cards 2 inches high. Monday through the following Sunday, with less than an hour notice, we had to have the house spotless, then evacuate until the realtors were done showing their clients around. Some very kind friends of ours housed our dogs for the entire week because the dogs couldn’t be home while people looked at the house. Our cats, however, could be home and were the star attraction according to feedback our realtor got.
Friday afternoon Toni asked if I’d be willing to spend an hour on Sunday with a potential buyer answering her questions. Yeah, that’s as weird as it sounds. The prospective buyer seemed really interested and maybe she was just a bit eccentric but she really wanted to meet the sellers and talk about the house. After some hesitation, I agreed.
Sunday afternoon, an elderly lady with a written checklist and a silent male companion appeared on my door step. She sent him to look around the house while she sat at my kitchen table and worked through her list. I’m not sure how or even if the man was related to her because the only words I heard him say were ‘Hi kitty’ as he reached out to pet our cat Blix and ‘Yep’. The single ‘Yep’ was after he’d looked at the plumbing, furnace, electrical and garage and she asked if everything looked good. Then he left. She stayed for another 45 minutes asking questions. It was less weird than I thought – she’s got a health condition and she wanted to know ALL the things you need to know about your house. Exact dimensions of rooms (she brought a tape measure and the exact size of her bed), where all the plugins are, what are all the trees and plants in the yard. It was all normal stuff and she was planning ahead.
Sunday night we had 3 offers on our house and it had been on the market 9 days. .
With an accepted offer, the clock started ticking in our heads for finding a new house. We’ve done this before so this time should be easier. Not easy, but easier. Fewer shocks to the system anyway because we know what to expect.
Wow, we were wrong about that. I think Portland stopped taking her meds because her housing market is schizophrenic. Or maybe just psychotic. Yes, I know what those words mean, and no, I’m not using them inappropriately.
Next episode: Our intrepid hunters visit the Portland housing discard bin searching for a diamond in the rough. Wherein ‘Keep Portland Weird’ derives new depths of meaning.