Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Real Estate Gauntlet

Our house is for sale. Unfortunately for us, it isn't a great time to sell a house. Even so, our house is "on the market." If you've ever sold a house, you know the drill; the house has to be magazine photo shoot perfect all the time. Do you know how impossible that is with six children?

Because not many people are buying homes right now, we haven't had too many people looking. On average, about once a week a realtor calls about bringing someone through. Well, that leaves at least six days where people AREN'T walking through. That means that we have at least six days of being lax about cleaning the house and a few hours of mad, frantic cleaning to get it ready to be looked at. It also means everytime the phone rings, I hold my breath until the voice on the other line says something besides, "Hello, my name is Lilly with Big House Realty Co. I have a client that wants to look at your house."

When the voice on the other line says anything about realty companies or house showings, we go into alert. As soon as I find out the deadline, we start the drill. Initially, we're intent but not hurried. As time goes by, though, we get more and more frantic until at last, with only minutes to spare, I'm barking out orders:

"Put all that stuff in that laundry basket!
"Wait, where is the basket? OH NO! It's full? Well, get another basket.

"Take that stuff to the car. No, the other car. It won't fit in that car. Take it to the other car.

"No, you can't hide anything in the shower, they can see the shower. No, don't put it in the oven, either. Someone will look in the oven. Yes, you can hide those piles in the dryer; we're not selling the dryer!

Don't forget to light the candle. And the other candle. Did anyone shut the upstairs window?"

Then, we run to the car and drive away, sometimes with laundry baskets in hand and sometimes with bags because we've run out of baskets. The realtor and client(s) walk through the house and leave. We've spent hours getting ready so they can look at our house for a few minutes. Then, we have to undo all the "cleaning" we've just done and put everything away. Of course, not everything gets put away. Then someone is saying, "Mom, do you know where my maggot collection is?" My reply, "Of course, dear. Check the back of the car. Oh no. Not that car. The other car. It should be in the third basket on the left, under the power bill and the letter from the attorney about Aunt Mable's will."

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