Friday, April 13, 2007

Not as neat as I think I am

Turns out, having your condo on the market isn't all that fun. I mean, all right, one one hand, it can be quite exciting. QUITE. We have had three official offers, and with each I flew into a fit of glee and immediately began to plan which weekend we'd move into our new home (which, no, we have not purchased, nor even found yet), how soon I'd be able to lay in my hammock and sip homemade sangria during my very own backyard barbecue.

But for one reason or another, those offers fell through, which made me very mad at people I have never met. "Perfect stranger," I wondered, "How on god's green earth do you not want to give us $399K for this incredibly cool one-bedroom condo? Did you not gaze upon its beauty? Did you not understand its fabulousness? DID YOU NOT SEE THE BAR DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET?!? C'MON!!!!"

But this isn't even the worst part. The worst part is living with staging. "Staging" is one of many new words I have learned during this real-estate adventure, and like lots of those words, "staging" now scares the hell out of me. Here's how it began: To prepare to go on the market, we had to cart out a bunch of our personal stuff. Like 20 boxes of books, a bunch of junk from our closets, any object on any countertop, and even our kitchen table set and two bookcases. Make the place look roomier. Next, our agent came over with shopping bags full of things like pillows and rugs, colored vases, and a bowl filled with plastic limes. For two hours she blazed around our place like the tasmanian devil, straightening this, moving that, tucking away this, tilting that. Then the staging people came in and gave us a ridiculously impractical glass-top kitchen table, plus a "bistro set" on the patio. Then the cleaning team came in and scrubbed floorboards, appliances, countertops, everything. They made my kitchen sink look exactly the way I would imagine kitchen sinks in heaven. Pristine, white, sparkly, divine. When I came home from work that night, I was flabbergasted at how perfect everything looked.

And my husband, my mother, or anybody else who ever lived with me, they all know this is the part of the story where euphoria overloads my circuits to the point that I actually pass out. You see, I am a bit of a "neat freak." (By the way, I loathe that term, though not as much as I loathe "anal retentive.") If I seem sensitive about this characterization, it's because I don't really see what the big deal is about hanging your blue shirts next to your other blue shirts, or using a towel to dry the inside of the bathroom sink. OK? I really don't. I like things neat, I like them tidy, I like them straightened out. So upon walking into a clutter-free house, where everything is just so, where every last corner is spic and span, waves of absolute joy washed over me.

Now, two weeks later? Oh dear god, make it stop. I mean, we basically have to keep the place perfect at all times, because you never know when an agent will want to bring over a client. Two weeks ago I would have told you this is my lifelong dream to end all lifelong dreams. But no! The pressure, it's too much! Apparently, I have a deep desire to stack piles of papers everywhere! Evidently, I enjoy cluttering the bathroom counter with makeup brushes and hair products! It appears I'm fond of leaving tennis shoes in the foyer, bras draped over the desk chair, and magazines on the back of the toilet! I NEVER KNEW! Nope, I never did, not until my ability to make a mess was taken from me. This discovery has rocked me to my very core. Everything has changed. I feel like I don't even know who I am anymore.

P.S. I'm pretty sure I can blame my husband for this. This is the same man who taught me that if you don't feel like folding clothes, just pop them back into the dryer. That a scrumptious dinner for two can be found at Taco Bell for under $7. That of course it's not silly to cook up a New York strip steak at midnight. BAD. INFLUENCE.

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