I’ve discovered that if you want to meet some terrific people, just advertise your house for sale.
Immediately, people start phoning you to ask to drop by to have a look.
This is what happened to Daisy and I last month when we decided to sell our house privately.
These really nice people came by each night and we got a chance to show off our house.
And we had the opportunity to re-imagine our house in a way that we never considered. Daisy’s office where she worked on her masters of education?: a classroom for a music teacher.
The sitting room just off the master bedroom?: a nursery.
We weren’t going places … our house was.
Sadly, we could only choose one person to take possession of our beloved home. We had six offers (five above asking) and we hated the idea of phoning the five who would not get to call our house, “home”.
So, as these nice people dropped off their bids, we told them that if they did not get a phone call at 9 a.m. the next day, they were not successful.
The one phone call we did make, was a happy one. And it was only then that I allowed myself to ask the question that Daisy fretted over: Are you a gardener?
“I want to be,” she said brightly.
OK, that’s a good answer, too.
Yeah, yeah, yeah … we know. We need to let go. It isn’t our house anymore. But it is difficult to do when you put so much blood, sweat and tears into a place.
Well, maybe not tears, but I did scrape the skin off of a knuckle once while hanging a light fixture.
So, there was one more thing we could do for our house: give it a really good cleaning. We wanted our house to look as noble and sturdy for the new owners as it was for us these past years.
Funny, though, the more we unloaded from the house, the more it looked bigger and brighter. And our furniture and boxes that we put into the back of the truck, the more dirty and ragged they looked.
Sure, a coffee table looks great in a living room when it is clean and under soft lighting, but look at it again when it is upside down in the back of a pickup truck with yellow twine crisscrossing it.
The night-side table that was a reliable and safe place for your clock radio and reading glasses is now just one more thing you need to carry through three doors and over a tailgate, to be wedged between a box of food we had only recently found deep in the pantry and a VCR we haven’t used in years.
When the last of our belongings was gone and the final sink was swabbed out, we left quickly before the rush of memories reminded us that this was more than a house … it was our home.
Too quickly, actually, for we needed to return for the dining room table leaves that were beside the dryer … and to turn down the thermostat … and to retrieve the key we had hidden in the backyard … and to clean out that one vanity drawer.
Upon each return, the house was less ours, and more of a blank slate for someone else to colour and bend to their will.
When we lived there, it smelled of barbecued ribs or, mostly, just an HRV-cleaned nothingness. Now, it smells like Mr. Clean.