A couple of months ago, my husband and I realized we didn’t have enough stress-induced stomachaches in our lives, so we decided to sell our house and buy another one. We’re always coming up with really, really smart plans like that. (See: Hooters Appalachian Resort time-share, 1998-1999.)
The first thing I had to do to make this happen was get our house in shape so someone would want to buy it for trillions of dollars. So I immediately enacted “The Tub Offensive” in which I put everything we own into plastic tubs from Target. That way, when a potential buyer opens up a closet door, instead of getting hit in the face with 50 pounds of junk, she gets hit in the face with 50 pounds of junk in an attractive blue tub. I know, it’s amazing I don’t have my own lifestyle show by now.
I also cleaned up by using Space Bags, which are the plastic bags you put your cashmere sweater collection into, then vacuum out all of the air until it resembles a 5-foot long piece of beef jerky. They actually work really well—until you need to open one up and suddenly find yourself in the eye of a Category F4 tornado. I still have wounds on my right arm from a couple of pressure-packed cardigans that smacked into me going 50 mph. And now I’ll probably have to wear my stupid swim skirt all winter long because I’m too scared to open up the jeans bag.
But the worst part about hiding all of our things away is that we have no f-in clue where anything is now. Ten times a day, my husband begins a sentence with, “What’d you do with…” At first, I really tried to give him the right answer. “Oh, the digital thermometer? Try the breadbox. The paint thinner? I think it’s next to the Children’s Tylenol.” But now I just roll my eyes and scream, “How the hell should I know? Happy hunting, suckerman!” while I reach into the toilet tank for a can of Diet Coke. I mean, is it my fault if he can’t figure out where I hid his inhaler? He’s a smart guy, he’ll find it before the ambulance arrives.
After a few weeks of this, our house was finally organized and our realtor sent over a “Professional Stager” to tell us what we did wrong. A stager’s job is to make houses look like they’re model homes, so they’ll give educated advice like, “Move that cabinet over to the left” and “Are you really married to that Manilow poster on your bedroom ceiling?” Luckily, she didn’t make us do too much besides put a modified shower curtain over the litter box to hide it from potential buyers. Now Miss Dickens feels like Johnny Carson every time she has to take a crap.
HEEEEEERRRRREEEE’S CAT PEE!
And speaking of crap, once the house was ready to go, we immediately had calls from people who wanted to come take a look. We had one showing the first night, then the next day we had a showing at 10 a.m. and another showing at 2 p.m. Luckily, this was also our school carnival day, so we had somewhere to be while people walked around our house and judged my taste in bedding. (“Look at that, Harold—she obviously didn’t get the memo that 200-thread count sheets are only for motels and correctional facilities. What a loser.”) Finally, after five long hours of being away from our house, we walked back in, tired and worn out, and were greeted with—two huge turds in the middle of the living room. Huzzah! Real estate’s FUN!
My visiting parents, husband and kids just stood and stared at the glowing brown lumps, so I immediately swept in with a roll of paper towels and a can of Lysol and cleaned it up like a Ringling Bros. janitor. Then I called our real estate agent and breathlessly told her what had happened. “I. AM. APPAWL-ED, Weendi!” was her reaction, and she quickly rang the two agents who’d been at our house to ask if they’d brought a dog inside. Both said they, of course, didn’t and would never have a dog with them, but had definitely seen the poop, and slowly fingers began to be pointed at sweet, little Miss Dickens. “No way! She’d never do that!” I yelled as I clutched her bony frame to my chest. “She’s 19 ½ years old and she’s never once had a free-range bowel movement! For the love of God, she’s not an animal. She watches PBS!”
“Well, okay, calm down,” my mom said. “But, um, what size were the turds exactly? The size of a small dog or a large dog? Or did they look more—human?”
My CSI parents then went on to tell me that I really should have taken a picture of the feces “for my blog thing” and it was even suggested that I actually pull the smelly evidence out of the trash to “get a better look” and compare it to the festering delights inside the litter box. Like some bizarre poop matching game they played in the Dark Ages before TV. Seriously, does this shit ever happen on House Hunters International? Does it?!
But I have to say that all of the drama, hard work, sore muscles, $200 worth of Space Bags and intense carpet shampooing were worth it because the next day, we got a full-price offer on our house. Less than 72 hours after putting it on the market and to the wonderful people who were able to overlook the poop. And in this economy, with so many people struggling to sell their houses, that’s something just short of an absolute miracle.
We’ll be moving into our new house that’s just across the road next month and we’re very, very excited. But until that chaos begins, we’d really love to just sit down, relax and toast our good luck.
If we only knew which tub held the corkscrew.