Thursday, January 27, 2011

The (far too many) steps to prepping a house for sale

My home (mi casa)

Our house is back on the market.  After a period with no potential buyers, we took the house off the market in December.  We knew we wanted a new agent (ours was perfectly lovely and a very nice person, but she simply wasn't aggressive enough), her contract was up, plus house traffic apparently slows way down in December.  

It went back up with a new agent (someone my husband worked with when they were both in the military) earlier this week.  

For those who haven't sold a house or who haven't sold a house while children were living there, or who haven't sold a house with children who are homeschooled (and therefore, the parents get absolutely no kid-free time to prepare), or those who haven't sold a house with homeschooled children always underfoot and a spouse 2000 miles away; let me tell ya, it's rough. 

Among the list of things to do to prepare to sell a house:

  1. Repack existing boxes (stashed in the biggest kids' room).
  2. Open children's closets and see an endless array of clothing and accessories strewn about the floor.  
  3. Scream.
  4. Remove endless amounts of clothing from children who insisted on leaving it lying all over the freaking floor.
  5. Remove all socks from those same children for the same reason (yes, my kids are currently sock-less in Winter.  They deal).
  6. Remove all but four pairs of shoes from said children.
  7. When said children leave one of those four pairs of shoes lying in the middle of their floor AGAIN, remove yet another pair of shoes. 
  8. Look under the big girls' bed.  
  9. Repeat step 3. 
  10. Move the repacked boxes (which now also contain much of what was stashed under that bed) to storage (which, if you're lucky, a dear sweet friend will let you use her garage for and you will be forever indebted).
  11. Call new agent and set a date to meet to sign paperwork and take pictures of the property.
  12. When one of the children gets sick, cancel said appointment.
  13. Repeat step 11.
  14. Step 12 may also need to be repeated depending on the number of children and the season.
  15. Pack more boxes.  
  16. When you think you're done, look around again and revisit step 15.
  17. Repeat step 15 more times than you think humanly possible.
  18. Just as that dear sweet wonderful friend is about to show up to help you move more boxes, find even MORE  things to throw in boxes.  These things will most likely be stored WAY up high.  You only truly understand the frustration of this step if you are roughly the size of the Keebler Elf.
  19. Repeat step 15.   
  20. Profusely thank said friend.  It's only proper if you offer to bow down in homage.  
  21. Open cabinets and sort through the things the kids have hidden there and forgotten all about.
  22. Clean up anything fragile that the kids stashed precariously in the cabinet so that it fell and broke when you tried to rearrange said cabinet.
  23. Replace the caulking on the bathtub.
  24. Curse.
  25. In an attempt to clear out the coat closet, sort through the mess of coats the kids have tossed on the floor (despite the many empty hangers hanging within their reach).
  26. Find a can of interior paint knocked on its side when those children threw those coats.
  27. When you struggle to put the can upright, discover a 1 foot wide and about 1/2 an inch mostly hardened pool of WHITE interior paint on your dark hardwood floor.
  28. Repeat steps 3 and 24.
  29. Text/call the spouse with threats to sell the children on Ebay.
  30. Scrape up the paint as best you can.   Beware, this is very messy.  Some will be left behind.
  31. Cry. 
  32. Vacuum.
  33. Spend an entire week clearing out the laundry room that no one has sorted through in nine years.
  34. Shout with glee when you find the alcohol you sealed up in a box and stashed back there for Pesach (Passover).
  35. You just found tequila amid the hell that is house prep.  Do I REALLY need to tell you what to do next?
  36. Now that you have more space in the laundry room, use it to stash the kitchen appliances before pictures are taken (You can wait until you sober up from Step 35 or you can do it while buzzed.  It's entirely up to you).
  37. Hide vacuum in the laundry room.
  38. Clean kitchen counters.  
  39. Clean stove.  
  40. Drag vacuum back out and repeat step 32 in the kitchen where all the crumbs have now collected from the counter and stove top cleanings.
  41. Move any furniture around to desired placement.
  42. At least one piece of furniture will break upon step 41.  When that happens, repeat any combination of steps 3, 24 and/or 31.  
  43. a. Mop kitchen floor or  b. have child mop kitchen floor.  If b., repeat 43 yourself after.
  44. Clear off the weeks of paperwork that have gathered on the dining room table (and by, "Clear off," I mean stash them on a chair where no one can see).  
  45. Have child put table cloth on.
  46. In an attempt to adjust said table cloth and find the child simply threw it on over a mountain of crumbs.  
  47. Repeat step 24.
  48. Remove said table cloth.
  49. Hand child a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
  50. Repeat step 45.
  51. Find the baby destroying something you had already prepared.
  52. See steps 3, 24, 31 and perhaps 32 if necessary.
  53. Veg out on Facebook for a while.
  54. COFFEE!  
  55. Repeat any combination of these steps.
  56. Toss everything left in a box and hide it under the desk.  
  57. Take a deep breath.  You're done 15 minutes before said agent is set to arrive. 
While completing this list, you should also stop often to text the spouse to ask, "WTF do you want me to do with this ('This' should typically refer to CD's, games, video game-themed magazines from the late 90s, boxes and/or electrical cords--none of which have been used in years)?"  You should also include numerous occasions of preparing food.

And yes, this list is based on actual events.  Any resemblance to people or situations is purely purposeful.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thank You

Originally uploaded by hellojenuine.
I've had odd experiences lately. Other people have asked me for help and I've been grateful to be able to do that.

It started during a week when I was feeling particularly low. I was acutely aware of how much I missed my husband. The kids were bickering. I was frustrated.

Out of the blue, a friend called and asked me to babysit. Now, I usually greatly dislike babysitting. Yes, I love my own children and I like spending time with them, but when you add another kid (or two or three) to the mix, it throws me off. Being a parent can be rough and I have enough of it with my own kids thankyouverymuch. As I like to say, "If I didn't get to enjoy the conception, I don't want to deal with the discipline."

In this case, though, it was only one child and one smallish child who fits right in with the flow at our house. So it wasn't a problem. It wasn't any big sacrifice for me at all, but for the parents, it was a huge help.

I was thanked profusely, but I really wanted to thank THEM. They helped pull me out of my sadness. They reminded me that I had the potential to help. There's a true power in that. When you know someone can truly use your help, you have a purpose. You're no longer a tiny insignificant speck in that great wide world.

"When somebody needs you, well there's no drug like that."