Realtor Time

I’ve spent the whole morning getting my father’s house ready for realtors to look at in preparation for putting the house on the market, and now I’m between realtor appointments.

The first realtor said he liked the house, but he might have been backpeddling. While looking the place over, he kept finding faults — the mantle over the fireplace would be a drawback for the younger crowd, the pillars that defined the greatroom were a mistake, the living room floor should have been tile to match the entryway and kitchen, the house was too plain to get the big bucks.

I found myself bristling at his words, as if he were insulting me, which was sort of strange. This is not a house I chose, and I had nothing to do with the design “flaws” the realtor took exception to — I just sort of landed here by accident. I got a grip on myself, or rather a grin on myself, since my reaction was rather humorous.

When he left, he said I was a nice lady, not high maintenance, and it would be a pleasure to work with me, but really, what else could he say, that he dreaded meeting me again? (And anyway, it’s the truth. I am a nice lady and I’m not high-maintenance.)

The next realtor will show up in a few minutes.

This is just the beginning. Strangers will be traipsing through the house, and I will have to live in unclutter, putting away projects each night to make sure the house is presentable in case of a showing, and eventually, someone will fall in love with the house, and it will be sold. And then . . .

My thoughts of the future always end with ellipses since I haven’t a clue where to go from here, but I’m okay with that. Finishing packing my stuff and dealing with realtors and potential buyers is enough to think about for now.

This is a big step for me, learning not to project myself too far into the future, and so far it’s working. I’m much more at peace with myself and the world than I have been for a long time. Now if I can just stop overthinking everything, I’ll be on my way to . . .

Yep. Those dang ellipses again.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Decluttering

In between bouts of sorting and packing my stuff (which in many cases entails finishing started projects so I can store the equipment and supplies in their appropriate boxes), I’ve been clearing out my father’s stuff. I’m leaving the furniture in the house for now because supposedly it’s harder to sell completely empty houses, but even though my father lived sparsely, there are still many things to be sorted through and given away or boxed up for donation— medical and first aid items, bedding, towels, office supplies, dishes and kitchen tools, books, and on and on. And then there are the personal and household cleaning products that can only be tossed away. (I donated his clothes to a rescue mission a couple of months ago.)

I’m making procleangress on clearing out the house. In fact, most of the rooms except the linen closet and the kitchen (and my rooms, of course) have been decluttered. Nothing personal remains to destroy the fictive dream of prospective buyers. (Apparently, house hunters need to see themselves in the house, and other people’s possessions keep them from doing so.)

Strangely, after all these years, I’m falling in love with the house. I’ve appreciated the shelter, but never had any fondness for the house itself. It has been a sad place for me, the place I came to nurse my grief, to look after and then nurse my father, to deal with my abusive/alcoholic/schizophrenic brother. But as I am cleaning out the stuff in house, I am also cleaning out my “stuff” — my grief for my deceased life mate/soul mate, my despair over my brother, my complicated dealings with my father.

When my dysfunctional brother was here and banned from the house, he often expressed outrage that I lived like a millionaire and never felt grateful for the great gift I’d been given. I used to think, “No millionaire has ever had to look after both an abusive brother and a dying father, being torn between the two of them.” But what do I know. Maybe that’s what being a millionaire is all about.

Now however, I am living like a millionaire, reigning over a house full of empty rooms that speak to me of peace and comfort, of expansiveness, of new possibilities. (It is ironic that I so love empty rooms because I live in a clutter of projects-in-progress.)

Although the house is more than ten years old, there has never been a fire in either fireplace, nothing has been cut on the cutting board, the Jacuzzi has only been used a couple of times, there has never been more than one car in the three-car grease-free garage. Someone, somewhere, will be getting a lovely barely-used house to turn into a home.

And me? Well, I’ll be . . . somewhere. But I’ll always be grateful I had this time to declutter.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.