I get kind of jittery when the phone rings lately. You never know when it could be a call from Publishers Clearinghouse that will wipe away all my worries with a big check or even an all-expense paid vacation. Or you never know when it might be a call from my new friend, Jen at Weichert Realty, looking to set up an appointment for a showing.
So I am always on high alert, ready to jump to attention, to sparkle-shine the floors, vacuum the carpets, de-clutter the kitchen counter that is a magnet for useless papers and kid junk and leash up the dogs for a quick evacuation.
More often than not, however, the call is from my mother, wanting to chitchat about last night’s dinner or the status of our home sale, which she does not support. (But more on that later.) This Tuesday morning, when my Spidey senses tingled, the call was in fact from Jen. A Realtor wanted to bring someone by at 1 p.m., she said. Was I available?
Well, I was in the middle of salvaging my daughter Anna’s failed baking project in time to deliver a few dozen chocolate chip cookies to her Technology class for the rocket launch party. And the beds weren’t made. And the lawn looked like a jungle. And the kids’ bedrooms were littered with 24 hours of discarded debris. And the bathroom needed cleaning. But Honey, just give me a minute to freshen up. I am available!
Two hours would be plenty of time for an eager and motivated homemaker/seller like myself to get ready for a hot date with my home’s potential new lover. So I cued up the “Clean Up Gang” song in my head, the one my sisters and I sang when we needed to clean up our childhood home, and I got to work, driven as always by another unreasonable deadline. (I am again reminded that I really need to do a better job teaching that song to my children, but that’s another blog post.)
By 12:45, when the grueling Cleanathon was over, the house sparkled, and I looked like a cross between a psychotic homeless woman and Pigpen from Charlie Brown. But there was no time to shower. Our date would be arriving any minute. Plus, I decided to sweeten the seduction with some just-baked cookies and a pitcher of iced tea, just to show what fabulous hostesses my home and I can be.
Then I changed my shirt, brushed my hair into ponytail, leashed up the dogs and sat on the sofa to wait…and wait.
I know now from experience that suitors in the Real Estate world are seldom punctual. So when 15 minutes passed, I didn’t worry. Instead I viewed it as a chance to primp and perfect. I adjusted the blinds and the mood lighting, lit a candle, and ran a dust cloth over the TV one more time. And I waited. The ice cubes in the iced tea melted, and sweat dripped down the side of the glass pitcher.
I was getting hungry, but I couldn’t risk messing up the kitchen or erasing the fresh-baked cookie smell. So I poured a glass of iced tea and bit my nails instead. By 2 p.m., I started to get nervous. I had to pick the girls up at school at 2:30, and after that a storm of hairspray, bobby pins, sequins and poly-satin would sweep in for an hour as we prepared them for their dance recital dress rehearsal. I looked out the window, pathetically.
I didn’t want to seem like one of those girls who waits around worrying, but I didn’t want to seem too easy either. Plus, I had a life to live, didn’t I?
So I called my new pal and matchmaker, Jen, “just to check in.”
“Oh, maybe they canceled,” she said. “Let me check.” Yup, they did.
“They are going to try to do it this weekend instead,” she said.
“Well, maybe I won’t be available,” I wanted to say. But instead, I took a cookie from the glass plate on the counter and took a bite. Then I put on my best dating face.
“I’ll be looking forward to it,” I lied.