Feb 9, 2010

A New York minute

I was sitting in Sunday School, watching Lexi play on the floor. Sister Townsend (the elder) asked if anyone was visiting the class before our teacher began his Old Testament lesson. On the front row, a couple stood up to introduce themselves. They were visiting from Long Island, New York on a house-hunting trip. They knew the brother of a guy in our ward.

In the hall after Sunday School, as I handed Lexi and the diaper bag to her daddy, I told Garry that he needed to talk to the visitors and see if they wanted to look at our house. Garry exchanged information with the husband, and after church, Garry emailed our house flier.

Later, around 2:00, I mused to Garry, "What if they want to come to see our house tomorrow? That would be crazy! The house is such a mess. The house isn't on the market yet -- it's hardly show-worthy!"

Five minutes later the phone rang. I answered and had a pleasant little conversation with the wife. I hung up in sheer panic.

They wanted to come at 5:00 -- in three hours.

I surveyed the house to see if it really was as bad as I thought. Actually, it was worse. There was clutter in every corner. Five loads of folded laundry were stacked by the washing machine. I hadn't really done the dishes for a couple of days, and none of the beds were made. I hadn't cleaned a bathroom for at least two weeks. Small fingerprints were all over the windows and appliances and piano. (Feel free to judge me here. Honestly, what do I do with my time?)

I texted Melanie while hyperventilating, then dropped off Gavin and Lexi at her house a few minutes later. Then Garry, Zachary, Tyler, and I dropped into a cleaning frenzy that had our hearts pumping for three solid hours. (Who needs the Superbowl for an adrenaline rush?) I had some guilt about working like this on the Sabbath Day, but also knew there was no other way. And if Heavenly Father had sent these people to buy our house, surely he'd forgive us!

We cleaned and scrubbed and polished and vacuumed. We organized and put away and hid. We shoveled snow from the driveway. We put piles of stuff in the van and filled grocery sacks with random papers and clutter. I changed out of pajamas at the last possible minute. When 5:00 arrived, we pulled the cars out of the garage and waited.

Of course they were 15 minutes late.

Surprisingly, the couple showed up without a real estate agent. They asked me to give them a tour of the house. So we spent 20 minutes walking around the house and snowy yard. I pointed out every possible positive thing and answered a few questions. They looked in cupboards and cabinets and closets and behind shower curtains. Their little boy played with Gavin's toys.

When we were finished, they asked for some time alone in the house. I drove to Melanie's to pick up Gavin and Lexi. Garry stayed behind and answered their questions when they emerged. They wanted to know about schools and the neighborhood and the ward.

They also wanted to come back.

So yesterday I cleaned up in the morning and waited by the phone. I expected them around 3:30, but figured they would call to confirm or to adjust the time. I finally called them around 2:45. I had a boy to pick up from school and wanted to make sure we could coordinate. They surprised me by saying they planned to arrive at 3:00. I quickly picked up the few toys we had out and gathered coats and shoes for myself and three kids.

At 2:50 the doorbell rang. The cheery couple and their agent stood on my doorstep. I was barefoot and coat-less with three kids on my heels. We weren't quite ready for company! I had the presence of mind to ask for the agent's business card and express my desire to keep in touch. Five minutes later, with shoes on and kids loaded in the van, we made our hasty retreat.

Half an hour later, when I returned from the school run, the house-hunters were gone.

Again I waited by the phone.

At 5:30, I called the agent and left a cheerful voice mail. She finally called back a few minutes ago with some very interesting feedback.

Yesterday's tour went very well. The agent had positive things to say. The couple is concerned about the two small bedrooms we have upstairs, and worries that our square footage (2785) isn't enough to acommodate them for the 5-10 years they plan to stay in the house. Our home is the smallest they are considering.

The couple is flying home tomorrow and doesn't plan to make an offer on a home here until the end of next week. Their home in New York is currently for sale, but they have had tons of traffic and expect to get an offer of their own any day. Their real estate agent will keep us posted on our standing.

So again we wait. What an adventure!
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