So, Wanna Buy My House?

Today we had our second showing for our house, which is for sale. Note to anyone crossing the threshold of this home with a realtor in tow: This is an old house! I mean, really old. One hundred and seventy four years, to be exact. We have totally remodeled the kitchen. We have painted and refinished floors, but there is more to do. There is always more to do in an old house.

The bathrooms need “updating.” The upstairs floors need refinishing. Other than that, the house is done. Yes, the floors have a minor undulating effect. This is a “slope” and not a “sag.” “What is the difference?” one may ask. Plenty. “Sag” indicates a failing foundation. Sloping occurs when the house is built with green wood and then dries out after construction. Not at all uncommon for old houses.

Usually when guests come over, they comment on how clean I keep the house, despite the fact that I have two very little kids. Potential buyers, however, tend to not be as gratuitous.

Today’s showing did not go very well. Not very well at all. The couple, upon being asked to remove their shoes upon entering our home, became a single. The man elected to remain outside, refusing any invitation by his wife to come in and have a look. Gain but apparently annoyed, the woman and buyer’s agent commented that they “were picking up all sorts of things with their feet” and that my floors “weren’t really that clean.”

Ahem. I would like to take this opportunity to defend my floors and my cleaning by saying that I would serve any sannyasi prasadam off these floors in their present state of absolute cleanliness. As I told my agent this evening after he relayed these comments to me, there is no way on earth I could have gotten those floors any cleaner. I have a two year old and a four year old. I live in the country. I heat with wood. The end.

This morning I was getting ready to get out of the house with the kids so we would not disturb what I thought was a very clean house. As we were leaving we got a call from Mother Rohini and her daughter Gopi. We were invited over for some playing.

The day was wonderful, except for the fact that certain parties were critical of not only the cleanliness of my floors but also the paint covering some of the upstairs floors. It is not us who originally painted these floors. We prefer natural looking wood. Were we to stay in this house, we would refinish the floors, thus restoring them to their original beauty. However, this is an old house, a very old house. People, people whom we never met, people who are probably dead now, these people have done different things to this house over time. We have done the best that we could to undo many of these things but we have not yet undone the painted floors (which are actually period appropriate–note to potential buyers: DUH! it’s an old house!). We have, however, spent a good deal of money buying Sherwin Williams floor paint, which is good quality stuff, and repainted the floors. There. That settles that.

Back to the day. The kids had a great time at Gopi’s. Mother Rohini made absolutely delicious pumpkin cream cheese muffins for breakfast and kichari and chapati yum for lunch. We all felt very satiated and loved.

Rohini’s house is just like a fun house, with kids coming and going between Mother Taruni’s, Rohini’s and Purana’s. There is face painting, pretend airplanes to board, kiddie motorcycles to ride around the house and always something beautiful to look at crafted by Rohini. Today it was paper snowflake decorations dangling from the ceiling leftover from Christmas.

Basically, the scene over there is completely opposite our nuclear household. It reminds me of village life, with mothers and neighbors and kids and uncles coming and going, slowing down for a bite to eat and a minute of gab. The children are never lonely. There is never a build up of leftover prasadam in the fridge and help is always on hand. But I know that lifestyle wouldn’t suit me. With all my problems solved, I would surely be miserable. After all, what would I have to complain about?


1 Comment

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One response to “So, Wanna Buy My House?

  1. Satyavati devi dasi

    Buyers are generally obnoxious. And people who come to look at an old house should know what an old house is about to start with. When we were looking around in Roxboro we went to a house (about 5 miles from where we ended up) that was built in 1897, on 12 acres, with 3 outbuildings. I was running around ecstatic over the fireplaces in EVERY room (house had no central heat installed), the stone entryway (which was the definition of sag) and the beautiful porch (with rotted planks). My husband, the ever practical and genius, crawled up under one of the numerous places it was possible to get under the house. When I came to see what he was doing, he proceeded to pull enough of my head in so I could see and calmly pointed out the floor joists, that had been and still were nourishing generations of termites.

    At that point he decreed that no matter house nice I thought the house was, replacing the ground floor joists post-termite-damage was too big a project for us to even contemplate. Had it at least been partially restored, he said, we could have gotten it.

    I cried all the way home (3.5 hours) and didn't talk to him or my parents for the rest of the day.

    In the long run I'm glad of where we ended up because it's a better place for us, but I sure did want to live in an old house. The house he grew up in was built in 1927, which is old enough to have major issues on a frequent basis (we had to have an electrician come in so we could have a microwave), what to speak of a house that's almost 200 years old.

    I admire you keeping your cool over people busting on your floors. I probably would have said "I couldn't imagine how dirty the floors get where people where their shoes inside. And the husband probably wouldn't take his shoes off because his feet stink.

    The right people will come.

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