House for Sale: Orchid Part II

st joeThe orchid is dead. I knew it–like Olaf Pinkie-Pie III, our dark-grey “gold”-fish that survived only a week, the orchid didn’t have a chance.

Two weeks and 21 showings later, I’ve gone rogue-seller. I don’t care if buyers like orchids. I don’t care if buyers like new rolls of toilet paper, showers patted dry, and a ceramic pot on the kitchen table over-flowing with rosemary–the rosemary’s dead, too.

I’m living here, people. There is laundry stuffed in my washer, my dryer, the basket on top of the second freezer, and piled in the trunk of the Subaru.

Would someone please make an offer on this house so I can get back to being the comfortable slob that I am?

It’s unnatural: these windows should be streaked with finger-marks, these floors peppered with dried-pasta. When I puff my cheeks and blow forcibly towards the television table, dust should fly.

Caroline has asked permission to use the bathroom. I’ve scolded Lexi for wiping her hands on the white “showing” towel. Cleanliness is a virtue, but am I really supporting moral excellence by hiding sweet potatoes and onions in the colander jammed under the sink? I’ve not always been able to locate the mop in my house. While Dave has actually named our vacuum (“Hoss”), I am not fond enough of our vacuum to call it by name. I’m sometimes kind; I’m usually good-tempered; I’m often loyal. But I’m done being clean.

What follows is a recent To-Do List:

1. Teacher gifts
2. Send Photo to Kristy
3. skin appt.
4. corsages
5. Christian Store?

Superstition has taken over as days on market (DOM) have increased and patience (another overrated virtue) has decreased. Many of my Catholic brethren have insisted that burying a statue of St. Joseph upside-down in the yard would help the cause.

So I bumped up #5 to #1 To-Do the other day and went by the Christian Store to find large 40% off signs draping the windows: Close-Out Sale. I wondered aloud where I’d now buy the old-school advent calendars, the ones not offering daily chunks of chocolate, as I was ushered into the store by a kind-looking man. I glanced around the sad, empty place, felt the trip was assuredly fruitless but decided to ask anyway. So I approached the kind-looking man. ¬†“Excuse me, do you have any statues of St. Joseph?” He looked at me but did not respond. “You know,” I said, “to bury upside-down when you’re trying to sell a house?”

He responded immediately: “Please do not bury a statue of St. Joseph.”

I blushed, shrugged and said, weakly, “Well, it’s, tradition.”

He turned to search the store. “I will tell you what it is,” he said as he walked ahead of and away from me. His lecture trailed as I trailed behind him, but I heard something about “desecrating” and something about “saints” and something about the 12th century–or thereabouts. “Believe me,” he said as he turned towards me again. “I know a little something about this.”

And I know why your store is closing. I didn’t say it. And I didn’t actually laugh it off¬†until about 30 minutes after holding back tears, walking out of the store, and getting into my car.

It was just too much to ask for a pleasant exchange at the Christian Store. (Plan B=St. Joseph Selling Kit: Keep the Faith and Get Blessed. $12.47 at

Okay, so that happened.


We’re averaging a showing a day. We get lots of useful feedback like the place is too small (it’s a townhouse); it’s too big (it’s a townhouse); it’s not close enough to town (it’s a townhouse); the back deck isn’t private enough (it’s a townhouse). One interested party (saw the place three times) decided to buy in Odenton.

What’s good is that it’s the end of the school year and there’s not a lot going on.

One recent morning Dave was away and I was looking all over for the dustpan and brush. In a bit of a panic, I called him. “Oh, I know where it is,” he said. “It’s in the trashcan.”

The filled trash bag that I just topped off with coffee grounds? What? Why? How would I have ever found it had I not asked? How can I be so perfect? What is wrong with everyone else?

So I dumpster-dove through kitchen debris then swept up Cheerios with a small broom covered in bits of coffee, cursing my husband as black sands of hazelnut sprinkled over my feet.


The next day I am chaperoning a field trip; then setting up, attending, and cleaning up the Father/Daughter dance. I will be gone for more than 15-straight hours and worry that there will be a last-minute showing. Dave is still away.

In the morning I am spraying windows, shoving bath rugs in the linen closet, beating throw pillows, assuring good children that they will be at school on-time. The air conditioning is set at a comfortable, home-buying 70 degrees yet I am sweating.

Good children stand alert and worried at front door donning backpacks and rain-slickers; their shoes are tied; their hair is contained in slicked-back ponytails while mine flies wildly. I need more coffee.

The dustpan and brush are clean and free of grinds. I quickly sweep the kitchen floor, push the pile into the pan and shake the pan into the kitchen garbage. The good children cry. Failing to find a free place–any place–in which to store the pan and brush, I chuck the pan and brush into the trashcan and slam closed the cabinet door.

2 Comments on “House for Sale: Orchid Part II”

  1. Deb Zehe says:

    Hang in there, I feel your pain! You are a supermom (even when you toss the dustpan into the trash :))

  2. Becky Winebrenner says:

    Best one yet Katie. I can relate on every single aspect of this post…routing for you to find a buyer soon!

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