Friday, November 18, 2005
Yikes. It's been too long. However, the selling of a house and all the work that goes before the closing left me with little too say for quite a while. Well, almost. I had plenty to say as we dealt with the Buyers from Hell.
I have a special aptitude for business... I think it's genetic. Actually, I seem to be missing a gene when it comes to money. If it comes easily, I have a compulsion to give it away. When it doesn't come at all, I think that I don't really deserve it and don't put up much of a fuss.
However, the Buyers from Hell were so obnoxious that I suddenly attempted to overcome my genetic programming. What horrible people. Although it wounds me to speak ill of a representative of my gender, the she-buyer was a total bitch. Her idea of negotiations was "gotcha." Negotiations weren't really negotiations; they were simply lists of demands placed in a middle column to look more neutral. There was no such thing as an agreement to pass on any of these dicta.
My philosophy of negotiations is based on the Fisher and Ury classic, Getting to Yes. The she-buyer's was based on that athletic classic, football. Or was it boxing? Win-win meets the tackle, or the knockout. I wasn't getting any other offers--the market was so glutted with other houses in my price range, and this was a distinctly western-style house in a Cape Cod market. I was weary of supporting a house in which I no longer lived, so, in the end, I had to capitulate to this monster.
It was only appropriate that we closed on Halloween.
Then there was --and is-- the stuff. Too much stuff, even after I have performed three or four full tilt boogie cleanouts. I try to be hard-ass. The local Five College Book Sale has regularly received large chunks of my library; I have donated most of my clothes, dishes, and trinkets to the local thrift shops, furniture to the homeless shelters. Still there are too many boxes. I still stumble over them on my way to bed.
Once we were clear of the closing, I jumped on a plane for Oregon. While I stayed with a friend, Carol, in Eugene, I found myself wandering around her house, which I nicknamed the Museum of Mirth. It's just so... Carol. Her house is that wonderful blend of what I love about her: silliness and intelligence; whimsy and intensity.
How much of our "stuff" can we unload without losing those trappings that allow our friends to experience us in walking around our abodes? Carol's house made me aware of the need for balance, even as I unload my goose-neck lamp that is actually topped by the head of a goose. No sense losing all my kitschy trappings, especially given my tacky gene, which seems to have stood in for the money gene.
I am back from Oregon now, having sent Carol a thank you in the form of an "original" cocktail napkin from Bimbo's, replete with pink elephants, discovered in an antique shop in Newport. Remember when Bimbo was simply the name of one of the elephants in Dumbo? Those were the days! Bimbo will be right at home in Carol's house.
I pray to find home wherever I go, these uncertain miles ahead.