Monday, March 21 2022

open house week 1

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Monday. Before we get started, I have an open-ended question. Where the hell am I? I think this is my house, but it feels too clean in here, and none of my stuff seems to be in the right place. Maybe it will help to take a minute to establish the scene. It's a cool, cloudy morning. It's hard not to feel alert in this empty 65 degree dining room, thanks to the bedroom window I flung open in the middle of the night. It's quiet in the house. Marissa, Miles, and the dogs are sleeping so soundly that the bird quietly singing outside our window sounds kind of rude in comparison. That's very nice of you, bird, but why don't you take that racket further down the street. Some of us are trying to sleep in here.

This is the most Monday of all Mondays. I feel like I'm tumbling out of a time machine, and I have nothing in my recent memory except for a blurr of stress, driving, and carbs. I've been thrown overboard into a chock-full calendar and a fully-leaded work week. But there's steadying peace in the eye of this hurricane - an angel of mercy that takes the form of a dark brown liquid. Thank God for coffee.

Sip. It's good to be here this morning. It doesn't yet feel good, but I admit it's a good thing. Like jerking a dislocated shoulder back into place, it may not feel good, but it's a good and necessary thing taking place. We've been tired, but being unplugged from our routine for so long has made us even more tired.

It's been a week since my last check-in, and that was pretty much when life began to unravel. When we last left off, we were cleaning the house to take pictures for the listing. Later would be open house weekend, staying with my parents, and driving back in time for Monday morning. Marissa and I wanted to take everything in stride. She even suggested we pack our weights and dumbbells so we could keep on track with our workouts. But by a cruel twist of fate, Marissa and Miles got sick. Our carefully planned exit strategy turned into a chaotic stampede at the starting line. We took a whole week off exercise. We ordered out for lunch and dinner every night. We cleaned our house like the world was about to end.

I've always been a fan of cleaning. But cleaning your house to sell it is not ordinary cleaning. You clean your house, but then you have to also hide everything that's unsightly, no matter how often you use it. We stowed away bath towels. I hid sponges and rags in the kitchen drawers. We stashed the baby gates and booster seat in the basement. When it's all said and done, the annoyance you feel trying to change a diaper or quickly wash a sippie cup in the sink pretty much cancels out the enjoyment of a clean house. It's over-clean.


Trying to be comfortable in my over-clean house.

Cleaning your house like this, your bound to have some moments of reflection. I handed Rodney a paint brush and asked him to cover of the silly grafiti in our garage. I'm pretty sure that I jokingly tagged our garage wall spray paint when Rodney was still an infant. Now there he was a full grown boy cleaning it up for me.


Did you know that we have a fireplace? I knew this, but I never thought about it. Frankly, we were scared to open it. You can imagine my shock finding a delicate string of LED lights wrapped around some dusty twigs. "Is this some kind of occultiic altar? We're the last owners of this house animists?"

Marissa laughed. "I made that when you came home from a work trip. Remember I tried to make it pretty with candles and lights?"


Cleaning our house did weird things to my head. I leaned against the back wall of Rodney's room and spent a few minutes staring at his headboard. I couldn't believe how much time had passed in this house. Nearly six years old, the bulk of Rodney's childhood has already happened in this little room.


I had a similar moment in Miles' room. I had forgotten about these planet and alien doodles Marissa made for his wall. They hang at his eye level when he stands up against the side of his crib. I don't stop to look at them often, and Miles probably knows them better than I do. Maybe for all those times Miles stayed up babbling in his room when he should have been sleeping, he was just carrying on a conversation with his familiar cartoon aliens.


The day after pictures, we were awoken to the loud clanging of a mallet on metal on the other side of our dining room window. "Is there a sign in our yard?" asked Marissa sleepily.

On the morning of our first showing, Marissa and I jumped in the car and backed out of the driveway. We decided to pick up some breakfast, and eat it in the car parked further up the street so we could spy on the first showing. I polished off a sausage McGriddle and a black coffee. What did Marissa get? Pancakes - arguably the worst thing you could eat on a stake-out.


A lot more happened this past week, but I'm out of time this morning. I'd love to just drink coffee and reminisce all day, but I guess it's time to get this Monday over with. Have a great morning, everybody.