Space invaders.

Having potential homebuyers walk through your home is such a surreal experience. You pretend not to care, eating boneless buffalo wings at Chili’s, trying to keep your son from inserting the complimentary crayons up his nose. As I reflect on his “terrible two’s” and his “yes, it gets worse three’s,” I realize it must’ve been a parent who wrote those now infamous words “I want my babyback babyback babyback…”

To break up the monotony, we sometimes forego Chili’s and hop into the earthfucker for a little suburban recon. We park a few blocks away, so as to witness the intruders and size up their worthiness. As we sit there, surveilling our potential buyers, untitledhusband brings his laptop and tries to hook into a rogue wireless Internet patch. God forbid he’s without digital dialysis for more than 30 minutes. As I try to make sense of the man’s Hawaiian shirt (Parrothead, maybe?) and the woman’s sandals (Borns, or Payless knock-offs?), questions start bubbling to the surface.

Did the filthy motherfuckers take off their shoes?

Did they notice my bathroom ceiling paint job in which one little area is a shade whiter than the rest? Or how about the dent in the bathroom door, which I tried to mask with a Formby’s wood stain pen and a subtle trompe l’oeil effect?

Did they take one look in untitledson’s closet and wonder why, nestled in between his wind-up lullaby lamb and Duplo blocks was, of all things, an Afro wig?

Upon testing the garage door opener, did they sense the ghost of untitledfather, who bought and installed it for us as a housewarming gift? It was to be the last thing he ever gave to me.

After touring our bathroom, did they realize that yes, they were witnessing the masterworks of the Queen of Caulk (a title which untitledhusband says I shouldn’t say too loudly).

What did they think of the Box of Bastard Gifts stowed away in the guest bedroom closet? What merciless bastards we must be to not display the prairie-style pillow with our wedding photo ironed onto it, or the framed leather artwork featuring an embossed rose and words that say “Sometimes I reach out to touch the thought of you.”

When walking the hallway between the master bedroom and untitledson’s bedroom, did they feel their emotions shift from exhaustion to resentment to sweet contentment, just as mine did whenever untitledson would wake me at 2 a.m. for his feedings?

Did they open my nightside table drawer and find my precious Fukuoku? Were they disgusted? Confused? Jealous?

Did they feel that blurred, numbing rush as they stood in the same place where untitledhusband and I decided to separate and two months later, work things out?

Did they step on the one stealth pile of petrified dog poop in the backyard — the one that always evades untitledhusband’s merciless pooper scooper?

In my heart, I am a private soul (aside from this whole blog and all). I don’t like it when people get all up in my business, examining my home, deeming it worthy of purchase or passing. I curse them and welcome them, all at the same time. Yes, I want my new house. But I want whomever takes possession of this house, our home, to treat it well. Respect it. Don’t forget to water the grass – it’s very persnickety and wouldn’t think twice about turning on you during a two-day dry spell. Don’t wear your shoes on the white carpet. Spot Shot can only do so much. Don’t paint over the firetruck mural in untitledson’s bedroom. We painted it at a time when we thought we’d be able to use his crib for our second child, too. But most importantly, do the decent thing and offer us our asking price, bitches.

14 thoughts on “Space invaders.”

  1. Priceless. Captures perfectly the push and pull of the home we love but need to leave and all the memories and emotions embedded in every facet of it.

    My favorite line–the one where you describe the hallway between your room and your son’s. There was flight of stairs between my room and the nursery and I still remember being so tired and disoriented in the middle of the night that those stairs seemed insurmountable and yet somehow at the top, I couldn’t wait to reach over the crib rail and pick up my soft, sweet and squalling bundle.

    Loved this.

  2. Totally agree with V-Grrrl…this evokes many tender moments while still capturing the angst of selling a home.

    Good luck!

    P.S. Please don’t be like the people we bought this pile from…he keeps showing up every once in awhile just to let us know he’s “still keeping an eye on his homestead” (after 5 years). Creepy!

  3. It’s strange how a house, a lifeless thing can acquire “soul”. Hope you get the asking price and make many new wonderful memories in your new home.

  4. Our house is way to big for us, too expensive, is sucking the life out of me but I am so attached to the memories of the kids growing up and throwing up all over the house, the little plastic buses they raced around the loop from the front door to the kitchen back to the door again—I can’t bear the thought of someone else living in my memory! What is wrong with me? If anyone can slap me from where you are, please try, I need help.

  5. Interesting post.
    I am on the other side of this….you know…the one in the payless knockoffs!
    We have traveled through a lot of houses and sometimes I do feel that chill in the garage doorway where the current owner found out her husband was cheating….or the warmth in the upstairs bedroom that was once used as their 27 yr old sons nursery. I hear the laughter in the backyard and I smell the fire in the fireplace on a cold winter night. We have not been so lucky as to find a house yet…..maybe we are trying to hard to find a home that we think will have our soul already rather then one that speaks to us……

    I wish you luck!!!

  6. Brings back all the memories from all the moves I’ve done. I think the Plains Indians had the idea right: travel by travois.

    Simple, fast.

    All the stuff we have.
    Cheers from a new NYC mama.

  7. Rose, maybe he’s worried you’ll unearth the dead hookers buried in the basement behind the furnace, heh heh…..,

  8. I was 10 when I moved out of my favorite house. We moved around a couple of times because of my dad’s job but me, my sister and my mom moved to our house now (my dad moved back to New York) because of parents’ divorce. I cried forever the day we left. My bedroom was perfect. It had two closets, a balcony and a window over-looking the front yard, with a built in window seat that opened up and you could put things in it. A bunch of my friends lived around the old house and I cried the last time I saw it: the lady and her daughter that live there now out these ugly curtains in front of the beautiful multi-story windows that look into the back yard and the big old tree with the rope swing hanging down. I could see into my ex-window and they had taken down the colorful beaded curtain that my mom and I spent a whole summer making together on our back porch. All of my mom’s plants in the front yard that she had spent 3 years nurturing were dead. I haven’t been back in 2 years. Untitled, I hope that doesn’t happen to you and your house.

    Sorry about the rant, guys :]

  9. Untitled, this is a great post. I am a first-time homeowner, and like ibeejd, I just went through the other side of this about two years ago. I did feel the souls and lives of the people living in the occupied homes I toured, and tried to treat them as respectfully as possible. Like Rose, my house’s former (and until me, only) owner asked if she could come and visit sometime, but so far she never has, although if she does, I’ll welcome her and hope I haven’t trampled her soul out of it in the process of adding my own. Notaclue, I loved your response about Rose’s prior owner’s repeated returns to the scene of God only knows what. Rose, if he keeps coming back, hit him up for repairs as things deteriorate — treat him like the landlord if he keeps acting like one.

    Kelsey, your “rant” really hit home with me. I am a rootsie kind of person who got stuck in a vagabond life, and we lived in two homes that caused me to feel the same way you describe about your special home. The last one of those, we left in 1970, and there are still times in my sleep when I’m transported back there or dreaming that we have all moved back into it. I’ve seen both homes many times over the years, although not inside, and still I find myself nostalgic for them, even though reality rears its ugly head and yells, “GET OVER IT!” Somehow I never really do.


  10. Notaclue…you hit the nail on the head! That is exactly what I’m waiting for. Hookers behind the heater would be the least of it. The week we moved in we found an old suicide note that was never sent by the boy who lived there (he’s my age with 3 kids and just fine, thank you). That should have told me everything. I never wanted to move into the house to begin with, but what WON’T I do for family harmony? The neighborhood is great, though.

    Kelsey and Anne, I too am stuck in memories when it comes to my old houses, so I somewhat feel for our previous owner. My sister and I drove by the last house we lived in before our parents divorced and they were doing major reconstruction and we were all, “You’ve completely fucked up our last good childhood memories! Way to go new sucky owners!” And then we drove away and had ice cream.

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