July 8, 2021 – Everything happens for a reason.

It is funny what people say in an attempt to provide comfort or reassurance. There are certain ‘favorites’ that I’ve heard more than a time or two, “I’ll pray for you”, “This too shall pass,” “It’ll all work out in the end,” “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” and then there’s my all-time favorite, “Everything happens for a reason.” And when I use the descriptive word ‘favorite’, I’m being sarcastic (just to be clear). Apparently, we can thank Marilyn Monroe for coming up with that little gem. My mother used to (and still does on occasion) reference that saying on a regular basis. It made/makes me want to scream! I was just reminded of it this afternoon when my former boss wrote it in a text. Ack! He asked me whether there were any offers on the house and I wrote back, “No. Nothing. Very discouraging.” In an attempt to reassure me, along with a few other words of wisdom, he referenced Marilyn Monroe’s famous quote. I know he meant well but all it does is get me fired up.

I’m not a terribly patient person and nothing makes me more bananas than sitting in a space without obvious answers. When I served in the military, the term ‘hurry up and wait’ was often used. It really tested my patience and I feel like that’s exactly what I’m experiencing at this very moment. Once my husband and I returned from our trip last month, we rushed around, painting this and fixing that. While I painted doors and trim and baseboards and linen closets, he fixed the built-in desk in the office and the beam in the kitchen and the ductwork in the crawlspace and the light in our walk-in closet. And once the majority of everything was done, we put the house on the market, expecting to receive a slew of offers the next day. Well, that slew of offers I expected didn’t happen the first day, or the second, or the third. In fact, today is ‘day thirteen’ and the only thing I’ve noticed ‘a lot of’ is time on my hands. I actually spent part of the day removing burnt leaves (from the heatwave) off my rhododendron in order to improve our home’s ‘curb appeal’.

To say I’m worried is an understatement. My unemployment just ended and neither of us has a job. My husband and I have told everyone (friends, family, neighbors, etc.) that we’re leaving but it’s going to be tough to leave if we aren’t able to sell our home. And selling our home is contingent on the effectiveness of our realtor (to a great extent). Initially, I had a great deal of confidence in her but I’m getting concerned. And a lot of that has to do with the cut-rate commission she charges. For our purposes, it’s great because she only takes 6% off the first $100,000 and then 3% off the rest. It saves us a ton on commission! The problem is, it provides little incentive for agents from other firms to direct their clients our way. The buyer’s agent we’re going to use once we relocate warned us about this but we didn’t listen and I hope it doesn’t bite us in the backside. We chose our current realtor primarily because my former boss highly recommended her and I hope we didn’t choose prematurely.

And, honestly, I wasn’t terribly concerned until we returned home and walked in the door (after making ourselves scarce) at the conclusion of the realtors’ open house. When I looked at the business cards left on the kitchen counter, it appears that only realtors from two different residential real estate firms and one commercial firm showed up. That’s not a good sign. All of the rest of the people who came were mortgage lenders. I couldn’t tell you what that means or why they came because I thought it was a ‘realtors’ open house’, so I’m not sure why people involved in the financing piece of owning a home were involved. But what do I know? Maybe there’s more to it than meets the eye? I’m not a realtor and even though I set out to be one briefly back in 2007, I never got beyond reading a few pages in a textbook before I gave up on the idea. Clearly, I don’t have all of the answers because even my great marketing idea to move the ‘house for sale’ directional sign backfired.

Yes! I’m serious! When our realtor came over yesterday (with her team of agents), she informed me that she was going to need to move it because it could only be seen from one direction (a bush was blocking the other side). I knew this when I moved it but I didn’t have much of a choice because the best place to put it (across the street) was a no-go since the homeowners were out of town and I wasn’t able to get their permission. Believe me, I tried. After ringing both doorbells and knocking on the front door (and waiting for several minutes), no one responded. When I looked around and listened, it was pretty obvious that no one was home. Both cars were gone, the lights were off, weeds were growing through cracks in the sidewalk, and there was absolutely no obnoxious barking coming from the house or yard, not even a single ‘yip’. Nearly every time I walk by, their four ‘ankle biters’ run out the dog door, race over to the fence, and bark so loudly and obnoxiously that I have to stick my fingers in my ears to avoid suffering permanent hearing loss.

And while I’m on the topic of ‘yippy dogs’, what’s with little dogs and all of the damn barking? I’ll say no more on that subject, but it does make me wonder. What does make me wonder is whether we made the right choice with our realtor. But little can be done at this point. We signed a six-month contract so we’re going to be partners in this process, whether we like it or not, until December. I recognize that there was a historic heatwave that nearly shut the whole production down the first weekend our house was on the market, and that an annual holiday essentially did the same thing the following weekend. As far as this coming weekend is concerned, I sure hope nothing else interferes and we see some results. Our realtor is holding an open house to the public on Sunday and even though my husband and I are skeptical that anything will happen (because open houses don’t yield the same interest they used to before Zillow.com and Realtor.com entered the picture), we still remain hopeful.

Doing something is better than doing nothing, right? Our realtor isn’t just sitting on her backside and doing nothing. She’s clearly ‘showing up’ for us and I suspect she’s doing a lot more than we’re even aware of (behind the scenes). At some point, I have to trust that she knows what she’s doing. She’s been a realtor since 1986 and must have a pretty good handle on real estate since she was able to start her own successful company several years ago. Maybe it’s time to ‘leave it up to the experts’? I say that but I still struggle with the idea. As I said earlier, I’m not a very patient person, especially when I cannot affix a firm date or time to something. I suppose, rather than lamenting all of this ‘time’ I have on my hands, I should be productive and do something useful, like purging the house of a bunch of stuff I don’t need or want. The drawers and cabinets and closets are filled with all kinds of crap that I am sure a local thrift store would love to take off my hands (or someone perusing the ‘free’ section on Craigslist).

But who knows? Maybe we’ll get an acceptable offer this weekend or the weekend after that? Or maybe we won’t. I don’t have a clue what the universe has in store for us. If it intends for us to stay here, it’d better let us know soon because we’re going to both have to start looking for work (to cover our bills). And if it intends for us to leave, I sure would appreciate if it would let us know sooner rather than later. My father-in-law is itching for us to come back, he has all kinds of projects he needs help with around the house. He told my husband that we can come and live with him for as long as we need, at least until we’re able to find a suitable home of our own. I guess it won’t be so bad once my mother-in-law is no longer residing there. I know it sounds mean but her behavior is too unpredictable. I don’t really want to be subjected to having furniture polish or window cleaner sprayed in my face if I say or do something that gets her riled up. And I definitely don’t want her trying to burn the house down while I’m in it.

For now, I’m going to try and take each day as it comes and hang on to what little sanity I have left. In order to do that, avoiding getting sucked into a ‘what if’ discussion with my husband would probably be advisable. That’s a daily conversation in our home and it only serves to leave me with more questions than answers. Anyway, that’s about all I have to share today. The whole ‘everything happens for a reason’ saying gets my hackles up, but maybe Norma Jean (aka Marilyn Monroe) had some wisdom beyond her years. Or maybe she didn’t. Who knows? I obviously don’t. If you’re a fan, don’t be offended but I just have to ask, why are so many people obsessed with her? Is it the hair, the lips, the body, or the ‘whole package’? Or does it have something to do with her relationship with Kennedy (or Sinatra)? I go into a store and her image is plastered everywhere, from posters to pillows to blankets to coffee mugs. It’s just like the whole thing with little dogs barking so damn much. I totally don’t get it.

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