Monday, March 23, 2009

House Browsing by Karin Gillespie

My mother and I went house-browsing last weekend, a far more leisurely pursuit than house-hunting. Last June, my home sold within a week, plunging me into the heady world of house-hunting or more accurately “house-stalking.”

I was so desperate for a new house that my pulse would go into overdrive and I’d scream “Stop!” every time I saw a sign staked in a yard, even though it only said, “We use well water.”

I much prefer the relaxed pace of house-browsing. My mother is toying with the idea of buying a new house, which gives her the luxury of turning up her nose at any little thing she doesn’t like.

“Vinyl flooring in the kitchen? “ she’ll say with a sniff. “I think not.”

We made the rounds of the open houses last Sunday, taking my fiancĂ©, an accomplished cook, who tags along so he can peer into other people’s ovens. The first house, a fixer-upper cottage, had a battered sedan out front.

“Surely that’s not the realtor’s car,” my mother says.

“Can’t be,” I say, noting the sign out front. The listing belonged to a super-star realtors who, like Cher, Madonna, and Prince, is so famous she doesn’t need the nuisance of a last name.

“That’s the realtor’s car,” I say, pointing to a gleaming beauty parked further up the drive. We ooh and ahh over the automobile, which is so impressive, that if it had an eat-in kitchen my mother would have made an offer on it.

The door flings open and instead of seeing the super-star realtor, it’s one of her many underlings, an eager young thing who directs us to the guest book and hands us the information sheet on the house.

When we see the price, we raise our eyebrows and say, ”Hmmmm” which is code for “these people are out of their skulls.”

I turn to the realtor, and instead of asking the question that’s really plaguing my mind, i.e., “What were they thinking when they chose these living room drapes?” I ask a series of businesslike question, so she’ll know we’re semi-serious browsers instead of voyeurs, looking to kill time on a Sunday afternoon.

“How old is the HVAC system? Is this property built on a slab? Are the owners colorblind?

Oops. That last question just slipped out.

Mainly we look at houses in my mother’s price range, but we also get a kick out of touring the grand, palatial homes, just in case we win the lottery.

During the open house of such homes, the super-star realtor might even swoop in for a special guest appearance! And my mother and I strut around pretending that we can afford such a spread.

“Mummy,” I say. “Wouldn’t your antique settee look positively divine in the foyer?” or “Sub Zero is so last season.”

My fiancĂ©, however, blows our cover by bursting in and saying, “Check out the fancy Viking range! I’ll bet its worth more than our whole house.”

We slink outside, waiting until we’re well out of earshot, and the sour grapes begin.
“Imagine the heating bills!” “Money certainly can’t buy taste.” “I wouldn’t have a house that big if you paid me.”

1 comment:

Shellie Tomlinson said...

Karin, forgive the open communication to the whole world here, but our computers aren't "talking" to each other again. If you'll contact me on my cell, maybe we can text? Otherwise, we may have to use smoke signals and though I have some Indian heritage, I'm gonna have to brush up on the basics...