Tag Archives: humor

The Housing Market Roller Coaster (Episode 3)

The moment that we decided to put in an offer on a house, the part that scared the crap out of me the most was the inevitable next step: staging my home.

In most of the pictures of homes for sale that I had seen in recent years, all I could see was empty rooms. I kept wondering if people were still living there given how sparsely they were decorated. And if they were living there, where was their stuff?

I have seen enough HGTV network shows to know that some people have a hard time visualizing themselves in a home. And frankly, I have yelled at the TV in exasperation when buyers reject a whole house because of a paint colour or because the drapes were blue.

But I do understand that during a showing, prospective buyers aren’t interested in seeing the story of André. They need to see their own storyline, and their own needs and wants for the home to strike the right chord. For that reason, some decluttering is needed.

While I wouldn’t consider myself a pack rat, I am not a minimalist either. Like most people, I have stuff.

So the burning question: where does people’s stuff go to make the house look that empty and how much effort will it take for me to get there?

Fortunately, over the last years, I witnessed a shift in my own mindset, less focused on possessions and more focused on experiences. Along the way, I have indeed been chipping away at the stuff, shredding old papers, donating gently used belonging and tossing things that were past their prime for anyone to reuse. Was that enough effort for staging purposes? Probably not.

But where it gets complicated is how much more do I need to edit out, and can I do it without throwing out my degenerating disc in between arthritic flare ups in my hands…  the joys of being over 50!

That was where I needed to rely on the wisdom and experience of my agent to have a good look around the house and to offer me a prioritized to-do list to get the house ready.

The morning that my agent was coming to tour the house, I was worried that my breakfast wouldn’t stay down. I was just that nervous. And despite my pre-staging decluttering, as she wandered from room to room, I could sense that the to-do list was getting longer by the minute. Nonetheless, my clipboard was loaded with paper and ready for me to follow her around and to take note of all of her recommendations.

The moment she said, “OK, let’s go through the house together” I nearly jumped out of my skin like when a teacher says, “Pencils down!” during a surprise pop quiz and there are still some questions unanswered.

As we started going through the house room by room, she recited her suggestions and I thought to myself either “OK, that’s easy!” or “No surprise there, I expected that” to the point that when we got to the last room I thought, “Is that it?”

For some reason, I hadn’t noticed that my house was much farther along than I thought. The closets and cupboards that were meticulously reorganized over the years outnumbered the ones that weren’t there yet, so very little additional effort was required in that department.

And what I enjoyed most was that she even had a few optional suggestions that started with “if you have time…” so I wouldn’t need to sweat about those until the last moment, if indeed time and energy permitted.

The optional one that seemed the easiest to me was, “If you have time, change the plastic doorknobs to metallic ones”. Having changed the doorknob hardware in the “eyesore door” last summer, I confidently added it to the list. I agreed that this was a little detail that would go a long way.

One step that seemed daunting to me was renting a space in a self-storage facility and thinning out the amount of furniture in my place. But the rationale provided was that the rooms in question would feel bigger and would appeal better to prospective buyers.

I hoped to avoid having to do that, but if we must, we must.

The reasoning totally made sense, but how would the cat deal with her two favourite napping chairs sent into storage? Time will tell.

In some ways, it was an ambitious list, but in other ways it could have been worse. Either way, with the photographer coming in a few days to take photos for the real estate listing, there was no time to waste.

The days that followed were jam-packed. After putting in a full day at work, it was evening after evening of keeping a close eye on the clock, multi-tasking between paint touch ups, last minute fixes and tossing things into bankers’ boxes and hiding them in the basement, out of sight.

Despite fatigue starting to set in, the adrenaline was pumping hard, to the point that the short nights didn’t seem to faze me, but I knew I would pay for it later.

The best part was that the “type A” part of me that likes a neat and tidy home was completely unleashed. It was an opportunity to legitimately obsess about little details to try to maximize the appeal of the home on every level.

I was delighted that even though the night before the house was listed, I was up way past my bedtime still painting, I had reached the finish line. Not only did I complete most of the tasks my agent asked me to do to prepare for staging, but this was the end of home renovations for this house. Normal cleaning and maintenance will continue, of course, but the reno to-do list was done!

It was a very bittersweet moment to approach the shredder and to initiate the ceremonial shredding of the index cards with the never ending list of home improvements. This was also a big step in the psychological detachment from this house that had been my home for so many years.

I was too tired and too dehydrated to shed a tear by this point.

But now the sale was in the hands of the universe. It was time for a good night’s sleep and to buckle up for the requests for showings.

Fingers crossed!

To return to episode 2 of “The Housing Market Roller Coaster”, click here.

Did you enjoy this post? If you haven’t already, please check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.blog. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox. Also, don’t be shy, feel free to tell a friend or to share the link.
Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

1 Comment

Filed under 50+, home, Humour

Don’t Touch the Walls!

After the completion of numerous home improvement projects over the years, it was time to redirect my attention to the walls.

When I first moved in, the paint was in good shape, and therefore wasn’t a huge priority. But as the years rolled by, I may have painted a room here and there, to freshen things up. If it wasn’t specifically with the intent to redecorate, it was usually the room that got on my nerves the worst from scuffs that would no longer scrub out.

Also, I don’t understand how previous owners could screw up patch jobs by putting matte paint over a wall finished in glossy, and vice versa. Funny enough, they took the time to match the colour perfectly (which, to me, would have been the greater challenge), but missed completely on selecting the right paint finish. Thankfully, I had enough artwork to distract the eye away from those shabby spots until I could have those rooms painted and consistently covered in the same finish.

It was only in recent years, when chasing Ivy the Wonder Cat around with the camera and taking pictures for her Instagram account, that in seeing things at her eye level, I started noticing scuffs more.

For one picture in particular, I spent a solid hour in Microsoft Paint replacing pixels to cover up a truly excellent picture of Ivy but a horrible one of a baseboard in a high traffic area.
With the help of a fantastic professional painting crew over three visits, not only did I catch up quickly but it also inspired me to finish some walls myself. It really is true how a coat of paint can quickly freshen up a place. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under home, Humour

My Thunderous Rumbling Stomach

It seems like just yesterday, I had a stomach made of steel. When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I had a pretty fast metabolism and could eat anything and everything, any day, any time.

Where I used to be able to pack away large quantities of food and still remain technically underweight, today, a handful of potato chips is enough to have me retaining water like a sponge.

But the tide can turn from time to time. For me, all it takes is the return to a regular exercise regimen, like the one I have successfully incorporated into my routine last year.

When that happens, not only does my metabolic rate go up, but it’s like revisiting my teens and 20s all over again as I seem to be hungry… ALL THE TIME!

While logically, it should just be a case of finding an extra snack or two to tide me over until the next meal, it’s a little more complicated than that.

As much as you would think I could take advantage of the situation to indulge myself in the goodies I only consume in moderation (since I’m not technically underweight anymore), in reality, I don’t crave them when I work out regularly. The empty calories leave me hungry and wanting something else soon thereafter.

I tend to crave healthier snacks that sustain me better. If I don’t, I get so hungry that my arrival home is like a scene from “Animal Planet”, as I demolish leftover roast chicken like a lion devouring its prey. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 50+, food, Health and Wellness, Humour, Running

The Final Cut: From Clippers to Shaver

It was on the eve of my 54th birthday, facing the next instalment in my every-two-weeks haircut when I asked myself, “Why not? If I don’t like it, it will grow back.”

I explored electric razors with the plan to shave my scalp for the first time. But when I say “first time”, the reality is that the transition to this point has been more than a decade in the making.

When I accepted that my hair was slowly slipping away due to male pattern baldness, rather than finding creative ways of covering up my slowly increasing Friar Tuck look, I started the slow transition of shorter haircuts.

My last attempt at long hair that ended up looking like Peppermint Patty was trimmed to a neat professional look. For a while after that, I took a bit of a detour into a faux-hawk look, which I consider my last actual “hair style”.

But when more scalp was peeking through the back of my head, to me, it was time. In every subsequent scissor cut, I went a little shorter every time. After that, it was the clipper cut countdown, starting with a “number four” with much trepidation.

The nervousness quickly disappeared through my immense enjoyment of the freedom from hair products and blow dryers, and in the reclaiming of time in the morning. The fact that a visit to the barber was now an efficient and record-breaking 7 minutes in duration was a pleasure in itself. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under 50+, Humour

Librarian Jokes

Not too long ago, I found a joke on social media that started with “I asked the librarian for…” and ended with a funny one-liner.

I am not sure why it struck a chord like it did, but it set my brain on an endless loop, trying to come up with one-liners of my own. While I certainly wouldn’t categorize myself as a comedy writer, I had a lot of fun with “I asked the librarian for…” as a writing prompt. This is the result:

I asked the librarian for books on comedy. She said, “That’s a funny question.”
I asked the librarian for books about joy. She said she’d be happy to help!
I asked the librarian for books about exaggerations. She said that was the strangest question ever asked in the history of libraries.
I asked the librarian for books about intuition. She said she knew I would ask that.
I asked the librarian for books about silence. She didn’t answer.
I asked the librarian for books about fractures. She said, “Give me a break!”
I asked the librarian for books about wheels. Her answers kept going around in circles. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction, Humour

50 Signs That You Are Sick of Winter

1 – There is enough grit in your entry hall to fill a sandbox, even when you vacuum it each week.
2 – You would like to have a few words with the groundhog.
3 – You run your fingers through the cat’s litter box, close your eyes, and dream you are on a sandy beach.
4 – You visit your summer clothes at the back of the closet.
5 – You put on sunscreen just to enjoy its aroma.
6 – In the car, you crank up the temperature and turn on the heated seats, just to remember what it was like to feel a little sweaty.
7 – Your default TV channel is the Sunset Channel.
8 – When you go to restaurants, you order drinks with umbrellas, and pretend you are on vacation.
9 – You create more playlists of songs with steel drums.
10 – When you check the weather app, you don’t tap on “weather warnings” anymore. You know that it is just more bad news.
11 – You have Googled “vitamin D dosage” on more than one occasion.
12 – You get frustrated when stores put out the lawn and garden supplies, when you are still looking for winter supplies. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Humour, Lists

Cat Food: When Her Favourite Is No Longer Her Favourite

When it comes to Ivy the Wonder Cat, mealtime is usually pretty straightforward. She has four or five types of good quality wet food on rotation, she has a bowl of her favourite dry food, she has three kinds of treats in the cupboard, she has an exercise/feeder ball in the play room and she has plenty of fresh water to wash it all down and to stay hydrated.

Most times, she has a pretty healthy appetite and her bowls of wet food are gone in three or four visits. Sometimes, my social eater might gobble them down in two visits.

And based on the way Ivy operates, mealtime seems to confirm what I have heard and read about cats liking structure and aren’t fans of change.

She likes her meals served at the same time each day, and you can set your clock by Ivy. My extroverted kitty has no problem waking me up from a deep sleep that encroaches on her meal time.

Similarly, she doesn’t like me to diverge too often from a small rotation current favourites as it seems to disrupt the routine, resulting in uneaten portions. That being the case, when I am at the pet store, there is really no guesswork involved. I know what her favourites are and I just have to keep buying them, which certainly makes life easy for me.

That is, until the dreaded day one of her favourites is no longer her favourite. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Cats, Humour