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  • "There is a smell in here. Something... feral” says Scott, our real estate agent.

    "Oh yes. That would be my eighth grader" I answer, raising an eyebrow at my son sprawled on the sofa across the room, cozy in his nest. We are still working on issues of basic personal hygiene with him.

    "Well you need to Febreze in here" Scott says, walking quickly into the next room.

    I add that to my to-do list.

    "Too personal and too cluttered" he says, pointing to the cluster of family photos on the bookshelves of the living room. "You want the buyers to see themselves here, not you here” he quips, again turning on his heels and marching off and into the next room.

    "Stash photos" I write.

    And so it went.

    Three crazed days of book pile hiding (amazing how much space there actually is under an ordinary sofa!) pillow fluffing, Windex spritzing madness. The thrift store employees waved hello, knew me by sight, as I pulled up with yet another carload of crap. What I gave away I cannot say. It is all a blur.

    We are all astounded with how tidy everything is and how we are now also all sneezing - allergic to the Febreze, I imagine. The place looks immaculate, better than ever, and Scott showed it yesterday to the prospective buyer as a one-shot, private showing, arrangement.

    "So did the house like the Midwesterners?" my friend Lisa emailed me this morning.

    An excellent way to frame the question. "Not sure" I answer. "I think they might be too stupid to live here" I snark.

    An unfair and juvenile, knee jerk response to the fact that the wife loved it, but has concerns about maintenance realities, the heating bill, questions we probably should have asked about too, but didn't. Her husband is coming in town to see it on Saturday.

    A response stemming from jealousy too, hearing that they evidently have cash to buy this place outright, without a mortgage. Free and clear. Easy breezy... Ha, how I wish that to have been our reality then, or now.

    A response due to my aggravation that I now have to dig into piles of paper I stashed somewhere I can't remember so that we could make it appear that we don't actually live here.

    My blue eyes have become glaringly green.

    Maybe this wasn't such a great idea - agreeing to show just these people, just this once, this house. Sure, it felt serendipitous that the agent called just when we were talking about making a life change. That it seemed like fate - the perfect answer dropping into our laps. A potentially once and done deal, without the hassle of MLS listings, broker open houses, etc. etc. Brilliant!

    Maybe brilliant. Lots of maybes. The maybes are multiplying by the minute.

    Maybe our commute really isn't so bad; maybe we'll inherit a pile of money to pay off the mortgage, maybe...

    I found the heating bills, and am carefully handpicking out the highest ones I can find. I know that this is not the most sensible approach but I don't care. I can feel these old stone walls chortling ever so minutely with laughter.

    I sense the presence of the house ghost around again too - the old man who stands behind me on occasion, watching. He appears during times of heightened activity - when we are repainting, plastering, doing reparations to the house. I am not the only one who has felt him around - contractors, house guests, previous owners have remarked on it too. I like to think it's the house proud, original owner - Isaiah Leidy, c. 1850 - making sure we are doing things correctly, taking care of his pride and joy.

    Isaiah's clearly got concerns.

    So will we stay or go? I don't really know. But I am wondering if in the Seller's Disclosure document I should also mention the ghost? The old pine floorboards creak at my thought of it.
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