I remember asking Christy, our realtor, how much notice I could expect before a showing. She answered honestly that it could be anywhere from a few days to less than an hour. For the first two or three weeks our house was on the market, that information kept me on the straight and narrow. I never went to bed with dishes in the sink - clean or dirty. No one was allowed to drop a single article of clothing on the floor. Toys were immediately put back, if they were allowed out at all. Every blind was up every day all day. The dining room was vacuumed a minimum of every other day. The only thing I let slide was making the kids' bunk beds. I figured I could do that in a hurry if necessary.
But one week turned into two and two turned into five and I let my guard down. Not enough to be a disaster, but enough to say we clearly live here.
And then the phone rang. It was Christy.
"Hi Julie! It's Christy. Don't panic."
Nothing that follows that phrase can possibly be good, right?
"An agent wants to preview your house. She has clients coming, probably this weekend, and she'd like to come by and walk through your house real quick. She said don't worry about any messes, she can look past all that, she just needs to preview it. Is that ok?"
Well, sure that's ok. It's been nearly two weeks since we've had any interest.
"Ok. Then she should be there...I'd say...within the hour."
Are. You. Kidding. Me?
So I literally hung up the phone and took off running. Forget panic, I was in whatever mode you shoot to after panic. I grabbed everything in sight that didn't belong, threw it in an empty laundry basket and shoved it out into the storage area off our master closet.
Because seriously, if we don't impress the agent for the preview, she isn't going to bring her clients by!
I don't think it would be exaggerating too much to suggest I looked a bit like a large Speedy Gonzalez. Andale! Andale! I burst into Daniel's room (he was having room/nap time) and started giving orders. Pick up your clothes! Put those toys back. Put this in the trash. Hurry! Hurry! Faster! Meanwhile I was making beds like a madwoman! In fact, I had so much energy that when I yanked the cord to raise the blinds in the kids' bathroom, they fell to the floor with a big crash. No time to spare, I tossed them in the tub and pulled the curtain.
As we finished upstairs I fairly flew down the steps and smack into the wall. My face was already bright red with hurry, adrenaline and effort. Frantically I threw the dishes, soap, scrubbers, and anything else on the counters into the dishwasher. No one looks in there, right? About that time, Michael and Brenna arrived home from school. I think I opened the door and yelled, "RUN!! We've got showing in MINUTES! Let's Go!! Put all that stuff back in the car - Don't bring it in here!" They just stood at the end of the driveway and stared at me.
I turned to go through the dining room and realized all at once that I had all my sewing stuff out and the fully loaded ironing board was blocking the front door. Nice. I don't think I've ever cleaned up so fast in all my life. I also don't think I'll ever find everything again. As everyone tore through the house putting things away and, to be totally honest, hiding things, I suddenly remembered that Carrie was still upstairs sleeping. I left the others to finish downstairs and I raced up to get her... and the bag of dirty diapers that was still sitting on her changing table. Just as I picked her up from the crib, I heard, "She's here, Mom!"
We offered to go for a walk while the realtor looked through the house, but she said it really wasn't necessary. She was done by the time we all got outside.
And then it took me another hour to calm down and return to normal color. I guess you could say we needed a kick in the pants and we got it. That was absolutely crazy!! Today I'm finding things under the cedar chest, in the washing machine, behind the towels in the linen closet, and anywhere else we thought we might get away with hiding something.
But for all that - I think we might have earned a showing. In a market like this, we'll take it!