house for dewIf you have never tried to sell a house, you may as well stop reading right now. It will be impossible for you to accept what I am about to write as anything but fiction…..of the Stephen King variety. However, if you have sold a house, you will begin nodding your head, recognizing the horrors and giving thanks that you have passed through the valley of the shadow of real estate and reached the promised land.

Last week, we put our house on the market. The path we took to planting a for sale sign was worthy of a budget version of “The Shining.” Instead of Jack Nicholson and an ax, we have a cat. Cat owners realize this is much more frightening.

On deciding to sell, our real estate agent walked through our house, which we considered perfect and proceeded to tell us to change everything, to move everything, to get rid of almost everything and to fix, renovate, patch, clean and paint everything. We had two weeks.

Our cat watched with detached curiosity.

Luck being on our side (or so we thought) we had a potential buyer before the first day of listing the house! “Hooray!” we naively thought, maybe this will be easy! After the two weeks of work on the house we still had a list that would have taken a contractor approximately several years to complete. We finished in a day. A new definition of bone-weary-beat-up -fatigued, near-death and exhausted permeated our very beings.

One last job. Getting the cat (22 lbs of fur, tooth and claw) out of the house for the showing. Nothing prepared us for what was about to happen.

Not unlike the ominous foreboding in our horror movie, the sky turned gray and rain began pelting the ground. We found the cat and shoved him into the travel cage we had for such occasions. We carefully loaded him into the car, already jammed with the last of our non-essential possessions, and began the half mile journey to the loft a friend offered so we could erase all evidence of our existence from the house.

cat for dewBefore we got out of the driveway the cat began making noises that combined a growl, a meow, a howl and, if I’m not mistaken, the words: “Here’s Johnny!”

Perhaps at this point the cat finds inspiration in another horror classic: “The Exorcist.” He begins panting loudly and within a block of the house, commences to violently throw up and pee in his cage. Ever smell cat pee? We stopped. Now it was really raining. We opened the back, opened the cage, cleaned the cat, leaving a towel full of cat pee and vomit in my car door, and continued on our journey through the night.

Our only hope was to continue, careening through the night with a venomous cat and a car load of possessions we gladly would have jetisoned, leaving memories and treasures on the side of the road, if only the cat would stop vomiting!

Arriving, after what seemed an eternity, we struggled with the cat’s ungainly cage up a flight and down a long hallway to our destination. The lofts are opposite a train yard and the noises completely freaked the cat out….by this point we felt a tinge of vengeance, secretly reveling in our cat’s discomfort! TAKE THAT CAT!

Unloading our packed car, getting everything through the rain, up the elevator, down the hall and into the loft we collapsed, just as the phone rang.

It was our real estate agent, calling to tell us the potential buyers had decided to look elsewhere and were not, after all, coming to see the house. Because we have not availed ourselves of our rights under the second amendment, the night ended peacefully. The next morning the sun came out and we began the process of marketing our lovely home.

Any buyers out there? It comes with the cat.

Photo captions: Our beautiful house while the cat is away; for the first three days the cat hunkered down in the tub, afraid to venture into the loft where clanging trains, honking trucks and barking dogs envelope the space in a cacophony of anti-cat sounds.

Want to see more of the house? Click on the link, then click on the house photo for a slide show! House for Sale!





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Billy Howard

Billy Howard

Billy Howard is a commercial and documentary photographer with an emphasis on education and global health.