A few years ago my friend Ganelle and I were engaged in a healthy prank war. I guess you could say it was always ongoing, but it escalated one day when I was at her house and she needed to run a quick errand while her baby slept, so I offered to babysit for a few minutes. When she left, my eyes searched the room for the remote control but got distracted by the bookcase where she housed all of her scrapbooks from years past. A brilliant idea overcame me, and I quickly began flipping through the pages of a book until I found a picture taken during one of her first years as a high school teacher. She wore an embroidered sweater vest and sported a haircut more appropriate to ten years previous. It was perfect. I yanked it out and stuffed it in my purse.
I brought it home, made a color copy, wrote a cheesy update on her life (something about putting off teaching for a while so she could accept a promotion as CEO of T&T Inc.; the initials of her two young boys) and mailed it to her college alumni magazine. She was featured in the next issue.
A few months later our family went to Mexico for a family reunion. Ganelle was aware of this, and planned her retaliation in advance. At her first opportunity before we left on vacation, she stole my house key, made a copy, and returned it to its rightful spot before I noticed. She was busy in our absence. When we came home we found that every picture on the walls in our house had been replaced with a picture of HER, in various sizes. She had made 140 copies – if they weren’t in a frame, they had been hidden in other parts of the house. I was finding them for months. Also, she put our house up for sale. She borrowed a “For Sale By Owner” sign from a realtor friend and stuck it in our yard with her phone number on it. She got two calls and a visit from our neighbor who lamented as Ganelle pounded the sign into our grass, “Awww, all the good ones are leaving!”
But back then it was a joke. Today it is for real. The “For Sale” sign went up in our yard this afternoon, making it official. Despite the fact that we are making this decision voluntarily, and we’re probably not going more than 15 minutes away, it’s really hard to see it there. It’s just so…non conducive to denial. A bit of a problem when denial serves as one’s “happy place”. Still, I am focusing on the positive, not the least of which is my realtor who struck a deal with my kids the night we signed the papers saying he would give them each ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS on the day of our closing if I could vouch that they had worked really hard to keep the house clean. Brilliant, my realtor. It’s already working. The kids had the day off from school today and Drew asked me early on, “So, what are we doing today?” I thought he was referring to a fun outing, and I assured him he would be playing with friends in the afternoon. “No,” he said. “I mean what do I need to do to help clean today?” He scrubbed the bathroom and did other jobs for over an hour this morning. If you ever move to Denver and need a realtor, I will hook you up! In the meantime, I think I'll sit and enjoy the cleanliness that is not likely to last until morning.