Being in contract means that you can fix the things that buyer want fixed, but you have to keep the house as they remember it, because that's what they bought.
I can't pack, because the movers do that in a couple weeks. I have to watch what I buy at the grocery. If I'm not going to use it immediately no matter how great the coupon is it stays in the store.
And then there are things that the movers won't pack and move. Like the organic fertilizers that cost an arm and twig. You can't throw them out because they are hazmat-ible. My only option is to go door to door with my gardening neighbors and ask them if they want the stuff, begging, like a gardening hobo, or worse - a witch peddling poisons like the Evil Queen to Snow White.
To be sure, there are some things that I need to do - like assemble the manuals for the major appliances that stay with the house, and write down the care instructions for some built in features (canvas awnings need to be stored...cork floor: sweep and damp mop once a month as needed, etc.) but most of the time I just look around and wonder what to clean next.
When we were showing the house, everything had to *SPARKLE* all of the time. My mother used to say "never trust a cook if the range is clean and the sink is dirty." The range was clean enough, so the stainless steel sink in the kitchen got a very thorough cleaning.
First, it got it's Bar Keeper's Friend Treatment. A neighbor recommended salt and a half lemon scrubbing. Then my Realtor mentioned that baking soda on a damp soft rag would micro polish it, and make the water bead. It worked very well, but by this point I really felt like there had to be something that would kick it up a notch.
Then I found a bottle of Brasso - the new creamy formula - and with a little elbow grease the sink just didn't sparkle, it glowed. The Brasso also cleaned out my sinus' like napalm cleaned out the Vietcong - one of the main ingredients is AMMONIA.
"Use in a well ventilated area," the label reads. Fat chance. The sink acted like a geological kettle and the fumes were down right leisurely in their efforts to dissipate.
Even the dogs ran for the hinter lands that day. When I came to after that first polishing, and despite the assault on my sinus, keeping the kitchen sink in that just buffed shine has become my newest obsession, and Brasso, my fetish of choice, even if it kills brain cells I may need in my dotage.
The husband, home for this past weekend, soon learned of my "twitch" for cleanliness, chief among my new ticks is that when you pour something down the drain that it goes down the drain, and not to let it slop on the sink lest it leaves a coating behind, and then I have to break out the Brasso.
"That's where the phrase down the drain comes from," I pointed out. "The phrase isn't 'down the sink', it is "down the drain." Verily, the husband was convinced that I was turning into my mother.
He also learned that Windex is now forbidden on anything except windows because it leaves a waxy film behind that collects grime, until you use more Windex to dissolve the waxy stuff and its replaced with new waxy stuff. I also found myself hounding him whenever he set anything down.
"Papers," I would remind him each morning pointing to the pile of newsprint on the coffee table, "go immediatly in the trash."
"Why," he would ask reasonably after each of my hissy fits. "The house is sold, the appraisal is done, the inspection is completed, no one is coming through the house."
"Because," I pointed out, "the buyers could request a visit with their agent to measure something." This is why I need to get out of the house more often. I'm not turning into my mother, I am my mother.
His answer to my mania was that he packed up his truck and drove off to the new house, where, I imagine, he will spread out newspapers, leave plastic cups on the counter and keep his bed unmade in a glorius act of rebellion against my cleaning tyranny. I just hope he found the unused paper coasters that I found at a close out sale from a local motel that say "This is a coaster - USE IT!" and doesn't throw them out.
The fact of the matter is, the more I'm here, the more irrational and obsessive I become. You can only Swiffer so much, right? But the sink is different: it calls to me. And the louder is the siren's call to break out the Brasso, and lovingly polish the kitchen sink, so it too can feel pretty and loved and lavished with attention.