The Worst Birthday

In honor of my birthday, I am re-releasing a post about how I spent my birthday one year. Take my advice and treat yourself nice. It only comes around once a year.
I was deleting computer files recently. I stumbled upon a document that was immediately memorable because I remember that I had to download, print, sign, then fax the document  to our real estate agent. Looking at it brought about old feelings of anger and disgust. My signature on the document gave permission for a popular television program to film our condo and use the footage in a future featured  home buyers choice episode. So, you ask: Why did negative feelings surface over this little piece of paper? Well, here’s the story of what did and did not happen.
We had tried to sell our condo for ten years (okay, it was only one and a half, but it seemed longer) and the market just kept creeping closer to the outhouse every day. It stunk that bad. Our realtor called us with what we thought was FABULOUS news. The program was having a contest for a lucky couple in Chicago to win the home of their choice.  Now it was time to film them and their reactions at their three favorite homes. There was only one problem. Sunday was filming day AND MY BIRTHDAY!
Let me tell you, I felt torn. I wanted to sell our condo so bad.  I was beyond the point of desperation (or so I thought.) I dropped our home sale into every conversation, brushed up on market stats, selling trends and tips for staging and showing. I worked as hard as our realtor. When I agreed to a showing, I agreed to a perfect presentation.  I also agreed to a cleaning regimen that would put Mr. Clean to shame. My house was so clean for each showing that potential buyers seemed amazed  that children lived here.

The dueling voices sat on my shoulder trying to decide what to do.

Voice 1 :“It’s your birthday.”
Voice 2: “You could sell your condo today.”
Voice 1: “The housing market is dead.”
Voice 2: “You’ll still have time to enjoy your birthday.”

In the end, I chose to spend my birthday cleaning. I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to jinx the results, or have people think I was crazy.  I became paranoid that my cleaning wasn’t good enough.  A film crew would be in my home. I contemplated vacuuming the cat to keep her from shedding that day.

I finished just minutes before our realtor arrived. I was  sweaty and irritated with myself for saying yes to this slim chance that this would be our ticket out of condo hell.

Then came the waiting part. We had to stay out of the house for who knew how long. All four of us were hungry. We had plied the children with snacks until we left; afraid that lunch would a) take too long  b) leave another mess to clean up and c) leave lingering cooking odors that might  dissuade the couple from being interested. We hung out at the Metra train station food court, ate,  and waited for the safe to return call.

I collapsed on the sofa in my clean house.  I knew there would be no fancy dinner or cake to look forward to. The only signs that a film crew had been there were a few items out-of-place and some footprints in our bathtub. The worst part was that we never heard back from the program at all. Not even an air date. It all seemed like a cruel joke or a bad dream.

We did sell our condo eventually. I learned my lesson though. Birthday’s are sacred.