It started off innocently enough the week before when a realtor cold-called us. Were we thinking of selling?
Well, actually, yes that has been a topic of recent discussion. She agreed to come over and see the property and give us an estimate of where we were in the current market.
The same day, the Homeowner’s Association, which I am a part of, had a guest from the HOA neighboring ours and they wanted to know all about our drainage issues and where these mythical overflow pipes were. Having found the pipes several years previous, I was confident this would be a quick walk in the woods. Of course, they planned the meeting for the same time as my real estate assessment.
I had initially chosen to cancel with the HOA people and be here with my husband for the interview; until my husband decided he was in a mood and wanted to do the meeting by himself, as he had already communicated I wasn’t going to be there to the real estate agent. Rather than fight, I embraced it and left to wander the neighborhood. Divide and conquer, I suppose.
Right at the stroke of 5pm, I met with the other board member and the guest – both of whom were old enough to be my father – and we trudged into the woods, just as a Mercedes parked in my driveway (I assume this real estate agent did pretty well). My first mistake of the evening was not bringing a machete. The briars and trees were so overgrown, my little adventure group quickly got stuck and turned around. My second mistake was not changing into jeans like a proper adventurer bushwhacking through the North Carolinian wetlands; I was still in my work clothes with my rubber boots pulled up over my cute black work pants. I was trailing the two old dudes: “The pipes should be about here,” I said as we emerged behind the lot next to where we started. This wasn’t going well at all. The pipes were not where we remembered them to be.
And then, we struck gold! The other board member shouted to us behind the tree line, and lo and behold, the pipes! They were hidden in the overgrowth of vines and were much smaller than I remember: they were really about four feet in diameter, not the six feet I remembered.
And then, it dawned on me that I was running around a wetland with two grown men looking for drainage pipes at dusk. Who does these things? As we emerged from the woods, I eyed the Mercedes still parked in my driveway, wondering how it was all going.
“Where do you think the drainage pipes end at?” asked our guest. We hadn’t the slightest clue.
“The must go that way,” said our president. “It makes the most sense.”
We followed its theoretical path and came upon a large twelve foot privacy fence to an adjoining neighborhood. We didn’t dare go into this neighborhood because of the fear of being leaded up with buckshot. Being the most agile, I was voted to climb the fence to investigate. Climbing a fence is quite the task in rubber boots, but I managed and the effort was rewarded. The pipes emerged out of the earth and drained into a waterway we had no idea about. I snapped a picture with my cellphone to show my companions. We stood there talking, waxing poetic about the late 1990’s and the lawsuit that culminated in adding these drainage pipes. The sun had long since ducked under the horizon and I could see the Mercedes had left. I was eager to get out of this conversation between two old men and get a recon report on my house.
It was pitch dark now, the two old guys were still talking, and a text from my husband read, “Where are you?” I excused myself – beyond ready for dinner – and headed home.
“How did it go?” I asked, breathless and I ran through the door. “What did they say, tell me everything!”
“Well, it wasn’t just one realtor, it was a team. And it just went on from there.”
He proceeded to tell me that one of the realtors represented the sellers when we purchased the house six years ago. She was completely enamored by the state of the house now and how well we had fixed it up. (It should be noted that we bought the house from convicted drug dealers with zero color theory.) The lead agents were pushy and insistent that my husband sign contracts. We weren’t ready to list and he declined to sign, much to their disappointment. She gave us a market analysis – and while the top price was about $25,000 below where I would start – it at least gave us a jumping off point.
What a Tuesday night.
It all seems surreal.
Maybe because it is.