Monday, 29 July 2013

Scenes from a Marriage (Part 3) – The House Hunt by Naomi Elana Zener

The leaking fridge was the final straw. One too many latent defects had reared their ugly head, forcing the issue of selling Husband and Wife’s tired starter home, replete with the former owner’s less-than-fabulous renovations. Once packaged as having been an elegantly renovated home with high-end finishings, the home had been more akin to a house of horrors, prompting Husband and Wife to move on up to a more civilized pied-a-terre.

“If I have to live in this shit pile of bricks for one more minute, I will burn it to the ground!” Wife cried.

“Alright, I’ll look at the MLS listings you sent me last night at three in the morning, when you should have been sound asleep,” Husband offered.

“How can you sleep soundly when our bedroom is a furnace in the summer, notwithstanding our brand new air conditioning system? Lest we not forget, the freight-train like whirring coming from the fan you have blasting cold air on me all night long?” Wife asked rhetorically.

“I told you that I’d switch sides with you since the plug is on your side of the bed. But, you refused,” Husband replied.

“The left side is my side. It has always been my side and always will be. Heaven forbid you use some lateral thinking and bought an extension cord to run under the bed to plug the fan in from your side of the bed,” Wife emphasized. “Anyway, who the hell renovates a house to its studs and only installs one bloody electrical outlet in the master bedroom?”

“Same idiot who leaves ungrounded wires in the furnace room, exposed insulation in the basement and mould growing inside of the walls of the nanny’s room,” Husband replied.

Wife, not wanting to waste more precious time venting, which was distracting Husband from reviewing the MLS listings she had sent him, turned on the television to numb out.

“Well, these five look promising,” Husband stated pointing out on his iPad the houses he liked. “I’ll set up showings with the agents for later this week.”

“For tomorrow!” Wife instructed, shutting the television off and tossing the remote at the fan. “I want to see two sold signs on two front lawns by the end of next week.”

Two sold signs in Wife’s stated timeline were not written in the stars. Rather, sixty unacceptable showings and four months later forced Wife to relent, and she lifted her geographic embargo on various areas in the city, giving their realtor more flexibility in finding the couple more housing options to look at. One early Sunday morning, interrupting Wife’s regularly scheduled political television program viewing, the realtor called with news that he was swinging by in twenty minutes to take them to see a brand new listing.

“I have found you the one!” the realtor advised excitedly, hoping that his time servicing this couple was coming to an end. “This lovely Victorian is in the swankiest part of town. It has been renovated by one of the city’s top architectural teams and is impeccably appointed with only the best high-end finishings. This home is a stone’s throw from some of the city’s best restaurants, shopping and places to people watch.”

The realtor’s car pulled up in front of a historically preserved semi-detached home that looked as though it was backlit on a Hollywood studio set, emphasizing its regal character.

“Excuse me, but when did we ever say we would consider a half of a house?” Wife demanded to know. Husband remained silent, not wanting to further fan Wife’s raging flames of frustration. Everyone remained unmoved in the realtor’s car.

“I know it’s a semi, but it has over four thousand square feet of above ground living space!” the realtor said exasperatedly.

“What’s wrong with a semi anyway?” the realtor asked.

“Is this guy for real?” Wife asked Husband, not expecting an answer. “Do you think I want to smell my wall neighbour’s foul odours wafting through a shared ventilation system, when it’s curry night or when he had a bad gastric episode? Maybe you like to know when it’s sex night for your neighbours, but I certainly don’t. And, I don’t want them knowing mine either!”

“The silence from our side would be deafening since it only happens three days a month,” Husband added laughing. Wife was not amused with Husband’s sexual disclosure.

“But, it’s been renovated! It has new ventilation, new pipes, new soundproof insulation held in by new drywall,” the realtor shrieked.

“Walls are only so thick. Bottom line, I need to be able to tell my husband to go fuck himself without having a nosy neighbour listening in on our private marital conversations without calling the cops,” Wife explained.

“I think I now have a clearer picture of what you are looking for and I don’t think that we share the same vision. I’m willing to terminate our buyer’s representation agreement so you’re free to find what you want with someone who can cater to your specific needs,” the realtor offered trying to break free from his albatross. “And, to show that we’re still friends, I won’t even claim a right to any commission on any listing I’ve shown you, should you end up buying one of those homes.”

“And the truth shall set you free,” Husband laughed.

“Two weeks – that must be a record for us!” Wife laughed acknowledging that they went through more realtors in the past four months than anyone in MLS history. Or, so several realty firms that had refused to work with them, after first being forewarned that Husband and Wife had been boycotted by almost every other firm with whom they had worked previously, had told them.

“You’re doing us a favour, really. I’ll find exactly what I want without having a commission-sucking vampire like you suctioned to my wallet,” Wife shot back.

After two days passed since breaking ties with their realtor, Husband and Wife returned to visit the semi, tempted by the square footage and pedigree of its renovators’ hands. A sale price of two hundred thousand dollars below the seller’s asking price was accepted, after Wife had made it clear that no one else would put in an offer once bidders’ agents found out that an offer had been placed by Husband and Wife, given their reputation amongst the city’s realtors. Determined not to be wall neighbours with anyone, Husband and Wife doggedly pursued the octogenarian grandmother living next door with cash offers, to no avail. Then, one fateful night when the grandmother’s television stopped working because her cable lines had been cut mysteriously, she eavesdropped on Husband and Wife’s easily audible conversation, in which Wife told Husband loudly that they would be hosting both their African-drumming classes and S&M group sex swinger parties for the next six months, since no one else offered up their homes for the events. As if on cue, an hour later the grandmother made an unexpected late night visit to Husband and Wife’s front door offering to sell them her dilapidated half-a-house for half of what they had paid for their palace, proving that no matter how good a renovation is, a semi’s walls were paper thin.

© 2013. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.

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