It’s the Bearded One’s turn to sign the listing agreement. We all know it’s killing him. So Kathi the Realtor and I sit back and stare out the newly-cleaned windows and marvel at the thick cedar pollen clouds, gusting and swirling like smoke, like fog on an otherwise brilliant spring day.
“This pollen is crazy,” says Kathi. “I’ve got asthma!”
“It’s falling in Seattle, too,” I say. “The kids tell me it’s because of these three sunny days.” This morning the Bearded One used the leaf blower on the truck before rain comes and quickly converts the thick coat of dust into very durable permaculture.
I groan as I look at the thick new layer on every flat dark surface, inside or out, that I have recently cleaned or painted. My shoulder aches from yesterday’s work: turning the compost, cleaning the chicken coop from roost to nesting box, and raking out the berry patch. I even ordered six seed packages, a gesture that accepts, sort of, our continued presence here awhile. I’ve been a bit grumpy lately, feeling neither here nor there, courting a beloved buyer who will not call.
We tried to sell the house ourselves for 10 days. Free ads and Zillow and home-made signs and word of mouth — and got two inquiries from agents wanting the listing, and two from ones interested in owner financing. A friend advised us to bury a St. Joseph statuette upside-down in the yard and say a prayer, that this did the trick for her. I didn’t want to buy a Joseph, and the Bearded One didn’t want me to bury the little Christmas nativity statue I have because I’d have to bury Mary and the Baby Jesus, too, and that couldn’t be lucky.
Now Kathi, my fairy godmother and real estate matchmaker, is taking over.
Kathi sneezes and her eyes water, the Bearded One passes the paperwork to me to sign and initial, and then the phone rings. The Bearded One goes to answer.
“This place looks like it’s just loaded with karma,” says a man named Chuck. They saw our Zillow ad.
“Yes, indeed,” says the Bearded One, and invites Chuck and Amy and their enormous dog Dandy to come see the place.
“We’ll be there in an hour,” says Chuck.
“How did you do that?” I ask Kathi. She laughs and shrugs and I say, “We hire you and get our first showing within a few seconds?! Everything is connected to everything, that’s all I can say.”
* * *
Kathi leaves and it takes me a half hour to stage the house, hiding stuff, clearing counters and tables, cleaning sinks and mirrors. None of which makes much difference, but keeps me busy.
The pollen has stopped blowing for the time being anyway, and when Chuck and Amy arrive, right on time, there’s a glow in the air.
They are roughly our age. They have just moved from Hawaii, they say, and now live a half hour away from here. Their 30-year-old son is still in Hawaii, but coming soon and wants to raise chickens and alpacas and live on acreage in the woods. Chuck and Amy have been scouting houses for him.
“Hi there,” I say to him through Chuck and Amy’s Skyping phone and camera. Then Chuck carries him with us just ahead of the Bearded One and Amy and me and we walk the nature trail, tour the barn and aviary and hoophouse, and then, finally, the house. The farmlet looks beautiful and magical and everyone can see it — even all the way over in Hawaii.
* * *
It comes out as a long, high-pitched wail, a hit of pure magical joy that literally pulls me out of the house and through the cat condo onto the pollen encrusted deck — “Yahhhhhhhhh HOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” when Kathi calls back (sneezing) the next day with their full price offer. We are going to Hawaii.