Curb Appeal

I’m going to have to do some cleaning and painting and things, no doubt about it. That’s what Mara said, and she’s been in the real estate business for a while. If I want to sell this place, she told me, I’ll need to put some effort into it. And I do want the place to get a good price. It’s time to move, but I’m not desperate, and I want to make as much as I can from the sale.

Tanya didn’t want to sell; she loved the house. I think she wanted to stay here forever. In fact, we had a big fight about it a month or so ago. I kept trying to tell her it would be best if we moved, but she wouldn’t listen to me. Then I met Mara at my gym, and she handed me her business card. Real estate agents are everywhere! Anyway, I thought about it for a while and gave her a call. It was just to get some numbers, not to actually do anything about it. That started another argument with Tanya. ‘Why didn’t you at least talk to me before you called her?’ she kept saying.

When Tanya finally calmed down, I convinced her to at least meet Mara. ‘What harm’s it going to do?’ I asked her. ‘It’s not like we’re signing anything.’ I guess Tanya saw my point, because she agreed. She wasn’t happy about it, though. A couple of afternoons later, Tanya cancelled some of her afternoon appointments (she’s an orthodontist) and we met Mara for lunch. ‘It’s on me,’ Mara insisted. ‘I can expense it, so it’s no problem.’ Wasn’t that nice of her? Mara’s like that – a really nice person.

We talked about the sort of place we wanted, and then Mara asked about finances. I handle the money and the investments and so on, so I had a fairly good grasp of our situation. Tanya and I agreed to that when we first got together, actually. It makes sense, since I’m the one in banking. Tanya’s pretty successful, too, so there’s plenty for me to manage. Mara took down all the information, and said she’d get some ideas together and get back to us.

Sure enough, she called me a few days later, wanting to talk about getting our home ready to sell. Tanya didn’t want to go along with it. She just couldn’t get used to the idea of moving when she loved our house, I guess. So, she made sure not to be home when Mara got here. We walked around the house, and Mara made some great suggestions to help us sell. It turns out that Mara is good at what she does. She’s won some awards, and her company is doing well. I told her I’d be happy to help her invest some of those profits, so she could do even better, and she said that might be a good idea. Tanya still hadn’t come home when the tour was over, so Mara and I went out for a drink – just to talk things over. She had a lot to say about ‘curb appeal,’ and some of the things people want to see when they look at a home. She’s good company.

When I got home, I told Tanya about Mara’s ideas. She didn’t like any of them, and we ended up in another fight. Tanya just didn’t understand that moving would be a very good thing for us. I told Mara about it the next day, but she told me not to worry. ‘She’ll come around,’ Mara promised. ‘Meanwhile, why don’t you and I have a glass of wine and get ready to put your place on the market?’ That sounded very good to me. I was beginning to think Mara was the right choice for what I wanted.

Later that day, Tanya was gone. As I told the police later, she usually gets home about six-thirty, but it was eight and she wasn’t home and hadn’t texted me. A couple of officers came over to take a report. One of Tanya’s suitcases was missing, and so were some of her clothes. One of the cops gently hinted that she might have left me. ‘It’s possible,’ I agreed. ‘Look, if you don’t hear from her in the next couple of days, we’ll put out a missing person report,’ the officer suggested.

With Tanya gone, I’ve thrown myself into getting the house ready to be sold. First of all, something needs to be done about the carpet. Some of the walls need work, too. And there’s a big bare patch in the yard that needs new plantings. Mara’s helping me a lot to make sure that people will want this house. As I said, Mara’s a very nice person.

Fortunately, I didn’t make a big mess taking care of Tanya. I was pretty careful, even making sure I got rid of that suitcase, her clothes, and her makeup. And so what if my prints and DNA are here? It’s my home. Well, it is for now. As soon as Mara finds a buyer, we’re leaving. We’ll probably start by taking a cruise or something. Mara says she’s always wanted to do that. Then we’ll find a new place. Mara makes a good living, so I figure her money should last for a bit. After that?  Well, I guess that depends on who I meet next. Whoever it is, I hope she doesn’t mind moving.


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