Sunday, May 7, 2017

Tulips With a Mind of Their Own

The tulips are blooming. They are late this year. Most years they bloom in the latter part of April.

They are Appledorn tulips and they look gorgeous -- all red and yellow. I purchased the bulbs from a garden club the first year that we lived here and planted them in the front perennial bed. Every year I look forward to their cheery welcome of springtime.

But, as I said, they are late this year, and I think they are doing it on purpose. You see, we have listed our house on the market. We are planning to sell and move to the coast. Since returning from our Easter travels, we have worked hard to clean every inch of the house and trim the yard. We have decluttered, and reorganized, and given many boxes of things away.

Ten days ago, we met with a realtor to discuss the marketing plan and complete the listing contract. We have had a consultation with a home stager (Every surface must be bare! No clutter!), and a photographer came through the house, and then another photographer who has created a 3-D virtual media tour of the house. Tomorrow the listing is supposed to appear on the MLS website.

For weeks, the weather has been unseasonably cold. The tulips grew green and healthy, and developed big fat buds. But they refused to open for the photographers trouping around the property taking photos (although fortunately we had sunny weather for both photo days).

The day after the last photographer came, the weather turned hot and summery. The tulips bloomed and looked glorious. It is almost certain that they will have finished blooming and dropped their petals before the first viewer comes through the house. So you see why I say that they have a mind of their own!

In the meantime, we continue to clean, clean, clean. We have repainted the front door and vacuumed the patio. We have washed the windows and planted pots of petunias. 

We move through our gleaming house as though we are staying in a stranger's home. I have become obsessive about picking up every crumb that drops, and putting away each item out of sight as soon as we have used it. I have made a list of last minute things to do before a showing (Put away the pets' beds and dishes! Turn on all the lights!)

Although we have always kept our place clean, we are not model housekeepers. We like a certain amount of clutter; it creates a homey, comfortable feeling. But now all the family photos have been put away. Books and magazines are no longer strewn over the coffee table, but are neatly on shelves or in the magazine basket. No socks are on the floor. No shoes are piled beside the door. Every faucet and mirror sparkles. Even as I pause from my tidying to write this post, Rob is chugging from room to room with the vacuum cleaner.

Well, it looks like the rain has stopped. I'm heading outside to do some gardening.


  1. Your tulips are beautiful! Sounds like your house is gorgeous too!! Good luck with your sale. Welcome to the island!!

    1. Donna, I love it when the tulips bloom. Our soon-to-be new home has many gardens, so I am curious to see what is in them. When we viewed it, nothing was flowering; it might be mostly shrubs.

  2. You have given a whole new meaning to the term 'spring cleaning,' Jude. It all sounds so tremendously appealing to me.

    I know you don't feel that way about the organizing and purging, so maybe I'll just suggest you start chanting to yourself, "Soon it will be never again, never again, never again!"

    Good luck with the house sale. I'll keep my fingers crossed that the tulips will make an appearance on the very day that the people who end up buying your house arrive for their showing.

    1. Karen, you are right about that -- I lean way more to the side of keeping things forever rather than to the cleaning guy and purging side. However, I have to admit that the house looks pretty nice in this new, sparkling incarnation. Thanks for your good wishes -- fingers crossed!

  3. Timely post again, Jude. As I am writing this post at my in-laws' house, the same is happening here. We had to pick up all the odds and ends in our room, move everything away from sight (except the computers), put away the toiletries etc, because their house is for sale and there is an open house for realtors in a couple of hours. We will have to leave and work elsewhere during that time. Maybe the library.

    My mother-in-law has been more obsessed than usual with cleaning and straightening up. Unfortunately, here the sun has not arrived yet. We follow spring and cold temperatures... first in Northern California, where it turned 80F the day after we left, then here near Boston, where it is still in the 50s now (39F last night!) and will be 70s the day after we leave. Let's see whether we can repeat it all again in Belgium as well. You are in the home stretch there - good luck with the sale, and the tulips. :-)

    1. Liesbet, having to tidy up and vacate the house for every viewing can be frustrating. On the other hand, every viewing could be a potential buyer.

      I'm sorry to hear that the cold weather is following you around. I hope you have a good visit in Belgium!

  4. You are a few months ahead of us! I am not looking forward to having to keep everything clean and tidy for weeks on end. Maybe we'll be lucky enough to get an offer in the first couple of weeks! I'll be curious to hear more about any staging that you end up doing. Our house is relatively small and we always think that showing it empty would make it look bigger. I'm looking forward to your next update!

  5. Hi Vicki:
    We had read up on how to prepare our house for the market. As you know, we renovated the main bathroom and painted throughout, and decluttered. We paid special attention to "curb appeal."

    However, the staging consultant was helpful. She went through the house, looking at it with fresh eyes. She suggested all the knick-knacks off the mantel, and putting away all family photos. She had us tuck away waste paper baskets, and told us to put away the pet beds and dishes for the photos.

    Although a house shows better with furniture and art in it, it looks best to buyers if there are very few items visible, for example on kitchen counters. Or at least, this is what the staggers say.

    Good luck with your selling process!