Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Patience, I Know, Patience


Our house has been on the market for a week.

Our house: main listing photo.
A week is nothing in the scheme of things, but our hopes were up. We were told that home inventory on Bainbridge Island is scarce, that homes in our price range are being snapped up in mere days. One agent predicted a “feeding frenzy” of multiple offers and a bidding war by the end of the weekend.

Our hopes seemed to be confirmed when we saw our professional listing photos last Tuesday night and our view of our house rose literally from the tiny details we’ve been absorbed with, to a grander aerial view, thanks to a camera with a hover copter attachment and iPhone app.

Aerial view of our property. Professional photos by Cascade ProMedia.

Our listing went live last Wednesday afternoon and more than 50 realtors and half a dozen potential buyers walked through at Thursday morning’s open house. Many of the realtors had seen the home in its sorry state when it was listed three years ago. They were amazed at what we’d accomplished; we were aglow with compliments. “It couldn’t have gone any better,” our agent said.



My husband and I spent the three-day weekend unpacking at our new house, taking a break from the final projects at the old—unpacking knick knacks that hadn’t been unboxed since we put our house on the market in California in July 2011—while more buyers and agents looked through the house.



Finally unpacked: Knick knacks and photo albums have been boxed up for 3 years.

We thought we’d be signing counter offers over a glass of wine with our agent in Gig Harbor on Monday afternoon. But the weekend drew to a close and the only things piled in our living room were empty boxes and packing paper.

Unpacking at the new house.
One family had been on the verge of making an offer. After sleeping on it, they decided they needed to be closer to the town and ferry terminal. Another didn’t like the bedroom configuration. Another thought the yard was too much work.  My husband and I can add a fence around our rooftop turf but we can’t do anything about those issues.

Sometimes all we can do is wait. And waiting is uncomfortable.

A dear friend is waiting to hear about a job. She was one of two finalists. She should’ve known two Fridays ago, then last Wednesday, but still no word. “Patience, Iago, patience,” I counsel, finding a villain’s (Jafar from Alladin) words useful, not just this once, but often.

Patience, I know, patience, is what I must tell myself when patience feels a luxury.

I don’t need scores of people tromping through our house. We certainly didn’t experience that in California. After the initial open house we had only one family come through. Five months later, after selling their home, they made an offer. The market is no longer abysmal (we lost so much money on that sale), but our house in Boulder Creek was unique, and so is our house on Bainbridge Island.

Our former house in Boulder Creek California.

I don’t care if the business cards keep piling up on the kitchen counter—evidence of frequent showings—what I do care about is finding the next right owner for this house.

The pile of business cards grows.

It’s easy to appreciate the d├ęcor and mid-century modern design and studio apartment now that the house is renovated; it will only need routine maintenance. But if you’re not a gardener, it’s not easy to see a quarter acre of landscaping and another quarter acre of island wild, and embrace the responsibility and challenge of maintaining it.

Our mid-century modern home restored.

I know there’s a gardener out there who will be amazed at the variety and unique collection of rhododendrons, Japanese maples, and perennials thriving on this property. There’s a gardener who will delight in discovering the richness in this land and will happily dig in the trowel to keep the weeds at bay, one who will stop to look up at fledgling eagles crying out overhead, will step away from the Spotted Towhee’s ground nest accidently discovered at the base of rhodie to pull out her camera and snap a photo, who will harvest raspberries and rhubarb and serve them to his family, who will scatter seeds from the columbines and alstroemerias in the wild side of the yard, one who will catch a glistening glimpse of the Sound over the neighbor’s roof and the great billowing clouds skating across the sky.


Spotted Towee hatchlings and one egg. Discovered 5/27/14.



Rhubarb and raspberry beds in foreground.

I’m looking for a gardener who will kneel in the dirt with her Hori knife and give thanks for the great privilege of stewarding this land and dwelling in this place.  

I do what I can to find that gardener: send Facebook messages and email to everyone I know in the Greater Seattle area with a link to our listing, email our local nursery and Rhododendron Society chapters in Oregon and Washington.
Rhododendrons off the master bedroom deck.

 “Your house will sell,” our agent says. She would buy it herself if it weren’t for the yard work (my point confirmed) she jokes. I too know it will sell, but I want it to sell soon, and at a price where we actually make some money, so we can get on with our lives. We have a project house to fund, and we’re counting on the proceeds from this sale to finance the project. Our livelihood depends on it.

The project house awaits.


I will buyers to materialize, imagining them wandering the yard in its June glory. My husband and I walked through in naked November, the maples bare, the perennials like Persephone, underground for the winter. And still we knew this was the next right place for us. Who will come after us?



A new path leads from the driveway through the backyard to the laundry room.


Please share our listing and help us find out.

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