We have decided to put our house on the market. Since then, I have been unable to find any of my clothes.
I woke up one morning and everything was fine. My socks were where they were supposed to be. My t-shirts were crammed in a drawer next to my socks. I had a drawer with my shirts, another drawer with my shorts. My dress shirts were hanging up in my closet as were my pants. My coats were accounted for and I could pick out a polo shirt with the lights off. After years in the same house, I had achieved that Zen-like comfort with my surroundings.
Then we decided to sell my house. Now, I cannot find anything.
See, the issue is not me. In my mind, putting our house on the market is an invitation to invite people into our home so that they can see how we live. I figure, let them see how I hang my coat up on the back of the bathroom door or how I place my gym bag on top of my closet. Let them come and see how many pairs of shoes I can stack on a shelf in a laundry room or how my dress shirts are hung in order based upon color — white leading to blue leading to tan leading to a variety of other colors. Heck, I have always been proud of my organizational skills. So bring on the strangers. Let them come visit my house and partake of my wisdom.
But apparently this view is wrong. Just ask my wife.
My wife sees it differently. She has watched the DYI network and and HGTV and learned that when selling the house, it is very important that the house seem to be empty so that these visitors to our home envision the house the way they want it. So, my wife has gone — how do I say it? — slightly insane in removing every scrap of our identity from the house. I can accept that. I really can. I can accept that our wedding pictures are gone, replaced with some nondescript portrait bought at Home Goods or that the numerous pictures of our children have been replaced by flower arrangements and scented candles. But what I am noticing even more is that it seems that more of me and my stuff is being removed more than anything else.
Now, I have begun to think that this has all been some sort of diabolical plan on my wife’s part to push me down into the basement, but I cannot be sure. She is subtle and crafty that wife of mine. I feel like that old story about a frog in a pot of boiling water. If you raise the temperature of the boiling water slowly, the frog never jumps out until it is too late. Well let me tell you, I am that frog. The water has been boiling for some time and I have no idea how it got here.
Let me give you an example:
I came home from work and I went to my bedroom to change. I opened the third drawer of my dresser to grab a t-shirt and some jeans and I found it filled with blouses and various forms of stretch pants. So I walked out of the bedroom and said:
“Kyla, what did you do with my t-shirts?”
“Oh,” she said, her head never looking up from the laptop as she scanned the latest house listings on Remax, “they are downstairs.”
“I needed some room.”
“But why my clothes?”
“DON’T YOU APPRECIATE ALL THAT I HAVE BEEN DOING TO GET THE HOUSE READY?”
So I went downstairs and found that the clothes closet that I built this past summer was no longer in the bathroom. So, I yelled upstairs:
“Yes?” she yelled back.
“Where is the closet that was in the bathroom?”
“I put it in the garage.”
“The garage?” I replied meekly.
“Yes, the garage.”
“Why the garage?”
“HOW ABOUT A THANK YOU FOR CLEANING THE BATHROOM?”
So I went into the garage and found all my clothes had been taken out of the closet. I was thankful for that. I had visions of getting dressed next to my miter saw and collection of Phillips head screwdrivers. I was glad the clothes were not there, but I still was unsure where they were. So I came out of the garage and yelled back up the stairs.
“Ummm ... my clothes are not in the closet in the garage.”
“Yes. I took them out.”
“Where did you put them?”
“They are in a storage bin under the stairs.”
“A storage bin?”
“Yes,” she called back.
“Under the stairs?”
“Yes Tim,” she replied incredulously, as if I was a fool for not knowing that’s where my clothes would be, “they are under the stairs.”
“Why are they….”
“DO YOU WANT TO SELL THIS HOUSE OR NOT?”
And so it has gone. Now, I would begin to really believe this has been a plot to get me out of the way, except I have noticed that I am not alone. My son has no earthly idea where half of his toys are and I think my wife had a sit down with my daughter to explain to her that yes, Barbie dolls have been known to run away on little girls while they are at preschool and that must be what happened to half her collection. They seem to believe her, but then again, I think they realize they have no choice.
The only ones who I think feel my pain are the cats. We have two indoor cats and usually my bond with them is at a minimum. After all, I am a dog guy. But being indoor cats, they are forced to do their business in a litter box. Needless to say, at times this business can be quite odiferous. Now, one day when we had someone coming to look at the house, I think I overheard my wife threatening physical harm to them if they even thought about using the litter box to do their duty before or while the prospective buyer was looking at the house. I believe she said something about “Number 1 only” and that anything more than that was completely unacceptable.
Funny. Until I found the two cats cowering in the garage. Next to my closet. While I was changing.
Kindred souls on our way out.