Yesterday was a Sunday which meant that, as is common on Sundays, I hosted an Open House.  I did this even though it was over 95 degrees outside and my big, metal, Open House signs are all black.  I did this despite the cloudless sky blasting radiation directly from an unshielded reactor at me.  I did it despite the very real opportunity to just sit at home in the A/C and read.

This is where you offer me a cookie for being a dedicated, hard worker.

I was under the impression that not only was I being particularly diligent in daring the misery that is this particular summer, but I was far more punctual and organized than usual, actually leaving the house when I always mean to as opposed to running back six times for things I’ve forgotten.  This was nice, because it meant I could ponderously contemplate where exactly in the intersections I wanted to put my various signs from the comfort of my air conditioned car, without worrying that I was going to miss people showing up on time or early for the Open House.  This happens.  On my particularly frazzled Sundays, they’ll be the only people who show up at all.

Generally I host from 1-3.  This is a consequence of my arcane deduction that any earlier means I have to set an alarm to make sure I’m up in time to get ready, and any later means I’ll start doing something before hand and potentially get distracted.  Other people check sporting event schedules or whatnot and adjust accordingly.  That’s nice for them; I refuse to let sports dictate my life even in this.

Thankfully, the property I was hosting at wasn’t vacant, so the owners had their A/C running and the place was comfortable when I got there.  I set to, turning on lights, opening doors, making sure I knew all the details of the layout, confirming the total absence of ghosts or dead bodies.  I also did the more mundane things like pre-heating the oven for my batch of “You’ll like me because I fed you,” cookies, putting out a sign-in sheet and info booklets, and hiding my bag of holding Realtor stuff.

The oven beeped to announce it was finished pre-heating right at 1pm.  This is exactly the timing I want on all of my Open Houses, and I rarely manage it, so I was feeling smug.  (My ability to angst over sign visibility is a little absurd.  Or a lot absurd.  I may be absurd.)  I take the oven handle in one hand, preparing to release a blast of 375° into the cute little kitchen, steel myself for the inferno, and…the handle falls off.

And then the door falls apart.

Enter a pair of buyers.

I’m also diligent enough that I don’t cuss in front of strangers while working.  Barely.  I put the cookie sheet back on the stove, throw my hands into the air, then run to the door to say “Hi.”  It’s a first time buyer there with her parents.  They’d like to tour the townhouse on their own then ask me questions after.  That’s great.  I tell them that starting with the basement and checking out the garage would be awesome.  They go as directed and I run back to the kitchen.  Maybe elves have come by and fixed it, or possibly I’m suffering heat stroke and it was a hallucination.

Nope, the oven is still very much, very obviously, falling apart.

Quick investigation reveals that a single screw is responsible for holding both halves of the door and the handle in place, at all one point, and this particular screw has fallen out and become trapped between pieces of the door.  All I have to do is fish it out, push everything together, and screw it back in.

Remember how I was miraculously more organized than usual, and didn’t have to run back to the house for the six things I forgot?  Yeah, that wasn’t because I didn’t forget anything, but because I didn’t remember them at all.  Among the things I did not bring.

1) A plate for the finished cookies.  No biggie, I can use one of the owners.

2) A spatula for transferring the cookies to the plate.  No biggie, my fingers are not so delicate that they can’t handle a hot-potato relocation.

3) An oven mitt.  No biggie I can…er…oh dear.

Did you know that I can fish a 375° screw out of an oven door with my finger nails without audible cussing?  Me either!

The basement and garage were truly fascinating, but let’s face it, you can only stare at a utility room and an empty 2 car garage for so long.  The buyers were upstairs again, and it was time for them to check out the kitchen, complete with busted oven and lamentably unbaked cookies hanging out on the counter.  I got out of their way, fielded questions about the cabinets, and confirmed that yes, all the bedrooms are upstairs.  Would they like to go see the bedrooms?  They would.  No, they don’t want me to come along, they’ll be back in a moment.

Take your merry time.

I actually do keep a screw driver in my bag of holding Realtor stuff.  It doesn’t have a tiny hex head, though, so it was useless.  Cue more fingernail action.  People don’t believe when I say I keep my fingernails long because they’re more useful that way.  Believe me.

Whether the buyers noticed the oven door hanging open, it’s handle dragging on the floor, I’ll never know.  I had the oven fixed by the time they left and well before the next group showed up.  The cookies baked very nicely, and, because this is the fate of Open House cookies, got fed to my roommates and crit group later that night.  (Hey, I need them to like me, too.)

I share this story with you not because everybody seems to get a perverse joy out of watching things go wrong for me, but because there’s an important moral I want you to take away from it.  The moral is this: When you’re planning to sell your house, fix your damn oven!

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