Living Retired — ‘Staging Lady’
Living Retired — ‘Staging Lady’
By Gary Chalk
My wife is a forward-thinking person. She looks ahead planning for what could happen. For instance, if the dry cleaner ever lost one of Jan’s blouses, slacks, or expensive sweaters — which they never have — she has multiple blouses, pairs of slacks, and expensive sweaters already hanging in her closet. Me? I also look forward. These days I am looking forward to the World Series.
A while ago Jan posed this forward thinking thought to me: “Gary, the very first thing we would have to do if we put our house up for sale is have a professional home stager come through to tell us how to get it ready for showing.”
“Jan, the very first thing we would have to do if we put our house up for sale after the dramatic drop in home values and increase in borrowing money is give our heads a shake!”
Before you could say, ‘Open House’ Jan prepared a spread sheet and laid it out on the dining room table. “Gary, these are the detailed steps we need to undertake to clean up our place to get it in order before we even have the home stager come in.”
“Oh, I see. It’s like the night before the housekeeper comes and we run around cleaning everything so she can come in to clean.”
I was skeptical. “Jan, do we really need Staging Lady to come around to tell us we are hapless hoarders?”
“First of all, Gary, speak for yourself. And please don’t call her Staging Lady. I already have someone lined up. Her name is Caroline.”
Of course, we left things until the day before ‘Staging Lady’ was to come. So, the pressure was on to clean up. The last thing we wanted was Staging Lady to nominate our house for Better Homes & Gardens ‘Filthiest House Award.’
“Gary, go down to the basement and take the winter coats off the treadmill, dust the collection of family pictures, push the cans of paint underneath the basement steps, and vacuum all the carpets. Oh, and close the door to your office. Maybe Caroline won’t think to look in.”
“Jan, while I do all that for Staging Lady what are going to do?”
“I think an arrangement of fresh cut flowers on the kitchen countertop would look nice. I wonder if Caroline likes pink anthuriums and white lilies?”
While Jan was at the florist, I worked up a sweat getting the basement presentable. I concentrated in our home theatre which includes a Betamax VCR, a VHS VCR, a Sony Walkman, a Sony MiniDisc Player, a Sony MP3 player, a Sony video camera, a Sony reel-to-reel tape recorder, a boom box, a turntable, a cassette deck, boxes of cassettes, AND an 8-track cartridge music system. I call this my media room. Jan calls it my media museum.
That is when Jan called…
“Gary, once you’ve finished cleaning the basement go out to the garage. You have a lot of work to do to get it ready for Caroline.”
“Jan while I am cleaning the garage for Staging Lady what will you be doing?” Sarcastically, I added, “I heard that freshly brewed coffee helps a home’s ambiance.”
“That’s a good suggestion Gary. I will stop by and pick up some chocolate cookie mix. Coffee and fresh baked cookies wafting through the house will be great.”
The big day was yesterday. Before Staging Lady arrived, I asked Jan, “Have you decided if you are going to wear a June Cleaver dress for Staging Lady? And should I wear a Ward Cleaver cardigan sweater?”
“Gary, you are so sarcastic. Make sure you put on some nice pants.”
Ding. Dong. I answered the doorbell…
“Hi Staging Lady, err, rather, Caroline. Come in. This is June Clea…, ahh, err, Jan.”
Staging Lady slipped white covers over her shoes and pulled a notepad from her tote bag. She said she needed an hour on her own to — I quote — “Explore your lovely home and experience its charm and unique treasures.” Jan smiled. I wanted to puke.
About twenty minutes later is when it happened — a loud roaring sound!
Jan and I dashed to the kitchen. It was obvious that Staging Lady had opened a kitchen cabinet door. Not just any kitchen cabinet door — but the kitchen cabinet door to our colossal collection of Tupperware containers!
As best I can figure this created an avalanche, a plethora of plastic. A mishmash of mismatched Tupperware food storage containers and lids swept down overtop the countertop onto the floor! A Tupperware salad spinner. Tupperware vegetable peelers. Tupperware pie plates. Tupperware cereal containers. A Tupperware hamburger press. EVERYTHING TUPPERWARE — just waiting to be burped!
Staging Lady left, promising to send us her report. We expect her to recommend we purge the Tupperware.
“Well Jan, Staging Lady explored our lovely home and experienced its charm and unique treasures.”
Now the stage is set. For what, I don’t know.