Home tours depress views of our own homes

I had the privilege of attending my hometown’s most recent home and garden tour, an experience I highly recommend to anyone who is looking to be inspired with all kinds of new and different homefront possibilities. Hats off to hosts. I can’t imagine all you went through in the name of home tour.
Having sold a couple of houses, I can recall all I went through to become market-ready. It was time-consuming and nerve-wracking. There were so many details involved that we couldn’t really live during the months that preceded having our Kalamazoo home buyer-ready.
I was up at 5 AM the day of our first house showing, putting another coat of paint on the basement walls and fan-drying them. My mother came over and watched my toddler children while I took the morning off my day job and ran around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to be sure no detail escaped our household’s ramped up scrutiny. Then we had to hide out while separate sets of prospective buyers toured at 1 PM and 7 PM.
Our hard work paid off, as the realtor called me at my evening job and informed the first prospective buyers had submitted an offer at our asking price. Hooray for that! It wasn’t just on account of the money, but more importantly meant we weren’t going to have to continue to standing on our heads for several more weeks or months, staging the house.
My heart went out to the owners of the home and garden tour dwellings, for their hard work was only going to be viewed for a day and wasn’t going to profit them thousands of dollars as mine had me.
Even knowing the optimized level of repair, cleanliness and decorativeness required for that particular moment in time, I felt a wave of envy while touring the homes. Irony struck as I considered all the work that wasn’t getting done at my home while I spent the better part of a Saturday salivating over the work that had been done on other homes and grounds.
Actually, the most difficult part of the tour was returning home to the mess I had left in my haste to go and get a look at the messes other’s had cleaned up to make their digs extra-presentable to the public. Success on a home tour is determined by the degree to which one’s home no longer looks very lived in, which certainly can’t be said for my house.
Arriving home post-tour, I was rendered speechless by the sight of things. Usually, the one positive I can count on is that the lawn is neatly mowed, but alas, it had rained enough I hadn’t been able to mow for several days. So I instead gazed at my recently cleaned gutters and tried to elevate their importance into a bonafide home feature. Pathetically lame. On a brighter note, the hedge cutter and weed whackers just arrived back from the repair shop.
I recognized that as a single parent with two kids, I don’t match the typical home and garden tour host demographic. I need a spouse to help spruce up stuff. And my kids’ rolling chaos only sabotages preparations. Kudos to the Hull and Falkner families for defying that stereotype. If I want a home tour showplace home, I need to replace my kids, cats and shoe collection with a couple more bathrooms.
Surveying the inside of my house, I became self-conscious of the chipped toilet seat, peeling paint, aging windows, worn carpeting, ancient kitchen linoleum from Hell, and the clutter I never seem able to fully eradicate.
I cursed both sides of my family for not handing down any beautifully-framed previous generation portraits and/or heirloom furniture. I mourned my un-refinished hardwood floors and non-replaced light fixtures. I realized I neither collect anything unique nor have visually-intriguing hobbies, like quilting or woodworking. My writer’s notebook and laptop computer wouldn’t generate much home tour excitement and interest.
Maybe I should start an alternative, “Round Tuit Amotivational Home Tour” where people stop to see my latest neglected DIY household project. In the meantime, I won’t go on another home and garden tour. It’s too depressing!


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