Saturday, November 29, 2008


Have you ever noticed how we measure everything? our language is rife with quantification: inches, feet, yards, miles, ounces, pounds, tons, dimes, quarters, dollars, points, percentages, grades, minutes, hours, days, weeks, years, decades, millennia. We measure time, money, age, distance, square footage, height, weight, stock value, temperature, home value, retail sales, anything, everything.

But now that I have something I'm dying to measure, I find there's no tool or unit of measure that applies.

People ask us almost daily when we're taking off, a practical question that begs for a definitive, yes, measured answer, a date and time so we can all mark the days. The future without markers is mysterious, incomprehensible and a little bit frightening.

But there's no time deadline for when the house and business will sell. We long for a ticking countdown clock so hours, days, weeks would become relevant.

There are no projects left to mark our progress.

There's no partial sale of property to show headway.

Each time somebody looks at our house, we do mental math: if we get an offer today, that would be a week to get a contract, 45 days until closing. We would be out by January, February, March.

After a prospective buyer has been in the house, we scour the aftermath for clues. Did they move the curtains to look at the back deck? If not, they must not like the place enough to see the view. Did they take one of our flyers? If so, surely they like the house.

This type of measured guesswork is full of pitfalls and false positives. The people who looked at the house yesterday took both the house flyer and the boat flyer. The curtains had been pushed aside. Three points! We were ecstatic.

Turns out they LOVED the house, but felt it was too small.

Today our ghostly visitors neither took the flyers nor moved the curtains. Minus two points.

Three points forward. Two points back on a scale of all or nothing.

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