“What, THIS old thing?”

I sincerely don’t want to come across as an utter jerk in this posting where I talk about how nice our house looked for the YWCA Holiday House tour today. Let’s see how I do.

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So the nice thing about agreeing to be on a house tour is that it gives you a deadline to do all the things to the house that you haven’t done yet, and would probably forget all about otherwise (put those brass sash locks on the windows, wash the storm doors, and a dozen et ceteras) and you kind of have a good excuse to go overboard on the Christmas decorations without feeling like a total tool (drape the staircase bannister in garland? Hell yes! It’s for the house tour!) Plus, as mentioned before, you can go get your Christmas tree when they’re still unloading the trucks, which was deeply satisfying for my inner child, who knew all along that every hour of delay in going to get the tree was an hour irretrievably wasted.

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Plus, the attention is fun — cars started circling the block fifteen minutes before the hour, and at 10:00 sharp, passengers started climbing up the steps and the buses started arriving. Well, there was only one bus, but it still was fun.

The drawback of a house tour is that it’s awkward: “Hello! Good morning! Welcome!”, and then usually a kind of an awkward pause. I mean, it’s your house, so you can’t just start gushing about how great the house is, like a volunteer docent would (“Built in ninenteen-twenty-five, this lovely home has an original natural-gas furnace that probably won’t explode this season, and a rusty T-junction supplying all water that is simply a delight “) But they’re not really regular social visitors, so you don’t ask them about their kids or anything. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day, so there’s that to talk about. And everyone was really kind and had nice things to say, and everyone’s just out to have a good time, anyhow. Tickets to the house tour were twenty-five bucks, and there were ten houses, so I’m pretty confident that we delivered at least two dollars and fifty cents’ worth of holiday cheer. Maybe even three bucks, with Mindy’s lemon and magnolia garland over the dining room archway.

It’s tiring, though, what with all the nervous energy of greeting people all day. Kate stood in the kitchen with a ball of muppet yarn and knit AN ENTIRE SCARF, which accomplishment she can use as fodder if we ever get in a pissing match with horrible jerks: “what, this old thing? Y-e-e-e-esss, I knit this in one day as I was showing my house to busloads of visitors from Maryland, mmm-hmm. Have you seen our furnace?”

“What, THIS old thing?”

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