My mom and I are deeply embroiled in selling my late grandmother’s house.
Real estate is fertile ground from a happiness perspective, because there’s always a new challenge afoot. There’s an opportunity to feel good or bad around every corner.
It takes some focus, and to stay happy and productive and my best self throughout the process, I’ve been pushed to choose how I’ll feel in clear cut ways. And that’s kind of wonderful.
Take today. We just found out that in order to close the sale, we needed to have a smoke test. Turns out a smoke test is something that reveals whether the house is dumping sewage into the township sewer system. So we had the test done this morning.
Guess who’s house is dumping sewage into the township sewer system. But that’s ok. We’re getting it fixed within the next day or so, depending on when the plumber can make it.
The happiness choices have been rolling in fast and thick on this one. For starters, the news that we needed this smoke test was a last minute thing. The lawyer, the realtor, neither we nor the buyers knew this was a thing before right now. We were ready to close the sale in a week.
Then out of nowhere, we get a communique from the lawyers. A smoke test is a thing, and you need one.
Ok, so choices. Stressy and harassed, because that’s how you should feel when big-time last minute stuff comes up…or peaceful and mellow, for no other reason than it’s a good way to feel?
Peaceful and mellow. Check.
So this morning we met the person from the township over at my grandmother’s house, fully expecting things to go well. They didn’t. More choices.
Argumentative? Adversarial? Totally put out? A beat-down, joyless acceptance that It’s Always Something, one of my family’s favorite historic attitudes? “Something” is never a good laugh or unexpected money or something working out really great, btw. “Something” is invariably failed smoke tests and stuff like that. And by thinking that It’s Always Something, it it. And life is mirthless and full of failed smoke tests.
Those were all options which presented themselves to me in rapid succession, as I peered at the offending pipes through the funky haze of smoke. And I let them all go.
Because I get to choose how I feel. I decide to feel like Everything’s Always Working Out For Me. That’s my attitude, and I’m sticking to it.
It took me about 30 seconds, literally, to decide I was going to feel okay about this failed smoke test. That’s why I love this realty thing. It forces me to make quick emotional decisions. If taking care of my grandmother as she declined into an unhappy dementia was emotional boot camp, this is emotional combat training. You can’t hang around getting your sh*t together at leisure. You need to _act now_, and that’s cool. It’s like ripping off a band-aid right quick, only less gross.
So I snapped how I wanted to feel into place, and sprung into useful questions . What’s causing this? What’s the impact (other than we can’t sell the house) of this going unfixed? Who do we need to call to get it fixed? Is it a big job, or just a day or two? And mom was right there with me, promoting the good attitude.
So in about 5 minutes I learned that the builders of the house routed my grandmother’s sump pump right into the township sewer system, that’s not cool because it overloads the sewer system and causes run-off into local rivers and streams and that’s TOTALLY not cool, regular old plumbers can fix it and it takes maybe a day.
Whew. Ok. We can handle all that. And a plumber’s already on the case, or at least scheduled to be. Sort of. You know how plumbers roll, and if you’re a plumber I hope I haven’t offended you. I’m pretty casual about when I do stuff, too.
And everything’s nice and happy, because we chose to feel good. Might as well. It feels good. Fi knows.