We had been preparing for this moment for 2 1/2 months. Carpets cleaned (twice), baseboards, walls, and anything damaged had been spackled, painted and patted lovingly for good measure. Stuff -all kinds of stuff- had been taken out, out, out to reveal a serene (albeit unrealistic) and spotless home for the grand open house.
Wait. Back up. Did I say, “spotless?”
Huh. Nearly spotless would be more accurate.
Surprisingly spotted would prove to be most accurate.
Before the open house at 11:00am we worked on finishing touches and last-minute walk-throughs to make sure everything was just right. And it was. Then we took off for several hours (okay, we stayed close by and spied on our house from a couple streets over- but not the whole time!). At last, the open house was over.
We had arranged to stay elsewhere for a few days to keep the house clean during showings but Dave popped in to pick up a few necessities and was stunned to be met in the hall by a string of imposters. Spots on the freshly cleaned carpet. He bent down and scratched at them. There was nothing to scratch and the spots remained.
We went back later that night and tried the Big Green Bissell Machine over and over the imposters. Nothing. Those stubborn spots had moved in for good. Dave and I stared, unsure of how to react. “How did they even get there!?” We sat in the hall for about twenty minutes trying to absorb (kind of like how carpet absorbs) what had happened.
We went over last steps before the open house. Did anyone have a dripping rag? Who was cleaning bathrooms? Which one said they never use bleach because it always ends bad? We were pointing fingers at others and ourselves and questioning the need to offer a carpet concession – after all our work.
Still baffled I asked one of my sons if he could think of any possible way those spots could have gotten on the carpet. Long silence. “Well” he said as he picked at his lips. “You know how you can squeeze the bottle and bubbles come out? I tried that.”
So, the mystery was coming to light. Just like you can squeeze a dish soap bottle to make small bubbles, you can also squeeze the toilet cleaner bottle on your happy way down the hall.
Thank goodness Dave and I had already had some time to deal with the shock. I don’t know that my immediate reaction would have been as good. But, I was able to say, I’m not mad at you, let me just show you what happens when you get cleaner on the carpet. He felt so bad but Dave and I were honestly able to tell him it is okay, we will work it out and that we would rather have him happy and helping than not happy or not helping – even when mistakes happen.
Fast forward two days and an offer was placed on our house. What about the spots I wondered? Had all twenty-eight showed up by the time they were there at the open house? Did they know? Luckily the family had come for a second walk-through on Sunday. The cleanest spots in the house were there and it was okay.
I am so grateful that Heavenly Father gave us those twenty minutes and then helped us remember the tenderness of a young boy even during a stressful time. Hopefully our son will remember the day he was helping our family and honest about a mistake, that Mom and Dad love him much more than carpet and that things will always work out.
He’s good, even when hard things are happening.