Dated | chapter 3


“A simple and inexpensive way to update a room is paint.” The speaker breezed on to talk about popular theories on neutrals and suggested that apple green had now entered the category as neutral and that would be a great color to paint the bedroom on the screen.

“Seriously?” Amy thought to herself but smiled and nodded in feigned agreement. But that’s really all she heard.

Lily poked her mother and said, “Potty Mama, potty.” Amy shushed her but quickly gathered her and her big tote bag and coat off the back of her folding chair and headed for the door. She caught the eye of the sales clerk and mouthed, restroom, and the clerk pointed and quickly came out from behind the counter and Vanna gestured in the direction to the right, and then walked to lead Amy and the squirming toddler. Potty training had been going slow and hadn’t been that successful. The doctor said she wasn’t worried, but Amy was concerned. All her friends had potty training success with their children, some as early as eighteen months. Lily was nearly 3 1/2.

The store restroom had rosy marble floors and walls with black marble trim bordering the edges. The mirrors made the room seem endless, and a crystal chandelier hung over sinks. Amy quickly walked through to the farthest and largest stall and was surprised to find not just a comfort height adult toilet but a low toddler sized toilet. Lily squealed in delight when she saw the miniature fixture.

“My potty! My potty!” Lily echoed herself and in the vast marble restroom. Thankfully someone turned on a hand dryer and covered her little girl’s bubbling excitement. It was cute. Too cute. It was a happy find even though it happened to be where it was. This was going on their list of swell things.

Amy leaned back against the cool marble wall and  breathed out a sigh then felt her throat tighten, and had to blink back sudden tears that squirted out of her eyes. Just that quickly she had gone from nearly the same delight as her daughter back to the familiar ache. She fought it back by telling the little jabbering girl, “When you’re all done we’ll take a picture for Daddy. He won’t believe what we found today, will he?”

“You’re such a good girl for making it to the potty.” She added quickly to reinforce and encourage. Lily smiled and tinkled.

When white tights had been adjusted and ruffles smoothed, Amy pulled her phone from her pocket and with a flick of her finger pressed the camera on. “Hold still right there.” Lily beamed a big silly grin. The flash went off, then for safe measure Amy took a couple more shots, one with both fixtures for scale. Just as she was gathering her stuff and her daughters hand to leave the stall, the dryer went off and she heard the women talking under the chandelier in the sink area.

“…I had the sense to get rid of them back in 2001 along with ruffled bedskirts. Tied back draperies are so dated.” The woman that had been sitting next to her and had introduced herself as Mrs. Jackson was speaking to a woman with a gold store name tag on her black wool jacket. Mrs. Jackson glanced in Amy’s direction and seemed to wince but smiled down at Lily as she tapped toward the sinks in her patent leather mary janes with extra emphasis.

“Hello again,” Amy said to Mrs. Jackson, then looked at the woman wearing the name tag. “We want to say thank you to Harold’s for the fixture in the last stall.” She smiled and looked down at Lily. “Say thank you for the potty Lily.”

“Thank you for the potty.” Lily squealed and echoed. Mrs. Jackson winced then smiled at the little girl.

“You are very welcome.”

To be continued…

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Dated | chapter 2

Dated Curtain

“You’ve heard me say this before today, these curtains are dated,” Bev said as she continued her final real estate workshop critique of the day.  The picture of a bedroom was on the large monitor in the crowded room full of agents with their clients. The owner of the home and her Realtor were sitting in the front row.

Bev looked down at her computer screen and drew over the top of the photo projected above with her stylus to indicate her idea.

“See the illusion of height you get,” she said, “it freshens and makes the window treatments more contemporary.”

A murmur moved through audience with a lot of heads nodding in agreement and even a smattering of applause. Bev smiled, pleased with herself.

“Let’s look at the next room.” Bev clicked to the next picture, a bathroom. She made recommendations with an estimate of twelve thousand dollars to update, and then moved on to the last picture, a kitchen. A few people laughed.

This is the most dated kitchen I have ever seen, she thought, this house is never going to sell.

“This is a common mistake,” she said out loud. “Buyers want updated kitchens. You should gut this and start over.”

She sighed and then said, “That should cost about twenty-five thousand dollars but you’ll get that back when you sell.”

Bev clicked on some sample kitchens to show on the screen. She was pretty confident she was right about this house. It was never going to sell without updates.

The attractive mid-fifty’s homeowner stood up. Her agent shifted in her chair.

“I just lost my husband,” she said, her voice catching. “I can’t afford changes. Are you saying my house is too dated to sell?”

She slumped back into her chair and pulled a tissue out of her purse to wipe her eyes.

“It’s very dated,” Bev said, “your agent must think so too or she wouldn’t have brought you today. We know what buyers want.”

“How much are you asking?” A man stood up as heads turned and his own agent quickly stood next to him.

‘We’ll have discussion at the end of our workshop,” Bev said, trying to continue but the woman’s agent spoke up and gave the details.

“It’s exactly what I’m looking for,” the man said as he moved up the aisle to the front row to shake the surprised woman’s hand. “I want to buy it.”

“Are you sure? It’s so dated,” said the homeowner, but, her face brightened as his hand reached hers.

“I wouldn’t advise this,” Bev said, frowning.

“I’m very sure,” the man said, “It’s my kind of dated.”

“Just a moment sir,” Bev said. “Can you tell us why this house?”

“I want a home with character, that’s relaxed and used to having a family. The rooms you’ve shown us have history, they show respect for materials and an investment in better living. I can tell care has always been taken,” he said, still holding the woman’s hand. “I want a house where there’s been love.” He looked straight up at Bev.

Bev stood silent for a moment, swallowed hard, and then said, “I believe you’re right. Maybe we need to help our clients see those qualities.” She put her hands together and started the applause that soon filled the room.

To be continued…


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