... When Ms. Angelou moved into a designer house in ... she says, nothing worked. Her pictures didnít look right on the walls. Cakes fell in the oven. Curtains fell off the rods. The hou
Lonesome. When Ms. Angelou moved into a designer house in California, she says, nothing worked. Her pictures didnít look right on the walls. Cakes fell in the oven. Curtains fell off the rods. The house, she concluded, hated her. And it wasnít much consolation to realize the house hated her husband, too. What I want to know is, how could she tell? Letís face it, most houses hate their new owners. They have adapted to the rhythm of one family and resent being sold. Like most cats that you rescue from the pound, your house probably believes, "If Iíd waited longer, a better owner would have come along. So Iím going to make this oneís life miserable." Those who are trained in modern research methods will be skeptical, but thereís plenty of evidence. Everyone knows what happens when you move into a new house. "Youíll see a lot of repair services in the first six months," I was warned. "When a house hasnít changed hands in five years or more, lots of little things will happen when you move in." Now, youíll notice this doesnít happen when you rent a house or apartment. Some friends of mine rented a house while they saved to buy their own property. For two years, the refrigerator purred and the air conditioner hummed contentedly. The plumbing flowed silently and the insect life remained hidden. Encouraged ("see, a house isnít so bad after all!") they took the plunge and bought their own home. Iíd like to say theyíre doing great but in fact theyíve dropped out of sight. They canít take phone calls any more. "Sorry, we canít tie up this line. Weíre holding the phone open till we hear from the handyman..." Or the pest control guy, or the electrician. They considered Call Waiting but were afraid to jinx the only object in the house that seemed to be working. If you seem particularly gullible, (e.g., the house senses that youíre new to this game), your appliances may join the fun. I am absolutely positive the once-faithful refrigerator sent out a message: "How about this, guys. Letís really confuse everybody. Iíll put out a leak, send the water over to the sink, and theyíll think itís a big pipe in the wall. After theyíve poked a few holes theyíll realize itís time to wake up that sleeping repairman!" And one day my security system kept getting an "Open Door" signal even when the door was firmly locked. The tech found nothing wrong and it never happened again. My lawn service person knows how to work the system: Let Them Know Whoís Boss. After he cut back the hedges and pulled some over-aggressive vines that were trying to take over the property, the bushes stopped sulking and started putting out nice flowers. They knew what would happen if they didnít. Iíve been told that, after a year or so, the house realizes youíre here to stay. Your new list of reliable helpers canít be fooled as easily as you were in the beginning. And youíve emptied your bank account to create a peace offering -- a new floor or a paint job or a screen door. "Every so often," Iím told, "you even get thirty days with no service calls. But after six months or so, the house gets bored and itíll start all over again." One thing is certain. In your houseís "Lose the Owner" contest, thereís one simple rule. Whoever costs the most, wins.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. author, career coach, speaker "When career freedom means business" http://www.movinglady.com/coaching.html "When caraeer freedom means relocation" http://www.movinglady.com/reloservices.html Career Freedom Ezine mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org