Better Now

The appraiser did not show up for his scheduled appointment at 2 PM. I kept working feverishly on boxes.

He called at 3:15. “How’s the house? Are your contractors finished?”

To my shock, he had forgotten the appointment, forgotten our circumstances, forgotten the careful timeline worked out with the bank, forgotten the plan for a preliminary report and a later check, forgotten everything. When I politely reminded him, he said that he would drive out within the hour and hung up.

On his arrival he was brusque to the point of rudeness. Everything about the house was a problem. Nick was tiling in the bathroom but came out to listen. As the appraiser complained about the unusual circumstances and the job ahead of him, we widened our eyes at each other in silence.

Nick went back to tiling and I trotted after the appraiser upstairs and down as he used a laser measure on each room and made notes. As we proceeded he bragged that he only worked for a few local banks as the others weren’t worth his time. When, as he was leaving, I asked him what he thought of the house, he told me his professional opinion would be delivered to the bank in a week. A person of his credentials could never venture a guess.

He drove off. The appraisal visit was over.

Though I learned nothing conclusive, I am relieved, immediately feeling as if life will be much easier now without this doom hanging over me. However I know better than to say anything. A few days ago I reassured Lucy, “Things will get better after the appraisal is done.”

She had given me a satirical look. “Mom!”


“Things will get better after I finish my reports,” she quoted me. “Things will get better once we finish moving out of the lake house. Things will get better after I’ve cleaned up from the flood —”

Come to think of it, Damon mocks this habit of mine, too. “It will be easier next week,” he’ll mimic in a falsetto. “It will be easier next year.”

What can I say? I’m obviously a cock-eyed optimist!


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