This is your dream to be realized, I used to tell would-be buyersback in the days before I started snarling and spitting at them.OK, your dream with a lot of time, money, and effort. But, whenall's said and done, yours. Get friezes from Italy for the diningroom walls. Put Mexican tile in the kitchen. But buyers took a lookat all that character and ran screaming the other way.

In some ways, I don't mind because in many ways, I don't reallywant to sell. By now all I want to do is take the house in my armsand console it. Don't lose heart, I want to say. You are abeautiful, beautiful house. Those people don't deserve you.

I don't know that my house would believe me. It probably thinksit's shabby. It could use some new clothes, for one thing, if byclothes we're talking paint. The paint is peeling so badly on someof the trim that you can see clear to the bare wood. The veins,too, aren't what they used to be; veins in this case beingplumbing. Flushing the toilet while running the shower causes theshower to turn scalding hot, which in turn causes the person in theshower to yell at the person who flushed the toilet, which makesthe house feel it's its fault, which doesn't help its self-esteemone iota.

But this is a great house, whether it knows it or not. I'm not justsaying that because we raised our son here or because it is filledwith my memories of loud parties with friends, quiet moments withmy wife, stimulating conversations, great meals, and the everydayexperiences of living. I'm also saying it because it's a greathouse. I love its wide porch. The immense oak tree in the yard. Theway the winter light falls in braids and ripples and sheets on thewalls.

Maybe the only thing worse than not selling a house is sellingit.

But, then, the way things are going I'm not going to have to worry
about that.