For Sale: 2 Bedrooms, 1.5 Baths, Private Yard, Stargate Not Included

The real estate agent and the lawyer are all like, “Oh, selling a house is so much easier than buying!” But they are liars, and I blame HGTV.

I guess the economy could have something to do with it as well, but I’m pretty sure it’s mainly House Hunters.


We bought this apartment during the property buying heyday of mid-2006. My memory is a little hazy, but I believe all we had to do was call an 800 number, press “1” for “buy,” and the bank deposited three times the amount we could realistically afford directly into our account.  Then, we had to have the building inspected to make sure it wasn’t currently on fire, we signed a couple of papers and bam! The dream of homeownership, realized.

Banks would give money to anyone, and people would buy anything that wasn’t nailed down. We have friends whose second bedroom is actually a wormhole to an alternate dimension where the government is controlled by a junta of sentient man-eating rats. They paid extra for that.


Thus, I was already doubtful that selling could be any easier than that. And as usual, I’m correct. It turns out that home buyers today are a bunch of picky-ass motherfuckers* They’re all like, “I want stainless steel appliances!” “I really need a third bedroom to use as my scrapbooking room!” “I prefer that the ceiling be free of visible holes to the sky!”

Why? Stainless steel appliances are a giant pain in my ass to keep clean, scrapbooking was lame even when it was popular in 2002 and you’ll thank me for that hole in the ceiling when it’s the middle of August and all your neighbors are paying through the nose for central air conditioning.

*Note to potential purchaser of my home: not you. You are a king or queen among persons.


This is a very long-winded way of explaining that we’ve been super busy around the house this week trying to make it pretty in the hopes that next weekend’s open house lures in a buyer who our real estate agent can tranquilize and have sign the paperwork before a unit goes on sale next door and undercuts us by $100,000. God forbid someone should be mortally offended by our choice of paint colors; that’s a pricey fix.

Along with a lot of painting, we’ve removed lighting fixtures and artwork that might indicate that we have personalities, and framed photos that indicate that we weren’t born parthenogenically. Boxes of books have been excised from shelves so those visiting the property aren’t embarrassed that we’re so much better read than they are.


All of this combines to create an austere living space that’s kind of like a tiny monastery, so hopefully it sells before I start really taking that to heart and wake everyone up five times a night for scheduled prayer. But at least my discomfort means that potential owners can really envision what their stuff would look like in the space without being thrown completely off-kilter by the fact that the downstairs hall is more of a yellow-based off-white than a gray-based off-white.

Still, I smacked down some viciously good roasted pear beignets with rum caramel sauce this Thursday, thanks to The Sweet Life: Desserts from Chanterelle. I invited some neighbors over to partake so I was too busy chatting it up to take any pictures of the actual frying process, but I’m sure you’ll excuse me for that.


The basics: pears (or apples), sliced, cored and roasted with a little butter and sugar.  While they cooled, sugar caramelized and heavy cream and dark rum were added. Batter made with egg yolks, oil, beer and flour, with whipped egg whites folded in at the end. Roasted pear slices dipped in batter and deep-fried, then rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with the caramel and some unsweetened whipped cream. Excess batter spooned into the still-hot oil, because there’s no point in wasting it, am I right?


Aside from it maybe not being the best idea to make the whole apartment smell like fryer oil right before an open house, HOLY DAMN. The tender pears almost turned into pie filling in the light, crisp crust; kind of like if a Hostess fruit pie were actually good. The caramel was obviously rich, but adding the alcohol at the end and not cooking it out gave the sauce a great bite to counteract the cream.  Possibly the best part, at least for me, was that the leftover fried batter ended up making those doughnuts you get at cheap Chinese buffets, and I freaking LOVE those doughnuts. Everyone left full, happy and a little sticky, which is the sign of a great evening.

And now, my break time is over and I have to go scrub all the baseboards with a toothbrush.

15 thoughts on “For Sale: 2 Bedrooms, 1.5 Baths, Private Yard, Stargate Not Included

  1. Truly, yours is the only food blog I subscribe to whose text I actually enjoy reading. Many thanks for being refreshing.

  2. Sweet Baby Jesus. I think I gained 10 pounds just reading that. I’d come buy your apartment for a plateful of those, and I have No Damn Business At All in New Jersey!

  3. Holy shit those look fantastic! If only you could set a platter of those out for the open house…sadly, they must be served freshly fried, and you’d have to be there to listen to all the insipid twits bitching because the walls are the wrong color (painting a wall being such a difficult task) and your furniture doesn’t suit their taste (since obviously, your furniture will imprint itself on the apartment, thus making it impossible for any other furniture to ever exist in that space). Good luck; I hope you find a buyer quickly!

  4. I want these. NOW. But Florida is far from New Jersey, so I guess I’m going to have to buy the cookbook and make them my damn self, just like I did with the Mourad harissa / calamari (OMG good)…and the Tyler Florence black-eyed peas w/ citrus-chile vinaigrette…and the Susan Spicer I-don’t-even-remember-whats…and…seriously, woman, these cookbook authors should pay you.

  5. Michelle, I gotta say that I am really disappointed!!! I have dreamed of living in a house with a wormhole to an alternate dimension ever since I was a bad little girl. I planned to kick everyone who pissed me off (pretty much everyone) through the wormhole starting with my sister. I was going to say, “You should have treated me nicer but it’s too late, now”, in a witchy voice. I don’t want to know they are being eaten by man-eating rats as long as they are gone for good. I told you I was a bad little girl, didn’t I? Well, I am still pissed at a lot of people, but it seems like too much trouble to send them anywhere- except my sister. She’s still a real pain in the ass. I could have saved myself years of angst. If you hear of another house with a wormhole, please email me. I will pay whatever I have to.

  6. I totally feel you on the house situation, when my mother was trying to sell her house, and asked me to move in so she could afford the mortgage while it sold, her house was even more immaculate than normal. Anything that could have feasibly indicated an actual person lived there was removed, replaced with blank walls and sterile colors.

    My mother’s house was on the market for 4 years.

    SO! Good luck on the open house!

  7. Cheap Chinese buffet doughnut recipe: take one tube of cheap store brand fake canned biscuits (the kind in the exploding cardboard tube sold from the dairy case instead of where the real bread is), cut them into quarters, deep fry them, and roll them in granulated sugar. They go all spherical when frying and somehow the nasty, bitter, totally non-biscuity flavor goes away when moderated with grease and sugar. This may well be the least objectionable food shortcut taken at those places.

  8. @beth and trasherati, thanks! i was actually starting to wonder if people cared about the non-food direction i’ve been taking lately.

    @juniecutie, i’ll keep an eye out. with the market the way it is, most sellers bring in physicists to patch up the wormholes before they go on the market.

    @melissa, FOUR YEARS? thanks for the downer. i thought you were my (virtual) friend.

    @tim, i’m going to pretend i didn’t read that, because it’s not knowledge i want.

  9. You know, I’ve never understood that take-you-pictures-down-and-hide-your-books advice. I’ve never followed it, either, and I’ve sold houses in good markets and bad. It’s possible that some people didn’t make offers because of it, but I’m okay with that. I feel like it was my way of weeding out the assholes. At any rate, may the Gods of House Selling look favorably upon you. And may you not be inundated with assholes.

    Oh, and HOT DAMN indeed.

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