Wendyl Nissen
Wendyl Nissen on being 'The Supportive Wife'

Wendyl Nissen: Taste of home ices real estate cake

Photo / File
Photo / File

When supportive wives were 10 a penny, selling your house was a simple process. Your husband rang the local real estate agent, who sold it.

This supportive wife has not had it so easy. In the "hot" Auckland market it is necessary to interview real estate agents before even considering putting your house on the market.

"Who's selling your house?" asked our accountant.

"Oh, some people a friend recommended."

"You have talked to at least four other agents, though, haven't you?"

"No, why?"

"Because that's what you do to get the best commission," he replied with a look he reserves just for me. The word disdain comes to mind every time he does it.

And so, not only was I tasked with cleaning our house from top to toe in an attempt to erase any evidence that a family of seven creative, messy people had lived there for 12 years, but I had to conduct job interviews with real estate agents.

All presented previous sales, demonstrated good knowledge of the area and were very nice people.

The process took a week and in the end we went for the people we wanted to go with in the first place who a friend recommended, because they felt right. Just as they had at the beginning of the week. But our accountant was pleased with our due diligence.

Next came the marketing. Last time I sold a house a small black and white ad was placed in the local paper. This time there are carousels on websites, page colour ads, website ads and I even considered giving it a Twitter feed. Then a photographer came around who made my lovely old house look so wonderful I didn't want to leave.

"I've changed my mind," I whispered to my husband as we viewed the photos. "Let's stay."

"Sure, you ring the agents and tell them," he replied. "I'm sure they won't mind at all. Probably happens all the time."

I didn't ring the agents because I was distracted by another photographer who took pictures of my husband and I drinking red wine on our veranda in the rain. And walking down our path, and patting the dog, and cutting a cake for a story in this paper's real estate section.

Instead I began a significant mental decline which hit rock bottom when I realised we had to do open homes. At the weekend.

"Strangers in our home," I moaned. "Poking around my stuff."

"It'll be fine," said my husband. "Light some candles or something."

Supportive wives can really come into their own during open homes. They can bake bread timed to come out of the oven half an hour before visitors arrive, filling the house with a yeasty, welcoming aroma.

They can put on a pot of coffee or boil up rosemary and lemon in a pot to give the house a wonderful old-fashioned scent.

They can also get vanilla beans and gently heat them over the open flame on the gas stove.

And it's a good idea to bake a cake and have that sitting on your table as if to say: "Stop, stay a while, have a cup of tea and some cake and feel as if you are at home. This could be your home actually. Another piece of cake?"

Supportive wife did none of these things because she ran away.

I wrote out some instructions involving which flowers to put in which rooms, suggested a cake was bought and fled to our caravan with the dog, leaving my husband the unenviable task of cleaning and polishing before each open home.

"Hardly supportive wife," quipped a friend.

"Even supportive wives need a holiday," I snapped.

And so I sat in the caravan with the dog as the rain lashed the windows, watched the waves crash against the shore and tried not to think about what was going on at home.

"It's safe to come home now," said the text.

"Any bad energy in the house?" I replied.

"Oh for God's sake!"

And so I came home. Supportive wife is back and will be baking, brewing, wafting and cleaning. It's the least she can do.

- NZ Herald

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