That plaster ceiling was closer to collapse than we'd presumed. On Tuesday, the contractors were planning to cut around the edge, to replace the main expanse with sheetrock while preserving the elaborate cast molding at the top of the walls. All furniture had been cleared from the room, the doors to the rest of the house shut and sealed with plastic, and a large window to the patio removed for ventillation. Drop cloths were down, and they carefully carried the antique crystal chandelier to the kitchen, then returned to climb on a ladder with a power saw to make the first cut. And suddenly, there was a distinctive popcorn/gravelly sound. All three men dove for safety, and in a tremendous 45-second crash, all 3000-plus pounds of plaster rained down. The aluminum ladder was mangled, and part of the molding precipitated with the ceiling, so it can't be saved. We were just grateful that no one was seriously injured or even killed. And happy that we'd made the right call about postponing the sale until the situation could be fixed.
We spent the week cobbling together a sale out of scraps, which is our least-favorite preparation method. The owners had signed a contract ages ago, but then left only a few 80s-era dregs in the house, much to my sweet boss's disgust. Formica over particle board and grungy upholstery in pale Pepto Bismol pink. And there were very few smalls. Everything was dirty or broken, and mostly both--I'd have been ashamed to run a yard sale with much of it. Definitely not up to our usual standards. We rearranged and accepted vast quantities of consignments, and after washing and fixing and vacuuming and supplementing, it looked to be decent. Again, not as dazzling as normal, but the homeowners will make considerably more on the few things they left because we'd staged it so well--had we not, customers would have simply walked in, shrugged in disgust, turned around and walked out. As it is, turnout has been modest and sales pitiful thus far, with only one more day left to run. Unless it's a blowout, this will have been a less-than-satisfactory experience, financially. I have written a lot in the lull times though, from reviews of the latest Kdramas to musings about the troubles of repatriation, so it wasn't a bust creatively.