Ilze Berzins

After any trauma (realtor-induced)(see category: travel) I go back to my first loves. There are many. Ballet was my first passion but I grew too tall. That was before the days of Karen Kain and other long-limbed dancers. In my days you had to be petite– which I never was.

Then painting.

And only much much later, writing.

“Put all this stuff away,” realtor Max instructed me. He meant my paintings, my family photos, my books. I felt stripped naked. Never mind. A STAGER would tell me what to replace my treasures with. I can roll up my Persian and rent nice furniture.  

I still feel queasy about the whole misadventure. My husband feels totally washed out, demoralized. But see, that’s the point: Realtors make you feel so unworthy that you’re glad to grab at anything to restore a bit of your humanity.

“They’re not coming back,” I tell my husband. “I won’t let them in the house.”

Still, my dream house on the hill is up for sale. By us. No intermediaries. Take us as you find us.

I got eighteen e-mails from Realtor Max today.

Maybe he’s not even a realtor. I mean, just anybody can say they’re a realtor and walk into your home, right?

I’ve nothing cute or funny to say right now. I’m scared.

Yes, I’m still trying to sell my house, but now the gloves are off.

I’m naming names.

It’s one of the TWINS.

Today my husband had the nerve to call one of the Twins. I don’t know which one. A glance at their calling card informs me that these lovelies are identical twins.

Gorgeous, both of them. (Aren’t they all?)

So I’m sitting on the couch, close by, as my husband makes a professional real-estate related (you’d better believe it) call to one of the Twins.

It takes a while to get through. Page, cell phone, whatever.

In the meantime, I peruse the message on the calling card: Identical Service. Twins Working Together.

You know, I don’t like it.

Still, business is business.

“Same bullshit, same lies,” my husband says getting off the phone.

Boy, is he ever in a bad mood!


I’ve been so busy with Ann Coulter that I’ve almost forgotten my house and realtor Max, my most recent sweet-talking bed-wetter.

Ann sure knows how to call a spade a spade.

The foxy lady walked away with $10,000 without even turning up to deliver her talk. 

Hey, a realtor could almost do that. Make $10,000. But he or she would have to turn up.

Not do much, mind you. Get on the computer, click on MLS. Presto! No sign to put up. Nothing. It’s all MLS.


A real estate agent can make twice $10,000 if it’s exclusive.

Ann probably had to pay air fare and hotel but the agent just ‘comes over’.

We noticed Max was driving a glossy jet-black extended-cab pickup (upwards $40,000).

To misquote Ann Coulter:

“Scragsville: Indian for ‘Land of Bed-Wetters.'”

Re: Ann Coulter’s skirmish at Scragsville  U.

See what I mean?

Ann called the university bush-league not Ivy League.

Of course she is right.

Next time I speak with her, I’ll familiarize her with scrags-league.

Charmed or snowed? That is the question.

Yes, I suppose I still sort of like Realtor Max. Still, having slept on his spiel, the charm has dissipated but the words linger on.

He wants to bring in a STAGER.

Giving a cursory sweep of his hand, he asked: “You do all this?”

“Yes, those are my paintings,” I replied, somewhat taken aback. Now I know the guy’s not a connoisseur but, until now, my work has been admired and valued. From past exhibitions I’ve kept a few paintings particularly meaningful to me, all in costly frames.

“Well, this is OK,” Max continued blithely, shrugging at my Sunflower “But…” he trailed off, glancing at a large painting (actually unfinished) above the mantle. I like to live with a piece, see what it tells me. For now it tells me leave me alone.

Then we get to ‘clutter’ (Max’s word).

In an heirloom silver frame I have photos of my family—black and white, some circa 1918.

They should be gone.

There are key words, dropped casually at some cocktail party or inadvertently at a business meeting, which get my ears up.

“Bla… bla… bla… Jung… bla…”

Say what?

In all this mess of words did you say Jung? Did you, in fact, say Carl Gustav Jung?

O.K. he’s dead and he’s not the Dalai Lama who’s alive and my number one spiritual leader but Carl Jung is still up there.

Who would have thought that a realtor would have dropped this name in amongst the spiel of marketing my dream house? But he did.

As you know, I don’t use real names for realtors, so this guy will be known as Max.

I like him. So does my husband.

Max tells us that he’s into MBTI.

That gets my interest too.

I know about EST. That’s where, years ago, they had you holed up in a hotel without bathroom breaks to the tune of $800 in order to expand your potential.

So what’s MBTI?

After Max left our house I googled.

Max was speaking about the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. Apparently he’s an instructor.

Of course I immediately wondered if this is a cult. What have we here?

Searching my memory I do recall this stuff being brought up in seminars when I was doing my MA in Art Education at Sir George Williams (now Concordia).

So this is legit, socially acceptable. The guy’s not a Hare Krishna or a Moonie.

What can I say? My husband and I both like him so my Mental Health days are over and it’s time to market.

You may think things are moving too fast.

Wasn’t I going to take a few Mental Health days?

Yes, but…

I can’t help thinking of Judy’s red convertible Mercedes sports car and about Gary’s silver late model sedan.

What have we done wrong?

My husband is a surgeon (retired). I am a university lecturer (retired).

Here we are in Upper Scragsville selling our most precious possession.

Well, today I bought Vanity Fair.


It’s Still About Greed and…