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  • Walt Mussell

Ignorance and Selective Bliss (Habit: Telling Her What She Doesn't Want to Know)


Years ago, I wrote a book (never published) about all of the habits of mine that my wife finds annoying. I contend that these are typical male habits. My wife says that they are specific to me. Love to hear your thoughts. I'm now posting these habits weekly on my blog. Please let me know if you agree with me or my wife.


The habit below is from the section House Rules


A few weeks after we arrived in Georgia, we received an e-mail from a former neighbor in Oregon. It read:

“Guess what! Your house is back on the market already. The new owners made some upgrades: new paint, crown moldings, hardwood floors, etc. It looks nice.”


The news surprised us. The buyers had presented themselves as a couple looking for a primary residence, not flippers. I went on-line to check the price. The buyers were asking around 25% more than they had paid for it.


Are you kidding me?!


The upgrades made would increase the value, but 25%?!


I debated telling my wife. I knew she’d immediately ask, “Why did you check? Why did you need to know?” I would then have to admit that I was curious, a comment which would have raised the hair on more than just her neck. She feels there are many things in life about which I am too curious. For her, ignorance is sometimes bliss. Finding out the new price of our old residence fell into that category.


I knew it would upset her, yet I thought keeping it from her a bad idea. If our neighbor e-mailed us the new asking price, I wouldn’t be able to hide from her that I already knew. (Can’t help it. I’m a lousy liar.)


I told her, sending her into immediate remorse.


She looked at me . . . stunned.

“Did we sell too low?” she asked.

“Our selling price was above what other houses in the subdivision, houses with the same floor plan, went for in the previous 6-9 months.”

“Could we have gotten that much more?”

“We probably could have gotten a little more, I thought, if we’d added in a higher amount that reflected additional recent changes in property values. Still, the price was fair and set to move quickly.”


I listed additional reasons for her. “Our house sold in a few days. We might not have gotten into our current house, had not the previous one sold so quickly. Also, I wanted you and the boys with me in Georgia, not back in Oregon trying to sell our home.” I ended with, “Selling a house is like selling a stock . . . impossible to time the peak.”

“You wouldn’t check a stock price after you sold it," she said.


I concurred. With a stock, the transaction’s over. The only reason to check it is if you might be buying it again. That wouldn’t apply with a house.


We checked on our old place once a month for several months, watching the price drop. Eventually, it hit a point where my wife relaxed about it, convinced we hadn’t sold it too low.

At least until she started looking at the new construction in our subdivision and started wondering if we paid too much for our current place.

© 2018 by Walter Mussell