Outer show

Embrace your statements as temperatures plummet. Nothing says elegance and grace like an optimistic attitude. The key is not to complain. Keep your problems to yourself. Thereby not allowing them to be blown out of proportion.

“Hello,” I smile as I answer my phone.

“Hi,” the Mentalist answers happy to hear me. “How are you?”

“I have an American inquiring by email about our house,” I remind him. “Is that a scam? I am good otherwise.”

“Could be yes,” the Mentalist confirms.

“Might have found a potential business partner. To be pursued…” I tell him. “So it sounds like a scam does it? Mmmmm too bad.”

“They will agree to your price but have a problem getting the docs or something ready and need you pay to have them FedExed to you or something,” the Mentalist predicts. “So chances are it’s bull. Do tell about your potential partner.”

“Well fat chance I will pay for their FedEx,” I retort annoyed already. “It’s someone I used to work with when I was on top of my game. He was also a freelancer at Generali.”

“Work with??” the Mentalist exclaims alarmed.

“He develops websites,” I suss him as I don’t understand why he’s so defensive about this idea.

“No naughty stuff?” the Mentalist enquires carefully.

“He has a nice little business going,” I tell him firmly. “No he works with financial companies and ecommerce. We’d be complementary. He doesn’t have the sales talk like I do.”

“You could check your USA buyer’s IP address,” the Mentalist jumps back to the house sale.

“I did check his IP address,” I pipe up, happy that I beat him to the idea. “Somewhere in Kansas I think.”

“I see,” the Mentalist dwells for a moment. “Well try it out and see if it works.”

“Yes well 10% down payment and proof of funds else no deal,” I spell out the administrative details.

“Tell him to get on a plane and come see the house,” the Mentalist booms.

“Exactly,” I am having fun now. “He said he’s relocating to Belgium. Still you’d expect people to first move here.”

“It is very unusual for an American to buy a house in Belgium blind,” the Mentalist explains the faults in the plan. “Your house prices are high due to regulations. He can buy better in Spain or Greece or the USA for that matter. Immo websites are full of this. Second hand cars too. Same problem”

“Yes agree,” I acknowledge. I remember years ago my cousin Simon was being set up by somebody selling a beautiful second hand Audi over the internet for only 3.000 EUR. The guy was even going to bring the car to the house himself, providing my cousin had that money on him in cash. Obviously, he would have just been robbed of his cash and no car in exchange. But yes, anyway back to the house… “I know, you can smell the scam a mile off.”

“Did he give you a long story?” the Mentalist wants to know.

“No very short,” I answer.

“What’s his reasons?” the Mentalist prods on.

“He signed with Captain Daniel Mixon,” I muse. “It’s the captain part which is a scam give-away.”

“Who’s that?” the Mentalist jumps.

“The guy who’s interested in the house,” I remind him again. “He didn’t give a reason for relocating. He just said he’s relocating to Belgium. In fact, he didn’t say Belgium, he said your country.”

“Oh. He’s a soldier then,” the Mentalist pictures. “Got millions in gold during the Iraq war and needs you to help solve the problem.”

“Hahahaaaa,” I laugh out loud. “That’s a well known scam story too.”

“Well if you haven’t responded yet,” the Mentalist is on a drift now. “Tell him he can buy it when he gets here if it’s still on the market.”

“Will do,” I acquiesce. “He just asked me my best selling price so I told him.”

“Or you can string him along just for fun but never commit to anything,” the Mentalist continues with an undertone of mischief in his voice.

“True,” I consider the short-term fun that will be.

“If he is real you will know, if not you will know,” the Mentalist says wisely. “He hopes you are greedy and desperate.”

“Well I am neither,” I retort.

“Yes you are,” the Mentalist calls my bluff.

“The house has been legally valued at the price I told him,” I point out firmly. “Haha not so. If it doesn’t sell we will rent it out.”

“Yes indeed,” the Mentalist agrees with me. “Wait it out.”

“Ok,” I sigh, realizing that a deal which is too good to be true, usually is. Too good to be true. “The business partner might be a godsend don’t you think?”

“Or give it to Winston’s in Keerbergen,” the Mentalist suggests. “They have a good reputation.”

“I hate Schoeters in Keerbergen,” I raise my voice as negative emotions flood me at the pure memory. “I rented my house in Tremelo through them.”

“I hope so,” the Mentalist answers in reply to my question about the business partner. “It would certainly motivate you.”

“Then the landlord scammed me on the rent deposit and they just stood by despite the fact that I had bought the house in Baal through them,” I go on explaining why I think they are crooks.

“I see,” the Mentalist trails off. “That’s bad.”

“I will never ever do business with Winston Schoeters ever again,” I repeat the resolve I made years ago.

“There is Margarita in Keerbergen next to the frituur opposite the square,” the Mentalist suggests another real estate agent. “She is quite good. Small though.”

“I hate Margriet too,” I exclaim vividly remembering my exchange with her. “She is rude.”

“God you know everyone,” the Mentalist is amazed. “She has a very sexy friend.”

“I like Janssen & Janssen,” I inform him of the immo agent I am currently considering. “Guy came to see me. Offered a fixed price to sell. And I can still sell it by myself.”

“Interesting,” the Mentalist pipes up.

“I know,” I agree. “Margriet also likes men with money. Yes so I think I will go with that guy. Will call him tomorrow. Wim agreed too.”

“Ok,” the Mentalist seals the brainstorming. “Good idea.”

“So I am focused on my goals,” I conclude.

“Are your kids back yet?” the Mentalist wants to know.

“Tomorrow finally!” I let out a sigh of relief. “Looking forward to seeing them. Missed them awfully.”

“Cool,” the Mentalist sounds happy for me. “I hope your air-conditioning unit arrives on Saturday.”

“Yes get baking,” I encourage him. “I am going to miss that pool.”

“I am busy,” the Mentalist lets me in on the ongoings in his bakery business. “Negotiating a large contract. Just trying figure out a way to extend shelf life.”

“But I won’t miss the worry and anxiety about having a pool and a toddler,” I say weighing up the pros and contras of my outdoor heated swimming pool. “Additives?”

“A sprinkler in the garden is great to cool off and fun for the kids,” the Mentalist seems to have solutions to everything.

“Yes we will find solutions,” I nod as I like this idea very much. “The area is great.”

“No can’t use additives,” the Mentalist is into healthy eating. “Can get a reliable supplier.”

“Ah sounds fantastic,” I am happy to hear his business is advancing as he works hard for it and is very passionate about baking. Always has been since I’ve known him. There is magic healing in comfort food.

“I have a sprinkler in my garden,” the Mentalist says with the same cheeky undertone again.

“Cool,” I smile as I pick up on his mood. “No pics thank you.”

“Ok,” the Mentalist has just lost his balance to throw some stuff, tongue in cheek, my way.

“Haha,” I laugh, a little pleased to have unsettled him. “Does the dog like it?”

“What about teaching Willem to swim?” the Mentalist asks me. “No the dog runs away.”

“He’s got a bathing suit with floatable thingies in,” I am annoyed he thinks I haven’t considered all options to keep my children safe around the pool. “I won’t feel good about a pool until he’s like 6 or 7. Then I will ask Wim if we can have one in our new house.”

“You have time to save up,” the Mentalist points out the obvious.

“That’s right,” I am happy to acknowledge.

“Is Wim coming to live with you full time in the new house?” the Mentalist goes for my sore spot again.

“No,” I answer very shortly hoping we’re not going into this conversation again.

“Why not?” the Mentalist throws back at me not giving up. “Even after you get married?”

“Because,” I retort defensively. “Same old story. His kids go to school in Mechelen.”

“He likes an open relationship,” the Mentalist prods a finger in an open wound. “They are big and the bus goes there often from Keerbergen.”

“They go by bike now,” I point out defending our point of view. “I am moving so my kids can go by bike to school.”

“Or they could bike down the canal,” the Mentalist continues to my utmost outrage.

“I can understand,” I tell him why exactly Wim won’t be living with me. “It’s an hour’s bike ride from Mechelen to Keerbergen. An hour at least.”

“Ok so one week for Wim and one for me right,” the Mentalist finally gives in.

“One week for Wim and one week for me,” I correct him.

“That’s what I said,” the Mentalist answers dryly and his answer is disconcerting. He is not me. I am not schizophrenic. These are real conversations with a real live human being different from myself. The Mentalist really exists.

“Me time,” I go on refusing to let him baffle me.

“We could do all the naughty things you like,” the Mentalist is going in for the naughty talk now.

“Quality me time,” I repeat. “Yes like talk about sillies. Make magic stuff happen. That kind of stuff.”

“Yes yes yes,” the Mentalist enthusiasms on the other side of the phone.

“Love that,” I dream on, my eyes glazing over. “Drink tea, smoke cigarettes. Do the tarot cards.”

“Go on,” the Mentalist coaxes me. “And then?”

“I don’t think yoga is your thing,” I suddenly wake up from my daze. “Go for walks. Sit out in the garden. Be quiet and read a book.”

“What about wild and wet naughty things?” the Mentalist asks cheekily.

“The sprinkler is only for hot summer days,” I contain my composure.

“People might see us under the sprinkler,” the Mentalist teases me. “Being very naughty.”

“Ah no you can’t go skinny sprinkling,” I laugh out.

“I could wear you to cover up,” the Mentalist is getting naughtier by the minute.

“Haha nice try,” I answer reminding everybody that I am a lady and wish to be treated as such. “If you are bad I will lock you in the sauna.”

“I love you too,” the Mentalist throws in the last of his naughties.

“Talk soon!” I cry out laughing as I realize it is time that this conversation is over. The Mentalist has a knack of getting carried away with himself.

“I am going to bed,” the Mentalist bids me good night. “Go read about your subject for a while. Take care.”

“You too,” I blow him a kiss down the phone.

Take fall attitude in your stride. Remain in a confident aura by showing off an optimistic attitude. Always see solutions, not problems.




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