Hello! Another day, another blog post. I have scoured my memory banks and have come up with a couple of lovely experiences I had while working as a property valuer. For those of you who don’t know, a property valuer inspects houses, looks at sales evidence, then tells the client (usually a bank) what the property is worth. I did this for 17 long, hard years (can you hear the violins playing?). It was an interesting job at times, since I love sticky-beaking into other people’s houses, and it turns out, lives.
Some days I would look at stunning period properties, or modern architectural triumphs, but others were not so great. One lovely day I was asked to inspect a terrace house. I was greeted by the tenant, a friendly, but nervous, man who welcomed me into the hallway. I turned to enter the first bedroom which was on my left, however the door wouldn’t open – ok, the door was locked, fine, I would just have to get him to unlock it for me.
Now being the naïve person I was, I thought that maybe it was an unused room, or maybe a flat-mate’s room, someone who didn’t trust the other occupants enough to leave their room unlocked when they went to work. I asked if I could have a look.
Me, “I really need to see inside that room.”
Him, “Are you sure? Can’t you just skip that one?”
Me, “No, I have to look at all the rooms.”
Him, “Are you really sure?”
Me, “Yes really, sorry.”
The door was reluctantly unlocked and he left me to inspect the room by myself. So what did I find? Well, the room was painted dark red, not my taste, but hey who am I to judge? Hmm, not much in the way of furniture, but hang on, what’s that on the far wall? On closer inspection, and not too close mind you, I didn’t want to touch anything, it appeared to be, and in fact was, bondage gear fastened to the wall. It was an apparatus for handcuffing someone to the wall so they could um, well, you know.
I tried to contain my shock (I’m a ‘good’ girl, ok boring, and I’ve never been chained to a wall) and I didn’t even giggle. When I saw the tenant, to say goodbye, it was very hard to pretend like everything was normal and I hadn’t just been confronted with kinky sex toys. I felt sorry for him though because, on reflection, I probably could have missed seeing one room.
The next house I’ll tell you about, and don’t worry this is the last one, was also tenanted (sorry I know there’s good tenants out there and the last one was only a little naughty). I met the agent at the front door. It was the middle of winter and freezing cold, I had my scarf on, which later proved to be very good foresight.
The agent knocked on the door and as the tenant let us in, she swore because she had stepped on something in her own hallway and cut her foot (as you do). I almost swore when we entered because the place reeked of cat piss. I don’t mean a mild smell teasing the senses, I mean an all out, slap in the face, want to vomit your guts up because you can taste it smell. This is where I activated my scarf and covered my mouth and nose so I could try and breath without inhaling any offending particles.
The place was the most disgusting home I have ever been in. Not an inch of floor was bare – clothes, plates, glasses, rubbish, and yes, cat piss, covered everything. How the hell can someone live like this?
When we reached the lady’s (for want of a better word) bedroom I saw it – the cat. For those of you who have had a cat, you know they are clean animals, and I’m sure this one wanted to be clean. It looked at me with such a sad face that said, “Please get me out of here, this is no place for a cat.” The cat wasn’t wrong, especially since it already knew what I would find in the kitchen.
The kitchen embraced a similar theme to the rest of the house, dirty. Dirty dishes overflowed the sink and any spare bench space. There was mouldy, food encrusted, frozen food packaging everywhere. But the number one disgusting, vomit in your mouth and want to run out the door moment was when I saw the cat litter tray. It had not been changed, ever. Inside it, and flowing over the floor for quite a distance, was a mountainous trail of shit – in the kitchen – WTF?
I have never measured a home and drawn a floor-plan with such efficiency. I was in the biggest hurry of my life to get out of there, but I was stunned enough to want to know a little bit about this person, well animal, who lives in such an abominable state.
Me, “Do you work?”
Feral woman, “Yes.”
Me, “What do you do?”
Feral woman, “I’m a nurse.”
What can you say to that? I am still speechless. I often think about that poor cat, I should have called the RSPCA because that was abominable cruelty to animals, and come to think of it valuers, and real estate agents…