Within about an hour of listing the house on Trademe, I realised more organisation was required than telling interested parties to rock up any time for a look.
I called everyone back and scheduled people at half hour intervals on Sunday. Then, when all available slots from noon to 6pm were booked, I moved on to Monday.
Husband and I scrubbed the house from top to bottom and chucked all our belongings in the pantry. The place looked pretty spruce by the time Doug and Susan arrived.
I had high hopes for Susan. She sounded quite lovely on the telephone. Indeed, she was equally lovely in person, if not even more so.
Shame about her boyfriend.
I encourage Jed to bark whenever anyone comes up the drive. He charges down the stairs at such speed I wouldn’t be surprised to follow him one day and find a Jed-shaped hole in the front door. I suppose he’s excited at the prospect of fresh crotch, and who can blame him?
I normally restrain Jed in the yard until I check whether the visitor is comfortable with dogs then, assuming the response is positive, release him. Unfortunately, for some reason, Doug was walking up the drive in front of his car – which was even stranger since it was raining like it only rains in Waitakere: with a ferocious gusto.
Unfortunately, Jed took one look at Doug, and decided he didn’t like him AT ALL. When Jed dislikes someone his bark sounds quite chilling, like he took a wrong turn on the way from Baskerville. I was aware Jed was making his “Don’t fuck with me mofo” bark, and he refused to come when I issued a recall.
I didn’t see this, but Andrew – who was watching from the bedroom window – reported later that Jed took a run at Doug.
Now, in my puppy’s defence, I didn’t like the look of Doug much either (not to the extent of attempting to kneecap him with my teeth, but still). Jed’s also been rather unsettled recently with the frenzy of packing going on around him.
“Don’t mind him; he’s very friendly!” I called, completely oblivious to my dog swinging out of Doug’s shorts.
“He doesn’t look that friendly,” muttered Doug.
I grabbed Jed by the scruff and banished him to the garage.
I decided Doug and Susan weren’t suitable because Doug tracked mud up the carpet. Also because he kicked my dog in the head.
(That’s the official version of events, and I’m sticking to it.)
Darryl arrived before Doug and Susan had left.
“Hi!” I said, “Darryl, isn’t it? Niamh. Listen, sorry about this, but these people need to get down the drive and your car is blocking them in. Would you mind just letting them out?”
“No problem, sweet as,” said Darryl – and that was the last we saw of him.
He just fucked off!
(Perhaps he was attacked by a tree on the way down the drive.)
Next up was Johno and Sandra. Johno introduced himself thus:-
“The drive won’t work with a boat.”
“Er, you mean because it’s tarmac not water?” I said, confused.
“No. I mean we won’t be able to get a boat trailer up the drive.”
“Oh, I see. You have a boat-”
“Right . . .”
“But I’m getting a boat.”
“Ok. Well, I don’t suppose there’s much point in showing you the rest of the house, then.”
Bev turned up with Philippe, who came accessorised with a natty little moustache, a briefcase and a cravat.
I started into my well-practiced patter: “Aaand here’s the garage – plenty of bench space. Most important part of the house, right Philippe? <nudge>”
“I don’t think so,” said Philippe dismissively. “I don’t do . . . that sort of thing.”
I’m not sure what Sort of Thing he was referring to, but I decided that regardless what that Sort of Thing was, I would not endorse a man who didn’t do it.
I was surprised how many people were looking for accommodation because their current residence had been put on the market. Many gave off a distinct smell of desperation. Except the girl who turned up with eight nose rings, a stud through her chin, and a tattoo of what appeared to be a hamster on her forearm. I think the smell emitting from her was an infected labia piercing.
There was one no-show, and a woman who called to say the mobile reception was too poor for her requirements. Another woman called to say her teenager had gone on hunger strike at the prospect of living so far from civilisation. For a moment I wondered why she was telling me this – turned out she was cancelling.
The following day, we showed the house to four more couples, including Brian and Kushla, who – mistakenly and regrettably – I called ‘Krishna’ for the duration of the viewing.
That afternoon, a car drove up our drive. I wasn’t expecting anyone, but followed Jed downstairs. It was a skinhead and his girlfriend. The skinhead poked his head out the car window.
“We’re on a mission,” he said by way of introduction.
“Can I help you?” I said.
“Are the owners here?”
“Excuse me? No!” I said, so incredulous I didn’t even try to discourage Jed’s attempts to fire himself in the driver’s window and gnaw him.
“Do you have the owners’ contact number? It’s just,” he continued in the face of my rare speechlessness (and Jed’s slavering teeth), “we heard this house is for rent and we thought-”
“It’s been let,” I snapped. “This is my private residence. Please go away.”
Had he stepped out of the car, I would have ENCOURAGED Jed to bite him. As it is, I hope Jed clawed up his paint work.
But the best was yet to come.