I love my landlords. I mean it: I love them. So many things about them: the way they say my name, how they know what I’m thinking without having to speak, the way they run laughing through cornfields with sunlight playing on their hair. You might say Darren and Ingrid COMPLETE ME on a real estate level.
But seriously, it’s just about impossible not to love a man with the names of his children tattooed down his legs, or a woman whose sense of fairness is so highly developed she gave me a gift voucher to cover any gas that might have leaked. Go on, give it a go: try hating them – or start smaller; try simply being indifferent to them.
However, when I offered to list and show the house to prospective tenants, I was unaware how MUCH I love Darren and Ingrid. I mean, I certainly wouldn’t go to that much trouble for Husband, who I indeed love, a lot.
But I suppose there’s only one of him, and two of them.
Within two minutes of listing the house, I got the first enquiry. Then, for the next two days I walked around with a telephone clamped to my ear, getting used to conversations like this:-
Enquirer: Yes, I’m calling about the house. On Trademe. The pictures look GORGEOUS-
Me: Well, it’s lovely at the moment, but not so much in winter. I won’t lie to you: it’s DANK. You need at least two dehumidifiers going full time. Sometimes it rains for an ENTIRE WEEK straight-
Enquirer: Have many people called about it?
Me: Yes, loads.
Enquirer: I’ve always wanted to live in the bush.
Me: But, you know, there are limitations living in a place like this. The house is pretty high maintenance. You have to clean the water filter on the tank once a month, and if you take runoff from the roof, you have to clear dead possums and shoes out of the gutters-
Enquirer: That’s no problem, I used to be a plasterer.
Me: Um. Ok. So, what do you do now?
Enquirer: Oh, we- me and my wife- work in the city-
Me: You realise this place is pretty isolated? It’s four kilometres up a dead end road and the last bit is gravel. If you’re commuting, the entry point to the motorway is snarled up from about seven in the morning-
Enquirer: We’re used to commuting. We live on Queen Street, takes us at least QUARTER OF AN HOUR to drive to work.
Me: Can you believe it? So, would it just be you and your wife?
Enquirer: Oh no, we have five kids, my parents, a dog, four cats, a kitten and a hyena.
Me: Really, I’m not sure this house is for you. It was designed and built for a couple. There’s only two bedrooms and no garden-
Enquirer: No, no, it looks PERFECT. When can I see it?
Me: I suppose that depends on how long it will take you to travel from your distant planet.