Well the end of February is fast approaching… and with it, the day our renter will (finally) move out. We won’t be renter-free of course, we still need the income. But I’m hoping the renter we have coming in will be both a little less weird, and a lot smarter. You will see what I mean when you read the following anecdotes! Since this is a public blog, I am leaving out the renter’s name… if he ever reads this, he might know who he is, but no one else needs to!
First of all, I’m pretty sure our renter is mysophobic. I Googled to get the correct term, but this term describes someone who has a specific type of OCD: the pathological fear of germs, and an obsession with making sure they can never come into contact with anything dirty. Why do I think this?
When this guy moved in, we showed him the room that would be his, the living area he could use, where his shelf was in the pantry, and where all the dishes were. He never used any of it – never stored any food upstairs, never touched our dishes, and always ate out. We didn’t think much of it, a lot of guys just don’t want to cook! But then he started coming home with a lot of stuff. He bought a slow-cooker, toaster oven, and some other cooking devices, and a complete set of his own dishes including casserole dishes and tupperware. He stores everything in his room and BLEACHES it every time it’s used – to the point where I can’t go into my basement without getting a headache and burning nose. I mentioned to him once that I’m very sensitive to the smell of bleach and he was welcome to use our dish soap, and he said “Oh, I hardly ever use it so don’t worry”. Let me just clarify that “hardly ever” means “every single day, in high concentrations, on every dish I touch, and there will be large white splatters all over my bathroom floor from it”. He probably wouldn’t even use our fridge or freezer if he had his own; everything he refrigerates is in double or triple plastic bags and tightly tied so it can never touch anything else in the freezer or fridge.
The weirdness doesn’t stop with the eating and cooking habits either. His bathroom is like two different people’s bathrooms rolled into one. The sink, toilet and tub are PRISTINE. He keeps a bunch of cleaners in there, and I’m pretty sure he cleans the fixtures every day. They look nicer than they did when we bought them. But the rest of the bathroom is FILTHY! He puts leftover food in his garbage can with no bag in there and the walls all around the sink are constantly splattered with food that he doesn’t wash off (he does his dishes – with bleach – in the bathroom sink because he won’t use our sink). The floor is disgusting – covered in hair, fuzz, bits of garbage and food, and big white powdery splatters of dried up bleach (which he “hardly ever” uses). The bath mat is so soiled that we will be throwing it out when he leaves – I wouldn’t ever want to walk on something that dirty. The theory I’ve come up with is that he ONLY cleans what is going to touch his body. And if you’re wondering about why the bath mat is so dirty, he wears rubber shoes whenever he’s in the house so I don’t imagine his feet ever touch the mat. The only question is – THEN HOW DID IT GET SO DIRTY?
Then we come to his room. We didn’t even realize what it was like until just last month – we don’t go in our renter’s bedrooms unless absolutely necessary, so we never know what they look like. But we showed the room to a potential renter and putting it mildly, we were utterly dismayed and disgusted. The room isn’t overly dirty, but the nice tan rug we had in there is ruined. My sister lived here for three years with those rugs, and when she left, they still looked like they were brand new. The rug in his bedroom now looks like someone picked up a bunch of dog poop from somewhere and rubbed it into the rug until it dissolved. Add that to the fact that the rug is covered (like the bathroom floor) in hair and bits of black fuzz and thread, and who would want to live there? He has agreed to have the rug cleaned, so hopefully it will come as clean as it was when he moved in.
There’s a lot of weirdness in his bedroom too – we offered him a dresser when he moved in, but he refused the use of that and anything he doesn’t hang he just keeps on the floor. He has a miniature kitchen in one corner with all of his dishes and cooking appliances, and his ironing board. He says he “loves” to iron because it’s “relaxing”. I’m pretty sure he even irons his sheets. He won’t use anything of ours in there either, unless absolutely necessary. When he moved in there were no curtains on the window, but I had a curtain rod and a set of black curtains which he accepted and said he’d put up himself. Ten months later, he has a sheet tacked over the window and the rod and curtains are gathering dust in the corner. He bought his own vacuum (didn’t want to use ours) but I’ve only seen him use it once EVER, and I still periodically clean up noodles, bits of food and other debris that gets kicked out of his room into the hallway.
Anyway, we put up with the weirdness and obsessive behavior for almost 10 months, and since he keeps to himself we could realistically put up with it for a lot longer. But lately, since he lost his job and is here all the time, the STUPID behavior has started to show itself. I actually don’t know how this man has survived until age 53, and I have trouble believing that he owns a house back in Ontario considering some of the things he says and does. I don’t know how his kids survived him, either!
Something that’s become a necessity is being right there every time he comes upstairs. We have a baby gate for a VERY good reason, and it’s always shut. Well he was leaving it open every time he came upstairs, even if Zane was right there on the dining room floor. Each time he’d come up, I would get up, sigh loudly, go over and shut and latch the gate. I did this probably 10 times and finally one day he asked “Oh, will the dog go downstairs?” REALLY? How do you see a closed baby gate, and a baby crawling around, and not make the connection that you should close the gate? So I explained to him that no, I wasn’t worried about the dog, but I didn’t want Zane to fall down the stairs. He looked utterly shocked that such a thing was possible, but he does shut it most of the time now.
Our phone is another example of the general day to day incompetence. Maybe he didn’t use it much before now, or maybe he only had incoming calls – I don’t know. But now, because he’s trying to find a job and straighten out EI, he uses it constantly. Which is fine… the cost doesn’t increase by usage. The issue is, I count four times now that he’s come upstairs looking for me and saying the phone isn’t working. Each time I’ve had to SHOW him HOW to use a cordless phone (push the green button, dial number). And each time he acts like I’m an absolute genius. The kicker is, when he moved in he told us he used to work in I.T. – uh huh, right. It seems like this man is going to always rely on someone else for communication – he’s had parcels mailed here a couple of times, and when I gave him the parcel notice he didn’t know what to do with that either. And not like, he didn’t know where the post office was – he had to ask me if he was supposed to take the parcel notice up to the counter.
Quite possibly the worst, yet funniest story is the breaker box. He irons in his room – like every day – and when he plugs his iron in on the same circuit as his stereo, alarm, computer, both of our computers, our home server, and our router (the two bedrooms have their plugins on a shared circuit), the added load of the iron quite often trips the breaker. The obvious solution would be to iron in a different room, but he doesn’t want to do that. OK fine… fixing a tripped breaker is easy after all, right? Wrong! Every time he’s tripped it, I’ve had to fix it. One day I came home from an appointment and my stepmom told me he had been “frantically” looking for me because he needed to print something and his printer wasn’t working. I didn’t think much of it – he’s needed tech support before, and I didn’t know the breaker was tripped because I hadn’t even been downstairs. When he came home, he told me he’d tripped it and I just said “oh, ok thanks” figuring he was just letting me know to check on our computers. He got this look on his face and said “Well can you HELP me?” a bit indignantly! So I went downstairs, walked to the breaker box, and flipped it back on for him – he was once again AMAZED and asked me to show him which one it was. I explained that when a breaker switch trips, you can tell which one it is because it’s not in the ON position like all the other ones… not to mention, there’s usually a little red tab that appears. I had trouble believing that someone who supposedly owns a home doesn’t know how to turn a tripped breaker back on, but I figured since it had been explained, the problem would be solved!
So I get up this morning and try to use my tablet to check Facebook, no internet. Try to stream video to the Xbox, no internet. Upstairs wireless is working but downstairs isn’t. So I realize, the renter probably tripped the breaker again while ironing in his bedroom. Did something not compute when I explained how easy it was to flip a tripped breaker back on? I go downstairs and I can see that he’s looked at the breaker box (the cover is moved and the little door is open) but the breaker is still tripped. So I can only assume that he looked, was too stupid to figure out how to turn it back on, and just left because I wasn’t up yet. I turn the breaker back on, and I hear his stereo come on in his room and his radio alarm blaring. OK fine… I go in his room to shut off these items, and his iron is sitting on the padded ironing board in a pile of his clothes, plugged in and turned on! Well thank God I had to go in and shut the noise off, or I wouldn’t have known the iron was on and could have had a fire! Now I am trying to wrap my head around the fact that a grown man can’t figure out that his iron is going to turn back on when I flip the breaker, and maybe he should unplug it.
All I can say is, the end of February can’t come fast enough – I just hope our house is still intact when it does arrive!