Back in the day when I was knee high to the Empire State building, I lived with my Grandmother who was a building Super. The building was located in the ritzier section of Montreal (up on the hill, and right downtown), so some of the tenants were rather, eccentric. When I saw some of the crap my Grandparents had to put up with, it certainly didn't make me aspire to be a building Super when I grew up.
When my Grandfather passed away, my Grandmother realized she couldn't do the job by herself, so that left the landlord looking for a new Super. He asked me if I would fill in, until he found somoene. Well, this is a live-in job, so I ended up moving back home, in a sense. The job had perks though, free apartment, free cable, phone, hydro, and a salary. I didn't expect to stay more than a year, but the landlord enjoyed having me there as the people already knew me (some of them even watched me grow up), so they felt safe and secure knowing some complete stranger wasn't wandering into their apartments.
My duties included, renting out apartments, collecting rent, painting and cleaning empty apartments, maintenance of the building (floors, windows, glass doors etc), kickstarting the cantankerous boiler in the winter, dealing with tenant issues, etc.
Here are some of the tenant issues I had to deal with. Remember what I said about some of these people being eccentric.
There was this lady on the ground floor, who took the cake for "weird" complaints. She also talked in this breathless voice and fake accent to try and sound more posh I guess.. "Oh Deeeeeeeebbie, there is this dreeeeeeeeeeeeeadful nooooooise coming from my terraaaace.." Turns out it was the Central A/C from the building behind her. "Oooooooooooh Debbie, that woman upstairs flushes her toiiiiiiiiiilet too looooooooooud.." Hello?? Ooooooooooooooh Debbie, I think the woman next dooooooooor is defecating on my teeeeeerrace..."
She was easy to deal with compared to the pre-Alzheimer's patient on the 6th floor. She would knock on my door sometimes and say that she went shopping and look at all the wonderful stuff she found. I thought she had walked in and raided someone's apartment. Turned out it was her own apartment. She had everything laid out in the lobby like a museum display. Another time she knocked on my door and when I opened it she had a jar of marmalade in her hand. She then asked me "Why am I holding this jar of marmalade?" I had a taxi driver ring my bell on another occasion, because she had called for a taxi, got in and gave her home address as where she wanted to go. The taxi driver tried to tell her she was already home, but she insisted that she wasn't. I told him to just drive her around the block once or twice and then bring her back, and it worked. The whole time this was going on, I kept telling the landlord that this wasn't right. He got in contact with her family to try and do something, and let me tell you, they took their sweet time. So I kept an eye out on her. Considering she knocked on my door to let me know what she was doing most of the time, it was a pretty easy job.
The worst part about this job was having to clean up after some people who went out of their way to make a mess. One time the toilet in the laundry room was broken, so I put a lock on the door so no one would use it. Two days after that, someone decided to take a diarrhea crap in a bunch of empty boxes outside the elevator door in the basement. I guess they couldn't wait to get back upstairs to explode in the comfort of their own bathroom. But sheesh, at least clean your own shit up! I didn't notice it right away, but the lock on the bathroom door had been broken. I went in there 3 weeks later to finally get around to fixing the toilet and it looks like whoever had the runs in the boxes, filled up the toilet in here beforehand. Except now it was 3 weeks old. I won't get into major details about the age rings in the toilet, but let's just say I have a strong stomach, but it was enough to make me want to yell at some ants.
Another daily chore was collecting the garbage from each landing, bagging it, and putting it in the garbage hutch outside. Now, you'd think with daily garbage collection, people wouldn't let garbage ferment and grow new life forms in their kitchens would you? Wrong. I went to pick up a bag of garbage, and thought to myself, how strange that someone would throw a bag of knitting needles out. Well as soon as I touched the bag, those knitting needles quivered and fell back into the bag. It was a bag of full-grown maggots. I guess they ran out of rotting meat to eat in the bag and they were trying to get out. You gotta wonder how long that bag had been sitting in their kitchen. This looks like a job for Grissom from CSI!
Now that I've thoroughly grossed you all out, how about paint colours? The landlord gave people the option to pick and choose what colour(s) they wanted their apartment painted. I guess he figured if they are paying that much rent, he could afford the extra paint. There was this fashion designer who decided he wanted his entire apartment in Canary Yellow, including inside of the drawers and cupboards. I almost went blind painting this apartment. Especially when it came to doing the kitchen and bathroom in high gloss Canary Yellow. It was even worse when he came to inspect it and decided that while the Canary Yellow looked "darling" on the paint swatch, it was much too bright, could we do the Banana Yellow instead? Joy, another 3 days of blindness, but since I got paid by the hour (extra) to paint, my pockets were happy.
There was another lady who moved in, who decided she wanted all her rooms different colours. While they were labelled differently on the cans, this is what I called them. For the living room, we had Pistachio Green, for the bedroom, Pepto Bismol Pink, the dining room, Mortuary Grey, the hallway, Caramilk Beige, bathroom and kitchens, Puke Yellow (kinda bile-like). This was the same woman that Terrace Lady complained was coming over from her terrace and defecating on hers. She didn't want to believe it was cat shit. It was much more dramatic to complain that an old lady was coming to crap on her terrace than the neighbourhood Tom.
I was at this job for just over 6 years, so you know I collected a helluva lot more stories to tell. I think I might run out of space if I had to do it all in one blog.
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