Surprises are, by nature, unexpected events.
Surprises can be fun: “LOOK! They offer PADDLE BOAT RIDES!!!”
Surprises can be sweet: “Aw! You bought me lobster-shaped chocolate from my favorite candy shop!”
Surprises can be comical: ” When she saw the car, she passed out and fell into a garbage can!”
And, everyone’s least favorite, surprises can be panic-inducing-shock-fests: ” Oh, by the way, the owner of our apartment happens to be in Paris for a week and wants to come install a fire alarm and check on the place.”
…check on the place…
Granted, at first this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but then you start to worry. When was the last time he saw the place? What if he sees the scratches on the parquet ( CURSE YOU REAL WOOD) floors from our throng of cats running around at night? The ones that I will fix before we move out? What if he is mean, old and grumpy? WHAT IF HE THINKS WE ARE TERRIBLE PEOPLE AND MAKES US LEAVE? WHERE WILL WE LIVE!?! See? This can get out of hand quickly.
When I read the e-mail, I felt my blood pressure start to rise almost immediately. It’s not that we don’t take care of the place, it is just that this is kind of our space right now. We have covered virtually every surface to protect it from the felines and bought several metric tons of carpets in an attempt to protect the floors. We have even come to terms with the fact that the furniture looks like it belongs in a gypsy camp thanks to the strange collection of fabrics we have draped all over them. It’s just that this little apartment has been our safe haven from those rough days in Paris for almost a year. It felt invasive. It also made me very aware of all those little ‘to-do’ list items I have for when we leave the place. Panic set in and there was really no stopping it. It took a lot for me to call the guy and even talk to him. When I finally did, I was surprised. He sounded younger than I had thought and even nice. After talking to him for a few minutes, I brought up the fact that we actually already bought a smoke detector. I almost told him it wasn’t installed yet, but caught myself. Note; It will be installed today. Suddenly, he no longer had a reason to stop by and snope around the place. He simply asked for an email confirming that we had one to send to his insurance company. *POOF* Problem solved. He even asked if we were happy in place and if there was anything he could do. Nice! See? And yes, he can do something for me.
Stay away from the flat until we leave, please and thank you. I promise it will be in good shape when we give it back.