From Basement Rat:
As a house cleaner you see it all. The big messes and the small…and some you should never see at all. Most folks just expect light housekeeping, weekly dusting, picking up and stowing away. Others expect a full dump out and hose down . Thankfully in my cleaning career, those moments were few and far between. One of the jobs highlights was meeting the client’s pets. Cozy cats and docile dogs would greet me with a purr and a wag. I love all animals and have fond memories of those I spent time with while cleaning their owner’s homes. Some were not run of the mill companions. Every once in a while I would come across the exotic pet such as a snake, bird or…….other.
I was called to clean at a brownstone in the city one day and was greeted by a couple who were in a hurry. I was told to dust and vacuum and make sure that “Edie” had plenty of water. The pair were artists and had to get to an appointment , so they hurried out the door. I looked around and saw that the apartment was bright and cheerful, neat, well decorated and that the living room was a huge open area with the furniture positioned against the walls. In the corner of the living room, I spied a large cage with bedding, and a child’s plastic wading pool. I assumed that “Edie” was a large dog. I set about my chores, dusting , straightening out couch cushions and the like . I saw shoe scuffs on the baseboards of the wall and decided to wipe them off . As I was on my hands and knees, I heard the tippy tapping of dog feet on hard floors. Figuring it was Edie, I kept scrubbing the baseboard until Edie butted my behind with her snout. Laughing, I turned around to say ‘hello” to the playful pup. To my great surprise Edie was not a dog at all, but a 70 lb. Capybara ! My new friend was quite the scamp, she loved a head scratch and would run around the vacuum cleaner playing “tag”. She would splash about in the kiddie pool and wait for me to towel her off. I really enjoyed seeing Miss Edie. Her pet parents told me that her full name was Edie Capy-Sedgewick, that they named her after the socialite/actor/model/muse, one of Andy Warhol’s superstars ! The capy version of Ms. Sedgewick lived up to her name, she knew she was adored and adorable.
There had been daytime break-ins around the neighborhood. Typical B&E stuff while people weren’t home, but there had also been a spate of recent robberies where the robber did much more than rob. I was always careful, making sure I had locked the apartment door and I could look out the peephole to see who was around. The building however had been undergoing renovations , so the front door wasn’t always secure. One day a scruffy guy rang the bell and said he was the exterminator. I took at him through the peephole and noticed he didn’t have any pest spraying equipment with him. The clients hadn’t mentioned any scheduled bug bombing of the place, so I told the guy that I couldn’t let him in. He said he had to get in now to do the job, that I was holding things up. I held my ground and said no, that the landlord had never mentioned it , so he’d have to come back another time. He started getting angry , began pounding on the door and screaming obscenities. I walked back into the hallway to try and call the police. I didn’t get the chance, the crazed door pounder was kicking the door in. He managed to break through and like a shot Edie ran at him! The guy let out a screech as Miss Edie sunk her very sharp teeth into his legs and hands. What is that? he yelped…I yelled that it was a giant rat ! He scampered away terrified and bleeding .
Like I said, one of the jobs highlights was meeting the client’s pets !