My next house sitting experience was a little different. In fact, it wasn't even house sitting. It was apartment sitting. It wasn't just an apartment unit, it was the whole building.
At one point I had been subletting an apartment for a couple of friends who were out of town for the summer. While there, I met their supers who seemed to take a liking to me. They were a couple in their late twenties or early thirties.
When I moved out of that apartment into my own, it was in the building next door. And the super-wife was in one of my classes in university. They were wanting to go away at Christmas time for about two weeks. That year I decided to not go home for Christmas, and instead I would spend it in Sault Ste. Marie with the McQueens. The supers asked if I would house-sit for them, meaning I'd be the superintendent of this apartment building for about two weeks. I said I would.
When it rains, it pours.
At first, it snowed for days at a time. When you're taking care of an apartment, you have to stay on top of that. You have to shovel the walk ways, and salt them. If someone slips and falls, you're looking at a law suit. So, all notions of free time were buried under about three feet of snow.
Finally, on Christmas day the sun was out. There was not a cloud in the sky. I headed over to the McQueens to spend the day with them. When I got there, it turned out that Robin was sick. She had the flu. Not the stomach flu, but influenza. As I was shoveling all that snow it occurred to me that if I got sick I'd have to take care of the building whilst sick. I really didn't want to shovel all that snow while being sick. At this time, Norwalk was going around in a bad way. Lots of diseases to avoid. This was also the time SARS was running rampant.
So I spent the day trying not to get too close to Robin, trying not to pick up the flu. I figured that night "As long as I get a good night's sleep, it should all be good."
So I went to bed when I got home. At three thirty in the morning I woke up to the fire alarm. We had a pyromaniac living in the building at the time. This morning he rolled up a big ball of paper, threw it in the stairwell, and lit it on fire. Pretty soon the fire department was there putting the fire out. Everyone else could go back to bed, but noooooo not me. I was the super. I had to hang with the fire marshal and answer questions, etc. So, finally at about four thirty I got to bed.
How long do you think that lasted?
At about seven in the morning there came a knock at the door. I got up to answer it. It was a young boy, about 7 years old. He had locked himself out of the laundry room. So I had to let him back in.
On the walk towards the laundry room there was a puddle of dried up puke on the floor. Awwww nuts! Something else to clean up! And of course, cleaning that up got me worrying. "What if this is Norwalk puke? I might get sick! Then I can't take care of this building!" So I cleaned that up, and it was really gross.
After that I went back to bed to try to sleep. Guess how long that lasted! That's right, maybe an hour. (For those of you unfamiliar with the sleep cycle, a cycle is 90 minutes. Not all sleep is the same. You need cycles of 90 minutes to get any benefits from sleep. And hour here and there doesn't really do anything for you.) So I answered the phone. It was the supers calling to check to see if it was all good.
After talking to them I decided I had had enough interruptions. Luckily my apartment building was next door. I walked back home, and took a snooze in my own bed, and slept well.
It all turned out alright in the end. I didn't get sick. There was little snow after that. The only other incident was that someone smashed a bottle in the entrance way on New Years Eve.