Originally Posted By: Mike O’Handley
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The strangest thing?
I don't think I've found it yet. They just keep getting stranger. Lemme see how many I can remember:
1. Had the floor of a crawlspace literally collapse under me and drop me into a rat warren about 3ft. deep full of, I kid you not, hundreds of rats. (I'm not afraid of snakes, scorpions, dead bodies, spiders, amphibians or even death, but rats scare the bejeezus out of me.) Started rapidly repeating the F word at about 500 repetitions per minute, each followed by a What? from the client. Dropped over the retaining wall, said, "Rats!" and tore out of there like my hair was on fire, leaving my $55. light back there in that hole. I was going up the stairs from the adjacent basement to the house when I heard the client shriek, looked back and saw rats pouring over that retaining wall and the customer and realtor jumping up and down and kicking in all directions. It only encouraged me to move more quickly toward the exit. I was almost to the door when I was roughly knocked aside like my 250lbs was a feather and the client went screaming out the door ahead of me. I'm out at the van and the agent is standing on the porch yelling at me, telling me to get back in there and finish the inspection or I'd never work in that town again. I left.
2. I was up doing a post-on-pier on the Tulalip reservation in your neck of the woods. The insulation has hanging down everywhere like curtains in the crawl, forcing me to lift it and slide underneath it to get through. It kept getting narrower and narrower. Near the back in the dark, I lifted up a hanging batt, slid underneath and came face to face with a huge raccoon staring me straight in the face, only about 6 inches away. I'm a country boy born and bred. I know how much damage a coon can do, so I instinctively reared back (and up) real fast - knocking my head solidly against a joist so hard I conked myself unconscious. I suppose it was only a few minutes later, when I woke up, looked up and realized the coon was dead as a doornail and had died with its eyes open, very, very recently.
3. Found a dog's skeleton, complete with little red leather collar and chain. The elderly sellers were home. So, when I came out of the crawl I asked them if they'd ever owned a dog. "Yep," answered the owner, "About ten years ago. She disappeared one night. Whoever took her even took the chain." "Well, she's been with you all this time, underneath the house in the crawl," I said. The client had this kind of wry look on his face, but the elderly owner's wife let out an exclamation and began crying about her "poor baby." Pretty pregnant and awkward moment. Now I never say anything in front of the owners when I find animals in crawls. I'd rather not be around to see the expression on their faces.
4. Lots of aluminum foil on the underside of joists and on the floor, florescent lamps with UV tubes hanging from the floor joists and flower pot imprints on the floor foil. (Hwa! Bummer, maaannnn!)
5. The possum graveyard of the northwest has to be beneath a condominium in the Ballard subdivision of Seattle. You know, the place where all opossum go to die? Found no less than seven beneath only one unit. (Can't imagine what it must be like under the rest of this units in that block and what it must smell like around there in warm weather.)
6. Six dead cats - some skeletons, some still relatively fresh and ripe. Estate sale where a bunch of cats had been taken away to the shelter when the elderly disabled homeowner passed away.
7. The front fenders and radiator for a Model T.
8. Posts, girders, joists and flooring so badly decimated by deathwatch beetles that I stopped inspecting and got out of there 'cuz I was afraid if I brushed one too hard the whole floor above would collapse on top of me.
9. On a tabletop flat lot - a 4ft. deep hole hollowed out beneath the home within 2ft. of the perimeter of the footings at the perimeter and downspout drains that passed from outside to the interior and emptied into the hole. Every intermediate post supported by tall homemade concrete piers. It was half full of water at the the time of the inspection and there was barely enough room around the outside of the hole to inspect the band joist at the perimeter.
10. A pile of possum(?) excreta about 10 ft in diameter and about a foot high.
11. More abandoned oil furnaces and water heaters than I want to think about.
12. A refrigerator
13. Footings where fully 80% of the soil has subsided around the perimeter leaving them unsupported.
14. The remains of an old growth fir stump about 10ft. in diameter.
15. A cistern
16. A vapor barrier nicely taped and clean that felt like crawling across a waterbed 'cuz it had about 3-4 inches of water beneath. 27 year old home built at the edge of a flood plain. Underside was pristine and looked like it had been built yesterday. Owner said there is water beneath the barrier 9 months of the year.
17. Hidden porno stashes.
18. Hidden bottles of alcohol.
19. Gasoline cans with fuel in them.
20. So much water (more than 2ft.) beneath one 9ft. deep crawl near Sumner that I asked the owner to let me use the hip waders hanging in the garage. (500ft. from the banks of the Snoqualmie).
21. Enough black cats to ensure I'll never have an ounce of good luck in this lifetime.
Those are some of the more memorable. They're all so danged special that I have a hard time picking one as being the most notable. Nah, I guess that would be the rat one. Anyone want to know where to find a nearly brand new scuba light with dead batteries and the toggle in the on position?
ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!
Kenmore by the Lake, WA