b3ta.com user The Duke of Boredom
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Just some bloke. About as exciting as that sounds.

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» Dad stories

A couple of weeks ago
I visited my parents, dear old pensioners that they are these days, while they were watching I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here. There was a torture session involving Stacey Solomon and some bloke or other having to eat kangaroo penises, when my dad piped up: "She'll be fine with that, Dagenham girls love eating cock!" with a sly wink.

My Dagenham-born mother looked up from her crossword, threw a pen at his head and replied "Not any fucking more they don't."

Me... I went out to the shed to look for the mindbleach and coarse-grade wire wool.
(Wed 1st Dec 2010, 16:24, More)

» How clean is your house?

More students.
This was originally going to be a reply to someone a few pages back who had a similar experience, but it ended up a bit longer than I planned. Stick with it.

So. Being a student with no hope of getting a job back home for the summer, I decided to stay at on campus at uni and work for the housekeeping department. As I was more of an admin monkey than any of the others, I managed to avoid cleaning and got the job of inventory, aka wandering around with a clipboard... which actually turned out to be more work than cleaning when it got to the stage of running around to several hundred flats with missing kitchen appliances and lightbulbs and whatever else. I digress.

The day everyone moved out, the work started. Mostly alright, a few quite grotty, one or two absolutely bloody atrocious. One in particular stuck with me, in which the tenants had obviously had a massive party on the last night - presumably for the entire block - before simply buggering off with their stuff the next morning and leaving it. Food, drink, cigarette ends, tobacco, remnants of weed, broken bottles, graffiti, wreckage, holes in the walls, all over the kitchen. Both toilets and showers looked like someone had been taken prisoner and staged a dirty protest with a bottle of laxatives. It took five people (three students and two full-time cleaners) six days to clean this one flat, compared to the normal rate of two days (three at a push) for two students. The fridge-freezer was completely knackered, the cooker doors were kicked in so the whole thing had to be replaced, one of the windows was broken, the walls had to be filled and repainted and one of the showers had to be completely ripped out and retiled. They got charged an entire term's rent and were henceforth banned from living on campus.

Over the course of the summer we had various groups of temporary students in. First came the Danes. Not too messy, actually they were just bloody noisy. When they'd gone, a group of Americans turned up. They were great. Then came the French. Y'know when you go to a hotel and leave it in whatever state because you think "meh, it's someone else's job to clean it"? That was them. Two weeks of collected rubbish and filth was less than pleasant. After that, an odd mixed group of Germans and Nigerians. All university students themselves, lovely, tidy, great to go for a drink with - the model for all students, visiting or domestic.

Nothing, however, compared to the day right near the end of the summer when I walked into a flat after it had been vacated by a group of EFL students from a country that will go tactfully unnamed. In their defence, this was the only really grim flat out of the 40 or so that were rented by the EFL programme, but I definitely won't forget it any time soon. "Sorry, it hasn't been cleaned yet but we need you to go and do the inventory, shouldn't be too bad though" said the nice woman in the office. Alright, thinks I, wandering over with clipboard in hand. Keys in lock, door swings open.

...oh fuck me.

That was the first time, not just that summer, but in my entire life, that a smell made me retch. It might not have been so bad if it weren't for the fact that all of the internal doors had been left propped open. It was really hot around that time too - with curtains open and windows tightly shut, it was like walking into a sauna full of rotting corpses. Perhaps the most shocking thing for me was that they'd only moved out the previous evening, so they'd obviously been living that way for a while. A quick and incomplete summary of what I found:

- a chip pan full of congealing oil with bits of fuck-knows-what meat floating in it
- a film of same oil over everything within a metre radius of the cooker (in a student kitchen, that's pretty much everything)
- vegetables left to liquidise in the bottom of the fridge (open, of course)
- an open bag of frozen sweetcorn, left defrosted and rotting in a cupboard (I already disliked sweetcorn, now I can't even look at the stuff)
- an open packet of ham, complete with maggots, left in one of the bedrooms
- various fruit, sandwiches and other short-life food items left to mould in all of the bedrooms
- open 4-pint cartons of milk, half full of what looked like yoghurt
- toilets not flushed, with used toilet paper on the floor and stuffed inside empty Pringles tins
- unidentifiable nasty orange ooze on the desks in two of the rooms
- various other rubbish and detritus

With every shred of my being, I wish I was making this up. It's making me feel a bit queasy just thinking about it.

A team of full-time cleaners went in that same day, opened the windows right through and completely cleared it. Over a week later, the office had to contact the students who were due to move in at the start of term and tell them not to come because it was still uninhabitable. Three days later, after another go from the cleaners and two attacks with a professional carpet cleaner, they were allowed to move in.

Having said all that: I happily did the same job again for another two summers after that. The really grim moments were rare, overall I genuinely enjoyed it - the bosses were really nice, the rest of the staff were cool, the pay and hours were reasonable, free rent, general "go at whatever pace you want as long as the work gets done" attitude... it was pretty much an ideal way to earn summer beer tokens, particularly when my mates were doing it too.

A quick note on my own house right now: not too bad actually. Clutter, detritus and nick-nacks everywhere but it's not dirty. There's no washing up in the sink, which I must admit is unusual. 5-second rule on dropped food is a bit out of the question at the moment 'cos my cat is moulting heavily and I can't be arsed to hoover two or three times a day. Actually, the bedrooms are alright, cat's too lazy to climb the stairs.

Length gag, etc.
(Mon 29th Mar 2010, 2:14, More)