imperfect exchanges


Things we found in our house when we returned that hadn't been here when we left:

  • Table runners. Five or six of them, mostly unopened in their packages. Apparently these were very important to them. I've never actually used on any of my tables, so I'm unclear as to the appeal.
  • Dozens and dozens of empty bags--from Old Navy, Gap, Talbots, Target, Nordstrom's, and other stores. Some carefully folded and stacked, others stuffed inside of each other. These people shopped a lot. Why they preserved the bags so carefully and then left them behind is a mystery.
  • A drawer of men's bathing suits. Whoops. Somebody packed in a hurry, I guess.
  • A 3"×5" hole in my son's bedroom carpeting. Not on the edge of the room, mind you, or under a piece of furniture, but right smack dab in the middle of the room. Mysterious and annoying. The pad is still there, but that section of the carpet was neatly excised. Other stained patches were left behind, so there must have been something really heinous on that spot for them to have gone to the trouble of cutting it out.
  • Two DishTV receivers and a DSL modem, all neatly boxed, but with no return information.
  • Lego bricks stashed in various places, carefully hidden to cause maxium foot injury upon discovery.
  • A small, pink satin pillow with "Very Important Princess" stitched onto it.
  • A tiny pink and blue satin-edged "blankie" that I suspect one of their kids misses now.
  • A quart of long-since-expired buttermilk in the fridge. Ew.
  • Two oddly-shaped brown things in the freezer that we still can't identify. Any ideas?

Things we expected to find upon our return, but didn't:

  • Our towels
  • Our sheets
  • Our pillows
  • 8 bowls that matched our plates
  • Our coffeemaker (happily, we had an extra in the basement)
  • Their forwarding address

The lack of sheets and towels is a major annoyance--I've had to buy emergency supplies for all the beds and bathrooms, but am holding off on stocking up too much until we see if we can track them down. (Our neighbors have an email address for them, apparently.)

The family was really nice--she took early retirement from an executive job with a major corporation to raise the kids, and he was in Rochester to do a one-year surgical residency. She and her mother and the kids headed south to their new 6,000-square-foot home in Tennessee a month before he did, and I suspect that he simply didn't realize that the sheets and towels (at least some of them) were ours. So I don't see this as malicious theft, merely an inconvenient (for us) error.

We tried to give the left-behind Dish receivers to the Dish installer who came to set up our system on Saturday, but his supervisor said he couldn't take them since they were technically not our property. And Frontier Telephone says that if we drop off the DSL modem it will prevent a $100 charge (to them, not us). We probably will do that, since it's not too far away.

It is irritating that they didn't provide any contact information--which means not only can we not send them any of the things they left here, we also can't send them what remains of the security deposit (after deducting the cleaning and carpet replacement and new towels and sheets...). But it could have been far, far worse--for the most part, the house and its contents are in decent shape, and we're really happy to be home again.


Ah, the joys of returning after the renters have gone. I got off lucky -- the only damage in my place at all consisted of a few scuff marks on the walls and a few scratches on the floors -- nothing, in other words, that I wouldn't have caused myself during the same time period. And nothing of mine seemed to be missing, at all.

Actually, now that I think about it, I got off REALLY lucky. There were a few mystery items left behind, but a quick email to my tenant let me know that all of those things could be tossed. And aside from that, he left me presents: a hand blender, which I'd always wanted, two nice cutting boards, which I needed, and a freezer full of Trader Joe's prepared foods.

Which is how I know that your mystery cylinders are TJ's frozen cream of mushroom soup. They're pretty good. 45 minutes in the oven, in an oven-proof bowl, or something on the order of 8 minutes in the micro.

Really?! How odd. There's no Trader Joe's anywhere around here. But perhaps somebody else makes the same thing, or it gets sold rebranded at our local Wegman's.

To be fair, there were also a lot of very yummy food items left behind. Candy, chips, salsa, frozen chimichangas, milk that _hadn't_ yet gone bad, some VitaWater and other drinks. Probably other stuff, as well...I haven't spelunked too far into the freezer yet. :)

Good to have you back, Liz. I think I'd be too protective of my space to let anyone rent the house while I was away. I'd also have to massively clean so they'd have room to put anything.

In your absence, University News has been getting into gear on our blog, The Tiger Beat (originally inspired by that talk on blogging you gave us quite some time ago). Not sure if you knew that you were partly responsible for our push towards the blogosphere.

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This page contains a single entry published on August 6, 2006 6:31 PM.

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