Just When I Thought I was Safe – One dreary afternoon …I found myself alone on an estate appraisal that would have made Alfred Hitchcock’s imagination run wild. My client was a slightly older than middle-aged gentleman who had lived alone with his mother. She had died almost a year earlier but her slippers still sat eerily in place by the side of her bed. His boyish bedroom seemed frozen in time from 1945. Shortly after inspecting his collection of figurines, which were seamlessly glued back together after being severed at the head, he asked me to go with him to the basement to appraise some furniture stored there. With trepidation, I followed him into the dark cellar, my cell phone gripped tightly in the palm of my hand. I couldn’t help but think of Tony Perkins in “Psycho.” Thankfully there was no one down there waiting for me in a rocking chair, but I still wondered that evening how much water damage would be done to my bathroom if I showered with the curtain open.
Sleeping with the Enemy? (Or have I been watching too many episodes of Desperate Housewives) – Perhaps one of the scariest moments for me was when I received a call from a housewife to appraise the contents of her home for marital dissolution. While spending three hours typing inventory, I listened intently to the stories of her tepid marriage, which weaved an unnerving portrait of her husband – highlights of which included him replacing her diamond engagement ring while she was taking an afternoon shower and the strange disappearance of several paintings off the walls of her home, that had been replaced with mediocre copies. My mind was awhirl with thoughts of Julia Roberts being stalked in “Sleeping with the Enemy” and at that point, I realized the trickiest part of this appraisal was completing the inventory and getting out quickly. The husband’s bedroom, which also had to be inventoried was behind a locked door and only accessed by “his” key. I was told, to my relief, that he was out of town but minutes later, nearly completing the job-at-hand, I heard a disturbing sound of car keys hitting the table in the kitchen downstairs followed by heavy footsteps coming in my direction. Finding myself cornered in a side bedroom behind a vulnerable, nervous spouse (a closet would have been preferable) I wondered why situations like this weren’t covered by any of my professors in college and I made a mental note to start backing my car into driveways from now on for a quick getaway!